Catching up with Molly

I’m a bad, bad man — I’ve been neglecting the Molly awards for too long. Let’s fix that! For those who don’t know, the Molly awards are how we acknowledge valued and insightful commenters here, by allowing readers to nominate the names of the people they enjoy seeing in the comment threads, and the prize is that those names get enshrined on a web page.

The last round of nominations was in February. There are two winners for February 2008: Truth Machine and Mrs Tilton. Say “Huzzah!” and break out the champagne!

Now we’re a month behind, and we need nominations for both March and April. Maybe you can’t remember what anyone said in March, though, so let’s do it this way: everyone should make a general suggestion for someone you’ve known as a regular here for some time, and I’ll pick from those for the March award; and you should also make a more specific nomination for someone who has impressed you lately, and I’ll pick from those for the April award.


  1. says

    I’d just nominate Cuttlefish for both (I know he’s already a Molly laureate). I don’t usually chime in with the “I love Cuttlefish” sub-thread spawned pretty much every time he posts (I’m far too jealous to do that), but his contribution is singular. I nominate Cuttlefish for the position of Pharyngula Poet Laureate.

  2. Bride of Shrek says

    I’m going to nominate Wazza.

    He’s succinct, educational and entertaining. He’s polite yet rapier sharp with the trolls AND he doesn’t mind it when I, as an Aussie, give him shit for being a Kiwi. The lad is a consumate gentleman.

  3. MikeG says

    Glen D has been a good long-term commenter.
    wazza has had a great month
    and brokenSoldier

  4. Jack Chastain says

    Strictly for the “Modern Major General” remake, I would go with Cuttlefish – though I am far too new around these parts to really have a sufficient opinion. There are just too many good ones.


  5. True Bob says

    Well I will second/third/nth Cuttlefish as Poet Laureate, but I think Kseniya has been on fire lately, with some beautiful prose insults. Insults count, right? So my picks would be Kseniya and Ichtyich

  6. Schmeer says

    I’ve also been enjoying Wazza’s comments. I hesitate to vote for him though, because it seems that the OM distinction seems to send some of the pharyngulites away. Wazza, please don’t go.

  7. says

    windy’s Molly is long overdue. I wish I could be even a tenth as witty, knowledgeable, and insightful in Finnish as her comments in English consistently are.

    Hell, I’d settle for being even a tenth as witty knowledgeable, and insightful in English as she is. windy for the Molly!

  8. MH says

    Lots of good suggestions so far. Glen D gets my vote. I was actually surprised that he hadn’t been made a recipient already.

  9. Carlie says

    As for lately, BrokenSoldier has made a very impressive entrance this month. I’m not sure if there’s enough volume for Mollyness yet, but he/she’s definitely on that path if not for April then for sometime soon.

  10. Bride of Shrek says


    Whilst personally I love Woot. He/she is rather like me. The substance is missing but the Boobies are adorable.

  11. says

    I pretty much only comment when I am drunk. I do not comment very often, so that shows I hardly drink enough, but I’ll change, I swear I’ll change. Don’t leave me, I swear I’ll change. I will drink more for you.

  12. Bride of Shrek says

    BTW, Whilst we’re commenting on the Mollies. Where is Truth Machine? I have not seen his/her ( although I like to think, tucked in my bed at night, TM is a “him”) comments in a while. I miss the lad/lass. No one could skewer a troll like the the TM.

  13. Lynnai says

    I’d like to second the nomination for BrokenSoldierfor being patient, thoughtful, lucid and perhaps even kind in the face of layered stupidity.

    Should insults count Kseniya deserves at least a special mention for cathartic use of ‘beslubbering’ alone.

  14. brokenSoldier says

    For obvious reasons of presence I won’t have a nominee for March, so I’ll take a shot (my first) at nominating for April. (I’m really torn between a couple of posters on this, though I suspect that’s a pretty common predicament when it comes to this board.) My vote for March goes to Kseniya for pure verbosity and wit in troll-ville, and also her prescience in non-troll infested discussions. I particularly liked the recent comparison of Russia’s difficulties with its adoption of the democratic system to Iraq’s current difficulties and future potential.

    P.S. (If I had two votes, Ichthyic would have had the other one!)

  15. says

    I love Lee Brimmicombe-Wood’s comments. He’s clever, insightful, pithy, and he does it all with one word where I would, in his situation, and mind you this is a purely hypothetical thought exercise, use ten or maybe more (and a parenthesis or three).

    And where the hell did brokenSoldier come from? Way to break on to the scene with a bang! Good Jorb!

    Congratulations to TM and Mrs. T!

    Oh, and if you’ll all allow me to get a little speechy for a moment: whatever else has/will come from this Expellelled fiasco, I’m grateful for the huge influx of newcomers to the community (though I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed by trollishness as of late). This is exactly what those of us on the outspoken atheist side have been claiming all along–that we’re helping to create an environment where others can stand up and be heard against the background of faith-based irrationality. Whether it’s because they’ve been galvanised against the anti-evidence crusaders like Stein and his creationist cronies or because they’ve been emboldened to come out to their communities and say “Hey, I really don’t buy this mumbo-jumbo either! Great to know I’m not the only one!”, I’m really glad they’ve come.

  16. says

    Glenn D. would also be my nomination, mostly because the others I think deserve it, has already gotten one. BrokenSoldier is a good future candidate, but I’d rather see some long-term commitment… If Ichthyic hasn’t gotten a OM yet, he should of course also get one.

    Kseniya get special mention for her truly awesome insulting though. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like it before.

  17. says

    I’m a bad, bad man

    Coming soon to a quote mine near you!

    Atheist PZ Myers sees the light! Admits his evil nature!

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  18. says

    (though I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed by trollishness as of late)

    Brownian, I can only wholeheartedly recommend the GreaseMonkey plugin with the killfile script to firefox. I started using it because of the number of trolls in some of the other ScienceBlogs, and it has been wonderful.

  19. says

    Since some commenters have wondered whether certain individuals have already been enrolled in the honorary Order of the Molly, you can easily check out the list here, which includes mini-testimonials to each winner. Alternatively, you can view the list below, which I present in quasi-alphabetical order. (I considered reverse quasi-alphabetical order as a symbolic protest over the hegemony of ABCs, but realized just in time how self-serving that would be.)

    Blake Stacey
    David Marjanović
    Hank Fox
    Kristine Harley
    Mrs. Tilton
    Scott Hatfield
    Torbjörn Larsson
    Truth Machine

    PZ has promulgated no rules that limit the number of times someone can be awarded the Molly, but I think there are enough meritorious commenters around that there is no great pressure to start recycling already.

    Did you know there is also a kind of anti-Molly? That involves getting banned.

  20. says

    I’d like to suggest Lee Brimmicombe-Wood and brokenSoldier as April nominees, and I’d like to recognize Glen D. as a regular who deserves the March Molly.

  21. windy says

    #7: geez, I blush…

    I nominate Anton Mates for the general and Bride of Shrek for the specific award (although the other way around would work as well)

  22. Sastra says

    Hard choices. But —

    Glen D, definitely overdue. I bring him up for a Molly almost every month, I think. His frequent posts are informative, thoughtful and intelligent — except for sudden Tourette-like bursts of scathing vitriol — and then calm back down to academic discussion. This used to bother me a bit, but I’m now at the point where I see it as a charming quirk. He has my vote. Again.

    windy, also overdue. And that new guy, Lee Higgeldy-Piggeldy or whatever his name is, would make a dandy fine selection.

  23. Kseniya says

    Tough call, as usual, but I’d like to nominate brokenSoldier for his many thoughtful contributions this month.

  24. Kseniya says

    Oh geez! And congratulations to Mrs. T, and The Truth Machine (wherever he may be…) Best wishes to you both.

  25. Kseniya says

    Oh, for March, I’d like to throw in with the windy-ites. :-)

    (Every time I pick a name, I feel like I’m snubbing another dozen. I’d nominate 20 people if I could…)

  26. says

    Not that the previous winners don’t deserve a second mention but I’ll go with a new one for each month

    Rey Fox for being ultimately witty

    natural cynic – for the knowledgeable to the point retorts and comments

  27. jsn says

    I support Glen D. for the nomination. Congrats to the new Order of Molly recipients.

  28. says

    Is everyone misspelling Ichthyic to make it difficult for me to count those votes, or is there some new commenter I’ve somehow missed named Ichtyich?

  29. Hap says

    We’ll try again.

    Ichthyic and broken Soldier, please.

    I was looking at Prof. Myers’ post when I wrote #44. Ack.

  30. Stagyar zil Doggo says

    Congratulations to TM and Mrs. Tilton on their Mollification.

    For the current round, I’ll add my voice to the section of the gallery clamoring for Glen Davidson.

    PS: Glen, I’d be much more inclined to check out links in your posts if they transparently disclosed where they lead to. I’m not fond of the tinyurl thingy.

