Bad form, Rebecca Watson.

Note from ERV– Like all posts on ERV, I wrote this one the night before (Thurs) and scheduled it for the next day (Fri). But with this post, I wrote it, but then just saved it, intending to completely alter the tone of the post as I was eating breakfast. But then I woke up to an extremely cognizant, articulate post by Stef McGraw, complete with a shockingly arrogant, jackass comment by Rebecca Watson, and I was like “Ah, no. No ‘Full House’ heart-warming conversation with Watson. She wanna act a bitch, she gonna get a bitch.”

One of these days, theyre going to come for my Vagina License.

Theres no way to summarize this, but because this is the internet, I will just link to things:
This.
This.
This.

I left a comment on that last link yesterday morning, but the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was.

I have no idea who Stef McGraw is (*shrug*). Nor do I have any opinion of the Skepchicks (*shrug*). But I have been in Stefs position before, as well as Rebeccas. And because this is the internet, I can leave a long, detailed reason why I think what Watson did was bad form, and if she wants, she can leave a long, detailed response here, or her blog, or ignore me, or whatever. Im not going to bring this up in a random speech where Watson is in the audience, and run off.


Rebecca broke one of The Rules of the internet: Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace.

Do not do this.

Ever.

No one gives a crap about what treefrog72 said about you on livejournal. No one gives a crap about what Stef McGraw said about you on YouTube. No one. Unless you are PZ, no one reads your blog or watches your YouTube channel. You bring that crap up in a speech, and literally two people in the audience know wtf you are talking about. Its no more appropriate to do that in a speech than it is to tell inside jokes most of the audience wont get, or use scientific jargon the audience wont get. Its just bad speaking.

Furthermore, because the audience has no clue what youre talking about, they just kinda have to take your word for it that the situation is what it is.

But thats not always the case, is it?

Chis Mooneytits and his partner in crap, Sheril Whatever
, completely misrepresented Crackergate (internet) in their MeatSpace book, ‘Unscientific America’.

Caseytits Luskin completely misrepresented the ERV blog (internet) when he brought the Discovery Institute Circus to Oklahoma (MeatSpace).

How does anyone in the audience know that Watson didnt do the same damn thing? How would they know if Watson totally quotemined McGraw? You cannot provide links irl, or wait 20 minutes for everyone to watch a stupid YouTube video and read all the appropriate links and get up to speed in a speech (assuming anyone in the audience had the inclination to do so, which is unlikely).

And so what if she didnt? What if what Watson posted was a 100% accurate depiction of McGraw?

This wasnt a fucking debate. McGraw was called out, but was never and would never be given the exact same platform to respond. Very bad form, Watson. Curious that Caseytits Luskin pulled the exact same stunt on me. ProTip: when giving speeches, its probably best to avoid behaviors identical to that of Creationists.

Lucky for Watson, McGraw does not have (though I hope will develop with time) my killer instinct. See, when Casey pulled that shit on me, I went straight to the mic, confronted him about calling me out, and flipped him off when it became clear I was talking to someone with the mental acuity of a strung out cow.

But thats kinda the crux of the matter, isnt it? I am who I am on this blog. Others appear to be in-your-face-gangstas made of meringue.

Watson did not confront her male proposition-er, nor did she ‘NAME NAMES!’. Personally, I would have said “Dude, did you hear my speech today? Cause you are being super creepy. LOL. Peace out, Dude, Im going to sleep.” I wouldnt trundle off to bed and write a post about it in the safe shelter of my blag. But fine, I recognize that not everyone has my self confidence and quick wit (DUDE!). But why the hell did Watson make the very poor, split-second decision to ‘call out’ McGraw in the safe shelter of a podium?

When I spoke at the TX Freethought Convention, I probably said something a bit too casual about epigenetics. A speaker later in the day, Michael Newdow, took issue with that phrase. So he came up to me after my talk and said flatly “I want to use something you said as evidence of how even scientists can be woo-y when it comes to medicine.” I was like “WTF!” and we spent about 30 minutes straightening things out. I learned things, he learned things, the people listening in on our conversation learned things.

HOLY CRAP!

What a novel concept!

Someone says something you disagree with, so you actively try to discuss the issue with said person in a reasonable manner!! THE SECOND SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE!!!

Who the hell thinks Watsons behavior will ‘get through’ to McGraw better than a 30 minute discussion with McGraw on why Watson was hurt/disappointed/whatever by what McGraw said? On what planet would Watsons behavior have resulted in a net positive? Someone with Watsons speaking experience and internet experience should have done better.

Even granting the premise that what Watson did was technically 100% ‘not wrong’, what she did was bad form.

And worst of all… dammit worst of all– Watsons comments in her speech re: McGraw were apparently completely unnecessary. The audience appeared to view her McGraw comments as separate from her actual speech, and Watson herself said that it was leik, only two minutes, for reals. So why the fuck did she bring it up at all? Why??? Cause it was the bitchy thing to do! McGraw said something Watson thought was bitchy, so Watson did something bitchy right back. Goddammit. As a woman in skepticism, Rebecca Watson, thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it. I really do. Irony is one of my favorite sources of lulz, and nothing is more ironic than someone embodying the stereotype they purport to be combating, especially when I myself am trying to combat those stereotypes. Faaaaantastic.

If I were McGraw, I would have been surprised, hurt, and frustrated by Watsons behavior.

If I were the audience, I would have been confused and annoyed.

If I were McGraws friends, I would have been disappointed and pissed off at Watson.

And if I were Watson, I would have recognized in retrospect that while my actions were not ‘wrong’, they were bad form, and would try to do better in the future. Id also try to have a discussion with McGraw instead of, once again, retreating to the safe, padded walls of my blag. Fucking pathetic. Cant even *fathom* that ones actions might not have been ideal…

Buuuuuut I am Abbie. So Im pretty much where I was before. *shrug* But the same shit that got pulled on Stef has happened to me, and I am a female science/skeptic speaker, so I had to say something.

On with the science.

Comments

  1. #1 Miranda Celeste Hale
    July 3, 2011

    Abbie, we’re totally GENDER TRAITORS 4-LIFE!!!11!!!ELEBENTY!! :)

  2. #2 Barn Owl
    July 3, 2011

    If Watson found Elevator Guy to be so creepy and threatening, then IDing him would seem to be a priority. No doubt the hotel in Dublin has security, and RW’s concerns would likely be taken seriously. She was in an English-speaking country, and so would have no trouble making herself understood to hotel staff; moreover, she was an invited speaker at a conference being held at the hotel. It’s simply good business practice to address the concerns of your customers, whether in the US or any other capitalist country. Although I don’t think this has been stated in the fallout threads, the conference was held at the O’Callaghan Alexander, a four-star hotel. Is that where this incident took place? If so, we’re not talking about a David Lynchian hissing nightmare dive with a clanky steampunk elevator that lacks alarms or call buttons – pressing those would have been an option too, if the situation became very threatening.

    With the “Schrödinger’s Rapist” scenario being bandied about on the various threads, it doesn’t matter whether the guy alone with you on the elevator propositions you or not – he could be a rapist, right? He doesn’t have to say anything at all before he attacks. That’s scary, yes, and it often happens that a woman might be alone with a strange man on an elevator in a big hotel. If the prospect of the situation “alone on an elevator-that-is-there-called-a-lift in a hotel in a foreign country with a creepy man at 4 AM” frightens you, then perhaps the reasonable thing to do would be to ask a friend, male or female, to escort you back to your room. Use any variety of explanations: “I’m feeling drunk/woozy/jet-lagged/very tired/anxious/uncertain whether this key will work.” Or don’t even provide an explanation, just ask politely. Surely RW knows loads of people at atheist conferences who would do that for her, ask no questions, and think nothing negative of it.

    I realize that this is all essentially useless post hoc analysis, but it seems to me that rather than trying to change the behavior of creepy socially inept dudes (which, call me a pessimist, but I don’t think will work on teh interwebz), maybe it would be better to help other women recognize ways they could make themselves less vulnerable to a potential attack.

