Not the right Atheist to ask

There is way too much shrapnel flying around today, I can’t grab a minute to write a post not nohow. So the shrapnel is going to pile up in a big pile while I grab this minute.

Becky Friedman of Ask an Atheist did a post addressed to me yesterday (but I didn’t see it until today). She started off by saying

I received a personal email from blogger Ophelia Benson around 5 pm on Tuesday:

and then after the colon she pasted in the whole personal email. Without having asked for my permission. Which would not have been forthcoming.

I pointed that out this morning.

About an hour ago Mike Gillis also of Ask an Atheist responded to the issue of posting an email without permission:

This is such a stupid pedantic distraction from Becky’s actual response.

These are not good people.



  1. says

    Amateur hacks. I had no idea until this whole incident happened how unprofessional Ask A Atheist was. At least in this case, they did not research the show, and then when the screwed that up the followed up with a new mini-show on how they really knew nothing about what they were doing, then this stupid thing with your email. And so on and so forth.

    Those are volunteer positions, right? Nobody’s paying for this, right? Because that would be a shame.

    They could pull out of it by just drawing back and adding some time and perspective. But they seem intent on doubling down and maintaining the chatter.

  2. Melody says

    Wow! That’s horrible etiquette. I would never associate with someone like that.

  3. julian says

    Yeah, she was oozing with fake kindness. Picked her as a jerk right off the bat.

    Since what’s his face is complaining about you not addressing the main part of her argument-

    “My argument is that feminism applied dogmatically, along with employing shame and zero-sum tactics of approach, work at cross purposes to eliminating misogyny and harassment in the atheist/skeptics community(ies).” -Becky Friedman

    And, like you were told before, that’s gibberish. You never bothered to define dogmatically or give examples of dogmatic thinking/behavior. Nor do you show how this dogmatic approach is detrimental to eliminating misogyny and harassment. You assert it, allude to it but never actually go into real detail.

    “This strikes me as dogmatically rejecting all ideas a person has based on experience/contact with them in another arena.”

    Or being unsettled at the sight of someone who was abusive, insulting and down right cruel towards you behave cordially towards people you consider friends.

    When things are black and white (a characterization embraced by Stephanie ) it’s indicative of dogma.

    Or an issue being clear cut.

  4. says

    Urgh, these people are getting worse and worse.
    Apparently everybody is allowed to complain about everything. When people cite things that folks have written on their fucking facebook walls, that’s absolutely not OK because somehow nobody is supposed to know what you write on FB, but publishing an entire E-mail, that’s OK as long as it’s Ophelias.

  5. julian says

    Generally speaking, if you’re unsure of whether you have someone’s consent to publish something of theirs, shouldn’t you, well, ask?

  6. earwig says

    This is shabby treatment, Ophelia, and most people will recognise that. You shouldn’t waste time or lose sleep over Ask an Atheist.
    (It’s hard though, isn’t it? Bar stewards. Don’t let them have rent-free space in your head.)

  7. Setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry says

    Giliell #5: Rachel Maddow has coined Thr phrase “It’s OK If You’re A Republican” (IOKIYAR) to describe the discrepancy between Democrats being under constant watch while Republicans rob the country blind and get away with it.

    I think that it should be expanded to “It’s OK If You’re A Regressive”.

  8. dirigible says

    “This is shabby treatment, Ophelia, and most people will recognise that. ”

    Yes it’ an obvious breach of netiquette.

  9. says

    I’m really disappointed with these guys. I don’t listen to their podcast often because I don’t like the format, but they have interacted with the Living After Faith podcast a lot and I’ve always thought they were pretty on the ball.

    (LAF is a great show btw)

  10. Lyanna says

    A stupid pedantic distraction? Basic confidentiality of private email communications is a stupid pedantic distraction now?

    People who get all twitchy about you supposedly comparing TAM to Nazi Germany (which you weren’t–you were comparing complaints about injustice, not the severity of the injustice itself), and who use that as a way of dodging your point, have absolutely NO BUSINESS calling ANYTHING a stupid pedantic distraction.

    And yes, I know it was Orac who initially decided to pounce on that particular nit, but the anti-feminist swarm all joined his bandwagon.

  11. MartinM says

    When things are black and white (a characterization embraced by Stephanie) it’s indicative of dogma.

    So what was it Stephanie said was black and white, exactly?

    I am quite angry that you and a number of other skeptics are apparently more concerned about the history of who said what to whom three years ago or even one year ago than about the fact that I’ve had a woman describe an attempted rape to me and stepped up to make sure it happens to fewer people in the future–only to see a leader of a major skeptical organization blow it off as regretted “sexual exploits”…A bunch of people all up in arms that Jason called someone a “douchebag”. More are now picking over whether his apology for something else was phrased correctly. None of them are doing jack shit about the fact that women–or at least certain women–are considered disposable in this movement…I’m not going to “compromise” on this. I’m not going to step back and be nice to the people with power. I will shame whomever it takes to get this taken care of because this. is. not. acceptable.

    Black and white. Deal.

    Yes, I can certainly see the merit of alternative viewpoints here.

  12. says

    Quite. And one of the huger bits of shrapnel that was flying around yesterday, that I didn’t get to (because it was so huge – I took on smaller ones first) was that Facebook post that Stephanie has linked to. Gen-yoo-wine harassment at TAM, reported and reported and reported, with no action taken. Witnesses. The whole 9 yards.

  13. says

    I am actually very confused by your reply that it wasn’t meant to be posted – since it doesn’t actually contain any information – in fact the most important piece of information isn’t in the e-mail itself but in the editorial section when it comes up with the time stamp. I was scanning the comments on the post hoping to find your reasons for this but I didn’t see them.

    So is there any information in that e-mail you didn’t want to be public?

    (This is my first comment in all of this whole poo-storm I am a reader of FTB, listener to AAA (started because of a mention on AXP.) and find all of this infighting to be something to be ignored.)

  14. says

    I have held off commenting on this because I didn’t want to seem to be unsupportive when more substantial issues were on the table, but I have to say that I disagree with you on the issue of when a communication should be considered confidential.

    The only situation in which I think directly quoting someone is inappropriate is when the recipient has agreed to confidentiality in advance of receiving a communication. And I would rarely provide such agreement myself except where I needed information of a personal nature whose release might compromise personal security. Except in such cases, openness and accuracy are higher values to me than privacy. You may disagree with me on this but if you let that kind of difference cause you to label people as “not good” then you are being “not good” in a worse way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *