Not All Deep Rifts Are Worth Diving Into

Kate Donovan, who is a real blessing to the interwebs, makes a great point about the Deep Rifts in the skepto-atheosphere, which I will then pour a teaspoon of cold water on.
Kate writes:

. . . if we’re going to be intellectually honest, we DO need to be arguing, critiquing, and otherwise speaking up about intolerable behavior. We need to–to cherrypick from the Bible myself–cast the beams from our own eyes. Stepping out and saying that you don’t want to be involved in all that drama is equivalent to what we object to of the religious. I’m sorry it’s stressful, exhausting, and disheartening. But we’re worth it.

I completely agree, and as I wrote in my vaguely infamous post at Skepchick a while back, this movement owes it to itself to determine what it’s going to really be about, and act on it. It has to work out the “now-what?” after we all agree that God and Bigfoot are hoaxes. Go Kate, Go us.

Now the teaspoon of cold water.

There is a difference between engaging in a grand debate about what this movement should be, and drama for drama’s sake. My fear is that for a while now there’s been little in the way of arguing and critiquing, and a lot more of what looks like a drama addiction fed by self-created crises. That is what I want to opt out of.

You know where I stand on the issues at hand. The fact that there is a contingent of folks who are fighting for the right to joke about rape and perceive oppression of the white male is an abysmal state of affairs, and yeah, we need to root that shit out. But we are also, being humans, prone to indulge in a lot of back and forth that is merely gratuitous, with folks from all corners seeking out things to offend them, and then shouting from the rooftops about how righteous is their indignation. That st00pid vide0 by that guy is an example of this, a goddamn serenade by moonlight from a freaking gondola to an imagined oppression of white males. Christ. What are we even talking about??

I don’t want to have arguments with that, but just call it out for the nonsense it is. I don’t want to comb my Twitter stream for poorly-chosen words from well-meaning folks so I can express how hurt I am. I don’t want to languish in victimhood as though just being victimized were somehow a form of activism. I don’t want to waste time arguing with someone who thinks being blocked from interacting with a Twitter account is somehow equivalent to being taken to a CIA rendition site. That’s not the grand debate I signed up for.

So, to be clear, Kate is right. Let’s argue and critique and get our house in order. Let’s not for a moment shy away from stamping out the worst in us, exhausting as it all can feel. But let’s also be clear that there’s little substance in much of the noise right now, and a lot of the bickering is more preening than pious. Opting out of that crap is not avoiding the fight, it’s a sign of knowing what battles are worth fighting.

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58 thoughts on “Not All Deep Rifts Are Worth Diving Into

  1. “a goddamn serenade by moonlight from a freaking gondola to an imagined oppression of white males”You are a word magician.
    Also I really like this. Lots and bunches. I said it on Twitter–but I think was a little unclear about it in my post–I do think that there’s an important difference to be had in opting out of some discussions vs. evangelizing apathy. I’m all for the former (and everything in your post is a great expansion on it), and against the latter.

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    • Actually I’m going to caveat this, and inquire exactly how you propose to distinguish between “unreasonable/gratuitous” and otherwise. Mostly because I think you really can’t unless you somehow have special knowledge (which I tend to not have, as a student, and which most people don’t) about people’s behavior.Thus, I do actually think you generally have to take people seriously and argue in good faith.

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      • Perfectly fair question. Can I duck it and say it’s like “indecency”: I can’t define it but I know it when I see it?
        But honestly I do think that the substance of the drama at hand will speak for itself. Spurious stuff is apparent when it pops up, which is palpably different than, say, abuse or bigotry on one hand (to be combatted) or a tough nut of an argument to crack on the other (to be addressed with appropriate seriousness).
        Am I still ducking?

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  2. Well… I’m on the correct side of all the rifts, and I don’t need to re-argue the same points ever again. That’s why this week I’m especially focused on the obsession that some people have with being blocked/banned from other people’s places. I don’t ever want to hear from some people on the wrong side of the rift ever again, and if they show up on Twitter or whatever I’d block the shit out of them. There’s no gain for me to hear the same 10-12 regurgitated lies and half-truths, followed by the same half-dozen specious arguments, over and over again. And those people on the wrong side of the rift? Maybe the biggest thing they could do to show even the faintest hint of maturity and rationality is to stop following people around shouting at them. We’ve heard you, we don’t agree, get the fuck over it already.
    It reminds me of an otherwise decent online debate I had one time. We hit a sticking point where we just weren’t going to agree. Instead of moving on to one of his other, unrelated points, he kept trying to rehash his first point, and then started accusing me of not addressing it because I wouldn’t engage with each and every slight rewording of the same damned point. Finally the debate ended with me just walking away in disgust. And that’s how I feel about the current situation. I’m glad other people have a stronger stomach for it, to make clear that the other side is wrong and lying to any new folks who wander along.

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  3. I think I mostly disagree. While I do think you need to decide how much energy you personally want to put into it and when to call particular conversations quits there is a value in addressing nonsense from time to time. Calling something nonsense only goes so far are it helps to try to genuinely argue the point to try change peoples minds at times (not necessarily the person making the claim but those listening). That’s why we talk about creationism, the latest piece by conservative christian X or the anti feminists in our community.

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  4. Hey Paul,
    Good caveat, but I want to agree with Kate’s point. While it is certainly true that some people are probably (just by statistics) overly dramatic, the broad accusation leaves room for a lot of misunderstanding of who exactly you might be referring to. Examples or a rubric by which we can tell what you think is bad from what you think is good would be super helpful.

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    • Well I’m not prepared to go hunting for silly twitter arguments, and I used the video from the zeroes guy as an example of the problem going to Wagnerian levels. I also mentioned complaints of “censorship” when the victims of harassment block or ban from interaction. Not sufficient?

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  5. Diving? No, not diving.
    The thing is, however, that I am on one side of a deep rift, and there are continually people scrabbling at my feet, trying to topple me over the edge. Some of them are obvious and stupid about it; some of them simply claim that they have some right to their hold on me by virtue of our sort-of-common locale. Additionally, there are rather a large number of people who aren’t beset by a host of ankle-biters who would not mind consigning me to the pit for ever being so uncouth as to kick, even when I do so much less often than those who stand on less shaky ground and are at more risk.
    It is for that last group that I must not only look at the deep rifts and those who try to drag me into it but must also make that landscape and that behavior visible to all. Somehow, I managed to think for a while that work would be done by now. It isn’t. It was only the naive educator in me that could ever be so daft as to think so.
    That people know how I feel only exposes my ankles more. I don’t get to have a say once–or twice–and be done. This doesn’t mean I don’t select my battles. It only means that sometimes they select me as well.

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  6. I have a difficult time understanding why people think it’s okay to refer to the serious problem of harassment of women in secular and skeptic communities as drama. Also, this is completely stomach turning:

    “I don’t want to languish in victimhood as though just being victimized were somehow a form of activism.”

    Victim blame much? This sounds a lot like the cyber mob’s “professional victims”. Who is Paul talking about? Who is languishing in their victimhood? Does he really believe we enjoy the harassment we have received or we are using it to our professional advantage? I would like an explanation.

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  7. Okay, there have been a handful of misunderstandings following this post, which I should have expected, but nonetheless probably warrant a quick clearing up.

    My beef is absolutely not with those who are dealing with abuse, harassment, or defamation at the hands of low-lifes. The insidiousness of misogyny on the web is a genuine crisis and demands genuine solutions, both within and without the skepto-atheosphere. I would hope that my record would have spoken for itself in this regard, but of course not all of you know anything about me.

    The self-generated faux crises to which I was referring in my post was primarily meant to reference, for example, as I stated, those who cry oppression when they are blocked on Twitter or told that perhaps it would be nice if we all behaved as though men and women were equals. These are, indeed, invented crises, invented by those who wish only to stir up anger. Indeed, when I have decided to leave disputes online with such persons because they are obviously only looking to rile emotions, I am, of course, accused of being a free-speech-hating bully. I am also wary of hypersensitivity to insult from anyone on any coordinates around the Deep Rifts, and that the non-harassers and non-rape-jokers among us should all cut each other some slack.

    The key point, which I obviously failed to make, was that it is justifiable to want to opt out of the invented arguments, the fights into which we are goaded by those with unserious or malicious intentions, and not be deemed a deserter of the wider movement because one decides to invest one’s energies elsewhere.

    This is why I like blogging about gadgets.

