Mythcon devolved

Jesus fucking christ. There’s going to be a conference in August, on ENDING RACISM, VIOLENCE AND AUTHORITARIANISM. Sounds good, right? You should take a look at the list of speakers. Rarely have I seen such a wretched hive of scum and villainy. These are the people who promote racism, violence, and authoritarianism.

The Great Migration: A discussion on digital and physical immigration
Moderated by: Stephen Knight

Panelists include:
Lauren Chen, aka Roaming Millennial
Claire Lehmann
Daisy Cousens
Tara Devlin

12:25 PM – 1:25 PM
NSFW: How Prohibition Amplifies Problems
Moderated by: Melissa Chen

Panelists include:
Aydin Paladin
Karen Straughan
Brittany Simon
Meghan Murphy

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Demonetized: What Role Should Corporate America Play in Activism?
Moderated by: Bill Ottman

Panelists include:
Rucka Rucka Ali
Josephine Mathias
Jeff Waldorf
Graham Elwood

3:20 PM – 4:20 PM
Nuance, Context and the Future of Comedy Online
Moderated by: Stephen Knight

Panelists include:
Gregory Fluhrer, aka Armoured Skeptic
Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula
Blaire White
Hunter Avallone

4:25 PM – 5:25 PM
Changing Minds: How to Admit When You’re Wrong
Moderated by: Lauren Chen, aka Roaming Millennial

Panelists include:
Tim Pool
Melissa Chen
Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad
June aka Shoe0nHead

5:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Ending Racism, Violence and Authoritarianism
Moderated by: Bill Ottman

Panelists include:
David Pakman (via Minds Gatherings)
Tim Pool

That assemblage bears some resemblance to another event we saw last year — the Mythicist Milwaukee crap. And sure enough, when you dig down, you discover one of the backers is an organization called Mythinformed. Fuck that noise.

I know of too many of the names on this list, and the ones I don’t know are going to be tarred by the association. What an ugly collection.

I wish someone had told me 15 years ago that this is where skepticism and atheism were going to end up.


  1. says

    i hope people will bring milkshakes. not even to throw, just to… threateningly drink them in the first row :-p

  2. Aoife_b says

    Armored Skeptic, Count Dankula, and Blair White at once? Dear gods, it’s like they tried to make it as awful as they could.

  3. says

    notable: with meghan murphy and karen straughan, there’s a TERF contingent represented. not actually an alliance i was expecting, since these are the folks who call themselves radical feminists.

  4. Ichthyic says

    hack the PA system and play a very loud looped recording of someone sucking a thick milkshake through a straw.

  5. wanderingelf says

    I wish someone had told me 15 years ago that this is where skepticism and atheism were going to end up.

    Um, not to put too fine a point on it, but some of us did.

  6. alixmo says

    That is what happens when the “good guys” leave the arena. The important problems are getting ignored (e.g. the conflict of women`s and LGBTQ-rights with religion in general and with right-wing religious political parties in particular).

    Instead, “atheist” people with anti-women, anti-LGBTQ agendas are now taking the spotlight, taking up precious time and attention.

    Thankfully, I know only few of those names and only from hearsay/response videos which was enough for me (with slight exception of David Pakman and that Waldorf-guy, they are not so awful, are they?).

    That panel on Changing minds: How to admit when you`re wrong sounds exciting, though: Will “Sargon” finally admit that he was deluded all along…?

    There is much to do for atheist-humanist, taking on (organised, authoritarian, fundamentalist, traditional or orthodox) religion is a necessity of our times. The religious right is relentless in pursuing political power and influence.

  7. dixonge says

    Oddly, I recognize not a single name. Perhaps I’m out of the loop, which sounds like a good thing…

  8. MichaelE says

    I only know who sargon and armored skeptic are, but those two alone would make me not want to participate.

  9. doubtthat says

    Set all the vapid, miserable politics aside…
    I came to skepticism and atheism via philosophy and science. This line up…seriously, what the hell will anyone learn from this? What topic will be discussed in a way that provides new insight or adds new information? Exactly zero of the people on this panel I recognize are scientists or historians or philosophers or anything else.
    And they have a panel on comedy? On comedy? Comedy. Armored Skeptic is going to weigh in on comedy.
    This is an embarrassment.

