The Story Of No One You’ve Ever Heard Of

She wrote a thoughtful article, and posted it online;
It showed she was a thinker, and it showed she had a spine
A critical analysis, presented with true class…
The geniuses who read it had to comment: “Hey, nice ass!”

With stubborn perseverance, she resolved again to try—
She’d interact as mind to mind, or know the reason why—
When something’s worth the battle, she could never call it quits…
The geniuses who read it had to comment: “Yo, nice tits!”

She wondered if she’d wandered into someone else’s world,
With the banner of misogyny so blatantly unfurled—
“They treat me like an object, and won’t even get to know me!”
And the geniuses who read it had to comment: “Baby, blow me!”

It wasn’t worth the trouble; no reward for her to stay,
She could tell she wasn’t welcome, so she mostly kept away
Every now and then, she’d read there, though it mostly made her vexed,
Cos the geniuses who wrote there had to comment: “Bitchez, Next!”


  1. The Lorax says

    Women on the Internet? What a ludicrous suggestion!
    I have to stop this madness, to make it safe for Man!
    I’ll belittle and berate, with masochistic passion,
    With the Legion I brought along with me from 4chan.

  2. pzxdld says

    Is there a specific backstory to this one? I’ve definitely seen the behavior you mention, I’m just curious if there was an incident that set you to rhyming.

  3. Johnny Vector says

    Presumably it’s the latest ants nest that many of the FTBers are posting about, on account of Rebecca Watson having the balls to call out some dickwads over at r/atheism on Reddit. There are a few categories of response I’ve seen:

    1. That’s terrible, I wish assholes wouldn’t keep doing that.
    1a. …I’ll go vote it down right away! [I haven’t actually seen that one]
    2. Well, boys will be boys, expecially on the internet.
    3. It was only a few jerks; that bitch is always blowing things out of proportion
    3a. Huh-huh. I said blowing.
    4. Hey yo, suck on this!

    As with elevatorgate, it seems the response is more telling than the original offense. I mean, yeah, it was only one subthread that she showed, but dammit, it was highly upvoted, and why the hell shouldn’t we yell about it?

  4. Ari_Caria says

    Dear Lorax,

    Safe for man? You must feel very threatened by woman. You’re not a man my fellow human, you’re a frightened child. Maybe you should try therapy.

    Yours Truly,

    Ari Caria

    p.s. I realize my comment is belittling to you, which some might argue puts me on the same level as you. However, I believe diluted individualists on their egotistical high-horse’s need some breaking down. The difference is I don’t have a complex creating bias in my thoughts and comments, as misogynistic men such as yourself do.

  5. Cuttlefish says

    Ari_Caria–I’d be willing to bet that The Lorax’s verse was intended every bit as ironically as most of mine. I could be wrong, but I’d bet a lot, actually.

    Veronica and Johnny–thanks for the link and explanation; I intended mine to be a broader commentary on this particular effect, rather than on the particulars of one incident (which is why the particulars don’t quite fit the current incident). Others have (rightly) focused on the behavior of the commenters; I wanted to focus on the loss of a potentially important voice. It actually fits another case much better…

  6. chgo_liz says

    Is the glass half full or half empty?: we humans have ridiculous issues, but they’re all fodder for Cuttlefish’s excellent verse.

  7. Ari_Caria says

    I did not realize that Lorax’s comment was not meant to be an attack, and if it wasn’t then I do apologize!

  8. Rebecca Watson says

    “Presumably it’s the latest ants nest that many of the FTBers are posting about, on account of Rebecca Watson having the balls to call out some dickwads over at r/atheism on Reddit. There are a few categories of response I’ve seen:”

    @Johnny, it’s because of sexists like you that I fucking hate atheists!! You say that I have genitalia of a men to explain that I have courage? Well, women have courage too, and we have our vaginas!! Fuck you, you fucking racist sexist dickwad!!!!

    [pending further confirmation, it appears that this commenter is not Rebecca Watson.–DC]
    [confirmed–not Rebecca Watson. At best, a failed attempt at ironic humor. Most likely, simply another illustration of the breadth of the problem.]