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    • I’m sympathetic. I rarely step out of lurk mode and engage in arguments, because most of the time I don’t think it’s worth the effort, or someone else has managed to say what I was hoping to say. I pick my battles, exactly as you suggest.
      All of that is a judgment call, though, based on my perception of my circumstances. Someone else might not make the same call as I do; someone else might chastise me for not making the same call they would. Who’s right? Without a way to objectively judge that, we can’t come to a consensus. We also don’t have a way to separate “don’t engage because there’s no argument to be made” from “don’t engage because I don’t want you to.”
      That’

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    • Gah, touchpads!
      I already do exactly what you say, and yet someone could easily use the same argument to assert I’m doing it wrong. That makes your request less insightful than it should be. There’s an easy fix, fortunately: come up with some metric or technique to decide which arguments are worth pursuing. Until then, I appreciate the sentiment, and suspect we agree far more than the contrary, but I’ll keep on keeping on.

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  8. Paul in 7. you are doing a little bit of back steppin’ there I can see and I can still hear the egg shells a crackin’ with each backward step. You have said nothing that warrants side stepping or back stepping. You are making good sense with your support of finding the right battles that need to be fought and fighting them! But the fighting should be done out there… in the real world, on a level playing field, in a town hall, with no censorship, no ban hammers, intelligent people debating intelligent people using facts, logic and skepticism…not here in this soft cocoon where diversity of ideas is discouraged. What a great plan. I chose Justicar, Abbie Smith, Paula Kirby, Renee Hendricks and Girlwriteswhat for one team in this great debate, which 5 would you pit against them and have in your ‘dream team’?

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    • And what would you be debating? Whether or not it’s permissible to talk about feminism? Whether or not it’s ok to make rape jokes in order to shut someone up? That sexual harassment in the US is dismissible because women are being raped in India?
      Seriously, what the fuck subject is there that reasonable people would find arguments for both sides?

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    • I wouldn’t want anyone to waste time debating that team for the same reason I don’t want scientists to waste time debating creationists.

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      • Exactly. That is the team that I hope I never meet in real life – I might betray my principles and do them some violence (more like throwing shoes at them or something). I can just laugh at the creationists but with bullies and bigots, no tolerance.

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  9. Pretty much everything coming out of the “OMG she blocked me” faction is an “invented argument”. That’s what they do, they peddle in righteous anger. They are kind of like Fox News in this respect.

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  10. I don’t want to have arguments with that, but just call it out for the nonsense it is. I don’t want to comb my Twitter stream for poorly-chosen words from well-meaning folks so I can express how hurt I am. I don’t want to languish in victimhood as though just being victimized were somehow a form of activism. I don’t want to waste time arguing with someone who thinks being blocked from interacting with a Twitter account is somehow equivalent to being taken to a CIA rendition site. That’s not the grand debate I signed up for.

    This quote is brilliant. Merely because this happened:
    https://twitter.com/MelodyHensley/status/287392990836690945
    You see, that is what we call someone who wants to “languish in victimhood”, or as Melody herself puts it, a “professional victim.” Of course, you may not have referred to Melody at all with that blocking of Twitter malarky, but frankly being blocked merely out of association with someone else, as she did, or for criticising someone else she doesn’t approve of — that you are therefore guilty of that charge — is more than a little ridiculous. You might not think so. You might think that kind of behaviour is appropriate. In fact, why don’t we just call it ‘hate directed at women’ and call it a day?
    On a more serious note, maybe it’s to do with the rhetoric? The ‘white oppression’, I mean. Not many hours go by without someone goes on about white privilege, male privilege, white and male privilege, old white and male privilege, blah blah blah. Should Richard Dawkins feel a twinge of guilt simply because he was born white and male? Worse, should he feel a twinge of guilt because he’s getting older and therefore therefore, whether he wants to or not, part of a dichotomy of old white male todgers? The same rhetoric being used against Hitchens (or was used) and Dennett and you know what, I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Is there a pre-requisite becoming a feminist that you need to not only acknowledge your “white and male privilege” but also be completely and utterly apologetic about it?
    Are they, as Sikivu Hutchinson called them, ‘white supremacists’? Am I? I don’t consider myself above any race or gender. I don’t consider myself above anyone, nor do I consider anyone inferior to me. However, that admission, ironically, according to some, is somehow a sign of my privilege. Can you see how this is awfully confusing? Someone accused me of ‘race/gender-blindness’ because I said I didn’t think of people in terms of race and gender, but in terms of people. ‘Race/gender-blindness’? I mean, what the hell?
    Since you’ve *ahem* “stomped out the worst in you” (whatever that means), maybe you can make it clearer for me (and for the rest) just how this rhetoric is good for anything but more bickering? And more to the point, why should I listen to you, white male with privilege?

