Just wives


For all you masochists out there who want all the details, Stephanie Zvan has published a thorough timeline of David Silverman’s firing.

I want to bring up one thing that bothers me deeply, but doesn’t get emphasized much. Silverman’s actions, even if they were consensual (and I don’t believe they were) lacked consent from one other significant person: Silverman’s wife. I don’t even know her name, but her long relationship with this man was cruelly wrecked by his actions, and that’s a betrayal that strongly affects my feelings about the guy. It was a rotten thing to do, and he did it repeatedly. Even if he were magically reprieved of everything else (again, not that I think he can be), it means that personally I would never be able to trust him again. How you treat your partners in the deepest relationships in your life matters.

Likewise, Richard Carrier cheated on his wife, another nameless person who is left out of the narrative.

I have no problems with the diverse forms of relationships human beings can have; open marriages, polyamorous relationships, no sexual relationship at all, whatever. It’s all good when all participants have mutually agreed to the terms. People who unilaterally break those terms and harm the people who trusted them…those are actions of deep shame and require greater amends than this casual dismissal of an event that broke apart families and caused lasting hurt. Yet now those women are discarded and ignored.

So no, those men can never be my real friends, and I hope for the best for those ignored women.


He seems unperturbed by his own actions.

Fuck off, Dave.

Comments

  1. kestrel says

    I have to say, I’ve always wondered about this too. These men have partners; are the partners OK with all this? Didn’t Some Spandex-Wearing Guy’s wife leave him after everything came out? Isn’t that kind of a pattern?

    Personally the way I feel is, if you don’t like your partner or whatever, then LEAVE them. THEN find someone else. Thinking your partner is totally OK with whatever skeevy thing you do without even discussing it with them… No. Just no.

  2. brain says

    Silverman’s actions, even if they were consensual (and I don’t believe they were) lacked consent from one other significant person: Silverman’s wife.

    Oookay…so what?
    Seriously, PZ: mixing up sexual assault with cheating on your wife is too much for me. Brings the two things on the same level (yes it does), meaning either you are a taliban or don’t think sexual assault is a serious crime.

    If it’s not clear to you, the proper answer to one is divorce (or nothing, or cheating back), to the other is putting you in jail.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    brain @2: PZ isn’t mixing anything up. How does mentioning the possible effects of cheating, in a post specifically about that topic, bring it to the same level as sexual assault?

    Change your nym.

  4. aspleen says

    How you treat your partners in the deepest relationships in your life matters.

    It does, but having been a spouse of a partner who had an affair and then asked for a divorce it wasn’t like I was assaulted. Marriages can be messy and sometimes relationships founder even though neither partner is an awful person. My former spouse and I are on good terms if not intimate ones and the kids are o.k. too. Holding grudges and wanting amends to be made is not getting on with your own life and letting them get on with theirs.

    Not to say that Silverman isn’t a jerk otherwise though. Just that I don’t judge people as being rotten for not being faithful. That’s the sort of morality that so many religions use as a guilt trip and I’m having none of it.

  5. Zeckenschwarm says

    While brain’s comment might be a bit hyperbolic, I have to agree with the spirit of the comment:
    You shouldn’t equate being cheated on to being sexually assaulted or raped. And PZ’s phrasing does put both on the same level.

  6. Zeckenschwarm says

    To clarify, I agree that both cheating and rape are forms of consent violation. I’m just uncomfortable with putting them both into one sentence in that framing, since it seems to conflate two very different kinds of consent.

  7. says

    Nowhere in this post do I equate being raped with being cheated on. Saying that X is bad, and Y is bad, does not entail any statement of relative badness.

    You’ll have to give me a specific phrasing that implies they are the same.

  8. Rowan vet-tech says

    PZ: “These people, too, were harmed in some way by these actions and they’re rarely even mentioned. This is just another layer of skeeviness to add on to the perpetrators.”
    Y’all: “Oh, so you’re saying being cheated on and assaulted are the same, hunh????”

  9. brain says

    You’ll have to give me a specific phrasing that implies they are the same.

    No PZ, I don’t have to do that. You can easily proof that no specific part of your post implies that: still, your post does. I am sure you are bright enough to know that there are multiple levels of content in a communication: we are not in a court, as I said one clear (although implicit) message in your post is that Silverman hurt his wife just as he hurt the other women. No, he didn’t.
    (As Zeckenschwarm writes, I probably was “hyperbolic”. Agreed: please read his remarks and those from a spleen, that’s what I meant)

  10. John Morales says

    Some people aren’t very good at logic, like the lowercase brain.

    re “You’ll have to give me a specific phrasing that implies they are the same.”, can’t do that, all I can give is a specific phrasing that implies they are not the same.

    Even if he were magically reprieved of everything else (again, not that I think he can be), it means that personally I would never be able to trust him again. How you treat your partners in the deepest relationships in your life matters.

    Even if not X, still Y — which indicates X ≠ Y.

    (Though, admittedly, both X and Y are forms of untrustworthiness)

  11. John Morales says

    [Heh. “No PZ, I don’t have to do that.” → “I can’t do that, I can but assert”]

  12. damien75 says

    Wait a minute… I thought NOBODY took lie detectors seriously, I thought they were just a trick to make unsophisticated offenders confess (we can see it if you lie… ).

  13. specialffrog says

    @damien57: you are only saying that because of all the evidence that they don’t work. Clearly Silverman is at an advanced level of skepticism where only evidence convenient to him matters.

