That’s not thunder, that’s a rattle

Wow. I’ve been ignoring Thunderf00t, because it’s all so obvious, and dumb, but brazen lying is one item too many. I saw a lot of hits via a post he did yesterday sneering and maligning Surly Amy, and I was curious enough to break the “ignore” policy. He calls her a girl. Is this the new hip post-feminism ironic sexism, or just plain sexism?

I don’t know, but anyway, the boy simply tells a big lie at the end of the post, where he links to Rebecca’s post on being burqa-wearing Nazis.

Great Amy, so on one hand you are reduced to tears because someone uses the name of the site you blog for, and on the other you have no problem with that same blog suggesting that someones reasoned argument is invalid because you (skepchick) claim they think you are nazis.  Wow a great double whammy there of professionally playing the victim and wholesale well poisoning.  That’s right, professional victim Rebecca ‘rape threat’ Watson leading the Skepchicks effort to ‘set an example of kind, productive, proactive behavior in hopes that more people will follow my lead than the those who want to mock and belittle.’ by suggesting that those who disagree with her think they are Totalitarian Nazi.  Damn not seen anyone so zealously eager to embrace victim-hood since dawahfilms.

Rebecca includes screenshots of Paula Kirby comparing us – Skepchicks, Pharyngula and B&W – to Nazis and the Stasi in the post. It’s right there. In the post. It’s not a mere “claim” – not even if you bold it.

That boy does not tell the truth.


  1. says

    I unsubbed him when all this fell out.

    He did some good videos — especially his “Why Do People Laugh At Creationists” series. But not enough to counteract the toxic effects of this nonsense.

  2. says

    Quite. Normally I ignore him. But when I did take a look, the shameless dishonesty jumped out at me. I knew he was nasty, wasn’t aware he was that careless with the truth.

  3. Brownian says

    I understand that he was good at bashing creationists, but isn’t that like an adult crowing about scoring the most runs at a toddler’s T-ball game?

    T-f00t’s good at what he does, but what he does isn’t much.

  4. FelixBC says

    I read that, and the whole repeated use of “girl” really sets my teeth on edge. It’s so obviously disrespectful, in an immature way. But words don’t mean anything, I hear. So why should we listen to what you have to say? They’re just words.

  5. Pteryxx says

    Heck, just in that quote there’s like one misrepresentation for every five or six WORDS. Bleargh, what a revolting little shit.

  6. says

    I also got a Tweet from one of his acolytes last night calling me “Becky,” which I think is a similar attempt at infantilization as pointedly using the word “girl”. It’s very interesting, in a Freudian sort of way.

  7. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    That’s not thunder, that’s a rattle

    A tiny, petulant, dishonest, flaccid baby rattle.

  8. says

    Anti-feminism is conservative and conservatives are bullies to the core. I don’t understand how this is surprising after we’ve seen the consequences of vocal progressivism — hyperskepticism, misrepresentation, condescending dismissals and outright bullying — first hand in our own community.

    After what happened to me on Saturday, these instances have become a lot less sickening and a lot more “meh, just another bit of evidence for the stack, which is now about as high as Olympus Mons”.

  9. smhll says

    @Brownian: I heart your snark!

    Solidarity fistbumps to all who would be pleased to receive them.

  10. kosk11348 says

    He begins by pointing out that the Westboro Baptist Church, vile as they are, have a right to free speech. Okay so far. But somehow he then segues into Amy being upset at a personal attack on a Hall’s T-shirt. How is merely being upset at someone’s speech (and letting them know it) an infringement on that person’s right to free speech? He doesn’t say. If his argument were valid, then anyone who is offended by the Westboro Baptist Church would actually be infringing on their rights simply by expressing their offense. Nonsense.

    No one has a right not to be offended. Sure. But neither is their a right to act offensively without ever having to hear complaints. The statement “your comments are offensive and hurtful” is not an attempt to stifle free speech, it is an example of it.

