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May 19 2013

It’s 4am and people are really annoyed

It’s been a strange evening. I had a crowd of people descend on my hotel room after the evening’s events at Women In Secularism and a good day of wonderful and inspiring talks from strong women, and besides just wanting to talk and celebrate, they wanted to complain. These are people who came here for a conference on women’s issues, and they were really annoyed that the head of CFI, Ron Lindsay, chose to use the opening talk of the conference to basically chastise the attendees and instruct them in how to behave, and I’ve had more than one person tell me that they were irate that their introduction to an event that they paid a considerable sum of money was to be greeted by a talk that pandered to people who hated the event, and were volubly complaining on the internet throughout the day about it. The impression they had was that the organization was unhappy to be sponsoring this conference.

That is a weird and impolitic message to send to attendees. It was especially weird to hear that on day one, and then to watch Melody Hensley, the person who did the organizational work to set up the meeting, make fundraising pitches at the evening reception on both days. Melody definitely stands behind the purpose of this event, there’s no doubt about that at all, but we’re simultaneously getting this bizarre vibe that CFI, as represented by Lindsay, does not like this feminist stuff, and would rather that we all went away and the MRAs who are crowing about his talk were here instead.

Who is he supporting? The people who actively invest in this meeting and CFI, or the jerks who lurk on the internet and rage at women all day long with no commitment to any cause besides hatred, and are openly hoping to see the meeting fail?

What has also caused all these people to lose confidence in Lindsay is that today, he posted a complaint against Rebecca Watson, who is here both as a speaker and as a sponsor of attendees here, comparing her to a propagandist for North Korea, and blathering misconceptions about his odd understanding of the idea of privilege and asserting that there is an effort to silence men (he’s very resentful of the idea that men might be expected to be silent long enough to listen to the experience of minorities). Or rather, he’s unhappy with the hyphenated entity Myers-Watson (really, we aren’t married, not even close), because he also posted a tirade against me for stating that shutting up and listening, that is, paying attention to and respecting the experiences of the underprivileged, is an appropriate strategy for learning about and responding to the concerns of people outside your class, sex, and race. Which, I thought, was the goal of this conference.

A lot of people are extraordinarily irritated by this effort by the head of CFI to undermine a CFI-sponsored conference. That’s why this one tired old man was listening to a crowd of annoyed conference attendees packed into his hotel room at 2am complain about mismanagement and loss of confidence in the administration of CFI. Attendees who paid $250 each, plus transportation and hotel costs, to listen to big names in feminism and secularism talk, and who got that plus a director who seemed more interested in appeasing an obsessed gang of manic, moronic anti-feminist spammers who’d been flooding the twitter feed (a strange corruption of the usual use of conference hashtags that I’ve never witnessed before) and countering the purpose of the conference.

I was put in the unusual and awkward position of having to reassure these attendees that CFI really was a great organization (something the head of CFI should have been doing, right?) despite the apparent opposition of the man in charge…a man who had just posted a bitter complaint about me on the web. I had to remind them that the woman who was specifically in charge of this conference, Melody Hensley, was on their side, and supported the cause of women in secularism despite the apparent intransigence of her boss.

I’m only here as an attendee myself, yet here I am having to defend the organization. I have no reputation as a diplomat, yet here I am trying to put out the fires that the CEO of the organization himself has enflamed. What kind of screwed up mess is this?

OK, I give up. I’m going to bed to get a couple of hours of sleep. Let’s hope Ron Lindsay wakes up and realizes he’s just blown up what ought to be a great success for CFI (the speakers here have been phenomenal) and turned it into a colossal PR disaster, and tries to change course. If it’s not too late already.

199 comments

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  1. 1
    theignored

    Maybe this will be a good thing in the end, help clear out some of the rubbish from the organization? Sigh…at least you people are trying…

  2. 2
    Ichthyic

    It’s just like what happened with Shermer.

    not only do these guys not want to examine their own behavior and privilege, they seem to be near hysterical in their defensiveness.

    there is a definite pattern there.

  3. 3
    Ichthyic

    …and yes, in case you missed the jibe, word use there was intentional.

  4. 4
    dalehusband

    What the hell is CFI? I hate when I see a acronym and it is not explained anywhere.

  5. 5
    Ichthyic

    Center For Inquiry

  6. 6
    brive1987

    I don’t get how a CEO of a group organising a conference on a sensitive topic can:

    + Not welcome the delegates
    + Not introduce the speakers
    + Open with a speech he *knows* is contrary to the confs spirit
    + Engage in public personal arguments with attendees while the conf is still on (regardless of perceived provocation)

    And not get fired.

    I don’t care what the relative rights and wrongs are (well I do, but they are not relevant to his comment) the above behaviours are completely out of line.

    Given the pre event controversy his job (which I assume he is paid to do) is to pour oil on the water and ensure a professional successful enjoyable conference. Debate could follow at leisure.

    Does he report to a Board?

  7. 7
    Ichthyic

    + Engage in public personal arguments with attendees while the conf is still on (regardless of perceived provocation)

    …on the front page of the official organization website… right under the banner advertising the conference.

    Having worked with many nonprofs, I can tell you that if the board of directors for CFI doesn’t have a chat with that man, CFI is fucked.

  8. 8
    John Morales

    I note that PZ makes it clear that he thinks

    I was put in the unusual and awkward position of having to reassure these attendees that CFI really was a great organization (something the head of CFI should have been doing, right?) despite the apparent opposition of the man in charge…a man who had just posted a bitter complaint about me on the web. I had to remind them that the woman who was specifically in charge of this conference, Melody Hensley, was on their side, and supported the cause of women in secularism despite the apparent intransigence of her boss.

    (It’s not CFI he criticises)

  9. 9
    rorschach

    Attendees who paid $250 each

    I will never understand this. Yes sure, there are speaker fees and venue hire costs etc., but if we consider it important to get our messages of equality, social justice, science, skepticism and atheism out there, then why not keep attendance fees as low as possible? 450.- for TAM, 300.- for the Australian atheist convention, and the list goes on. For 300 dollars entry fee I can set up a concert with the Stones, Rod Stewart and Elton John. I’m sure PZ’s or Greta Christina’s speaker fees are lower than Mickie’s.

    I was put in the unusual and awkward position of having to reassure these attendees that CFI really was a great organization

    I really feel sorry for Melody Hensley. She deserves better than this shit for all her efforts.

  10. 10
    dalehusband

    OK, let me be blunt:

    Men should always be willing to listen to women. And vice versa.

    Whites should always be willing to listen to non-whites. . And vice versa.

    Christians should always be willing to listen non-Christians.. And vice versa.

    Heterosexuals should always be willing to listen to homosexuals.. And vice versa.

    And the rich should always be willing to listen to the poor.. And vice versa.

    And anyone who disagrees with ANY of those ideas is a BIGOT.

    A lot of atheists out there are BIGOTS. You do not become enlightened just because you reject the concept of God or gods of some kind. You can also be racist, sexist, and homophobic. Atheism has never been a cure-all for those ancient prejudices.

    It’s time to get serious about that fact. The secular, atheist, and skeptic communities must be PURGED of all BIGOTS!

  11. 11
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    rorschach,

    I will never understand this.

    You’d hear that a lot if common rubes could afford going to this kind of events *nudge nudge wink wink*.

    Bitter sarcasm aside, yes, I do believe classism plays a significant role here.

  12. 12
    John Morales

    dalehusband @10: OK, let me be blunt: In our culture,

    * Men’s narrative (assuming women should always be willing to listen to them) is the default… but not vice versa.

    * Whites’ narrative is the default… but not vice versa.

    * Christians’ narrative is the default… but not vice versa.

    * Heterosexuals’ narrative is the default… but not vice versa.

    * Wealth to dearth is not like those, since the rich can become poor and vice versa.

    * Anyone who disagrees with ANY of those ideas is a DENIALIST.

  13. 13
    John Morales

    dalehusband:

    A lot of atheists out there are BIGOTS. You do not become enlightened just because you reject the concept of God or gods of some kind. You can also be racist, sexist, and homophobic. Atheism has never been a cure-all for those ancient prejudices.

    It’s time to get serious about that fact. The secular, atheist, and skeptic communities must be PURGED of all BIGOTS!

    <snicker>

  14. 14
    Felix

    What I don’t grok is why anyone gives a flying fuck about what some totally useless jerks hammer into a twitter feed. If people spam it, then stop reading it, stop using it. You’re not going to find a magic wand to clean it up. It’s just not worth losing sleep over, when it apparently creates more work and frustration than it resolves. Really, why does everyone assume that it has any relevance, constantly dumping stunted soundbites of ideas into communication channels. It’s the internet equivalent of a cross between the public bathroom stall wall and tv commercial breaks. I’m not saying that bigotry will go away when we stop paying attention. But we really have no need or obligation to scurry about, sniffing out all the little messes random idiots leave behind on their stupidity diarrhea road trip, as if we needed some extra spice because we can’t find enough triggers in the world of actually important and publically known people.

  15. 15
    John Morales

    Felix @14, you really don’t grok a DOS attack?

    (Huh)

  16. 16
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Felix,

    Ron Lindsay apparently finds people making all that noise important enough to try and cater to them. He’s got a platform bigger than a twitter hashtag and he’s willing to use it. Or PZ should ignore that too?

    As you say, Twitter is like “a cross between the public bathroom stall wall and tv commercial breaks”, and it’s the part that makes it widely read and popular that makes hateful messages there a problem worth acknowledging. You may be able to afford ignoring it, but people who are targets of the harassment can’t… unless they are supposed to completely abandon Twitter. Same goes for other social networks. Since hateful bigots and assholes are crawling all over social networks, you are asking people bothered by them to completely abandon social networks. Maybe women should just stay off the Internet, eh?

  17. 17
    drosera

    we’re simultaneously getting this bizarre vibe that CFI, as represented by Lindsay, does not like this feminist stuff, and would rather that we all went away and the MRAs who are crowing about his talk were here instead.

    It’s this simplistic binary thinking (anyone who criticises certain aspects of certain forms of feminism must be an MRA) that is alienating reasonable people from PZ en RW.

  18. 18
    Sorbus

    I know it would be a shame to exclude legitimate comments from outside the conference, but it seems like a secure alternative to twitter over the venue wifi connection should be used in situations like these.

    If the CFI directorate doesn’t act for the better, how about a crowd-sourced or FTB sponsored event instead?

  19. 19
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @drosera

    It’s almost like you didn’t read what PZ said at all and are ascribing to him views directly contrary to his exact words, because someone not PZ posted them in a comment on PZ’s blog.

    I’m sure this is how it works, right? I can ignore anything you say as long as anyone you’ve ever had over to your house said the exact opposite?

    Right?

