Everyone is breaking up with everyone else, and it’s a good thing. Secular Woman states how silly it is to dissociate someone from an organization they don’t belong to, but goes on to point out that persistent pleas for civility are often used to displace concerns about more serious issues, as a way to silence dissent from the status quo, and that maybe we ought to be more concerned about the prolonged campaigns of harassment against women in the atheist community.
This is an extension of a systemic problem, by no means limited to the words of Michael Nugent, which has become brutally apparent among the atheist and skeptic communities in recent years. Women who speak about assault, sexism, or simply assert their own personal boundaries have been targeted by hate campaigns [tw] while a sobering number of our proclaimed leaders become defensive, insist that the victims remain silent to avoid embarrassment, and prioritize the reputation of men above the safety of women.
Among the very worst and most tireless harassers are the group of people Atheist Ireland has welcomed into their community, a collection of familiar names to many of us, people who have been obsessively and stupidly harassing women and their allies for years. It’s a remarkable example of tunnel vision, that someone can complain with such about single-mindedness about a person who is 6000 km away and is ignoring him, while allowing the vipers in his own site to continue with far more vicious attacks than those he deplores. So the Melby Foundation has dissociated itself from those comments. Not that she has contributed to them, but dissociation is the big thing now.
The Melby Foundation is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanizing, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of Nugent’s comments section. The final of many, many straws was its latest smear that if PZ Myers and Alex Gabriel were given power that they would send people to “re-education gulags”, and its subsequent description of the out-group as “a community of personality disordered individuals with high degrees of narcissism”. We are also asking all ethical organizations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse Nugent’s comments section’s harmful impact on the individuals it targets and the atheist movement generally.
And then she goes on to document all the hateful things allowed to persist.
But the best part is this: the first comment on Melby’s post comes from that gang:
PZ is a cunt.
You are a dipshit.
Hilarious! These really are deeply stupid people, oblivious to their own behavior. The tedious Steersman is also already there, making his usual long dismal defenses of rape jokes.
But it’s not just atheism that has its subpopulation of oppressive persons (atheism’s problem is that most of our organizations refuse to do anything about them). Connie Willis has announced that she won’t be participating in the Hugo Awards this year. As most of you already know, a group of people who detest the idea of diversity in fiction, and are particularly resentful of women and minorities, have gamed the nominations to put up a slate of regressive, old-fashioned crap of the type they like. This is within the rules, but is still rather nasty, and it’s driven by a group calling themselves the Sad Puppies, who are kind of the Slymepit of science fiction. What made Willis refuse to participate though, is that not only do they want to pack the nomination slate, they want to dictate the winners.
But then Vox Day and his followers made it impossible for me to remain silent , keep calm, and carry on. Not content with just using dirty tricks to get on the ballot, they’re now demanding they win, too, or they’ll destroy the Hugos altogether. When a commenter on File 770 suggested people fight back by voting for “No Award,” Vox Day wrote: “If No Award takes a fiction category, you will likely never see another award given in that category again. The sword cuts both ways, Lois. We are prepared for all eventualities.”
I assume that means they intend to use the same bloc-voting technique to block anyone but their nominees from winning in future years. Or, in other words, “If you ever want to see your precious award again, do exactly as I say.” It’s a threat, pure and simple. Everyone who votes has been ordered (under the threat of violence being done to something we love) to let their stories–stories which got on the ballot dishonestly–win.
In my own particular case, I feel I’ve also been ordered to go along with them and act as if this were an ordinary Hugo Awards ceremony. I’ve essentially been told to engage in some light-hearted banter with the nominees, give one of them the award, and by my presence–and my silence–lend cover and credibility to winners who got the award through bullying and extortion.
And she closes with this statement:
And finally, to Vox Day, Brad Torgeson, and their followers, I have this to say:
“You may have been able to cheat your way onto the ballot. (And don’t talk to me about how this isn’t against the rules–doing anything except nominating the works you personally liked best is cheating in my book.) You may even be able to bully and intimidate people into voting for you. But you can’t make me hand you the Hugo and say “Congratulations,” just as if you’d actually won it. And you can’t make me appear onstage and tell jokes and act like this year’s Hugo ceremony is business as usual and what you’ve done is okay. I’m not going to help you get away with this. I love the Hugo Awards too much.”
I gotta say, don’t ever piss off a good writer. They’ll nail you to the wall with a paragraph, and it’s always more cutting than the long-winded screeds of lesser communicators.