    For a man who made his fame as a critic, you’d think he’d have a better grasp of how free speech works by now.

  11. hieropants says

    professional victim Rebecca ‘rape threat’ Watson

    Hey guys, we can destroy Rebecca Watson professionally by not threatening to rape her any more! Let’s all get right on that!

  12. says

    … It’s right there. In the post.

    Mebbe he reads about as well as he writes?

    I understand that he was good at bashing creationists, but isn’t that like an adult crowing about scoring the most runs at a toddler’s T-ball game?

    … this also.

    It’s probably been said better and by wiser, somewhere, but it seems to me this is one of the essential problems, here…

    … as in: y’know, realizing the creos are full of it, realizing the gods are myths, this really isn’t much of a bar o’erleap, really.

    I mean, sure, it recommends you to me in a few limited ways, points in the general direction of your having some sorta mental wherewithal, I guess. And if you’re actually coming from a background and/or community where it takes a bit of nerve to call out said fictions as fictions, okay, I guess that, too, counts for some points.

    But it’s a guarantee of pretty much nothing. Hell, even if you do have to tell a former religious community to shove it to get there, it may just mean you’re naturally ornery and bloody-minded by nature, really. Not that either are necessarily bad things, either…

    You can still be completely wrong and/or a complete ass about a billion other things, tho’, point is. As we’ve clearly seen, lately. Again and again. In frequently cringe-inducingly painful detail.

    (Like I said: been said. But I like saying obvious things. Me and the hobbits.)

  13. Josh Slocum says

    Brownian’s comment crystallized something for me. It looks as though the skeptical/atheist “communities”, up until recently, have had exceedingly low standards for what constitutes . . star-quality, for lack of a better word. Really-how hard is it to pwn creationists for anyone of reasonable intelligence and education and an inclination to do some prep work? Not very.

    The rising voices of truly quality people—Ophelia, Rebecca, Greta, Amy, Stephanie, and so many others—who are capable of deeper, finer, and broader thinking on issues of justice and ethics has raised the bar considerably. Lots of doods who looked like Heroes (TM) we now see only looked that good in a pretty pedestrian context. A whole heaping boatload—not a small minority—of men (and some women) have turned out to be second-class goods in fairly short order.

    Good. Every house needs a spring cleaning.

  14. smhll says

    Anyone who faux quotes Surly Amy as saying “we want to lynch someone at TAM” should have be completely ashamed to use the word “strawman” when referring to other people. (As TFoot did in response to criticism from PZ Myers.)

  15. says

    @hieropants: I already don’t issue rape threats, but at the same time I don’t want to destroy Rebecca Watson. What do I do? 🙁

  16. Dave 2 says

    Eh, and even the vs. Creationist arguments were all well documented before on places like talk origins. Maybe he needs/wants new ‘notoriety’ every so often. No idea. *shrugs* The man is an idiot.

  17. Besomyka says

    TF was my gateway drug to better thinking, and I’m glad I unsubscribed and unfollowed him.

    I hadn’t really seen much of him after he started his anti-Islam stuff. Thought he was going a little too far, and it didn’t interest me. I was really surprised, though, how far out into denialism he has gotten.

    I guess he’s in the shallow-thinking camp of the libertarian bent skeptics community. The people who think head-in-sand is a solution. If you just ignore something it’ll go away.

    Plus his oafish rhetorical lurching around is hard on my eyes… so good riddance.

  18. Hazelwood says

    I never much cared for his creationist bashing stuff and stopped watching when the venomfangx stuff came up. It just seemed like bullying to me.

  19. says

    And he seems to be targeting Amy because he’s mad that he doesn’t understand how fair use works and she wouldn’t let him use her pictures in his article where he made fun of people that complain about sexism. That’s really petty. He has to get back at her, Rebecca, PZ, Richard Coughlan and everyone else who ever dared tell him no.