  3. #3 John C. Welch
    July 3, 2011

    Those were separate: you / those commenters. As for you, I’ll let your comments on this thread stand on their own.

    If telling someone they’re being sandy-vag’d about something is all it takes to be a misogynist, either you’re completely fucking ignorant about what misogyny really is, or that word no longer has any fucking meaning.

    By that idiotic standard, calling someone a cocksucker is the same thing as what was done to Matthew Shepard.

  4. #4 John C. Welch
    July 3, 2011

    Yawn. Enjoy your fate as a gender traitor, erv. You’ll find out eventually, same as the rest of us, that its a game you can’t win. You’ll never really be one of the guys and you can never really overcome what being a woman in this culture means. The high fives and social approval you get from sexist jackasses won’t be worth it in the end.

    nothing more vicious than defied orthodoxy.

    As far as I’m concerned, Abbie has a permanent standing invitation to any conference I have any control over, and if I’m ever even *vaguely* near somewhere she’s speaking, i’ll go to see her. Besides, as an occasional martial arts teacher, I’d love to see what she learned from that dude, could be cool as hell.

    I admire the hell out of Abbie for her willingness to say to “her people”: “Hey, wait, what the fuck? We’re supposed to be on the side of reasoned response, not blind fucking reaction to any perceived slight. We’re supposed to be BETTER than the other guys, EVEN WHEN IT’S INCONVENIENT.”

    That is the sign of someone worth knowing and dealing with. Following the pack takes no fucking brains or backbone. Put your nose up against someone’s ass and follow them. Being independent only when everyone else is independent just like you is neither independent nor strong.

  5. #5 John C. Welch
    July 3, 2011

    OH NOOOOOOO!

    Does that mean we cant get mani-pedis and watch Oprah together anymore????

    U HAZ SEEKRET PENIS U GENDER TRAYTOR!!!!

    “Secret, penis girl,
    secret, penis girl,
    They’ve taken your vagina,
    and given you a wang”

  6. #6 JohnV
    July 3, 2011

    So how many people have called you a gender traitor by now? :p

    Its good to see how important ideological purity is to some.

  7. #7 Jason
    July 3, 2011

    Really SC – I laid out exactly what I was asking for. It was really quite simple.

    I’m not sure if you bothered to read actually read it, or not. But you went ad hominem instead. Good job. Logical fallacy – thanks for playing though.

    You seem to think it makes sense to call someone an hysterical pussy – not even noting the inherent misogyny there?

    Whatever, regardless, you’re not interested in intellectually honest discussion; you just have your own axe to grind. What do you get from trolling, here, exactly?

  8. #8 Joe Fatzen
    July 4, 2011

    @96 – What the unmitigated fuck? o_O

  9. #9 Lavendrgrllll
    July 4, 2011

    “gender traitor 111!!!! We’re not going to hang out with you anymore, and no-one else will either!!!””

    Good god – makes me want to watch Heathers again.

    It’s shitty reasoning clothed in politics and ideology.

  10. #10 Peter
    July 4, 2011

    Erv defends McGraw, is then accused of being a misogynist and gender traitor.

    Sums it up, really, doesn’t it?

    The opposition is very stupid.

  11. #11 Justicar
    July 4, 2011

    I have to say that I’m 2 for 2 today. Until about an hour ago, all of the “press” I’ve seen on this has been on Pharyngula and, well, various links he’s thrown up. I was dismayed to learn that despite what I thought were fairly solid credentials in–if not outright being absolutely pro-woman, then–not being a misogynist, or sexist. I was fairly certain that I was in no way a rapist. But daring to not buy hook, line and sinker Rebecca Watson’s shuck and jive, well, I quickly learned I was the exact opposite.

    So, I think I’ll stick around to see what the thoughtful people are having for breakfast instead of the “you’re a fucking retarded retard woman-hating cupcake mcdouchemuffin” line of “argument” over there.

    Hi, people!

