So now I think my post yesterday on Ron’s apology was too grudging. It read as chilly to me then, but see Stephanie’s post for reasons to think it’s not.

Some specifics on the remarks and the circumstances surrounding them.

  • While the remarks don’t contain much in the way of specifics, the apologies there are solid apologies. I’ve heard them referred to as not-pologies. They are not. They apologize for both the behavior and the results of that behavior.
  • CFI is holding a branch leaders meeting at the moment. Several people who are there are telling me (in varying degrees of public settings) that discussions there have been intense. They are also confirming that when Lindsay says he’s starting to understand what the letters told him. He is listening again.
  • Lindsay has apologized to CFI staff. Official communications from CFI refer to this apology as “heartfelt”, and people at the meeting confirm this. Both in terms of professionalism and in terms of him dealing with people I care about, this is huge to me.

Yes. The hell with being grudging. I apologize for being grudging. I take it back.

Amy too is optimistic.

You know what would be great for WiS3 (assuming it happens)? Martha Nussbaum and Christina Hoff Sommers doing a dialogue.




  1. says

    Wut? I got the memo via the Baboon/FfTB/Skepchick back channel that nothing less than Ron’s head was sufficient. With all this warm fuzzy appreciation of his apology I’m starting to think we have a leadership problem!

  2. hjhornbeck says

    Christina Hoff Sommers

    The woman who thinks the sciences do not have a sexism problem? Who coined the terms “equity” and “gender feminism?” Who thinks this of Women’s Studies courses:

    Hoff Sommers carefully explains to the students that much of the fault for this unfortunate phenomenon [of “pathologizing maleness”] lies with women’s studies departments. There, ‘statistically challenged’ feminists engage in bad scholarship to advance their liberal agenda. As her preliminary analysis of women’s studies textbooks has shown, these professors are peddling a skewed and incendiary message: ‘Women are from Venus, men are from Hell’.

    If she’s a feminist, so is much of the Slyme Pit.

  3. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Yeah, I’m definitely warming up to his apology as well. I also just like way too many of the people at CFI for me to stay mad at them for too long.

  4. Pteryxx says

    Personally I’m going to stay grudging until I see some more public and organizational response… at this point I’m more concerned about the CFI board than Lindsay himself, who after all is just one person. I won’t fault any of you for accepting this as a good sign to be moving on with, though. I just hope CFI doesn’t let everyone down again.

  5. says

    HJ, well that’s the point. She’s the source of most of the talking points of anti-feminists, so she would be the right person to have that discussion of the stuff Ron talked about, and Nussbaum would be the ideal opponent.

  6. elyss says

    I’m staying grudging too. I understand why some might want to let Lindsay off the hook but ignoring the tone of his apology is,at best, expedient. If self-interest (i.e. not burning bridges with CFI) is a good enough reason to ignore the churlishness and adolescent gritted-teeth-ness of the statement when practically anything else on the Interswebz is minutely dissected for tone then it is horribly hypocritical.

    While I’m prepared to accept what Stephanie says about what’s gone on behind the scenes, her oh-so-morally-superior remark in the comments about not getting into tone has really set my teeth on edge.

  7. says

    elyss, I apologize. It wasn’t meant to be a comment on morality at all. I meant it only as a comment on what I could and couldn’t reasonably figure out from the statement.

  8. hjhornbeck says

    Benson @6:

    She’s the source of most of the talking points of anti-feminists, so she would be the right person to have that discussion of the stuff Ron talked about, and Nussbaum would be the ideal opponent.

    Maaayybe. But it still feels like that would be a debate between Rush Limbaugh and John Rawls; why does the former deserve a seat in an academic debate, when they despise and reject academics? Sommers is too much of an ideologue, in my opinion, to be worth putting up on a podium. I’d rather give the time that would have been wasted on a debate to a lecture by someone who’s a fierce proponent of social justice, who has rhetorical skills and an intellect to back that up.

  9. says

    hj, ah but it’s not an academic debate, it’s a public debate. Remember, that’s what Team Harassment keeps complaining about? “How dare people invite non-academics to these conferences?” Ignoring the fact that the conferences aren’t academic.

