It’s all so easy

Rod Liddle is going for the contemptuously sexist asshole prize again. All this fuss about Rennard and his way of pestering women; pish tosh, old bean, what a lot of bother about nothing.

I don’t doubt that it is sometimes unpleasant for women to work in some male-dominated trades and professions, because of the behaviour and attitudes of some of the majority gender. Nor do I doubt that plenty of professions are still rife with sexism and discrimination, politics almost certainly being one of them. But I am not convinced that Rennard’s alleged crimes give us much evidence of this. One of the accusations against Rennard is that he ‘propositioned’ a couple of women, despite apparently being aware that they were in long-standing relationships. [Read more…]

The wonders of anti-vaxxing

A measles outbreak in South Wales: 189 cases.

Parents are being urged to make sure their children receive the measles, mumps
and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

So that they won’t get measles.

Dr Marion Lyons, director of health protection for Public Health Wales (PHW), said: “We continue to be concerned at the number of cases of measles we are seeing in the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot areas.

“We cannot emphasise enough that measles is an illness that can kill, or leave patients with permanent complications including severe brain damage, and the only protection is two doses of the MMR vaccination.”

She added that people most at risk of catching measles are children of school age who have not had two doses of MMR.

Get the vaccination.

H/t Roger

Reputation management instructions

Justin Vacula has a typically clueless video responding to Stephanie’s post on his “advice” to feminists being harassed on the internet. Stephanie and athcyo combined to produce a transcript. I started emitting steam before I was halfway through the transcript. I want to say why.

My recommendations here, for people who face criticism and hate to reduce the criticism and hate, are very reasonable things people can do. It’s what Karla Porter refers to–and I’m sure many others–as reputation management. The way people present themselves [image of a tweet by Amanda Marcotte] has something to do with their perception, with the criticism they receive.

After all, as I’ve pointed out on many occasions, there are many women on the internet–there are many feminists on the internet, some of them including men, who write about feminism, who write about women’s issues, who write about anything given in the world, and they don’t receive the level of criticism, negative feedback, what Stephanie Zvan calls harassment and cyberstalking. [image of a Twitter exchange with EllenBeth Wachs] They don’t receive this. [Read more…]

Reading University is disappoint

Reading University issued a statement on the cancellation of the talk by Thahabi, that is, a joint statement from Reading University Muslim Society, Reading University Students Union (RUSU) and the University of Reading.

Reading University Muslim Society, Reading University Students Union (RUSU) and the University of Reading are in agreement that the laudable aims of the Muslim Society’s Discover Islam Week are undermined by the increasing threat of violent protest from extremist groups outside the University community.

A careful assessment of the threat to the events on Wednesday and Thursday evening have led all three organisations to reluctantly agree to the cancelation of these talks. Our priority is to the safety of all those who had planned to attend or to peacefully protest outside the talk and we are very disappointed that we have had to take this course of action. However, the safety of our students, members, staff and visitors is of paramount importance. [Read more…]

More news from Reading University

I found an interesting update from Adam Goodkin of the Reading University student atheist humanist secularist society on Facebook this morning: an event they were protesting has been called off. I bet you can guess what kind of event it was before I quote from Pink News on the subject.

Homophobic cleric Abu Usamah at-Thahabi will no longer be visiting the University of Reading tomorrow after the event he was due to attend was cancelled because of fears of violent protests.

The cleric has advocated that gay men should be thrown off a “mountain” and previously referred to gay people as “perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered”.

Thahabi was due to attend Reading University’s Muslim Society on Thursday as part of a series of talks designed to raise awareness of Islam as a faith.

So the question becomes, why was Thahabi due to attend Reading University’s Muslim Society on Thursday as part of a series of talks designed to raise awareness of Islam as a faith? Why doesn’t Reading University’s Muslim Society have a filter that excludes clerics who say that gay men should be thrown off a mountain and that gay people are “perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered”? Why don’t they want clerics who respect human rights as opposed to clerics who don’t?

Audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge

Scalia thinks protection of the right to vote is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” at least he does when the right being protected is the one being protected by the Voting Rights Act.

There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

Yeah we don’t want that. We want more rugged independence and pulling self up by own bootstraps around here, not this pesky Nanny State coddling of people by making it illegal to keep them from voting. [Read more…]

The experimenter said “you should make some effort”

Jadehawk has a useful post about what psychology considers harassment. Just imagine: there is research. It’s possible to find out what harassment does to people.

Because certain entities on the web feel like redefining all forms of internet harassment and threat as “trolling” just because it happens online or via unusual media, I decided to look at what actually qualifies as harassment in psychology (rather than in law, since we’re talking about whether it affects people, not whether it’s illegal).

Wait, let me guess first – it doesn’t affect people at all unless they’re Professional Victims or Drama Queens or Special Snowflakes. Right?


For subjects in the Harassment condition, the procedure for the first four TAT cards was identical to that just described for subjects in the Nonharassment condition. Before the fifth card, however, the experimenter said that the last four stories had been “somewhat boring,” and that the subject should try harder to make the next few stories interesting. [Read more…]

Throw the rock overhand, like this

There’s an Islamist Facebook page that posted a set of graphics showing how to stone someone to death. The graphics were originally published by the National Post on November 20 2010.

The Facebook graphics are below the fold. Trigger warning, obviously.

The National Post article was illustrating the horror. The Facebook page is apparently giving instructions.

People (including me) have been reporting it, but it’s still there. [Read more…]

What you see

Reading Michael Kimmel’s The Gendered Society. His argument is that the genders aren’t unequal because different, but different because unequal. The inequality is always justified on the basis of difference, but the inequality itself makes the genders different.

What’s different over the past thirty years – now forty: the book was published in 2000 – is making gender visible.

We now know that gender is one of the central organizing principles around which social life revolves. Until the 1970s, social scientists would have listed only class and race as the master statuses that defined and proscribed social life. [p 5]

Gender became visible because women became visible. That was the “radical” in the radical feminism of the 70s. [Read more…]


There was a pretty good documentary on the recent history of the women’s movement in the US on PBS last night. It featured Pat Schroeder a lot, which was fun, because she was at Moving Secularism Forward last year (and I got her name tag as a souvenir).

The last hour, on the most recent history, spent too much time on pop culture figures as opposed to political ones, but the first two hours were good. We got the anti-feminist views of Phyllis Schlafly. You know what she said? That feminism teaches women to be victims. Oh, so that’s where Paula Kirby gets her lines! She channels Phyllis Schlafly! I knew that was a familiar, and indeed stale, line of bullshit, but I didn’t know it went back to Schlafly. Now there’s a proud heritage.