  31. pcarini says

    For what it’s worth: wazza‘s posts have stood out for me as top notch, among the generally excellent quality of posts on this board.

  32. Epikt says

    I hesitate to nominate Kseniya–if we keep encouraging her, she’ll never put down that thesaurus–but I’m afraid that if we don’t, she’ll call us something puzzling and polysyllabic.

    And certainly brokenSoldier wins the “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” award.

  33. Rey Fox says

    What do people think about the monthly voting process? Should one’s consideration for who to vote for be constrained by his/her comments for that particular month, or should one’s entire body of work be considered? The votes for people already in the Order suggest that it’s a month-by-month thing.

    So my votes this week (and I hope multiple votes don’t confound the counting process too much): brokenSoldier, Russell Blackford, and Kagehi. Seriously guys, Kag’s lengthy comment on the polygamy thread is Molly material all by itself (though I can’t really say what Ms. Ivins’ thoughts on human sexuality and relationships were).

  34. says

    The “Ichtyich” spelling is a mutation that has been propagating through this comment thread by reproduction (people copying from each other). It remains to be seen whether it is beneficial. Certainly, however, it represents an increase in information.

    I also diffidently note that I spelled “Ichthyic” correctly in my list of previous Molly winners. Ahem. (Contra the specious Jefferson quote, I am a spelling prescriptivist.)

  35. David Marjanović, OM says

    OK, I’ll just jump on the windy and brokenSoldier bandwagons, though, as usual, there are lots of worthy people out there…

    I particularly liked the recent comparison of Russia’s difficulties with its adoption of the democratic system to Iraq’s current difficulties and future potential.

    Where can I read that?

    And where the hell did brokenSoldier come from?

    …From Iraq. Broken.

    The “Ichtyich” spelling is a mutation that has been propagating through this comment thread by reproduction (people copying from each other). It remains to be seen whether it is beneficial. Certainly, however, it represents an increase in information.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    truth machine won? Says a lot about Pharyngula.

    Says more about him: although he was very, very angry, he didn’t stop making arguments, and good arguments at that.

    Congratulations for spelling him correctly, though.

  36. Ichthyic says

    I also diffidently note that I spelled “Ichthyic” correctly in my list of previous Molly winners. Ahem. (Contra the specious Jefferson quote, I am a spelling prescriptivist.)

    *tips hat*

    (all hail Dagon)

    …and yes, I appreciate the nod, but indeed I already have one. I apologize for the confusion, I’ve just never been one to prefer to add titles to my handle.

    as a new poster with a lot on his mind, and an eloquent way of expressing it, I’d like to give a shout out for brokenSoldier as well.

  37. Ichthyic says

    oh and:

    Glen D, definitely overdue.

    seconded. He deserves one at least for the sheer effort he puts in day in and day out, not only here, but on his own blog as well.

  38. Sili says

    Ah – I’m sure I’ve made the mistake of nominating both Ichtyic and Blake Stacey despite both of them having already won.

    Anyway – for sheer diligence, bordering on OCD: Glen D.

    For touchning, honest and enlightening posts – not least answering that Quaerar fellow on the papist post: Broken Soldier.

    Bride of Shrek is due, too.

  39. Ichthyic says


    Ok, now you’re doing just to parallel the Meyers/Myers thing, right?


  40. Leigh says

    Glen D is overdue. Brokensoldier has added a new, and authentic, voice that should be recognized.

    Honestly, though, there are so many posters I admire that it’s really hard to choose.

  41. MB says

    WAZZA! (with Glen D as a runner up if Wazza is disqualified for a sex tape, pictures or unchristian behavior I don’t know about)

  42. ned rosen says

    Another vote for Glen D– dedicated commenter who I’ve enjoyed here for years.

  43. Skwee says

    I nominate Bride of Shrek.

    While I’m at it, I would like to suggest giving the crazy bot we got at the beginning of March the March Molly. Just to spice things up a bit.

  44. says

    Ah, fuck, y’all. I am the great and terrible Tangled Up in Blue Guy and I never get nominated (except by the beautiful B N R.) I am on the frickin’ radio for crissakes!

    Would it kill any of you to at least nominate me?!!!

  45. brokenSoldier says

    Posted by: David Marjanović, OM | April 19, 2008 4:17 PM
    ‘I particularly liked the recent comparison of Russia’s difficulties with its adoption of the democratic system to Iraq’s current difficulties and future potential.’
    “Where can I read that?”