  20. mandrellian says

    What a sorry piece of pompous, histrionic, melodrama-generating (not to mention fucking dishonest) work Thunder turned out to be. With his grasp of and clear love of science, he could’ve been an uncompromising arse-kicker of creationism and ID like fellow tubers AronRa, QualiaSoup or Potholer and a decent focal point of the general movement (such as it is).

    He’s decided to eschew that and focus instead on how fucking enlightened and Right he is, doubling down on his FtB troll-fail and his goddamned ignorance and camping with the sexist “aint no problem” denial-machine. He acts like a spoiled brat – a narcissist who’s never had a decent reality check in his life.

  21. mandrellian says

    Additionally, re: TF’s creationist rebuttal videos, yes – creos are an easy target, like blind tortoises. That’s probably why old BunnyFeet is feeling such rage at those who dare to disagree with him: he can’t handle it when someone smarter than him (or just more honest) tells him he’s wrong. Since his FtB failure it’s been dummy-spit after dummy-spit.

    Perhaps the experience of arguing with fundamentalists and their self-limited comprehension and flat refusal to apprehend clear facts lowered his expectations and artificially inflated his sense of his own debating skill. Thanks to a few youtube feuds (that he more than willingly fuelled) he suddenly thinks he can provoke people who’ve taken on far, far smarter people than fucking VenomFangX or that blowhard DawahFilms and what happens? He gets spanked – or roundly ignored. Frankly I’m not sure which would be worse for a lib-narcissist like TF.

  22. says

    I could kinda see, on some of TFoot’s posts and one of those first PZ response videos, where TFoot got the impression he was being strawmanned.
    Thing was, it seemed pretty clear to me it was mostly just poor communication on his part. There were at least a couple of clear examples where there was two or more ways to read a sentence he wrote and he seemed clueless about that. And instead of realizing the phrasing could be taken other ways, particularly by someone not inclined to the most charitable reading (conciously or unconciously) he went on the attack ranting about being strawmanned.
    So to me TFoot came across as simply rather poor at communication and reading comprehension while arrogantly assuming he was in the right about everything. Which ended up with TFoot being as, and usually far more, egregious in his misreading and “strawmanning” of his critics than they were to him while tossing around ranting attacks that merely polarize everyone.

    Which means, as much as I’m heavily biased toward seeing things as just miscommunication that could be fixed, I find it hard to muster up any charity for interpreting TFoot and don’t care to even try to read or watch his responses any more. Those attacks on Rebecca and Amy and etcetera just seem entirely delusional at this point.

  23. Bruce Gorton says

    Ace of Sevens

    Coughlan is really no better. Dude was selling T-Shirts with “Got-rape?” on them at a point.

  24. Bruce Gorton says

    I have pretty much lost all respect for Thunderf00t. I mean he was always somewhat controversial, but this? Ugh.

  25. says

    @Bruce: There’s a long story behind that. Short version: He pulled them because they were being used to mock rape victims, which was not the intent. It’s pretty much the same story as the recent Jezebel article about rape jokes.

  26. says

    At least the people commenting at TF are putting in some effort to be creative. “Vagina Taliban”, I like it ! Great band name, too. Seems to me that TF has exactly the commenters he deserves.

  27. says

    Actually, a lot of the comments there are entirely bizarre, it’s like they are suffering some kind of mass delusion. I’m sure the slimepitters can’t believe their luck.

  28. says

    Besides, Coughlan doesn’t need to be a good guy to be right about Thunderf00t. That started when Coughlan called him on credulously repeating claims from white supremacists in his videos about Muslims and for publicly stating that he didn’t care Draw Mohammed Day was being co-opted by them. Thunderf00t responded by making fun of him for crying about an unrelated matter a few months earlier. Even if he were a sexist douchebag, that wouldn’t change the legitimacy.

    Besides, while Coughlan certainly has made some questionable jokes, he hasn’t dismissed sexism or mocked people for carrying about it or singled people out for category-based abuse. I won’t defend everything he’s done, but there is a big difference here.