  10. doubtthat says

    Oh my god. Read more of that list.
    Carl of Swindon is going to participate in the “How to admit when you’re wrong” panel?
    Here he is explaining why his sexual assault statement against a woman MP was necessary and important because it was like troops joking in the trenches in WWI:

    This guy is going to help everyone understand how to admit when you’re wrong? Is that actually the comedy panel?

  11. says

    I would imagine the comedy panel will be an hour of the panelists whining about how young people don’t have any sense of humour anymore. After all they don’t laugh at dumb blonde jokes, and get upset when you do a bit where you talk in a bad accent, while implying all Muslims are waiting for the first chance to rise up and destroy Western civilisation.

  12. colinday says

    Can one have a large political movement without such associations, even at several removes?

  13. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Aside from Benjamin and Armored Thingy, the only names I recognize are decent people. Jeff Waldorf, Graham Elwood, and David Packman.

    It’s debatable whether there’s value in having public conversations with jackasses. I lean slightly towards yes.

  14. says

    There were some I’d never heard of, so I looked them up.

    Rucka Rucka Ali is a white guy, a “comedian”.

    Rucka Rucka Ali is an American rapper, radio personality, singer, comedian, and satirist. He best known for his black comedy political and topical song parodies on YouTube. Much of his content employs ethnic and racial stereotypes. He has received over 200 million views on YouTube with parodies such as “Go Cops!”, “Justin’s Beaver”, “Ima Korean”, “Ching Chang Chong”, and “Ebola “.

    Holy shit.

    Hunter Avallone is a former conservative Christian turned atheist.

    Avallone gained national recognition with his video “The Truth about Transgenders”. As of 21 September 2016, it had over 390,000 views. Several LGBT websites criticized his reputed transphobia. In the video, he quotes professor Paul R. McHugh, a prominent opponent of sex transition surgery, despite that much of the research McHugh references is outdated or misrepresented.
    Avallone’s video on the Target bathroom boycott has also gained notoriety. Similarly to his cousin Evan Stropes, another YouTuber, Avallone claims that allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity affects the rights of others, and will risk the safety of children. However, he clarified that he doesn’t hate transgender groups, and believes that “they should have equality and equal rights just like everyone else”.

    Fuck me. I don’t want to know any more.

  15. microraptor says

    When you look at a list of names and realize the best possible outcome involves the caterers accidentally serving contaminated meat…

  16. stwriley says

    “Mythinformed”? I hope these jackasses get sued into oblivion by the estate of Robert L. Asprin, someone who is funnier than their entire “comedy online” slate of speakers…and he’s been dead for eleven years.

  17. pilgham says

    “The Great Migration: A discussion on digital and physical immigration” I thought “digital immigration” referred to people born before google. It’s got nothing to to do with physical immagration. Is this some new meaning of the term “digital immigration”? The possibilities are unattractive.

  18. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    War is Peace. Slavery is Freedom. Hate Is Love. It couldn’t get more Orwellian.

    What’s particularly galling to me is the idea that these are the only voices in the room. Sargon expresses a contingent of… well,
    “thought” is too strong a word, but at least opinion. Badly and dishonestly, of course, but that’s because it’s a bad, dishonest contingent of thought. Dankula, Skeptic, Shoeonhead… none of these are academics. But, okay, someone like Pakman might say (with some argument) that engaging with those people can be a way of breaking loggerheads and discrediting their thoughts. I think Pakman has been very effective at it.

    But surely we could do with, say, lifelong experts on the alt-right. Experts on hate and supremacy. Experts on comedy. More comedians than Rucka Rucka Ali, maybe a comedian whose fanbase leans left and who has a different voice.

    Luckily, there is a silver lining.