    Look on the Sanctimonious Monsters post at comment # 417…it’s Kseniya’s comment, and it’s quite intelligent and observant, IMHO.

    And where the hell did brokenSoldier come from?
    …From Iraq. Broken.

    Oh, how true it is — a place like that’ll change more than your skin tone for sure…

  46. says

    And who, of anyone has ever organized a Pharyngulafest which has featured PZ, Mary, Skatje, Greg, Amanda, Marcia, Peter and Bobby and Jan (my personal favorite?)

    I should own the Molly.

  47. Kseniya says

    Thesaurus? I don’t need no steeknin’ Thesaurus! Geez!

    In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I did consult a Shakespearean Insult Generator to get myself started, though not everything I wrote was cribbed from there. If this shatters any illusions about my erudition, well – good. (I would, however, like to show you this really cool inner-workings-of-a-cell animation sequence I made… *cough*)

    Molly issues aside (and I don’t expect, or wish, to be in the running here) I feel compelled to say that it feels weird to be praised for my mad skillz as a dealer of insult, because I think I’m generally one of the more mild-mannered commenters here. When I said “I want to be Sastra when I grow up,” I wasn’t kidding, and wasn’t just tossing out a compliment – I took to heart her explanation of her approach, which is to write as if the person she’s addressing is right on the tipping point of being convinced. To each his own, and all that, but I’m more inclined to be conciliatory than to indulge in slash-and-burn.


    In this case, however, I simply lost my temper (albeit in a creative way, for which I am willing to accept a special, single-thread “Mauly” – heh) and wrote something in response, a thing of which I was not exactly proud. I couldn’t even bring myself to put my own name on it.

    [Brain first, keyboard second, conscience third, mouse button fourth.]

    So I didn’t. I re-wrote it, which was fun but still left me with something I hesitated to post.

    Why? Because I knew how utterly vile it was. But post it I did – and yet even the object of my wrath more or less dismissed it, with a chuckle, as an oddity. If I’d simply said “You miserable fucking shitbag!” I’d have been called out for being basely rude. The stuff I actually did write was far worse, but because it didn’t contain any of the standard contemporary vulgar oaths or terms (I even changed Hell to Texas, heh) it was perceived as “ok” – insulting, yes, but more eccentric than crass.

    Anyways (and I finally arrive at the point) I find this rather interesting. It suggests that diction trumps semantics: The character of the words chosen means more than the meaning of the chosen words.


  48. says

    I’d like to (as they say in Congress) “revise and extend” my remarks:

    My admiration for Kseniya is undimmed, but I had forgotten, when I chimed in earlier, that she’d already won… and I agree with whoever said it that it’s early days yet to be giving out seconds.

    I also think Cuttlefish’s unique contributions should be recognized in a unique way, so I support the notion of making him (her? it?) Pharyngula Poet Laureate.

    Finally, let my add my voice to the chorus in favor of brokenSoldier (notwithstanding the fact that he[? These days I assume nothing, even about a soldier who’s served in a combat theater!] and I are having a bit of a snit in another thread at the moment).

  49. bad Jim says

    I’ll nominate nullifidian for his patient, indefatigable efforts at debunking anti-Islamic spew in this thread.

    I’m no fan of any religion, but so many Americans feel empowered to dump on Islam nowadays that I appreciate anyone who takes the time to set things straight. Nullifidian took on all comers, calmly, rationally, and eloquently.

    Other Molly winners have gotten their laurels for a single eloquent post. I’ll nominate this one for an entire anthology.

  50. MB says

    bad Jim, it would be interesting to give Nullifidian a Molly on an atheist’s site based on a thread in which he was explaining why religion is


    Well, it’s so simple that I am embarrassed for you to have to explain it: humanism. Real, authentic humanism. Religion is a human activity. It therefore, represents all aspects of humanity. Some of it is dangerous, self-destructive, and tribalistic because humans are sometimes dangerous, self-destructive, and tribalistic. However, it also represents, at its best, striving for connectedness, society, reconciliation, forgiveness, yearning for answers, warmth, egalitarianism, and all the characteristics one associates with what’s best about humanity.”

    Sure sounds like a religious apology to me, which wasn’t necessary to explain that Geert Wilders is a racist shitbag. I believe I heard Andrew Sullivan say about the same thing in defense of religion a while back… Good Christian vs not a “true” Christian, good Muslim vs not a “true” Muslim… All destructive fairy tales, no?

  51. John Phillips, FCD says

    Wazza and Kseniya.