  14. gijoel says

    @1 It isn’t about being unhappy in a relationship, or wanting to start a new relationship with someone else before they leave their marriages. It’s about gratification. It’s about feeling entitled (metaphorically) to having steak at home, and lobster at work.

  15. says

    Yeah, I reread it a couple of times, and I don’t see any sign that PZ was equating the two(rape and cheating). As John Morales point out, not only is it not implied, it is explicitly declared to be untrue(“reprieved of everything else”).

  16. cartomancer says

    The angry straw man PZ in my head says some pretty unpleasant things too. He’s a bit of an arsehole like that. You’d think I might imagine a more pleasant parody of the man to pass the time, but apparently not.

  17. says

    Yeah, I think most people won’t harp on the cheating bit, because they want to avoid putting cheating on the same level as sexual violence.

    Personally, my thinking on cheating is that it’s up to the people in Silverman’s personal circles to scold him about it, and I, as a complete stranger, will merely frown and stay out.

  18. John Morales says

    Siggy, thing is, if he cheats on his wife, he is hardly likely to not cheat on others, is he?

    PZ ain’t scolding him, he’s saying he’s demonstrably not trustworthy.

    … and I, as a complete stranger, will merely frown and stay out.

    But you didn’t merely frown and stay out, did you?

    (If you’d stayed out, I wouldn’t know your attitude toward the matter)

  19. stevewatson says

    That was a thing (among others) about Carrier: He admitted that he was cheating on his wife, then when he gets caught, suddenly they’re both so conveeeeeniently poly, so it’s OK. (Except it turned out that maybe she wasn’t as cool with it as he was, which makes him just another garden-variety adulterer).

  20. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    @John Morales, 18
    Pretty sure the “red meat still sucks”-bit from jack16 at #17 was meant to be in the “Holmes-defending dipshit writes article providing more evidence we need more people with expertise in building and operating guillotines” thread. Incidentally, when the Delta anti-union posters were getting ridiculed way back in May?-ish, one of my first thoughts upon seeing the “A guillotine only costs $1200 to build…Get outside with your buddies, share some brews–sounds like fun.” poster was: “Eh? I could build several from good cedar for $1200. Could I get arrested if I mounted one to a trailer/float and did loops of the GA state house and governor’s mansion?”

  21. lotharloo says

    I can kind of see Brain point too. PZ uses the word “consent” twice in the same sentence to refer to two different things. So I can see how someone can interpret it as if he somehow equated them or implied that consent of a third party is somehow required or relevant to two people engaging in sexual relationship.

    That being said, “cheating on your partner” could violate the later consensual relationship with that partner. E.g., if Silverman engaged in sexual relationships with his wife, while actively cheating on her and unknown to her, then likely he is getting consent from his wife under untruthful conditions.

  22. John Morales says

    lotharloo, weak.

    So I can see how someone can interpret it as if [blah]

    Parse it thus, perhaps. Interpret it thus? Only for dolts or the disingenous.

    Anyone with any nous would realise that “PZ uses the word “consent” twice in the same sentence to refer to two different things.”, as you yourself put it.

    So, why would anyone with nous interpret it thus, such as the little brain?

    (Pretty fucking obvious why)

  23. lotharloo says

    @John Morales:
    I don’t understand what you mean and it’s not obvious to me, when you write “Pretty fucking obvious why”. People can interpret things differently, that’s pretty common. Or do you mean there’s a prior history with him/her that makes sense of this situation?

  24. John Morales says

    Basically, I am neither unaware of brain’s corpus here, lotharloo, nor am I wrong in my previous.

    It’s not like we disagree: a dolt might well be persuaded by brain’s proposition. Apparently, some were.

    We’ll see if that sniper cares to attempt to refute me.

    (Not that many chew-toys recently)

  25. vytautasjanaauskas says

    People’s relationships with their spouses are different. In an ideal world everyone in a loveless, abusive or otherwise unhappy marriage would talk it over with their spouse and peacefully separate but it’s silly to think it’s that simple.

  26. Saad says

    John stole money from poor people and bought his unwitting wife a necklace. Those poor people were horribly wrong and it was also unfair to John’s wife that she was wearing a necklace bought from stolen money.

    OMG I JUST SAID WEARING A NECKLACE PURCHASED FROM STOLEN MONEY IS THE SAME AS BEING STOLEN FROM

  27. says

    @John Morales #20,
    You may infer that whatever I mean by “frown and stay out” is consistent with leaving frowning comments on PZ’s blog.

  28. =8)-DX says

    Like.. @gijoel’s steak and lobster? Can we not equate (even “metaphorically”, although I’m pretty sure that’s implied) men cheating on or assaulting women with the enjoyment of expensive foods?

    Also having been cheated on and divorced I strongly second the notion that my consent was not required for that sex, it was between them. What I didn’t consent to was being repeatedly lied to while attempting to achieve compromise and bring up my kid as best as possible. And I also didn’t consent to the STD risk, which is something that could’ve directly harmed me due to being kept in the dark.

    Honesty and sincerity go a long way, in fact I’d say they’re crucial. If you lie to yourself and others, that is direct harm and the physical fact of consensual extramarital sex by one’s partner isn’t the culprit (although again, thats if it was consensual, which it allegedly wasn’t).

    =8)-DX

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