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    • Should Richard Dawkins feel a twinge of guilt simply because he was born white and male?

      No; he should feel a boatload of guilt for attempting to shame Rebecca Watson for expressing feeling of discomfort when other women elsewhere in the world have it far worse, aka “Dear Muslima”-ing her. Which he did because of male privilege.
      See, privilege is not something wrong with you, or something you did wrong, like smashing your car into someone. It’s something that makes it easier for you to do wrong; like a bigass blind spot that you fail to check and then smash into someone. Recognizing that you have privilege is like noticing that blind spot is there, and then making sure you check it so that you don’t smash into people. Dawkins not only failed to check his, but was unapologetic about the ensuing smashing.
      I would go on, but I have a feeling this has been explained to you numerous times before.

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      • So the “Dear Muslima” argument is used everytime because of male privilege?
        Ever heard the expression “what about the menz?” It’s a deragatory term meant to marginalize issues to do with men, in that women’s issues are far worse – which fits the “Dear Muslima” argument to a t. The thing is, there are worse things out there that require our attention – that require our priorities – and we don’t help by focusing on trivial shit like possibly, ambiguously, getting hit on in an elevator and then making a mountain out of a molehill out of it. It certainly doesn’t help that just because Richard Dawkins is a white man, who happens to be an elderly man, that his opinion is turned to mush and his accomplishments tarnished simply because a woman was insulted by his reality check.
        If you ever make the argument that something is bad, but this other something over here is worse, you’re making the equivalent to the “Dear Muslima” argument. So don’t give me that shit about “male privilege.” I neither have the time nor the energy to deal with such bullshit.

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      • So the “Dear Muslima” argument is used everytime because of male privilege?

        No, it’s used as a general device to tell someone that whatever problem they’re talking about isn’t really a problem. Which might be true, but not because something worse is happening elsewhere. A leaky faucet is not suddenly a non-problem because elsewhere there’s a flood happening, You understand this, right? It’s a fallacious argument.
        You were talking about Richard Dawkins specifically and male privilege specifically, and “Dear Muslima” was the particular form the fallacious argument took for him.

        It certainly doesn’t help that just because Richard Dawkins is a white man, who happens to be an elderly man, that his opinion is turned to mush and his accomplishments tarnished simply because a woman was insulted by his reality check.

        You have it swapped around. Richard Dawkins has said many brilliant things and made many amazing arguments in his life which have been respected by many, including feminists. He didn’t say those things because he’s a white man, and we don’t respect them and him because he’s a white man. But then he said a very non-brilliant thing which would be very difficult for anyone but a non-white man to say, and it became relevant. Not because he’s a white man, but because it was a dumbass thing to say.

        The thing is, there are worse things out there that require our attention – that require our priorities – and we don’t help by focusing on trivial shit like possibly, ambiguously, getting hit on in an elevator and then making a mountain out of a molehill out of it.

        An off-hand comment in a video is not a mountain– it’s a molehill. A tirade of abuse spanning years and taking place across the internet in reaction to the molehill? That’s a mountain.
        And you’re just throwing rocks on top of it, while complaining all the while about it getting bigger. How ironic.

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      • Ehhhh. The overarching theme in this furore is that the mountain was always a molehill. The misconception – or rather, the spin – is that the reaction was due to four simple words, “Guys, don’t do that” Except that, it wasn’t. Sure, some reacted strongly to her saying she was sexualised by the man in the elevator and some reacted strongly to her holier-than-thou suggestion of “not doing that” and some reacted strongly to the guy just asking her for a cup of coffee. But that wasn’t the reason it took off. Oh no, for us, it was nothing more than a bit of drama that would soon blow over.
        If it weren’t for her gruelling, unfortunately influential supporters. Like PZ Myers. They wrote blog post after blog post, dealing out the same old lines, “Guys, don’t do that”, making it seem as though her detractors made it seem bigger than it was. Which, of course, Rebecca Watson, saw the opportunity and ran with it. If you wonder who turned the molehill into a mountain, maybe you should look more *ahem* “closer to home”?

        You have it swapped around. Richard Dawkins has said many brilliant things and made many amazing arguments in his life which have been respected by many, including feminists. He didn’t say those things because he’s a white man, and we don’t respect them and him because he’s a white man. But then he said a very non-brilliant thing which would be very difficult for anyone but a non-white man to say, and it became relevant. Not because he’s a white man, but because it was a dumbass thing to say.