    -Justicar

    PS: not to detract from the minutia, but can you tell me more about this strung out cow business? =^_^=

  12. #12 John C. Welch
    July 4, 2011

    Here, the comment I posted on watson’s skepchick article on the whole thing:

    There are two issues here:

    Elevator Guy and Stef

    Elevator Guy was wrong. I don’t think anyone with a brain will disagree there. *how* wrong is up to everyone’s own worldview, but yeah, he was wrong, and I can agree a mite creepy. Some people are just that ignorant of what’s going on around them.

    Stef may be wrong, she may not be wrong with regards to the content of her criticism. Her criticism and disagreement in and of itself is not wrong. Freedom of speech is never freedom from disagreement and criticism.

    However:

    Now I must share one additional fact about me: I loathe passive aggressive behavior. Loathe it. I sincerely believe that if you are going to criticize someone’s argument, you should clearly and honestly state to whom you are referring and what exactly they have said or done that you find objectionable.”

    What I think you’re missing Rebecca is that to a *huge* number of people, your actions on the podium (in whatever form the “podium” takes), were just that: Passive-Agressive. You’ve spoken before. You know that by and large, most people may, during a Q&A disagree with your points or content, but getting up, when you’ve been called out *by name*, walking up to a mike, and taking *personal* issue with a speaker’s actions is almost never going to happen.

    Stef had *precisely* two options in that moment: sit there, say nothing, and feel, (legitimately i think), like a bit of a target but at least retain some anonymity, or stand up, face the crowd, who was more than slightly sympathetic towards your view of the incident and of stef’s comment, and turn a Q&A on the topic of your talk into “Yo, why you gotta hate on me like that”.

    That was the only way she could have questioned you in that moment. She would have *had* to turn a talk into a personal issue between you and her. It would have been seen as a total dick move, and made her look totally oversensitive.

    So really, she didn’t have a choice other than sit there and take it, something which I cannot believe didn’t occur to you. You speak, publicly, entirely too often to be completely unaware of the power a speaker holds over the audience.

    (And to those saying “Stef should grow a spine”, well, I can only hope something similar happens to you in the same circumstances. The video of you and your mighty spine will be something I look forward to.)

    Furthermore:

    For me, this is a question of respect: I have enough respect for the person I am criticizing to not make them guess that I am talking about them or guess at what they said that needs to be defended, and I have enough respect for my audience to allow them the opportunity to double check my work. If I hide the person and the exact words that I am criticizing, how does anyone know whether or not I’m creating a strawman? How can the person in question respond?

    Indeed. How could Stef have really responded? Stand up in the middle of what could have felt a bit like a (polite and probably not dangerous) mob who were on your side, and again, turn a Q&A into a personal discussion?

    Not bloody likely.

    Talk about it on her site? Well, yes, but it’s not exactly the same, power-wise, is it?

    (note: I actually help plan conferences, and have been a regular speaker at tech conferences since 1999. I am *highly* aware of the power dynamic between speaker and audience, and who has more of it. Hint: it’s never the audience.)

    Talk to you after your talk is over? Maybe a few HOURS later, but certainly not while you’re surrounded by your supporters. Again, going into a hostile crowd alone, knowing you’re going to stir them up? Yeah, that’s a way to feel safe. Not.

    You claim to have shown her respect, but you seem to be missing how you also put her in a position where she had no real option to directly respond to you. That’s not respecting someone. That’s calling them out when you know that in the end, there’s not shit they can do about it.

    Finally:

    “Rebecca, if you are going to be a public figure, it is your job to keep as much of an audience as possible.”
    .
    OMG, that is one of the funniest comments I’ve seen in a long time. You seriously think that’s my “job”? No, seriously? Seriously. Seeeeeeriously?”

    Here, in case you’ve forgotten, your bio from this site:

    “Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter: ”

    I can’t imagine how anyone might possibly think you do this as a “job” from that bio. Wow, what kind of schmuck could possibly infer that?

    Note to any who made it this far: This has nothing to do with elevator guy, (whom I notice, has yet to be called out by name or appearance or anything. ) He was still wrong. But one incident does not excuse nor require the other.

    john
    jwelch@bynkii.com

    (just so no one thinks I’m “hiding” behind a pseudonym.)

