See what I did there?

For the sake of the record, because it’s part of the wallpaper at the place of slime and therefore stupid people think I meant it literally and are recycling it as if I had – here’s the context of that comment. The comment that ends with: “I can say that without using sexist epithets. I don’t know why you pricks can’t manage that.”

First of all – I did it on purpose. That was the joke. Derrr.

It was Monday, 04 January 2010. There was a post at RDF, about a terrible article at Comment is Free on the Danish Motoons by someone named Nancy Graham Holm. Holm’s article included this weirdly censorious paragraph:

Why did the editors of Jyllands-Posten want to mock Islam in this way? Some of us believed it was in bad taste and also cruel. Intentional humiliation is an aggressive act. As a journalist now living in the same town as Westergaard, I thought some at Jyllands-Posten had acted like petulant adolescents. Danes fail to perceive the fact that they have developed a society deeply suspicious of religion. This is the real issue between Denmark and Muslim extremists, not freedom of speech. The free society precept is merely an attempt to give the perpetrators the moral high ground when actually it is a smokescreen for a deeply rooted prejudice, not against Muslims, but against religion per se. Muslims are in love with their faith. And many Danes are suspicious of anyone who loves religion.

I commented at C is F and wrote a post, and I dropped in at RDF to see if anything interesting was being said there. I found pointlessly sexist comments. I was annoyed. I commented to say this:

Can’t you guys ever manage to disagree with a woman without calling her a bitch? Must it be all locker room all the time here?

I disagreed with her vehemently at C is F, three times, and in a post at my place, but I didn’t call her a bitch, nor did I need to.

There was some back and forth. That was then – I still thought sexism was a small part of the atheist scene. It seems so long ago now.

So, there was some back and forth, including this comment of mine:

And no, the ‘sticks and stones’ thing is no good. If the author of the article were African-American, would people here be breezily calling her a stupid nigger? I reeeeeeeeally don’t think so. Racial pejoratives are taboo, but sexist ones are just fine. Why is that? What does that say about routine contempt for women? Volumes, if you ask me.

Like Richard, I consider that article the most disgusting thing I’ve seen at the Guardian in some time, but I can say that without using sexist epithets. I don’t know why you pricks can’t manage that.

The irony was intentional. I’m not that stupid. Really.

The guy I was chiefly arguing with apparently thought I meant it literally. He was kind of a pre-slimepit slimepitter, but he changed later on, if I remember correctly. Anyway, I set him straight at the time.

Oh and for the record, ‘Saint Stephen,’ the irony of ‘pricks’ was (obviously!) fully intentional. Your bray of laughter seemed to indicate that you thought it was unconscious. Duh – it wasn’t.

If it’s true that Richard approves of this crap and tells off women who object, I think that’s appalling.

I said that last thing because people were claiming that. Well ha – Richard commented to say that he doesn’t and he doesn’t.

Again, that was then, of course. It would all play out differently now. But at the time, it was pleasant to be vindicated.

And at any rate: the irony was intentional.


  1. Rodney Nelson says

    And at any rate: the irony was intentional.

    The slimepitters will find a way to quotemine this.

  2. Sili says

    You have to be careful with using humour around those whose intellects are not fully developed.

    I have no license to use sarcasm when I teach. Which is very, very hard for me, since I’ve been steeped in the stuff from childhood – unlike kids these days.

  3. says

    @ 1 – well of course they will. They spend all their time on their project of cross-examining every single thing we say or do, so of course they will.

    Remember Aaronovitchwatch? A whole blog dedicated just to sneering at one person, David Aaronovitch? I always thought it was incredibly stupid. That’s the genre the slime pit belongs to.

  4. jb says

    I am realy sorry that you have to put up with this bullshit, OB

    Vindictive, petty assholes following you around trying to make the point that they are idiots.

  5. says

    Sili – well yes, but I wasn’t using it around them. This was nearly 3 years ago. They weren’t a gang then. There wasn’t a little falange of people examining every word I’ve ever said online under a microscope in order to find something to jeer about. It seems like another world…

  6. Stacy says

    Malicious stupidity is funny, when it’s also inept. The way they’re so eager to play “Gotcha!” and just end up looking like chucklefucks….

    *points and laughs at abear and his little band of dimwits*

  7. Rodney Nelson says

    Remember Aaronovitchwatch?

    I’d never heard of it until a few minutes ago. However since google is my friend (metaphorically speaking) I now know something about Daniel Davies (D-Squared) and his obsession with David Aaronovitch.

  8. says

    I was going to respond to ’emily isalwaysright’ on the ‘how-to-tell-the-diff-er-ence’ post. But jb above will do… They are not stupid, and I’m really not standing up for them by saying that. Willful ignorance is much worse than just not having the capacity to understand.