    Not only does the lack of anyone of any legitimacy show that these people are in an echo chamber (something Carl found out rudely the moment he tried to take his edgelord demographic into actual politics and realized he had actually lost votes preemptively), but the fact that they themselves think this is an ideologically diverse, qualified set of people exposes that, despite all their pretense, they can’t win in open debate. Even with everything as rigged as it could be in a safe space.

    If they could, there’d be folks like Tim Wise there. (Yes, even given his speaking fee: I bet he’d be willing to waive it to chomp on Carlgon and Dankula). Or PZ, assuming he would get over his antipathy to debate. Or Kristi Winters.

    And the fact that this is the kind of venue that they can get, after this much exposure, in the Trump era? It shows how limited a range their ideas have.

  19. says

    Try looking up Rucka Rucka Ali on YouTube. This is a guy who makes Mr Yunioshi look like a sensitive, subtle, nuanced representation of an Asian culture. And they bring him on? Why? Because he has a million subscribers on YouTube?

  20. doubtthat says


    I agree. I like Pakman. I respect his desire to engage with these folks, but the shitshow won’t happen when he’s around. The audience is also going to be 100% shitlordian, so if Pakman does try to engage with a controversial person who is being controversial in that setting (as opposed to Motte and Baileying when confronted), the crowd will be so obnoxious that it derails the discussion, which is what happened in Milwaukee.

    @PZ Myers

    I’ve been on your side in controversies in the past, but I will never forgive you for introducing me to the existence of Rucka Rucka Ali. I hold you personally liable for me entering his name in YouTube and listening.

  21. says

    Wow, look at that. A whole lot of people I know are white supremacists, one person I know isn’t, and a few names I don’t know.

  22. says

    microraptor @ 16:

    When you look at a list of names and realize the best possible outcome involves the caterers accidentally serving contaminated meat…

    Even that would be too good for this collection of drippings from the internet’s bilge. What’s needed is an outbreak of norovirus of hitherto-unsurpassed toxicity, the kind of gut-wrenching dysfunction that leaves its victims spinning on the floor like Catherine wheels from the sheer force of liquid ordure being voided from either end of their GI tracts… even so, it would be small compensation for the volume of intellectual droppings these gibbering monsters discharge onto the internet every day…

  23. lotharloo says

    Okay okay okay, did more research:
    Lauren Chen: better known as Roaming Millennial, is a Canadian YouTube blogger and BlazeTV host who promotes right-wing talking points (rational wiki). Chen is an antifeminist and has made several videos critical of modern feminism[11], believing it is against family values. She accepts the identity of binary trans people, but not non-binary people, referring to them with the derisive term “transtrenders”. Lovely. Next.

    Claire Lehmann: Claire Lehmann is an alt-right Australian anti-feminist and transphobic crank who has been described as “Australia’s Mistress of the Intellectual Dark Web”. (rational wiki). Fantastic! Next!

    Daisy Cousens: No rational wiki entry but she’s a big supporter of Sargon and she thinks media is unfair to him. Womp womp womp. Sample Youtube video: www. ?v=yrn1Y32F_bY which has a comment by herself “This video has been CONFIRMED AS DEMONETIZED by YouTube. Apparently, holding “dirty smear merchants” in the left-wing media to account is a no-no. “

    Tara Devlin: Couldn’t find anything bad immediately, she’s the founder of RDTdaily (republican dirty tricks). I suppose she could be a fine person, hopefully, hopefully, hopefully….

    Melissa Chen: Quote from her “When pple ask if I’m a #feminist I say yes, I’m a @CHSommers type. I embrace the label bc of her.” Bwhahahahahahahaha. Next!

    Aydin Paladin: She seems at the boundary, and very likely another CHSommers type “feminist”.

    Karen Straughan: Defender of men! Hater of feminism! You probably all know her.

    Meghan Murphy: TERF

    Okay, I had enough. Maybe there are two more fine people in there but probably not more.

  24. gijoel says

    If I had the time and money I’d open a milkshake bar outside this stupid “conference”.