    And to nth. other posters suggestion, Cuttlefish for Pharyngula poet laureate.

  52. maxi says

    I agree with all those who have said that Glen D‘s Molly is well overdue.

    More recently brokenSoldier has been a consistently thoughtful and erudite.

    And holbach‘s rants have been pretty amazing too.

  53. brokenSoldier says

    “…he… and I are having a bit of a snit in another thread at the moment.”

    Posted by: Bill Dauphin | April 20, 2008 2:38 AM

    I appreciate the compliment, Bill. And even though we were in fact having a snit, I much prefer those – admittedly, sometimes enjoyable – snits to the other, less-than-verbal altercations one sometimes encounters…and I look forward to more!

  54. David Marjanović, OM says

    You need an antiMolly, too. I won’t use the entire name: WW.

    Bravefart? Is in the dungeon.

    Look on the Sanctimonious Monsters post at comment # 417…

    Ah, thanks. That’s the thread where I had to stop when I was only half done with reading.

    bad Jim, it would be interesting to give Nullifidian a Molly on an atheist’s site based on a thread in which he was explaining why religion is

    Wait a little. Go to the list of winners, and check out who Scott Hatfield is. “The best disposition among atheists” is a double-entendre.

  55. mothra says

    For March, I nominate David Marjanovic and Cuttlefish; for April I nominate Ichthyic and brokenSoldier.

    Reasons, David consistantly adds facts an important details that flesh out discussions. Cuttlefish-

    A magnificent poet is cuttlefish,
    a squid left behind would be so remiss.
    ‘Versatility’ shows,
    in tentacular proes,
    nominations closed, please do not scuttle this!

    For April, Ichthyic and brokenSoldier spent a great deal of time on thoughtful posts in response to ignorance and trolling by London IS a fool, Ethan, and the ASteroid (aka the now dungeoned Planet killer). Excellent work.

  56. Bill Dauphin says


    I appreciate the compliment, Bill. And even though we were in fact having a snit…

    Karma has a way of lending a helping hand, sometimes: I was about halfway through a reply in that other thread, explaining to you that I was right to call an earlier comment of yours “patronizing”… explaining that in patient and no doubt patronizing detail! As it happened, though, my wife borrowed the computer, and managed to accidentally lose my half-written comment, which was, I’m sure, a blessing for us both.

    Cheers, mate…

  57. Hap says

    I are not smart – I didn’t read the post above well enough to realize that Ichythic was OM. Please don’t take that as a reverse endorsement of Mr. Soldier.

  58. CosmicTeapot says

    I nominate Kseniya, for comment 155 on the Sanctimonious Monster blog, and Cuttlefish for the eohippus poem on the Expelled blog.

    Word craft of the finest order, and a joy to read.

  59. wazza says

    Aw, shucks…

    MB: all three, but not here.

    I’d nominate Kseniya for the molly with bar

    Holbach, too, for sheer fire. At least he’s honest.

  60. Michael X says

    Well it looks like I got back from vacation just in time to vote for Glen D. Long overdue.

  61. CG says

    Ok, so in the selection bar at the top of your home page [right under “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”], howcome there’s a place to select “Dungeon” but not a place to select “Molly?”

    Maybe I’m doing something wrong.

  62. Anonymous holder of the OM says

    The Molly section is disguised as the Commenters section.

  63. cicely says

    Having been referred here from another thread, I vote brokenSoldier and Etha williams for Mollys; Cuttlefish for Poet Laureate.

  64. KMarissa says

    Now now, don’t y’all know anything about playing hard to get? Give Etha the Molly now, and she’ll just lose interest. Hold out on her for at least another month ;)

    brokenSoldier gets my April vote.

  65. KMarissa says

    Hm… In retrospect, brokenSoldier hasn’t been around much longer than Etha. Okay, Mollies for neither of them.

  66. Kseniya says

    Yeah, too many OMs have made themselves scarce in the aftermath of their glories… ;-)

  67. negentropyeater says

    Windy and Glen D are long overdue… They get my vote.

    If somebody could explain to Glen that it is redundant to sign with his tinyurl each time, even better…

    Wazza, Brokensoldier, Etha Williams and many more are in my personal molly-buffer for further mollies.

    And I nominate Kenny for anti-molly. Which is not the same as being banned (which is easy). Purely as a matter of fair-play, comming up with such a creobot troll output over long periods of time, without being banned, is sufficiently rare to be distinguished, if not with an award, at least with an anti-molly.