  20. 20
    Felix

    Yeah, ok, a DOS attack is definitely not something that can or should be ignored. And I understand the point Beatrice is making. I surely will not entertain the idea, a shape of bigotry itself, that “when teh wimminz leave teh socialwebz, teh azzhooles aren’t a problem anymore”. I guess we’re all frustrated that as soon as there’s new communication tools, idiots and all sorts of -phobes seem to breed and multiply as if these channels were empty niches that they have to fill up with their offal. For me, having never used twitter (I think my total contribution is one single message), when I read about the newest #twittergate780654, it’s like suddenly someone came up to me, slammed a bunch of really bad books I never wanted to read on my table and demanded I do some book reviews for no reason and for which I just have no time. I find facebook more useful, where I can basically leave assholes to their page and keep them off mine. But I’ve also had experiences with bigots who organize and get politically active, basically out-yelling the rational and ethical voices all the way up to the national legislature. So yeah, we can’t ignore stuff the way we’d want to. I have no patent answer.

  21. 21
    carlie

    If people spam it, then stop reading it, stop using it.

    Really? It’s the con feed, if you hadn’t noticed.

    So it gets spammed, and you then have to tell everyone to switch to this different new hashtag.

    Except within an hour or so it gets spammed too.

    So you make a new one, and tell everyone to use that one.

    And then that one gets spammed too.

    And then…. you just keep making new ones, each one more convoluted and more difficult to search to find, which also decreases its utility for people to, you know, find and use it, and each time it gets spammed and rendered useless by the same group of haters, and at the end of the con you have nothing to show for it. You think that’s ok?

  22. 22
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Felix — you grok.

  23. 23
    Maureen Brian

    Felix,

    The problem is not the technology. The problem is not the details of the design of this system or that. The problem is the people – evidence of their existence abounds – who really do not believe that women should be able to hold a conference, choose the topics for discussion and listen to women speak. To that end they have been using all available means to frustrate the attempts of said women to organise and promote the conference.

    This did not break out when Ron Lindsay spoke. It has been going on for months. Do you understand that?

  24. 24
    consciousness razor

    Wealth to dearth is not like those, since the rich can become poor and vice versa.

    *facepalm*
    They can in principle, but reality is an unprincipled place, John. The deck is stacked so fucking much against the poor, I really don’t know where you get off assuming the fucking American Dream™ (Australian for you?) somehow makes any difference in that regard.

    Besides, the narrative of the wealthy is the default just like the rest, and that has nothing to do with whether not someone “can” change which applies to them. Notice that Christians can convert to atheism or vice versa, yet you’ll probably have no trouble figuring out why that’s irrelevant.

  25. 25
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    So I’ve read all Lindsay’s, Watson’s, & PZ’s posts on this topic (I think – perhaps I missed something from Lindsay, but I don’t think so) including Lindsay’s posting of the text of his speech.

    Let me just say that as an example of customer service to those folks paying hundreds of dollars, you might not want to spend the opening lecture painting with a sympathetic brush the people who issue repeated rape threats to your attendees. That behavior is so clueless one wonders how this man manages to button a shirt. A CEO who doesn’t know how to make his customers happy to patronize his organization? Sounds like a short-term CEO to me.

    Further, however, this is a man who simply has no idea what “silencing” actually is. Is it silencing in Lindsay’s world to refuse to re-invite to your home someone who engages in boorish behavior at the first party?

    I’ll let others handle the definition-of-privilege argument. I’m tired of making it again & again. I’ll also let others clarify how privilege is used in the situations Lindsay mentions (save to say that what is not being asserted is that persons should shut up because they have privilege, what is being asserted is that the person should shut up AND that the person does not appear to be taking in information from others AND that, in the opinion of the poster, the most likely reason for that is a dynamic that can only be explained in the context of group privilege).

    I’m much more interested in exploring further this silencing thing. For me, it really exposes how many people *aren’t* listening when jen & others describe constant threats of violence and demeaning comments.

    dammit, battery dying. more later.

  26. 26
    melaniemallon

    Twitter can be a wonderful tool for cons especially. I can’t afford to go to most cons, but I can follow the tweets and interact, ask questions, comment on the content, and to some degree be a part of things. The live-blogging people do helps me to learn from the speakers and panels too, but it’s still only a few voices and there’s not the same immediacy and conversation. With Twitter, it’s possible to ask a question that actually gets addressed in the panel or talk itself. I want to see more of this community participation of multiple voices, not less. But I don’t know what to do about the hashtag crashing. Hash Spam Killer has helped, but not enough.

  27. 27
    drosera

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    It’s almost like you didn’t read what PZ said at all and are ascribing to him views directly contrary to his exact words, because someone not PZ posted them in a comment on PZ’s blog.

    I’m sure this is how it works, right? I can ignore anything you say as long as anyone you’ve ever had over to your house said the exact opposite?

    Right?

    Wrong. Here’s another example of such simplistic binary thinking:

    Who is he supporting? The people who actively invest in this meeting and CFI, or the jerks who lurk on the internet and rage at women all day long with no commitment to any cause besides hatred, and are openly hoping to see the meeting fail?

  28. 28
    carlie

    Did Lindsay do a drop in and leave, or is he still at the conference? If he’s still around, I don’t know how he could miss that it’s not just a couple of people who didn’t like his comments, or how he could think it possible that everyone there simply “misunderstands” him.

    If he’s not still there, then he’s even more of an ass for showing up just to drop that load of crap and then leave. If the figurehead is just showing up to make an appearance, then they say hi and leave. If he was willing to take up conference time for a half hour to force people to listen to him, then at least he should have had the courtesy to stick around to listen to the rest of… oh, I think I see the problem here.

  29. 29
    hyperdeath

    drosera:

    It’s this simplistic binary thinking (anyone who criticises certain aspects of certain forms of feminism must be an MRA) that is alienating reasonable people from PZ en RW.

    *sigh*

    Following drosera’s logic, PZ must regard himself as an MRA. Why do these angry little men always present themselves as the arbiters of reason, when they show the same ability for analytical thought as the non-playable characters from a 1980s video game?

  30. 30
    drosera

    @hyperdeath

    Following drosera’s logic, PZ must regard himself as an MRA.

    Yes, maybe he should. I never claimed he was consistent.

  31. 31
    consciousness razor

    Wrong. Here’s another example of such simplistic binary thinking:

    Who is he supporting? The people who actively invest in this meeting and CFI, or the jerks who lurk on the internet and rage at women all day long with no commitment to any cause besides hatred, and are openly hoping to see the meeting fail?

    Riiight. Maybe he’s supporting whiny, middle-of-the-road jackasses like you who’ve got nothing but clueless, content-free “criticism” of “certain aspects of feminism” you never bother to describe; yet at the same time he’s somehow not saying anything which supports the raging fuckwads (because, as we can all see, they haven’t indicated anything of the sort). Can’t leave out that possibility.

  32. 32
    drosera

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Let me just say that as an example of customer service to those folks paying hundreds of dollars, you might not want to spend the opening lecture painting with a sympathetic brush the people who issue repeated rape threats to your attendees.

    That’s a serious accusation. I’m sure you can back it up.

    Right?

  33. 33
    Argle Bargle

    drosera @30

    I never claimed he was consistent.

    Actually you did. You claimed he was a binary thinker, which means he ignores nuance, degrees of distinction, and anomalies. Someone can’t be more consistent than being a black-or-white thinker.

  34. 34
    ChasCPeterson

    I found the problem right away; it’s right there on Lindsay’s front page, next to the little picture of him (not the little picture of him on top looking all resolute, the other little picture of him, over on the right, looking all Joe Cool). I quote:

    He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He has been described both as a lawyer masquerading as a philosopher and as a philosopher pretending to be a lawyer. Both statements may be true.

    In short, what we’re dealing with here is one of the most toxic trait-cocktails known to modern internet psychological anthropology: the old-white-male-American-lawyer-philosopher*-narcissist. FEAR HIM

    *or philosopher-lawyer

    [wait, is he a libertarian too? please say he is.]

  35. 35
    drosera

    @consciousness razor

    When you’re neither a radfem nor an MRA you must be a whiny, middle-of-the-road jackass. Well, at least it’s a ternary mode of thinking. That’s already an improvement over PZ. Congratulations.

  36. 36
    Argle Bargle

    drosera @32

    Apparently you’re unaware of the Slymepit. This is a group of MRAs (Men’s Rights Advocates) and misogynists who strenuously object to the idea that women are human beings. One of their complaints about women is the women’s insistence on talking in public and not remaining quiet like good females should be. Lindsay was basically telling these women “you say ‘shut up and listen’ and I’m not going to, in fact you should shut up.”

    Incidently Slymepit is the name the misogynists chose for their little coterie.

  37. 37
    drosera

    @Ulysses

    Someone can’t be more consistent than being a black-or-white thinker.

    The concepts of ‘binary thinking’ and ‘consistency’ are independent of each other. You can be a binary thinker and still be inconsistent in your positions.

  38. 38
    consciousness razor

    There are different definitions of “radfem,” but I suppose I’ll count myself as one or just a plain feminist.

    And I didn’t use the word “must.” I said it was a possibility, while indicating problems with it which you haven’t addressed. When you finish your “binary thinking” spiel, maybe try having a conversation with us or something.

  39. 39
    drosera

    @ChasCPeterson

    In short, what we’re dealing with here is one of the most toxic trait-cocktails known to modern internet psychological anthropology: the old-white-male-American-lawyer-philosopher*-narcissist. FEAR HIM

    Nice attempt at character assassination.

  40. 40
    drosera

    @consciousness razor

    When you finish your “binary thinking” spiel, maybe try having a conversation with us or something.

    It’s not a spiel, I consider the binary thinking a serious problem.

  41. 41
    drosera

    @Ulysses

    I am aware of that website. You are just repeating the usual propaganda, which I haven’t found accurate. It’s binary thinking rearing its ugly head again.

  42. 42
    Argle Bargle

    The concepts of ‘binary thinking’ and ‘consistency’ are independent of each other. You can be a binary thinker and still be inconsistent in your positions.

    Impossible. Either one is consistent on being a binary thinker or one is inconsistent and considers other possibilities besides the binary positions. You need to be more consistent in your non-binary thinking.

  43. 43
    mouse

    Count me one more pissed off attendee. I’ve enjoyed the conference immensely otherwise, but Lindsay’s remarks cast a pall over my overall experience. His latest tripling down is just inexcusable.

  44. 44
    drosera

    @Ulysses,

    Impossible. Either one is consistent on being a binary thinker or one is inconsistent and considers other possibilities besides the binary positions. You need to be more consistent in your non-binary thinking.

    One can take the ‘radfem’ position today and the ‘MRA’ position tomorrow. Then one is not being consistent but still a binary thinker.

  45. 45
    Kevin

    Well, there went my hope for a drama-free conference.

    Are you sure Ron Lindsay and Justin Vacula aren’t the same person? Have you ever seen the two of them together? Well…HAVE you?

    Seriously, I’m sure Linsday is merely clueless while Vacula is totally clued in to his being a privileged jerk.

    Privileged jerks come in many flavors. Those are two.