  25. says

    wanderingelf @5 – I’d be interested to hear more about that. If it seems like too much of a derail here, feel free to drop it on a random post on my blog. I wasn’t super involved in the early days of gnu atheism, would be curious what the early warning signs were, per your perspective.

    alixmo @6 – The arena left the good guys, not the other way around. Most of organized atheism collectively decided to go right wing. Religious people are probably doing more for progressive causes now than we ever could. It’s a bad time. Maybe I’m not interpreting you right, but it sounds like you’re busting our chops for not staying in discourse with these lying bad-faith-arguing scumbags. Ask Stephanie Zvan how that turns out.

    micro @16 & giliell @19 & cat mara @28 – fingers crossed

  26. =8)-DX says

    Roaming Millenial is a Nazi. No better way to put that. Aydin Paladin the same. The rest are all the useful tools and wankers for the modern day fascist/right. NaziCon 2019. Fuck off. (This saying I know most of the other participants and they’re all trash, with one or two bright, snivelling exceptions.)

  27. chrislawson says

    Great American Satan@33–

    I went back and reread alixmo’s comment. I didn’t get any sense that he was criticising the “good guys” for leaving the arena, more that he was observing that when they leave because they hate the venom and the bad faith arguments, the vacuum is filled with people who are comfortable in that environment. It’s a kind of Gresham’s Law for activist movements.

  28. says

    Carl of Youtube on a panel discussing “how to admit when you’re wrong”? Tuxedo Septic on a panel about nuance and comedy? What the actual fuck.

    Wake me up when this episode is over. This show has gone to shit and doesn’t even pretend to be funny anymore.

  29. DanDare says

    This represents a deep and serious problem.
    During the election campaign in Oz I was able to investigate policies for the pretenders and work out the issues we are facing and who to vote for in order to promote the best outcomes.
    I assumed people voted the wrong way due to distortions of policy or missunderstandings.
    “I couldn’t vote Labor or the Greens because the left is trying to supress people talking about gender issues. People are being arrested for using the wrong pronouns”.

  30. colinday says

    Great American Satan @33, What really pissed me off about Dawkins calling himself a gnu atheist is that he accepted a Charles Simonyi professorship at Oxford. Charles Simonyi is about as non-gnu as you can get.

  31. says

    chrislaw @35 – You could be right.

    danD @37 – They may be swimming in misinformation (thanks zuckerberg), but it’s only stuff that’s confirming and magnifying prejudices they already had. Maybe they’re more coy about their active malevolence in Oz.

    colind @38 – I’d heard the name Simonyi but didn’t recall from where. A quick tour of his wikipedia page and he sounds like a more successful version of the kind of intellectual Dawkins tries to be – jet setting, yachting, marrying young ladies. Maybe he’s cool but it’s real easy to imagine from that little information that he’s Epstein-adjacent and the kind of rich person Jeezy would rail against.

  32. kurt1 says

    Love seeing a panel of a bunch of white dudes talking about ending racism..

  33. Dunc says

    Love seeing a panel of a bunch of white dudes talking about ending racism.

    They’re probably going to talk about ending racism against white people. That’s how far down the rabbit hole this bunch are.

  34. lotharloo says

    Yes, it checks out. She does not identify as “alt-right” but she “sympathizes with them”. She’s also a “race realist”.

  35. colinday says

    Great American Satan @39. Simonyi was a major developer of Microsoft Office, which is about as non-GNU as you can get.

  36. says

    lotharloo@42, a woman of Chinese descent calling herself a “race realist” really needs to read a history book or two. For that matter I doubt she’d have much trouble finding anti-Asian prejudice amongst some of the people she thinks are on her side.

  37. ikanreed says

    A lot of people are focusing on Sargon of Threating To Rape An MP in the “admitting you’re wrong” panel

    But it’s worth noting that Tim Pool, Lauren Chen, and ShoeOnHead are all perennial liars who never admit their mistakes and definitely never correct their mistakes. It’s a whose who of never backing down shitheads.

  38. ColeYote says

    Carlgon, fresh off killing the UKIP and claiming he had a great campaign, is in a panel on admitting when you’re wrong.
    I’m embarrassed that this even exists.