Interruptions, for example

You are so lucky! You get to see Bernice Sandler’s talk at Women in Secularism 2012, at last.

It’s about the subtle, unnoticed ways women and men are treated differently.

What??? Really? Is that true? There are subtle, unnoticed ways women and men are treated differently?

Who could ever possibly have guessed…

He bruised his knuckles when he punched her

It was all Mary Beard’s fault, as it turns out. No really; it was. The guy who ran that website says so. If he doesn’t know, who does?!

The co-owner and moderator of the website that published abusive comments about Mary Beard has accused the Cambridge academic of using the row to deflect from her own comments about immigration on Question Time.

He said that friends and colleagues of Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge University, had been “trolling” his site, Don’t Start Me Off!, which he closed down this week, by bombarding it with Latin poetry. [Read more…]


Where is this Big Book of God’s Rules where God spells out all these new rules that some people know all about but I’ve never heard of? Like the rule that a girl who works at Burger King has to wear a long skirt instead of trousers? I seriously have no idea where that rule is but apparently it’s such an important and real and binding rule that Burger King has to hire her because of it and it has to let her wear a long skirt instead of trousers on the job. Also if it slips up and fires her instead it has to give her 25 thousand dollars.

Burger King has agreed to pay $25,000 to a Pentecostal teenage girl who was fired because she wished to a wear a long skirt instead of pants. [Read more…]

Women’s hour

Maureen Brian alerted me to Mary Beard’s appearance (there should be a hearing-word version of “appearance” for radio and podcasts – can’t be audience, that’s taken, and I can’t think of what else it could be) on Women’s Hour to talk about verbal abuse online.

She reports that the guys who run the repellent website that zoomed in on her actually took it down. Gee. I wish that happened more often. “Oh – this is vicious and horrible?” Pause for thought. “Why I guess you’re right, it is. That’s the end of that then. Thank you for letting us know.”

She and the presenter Jenni Murray talk about whether misogynist verbal abuse discourages women from speaking up (and writing) in public. “D’you think it does?” “Ooooooooh I don’t know, what d’you think?” “Oooooooh hard to say really.” No that’s not how it went. Mary Beard said of course it does.

A good little girl doesn’t

Laura Bates objects to casual sexism among politicians in the UK.

Murdo Fraser, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Mid-Scotland and Fife, discovered last week that the wife of former Liberal leader Lord Steel had declared herself pro-independence. He tweeted: “Why is Lady Steel (apparently) pro-independence? Is he not master in his own house?” Presumably Fraser was joking, but Twitter users were less than impressed, with one remarking: “That line is like something straight out of the 1950s.”

Fraser’s words closely echo those of Austin Mitchell, Labour MP for Great Grimsby, who a few months ago launched a misogynistic online tirade against former Conservative MP Louise Mensch, tweeting: “Shut up Menschkin. A good wife doesn’t disagree with her master in public and a good little girl doesn’t lie about why she quit politics.” When accused of sexism, the politician acted as if the whole affair were a huge joke, later tweeting: “Has the all clear siren gone? Has the Menschivick bombardment stopped?” [Read more…]

“She whined”

I hope you enjoyed your break from the misogyny wars yesterday – I held off on commenting on the Ms piece in order to make it a real break – because the wars aren’t over yet.

I’m staggered by something I just read by Rod Liddle at the Spectator. I’ve been staggered by things Rod Liddle said before – way back in January 2010, for instance, and reposted here in October 2011.

And here I was fuming (or should I say bitching?) about sexist epithets and men who type thousands of words insisting that ‘stupid bitch’ is not sexist. Kind of puts it all in perspective. Except actually I think it’s (broadly speaking) all part of the same thing. I think both items are part of a broader culture in a lot of places that demeans women in a sexist way. I think the bizarro phenomenon of men who ought to know better verbally spewing on women whenever they feel like it is pretty much by definition part of a broader culture that demeans women in a sexist way. That’s why it shocks me that men give themselves permission to do that – it reveals that contempt for women is commonplace in areas where I would have thought it had gone out of fashion decades ago.

But no – apparently it’s still seen as hip and edgy and funny to treat women like dirt. Apparently sexism is being defined downwards so that it isn’t really sexism unless, I don’t know, it comes with a signed affidavit stating This Is Sexism. Rod Liddle apparently is of that school, unless he really didn’t post this on a Millwall fans’ website:

Stupid bitch. A year eight sociology lecture from someone who knows fck all. You could equally say that we were similar to any group which disliked a certain aspect of society, felt estranged from it but were sure we were right. The logical extension of her argument is that the status quo is always right, which is absurd, because if that were true nothing would change. Someone kick her in the cnt. [Read more…]

On the relationship between philosophy, science and morality

Massimo goes a few rounds with the ol’ science can whup philosophy story.

Oh my, I thought I was done for a while chastising skeptics like Sam Harris on the relationship between philosophy, science and morality, and I just found out that my friend Michael Shermer has incurred a similar (though not quite as egregious as Harris’) bit of questionable thinking. As I explained in my review of Harris’ book for Skeptic, one learns
precisely nothing about morality by reading The Moral Landscape. Indeed, one’s time on that topic is much better spent by leafing through Michael Sandel’s On Justice, for example.

I too reviewed Harris’s book, and I too thought it was way too dismissive of philosophy and way too short on argument as a result. I thought that as a non-philosopher, of course, while Massimo thinks it as a philosopher (and a biologist too!), but I’ve read a little moral philosophy here and there, and I found it a lot more enlightening than I found The Moral Landscape. [Read more…]

Not persons after all?

Oh how interesting. Catholic hospitals don’t always say that a fetus is a person. For instance, how about when an on-call obstetrician doesn’t answer the page when a pregnant woman is in the ER having a heart attack and she ends up dying? And then her husband files a wrongful death suit?

No, not then.

The lead defendant in the case is Catholic Health Initiatives, the Englewood-based nonprofit that runs St. Thomas More Hospital as well as roughly 170 other health facilities in 17 states. Last year, the hospital chain reported national assets of $15 billion. The organization’s mission, according to its promotional literature, is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be guided by “fidelity to the Gospel.” Toward those ends, Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. [Read more…]

The barmaid agrees

A great new Jesus and Mo. First, a word from their sponsor –

You may notice the return of the “Help J&M pay their hosting fees” button in the r/h column. This is because our current host – the magnificent – have changed their billing system to make it fairer for
sites which don’t use up many resources. Unfortunately, J&M is not one of those
sites, and  our monthly bill has increased substantially – so if you have a few
bucks spare to throw into our hosting account, that would be much appreciated.

And now, see them finally get through to the barmaid. [Read more…]