  13. #13 daedalus2u
    July 4, 2011

    Things are starting to get nasty with people throwing gratuitous insults at the various parties.

    This behavior is destructive to the goals that all skeptics and all feminists share. That includes the elevator guy, RW, SM, PZ, Erv, GL, SZ, everyone else and me. This kind of infighting damages both skepticism and feminism, makes people less likely to work together against our common enemies, and yes we do have common enemies, enemies who would impose their own idea of Judea/Christian/Sharia law on us and who would rape women in elevators or anywhere else they could and then blame the victim.

    This whole argument (as far as I can tell) is about form and tone and communication and when and how ideas are communicated, not about what was communicated (as far as I can tell, but I am pretty much tone deaf so much of this “argument” (such as it is) is over my head).

    People need to step back and think about how their comments are helping skepticism and feminism, furthering the goals of skepticism and feminism and portraying skepticism and feminism as lifestyles that are cool, useful, and a good way to live one’s life and that young people who want to grow up to be cool and good adults would want to emulate.

    There is nothing elitist about skepticism or feminism. You don’t need education or intelligence to be either a skeptic or a feminist. Education and intelligence can often get in the way of both. Neither education or intelligence is a substitute for following the “rules” of skepticism and feminism.

    To be a skeptic all you need is to base your arguments on facts and logic. If you do that, you are a skeptic even if you never graduated first grade, even if you still are in first grade. Being a skeptic isn’t about having lots of facts, it is about what you do with the facts you have. If you don’t have the facts to back something up, a skeptic has to default to “I don’t know”.

    To be a feminist, all you need to do is not treat anyone (or allow anyone else to be treated) as if they have more or less privilege than someone else. You can be a first grader and be a feminist but it is tricky because children don’t know enough to keep themselves safe. Feminist adults who exert control over children are not doing so because of adult privilege, but to keep the child safe and should be able to explain to the child (using only facts and logic), why it is necessary to do so. If you are an adult and can’t explain something using facts and logic, then you need to rethink your approach until you can.

    What are people’s motivations in this discussion? Is it to convey information and make arguments using facts and logic, or is it to try and exert privilege over someone else, or to prevent someone from exerting privilege over someone else.

  14. #14 Tommykey
    July 4, 2011

    To think, all I had to put up with with my measly little stalker was someone following me to/from work, trying to get into my apartment when I was home/not home/asleep, dude having delusional conversations with neighbors in attempt to get them to let him into our apartment building, him getting into my mailbox, trying to contact me at work, blah blah blah.

    Well, I hope Rho finally learned his lesson and leaves you alone now. :-)

  15. #15 ERV
    July 4, 2011

    Tommykey– I know you meant to be funny, but Rho actually went up to the mic to tell Casey Luskin ‘bad form’ when Luskin pulled this crap on me. The guy who I/we tricked to get the Dembski plagiarism video went to the mic and said “Bad form.”

    Members of Rhos church, who I previously and still refer to as a ‘creepy cult’ came up to me after the talk to apologize for Luskins behavior.

    The ‘skeptical movement’ needs to take a moment to think about their behaviors if even YEC look at an incident like this, towards an ‘enemy, and say “Ohh… that was not cool.”

  16. #16 Justicar
    July 4, 2011

    ERV, it’s a sad state of affairs when you have to advise people to step back and take note of someone being honest and “doing the right thing”, because that just isn’t a quality held in high esteem these days. Itn’t it?

  17. #17 Claus Larsen
    July 4, 2011

    daedalus2u wrote: “To be a feminist, all you need to do is not treat anyone (or allow anyone else to be treated) as if they have more or less privilege than someone else.”

    Did McGraw treat anyone (or allow anyone else to be treated) as if they have more or less privilege than someone else?

  18. #18 Peg
    July 4, 2011

    Thankfully for McGraw, there is a new target.
    Note this joke tweet:http://twitter.com/Java6Nerd/status/87877095153336321
    Don’t be silly! Dawkins would have offered his rape victims tea, not coffee!!!