  46. 46
    WithinThisMind

    Time to demand refunds. He made it clear he doesn’t actually want feminists there, so he should have no problem refunding their attendance fees.

    Put stop payments on checks and take it up with your credit card company if you have to. He can’t support feminism, not even to pay lip service during a welcoming speech, fine. We won’t support him either.

  47. 47
    ChasCPeterson

    Nice attempt at character assassination.

    thanks. I do take some pride in my occasional ad homs and it’s encouraging to hear that my efforts are sometimes appreciated.

    The comments over at Dr. Lindsay, Esq.’s place are prety eye-rolly in general. Here’s one, though, that makes me want to lace up the ol’ metaphorical jackboots:

    Mr. Lindsay, thank you. Now you know what the rest of us have had to put up with for the last couple of years (if you didn’t already). Get ready to be named Witch of the Week by the cultish Freethought Blogs/Skepchick/A+ axis. They will tear through the internet, trashing and libeling you at every opportunity, in an effort to ruin your reputation in the community (and possibly your position at CFI). Stay strong and don’t back down from these thuggish, completely irrational para-religious ideologues.

  48. 48
    Argle Bargle

    drosera @41

    I am aware of that website.

    Really? I’m surprised. You certainly seem to be ignorant of them and their positions on the treatment of women.

    You are just repeating the usual propaganda, which I haven’t found accurate.

    You certainly are lacking in the evidence to support your belief in the inaccuracy of the propaganda. Please note that propaganda is information designed to persuade others. While the popular view of propaganda is that it’s generally false, it can be either true or false, depending on the specific piece of propaganda. If you reject my propaganda you have to show why you reject it. Otherwise that’s just sloppy or lazy thinking on your part.

    It’s binary thinking rearing its ugly head again.

    You’re right, it is binary thinking. The Slymepit do not consider women to be human beings. The people here do consider them to be human beings. So show how this “binary thinking” is ugly. Be specific.

  49. 49
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Who gives a shit about apologists like Drosera? I’m tired of their whining. Hushfile engaged. Sanity resumed.

  50. 50
    WithinThisMind

    Drosera,

    The last pitter that commented on my blog said they ‘hope I get raped’ and also that ‘your stupid crack-baby dies’.

    But I’m supposed to give them the benefit of the doubt and it’s all in good fun, right?

  51. 51
    Argle Bargle

    One can take the ‘radfem’ position today and the ‘MRA’ position tomorrow. Then one is not being consistent but still a binary thinker.

    I see. Consistency must be eternal and unchanging. Thanks for explaining this bit of binary thinking.

  52. 52
    fmitchell

    Anyone who thinks PZ or Rebecca Watson are exaggerating should read the comments under the “Watson’s World …” tirade. A continuous refrain by at least one supporter is “disadvantaged minorities are only experts about their experience”. Because we know wimmenfolk and minorities never go to college and study issues important to them in any detail. Nope, they’re all hysterical, emotional creatures to whom calm rational white men must explain realities of the situation.

    Shouting over or about the calm rational white men is unseemly, don’t you know, and yet more evidence of their emotionality. The proper response is to politely raise one’s hand and wait for a calm rational white man to let one have the floor. Eventually.

  53. 53
    ChasCPeterson

    also, it takes a special brand of ironist to comment under the nym “Brave Hero”.

  54. 54
    consciousness razor

    drosera:

    What exactly is your position? If you’re not somewhere near either of the poles of “feminist” and “vile misogynist,” try to describe where on the spectrum you would put yourself, in whatever terms make sense to you.

    Or maybe try answering these: What makes you not an “MRA”? What makes you not a “radfem”? (Since you’ve used it more than once, I probably ought to ask what “radfem” means to you.)

    Also, be specific about what is inaccurate or unfair about that slymepit description in #36.

  55. 55
    ChasCPeterson

    Reap Paden predicts that “we will see more childish and ignorant rambling from a certain click before the discussion is finished.”
    I think his critick is spot on.

  56. 56
    Martha

    Well, it’s 8:00 here, and I’m just now seeing Lindsay’s post. I’m far too saddened by it to summon up much anger. Mostly, I feel an overwhelming sympathy for CFI employees like Melody, Lauren, and Simon. Thanks for all your hard work during the conference, and I’m so very sorry that your boss has made the weekend so tough for you.

    On Friday night, when I sought out Simon at the reception to ask for a donation sheet, I was uncertain whether or not I wanted to support CFI after Lindsay’s rather hostile opening remarks. Now, I’m certain that I don’t– at least not before Lindsay offers an apology.

    It’s been a great conference, and I leave with renewed conviction that secularism is a more powerful force when combined with feminism– and vice versa. Unfortunately, I’m much less convinced that current secular institutions are capable of feminist secular activity.

    Thank you, Freethought Blogs, for dusting off and donning Robert Ingersoll’s and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s secular feminist capes.

  57. 57
    Nick Gotts

    ChasCPeterson@55

    :-)

  58. 58
    drosera

    @ Ulysses

    The Slymepit do not consider women to be human beings. The people here do consider them to be human beings. So show how this “binary thinking” is ugly. Be specific.

    Binary thinking is ugly because it often forces one to distort the truth, as you are doing here. There are quite a few women posting at the Slymepit, as far as I can tell. Don’t they consider themselves to be human beings? That would be remarkable.

  59. 59
    HappyNat

    Reading Lindsay’s “rebuttal” to PZ I’m struck by his similarity to Colbert. The “invoking racial/sexual/ethnic/class identity” sounds like “I don’t see color” and both value “truthiness” over all. What’s disturbing/sad/head-desking about the whole thing is the comedian understands these are absurd positions, while the head of CFI is defending them.

  60. 60
    drosera

    @consciousness razor

    What exactly is your position? If you’re not somewhere near either of the poles of “feminist” and “vile misogynist,” try to describe where on the spectrum you would put yourself, in whatever terms make sense to you.

    I think you accurately characterised me as a “middle-of-the-road jackass,” although I wouldn’t add “whiny” to that, as you did.

  61. 61
    Argle Bargle

    drosera @58

    Since you’re the one making the claim the women at the Slymepit consider themselves to be human, it’s up to you to justify this claim. Be specific and give examples to support this dubious affirmation.

    Also I don’t care to be called a liar. You may disagree with what I say but you do not get to call me a liar until you can prove my lies. I suggest you reconsider your accusation of “distort[ing] the truth.”

  62. 62
    drosera

    @ Nerd of Redhead

    Who gives a shit about apologists like Drosera? I’m tired of their whining. Hushfile engaged. Sanity resumed.

    What? No finely crafted sentence containing “OPINION”, “EVIDENCE”, “citation needed”, followed by *FLOOSH*? How disappointing.

  63. 63
    Argle Bargle

    drosera @60

    So you’re iffy about the humanity of women. Thanks for explaining. By the way, you are a whiner. Just sayin’.

  64. 64
    drosera

    @WithThisMind,

    The last pitter that commented on my blog said they ‘hope I get raped’ and also that ‘your stupid crack-baby dies’.

    But I’m supposed to give them the benefit of the doubt and it’s all in good fun, right?

    Name and shame, I’d say.

  65. 65
    drosera

    @Ulysses

    So you’re iffy about the humanity of women. Thanks for explaining. By the way, you are a whiner. Just sayin’.

    Non sequietur.

    Better a hundred times a whiner than once a plagiarist, is what I always say.

    I also noticed (on his blog) that you want Ronald Lindsay to lose his job. No, you’re really an admirable human being. You and ChasCPeterson are classy people, setting impossible standards for ordinary mortals to follow.

  66. 66
    playonwords

    Interesting how drosera decides that the definition of binary thinking should only be what (s)he thinks it is and proceeds to indulge in precisely that type of laziness.

    Interesting how drosera has never seen any of the sickening e-mails and tweets that have been spewed at people like Rebecca Watson and PZ.

    Indeed you might almost think that drosera was trying to be clever.

  67. 67
    carlie

    You and ChasCPeterson are classy people, setting impossible standards for ordinary mortals to follow.

    It’s an “impossible standard” to expect that the president of a conference sponsor does not belittle the conference topic, chastise the conference attendees, and explicitly say that he refuses to welcome them in the opening remarks to said conference? Sheesh. I suppose you think the only reasonable standard for an organization president is that he not piss himself while on stage?

  68. 68
    consciousness razor

    I think you accurately characterised me as a “middle-of-the-road jackass,” although I wouldn’t add “whiny” to that, as you did.

    Still no substance. You seem to have a problem with that.

    But defending the slimebags is more than enough information about you anyway. Binary thinker that I am, I’ll lump you into the “vile misogynist” camp. So fuck off.

  69. 69
    drosera

    @playonwords

    Interesting how drosera has never seen any of the sickening e-mails and tweets that have been spewed at people like Rebecca Watson and PZ.

    Are you suggesting that everybody who disagrees with RW and PZ is okay with the hate mail? You see, that is exactly the binary thinking I’m objecting to.

  70. 70
    drosera

    @carlie

    It’s an “impossible standard” to expect that the president of a conference sponsor does not belittle the conference topic, chastise the conference attendees, and explicitly say that he refuses to welcome them in the opening remarks to said conference? Sheesh. I suppose you think the only reasonable standard for an organization president is that he not piss himself while on stage?

    I was referring to the admitted attempt at character assassination and going after somebody’s job by these two exemplary commenters. Strawmanning comes natural to you, evidently.

  71. 71
    consciousness razor

    I suppose you think the only reasonable standard for an organization president is that he not piss himself while on stage?

    If only he had just done that instead.

  72. 72
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    *Checks in to see if Drosera ever makes a point with evidence. No surprise, the answer is no. Reengages hushfile.*

  73. 73
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Looks like someone just sort of leanred what “binary thinking” means, and now he’s gotta show off his new vocab.

    LOL

    Also loving Mr. Shinny New Vocab’s complete lack of ability to make a single honest point. It’s all “as far as I can see” and cowardly dodges disguised as weak insults.

    Rock on, you defender of sexists. And before you try flinging around your new vocab words. You’re here incompetently lecturing those fighting against bigotry, instead of lecturing the bigots. Ergo, whether you want to or not, you’re defending sexists.

  74. 74
    drosera

    @consciousness razor

    But defending the slimebags is more than enough information about you anyway. Binary thinker that I am, I’ll lump you into the “vile misogynist” camp. So fuck off.

    Defending? Where?

    What a surprise that you take the intellectually lazy way out. I didn’t see that coming. Not at all.

  75. 75
    PZ Myers

    Drosera sounds like a slymepitter. Anyone know?

    If you are, Drosera, leave now.

  76. 76
    PZ Myers

    Yep, just checked. You are. Bye.

  77. 77
    Sassafras

    Defending? Where?

    Are you also at the slymepit, chiding them for their binary thinking (remember, they often describe anyone associated with Skepchick or FTB as cultists, radfems, etc), or is it just here that you’re lecturing people? If the latter, then yes, you’re defending them by hassling their chosen opponents.