    It’s easy to dismiss anyone who refuses to see your point of view as just stupid. Just like anyone with an entrenched position they delude themselves — I was tempted to assume it is trolling and arguing in bad faith but many there really seem to swallow the hyperbole they spread about FtBs. From Renee asserting on Twitter that Ophelia would never be ok with *anyone* using ‘cunt’ in a non-serious way — even while the ‘how-to-tell-the-diff-er-ence’ post was up! To the latest daft assertion that FtBs want to control what the pitters say in the privacy of their own homes and to their friends… FTBs must be stopped!! Pitters are resistance heroes!

    Any argument with the pitters from someone they see as an ‘FfTB’er’ will be poisoned from the get-go. They have a franc-led narrative that ‘FfTB’ers’ are akin to atheist fascists with his merry band of parrots churning out the party line. Seeing Als seemingly not manufactured paranoia that OB would shun, ostracise and try and run him out the movement crystallised that for me. Once you are really in there it seems you buy into the slyme-propaganda.

    So really there is no way Ophelia could explain to the pits satisfaction that she was being ironic. She is an ‘FfTB’er’ and therefore by definition the lowest form of lying atheist scum on the planet. Even if they did realise it was just irony the ‘Lying for JesusSlyme-cause’ urge would be too great for what is a good point scored whenever repeated parrot-like.

  9. says

    How is that not stupidity? How is being that locked into a crazy narrative not stupidity?

    For that matter, how is being willing to squander that much time and energy on such a tiny group of people not stupidity? How is finding the atmosphere anything but stomach-turning not stupidity?

    Mind you, I don’t disagree that some of them are clever. I do disagree that all of them are though. The one who uses my ancient joke as wallpaper – yeh that one is stupid.

  10. jb says

    stupid = smart people who dumb things, right?

    like, a religious person can be a genius, but they are not using that genius in the most productive way if all they do is try to justify the existence of god. its stupid *behaviour* on their part.

  11. Rodney Nelson says

    What a treat, eh?

    Just when I think people can’t get any more weird, somebody weirder comes along. Davies will be hard to top.

  12. says

    Ophelia, just saying *they* are not stupid, as you say many are pretty intelligent but that doesn’t mean they cannot do stupid things!

    I don’t really get the stomach churning I mainly get a lot of exercise rolling eyes and laughing at them. But I’m not the focus of their bile, apart from rarely when I succeed in winding them up, you are. So why do you bother reading the pit? Frankly fuck em. Given your disgust reaction I would think you’d be better ignoring them, especially as they are obviously doing and saying things atm just because they reckon you’ll read it?

  13. ewanmacdonald says

    Oolon, out of interest, why have you become the self-appointed liaison between the Slymepit and planet Earth?

  14. says

    Have to stick up slightly for Aaronovitch Watch. Like you I thought it downright creepy to have a kind of anti-fan site set up to sneer at one person, but the site developed to take on other targets (the “Decents” – of which I’m one), was well-written and gave Aaronovitch his due. It wasn’t a sneerfest You could have reasonable debate there.

    HitchWatch – against Christopher Hitchens – is really vile. You should have seen the gloating when Hitchens was dying of caner.

  15. says

    @ewan, I think liaison is far too highfallutin. More like random person that likes to read FtBs who also likes to gossip about them more than most? I found the hyperbole from PZ and others on Pharyngula intriguing and popped over there when someone (Maybe from there) called Greta a c*nt in my nym. Found no great pit of vipers as PZ likes to imply but a bunch of fairly ordinary ppl with what seems to me to be an unhealthy obsession with all things FtBs. Also the idea that PZ would ban anyone for just posting there seemed ridiculous, and is obviously part of their hyperbole to get some mystique – which I was happy to diminish. Was pretty interesting to see what extent people who mostly identify as atheist-sceptic-feminists can take an obsession with another group of people who mostly identify as atheist-sceptic-feminists. Splitters!

    I don’t see anywhere near the same level of hate and obsession this side (Maybe PZ on hate levels!), no Slymewrongula. I do come across as ‘on the fence’ as I tend to try and empathise with people to understand them. I also use neutral language like ‘this side’ which is more to do with my dislike of ‘sides’ in general not my opinion of who is right. So as long as there are articles on FtBs about them – I’ll probably be tempted to add my 2 cents of gossip and opinion.

    No great aim from me of ‘building bridges’, as the pitters like to laugh about, or attacking them as they like to fantasise about FtB’ers doing. Just understanding of an unusual dynamic and bit of childish lulz, which maybe makes me a bit more like them than some in FtBs. Although Crommunist did a sterling job on HaifischGeweint’s last post!

  16. says

    oolon says:

    Found no great pit of vipers as PZ likes to imply but a bunch of fairly ordinary ppl with what seems to me to be an unhealthy obsession with all things FtBs.

    I think most people are “fairly ordinary”. I doubt Franc Hoggle’s home has “kick her in the cunt” scrawled onto every available surface. I doubt ERV walks down the street chanting “Death to PZ”. This is no excuse though. The unhealthy obsession may be part time, but it’s still an unhealthy obsession.

    On a related note, perhaps you should heed C.S. Lewis’s advice:

    There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…

  17. Sili says

    Sili – well yes, but I wasn’t using it around them.