  19. #20 ERV
    July 4, 2011

    Peg–
    Im sure Dawkins will definitely lose some sycophants over this. I seriously doubt he will mourn their loss. Nor do I technically see it as a loss at all, especially when the young ones have shown so much class over this… and theyre falling in the Dawkins camp.

  20. #21 ERV
    July 4, 2011

    AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    LOL!!! Check out Watsons ‘fan page’ on facebook!!! ROFL!!!!! While all of the students involved with or who witnessed this event are writing amazingly intelligent, articulate, impassioned posts (curiously, all the ones Ive seen are in defiance of Watson)… Watson is saying *NOTHING* in defense of herself, and openly hiding behind PZs apron! AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    On the bright side, a lot of young ones are now well aware of the fact this woman is not a good role model, which is why Ive ignored them for what, five years now?

    Make skepticism/atheism a part of your lives, kids. Dont make it your life. Cause eventually youll run out of things to talk about. And then you will make up drama. And then people will get sick of your shit and youll end up getting airtighted in Scott Lyons living room to pay the rent.

  21. #22 daedalus2u
    July 4, 2011

    Claus, yes, McGraw did treat RW as if RW didn’t have the privilege to respond to the elevator guy the way RW did. RW was talking about herself and her feelings and her responses, RW has privileged access to her own feelings and responses, it is no one else’s place to tell RW that her feelings and responses were wrong or non-feminist.

    Was RW’s response overkill? Probably but I haven’t actually looked at it, but from the shit-storm that it has generated, maybe it was. But I think it was a tone overkill, not a content overkill. Tone is really hard to get right in meat-space and even harder on the internet, and really hard when people have different backgrounds.

  22. #23 Tommykey
    July 4, 2011

    Tommykey– I know you meant to be funny, but Rho actually went up to the mic to tell Casey Luskin ‘bad form’ when Luskin pulled this crap on me.

    Yes, just kidding, hence the smiley face. I was just recollecting a time when he complained in the comments about not having much interaction with you.

    In all seriousness though, I have no doubt that he is a decent guy.

  23. #24 ERV
    July 4, 2011

    daedalus2u– It was a tactic overkill. There was no reason for Watson to do what she did the way she did it. A 1-on-1 conversation would have been orders of magnitude more fruitful and professional, even if they both walked away with the exact same opinions of the topic, they would have had to hear the other one out.

    Tommeykey– No, hes not. But even he ‘gets it’. :)

  24. #25 John C. Welch
    July 4, 2011

    It was a tactic overkill. There was no reason for Watson to do what she did the way she did it. A 1-on-1 conversation would have been orders of magnitude more fruitful and professional, even if they both walked away with the exact same opinions of the topic, they would have had to hear the other one out.

    Bang. Exactly. Watson could have done the same thing without calling her out in a room full of supporters and sycophants, where there was no difference in power, and had an actual discussion. Instead, she chose to play bullshit high school power games, and is shocked, shocked I tell you that the entire fucking planet isn’t falling in line with her.

  25. #26 daedalus2u
    July 4, 2011

    Ok then, tactic overkill, but I haven’t actually seen the response, I can’t get video where I am. But from the shit storm it clearly did hit something.

  26. #27 Claus Larsen
    July 5, 2011

    daedalus2 wrote: “Claus, yes, McGraw did treat RW as if RW didn’t have the privilege to respond to the elevator guy the way RW did. RW was talking about herself and her feelings and her responses, RW has privileged access to her own feelings and responses, it is no one else’s place to tell RW that her feelings and responses were wrong or non-feminist.”

    McGraw did no such thing. All she did was point out that there could be alternative explanations to how Rebecca experienced it. Rebecca, on the other hand, abused her power as a speaker.

    daedalus2 wrote: “Was RW’s response overkill? Probably but I haven’t actually looked at it, but from the shit-storm that it has generated, maybe it was.”

    Then, I suggest you actually look at something, before you comment on it. Otherwise, you are only making yourself look foolish, and wasting other people’s time.

    daedalus2 wrote: “But I think it was a tone overkill, not a content overkill. Tone is really hard to get right in meat-space and even harder on the internet, and really hard when people have different backgrounds.”

    Indeed. Only thing is, Rebecca markets herself as a communicator, not just online but in particular in meat-space. Of all people, with her background, she should be the first to know that such dirty tricks are not acceptable. She has spoken at many conferences, she knows how to get a message across.

    Rebecca is so quick to scream for apologies from those who say or do something to offend her. That she cannot even recognize that there could be reason to apologize herself, even as a “Hm, OK, I’m sorry you feel that way, I happen to disagree, so there we are”, is testament that she does not practice what she preaches.

  27. #28 Eric
    July 5, 2011

    I can’t believe I just wasted 2 hours reading about eight different blogs on Elevatorgate instead of watching “Troll Hunter” on DVD.

    I always assumed the Second Coming of Christ was the even that was going to divide the ‘atheist community’.

    At least she didn’t get onto that elevator from that shitty M. Night Shyamalan movie.

  28. #29 daedalus2u
    July 5, 2011

    Claus, I did read what McGraw wrote, and she does say that RW is being a bad feminist by saying that 4:00 AM in an elevator is not an appropriate time for a man to make sexual advances toward a woman. I don’t have to read or see anything else to appreciate that McGraw called RW a bad feminist.

    McGraw wrote: “Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed”.

    To reverse the situation, men would have to be smaller and weaker than women and men would have to be the ones that get pregnant. This happened in Ireland where abortion in the event of rape is illegal.

    Reversing the situation means reversing the privilege that males have, not just changing who says what to whom.

    Being a feminist is not a suicide pact. We are not in a society where women have privilege equal to men. Until we do live in a society where men and women have equal privilege, the reality of the society we do live in has to be dealt with.

  29. #30 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    Daedelus, none of that, none.of.that justifies what Watson pulled during the talk. “bad behavior” by one person does not justify your own. Billy kicking a puppy doesn’t make it okay for you to punch a baby. Billy kicking YOUR puppy does not make it okay for you to punch HIS baby.

    This is not complicated stuff.

  30. #31 daedalus2u
    July 5, 2011

    John, I am not saying that what McGraw wrote justified how she was treated, but she did write that RW was a bad feminist. Maybe some people believe that RW is a bad feminist and needed to be put in her place. Publicly dissing people for how they speak about personal experiences regarding unwanted sexual advances is not usually considered to be a feminist-type action.

  31. #32 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    @131
    Let me see if I can translate and help you clear up your point. Since the Rebecca Watson / Stef McGraw affair is nontroversial right now, I’ll use a different example.

    John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town.

    If fact b doesn’t bear on fact a, which you concede, but you cannot mention fact a without bringing up fact b, then you are in fact arguing that one fact cannot be separated from the other fact.

    So, is it a relevant feature, or is it an irrelevant feature? If you say it’s relevant, please explain how. If you say it is irrelevant, then I expect that you will stop mentioning it in places you claim it doesn’t belong.

  32. #33 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    John, I am not saying that what McGraw wrote justified how she was treated, but she did write that RW was a bad feminist. Maybe some people believe that RW is a bad feminist and needed to be put in her place. Publicly dissing people for how they speak about personal experiences regarding unwanted sexual advances is not usually considered to be a feminist-type action.

    You just justified how Stef was treated, so yeah, you kind of are saying that.

    John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town.

    Example fail. Everything is not exactly the same. But thank you for trying to conflate rape/assault with someone saying something you dislike on a blog.

    If fact b doesn’t bear on fact a, which you concede, but you cannot mention fact a without bringing up fact b, then you are in fact arguing that one fact cannot be separated from the other fact.

    I can easily ignore your example, because you’re trying to say that justifying rape/assault due to “immodest clothing” is the same as Watson pulling a dick move at a conference. But, since things like “Everything is not exactly the same appears to be lost on you”, the wearing of a miniskirt, (fact a) does not justify rape/assault. (fact b). Stef saing something Watson doesn’t like online, (fact a) does not justify Watson pulling a dick move, live, in person, where the power balance was vastly different. (fact b).