  78. 78
    hyperdeath

    drosera:

    Following drosera’s logic, PZ must regard himself as an MRA.

    Yes, maybe he should. I never claimed he was consistent.

    The only lack of consistency comes when you try to shoehorn your idiotic preconceptions (in fact other people’s idiotic preconceptions) into an account of PZ’s beliefs. No one here claims that feminism as practised is an unmitigated good, or that criticising a feminist turns you into a raving MRA. The people accused of being MRAs (e.g. Justin Vacula and that @ElevatorGATE weirdo) are raving MRAs. It’s also reasonable to assume that Lindsay is pandering to the MRAs when he trashes Watson and Myers, and yet ignores the bile being spat in their direction.

  79. 79
    Rowan vet-tech

    Having read everything Drosera wrote, I am now very much desiring a Slip’n’Slide.

    On topic, I am now so very very glad I’m not as WiS2. I’m angry enough here at home that I don’t know what I’d do if I was *there*.

  80. 80
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I second that, Rowanvt. I was so sad that I couldn’t take the time off from work. Now I’m just so incredibly glad I didn’t give him any money.

  81. 81
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If Drosera wasn’t from the Slymepit, why was xe using script #4?

  82. 82
    playonwords

    @drosera if I was talking to you originally I would have addressed you.

    You are exactly the sort of pretend rationalist who spouts talking points invented by a mass of bigoted fools and smirks when others get angry. In a way you are a bit like Slurry Man in Cornwall (please search) standing up to your waist in filth and taking pleasure in the shock of more balanced people.

    Of course you will be shocked – shocked! – that others could so misunderstand you and deeply saddened that we could compare you to such a hateful pervert. You are misunderstood because we could think you are creating apologetics for a band of deeply ignorant and non-empathic children when you are – out of the goodness of your heart – merely correcting the errors into which you tell us we have fallen.

    awwww diddums.

    I will not respond to you further in this thread

  83. 83
    anteprepro

    Huh. I knew that dross had a chronic case of contrarianism, was a knee-jerk Big Name Male Atheist apologist, and was thick as a fucking brick, but I never knew he was a pitter. Explains so much.

  84. 84
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    There are quite a few women posting at the Slymepit, as far as I can tell. Don’t they consider themselves to be human beings? That would be remarkable.

    Imma take this right out of the subjunctive and opine that it is remarkable.

  85. 85
    Argle Bargle

    drosera #65

    Non sequietur.

    That’s spelled “non sequitur.”

    Better a hundred times a whiner than once a plagiarist, is what I always say.

    I have no idea what you mean by this comment.

    I also noticed (on his blog) that you want Ronald Lindsay to lose his job.

    Please give a link to where I said this. Or apologize for lying about me again.

    No, you’re really an admirable human being. You and ChasCPeterson are classy people, setting impossible standards for ordinary mortals to follow.

    Whatever.

  86. 86
    carlie

    Oh, drosera is gone. Just to finalize a couple of points for the sake of closing the loop:

    Are you suggesting that everybody who disagrees with RW and PZ is okay with the hate mail? – Drosera

    What drosera did was to express hyperskepticism that such hate mail even existed in the first place:

    you might not want to spend the opening lecture painting with a sympathetic brush the people who issue repeated rape threats to your attendees.

    That’s a serious accusation. I’m sure you can back it up.
    Right? – Drosera

    So nobody was suggesting Drosera was “ok with the hate mail”, rather pointing out that Drosera denied that hate mail existed.

    I was referring to the admitted attempt at character assassination and going after somebody’s job by these two exemplary commenters. Strawmanning comes natural to you, evidently. – Drosera

    What? Drosera here was replying to a comment about their accusation about “impossible standards”. How is a declaration of standards a reference to an attempt at character assassination? That is a serious non sequitur.

  87. 87
    Argle Bargle

    Oops, didn’t see PZ’s 76.

  88. 88
    pseudonymus

    Leave my nice and consistent person alone, you feminist scum, I am the bastion of reason and ability, of facts and rationality (toxic masculinity). Unlike you!

    It has so far never surprised me to see just how strongly I disagree with people who “discuss” things by framing them with their own capacity and the Other’s inability.

  89. 89
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Cross posted from Lindsey’s blog:

    It’s astonishing how much Lindsey’s response to criticism about his address has soured my perception of CFI. It would have been perfectly reasonable to clarify his original address to say that everyone’s speech matters, but not everyone has to speak in every forum. Steve Biko wrote quite eloquently about how black and white South Africans could not work effectively in the same organizations even though they all wished to end apartheid, because white South Africans had been taught, at a bone-deep level, that they were leaders, while blacks had been taught that they were inferiors. In his view, blacks and whites needed to have their own spaces where they could work on undoing their own beliefs about race. And AT THE SAME TIME work collaboratively to end apartheid and racial injustice.

    Mr. Lindsey could have clarified his ideas. Instead, he doubled and tripled down on how every space has to be a space where men can speak. This is a tad ironic given that I distinctly remember him at WiS1 listening to Bernice Sandler’s talk on gender and the chilly climate and that he heard Rebecca Goldstein’s presentation on mattering and microaggression.

    I’m definitely rethinking whether I want to get involved in my local CFI affiliate, and the fact that so many conference attendees have been angered and alienated by Mr. Lindsey’s behavior this weekend should concern CFI’s Board of Directors. (Note – this is not a call for Mr. Lindsey to be fired because I don’t think I have enough information to make such a decision. This is a suggestion that the Board of Directors should provide guidance on his leadership practices.)

    And this is an addition:

    I spent yesterday supervise an Eagle Scout project, so I’ve only been at the conference for the Friday and Sunday presentations. During the project, I heard some boys talking about when and where they could tell racist/sexist/rape jokes, with the consensus being “I only tell jokes with my friends because they know I’m not really like that.” I interrupted and explained how men will admit to rape as long as the “R word” is not used to described the specific behaviors of rape. I explained how a substantial minority of men ARE rapists and they do not come with a sign on their heads – they could be in these boys friend circles and the boys would have no idea at all. And that by telling rape jokes they are letting rapists know that they’re on the rapists’ side. The boys got very quiet. The scoutmaster asked for more information so that he could do followup discussions. It was amazing and a lot more rewarding than spending the day contemplating the substance of Mr. Lindsey’s scolding.

  90. 90
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It has so far never surprised me to see just how strongly I disagree with people who “discuss” things by framing them with their own capacity and the Other’s inability.

    Look in the mirror. Let ye who doesn’t do the same cast the first grain of barley. Sniff, the odor of hypocrisy.

  91. 91
    pseudonymus

    Nerd of Redhead,

    Huh? Was my irony not thick enough? I did mean to write that drosera’s rhetoric about PZ et al’s thinking ability is repugnant. I apologise, if that was the source of contention. I did consider having an irony tag, but left it out thinking that the poor pseudopoetry would do as well.

    If I am wrong in my assumption, could you clarify how I’m being hypocritical? If there’s something in my text that wants for fixing, I will of course repair it.

  92. 92
    perplexed

    I just read you’re post and was interested in your comment regarding Ron’s , tirade against me”. You linked to that “tirade” and I just completed reading it and then looked up the meaning…
    “Definition of TIRADE
    a protracted speech usually marked by intemperate, vituperative, or harshly censorious language”
    In my view you clearly mischacterized what was written. It’s not a matter of interpretation of the words you used based on the above definition. What your motives were only you know.

  93. 93
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    pseudonymus, if you meant to be funny, you could have winked: ;)

    You dont’ do irony. Besides Drosera, I’m not playing your fuckwitted game. The evidence is in the thread above, pointed out by other people. Blatant evidence of your hypocrisy. You are just blind to it.

    Morphing cleanup PZ.

  94. 94
    pseudonymus

    Nerd of Redhead,

    What game am I playing, what hypocrisy? I’ve posted in the thread twice, and only to say that rhetoric leaning on someone’s inability repulses me. Did I imply that drosera is incapable, somehow? I truly have no idea what I’m guilty of here, but in any case, I apologise for my poor writing. I’ll get back to lurking.

  95. 95
    frankb

    I’m glad that PZ confirmed Dosera as a slimepitter. It made sense. It made the charge of binary thinking to everything but no substance. No logic, no facts, just hand waving. That is what pitters do.

  96. 96
    Sili

    Anyone know who ” Ryan Grant Long” is? He claims to be banned, but I can’t see him in the Dungeon.

  97. 97
    ChasCPeterson

    You and ChasCPeterson are classy people, setting impossible standards for ordinary mortals to follow.

    aw. I feel bad getting in the last word to somebody who’s been banned.
    Well, I just wanted to point out that the “impossible standards for ordinary mortals to follow” that I have set in this thread are:
    1) spelling the word ‘clique’ correctly
    and
    2) not being an old-white-male-American-lawyer-philosopher-lawyer-narcissist.
    That’s it. Both achievements seem obtainable by mortals.

    Oh, and 3) watch out for unintentional irony. I admit that can be hard sometimes.

    Better a hundred times a whiner than once a plagiarist, is what I always say.

    I have no idea what you mean by this comment.

    really?

  98. 98
    ChasCPeterson

    aw, don’t mind Nerd.

  99. 99
    Peggy

    FWIW, Ron Lindsay is still here at the conference. I just saw him talking with a circle of men in the lobby at mid morning break.

  100. 100
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    If this isn’t a watershed moment that causes feminists to break with CFI and join Secular Woman or form their own organization I’ll be surprised and disappointed.

    It’s too bad—CFI does do good things. But this is a bridge too far.

    Ron Lindsay—fuck you.

  101. 101
    sadunlap

    In order to understand what has happened I forced myself to read the transcript of Mr. Linday’s “talk.” Yikes! I’m not getting that 10 minutes back, am I?

    It’s not just the whole “what is privilege” digression. The “talk” is mostly “JAQing off” endlessly, including rebutting every idea he could call “feminist” that he had a problem with. At the risk of being presumptuous, I can summarize this little “talk” :

    [snark summary] It’s really horrible that men have abused and silenced women for millennia. Maybe this conference will help fix that but only if you silly girls don’t go taking this organization/movement in some direction I don’t want it to go. [/snark summary]

    In his rebuttals I read he states that acknowledging the revelation of the blindingly obvious of thousands of years of history somehow makes up for lecturing in the most pompous and condescending manner. When I was [much] younger I behaved like that sort of jerk at times. But then I grew up.

    BTW, this is the principle reason I do not attend these conferences: I’m afraid I might pull a muscle from all the cringing.

  102. 102
    WithinThisMind

    Drosera,

    I’d name and shame happily. I’d even hand over identifying information to the police.

    Except the person who posted did so anonymously, and the cops can’t do anything due to the anonymity and border issues. For all I know, it was you posting such things. You are a self-admitted accomplice to such abuses. You really aren’t much different than the catholic folks covering up and denying the sexual abuse of children.

  103. 103
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Sili

    Clique here. Then Ctrl-F “Ryan” in the OP.

