Why is she going there?

And then there’s a bunch of guys doing a video about how stupid and awful women who talk about harassment are. I haven’t watched it (and oh god do I not want to) but it’s partly transcribed, and what’s there is awful. It’s so awful, and the comments by one of the guys involved with it are so awful, that the combination had me slamming on the brakes and deciding (again) that I can’t do a talk at TAM.

But there are people who tell me they decided to go partly because I’m going to be there, and I would feel like a worm if I didn’t go, so I took the brakes off again. But this stuff is pissing me off like you would not believe.

Gilliel provides a relevant (to me) segment:

-“Ophelia Benson compared TAM to Nazi Germany” 11:12:15 Another blatant lie. I don’t agree with Ophelia’s post, but that’s not what she wrote. It simply isn’t. -“If Ophelia thinks TAM is like Nazi Germany, why is she going there?” Well, it might be because she never actually said that…(1:12:35)

Also, it’s because I was invited and I accepted long before DJ decided to do all this blaming of the women talking about harassment. The comparison I did make (which was not “TAM is like Nazi Germany”) came after DJ blamed the women talking about harassment (which could, for all I knew and still know, have included me).

But anyway – that kind of ERVesque bullying doesn’t make me look forward to going.

DJ should do something about all this. I still don’t understand why he thought it would be a good idea to antagonize a bunch of women (and a bunch of men) some of whom were part of the program at TAM, a few weeks before TAM. I think of the wonderful people who organized QED, and how welcome I felt before I got there and while I was there and after I left. I wonder why DJ does not operate more like them.



  1. says

    I still can’t believe the “TAM is like Nazi Germany” thing. If anything, it’s “people blaming women for harassment are like Nazi Germany” and even THAT’s slightly wrong.

  2. julian says

    They’ve found an out for their comparison to the Taliban and shift the spotlight back onto you so they’re going to run with it. It’s the same game Republicans play.

  3. Pteryxx says

    One commenter at Skepchick in Rebecca’s “Why I won’t be going to TAM” thread reported getting a 50% refund as per TAM’s refund policy. She complained directly and got the rest back, I think.

  4. carlie says

    It’s to the point where I wish there’d be a large-scale boycott if DJ doesn’t come out with something good, and fast. Demand refunds from the organization en masse, and for the people who have already planned a vacation around it and have other non-refundable expenses (like plane tickets), do a few loosely-organized field trips in lieu of attending TAM.*

    *spoken as someone who has no connection to this, because I wasn’t going anyway, so anything I say is vague ideas only and not necessarily feasible.

  5. Josh Slocum says

    It’s to the point where, if I could afford it, I’d go just to picket the goddamn thing and have Ophelia’s back. And any other woman who wanted me to. Believe me, I’m ready to get all up in some fucking faces for real, in public, over this shit.

  6. Bjarte Foshaug says

    The more I follow these discussions, the more I am inclined to think a schism in the “skeptical community” would be a good thing. As Stephanie Zvan put it:

    If the movement has to be torn in two to cut out the people who think women have no right to not be harassed, where is the value in sticking together?

    Off the top of my head I cannot think of a single benefit of “sticking together” that could possibly outweigh the cost of having to put up with the likes of Howard Wolowitz.

    That having been said, I still think Ophelia should go to TAM and give’em Hell!

  7. says

    I’ve been finding DJ’s take on things these past few months to be surprising (my view being from a distance), so I’d be appreciative if you could explain what’s obvious about his motives, Greg.

    That being said, I’m not surprised at all that JREF/TAM has generated this controversy, and I’ve never been to one. I was writing a post on the matter of sexual harassment in large advocacy communities, with JREF/TAM’s (rubbish) sexual harassment policy as an example, from my perspective as a former organiser with an education union, when all this blew up. I don’t know where to start now.

    I can say that this bogus Godwining Ophelia is being subjected to (ala Patrick’s Fallacy) is making me very angry. And I didn’t even know who the Ask An Atheist crowd were.

  8. MyaR says

    But there are people who tell me they decided to go partly because I’m going to be there, and I would feel like a worm if I didn’t go

    If I am part of this consideration, please do not take my preferences into account. Especially given the new revelations Stephanie has posted. I like carlie’s suggestion, and we’ve already planned a couple, although not scheduled since we don’t know the speaker scheduling yet. Anyone have a suggestion of a good place to plan something like this?

    Shortest form of Greg’s point, I think: $$$$. Although, honestly, that’s very short term thinking.

  9. says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one made angry by the bogus Godwinning!

    $$$$ – so the idea is that DJ thought that blaming the evil feminists would sell lots more tickets? I wonder if he’s right, I wonder if it is. Maybe it is. Maybe he’ll get a much bigger and much more misogynist TAM. What fun.

    Mya, you are part of that consideration, but then I would also like to hang out with you again, and there are other friends ditto.

  10. MyaR says

    I don’t think it’s about selling more tickets, I think it’s about keeping the big donors happy. If you look at JREF’s 990, it looks like TAM is close to a wash, financially. But in 2011, they got ~$600,000 in other donations (not membership dues or service mission events). I suspect some percentage of that would dry up, and they don’t think it would be replaced by other donors.

    If you do come, I look forward to hanging out with you!

  11. says

    Yes, I saw elsewhere (after making that comment) that Greg was suggesting the donor connection, which I hadn’t thought of (knowing absolutely nothing about the workings of JREF).

  12. says

    (Mouse driven) wheels trundling in my brain have escorted me from “donors” to “what goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas (damn you feminist bloggers!)”

    I’m not sure if this is a non sequitur.

  13. carlie says

    I wonder if it doesn’t just boil down to “We like having a big raucous frat party in Vegas that we can act smug about because we pretend that it’s intellectual and superior, and those damn feminists want to make it into an actual professional convention that is mainly about the stated topic instead of partying.”

  14. says

    Carlie, I’m wondering the same, and if Daniel Loxton shouldn’t do an article about “mission creep” in big-S Skepticism, with Skepticism being too associated with “spoiled nerdism”. Perhaps it’s the spoiled nerds who need to be given the Loxton school of dressing down, rather than the atheists, the libertarians (those that aren’t spoiled nerds), or the humanists, who Skepticism gets associated with.

    …and those damn feminists want to make it into an actual professional convention…

    There’s always CFI. Am wondering if free thinkers should be considering the sunk costs fallacy when assessing TAM’s prospects as anything more than a lark.

    Oddly enough, up until last year, I thought DJ was too good for JREF, but then I’m just looking at this stuff from a distance. This is just what it all looks like to one antipodean foreigner.

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