        What *are* you on about?
        I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty to bold the parts where you contradict yourself.

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    • Oh, and:

      Someone accused me of ‘race/gender-blindness’ because I said I didn’t think of people in terms of race and gender, but in terms of people. ‘Race/gender-blindness’? I mean, what the hell?

      They were probably trying to point out to you that refusing to acknowledge someone’s race and gender means deliberately overlooking the disadvantages they have likely experienced due to that race and/or gender and refusing to have your perspective informed by that, which is a great example of privilege in action.

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      • Or maybe I’m not into treating people like special flowers simply because of their genetic make-up?
        You know? An aquaintance of mine, he’s Arab; he hates when people look at him and see his supposed disadvantages rather than his actual achievements. He’s a fairly successful writer at the local newspaper and he makes a lot of money. More money than I do. What perspective am I supposed to be informed of by looking at someone’s race and/or gender and think, “Hm, this person may have suffered from some disadvantages; I should take that into advisement as I talk to him”? Fuck. That. Shit. I don’t care who they are, race, gender, ethnicity; for me, they’re just people and I’m going to treat them accordingly. If you want to remain ‘disadvantaged’ simply because you happen to be a woman, or black, or various other minorities, then you need someone to give you a reality check. For Watson it was Dawkins; who’s yours going to be?

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      • Okay, this will be my last comment to you: treat people like people, genius. Nobody asked you to ignore anyone’s accomplishments in favor of their disadvantages. It’s not a mutually exclusive thing– on the contrary it’s generally better, if you want to actually understand where someone’s coming from and who they are, not to dedicatedly ignore something that is a major element of who they are, especially if it has statistically worked to the disadvantage of people in their population in your country or even across the globe. You don’t have to focus on it in order to self-righteously pretend it doesn’t exist.
        Maybe it’s obvious to you why it wouldn’t necessarily be the best idea, if a black friend has been robbed (and you live in America), to naively say “Hey, just go to the police. They’ll take care of it for you!” If so, try and expand that thinking a bit into a better grasp of why you’re a better friend– a better person– if you don’t pretend that people simply lack characteristics which are the reason that they just experienced whatever mistreatment they are complaining about because you think acknowledging it would be “treating them like special flowers.” Actually, it’s called just not being a jackass.

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      • You don’t have to treat anyone as a “special flower” because of their genetic makeup. You should treat them as a social and legal equal.
        I realize your rebuttal is “but I’m all for gender and racial equality. People doing the same job should get the same pay. Besides I haven’t called a bitch a slut in days and wog is a term I’ve rarely if ever used these past few months.” That’s fine, as far as it goes. How do you stand on rape jokes? Do you laugh when one of your mates tells one or do you tell him that’s disrespectful to women? Do you complain when you hear that some conference has instituted a sexual harassment policy? Do you think that two years of rape and death threats is overreaction to a woman saying “guys, don’t do that”?

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  11. Just because I respect Paul as a friend and colleague doesn’t mean I’m going to let him get away with insensitive, victim blaming language. I see that being so well liked has gotten you immunity from criticism around here. You still haven’t told us what you meant by that, Paul.

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    • “You still haven’t told us what you meant by that, Paul.”
      In the future, please consider following up statements such as the above with
      “J’Accuse!” and some melodramatic muzak

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  12. You said you didn’t want to languish in victimhood as though just being victimized were somehow a form of activism. Many of us are harassed daily and we stand up or speak out about that harassment. Are we languishing in victimhood? You think it feels good? That’s why women quit, or are afraid, or suffer mental illness because of it. It takes a hell of a lot of strength for those who continue to speak out.
    And actually, speaking out against harassment is a form of activism. There are many days where I receive emails and messages from women that tell me that they would no longer be a part of this movement if it were not for me speaking out.

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    • Are we languishing in victimhood?”

      I would say what you were doing right now in this thread is straining to take offense. If you respect Paul as a friend and a colleague, can’t you extend him just a smidgin of benefit of the doubt? He says pretty clearly that he supports those who have to deal with abuse and harassment, and that they are not the ones whom this post concerns.
      I understand how raw and exposed constant attacks can make someone feel. Really, I do; got the slagged asbestos panties mounted over the computer as a trophy. I understand how, when you’re already feeling raw and besieged, it’s easy to feel attacked by someone who’s intention was not at all to attack. And I marvel at the strength of the leaders who stand firm against the daily onslaught of hatred, lies, and vulgarity.
      I tell you that in hopes you’ll understand that I am not without sympathy; but, and you knew there was going to be a ‘but’, I think you are reacting to an attack that’s just not there.