  9. Johnny Vector says

    [pending further confirmation, it appears that this commenter is not Rebecca Watson.–DC]

    Yep, that was my second thought. That kind of over-the-top meltdown is not Rebecca’s style at all. I could see that one could miss the sarcasm in my comment, since I pretty much whiffed this time (hey, I’m not DC; words do not always serve me). Still, I do rather hope it was someone pretending to be Rebecca.

    BTW, to see what I was trying to say, just go read Greta’s take. As always, she nails it.

  10. The Lorax says

    Ari, I assure you, my verse was indeed intended to be naught but ironic.

    It was also to point out what I believe to be the larger issue here; I refuse to comment on sexism in the atheist community, because I don’t want to throw my hat into that particular ring. There is clearly an awful lot of vitriol surrounding the issue, and I’m fine with taking a step back and letting the zeitgeist do it’s thing. I will, however, point out that the behavior on reddit is nearly identical to the behavior on the greatest hive of scum and villainy on the Internet, 4chan. If you’ve never been there, you wouldn’t understand (and probably would not have gotten the joke in my verse, in that case…).

    The idea was known some time ago (do a google search for “The Greater Internet Dickwad Theory”), but in short, in a medium which allows complete freedom of speech and exchange of ideas with little to no law or rule and no moderation or enforcement of what there may be, coupled with complete anonymity and zero consequences… people will tend to behave like assholes. Obviously not all people, obviously not all places. This has given rise to a new breed: the troll. This is an individual who has found a powerful loophole in the Internet: if your goal is to gain attention, then it turns out, the more horrible you are, the more attention you’re going to get, and you will still suffer no consequences. That’s what these people on reddit are. Oh sure, you can call them sexist or racist or immature or misogynistic. These are all perfectly true and applicable. But it’s like giving someone a bullet and calling him a potential murderer. The only reason these people are showing these traits is because of the medium; they have bullets, the Internet is their gun. If it wasn’t for the Internet, I’ll bet you pancakes to positrons they wouldn’t behave nearly as bad.

    I’ve also heard people say that we should shout them down. Sorry, but that’s laughable. You don’t shout down the Internet. If you want to fix it, you’ll have to talk to the moderators at reddit and see if you can’t get some policy established or enforced. If you think you can shout down the Internet, then go to 4chan and tell them to play nice. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    So that’s all. I’m not jumping into the beehive that is this ongoing Rebeccagate (I’m allergic to bees, anyway), I’m certainly not disagreeing that there is sexism in the atheist community or any other community, I’m just and only offering some perspective to keep in mind: This is the Internet, and that fact does matter.

    PS, I timidly typed this response, because I know how the Internet works with things like this. With a lack of body language and tone, it’s difficult to discern meaning, and so things tend to get misinterpreted. I knew that my comment, despite being as snarky as I could manage, would potentially make someone mad at me. Now, you apologized and that’s totally awesome of you, but had I used the same level of snark on a different topic, odds are you would have gotten the joke. This is due to an interesting facet of the Internet that I have observed and experienced: the lack of subtlety inherent in mere text subsequently engenders a lack of subtlety in the emotional response from it, thus emotions tend to be pure and rather strong. As we, being humans, know, once a human is in an emotional state, they tend to apply it. I recognize that many people are feeling some strong emotions regarding this issue. I did not want to say anything at all, even a snarky verse, because I recognized the large potential for backlash (and I recognized this because of my long experience with online matters) and I did not wish to be given any of it. However, having such online experience and seeing people honestly thinking we could just “shout down” these people… well, I had to offer my experience. And I can tell you, from experience, it cannot be done. Your best bet is to ignore the assholes and find the innocents and bring them to better communities, like this one. I say this from experience.

  11. says

    Perusing through my RSS I never would have guessed
    That lurking in the comments was a fake, a fraud at best!

    Greg Laden tipped me off and so I rushed to read the sham
    Only finding a poor attempt to mimic who I am.

    I’d never write in public such grammatical clangers,
    And make a note, I’d never use that many dembangers.

    For future ref it would be cool (but only if you feel)
    To say to me (instead of balls) I’ve ovaries of steel.

    Regardless I would like to tell you, sorry for the trolls . . .
    If only they could be clever when reaching for their goals.