  104. 104
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    What has also caused all these people to lose confidence in Lindsay is that today, he posted a complaint against Rebecca Watson, who is here both as a speaker and as a sponsor of attendees here, comparing her to a propagandist for North Korea, and blathering misconceptions about his odd understanding of the idea of privilege and asserting that there is an effort to silence men (he’s very resentful of the idea that men might be expected to be silent long enough to listen to the experience of minorities).

    What. The. Fuck!?!

    Okay I believe you PZ, not doubting that happened in bleak, bizarre, bitter reality – but still ..seriously WTF?

  105. 105
    Sili

    Thanks, ‘phontes. I think I remember that now.

    Interesting way he represented that incident at Lindsay’s place.

    –o–

    It’s too bad—CFI does do good things.

    So does the RCC.

  106. 106
    smhll

    FWIW, Ron Lindsay is still here at the conference. I just saw him talking with a circle of men in the lobby at mid morning break.

    Well, quick, let’s get some women in that huddle and see if he lets them speak…

  107. 107
    Pen

    PZ – I’m sure this is off current thread but when you need people to leave your room so you can sleep is when you don’t have to shut up ; )

  108. 108
    SallyStrange

    EBW weighs in, causing my respect for her to sink even further – she claims that calling a person’s (Lindsay’s, in this case) opinion BS is a form of silencing. https://twitter.com/EllenBethWachs/status/336145362261770240

    Is this an example of motivated reasoning or something? She’s mad at Pharyngula, therefore critics of Pharyngula must be right, no matter how ridiculous the claim? *sigh*

  109. 109
    Sassafras

    “Someone on Pharyngula/Skepchick/A+ was mean to me, so now I rush to the defense of anyone who disagrees with them, regardless of why” is the new skepticism, didn’t you know?

  110. 110
    Anthony K

    That’s a serious accusation.

    While this is a favourite talking point among the Slymepitters, I believe I can answer with another Slymepit talking point:

    If it’s a really serious accusation, then contact the authorities about it. Fake claims like drosera’s hurt the real victims of serious accusations.

  111. 111
    javawench

    First time poster, long time lurker. I attended the conference and really did not appreciate the lecture from Mr Lindsay. His continuing spin on his CFI blog is not helping. The fact that the rest of CFI seems to be completely silent is not helping. I do not care what he thought he said what I heard starting with the quote from Timothy and right through his comments was shut up until the men folk are done talking. I was raised Baptist I’ve been hearing that for 50 years. I don’t want to hear it and my daughters will not abide it.

    His entire condescending attitude about Atheism+ (why do you need that space CFI is already providing it). No you are “allowing” women some space. I do not wish to be allowed I want my space, I want my daughters to have the right to be heard without waiting for the men to stop talking and allow it. He is the poster boy of just not getting the point.

    Quite possibly the only positive thing that came out of it is I’m now going to become more active in promoting secularism and feminism. Because I sure can’t wait until all the old white men die.

  112. 112
    SallyStrange

    Welcome, javawench! And 100% agreed about the necessity in being more active in promoting both feminism and secularism.

  113. 113
    Lynna, OM

    Lindsay enjoys patting himself on the back. He equates CFI with himself.

    Its more than a little disconcerting to see a man halfway to having a raised consciousness just pause and decide to go no further.

    His post-talk spin does not match up well with his original talk.

  114. 114
    miller

    I looked up Melody Hensley, and I found pictures of her with the caption “Smellody”. D:

  115. 115
    unclefrogy

    I do have a hard time reading these threads about CFI and the conflict with “MRAs” In fact I have a hard time understanding even taking the time with the MRAs at all. I thought generally that atheist were about being rational and organizations with the purpose of fostering skepticism would be united by the idea of rational thought and none belief.
    I do not know how some men that are so obviously emotionally disturbed can be listened to at all by anyone even more how can they even feebly claim to be skeptical about anything.
    What I hear instead is the same old “game of thrones” played out about power and not real change at all.
    leaves me speechless

    uncle frogy

  116. 116
    smhll

    I do not care what he thought he said what I heard starting with the quote from Timothy and right through his comments was shut up until the men folk are done talking. I was raised Baptist I’ve been hearing that for 50 years. I don’t want to hear it and my daughters will not abide it.

    I assume that he was intending it to be clear that he disapproves of the Timothy quote. Then (as far as I can recall from reading the transcript) he talks about how religion has silenced women, but that automatic woman-silencing should not be built into a non-theistic group, but that cultural residues cling…

    YMMV.

  117. 117
    R Johnston

    @114

    It’s a shame that Ron Lindsay opened a conference by defending the honor of people who make childish misogynistic slurs against CFI staff. Even if he can’t get feminism right, he should at least be able to avoid a positive shout out to people abusively hating the woman who organized the conference.

    If Lindsay doesn’t go there really should be mass resignation from CFI. No one should have to work for a boss who supports abusing his employees.

  118. 118
    sueinnm

    I haven’t heard one word about the V-who-shall-not-be-named. I know he was there. Did anyone encounter him at all, or did he hide himself the whole time? Or perhaps commiserated with Lindsay?

  119. 119
    David Marjanović

    Non sequietur.

    It will not follow, in the future?

    But does it now?

    Anyone know who ” Ryan Grant Long” is? He claims to be banned, but I can’t see him in the Dungeon.

    Pitizens aren’t mentioned in the Dungeon, lest they use the labels on their cell doors as badges of honor.

    You dont’ do irony.

    *sigh* No, Nerd, the comprehension failure is on your part.

  120. 120
    Haley Moore

    Aside from being wrong and particularly insulting for the venue, I imagine this talk must have been painfully tedious to sit through in person. It’s old news, said in too many words.

  121. 121
    brianpansky

    ro be like: “the crux of my talk dealt with the millennia-long history of the subordination of women…”

    I’m not sure how he can state the “crux” of his talk as he did. So much of it deals with other stuff. He goes into division in identities, he points out that “no true rationalist” is a silly idea but immediately connects it to: “you’re not a [true] secularist, so I don’t have to talk to you [is a silly line of reasoning]…..This brings me to the concept of privilege”
     
    where he gets into a crisis about the concept of privilege and people being “silenced”

    his talk is about 2423 words long. if I remove his crisis paragraphs from that, it leaves about 1072.

    and I’m being generous, his conclusion to the talk is basically “true humanism needs to not do this silencing stuff” but I didn’t count it as off track.

    but, yea, his talk is basically an essay of “feminism is connected to humanism because it is against this silencing stuff” with silencing being the topic in the THREE paragraphs right before the conclusion. And complaint about “shut up and listen” was in there….he seems to mistake “shut up and listen” for “enforced silence, the tool of oppression”.

    He somehow doesn’t get that the voice of the oppressed is exactly why “shut up and listen” is important (and somehow thinks the “shut up” part is supposed to be pervasive and prolonged, like “shut up forever”? I really don’t know)

    his “history” bit was just build up, it’s no more crux than any other part of that mess.

  122. 122
    brianpansky

    “I haven’t heard one word about the V-who-shall-not-be-named. I know he was there. Did anyone encounter him at all, or did he hide himself the whole time? Or perhaps commiserated with Lindsay?”

    he definitely is in the comments

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/watsons_world_and_two_models_of_communication/

    “This is amazing, Ron.

    Thank you so much for your opening remarks at #WIScfi and for standing up in the face of heavy criticism and smearing campaigns from the usual suspects. Be brave. Remain fearless. Don’t back down. “

  123. 123
    Old At Heart

    What a better opening speech would have been:

    “Hey, I’m the Chair, so I’m kinda obligated to speak here. So, yeah. Thanks for your attendance, I hope everyone has a safe and fun time, make sure to read your pamphlets that came in with your tickets for water and first aid locations. If you’ve already thrown them out, hopefully in a trash bin, don’t litter, we have spares in the front lobby. I see some familiar faces, and a lot of new ones, so that’s good. We’ve grown a lot since last year, and have some great new things we anticipate will be really popular. But I know you’re not here to see an old man talk in front of a podium, unless it is Ian McKellen or something, so without further ado, let me pass the floor off to our first Guest of Honour.”

    For reference, that was the paraphrased speech of an anime convention I went to. And yet it fits better here than his did. You gotta consider that. When you have no interest in the subject but are there because the org needs your other skills (analytical, sales, managerial, whatever got you in that position), you don’t make a long speech. Speechwriters write speeches. Speechmakers make speeches. If I am neither of those, I should let them do all that speech stuff. Speech is a funny word when you think about it, though. Speeeeeech.

  124. 124
    sueinnm

    Brianpansky,

    No surprise there. But with all that posting about “They’ve threatened to throw me out of the conference!” and wanting to “speak” to certain parties, including PZ, I just wondered if anyone had ever actually seen him there, and who he was associating with. Doesn’t sound as if he got himself much “dirt” to report, does it? But I’m sure the Lindsay stuff will keep the pitters going for months, if not longer.

  125. 125
    carlie

    “Be brave”???

    Wow. That’s just like how Christians salivate over the hard, hard persecution they get when they aren’t allowed to run roughshod over everyone else, and how they are so good and faithful martyrs for being willing to stand up and face the slings and arrows of criticism for their shitty ideas and their shitty way of trying to force those ideas on everyone else.

  126. 126
    ChasCPeterson

    OT tip: if you’re talking in front of a podium, then people in the back won’t be able to see or hear you. Climb up onto it and speak from behind the lectern and you’ll project much better.

  127. 127
    PZ Myers

    Vacula spent the entire conference sitting at the very back of the room, against the wall, hunched over his phone pounding out tedious and selective commentary. Every once in a while, when someone said something obvious about men, he’d suddenly clap very, very loudly and very strangely — the whole rest of the room would be sitting quietly, finding nothing of note in the comment, when this one lonely man at the back would erupt into applause.

    Oh, Karla Porter was sitting back there with him, keeping the Brave Hero company.

    They really made no impression on the conference at all, rarely moving from their cozy hidey-hole. I understood he was wearing a t-shirt with some ‘appropriate’ message every day…but he so rarely stepped out of his zone, that I never saw it or had an opportunity to read it. He was a very bad billboard. He wasn’t much of a presence at the con at all — he might as well have stayed home.

  128. 128
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    Well, gosh. Not that I’ve given them any money so far, but should I ever be in a position to do so, I certainly won’t be donating anything to CFI if Lindsay is still working there. In fact, I think I’ll probably look for some other organization anyway, because the fact that that idiot managed to actually give that speech signifies that CFI has some semi-serious issues, all by itself. (Seriously? He was the opening speaker and either didn’t have anyone look over his speech or else actually got approval from someone else for this nonsense? This is like something which would happen in a Dilbert cartoon.)

    I mean, I’m a guy, and I’m not out there marching for women’s rights (although perhaps I should) but this is just beyond the pale.

    It will be interesting to see if CFI fires his ass (you can decide for yourself whether I accidentally left a “t” off the beginning of “his”) or whether they’re not even willing to put their own house in order.