    And then, Sommers is originally an academic. She moved to AEI, but she started out as a university philosopher.

  10. hjhornbeck says

    Bugger, Sommers has a PhD in Philosophy, and was a professor? Yet she can write crap like this?

    In a recent talk at Haverford College, I questioned the standard women’s studies teaching that the United States is a patriarchal society that oppresses women. […]

    Nor did I win converts when I said that the male heroism of special forces soldiers and the firefighters at ground zero should persuade gender scholars to acknowledge that “stereotypical masculinity” had some merit. Later an embarrassed and apologetic student said to me, “Haverford is just not ready for you.”

    I think I need to lay down for a bit…

  11. Kelseigh says

    I’m still puzzled, what about the apology indicates he even understands what people were offended by? I get that he’s begrudgingly been dragged into admitting that yes, he did offend people, but I’m missing any conception of why. That on its own doesn’t exactly fill me with hope that there won’t be a repeat down the road.

  12. Gretchen Robinson says

    note that Ron L. says “I apologize” not ‘if I offended….’
    That to me is a ‘real’ apology. I’m inclined to belive
    that he is learning the lessons he most needs to know.”
    This is a watershed moment. There was a before and
    now we’re in the ‘after’ where we are expecting positive changes.

    And there are ‘us’ (feminists and feminist allies) in CFI
    who are changing the culture. It’ inevitable, in any case, IMO.

  13. Dave Ricks says

    Maybe this thread “Onward” is a good place for me to point out Ron Lindsay’s enthusiastic post after WiS 2012, “We Can’t Stop Now”.  I’ll also quote from his remarks about the CFI conference harassment policy:

    One benefit of attending the Women in Secularism conference in May was that it became apparent to me, based on comments from some of the speakers, that there was a need for such a policy. In consultation with CFI’s Management Committee, I decided that CFI should develop such a policy.

    And he stood on principle to support the policy against people opposing the policy. I give him credit for these things.

  14. latsot says

    I felt that the apology read by itself as you quoted it, Ophelia, was fairly shitty.

    But somehow when I read the whole thing with the preliminary paragraph, it seemed a bit less shitty.

    I’m not sure why. I don’t understand what extra context that first paragraph added that flipped it from shitty to almost sincere. But it somehow did seem slightly better when I read it in full. Odd.

    But I still think there’s a rabbit away here. It’s good that Ron has apologised for some of the things he did, but CFI still hasn’t made it clear how they stand on the issue. I don’t care how they stand for or against Ron himself – that’s something that can be worked out one way or another over time – I care about the fact that the board seemed to care more about (incompetently) protecting the organisation’s reputation than it did about reassuring women that it was on their side.

    I appreciate that people are working on this, but I’m not sure it’s really all that hard to say “super-sorry, we kind of arsed this up and we kind of know why now and we’re trying to learn more”. Isn’t that all anyone really wants to hear from them?

  15. =8)-DX says

    From the letters sent to me and the board, I have a better understanding of the objections to the talk.

    Although it’s not “I was wrong”, it’s pretty close to “I was ignorant” and includes “I read some of the letters sent to me”, which are pretty much the crucial points.

    Much better.

  16. =8)-DX says


    Nor did I win converts when I said that the male heroism of special forces soldiers and the firefighters at ground zero should persuade gender scholars to acknowledge that “stereotypical masculinity” had some merit.

    I have little to no knowledge of what representation of genders there were among the rescue crews on 9/11, but without even needing to google, I just typed the following address into the browser: http://www.womenatgroundzero.com and came up with:

    The Women at Ground Zero Project continues to honor women in the fire, police and emergency medical services who risked — or gave — their lives on 9/11.

    No shit. Of course there were women that helped on ground zero despite being devoid of all that “stereotypical masculinity”. It’s like people are being willfully blind to the obvious fact that unless prohibited, women do contribute to literally every sphere of life. It’s like climate change or evolution denialism: “la la la I can’t hear you, all the strong men are doing all the hard work. What about those women? Which women? la la la I can’t see any women.”

  17. Lyanna says

    Sommers has gone so far off the deep end that her debating Nussbaum, or any other reasonable person, would be like a chimpanzee debating a human. Sommers’ arguments amount to thrown feces.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *