The New Molly

You may recall that when I imposed the new rules on the site I also announced that there would also be changes to how the Molly awards were given: instead of giving them to commenters, we’d award them to specific comments. I suggested at that time that you might all start making note of exceptional comments — now it’s time to refer back to those notes.

Here’s the way it works: People should repost a link and quote from their favorite comments here; you can also just chime in and voice your approval for people’s choices. I’ll let you guys chime in here for a few days, and develop a preliminary list. I’ll then pick out the top three and post them in their entirety in a top-level post on Wednesday, and you’ll all vote (Yes! An online poll!) for the best.

So go to it. Think back over the last month or so and tell me what comment you found most enlightening, entertaining, provocative, or otherwise stimulating.


  1. says

    Oh, do I have to? In the great tradition of the GOP convention, I could just smugly say, “I’ve got mine” and sit on my ass.

    On the other hand, I hate that attitude and root for the other team, so instead I’ll say this is a great idea and recognizing great and insightful comments is one way to encourage more great and insightful comments. Let the pointing and naming begin!

  2. Rey Fox says

    I dunno. I feel like one has to exhaustively pour over every comment made in the time frame to make a truly informed vote. But this one tickled my fancy:

    holytape, comment #12 on “Republicans speak to the invisible man”:

    Clint Eastwood, another old white man who has made a living pretending to be tough, while never actually doing anything. Talks about values, while fathering seven kids with five women. In other words a perfect republican.

  3. Gregory Greenwood says

    I will throw in my vote for Holytape’s comment as well.

    Doubly so given Eastwood’s yay-for-rape performance in High Planes Drifter, and his lifetime contributions to the pantheon of linked tropes that make up the toxic popular construction of unemotional, inherently misogynist, ‘tough guy’ masculinity as practiced by notional ‘real men’, that seems to have as its prime article of faith the idea that said ‘real men’ are entitled to the bodies of whichever women they choose, and that those women will (or should be) nothing less than honoured to recieve the attention of teh mighty peen, and if they say they aren’t, or physically resist, then one must remember that they ‘want it really’ but can’t ‘admit it to themselves’

    I really, really, hate that.

  4. Tethys says

    I can’t remember any really good comments this month, though this has more to do with the state of my memory than the state of the commenting.

    This is why we need a Squid Button.

    Off to see if I can find the relevant threads.

  5. David Marjanović says

    Oh no. I’m not going to spend the next 5 hours searching.

    So, I’m with comments 2 and 5.

  6. says

    We really need that squid button, PZ.

    I’ve had a comment picked out and ready to go. It’s this one, by Alethea. Here’s an excerpt:

    It’s very much like asking me when is rape OK.

    Never? Really never? Ok, supposing she were the last fertile woman on earth… Or maybe there was a ticking time-bomb nuke and raping this woman would totally prevent it because a secret code has been tattooed on the inside of her vagina by some crazy mad supervillain in invisible ink and only your special semen can reveal the antinuke codes…

    Awww c’mon, pretty please, surely there must be ONE situation in which a woman can be reduced to a piece of livestock?


  7. skepticallydenpa says

    I’m not sure I like this new Molly stipulation. On one hand, it offers up a highlight of the most brilliant comments, providing those who might have missed the comment with a short quip of intellectualism. On the other hand, this encourage lurkers who only make the occasional post, (such as yours truly,) as opposed to encouraging people to get involved in conversations, allowing their brilliance to shine more naturally.

    I’d like to suggest we do both. Perhaps it will encourage both well-thought out comments and community involvement. Or maybe this pursuit is a bit optimistic as I am still little more than a lurker myself.

  8. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says


    A sufficiently advanced civility is indistinguishable from condescension.

    is fantastic

  9. anteprepro says

    Bah, variations of “sufficiently advanced” are a dime a dozen. I’d vote for Alethea.

  10. abb3w says

    I suspect the difficulty with the squid button is primarily the technical headaches to implementing it. It’s doable, but requires more coding work, rather than taking off-the-shelf packages like WordPress and doing some minimal style sheet customizing.

    And that’s not even worrying about the design effort for making such voting fraud-resistant.

  11. gillyc says

    I’d like to nominate AJ Milne for hir comment on torture:

    That hard truth being: torture is, as many, many competent professionals are telling you, close to useless for getting timely and precise intel. Rather: its only particularly reliable value as a tool of statecraft is as a method of terror and suppression. And those who use it frequently know this perfectly well. Their intention isn’t to get their victims to confess a truth and save the city from some mythical suitcase bomb: their intention is to get their victims to confess anything they can use to justify further and spreading punishment and suppression. And they can do this only in an environment in which there are people naive enough to believe the absurd perjuries concocted under such conditions.

    Don’t be one of those people.

  12. says

    I nominate Raven for this one:

    keep your Oogedy Boogedy death cult religion away from my kids and pets.

    The rest of the comment is worth another look too, but that one line kinda says it all for me.

    As a 2nd choice I second the nomination of holytape’s comment on Eastwood.
    Big digression: Many years ago I had to live through August in NYC without air conditioning in my rented room. Desperate, one afternoon I sat through a Dirty Harry triple feature. I am still traumatized by that experience. It hammers the misogyny of his signature works into you to see through three movies the long lingering painful deaths of the women vs. the relatively short bloody deaths of the men. I hate to admit that my younger and not so observant self would likely not have noticed were it not for seeing the three movies one after the other.

  13. Amphiox says

    I too would like to add support for both Alethea’s comment and anteprepro’s.

    I also add my support for the idea of a squid button where good comments can be flagged as they arise. Then, when it comes time to decide, the top candidates can be listed again for everyone to examine.

  14. Gregory Greenwood says

    Blithely and obliviously undermining the idea of voting for a single post, as is my wont*, I will add a second vote, this time for Alethea’s post suggested by Caine, Fleur du mal @ 8.

    That post sums up my own sentiments on those kind of people who like to play ‘what if’ hypothetical games about rape and rape culture rather nicely.


    * What can I say? I’m fickle…

    You didn’t seriously expect me to limit myself to only one pick with so much comment-shaped awsomeness floating around, did you?

  15. Gregory Greenwood says

    Oh, and a big yes to a squid button. In the immortal words of Captain Pickard – make it so!

  16. Tapetum, Raddled Harridan says

    My vote, such as it is, goes to Alethea’s comment also. Though AJ Milne’s runs it a close second.

  17. karpad says

    Man, rough call.
    Holytape’s is decidedly funnier, but Alethea’s has a sincere, fiery indignation, and is discussing an issue with more weight than Grandpa Simpson discussing tying an onion to his belt (which was the fashion at the time).

    If confronted with a Sophie’s Choice situation, where one of those comments is going to be sent to a gas chamber or something, I guess I’d pick Alethea.

    But good job holytape. Unlike the Oscars, it really is an honor just to be nominated.

  18. John Morales says

    Here’s four Mollyworthy comments in my estimation:

    Menyambal, for an excellent disquisition on how the 2nd Amendment (USA) was appropriate for its day and how the progress of history has made its merits moot:


    Back then, much military training consisted of loading muskets. Not sharpshooting with the damned things, just loading them. They’d get fired just to empty them, then reloaded again as fast as possible. The idea was that a group of muskets was like a machine gun—accuracy wasn’t as important as rate of fire. Accuracy, back then, was pretty much wrapped up in the command to “Aim low, boys!” Loading was the key, and loading took lots of practice—loading fast under fire took a lot more practice. The soldiers had to drop the butt to the ground … well, it was a complicated process, and needed practice. Lots of practice. Regular practice.

    Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee, who tears apart the malicious (and specious) basis for anti-abortion hypotheticals:


    I’ll tell you why I hate those hypothetical near-birth abortion scenarios. It’s not that they’re stupid, or that they never happen, or even that there’s a real world problem of them encouraging the antichoicers to think of this nonsense as a real thing. All of which are true, too, and seriously annoying. But not why I get the white-hot HATE.

    The hate is because the hypothesizer is just so damned keen to find some way, some very very special exceptional circumstance, in which it’s OK to remove my bodily autonomy. It’s very much like asking me when is rape OK.

    sadunlap, who hammers home a relevant point in the never-ending cornucopia of hatefulness that is the Rebeccalypse (aka Elevator-gate):


    This is actually the single most important aspect of the whole “elevator guy” idiotic reaction to Rebecca Watson’s YouTube video. No one knows what he looks like because she described behavior that she considered inappropriate given the circumstances. If you do not do this behavior then she’s not talking about you. That Ms. Watson described behavior makes what the guy looked like irrelevant.
    This is the important bit, Mr. MRA, do try to keep up.

    Last (but not least), Anne C. Hanna, who comprehensibly contrasts the problems religiously-based sexual mores with secular scientific ones:


    Religion’s solutions to the supposed problem of non-sanctioned sex range between completely ineffective and massively inhumane, far out of proportion to any harm that a reasonable person would say could possibly be directly caused by a pair of adults having a little bit of consensual fun. In fact, the notion that two adults engaging in consensual sex has *any* intrinsic harm associated with it (as opposed to incidental harms like unwanted pregnancy) is *entirely* a religious notion. In a secular world, the only harms caused by non-marital sex are: disease transmission, unwanted pregnancy, and relationship conflicts. In a religious world, all of these harms still exist and *in addition* you have the harm caused by religiously-motivated punishment of the people who have sex deemed inappropriate, as well as the harm done by causing people to experience guilt and fear in regard to their sexual desires and interfering with their enjoyment of the positive good called sex.

  19. John Morales says


    I hope no-one imagines I remembered these comments and just where they were — I merely jotted their URLs at the time because they struck me as excellent.

    I keep a text document specifically for it.

    (Other people can presumably do that much, too! ;) )

  20. otrame says

    I think another comment by raven on the same OP is even better than the one sadunlap mentions:

    The enemy of your death cult perversion of xianity isn’t the schools, atheists, other xians, Moslems, science, or demons. It is reality.


  21. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    I’m casting my vote for Alethea’s comment. Link provided by Caine in #8. That one struck me at the time, and of course I totally remembered who said it and in which thread, totally…..

    [hurriedly sets up bookmark folder titled “Marvelous Mollies, glances around nervously, sighs in relief that no one noticed]

  22. McC2lhu saw what you did there. says

    I’m not sure what other people do, but when I see a comment I want to remember for future reference I click on the timestamp to go to the comment directly, then drag the link down to a folder on my Firefox favourites bar. It’s quite tidy and neat. And links weigh nothing. You need a LOT of them to even register as storage space on your drive. You can even subdivide inside the folder by months or subjects if you’re that organized.

  23. Sideshow Bill says

    I recommend Raven. Any quote with “oogedy boogedy” used to describe a religion should always win.

  24. Larry Poppins says

    One of the all-time greats IMO:
    From the thread “These sensible people shouldn’t be so rare”

    13 August 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Guide to Conduct as a White Male Skeptic, Online edition:

    1. Freethought means Freedom* to think however you like (free… thought, duh) and spew those thoughts at others without receiving criticism, shunning or disassociation.
    a. *Freedom means that you can do whatever you want. If someone inhibits your ability to do whatever you want, including but not limited to: criticism of your words, actions, or ideas… ignoring your words, actions, or ideas… not actively supporting your words, actions, or ideas… not providing a platform for your words, actions, or ideas – they are banning you and are literally Nazi’s. Repeat this as many times as possible until it sinks it.

    2. Since you do not believe in gods or bigfoot, you are clearly never wrong, and your common sense is superior to evidence. Even evidence provided by other so-called “skeptics” who prove they are not skeptics by holding views contrary to your common sense.

    3. If something doesn’t affect you, it is not a problem that exists.
    a. If someone claims there is a problem that you do not experience, they are blowing something out of proportion. This is evidenced by you not being affected by the problem. Let them know that it really isn’t a problem, and they should be focusing more on bigfoot and Yahweh, real problems that actually exist.
    b. If it is a woman who is asserting there is a problem you do not experience, the problem is a result of her is being hysterical and over emotional. Be sure to point this out to her, so you may untwist her panties, calm her down, and make her a better skeptic.

    4. If the word “rape” appears anywhere on a web page, regardless of any of the words that may surround it, you are directly being accused of rape. Protect yourself against possible criminal charges by pointing out that you are being falsely accused of rape. Use all capital letters while you explain that you are being accused of rape to really make your point.

    5. So you can be readily identifiable by other skeptics, ensure you use a variant or combination of one or more of the following words: skeptic, reason, thinker, free, logic, critical, truth, and dude. Innovative methods are encouraged, ie: r3A50nDUDE for “reasondude”. As you can see this will demonstrate you are also proficient with internet skills like numbers and shift.

    6. If anyone disagrees with you and many of the White Male Skeptics you know, they are likely a victim of “Group Think” and “Hive Mind”. These are phenomena to which non-skeptics are very susceptible. They don’t understand the concept of Freedom and will therefore parrot whatever unreasonable thing they might hear multiple times. Be sure that you and all of your White Male Skeptics help rectify this malady by, whenever you see a number of people disagreeing with you, helping these unreasonable non-skeptics by telling them they are doing “Group Think”.

    This is particularly effective when all of you rush in and do it together. At once if you can.

    7. There is a common tactic non-skeptics use to attempt to befuddle you and win arguments: repeating what you say. This usually takes two forms.
    a. They may quote you, and then criticize what you have written directly.
    b. They may quote you, and then discuss the implications and/or ramifications of what you have written.

    This is a simple tactic to counter act. Repeat the word strawman vigorously and repeatedly. This is all that is necessary. You needn’t explain yourself; saying “strawman” is enough.

    You see, as we discussed earlier, anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, because common sense. As any skeptic knows, being wrong is known as logical fallacy. A strawman is a logical fallacy. Therefore if someone disagrees with you they are committing a strawman. Simple logic, but many don’t understand.

    So just repeat the word strawman until they understand.

    8. The more you pretend you are a Vulcan, the more correct you are. If someone is using curse words, or your common sense tells you they are “emotional”, they are not thinking rationally and are wrong. Emotion equals wrong – this is just simple logic.

    You therefore can, and should, ignore an argument if it contains anything resembling emotion. And you should point out that the non-skeptic needs to calm down and relax.

    It should be noted that it isn’t just women that are prone to emotion. You need to be wary of this phenomena when dealing with even male non-skeptics.

    9. “Privilege” doesn’t exist. If it did, being White Male Skeptics, our common sense would have seen it. If someone uses the word privilege they are directly calling you racist, a rapist, a rape apologist, misogynistic, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, wealthy, selfish, and the inheritor of an easy life completely without struggle.

    Be sure to immediately disregard further discussion and repeatedly defend yourself against these vile accusations to the exclusion of anything else.

    10. Since you are a White Male Skeptic and therefore always right, you needn’t actually engage non-skeptics in unnecessarily long discussion. The most useful method of combating non-skeptics is to follow a fellow White Male skeptics youtube, twitter or blog, and whenever you see that a person or group of people disagree with you:
    * Rush to the blog, twitter or youtube channel in question
    * Do not wast time reading/watching the content in question, or any of the comments that follow, as they are certainly wrong
    * Use any of the relevant techniques detailed above (calling strawman, pointing out you aren’t a rapist, letting people know they are hysterical, ect)
    * Leave before further hysterics ensue
    * Return at a later date and repeat what you previously said
    * Repeat entire process until the non-skeptics are logical

    I know this isn’t easy guys. It is very annoying to have to deal with people who are irrational. But we must remain strong and on mission.

    Bigfoot and god aren’t going to disprove themselves.

  25. McC2lhu saw what you did there. says

    Larry Poppins @32 saved me a trip through my saved posts. That’s the one I was looking for so I could nominate tkreacher as well. Well done, you!

  26. skepticallydenpa says

    Thank you, Caine, Fleur du mal. I didn’t mean to expose my ignorance so brazenly. I offer my apologies to everyone for the misplaced/mistimed concern. And more importantly, in the future, I’ll make sure my query are appropriate and haven’t already been addressed previously.

  27. davros says

    It was on Jen’s blog, so I’m not sure if it counts, but I’d nominate Pteryxx for suggesting A+

  28. joed says

    This is the type of unnecessary aggressive, mean spirited comment that turns folks away.
    Now certainly if this site wants a special select few to be the commenters then this type of comment at 13 is the way to create that.
    Nice little closed community for the special few atheists+ers.

    Caine, Fleur du mal
    1 September 2012 at 1:12 pm


    I’m not sure I like this new Molly stipulation.