  129. 129
    blbt5

    No doubt there’s a similar Ron Lindsay’keynote speech for Blacks in Secularism or Gays in Secularism, etc. – he just doesn’t get the whole idea of privilege in the context of struggle, it’s just a sterile philosophical concept, like the banal valueless name of his org CFI. Again we see the split between comfortable conservative upperclass libertarian secularists and activist atheist plus-ers. Not surprisingly the former gravitate to CFI and the latter to FTB.

  130. 130
    calliopejane

    How can people like Lindsay not see the clear parallel between reactions like his, and the way Christians react to our voice? That when we just say “hey, we atheists are here,” they are “under attack.” If their Christian perspective no longer has 99% of the prominence and influence in America, but maybe 95%, then they become the beleaguered “minority” (e.g., “Happy Holidays” = “War on Christmas”). That any disagreement or criticism of what they say is “silencing the religious,” and “infringing upon their right to free speech.”

    “Oh the poor silenced men, under attack from those horrible powerful feminists” is no more believable than “oh the poor silenced christians, under attack from those horrible powerful secularists.” In both cases, the whining group has gotten so used to having 99% of the conversation to themselves that the suggestion they might allow other voices to have 5 or 10% is “silencing.”

    When looking at religion, these guys roll their eyes and say “how ridiculous.” But when looking in the mirror…not so much insight.
    Kettle, meet pot, who has something to say about your burnt appearance…

  131. 131
    sueinnm

    Thanks, P.Z. I sort of suspect this was the case due to the lack of mention. Huh.

  132. 132
    R Johnston

    @ calliopejane

    “How can people like Lindsay not see the clear parallel between reactions like his, and the way Christians react to our voice?”

    Here’s my take, for whatever it’s worth: Religious fundamentalists can never see the parallels between themselves and others of their kind. Libertarianism of the sort exhibited by Lindsay can only be properly understood if it’s categorized as the religious fundamentalism that it, in fact, is. Whether or not desperate, defensive, denialist, incoherent, faith based reasoning involves a god doesn’t really matter at all; how you analyze the reasoning remains the same either way.

  133. 133
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    I knew that dross had a chronic case of contrarianism, was a knee-jerk Big Name Male Atheist apologist, and was thick as a fucking brick, but I never knew he was a pitter. Explains so much. — anteprepro

    I’m glad that PZ confirmed Dosera as a slimepitter. It made sense. It made the charge of binary thinking to everything but no substance. No logic, no facts, just hand waving. That is what pitters do. — frankb

    Not that I particularly care, but as far as I can tell, D’s only ever been discussed.

    Also, repudiated here.

    Oh, well. Internet justice is swift and capricious …

  134. 134
    unclefrogy

    faith base reasoning does not need personified a god to still be base on belief instead of evidence, reason and doubt(skepticism) apparently.
    it looks like there are other things to believe in to substitute for a god. you can be an atheist and still have faith based reasoning.

    uncle frogy

  135. 135
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    They really made no impression on the conference at all, rarely moving from their cozy hidey-hole. I understood he was wearing a t-shirt with some ‘appropriate’ message every day…but he so rarely stepped out of his zone, that I never saw it or had an opportunity to read it. He was a very bad billboard. He wasn’t much of a presence at the con at all — he might as well have stayed home.

    Isn’t this what was wanted*? It almost sounds like you’re complaining.

    *Given that his actually staying home would have been preferable.

  136. 136
    playonwords

    Sorry about the rant earlier. Not the way to behave.

  137. 137
    Island Adolescent

    A nugget of filth from one of the comments on Lindsay’s reply:
    “I’d prefer to do and be as monstrous as these lunatic radfems claim men are. It seems that treating people as equals will never be a benefit to me…”

    Sure looks like Lindsay is inspiring some spectacular perspectives in the men who read his stuff.

  138. 138
    Ace of Sevens

    To be fair, some feminists do (mis)use silencing the way Ron did here and seem to take any suggestion they don’t know what they are talking about to be silencing. These feminists are largely the same ones Rebecca was complaining about in her own article. If Ron Lindsey was going to a speech about it, he really should have taken them time to make sure he understood the concept and especially if he was going to attack one of the speakers at the conference his organization is hosting.

    He would probably say Rebecca attacked him first, but she was merely critical of some stuff he said with good reason. This inability to distinguish between criticism and attacks is kind of the whole issue with his speech.

  139. 139
    Chris Clarke

    PZ:

    Vacula spent the entire conference sitting at the very back of the room, against the wall, hunched over his phone pounding out tedious and selective commentary. Every once in a while, when someone said something obvious about men, he’d suddenly clap very, very loudly and very strangely — the whole rest of the room would be sitting quietly, finding nothing of note in the comment, when this one lonely man at the back would erupt into applause.

    Oh, Karla Porter was sitting back there with him, keeping the Brave Hero company.

    They really made no impression on the conference at all, rarely moving from their cozy hidey-hole. I understood he was wearing a t-shirt with some ‘appropriate’ message every day…but he so rarely stepped out of his zone, that I never saw it or had an opportunity to read it. He was a very bad billboard. He wasn’t much of a presence at the con at all — he might as well have stayed home.

    Vacula remembers it differently.

  140. 140
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @Ace of Sevens, #137:

    If Ron Lindsey was going to a speech about it, he really should have taken them time to make sure he understood the concept and especially if he was going to attack one of the speakers at the conference his organization is hosting.

    Y’know what? No. Ron Lindsey was not one of the advertised speakers (I checked the list of speakers), he wasn’t a draw to the convention (as far as I’m aware), he forced his moronic and antithetical viewpoint into the conference by virtue of his office — he wasn’t even in charge of organizing the event itself, so his presence was entirely optional. Presuming to give a speech at all, beyond “we’re so glad everyone could come to this event, everyone at CFI is proud of the excellent job Ms. Hensley did of organizing and promoting the event, we hope it will be a big success and that we can do it again and again, hope you enjoy it, now here’s the first speaker”, was just boorish behavior. Nobody asked him. And, to reiterate: this was a paying audience.

    And I’m a white guy, so this isn’t some kind of minority persecution complex. The more I think about it, the more this whole thing offends me.

  141. 141
    hyperdeath

    Island Adolescent

    A nugget of filth from one of the comments on Lindsay’s reply:
    “I’d prefer to do and be as monstrous as these lunatic radfems claim men are. It seems that treating people as equals will never be a benefit to me…”

    That’s fairly common with MRAs. Like many awful people, they regard basic decency as an act of generosity. When the gratitude fails to flow in, they revert to form.

  142. 142
    Ichthyic

    He would probably say Rebecca attacked him first, but she was merely critical of some stuff he said with good reason. This inability to distinguish between criticism and attacks is kind of the whole issue with his speech.

    not just Lindsay’s posts and speech.

    remember Shermer?

    …yeah…

    professionals giving a bad name to their own professions.

    seriously, if Lindsay has a problem with a theme of a conference his organization sponsored, then maybe, you know, he might want to keep his criticisms off the main page of that organization’s website.

    seriously, I have in fact FIRED people when I was an IT manager for doing exactly the same thing in front of a client, and have seen noprofs literally destroyed by the actions of a CEO similar to this.

    if Lindsay really cares about CFI, he should simply delete the three posts he made about this issue on the front page of the site, replace them with a post that simply says “mea culpa”, and move the fuck on already.

  143. 143
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Vacula remembers it differently.

    Groan

  144. 144
    Ichthyic

    Vacula remembers it differently.

    well, just so others don’t claim we’re blind…

    I do believe Vacuous Vacula was noting a photoshop effigy someone ELSE made of him as a critique.

    that said, it does still seem an accurate representation of Vacula as a whole.

  145. 145
    Gregory Greenwood

    hyperdeath @ 140;

    That’s fairly common with MRAs. Like many awful people, they regard basic decency as an act of generosity. When the gratitude fails to flow in, they revert to form.

    And suddenly I am thinking of Ichthyic’s link from another thread to that DS9 speech by Gul Dukat again.

    If people don’t fall over themselves to thank you when you only kick them in the ribs a few times, then they clearly deserve whatever happens to them you decide to do to them, and it will be their fault for failing to see how very noble you are…

    I think that this mentality underpins some of the testerical intensity of the bilious hatred that MRAs have for people like Rebecca Watson – a clueless dood came onto her inappropriately, and not only did she reject the blessings of the attentions of the sacred peen, she made her heretical rejection a matter of public record by means of the interent.

    *Gasp* Such monstrous infamy!

    In the eyes of the MRAs, she had her chance and turned a cold shoulder, and so she then somehow deserved over a year’s worth of rape and death threats and sundry other harrassment.

  146. 146
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Apparently one of Vacula’s shirts was a ‘peoples Republic of Pharyngula’.

  147. 147
    Ichthyic

    I’d wear that, if they changed it to :

    Democratic Republic of Pharyngula

    …and there was a picture of a bear in a tree.

  148. 148
    Kagato

    I cannot get my head around this #bravehero schtick these idiots are carrying on with. Are they attempting to be deliberately post-ironic, or do they honestly not understand it reads as meaning the opposite to the rest of us? Don’t they get how such labels usually get applied on the internet?

    And if they’re totally for-realz serious, can’t they hear how incredibly arrogant it sounds to apply the label to themselves?

    There’s simply no way to make such self-labelling a positive thing. Why do it?

  149. 149
    David Marjanović

    Vacula remembers it differently.

    *chortle*

    deliberately post-ironic

    LOL!!!

    There’s simply no way to make such self-labelling a positive thing. Why do it?

    Because they’re stupid?

    Just saying.

  150. 150
    Jackie

    Those pointing out how alike Ron’s sentiment is to certain Christians are spot on.

  151. 151
    Hank_Says

    I’m hoping that anyone from outside the Rifts™ would see the #bravehero thing as laughable histrionics (or a lackwitted and overwrought attempt at irony). A bunch of middle-class white people, mostly men, crying persecution at the hands of feminist/female/LGBT/POC atheist activists? I mean, really. It’s like lions claiming #bravehero status because the Christians have the nerve to not taste very nice.

    Upthread @ Chris Clarke: did JV really photoshop (though it looks more like MS Paint) his head onto JC? Oy vey. I mean, sure, that works – if Jesus leaned against a wall tweeting things about the money-lenders instead of, well, actually saying things to people. Sounds by PZ’s and other accounts thus far that all JV’s done is clique up with Porter (telling that the #bravehero didn’t go alone) and wear t-shirts with “jokes” that only he & the Pit would find funny (not that I’m complaining – it’s just telling that the standard for being a #bravehero is shamefully low if all you have to do is turn up to an “enemy” con and, erm, hide up the back snickering).

