Iago syndrome

Oh good grief – Iago syndrome strikes again.

So this odd tweet flies by me:

Jeremy Stangroom Ed Rybicki speaks out about the consequences of the vile bullying he received at FtB: http://bit.ly/TT9CWz#FTBullies

8:52 AM – 23 Nov 12

#FTBullies. Honestly. Jeremy Stangroom is still regularly using that stupid hashtag, the darling of the obsessive under-motivated frothing haters who rave about the same five or six people day in and day out. You’d think it would be beneath him, but Iago-syndrome prevents.


What vile bullying he received at FtB? Rybicki doesn’t mention any in the cited article. None. He mentions hostile reactions in general, and comments on his story itself, but he doesn’t cite any “vile bullying” at FTB. He simply arbitrarily mentions the label at the end, apropos of nothing.

So where am I, now?  Well, pretty much in the same place I was in prior to early November, 2011, because I have stopped reading Hatespace: that’s right; I no longer bother to check in on the circle-jerk that FtB had obviously become.  I also got good news which completely distracted me from the bullshit: my long-shot effort at getting my 30-year dream project funded struck gold, and yes, the wonderful person who walked into my office and asked “Does anyone here know anything about viruses?” and I will be exploring oceanic viromes (thank you, Maya!).

So – all I can say is that I am wiser (but not sadder); that while as an atheist, humanist and liberal, the FtB blogs would look like they were made for me – they can Fuck.  Right.  Off.

That looks as if he’d already cited FTB earlier in the piece, but in fact he didn’t; those are his first mentions. So…what vile bullying? What, exactly, is Jeremy Stangroom talking about?

PZ points out that Rybicki’s article was widely criticized, not to say rebuked; it was far from being a Freethought blogs exclusive.

It was a not-very-good piece that relied on sexist stereotypes for a crutch. It gets a very thorough going over in the comments section there — a great many people were appalled that such a “tongue-in-cheek” exercise in perpetuating falsehoods about women could get published, even as fiction, in a science journal. It also got slapped down by Jacquelyn Gill, who compiled a huge list of negative responses, such as this one by Anne Jefferson. This wasn’t an FtB-led rejection — it was a massive, science-internet-wide gag reflex that puked all over poor Ed Rybicki’s story. Dana Hunter was our local huntress spearing the wild Rybicki, with follow-ups that included Ophelia Benson.

But to claim it was “bullying” or that FtB was responsible…well, that’s typical Jeremy Stangroom, not letting the evidence cloud his hatred of everything on this network.

Typical Iago syndrome.


  1. Aratina Cage says

    The highly ridiculous #FTBullies reaction is almost exactly like the conservative reaction to gay rights: The conservative continues beating gay people over the head with his cross, but when you take his cross away or ask him to stop or even consider the possibility of doing so, he cries out about being persecuted for his beliefs.

  2. mandrellian says

    I’ve not heard of Rybicki before today (via PZ and yourself) and the only reason I know Stangroom’s name is because of a well-earned (imho) criticism PZ wrote years ago (and, of course, via his obsessive, petty and frankly embarrassing opportunism and transparently desperate “me too” attempts to associate with manly atheist “names” in recent months). Maybe that’s the point – bash FtB, get a response, get traffic. All because you can’t forgive PZ for whacking you years ago, or forgive Ophelia for, what, exactly?

    But, damn, FtBullying is still a thing? Sheesh. Looks to me like the criticism of Rybicki’s piece was both entirely warranted and comprised mostly of people not associated with this network in any way. It also looks to me like the bafflingly-fixated haters out there need the occasional dog-whistle to remind them who the “enemy” is – this time it was Stangroom who gladly blew it.

  3. Stacy says

    Maybe that’s the point – bash FtB, get a response, get traffic.

    Self-promotion + envy = WAAAH! The FTBullies are oppressing me and my friends!

  4. says

    Oy. A later tweet, no doubt in (passive-aggressive) response to PZ’s post, saying how it’s all totes documented fact.

    Jeremy Stangroom‏@PhilosophyExp

    A couple of posts documenting the vile treatment of Ed Rybicki by the #FTBullies: http://bit.ly/ScYwxI & http://bit.ly/TT9CWz

    The two posts don’t “document” anything. They just say. Saying isn’t documenting. One is the guest post by Rybicki that he tweeted in the first place, and the other is its predecessor at Skeptic Ink, which just says the usual FTBverybad stuff. The closest it comes to “documenting” anything is a link to one of Dana’s posts on Rybicki.

    Besides, it would be damn difficult to document such a thing as “the vile treatment of Ed Rybicki by the #FTBullies” because what does that even mean? Who exactly are “the #FTBullies” supposed to be? It’s not as if that’s a neutral factual agreed-on name or label. The SkepticInk post, as I said, links to a post by Dana Hunter. Is she normally included among “the #FTBullies”? I don’t think so, in fact I don’t think she ever is. But she is on FTB, so how convenient to be able to pretend she just naturally fits that ridiculous, tendentious, infinitely adaptable label.

    And then, it would be just plain impossible to document any claim that it was only Freethought bloggers who criticized that story of Rybicki’s, so why single out Freethought blogs?

    To get at me, I have to assume. Iago syndrome.

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