    Pity you missed the time to discuss it (or whine about it, in your case.) This isn’t the thread to do that.

    ObOb: It’s PZ’s blog, his decision. Deal with it.

  29. John Morales says


    joed, Caine’s comment didn’t turn you away, did it now? :)

    (Also, see #35)

    Nice little closed community for the special few atheists+ers.

    Yeah, so closed that anyone can make comments, even such as you with your faux concern.


  30. joed says

    @39 John Morales
    My concern is sincere.
    What make you think my concern is other than sincere.
    Yes, I saw 35.
    And a Squid Button would be most convenient.
    There are often excellent sometimes profound comments here imho.
    And from #8, the comment by Alethea gets my vote too!

  31. Ogvorbis: broken says

    [continued meta] Oddly, joed’s tone complaint comes only three comments after skepticallydenpa’s expression of understanding. Weird. The person joed is defending seems to have understood what Caine’s comment meant.

  32. opposablethumbs says

    Nominating KG for a particularly well-written, exhaustive and impassioned take-down of one of our currently more prolific trolls (the liar-for-jeebus known as joey). (Comment 170 to be taken in conjunction with the addendum appended in 172). Looking at the great examples cited upthread, it may be that this comment is too narrowly focused for the New Mollys (necessarily so, being a take-down of a specific troll) but I just wanted to Squid it here as a fine example of pharyngular writing at its best.

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My concern is sincere.

    Sincerely irrelevant. Why are you commenting on other comments? Perhaps the posts hit too close to home for comfort, hence the “sincere” (har) objection.

  34. McC2lhu saw what you did there. says

    I actually had two nominations. In addition to tkreacher, Quinn Martindale had condensed truthiness into its purest form with this gem from 30 August 2012 at 9:34 am in the thread The Big Theme: Lies:


    The GOP followed its recent tradition of creating an alternate reality for its members. It’s actually kind of brilliant when you think about it. Convince people that there is a liberal media out to get Republicans, and then say things so profoundly untrue that the media has to attack you for them. Your base is thus both primed to disbelieve corrections from nonpartisan sources and made to feel attacked which causes them to retreat further into your own partisan media.

    Even worse, when you lie more than your opponents, the media looks like its spends more time picking on you than them. Giving more evidence of a liberal bias and reinforcing the base’s persecution complex. This effort has been going on for a generation and is starting to pay off real dividends for the Republican Party.


    The scheme has all the stench of evil about it of Rupert Murdoch and Karl Rove.

  35. joed says

    @43 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    “Why are you commenting on other comments?”
    Same reason you are, I guess.

    I don’t like aggressive rude comments made to commenters that seem to be trying to have a decent conversation via comments.
    There is no need to be overly aggressive.
    Many people have said the same thing about not liking the new molly stipulation. because a commenter says that is no reason to jump on them.
    It’s just seems too arbitrarily and capriciously aggressive, imho.

  36. Patricia, OM says

    Since I am the queen of borked links, I’ll just write what I put on my post-it: Molly, Rationalia Isn’t #478 Erista (aka Eris) and War of the Smug #343 Hairhead. Well said!

  37. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    #38: Bravo, Joed. Tho I’d add that this isn’t the fluffy bunny, cute ferret (what else has there been so far?) “Lounge.

  38. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    #44: Yes, Quinn’s comment is excellent. I’l drink to –erp, vote for that!

  39. earwig says

    Interpreting “last month or so” rather liberally to include the lacuna since June, I’d nominate Crip Dyke for this illuminating comment on the usage of trans splat. It’s a patient explanation of distinctions I was only vaguely aware of (OK, I should have been) and it’s the sort of thing I really value among Pharyngulites, as well as all the rapier-work.

  40. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Oy! Patricia @46. I don’t consider myself an elite commenter, so when I saw you reference a post of mine in War of the Smug, I had to go check it out to see what erratic flash of brilliance showed up. And you got the # wrong! It’s post 348, and, what the hell and upon reflection, it’s not bad. I’m reposting it below because, unlike most of my other blatherings, I rather like it.

    Look, this post is titled, “The war of the smug”, so I’m going to extend the metaphor to describe Pharyngula’s blog culture.

    (Trigger warning for violent imagery)

    “You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”

    That’s what we’re in here. This is a fight, and a serious fight.

    The fuckers on the other side joke about rape and make death threats to us and to people like us, and to people we know and love. They silence, not by argumentation, not by logic, not on the basis of morals, or history, they silence by threats of sexual assault and death, they silence by emotional blackmailing through patriarchal tropes, (e.g. Real ladeez don’t use norty werdz, real ladeez don’t fight back, reel ladeez worship the pee pee, real ladeez need gettin laid a lot to keep ‘em calm, adeez yer too sensiteev!, ladeez yer jealous cuz yer oogly! [I could go on and on and on . . ]), they silence by dishonesty, by hostility, by a hundred bullying tactics.

    When they do so, they play a part, a very public part in the continuing abnegation and repression of half the human species.

    So they must be fought.

    And as in any war, there are the generals, far from the fray, the administrators, the onlookers, the sympathizers, the ones who buy war bonds, who make the war materiel for the troops.

    And finally, there are front-line troops. The ones who face the enemy, who run into the guns, who step over the bodies of those the enemy has brutalized, who engage in hand-to-hand combat, who sink their bayonets into the guts of the enemy, who pull out knives and slit the throats of their enemies, who are splashed with blood and shit of the conflict.

    Then, while sitting in their makeshift dugout, tired, and traumatized, bathing their own wounds, looking into their souls and despairing of the violence they have done to their own psyches in the course of their duty, some REMF (Rear-Echelon Motherfucker) comes stomping up. Said REMF says, “My you fellows {snarls in response} . . you men and women just look terrible! You there! Shave yourself and wash up! You, to left, yes, you! Go clean and press your uniform! Come on, all of you, look sharp! And for God’s sake, don’t refer to the enemy as ‘shitheads’ or ‘motherfuckers’. It’s impolite and unprofessional. There! I said it! (looks around at the rumble of an incoming Rape-the-Skepchicks thread) Oh well, looks you’re back in action! Hop to it!”

    REMF walks quickly away from the conflict.

    Pharyngulite #1: Should I frag the fucker?

    Pharyngulite #2: Maybe not now, while there are Rationalia trolls on the left flank.

    Pharyngulite #1: I won’t bother asking you next time.

    All return to the wars.

    Hairhead back: It’s all metaphor, but I think it’s accurate. Those who think we are rude just for the sake of being rude, mean because we’re naturally mean, have no idea of the stress that being rude, mean, and passionate *even in a good cause* have on people.

    That’s why we have burnout, that’s why we have people taking leave.

    It’s a war; it’s not pretty now, and it never will be.

  41. Patricia, OM says

    Hairhead – Oops! Uh, chalk the five digit mistake up to handwriting under the influence. But it’s still a damn good comment. Salute!

  42. opposablethumbs says

    A squid button would be nice, there’s no denying it. I’d love to be able to squid up a great comment without having to stop and faff around with copy-pasting and break the thread of my reading – it would be a boon to many of us, and especially disorganised klutzes like me.

  43. Patricia, OM says

    sadunlap @52 – Yes, that is the heart wrenching post I felt deserved a Molly nod. Thanks for linking it. ;)

    Would the squid button allow multiple squids? Another vote for it. Just make it simple.

    PZ – The new dungeon is really hard on the eyes.

  44. John Phillips, FCD says

    tkreachers’ post highlighted by Larry Poppins #32 is my offering.

    I had bookmarked it at the time but stupidly wiped my Molly folder while tidying up my bookmarks.

    +infinity for a squid button.

  45. John Morales says


    John Phillips:

    +infinity for a squid button.

    Bad, bad idea.

    -∞ to it!

    (Those who promote others’ posts should not be anonymous; that’s too easy to abuse)

  46. John Phillips, FCD says

    Why, that’s just a matter of implementation, e.g. on another site I frequent we have a ‘squid’ button but it is tied to your login, so if one or more try to abuse it there is come back. Though the fact that it is so tied is enough of a disincentive to all but the ones who really don’t care if they get banned or not. Of course it depends on how easy it would be to implement on this platform. Ironically, I had included a ‘it depends how easy it is to do’ in my previous post, but deleted it as being an obvious caveat :)