  12. says

    I love this post! It’s so hard to find good entertainment on the interwebs on slow Fridays.

    And, Rebecca you RAWK. O.o Your ovaries are a testament to all us womenfolk who brave the icy splash of the atheist communities-at-large.

  13. says

    Is there a reason to assume that “balls” must refer to testicles, to the exclusion of ovaries, or is that our societal sexism reading into the word? Are the shapes of the organs that different?

  14. Cuttlefish says

    Other than that I have only ever heard the literal use of “balls” to refer to testicles, and never to ovaries. Not so much the shape, as the location–ovaries are well hidden. Metaphorical balls, I suppose, anyone can have. So long as no one takes them and goes home.

  15. Crommunist says

    I had become much enamoured of the phrase “ladyballs”, as in “Standing up to misogyny takes a big pair of ladyballs”, but I quickly realized it wasn’t an improvement – it propped up the equation of testicles with fortitude. I have since begun using “spine” or simply finding another way to express admiration without an anatomical reference.

  16. Cuttlefish says

    Spine!?!? Goddamn vertebrocentric speech, equating subphylum vertebrata with fortitude! Won’t somebody think of the invertebrates? And to come to a mollusk’s blog to rub it in–I am livid!

    Oh, wait… I used “spine” in the original verse.

    Never mind…

  17. The Lorax says

    Ok, so “spine” is out…

    What about “neurons”? Because any being without neurons can’t reasonably understand the meaning and thus not be offended, correct?

    Then again, if Star Trek teaches us anything, it’s that thinking and feeling creatures can potentially exist that do not have neurons.. therefore, one cannot use the carboncentric, DNA-exclusive “neurons”.

    But, perhaps, we can take another step back and define “bravado” as that which the neurons produce in a general sense, yeah? So, it would be “that reaction within the information processing locations of sentient life forms which is most accurately perceived as ‘bravado’ or ‘fortitude’ by the observing entity.”

    … You know what, nevermind. I’m out of ideas.

    And so ends my rumination
    RE: good communication

  18. davesmith says

    One question before us is whether humans manage to weigh the value of something being said without taking into account the superficial qualities of the speaker?

    On the one hand, we should obviously take into account the qualities of the speaker that matter — things that help us to know whether the speaker is credible.

    … but if I provide a compelling argument, does it matter what my skin color, sex, sexual preference, or personal appearance? Can I be right if I’m a black man, have a small dick, have big tits, have cleft pallet, am fat, am diseased, am ugly, am an old woman, am a young man, have pimples, was born without an eye, or any one of a number of other traits?

    When Stephen Hawking speaks through a machine, does it devalue the content? What if someone never said the words, but just wrote it in a paper? or a blog?

    Every thinking person should be aware that their judgment about credibility can be swayed by superficial factors (e.g. skin color, sex, personal appearance) that have nothing to do with credibility or merit. I think we can all agree that NOT making deliberate attempts to correct for prejudice is the sign of a lazy mind. Deliberately using personal appearance to insult (or inslut) someone are the signs of a vile and petty mind.

    I, for one, am a huge fan of Rebecca Watson for calling out the abominable behavior, and for all the others who have written supportive blogs.

    Keep it up, Rebecca.

  19. Pat Silver says

    Yo! Nice tentacles!
    And after 50 years of being aware of the sexism, I’m very, very tired of fighting.

  20. says

    Right. Plenty of options for future use. And I shall attempt to make the sarcasm so obvious as to blow right past Poe’s law.

    Right. Like I’m gonna be able to do that.

  21. Stuartvo says

    I once used the phrase “metaphorical spheres of courage and fortitude”. Dunno if that’s an improvement over just saying “balls”, and it sure is a lot more verbose. But it’s a neat turn of phrase if I say so myself. :-)

  22. Pteryxx says

    fwiw, I tend to use “nads” as a fortitude reference, but my favorite word-which-means-balls is “huevos”. Which, of course, translates to “eggs”. ~;>

  23. Epinephrine says

    Spine!?!? Goddamn vertebrocentric speech, equating subphylum vertebrata with fortitude! Won’t somebody think of the invertebrates?

    Invertebrates can have spines, too. ;)


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