      That’s why women quit, or are afraid, or suffer mental illness because of it. It takes a hell of a lot of strength for those who continue to speak out
      Yes! And when you react this strongly against someone you respect as a friend and a colleague, you contribute towards silencing them. Paul has a point that I agree with, that all too often serious discussions of how to move forward with the ‘ism issues in our community are derailed by the loudly yapping ankle biters and perpetual victims that boil out of pits o’slime at the merest whiff of a hint of an allusion to issues they are desperate to suppress and deny.
      Stephannie, as she does so very often, eloquently offers why it is so often impossible to ignore the yapping. And that doesn’t make Paul’s point invalid, it broadens the perspective. I personally think it’s an important conversation to have. Too many people pop up to complain about, what to them, looks like constant bickering. Indignant reactions tend to shut the conversation down, which looks like even more bickering to casual readers. I’m all for dragging it out into the public square and discussing it. And, yes, I have read all the pro and anti troll feeding posts; and no, I don’t feel like this is a rehash of that.

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  13. You said you didn’t want to languish in victimhood as though just being victimized were somehow a form of activism. Many of us are harassed daily and we stand up or speak out about that harassment. Are we languishing in victimhood? You think it feels good? That’s why women quit, or are afraid, or suffer mental illness because of it. It takes a hell of a lot of strength for those who continue to speak out.

    Hahahaha. Actually, that’s a good point, Melody. So why don’t you take that to heart instead of lingering in perpetual victimhood?

    And actually, speaking out against harassment is a form of activism. There are many days where I receive emails and messages from women that tell me that they would no longer be a part of this movement if it were not for me speaking out.

    If yours is the kind of activism they favour, I’m not sure what good those women will bring to the movement.
    I don’t want leaders in secular organisations to encourage women to fear going to atheist conventions. I don’t want leaders to encourage women to live as victims.

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  14. Hahahaha. Actually, that’s a good point, Melody. So why don’t you take that to heart instead of lingering in perpetual victimhood?

    Wouldn’t the easier answer be for your friends, the misogynist cyber mob, to stop harassing women? No harassment, no victims.

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  15. Wouldn’t the easier answer be for your friends, the misogynist cyber mob, to stop harassing women? No harassment, no victims.

    *sigh*
    First of all, Melody, what harassment? What misogyny? Second of all, it’s impossible to stop everyone from having an opinion. If you don’t have what it takes to be a public figure, then why don’t you spare yourself the trouble and give someone else a chance in the spotlight? Maybe they can deal with the abuse they’ll get regardless of the absence of any so-called ‘misogynist cyber mob’. You don’t think Paula Kirby gets hate mail from time to time? Harriet Hall? Or any of the other prominent female atheists in the public eye? You think they’re exempt? You need – a thicker – skin.

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    • Pitchguest, you are claiming that:
      A) People need a thicker skin to deal with what you yourself call “abuse”
      and
      B) There is no harassment
      These two cannot both be true at the same time. You can’t deny that harassment and abuse are occurring at the same time that you are telling someone to “grow a thicker skin”. Either A or B could conceivably be true however.

      What misogyny?

      As to whether misogyny exists (since even you would not deny that is after all an “opinion” some people have), folks can browse the slymepit and decide for themselves. They can also go and read the multiple posts by slymepit people on AVoiceForMen.com.

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      • Simon (we meet again), I’m asking for Melody to show the harassment she’s received, not claiming there’s an absence of it altogether.
        Also, yes, you see, Simon, when you become a public figure, you’re bound to get some abuse no matter if they’re from the so-called ‘misogynist cyber mob’ (getting a bit paranoid, are we?). From teenagers, from arseholes, from idiots who have nothing better to do; if Melody can’t take even the tiniest of offense from these people, then why the hell is she representing people in an organisation? Moreover, I don’t want to be represented by a woman who has this quest to treat women as perpetual victims, and putting fear in women to attend atheist conventions. Not only because it’s immensely stupid and pointless fearmongering, but also because it’s seriously condescending towards women who have no such fear.
        As for “misogyny”, it’s been redefined so often by you, Melody, and others, it’s impossible to know what you really mean when you say someone is a “misogynist.” The Calvinball of feminist theory. It’s true, people can read the Slymepit and decide for themselves – and have, I suspect. Right now, it sports more activity and more active members than the atheism plus forum. I suppose “the truth will out” has some merit after all.