  152. 152
    carlie

    I’m cross-posting this from Stephanie’s:

    After reading about this for a few days, I realize what really upsets me about this is how it has eclipsed everything else, and once again we have to talk about some guy and how proudly ignorant he is. I’m sure that everyone who was there wants to talk about the fantastic speakers, and all the great things they learned, and how energizing it was to be in a room with so many people they admired and wanted to meet, and how much fun it was to be able to sit and talk to like-minded people far into the night. Nobody wants to have to talk about how some guy didn’t get it. And yet, y’all have to, because his remarks need to be countered, and the people who were so put out by that speech need to be reassured that the conference spirit was not meant to be that way.

    It’s just like with all of the other harassment – NO, we do NOT like spending all of our time talking about how badly women in the movement get treated. We honestly don’t enjoy having to chronicle the abuse, and explain again and again and AGAIN why women are full people too. We would much rather get about our business. No, Ron is not the center of the universe, and everyone is not getting their jollies complaining about him. But it has to be done, to counter his message, and once again the interesting, wonderful, community-building topics get shunted aside to deal with the boor stomping around the room knocking everything over. Dammit.

  153. 153
    PZ Myers

    Apparently one of Vacula’s shirts was a ‘peoples Republic of Pharyngula’.

    Really? That seems unlikely. That’s the shirt I was wearing today — it’s the t-shirt some members of the Horde had made up for the Reason Rally. I don’t think it’s commercially available.

  154. 154
    Ichthyic

    did JV really photoshop (though it looks more like MS Paint) his head onto JC? Oy vey.

    no.

    the hint is in Vacula using the word “gumby” to describe it.

  155. 155
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    PZ:

    You’re right. I find Twitter a bit confusing and misread one of JVs comments.

  156. 156
    Ichthyic

    Carlie @ 151…

    dead on.

  157. 157
    Chris Clarke

    the hint is in Vacula using the word “gumby” to describe it.

    As one who tends not to read the pitters’ stuff, I didn’t know what that signifies. Just as well.

  158. 158
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Democratic Republic of Pharyngula

    …and there was a picture of a bear in a tree.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2006/06/060613-cat-bear.html

  159. 159
    Ichthyic

    As one who tends not to read the pitters’ stuff, I didn’t know what that signifies. Just as well.

    doesn’t really matter. the image still works to describe Vacula well enough.

  160. 160
    Jackie

    At least for the most part Vacula behaved himself. I’m not passing out gold stars for people not being completely awful though. He was still there to be a voice for clueless bigots and to make as many people uncomfortable as he could. Just….yuck.

    As to him comparing himself to Jesus, I think maybe he needs a dog. Mine treat me like a rock star just for getting up in the morning and if I really want to awaken my inner megalomaniac, I just have to grab a leash and a treat. Then I’m the fucking pope. (Minus the funny hats and oppression) I get to enjoy an inflated sense of importance without bothering anyone or making a fool of myself.

    Then again, Vacula’s heroic impact at WiS and Jesus’s thrashing of the money changers do have one thing in common: They’re both imaginary.

  161. 161
    SallyStrange

    I do recall seeing Vacula tweet something snarky to the effect that wearing a “People’s Republic of Pharyngula” t-shirt was inconsistent with disapproving of comapring Rebecca Watson to North Korea. Yeah.

    I dunno, the “plain stupid” hypothesis looks pretty attractive right now in light of that.

  162. 162
    Ichthyic

    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2006/06/060613-cat-bear.html

    that drop bear is just about to attack.

  163. 163
    PZ Myers

    The “plain stupid” hypothesis for Vacula has been so thoroughly confirmed that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent, making it a scientific fact at this point.

  164. 164
    Kagato

    At least for the most part Vacula behaved himself. I’m not passing out gold stars for people not being completely awful though. He was still there to be a voice for clueless bigots and to make as many people uncomfortable as he could. Just….yuck.

    But he went to all that effort of Not Being A Complete Asshole In Person! And there’s not even a gold star in it for him? Why did he even bother?

    Surely it’s worth at least a cookie to have refrained from being an intrusive, passive-aggressive douchebag.

  165. 165
    Asher Kay

    I realize what really upsets me about this is how it has eclipsed everything else, and once again we have to talk about some guy and how proudly ignorant he is.

    The thing that gets me is that the Lindsay discussion doesn’t even end up being about what it *should* be about: why he felt that his whole “shut up and listen is misused” topic was an appropriate and important topic with which to open a convention on women in secularism.

    If Lindsay were to stop and really examine this question, he might reach some sort of understanding as to why people were upset about it.

    Instead, people feel obligated to engage with the “argument” of his speech and explain what “shut up and listen” means, and why a guy who lecture people for half an hour at the beginning of a conference could not in any meaningful sense be described as being “silenced”, etc., etc.

    We end up talking about the issue that *he* wanted to talk about in the first place, which is basically something elementary and not difficult to understand unless you’re too angered by the words “shut up” to make the attempt.

    And to make it worse, the whole way he approached it creates an environment in which the usual people with ugly and useless sentiments feel encouraged to muddy the waters, slander people they have grudges against, and amplify all the most gag-inducing aspects of internet discourse.

  166. 166
    PZ Myers

    Isn’t this what was wanted*? It almost sounds like you’re complaining.

    More. I’m not complaining, it’s what I predicted. You could tell he was hoping he’d get kicked out for some nothing — preferably for just existing — so he was trapped into the position of having to avoid all provocation. His martyrdom wouldn’t count if he were evicted for cause.

    So he and Porter were effectively non-entities at the conference, and were reduced to stirring the shit on twitter, which they could have done at home. We managed to quarantine the little toad without having to do anything at the con itself.

  167. 167
    Jackie

    Kagato, I suspect he bothered because he knew he couldn’t get away with being any worse. PZ’s right, he wanted to be a martyr to his stupid, stupid cause. Why else do you think he envisions himself as Jesus? Meanwhile, I’m sure he’ll get plenty of cookies from his creepy anti-feminist supporters.

  168. 168
    carlie

    The thing that gets me is that the Lindsay discussion doesn’t even end up being about what it *should* be about: why he felt that his whole “shut up and listen is misused” topic was an appropriate and important topic with which to open a convention on women in secularism.

    Yes, that exactly also.

  169. 169
    kantalope

    “Surely it’s worth at least a cookie to have refrained from being an intrusive, passive-aggressive douchebag.”

    Now I want to carry around a little bag of cookies and hand them out and say: “thank you, for not being a douchebag. I think everyone REALLY appreciates your effort.”

  170. 170
    Ichthyic

    Why else do you think he envisions himself as Jesus?

    last try before I give up, this ends up becoming forever attributed to Vacula, and ends up being something Vacula uses as ammunition in his assaults.

    Vacula doesn’t envision himself like that. Someone ELSE (correctly, IMO), ascribed such a state to Vacula, and Vacula was posting it as evidence of how his detractors think of him.

    Vacula, being the vacuous ass he is, I’m sure thought he had a gotchya moment there. But unless you WANT him to have that gotchya moment, do realize he himself does NOT think of himself as Jesus.

  171. 171
    Chris Clarke

    Vacula doesn’t envision himself like that. Someone ELSE (correctly, IMO), ascribed such a state to Vacula, and Vacula was posting it as evidence of how his detractors think of him.

    And I posted a link here mistakenly thinking that an overzealous supporter photoshopped Vacula into Jesus drag, and that Vacula retweeted same out of something approaching a sense of humor.

    I made a mistake there, but never meant to imply that Vacula was deluded enough to don that mantle unselfconsciously. He might be, but I didn’t mean to imply it.

  172. 172
    carlie

    And I posted a link here mistakenly thinking that an overzealous supporter photoshopped Vacula into Jesus drag, and that Vacula retweeted same out of something approaching a sense of humor.

    And there’s another aspect of the difference between the two sides right there. The most damning thing that Vacula’s detractors do re: photoshop is to do something that is mild enough that it can easily be mistaken for something his supporters would do, while the things their side does to people with photoshop… well, the less description about that the better.

  173. 173
    A. Noyd

    Kagato (#163)

    Surely it’s worth at least a cookie to have refrained from being an intrusive, passive-aggressive douchebag.

    Except, he didn’t refrain from that. He refrained from being an active-aggressive douchebag.

  174. 174
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Asher Kay:

    We end up talking about the issue that *he* wanted to talk about in the first place, which is basically something elementary and not difficult to understand unless you’re too angered by the words “shut up” to make the attempt.

    Emphasis mine.
    I think that’s a big part of Ron’s problem. The idea of being told to “shut up” is so offensive to him. That, and somehow being told to “shut up” = being silenced. How? No fucking clue. It hasn’t worked for Ron. It hasn’t worked for Vacula, Porter, Paden, or any of their ilk.
    As many have wondered, *who* is being silenced?
    *Who* is being prevented from stating their mind and sharing their thoughts with the world?
    *Who* has been frightened into silence?
    *Who* has been chased off the Internet by threats of violence or sexual assult?
    *Who* has been inundated with a non-stop barrage of harassment and bullying?

    It’s not Ron, and it’s none of the Slymepitters. Because they won’t shut the fuck up. For that matter, I haven’t seen one person on this side of the welcomed schism try to silence any of them. Telling those moronic, harassing assholes to shut up, or PZ banning them from his blog hardly constitutes silencing them, when they have the rest of the internet to spew they inanity. Starting a petition to get Justin Vacula removed from a position he was ill-suited for and a poor representative of didn’t silence him.

    It seems more like these are people who are offended that so many people don’t want to hear them say anything. So they just yell louder. They create deeply stuipd YouTube videos. They create insipid Twitter accounts. They email. They harass. They bully. They threaten. They do all these things to get noticed.

    By all accounts the entire lot of them are petulant, pathetic, pissants.

  175. 175
    Kagato

    A. Noyd:

    Except, he didn’t refrain from that. He refrained from being an active-aggressive douchebag.

    Yeah, I wasn’t sure of my wording there. I meant that even at his worst, I’m sure he’d avoid directly aggressive actions that would be guaranteed to get him kicked out; but he might try more subtle ways to make his presence felt (sitting at the front and smirking at the speaker, “politely” worming his way into social groups and conversations, etc). Not do anything overtly untoward, but almost certain to provoke a reaction from others around him — thus making it all their problem.

    “Intrusive, confrontational douchebag” was my first draft, which might have fit better.

    Tony!:

    I think that’s a big part of Ron’s problem. The idea of being told to “shut up” is so offensive to him.

    I’d thought a slight rephrasing might sidestep that objection: “Stop Interrupting and Listen“.

    But then I realised, how can they be interrupting, if they never shut up long enough for women to get a word in in the first place? In fact, it’s the other way around; women are forced to interrupt the constant yammering of men in order to be heard.

    “Hush, woman. The men are speaking now. And the men are always speaking.”

  176. 176
    echidna

    The idea of being told to “shut up” is so offensive to him.

    My take on it is that he feels on the top of the power gradient in this situation. The social convention, as I understand it, is that you can only tell someone to be quiet if you outrank them.

    Would you accept being told to be quiet from your child, unless it was very carefully (deferentially) phrased?