  29. aratina says

    Checking in and … Yikes! Can’t believe how far this has gone. Rattlefoot needs to grow up.

  30. says

    I just can’t believe his dishonesty. That post focuses on supposed inconsistencies in what Amy has said about TAM and the t-shirt business and uses this to argue….. actually, I’m not sure what he’s arguing. That there’s no sexism and that everyone who says there is is overreacting and/or lying, I guess.

    But the supposed inconsistencies simply don’t exist. For example, in one post Amy says that Harriet’s t-shirt was hurtful for various reasons and in another she says that she wasn’t reduced to tears by a ‘silly t-shirt’ (quotes are hers). Thunderf00t arbitrarily decides that Amy is trying to “rewrite history” when she’s quite obviously just refuting claims that a silly t-shirt made her cry. She hasn’t changed her mind about whether the shirt was hurtful, but Thunderf00t arbitrarily claims that she has.

    It goes on and on and on like this. Don’t read it unless you want to enrage yourself (which is the only reason I read it, mission accomplished).

    As for the bit about Rebecca, Thunderf00t also tells the lie that Rebecca says that people “who disagree with them on reason based arguments, actually all think they are a Totalitarian Nazis clique. (FACEPALM)”

    Facepalm indeed. First, that ‘all’ is just plain ridiculous. He’s obviously hoping that nobody reads her actual post. As Ophelia said, she’s reacting to specific things that Paula actually said. Second, there’s no ‘reason based argument’, just Paula’s bizarre tweets. Third, in that post Rebecca is quite clearly employing sarcasm and being flippant. She’s ridiculing Paula’s tweets, not seriously reporting accusations that she’s a nazi.

    Thunderf00t’s post is just totally dishonest drivel from beginning to end and I genuinely can’t understand how he can stand to allow it to exist on the web. Does he really look at it and think “yep, I’ve done a pretty good job there”? It makes me wince with embarrassment, and I’m not the one who wrote it.

    As has already been noted, many of the commenters seem to have (or pretend to have) the same monumental blind spot that allows them to claim inconsistencies that quite obviously do not exist.

    He’s revolting. At this stage, I think he’s courting these idiots just because he thinks he can.

  31. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    latsot wrote:

    He’s revolting. At this stage, I think he’s courting these idiots just because he thinks he can.

    That’s a pretty big motivator. A lot of the loudest bleaters at the moment are those with much nothing else to say about anything – or those who no-one listens to despite actually making the occasional worthwhile contribution; now they’ve got an audience for the first time they don’t want to give it up.

    Not that that applies to Tfoot; he already had an audience. Perhaps he just enjoys the reinforcement of his views.

  32. Arthur says

    I was really surprised to discover that Phil Mason (Thunderf00t) had been invited to FTB in the first place.

    These latest antics are absurd, of course, but are very much in character.

    In his early days on YouTube it became evident that Mason was at least as concerned with maintaining bitter personal feuds at all costs as he was in debunking religion.

    Mason revealed himself to be an immature demagogue hooked on drama, drunk on his growing subscriber base. Atheist / Rationalist peers began distancing themselves from Mason sometime ago; folks at The League Of Reason for example.

    I didn’t understand why PZ regularly defended Mason while all this was going on. PZ even brokered Mason’s self “outing”. Mason tried to protect his identity as long as he could, which seemed a bit rich given that Mason had been humiliating, “pwning” and “bitch-slapping” named people while hiding behind a pseudonym for years.

    Given Mason’s behavior up to date, I don’t think he’s going to stop this. He doesn’t seem to have the maturity or wisdom. He’s on a slow descent into drama hell. It’s only a matter of time before he’s filming himself in Joker makeup laughing maniacally, and then weeping on camera making pitiful apologies.

  33. says

    I don’t know why, but I just read the entire comment thread on Tfoot’s .. whatever it was. I really wish I could blame you for what in retrospect was a really bad choice. I really, really wish I could.

    This ‘mangina’ is off to scrub brain with bleach.

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