    I know. I was making a jab at their maturity by comparing them to kids. Kids, though, at least have the excuse of not having fully myelinated brains, and still being in the process of adjusting to society.

  18. reinderdijkhuis says

    While Rosiebell is sticking up for AaroWatch, allow me to stick up for Daniel Davies: out of the best ten blog posts I’ve ever read in my life, posts that I used to keep returning to year after year until they vanished from the web, posts that corrected long-held misconceptions in my head and pointed to a better way to think about problems in the future, Dsquared has probably written about five. Those are no longer available to the general public, but at the very least, “The D-Squared Digest One Minute MBA – Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101” “With Usura” and “I shit on the progressives of this planet” are posts that I’d recommend to anyone at any time, if they were still there for people to read. Even when he’s wrong, he is definitively wrong, which really helps me stake out my own position on whatever the issue is.

    And The Christmas Sermon still cracks me up each time I read it.

  19. Rodney Nelson says

    I’ve been reading some of Daniel Davies’ posts. He’s an excellent writer and a total wackaloon obsessed with his hatreds.

  20. says

    @hyperdeath, good point, it could just as easily be my error that I was thinking there would be more to a group described in such terms. I guess that is a common problem when approaching groups that are doing harm – seeing that the membership is made up of ‘ordinary people’, so how could they be that bad?

    In terms of “excessive and unhealthy interest in them”… Well there are too many people on there now so it takes more than the 5-10 mins to trawl I allocate so I reckon I’ll break my habit. Must spend more time on the A+ forum being positive!

  21. Acolyte of Sagan says

    oolon says:
    November 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm
    ….. But I’m not the focus of their are. So why do you bother reading the pit?

    I assume for the same reason we all look into our handkerchiefs after blowing noses, or cast a swift glance at the loo-paper after wiping: We know it’s not gonna be pretty but we just can’t help ourselves.

  22. reinderdijkhuis says

    Also, to be fair, these hatreds of Daniel’s don’t come out of nowhere. People do realize who the Decents were and what they stood for, right? There is a lot of context that gets lost if you just say “Daniel Davies has an unhealthy obsession” and leave it at that.

  23. says

    oolon @ 15 – that’s an incredibly stupid and patronizing little lecture. For one thing, if that’s what you think, why do you keep thrusting them on my attention?! I first saw the latest waves emanating from the center because you included me on tweets you were addressing to Al Stefanelli. It was only a few days ago that I told you to stop reporting on the doings of the pit right here.

    I do ignore them 99% of the time. I was made aware of the new batch of stupid lies about that comment from three years ago because of your including me in that stupid discussion you had with Al.

    There is however one utilitarian reason to check this kind of thing, however much one wants to ignore it: it has to do with lies and libel and reputation and the like.

  24. Rodney Nelson says

    reinderdijkhuis #26

    Also, to be fair, these hatreds of Daniel’s don’t come out of nowhere. People do realize who the Decents were and what they stood for, right?

    Before I read Davies’ posts I had never heard of the Decents. Since I have only read one view of them, that of an obsessed hater, I cannot form an opinion about whether his hatred is justified.

  25. says

    @Ophelia, oops sorry I forgot about that. Didn’t mean to patronise, just concerned that you stated you find it stomach churning to look on there. I forgot my argument with Al started with me laughing at his paranoia about being shunned on the pit and I’d copied you, I’m not a great at twittering but pretty good at being a twit. Nice move there not mentioning him in the post BTW.

  26. F says

    Just wow. No way am I gonna look up all the references, although I recognize most of the names (and those not named, as it were), but wow.

    Being stupid and playing stupid are not the way to go, and there’s nothing meta-commentary about it either. -5 even for plain trolling.

  27. reinderdijkhuis says

    @29: short version, from memory: The Decents were/are a group of opinion-makers on the left who argued that the Blair government should join the war in Iraq and that removing Saddam was the decent thing for a leftist to support. Daniel Davies argued prior to the war that it would play out the way it did eventually play out, no weapons of massive destruction anywhere to be found and a very large cost in Iraqi lives as well as a large economic cost to all involved. He also argued, later, in “The One Minute MBA…”, that predicting this outcome wasn’t rocket science – that the Decents and other war supporters knew or should have known that their cheerleading for the war was predicated on lies and would lead to this outcome, because they were cheerleading for known liars. This part of his argument, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty much an open and shut case.

    It is possible that the war would not have happened if the Blair government hadn’t joined. It is also possible that the Blair government would not have joined if the Decents hadn’t been able to sell the war to the Labour-voting, left-of-center base. This part of the argument is shakier, but it can be made. These people were listened to at the time – particularly Nick Cohen, who had a prior reputation as a critic of the Blair government.

    If DD is right, then this group of writers clacking away at their keyboards from the safety of their homes have the blood of a million Iraqis on their hands – yet none of them suffered any consequences. Right or wrong, that’s not a trivial thing to have a ten-year feud over.

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