  177. 177
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kagato:
    I wonder if Ron knows about mansplainin’

  178. 178
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    echidna:

    Would you accept being told to be quiet from your child, unless it was very carefully (deferentially) phrased?

    Ex: Pardon me sir, when you are finished, I would like permission to speak, if that would be ok? I do not want to interrupt you, because that would be rude, and I would hate to do that. Sir.

    In which case…Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck That Shit.

  179. 179
    Hank_Says

    Kagato:

    “Intrusive, confrontational douchebag” was my first draft, which might have fit better.

    Hmm. I don’t know that JV has the spine to be intrusive or confrontational – not in person, anyway. A lurk n’ smirk and the odd tweet may be all that comes forth from his #braveheroics at WiS2. Fine by me.

    I look forward to WiS3 where #braveheroalpha sits outside the con venue in his car, writing one-liners on post-it notes and chuckling to himself.

  180. 180
    Jackie

    Ichthyic & Chris,
    Ah, well that changes things. I mistakenly thought he’d made that ‘shop of himself. Thank you for clearing that up. I really don’t care about his “gotchas”. But I do care about being correct, especially when I’m mocking someone. My apologies to Mr.V in regard to that mistake. Nobody should be trash talked for something they didn’t do.

    Whoever did make it, has a very strange sense of…humor? It’s supposed to be funny, right?

  181. 181
    Ichthyic

    Whoever did make it, has a very strange sense of…humor? It’s supposed to be funny, right?

    actually, the irony is that it DOES work to describe Vacula’s online presentation of himself… it’s just that Vacula himself doesn’t see himself that way.

    so, to me, it IS funny.

  182. 182
    chigau (違う)

    Well.
    That was confusing.

  183. 183
    PZ Myers

    He didn’t make it, but he gleefully posted it to twitter.

    Further rich irony: Vacula couldn’t find anyone at WiS2 who would talk to him…so he did a video interview with AVoiceForMen instead. He’s never going to be an effective atheist activist, so I guess he’s set his sights lower, to be an MRA activist. A tool for a hate group.

  184. 184
    Ichthyic

    Well.
    That was confusing.

    is this a difficult concept?

    Vacula projects the exact image you see in the picture by his actions, but he himself doesn’t picture himself that way.

    another example: Rick Perry projects being a privileged, ignorant, moron. Perry doesn’t see himself that way though, now does he?

  185. 185
    Ichthyic

    He’s never going to be an effective atheist activist, so I guess he’s set his sights lower, to be an MRA activist. A tool for a hate group.

    It’s my belief that he always set his sights on being a tool.

    ;)

  186. 186
    chigau (違う)

    Ichthyic
    I use youtube to watch music videos, Simon’s Cat and QI episodes.
    My Facebook account exists so I can look at other Facebook stuff. I have no “friends”
    I don’t even know what the fuck Twitter is for.
    So, yes, it was confusing.
    And get the hell off my lawn.
    (and your little dog, too)

  187. 187
    echidna

    Ex: Pardon me sir, when you are finished, I would like permission to speak, if that would be ok? I do not want to interrupt you, because that would be rude, and I would hate to do that. Sir.

    That would be just as bad, if not worse. The point I was trying to make is that telling your parent/teacher/professor/boss to “shut-up”is not usually appropriate. But, of course, neither is cringing.

  188. 188
    Ichthyic

    And get the hell off my lawn.

    done! :)

    (and your little dog, too)

    …he’s done too…

  189. 189
    Anri

    Men have been the dominant – nigh exclusive – voice for the last 10,000 years.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask for attentive silence from them for the next 10,000 seconds.

  190. 190
    Jackie

    Ichthyic @185

    I see what you did there. :)

  191. 191
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    He did an interview with AVfM??!!
    I hope he no linger denies any ties to that MRA organization.
    And right after attending WiS2…

  192. 192
    Gregory in Seattle

    I’m working my way through the comments, and Sorbus #18 said something that got me thinking….

    Why not do a crowd-sourced FtB conference?

    I’m thinking the Seattle area, since a lot of the bloggers either live here or are reasonably close by. There are a lot of FtB readers hereabouts, too. I’m thinking SeaTac to save on costs, near the airport and with an excellent light rail service to downtown Seattle. Topics of discussion would be… well, anything. Crowd-sourced, remember? I have some familiarity with conference logistics and planning, and would be willing to spearhead this if there is interest. We would need at least 9 months to plan, so maybe… President’s Day weekend? Memorial Day weekend?

    Would this be worth doing?

  193. 193
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    He damn well better not have been wearing a People’s Republic of Pharyngula shirt–that was my design and I certainly didn’t give him permission to reproduce it.

    I am so disappointed by this whole mess. I give regularly to CFI, as much as I can spare (which isn’t a lot), and I’m torn now because I want to support Melody, Simon, and all the other CFI staff–but I also want to send a clear message that I don’t support Ron’s position on this. I will be writing a letter to the board to express my unequivocal support for Melody and WiSCFI3, but also express my disappointment with Ron.

  194. 194
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    Gregory, there was already talk at the conference among a number of us of just such an event; let’s hold off a little to see how this plays out though. If Melody is able to do 3, I want to throw as much support behind her as possible.

    On the other hand, I think one of the points brought up at the conference was that Local and regional conferences are fantastic on their own, and what better way to honor the idea behind WiS than to spur on dozens of similar conferences across the country/world.

  195. 195
    Gregory in Seattle

    Sure thing. I wasn’t able to make the conference and there is a LOT of fall-out to dig through, so I’m still a bit behind.

    If anyone wants to do a Seattle-area to-do, either a one-day symposium or a full weekend conference, I would be honored to provide what assistance and resources I can.

  196. 196
    smhll

    My take on it is that he feels on the top of the power gradient in this situation. The social convention, as I understand it, is that you can only tell someone to be quiet if you outrank them.

    Your hypothesis fits the data points from the “guys don’t do this” reactions nearly perfectly.

  197. 197
    daniellavine

    CC@171:

    And I posted a link here mistakenly thinking that an overzealous supporter photoshopped Vacula into Jesus drag, and that Vacula retweeted same out of something approaching a sense of humor.

    I made a mistake there, but never meant to imply that Vacula was deluded enough to don that mantle unselfconsciously. He might be, but I didn’t mean to imply it.

    Actually I think your initial assumption was spot on. “gumby” is the handle for someone at the Slymepit — I only know this because cm@133 posted a screengrab where one of the handles is indeed “gumby”.

  198. 198
    markbrown

    So Ron takes time and focus away from the real talks from the real speakers of WiS2 over his objections to the phrase “shut up and listen”. One would hope he would learn from this backlash the true value of the phrase, and how by not doing so he has effectively played a part in drowning out – if not actively silencing – the voices of women with so much noise.

    This guy is the head of CFI? Sounds like he needs reprogramming with a clue-by-four! (This is meant in jest, not as an incitement to violence of course).

  199. 199
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    I’m aware the conversation has already moved on, but it’s also worth pointing out another aspect of the whole “shut up and listen” thing.

    That is what are the consequences when a dominant group member shuts up and does not participate in a conversation, versus a minority group member shutting up and no participating.

    What is the fallout? What is the price for each?

    For the dominant group member, his comments are very likely to already be a part of the conversation or the background knowledge of the conversation. Minority group members and dominant group members both know about the life-styles and problems dominant group members face. The dominant group members because they live it and the minority group members partially because they need to survive in dominant group’s world and partially because EVERYTHING is about their narratives and their stories. Turn on a television and it’s the stories of white able-bodied men who are relatively well-off. Same with movies or most literature. Their dreams, their worries, their thoughts, their fears, their ideas on what everyone else is like. If a man does not speak, his voice is already assumed to be present. Heck, a minority group may even bring up the dominant group’s concerns or statements simply because they tend to dominate the conversations everywhere. Any slight deviation on that narrative is hardly critical, though when brought up are rarely smacked down. A rich white guy saying rich white guy narratives don’t describe his life and describes his different life are rarely treated to exasperated replies unless they are trying to do so over a serious conversation on a separate topic about a minority group’s struggles.

    In short, there’s nothing really lost to the dominant group member shutting up and staying quiet.

    Now, for the minority group member. They stay quiet? And suddenly that dominant idea about them becomes more solid. Bigoted assumptions on what they are like become more entrenched and lead directly to those stereotypes used to harm on future occasions. If they stay silent, few if any dominant group members will bring up their concerns or life experiences and if they do, they are far more likely to mischaracterize them or slander them than present them fairly. Furthermore, it means more misinformation to fight against to speak in the future, because an establishment of the minority group member not speaking is further entrenched and thus “breaking” of that pattern is seen as even more rude (i.e. the why of things like Ron Lindsey whining about how dare women speak when that hasn’t been the norm).

    And most of all it means the continuation of bigotry. See, for every minority group member, the way things are now tend to suck a lot. And that state will be eternal until minority group members take risks and speak out on their behalf, relate their experiences, educate their oppressors, bring solidarity to their people, encourage others to live honestly and speak out about their experiences, and overall make it more and more the default for people to speak openly until the bigoted group is forced to acknowledge the passing of history and grumble accordingly. And that first step is often met with constant backlash, violent reprisal, and often fatal or horribly painful consequences in terms of real life quality.

    But it’s necessary in order to change that state. To go from a world where minority group is treated as a fictional thing that we’d be a lot better off eliminating so we didn’t have to ever consider their existence to one where they are full and welcome members of the human race, we need minority group members speaking out, every chance they get.

    A minority group member going silent means another delay in their humanity, possibly until long after they are dead, means continuing discrimination and repercussions for simply existing and speaking, means continued unnecessary suffering.

    The difference is stark.

    And the reality is that I don’t think a single one of those dominant group members whining about “being silenced” by being told to shut up for once and listen so they can learn something they don’t have access to (all minority group members understand a lot about the life experiences of dominant group members by virtue of living in a society the dominant group dominates, dominant group members cannot say the same, though they may correct this ignorance by listening and learning much like a student can correct ignorance by listening and learning to a lecture of nuclear chemistry) doesn’t get this.

    I think they know that the consequences are strikingly different.

    I think that they just think this is right, that being asked to grow up and acknowledge that they are in fact more ignorant about the world than their “lessers” by virtue of their privilege rather than is an unforgivable offense and minority group members being asked to continue to pretend not to exist or only exist within acceptable stereotypes is a small price to pay for them never having to do work to be better. That the current state of affairs and its discrimination suits them because they are over-promoted due to their privilege and are earnestly concerned that they would have lower position if the playing field were level.

    They know that minority group members being allowed to speak on their experiences is how a society gets from a bigoted system to a less bigoted system and this is why they try and stamp out or shame or dominate or troll any gathering of the minority group to try and block their conversations with petty bullying or terrorism.

    Because they fear a world that minority group members speaking out will create and actively oppose it. And it’s worth it to remember that and consider that every time a dominant group member tries to exploit the good faith of minority group members by claiming to be “harmed” by their struggle for justice and equality.

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