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      • You are a fucking asshole Pitguest. We all know from where you slithered out. For bystanders, please know that in the past Melody has been given a hard time by many on FTB (related to her work for CFI) and she has always weathered the criticism well and come back without bearing a grudge. Her deciding to stand up for feminism has made her a new target for misogynist harassers like that malicious bully wooly fucking bumble bee.

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      • From teenagers, from arseholes, from idiots who have nothing better to do;

        Do your friends on the slymepit know you refer to them in this way?

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  16. First of all, Melody, what harassment?

    Since you are so uninformed, I will no longer address your comments. Hate mail! Ha! I have very thick skin. You don’t me, buddy.

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  17. “The fact that there is a contingent of folks who are fighting for the right to joke about rape and perceive oppression of the white male is an abysmal state of affairs, and yeah, we need to root that shit out.”
    1) You may not like rape jokes, but fighting for the right to make rape jokes is a perfectly valid free speech fight. If you dislike rape jokes, don’t make them. If you dislike rape, fight rape. If you believe in free speech, defending rape jokes is just as valid as any other free speech fight. Fuck you, fuck any brand of atheism that would limit that.
    2) Mens rights is the radical notion that men are people too. if you dismiss their claims out of hand, perhaps you are not the skeptic you claim to be. Even the SPLC, when discussing Mens Rights have said they have legitimate claims.
    It’s appalling that anyone that claims to represent the “Center for Inquiry” would hold either of these positions, both of which are directly anathema of Inquiry.
    Can you explain how your positions are in alignment with the mission of the Center for Inquiry?
    The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

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    • Hold on there, cowboy. Paul never said you don’t have the right to make rape jokes and bitch about how bad men have it. He said that it’s an “abysmal state of affairs” that people are doing so, possibly because the fact that they have a right to do such is obvious and doesn’t need to be fought for.
      Yes, of course you have the right to say dumb and hateful crap. Now, let’s move on to whether you should say it.

      Mens rights is the radical notion that men are people too. if you dismiss their claims out of hand, perhaps you are not the skeptic you claim to be.

      I have never seen a self-proclaimed Men’s Rights Advocate defending simply this notion….probably because of the scarcity of people saying or implying otherwise.

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    • You may not like rape jokes, but fighting for the right to make rape jokes is a perfectly valid free speech fight.

      And telling someone they’re an asswipe douchebag for telling a rape joke is also free speech. Contrary to the FREEZE PEACH dudebros’ opinion, free speech includes criticizing someone for what they say.

      If you dislike rape jokes, don’t make them.

      Also tell the asswipe douchebags telling rape jokes they’re asswipe douchebags for telling rape jokes and, if they’re not screaming “FREEZE PEACH!”, explain to them why they’re asswipe douchebags.

      Mens rights is the radical notion that men are people too.

      There’s a difference between men’s rights and MEN’S RIGHTS™. The former is part of the social contract. The latter is the banner a bunch of whiners use when they see their male privileges being disrespected.

      if you dismiss their claims out of hand, perhaps you are not the skeptic you claim to be.

      As they say at wikipedia: citation needed. I haven’t seen anyone dismiss men’s rights. Even the great feminist boogeywoman you MRAs like to cite, Andrea Dworkin, didn’t dismiss men’s rights. She had some things to say about male privilege, but privilege ≠ rights.

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    • Crangle, can’t you just write a script that repeats No True Skeptic™ for you at everyone you don’t like? I imagine you’ve got a lot on your plate, what with the impending Not Allowed to Make Rape Jokes legislation you’re busy fighting.

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    • If you dislike rape, fight rape.

      That is the most succinct summation of this “men’s rights” perspective I have ever encountered. Start with the premise that reasonable people may differ on whether to “dislike” rape, and everything else follows.

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  18. With this very thread, Paul Fidalgo, you can see the misogynist goon squad has arrived. I lurk like 99% of the time and dont get involved in the “drama”‘ but I know who the obsessives are and short of banning, there’s no respite from these assholes. What are you going do with them? Ignore them and let them rehash their tired old non arguments again? Indulge them for the lolz like Justin Griffiths?

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