    Look at that: someone else’s actions don’t justify your dick move.

    So, is it a relevant feature, or is it an irrelevant feature? If you say it’s relevant, please explain how. If you say it is irrelevant, then I expect that you will stop mentioning it in places you claim it doesn’t belong.

    You’re not actually reading what you type, are you.

  33. #34 daedalus2u
    July 5, 2011

    Justicar, it is not as simple and as black-and-white as you want to make it out to be. There are shades of stuff going on on both sides. The degree of polarization that this is producing (and which you are contributing to) is not helpful.

    Your analogy is poor and is not appropriate and seems (to me) to be a trollish comment designed to inflame rather than provide a useful analogy. You even call the McGraw/Watson event a nontroversy. How does your analogy relate to a nontroversy? A woman wearing a short skirt should not endanger her no matter where or when she wears it. Unfortunately there are some places and some times where wearing a short skirt does endanger a woman, as does simply existing in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of her own. It is important for a woman to know what places and what times it is unsafe to be in. The reason it is important is for her safety, not so that she can be blamed if she becomes a victim and the perpetrator exonerated because it was her fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Calling a woman a bad feminist because of what she has said about an unwanted sexual advance she received is not the behavior of a good feminist. Does calling someone a bad feminist deserve the death penalty? No, it does not.

    My comment 131 was in response to comment 130 which was in response to comment 129 which was in response to comment 127 which was in response to comment 122 which was in response to comment 117 which was in response to my comment 113.

    As I asked in my comment 113,

    “What are people’s motivations in this discussion? Is it to convey information and make arguments using facts and logic, or is it to try and exert privilege over someone else, or to prevent someone from exerting privilege over someone else.”

    Why are you trying to shut me up when I explain that what McGraw wrote did have anti-feminist content? If you want to understand complex situations, you need to look at all the data and not cherry-pick the data that fits the argument you want to make.

  34. #35 windy
    July 5, 2011

    But, since things like “Everything is not exactly the same appears to be lost on you”, the wearing of a miniskirt, (fact a) does not justify rape/assault. (fact b). Stef saing something Watson doesn’t like online, (fact a) does not justify Watson pulling a dick move, live, in person, where the power balance was vastly different. (fact b).
    Look at that: someone else’s actions don’t justify your dick move.

    I think that’s the point Justicar was trying to make by rephrasing daedalus2u’s point (confused me too, at first)

  35. #36 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    Ok, John. Allow me to try again.

    You say the analogy fails. You claim this is because it conflates rape/assault with someone saying something I don’t like on a blog. Bullshit.

    You note that everything isn’t the same between the analogy used and the thing it’s used to highlight. Congratulations. You’ve done all of the work of noting what makes an analogy an analogy. Given that this isn’t an actual indictment on an analogy to note that not all of its features will be the same as the thing it serves to explain, I’ll respond with an equally intellectual deficient “rebuttal” to your “rebuttal”: http://xkcd.com/895/

    Were I trying to analogize the events instead of the relationship between two events, you’d have the ghost of a point. I wasn’t, and you don’t. The essential feature being teased out is how blaming the victim isn’t a viable chain of reasoning. This in no way conflates one type of offense with another; it does no more work than to highlight that since the victim isn’t responsible for the abuser’s abuse, to argue it in any case is faulty. I chose a rather common example. If that makes you uncomfortable, or unable to note a valid analogy, pick different events. Continue picking different events until you find the kind that doesn’t retard your ability to take in the relevant bit.

    Are you saying that using analogies other people won’t like is a dick move? I realize that you’re trying to argue that analogy conflates things it doesn’t, but I fail to see how this is something entailed by it. And you’ve certainly done no work in pointing out any problem in the analogy – other than you think it’s a dick move. But this isn’t an argument and I’ll correctly dismiss it as not relevant.

    Do you normally ask rhetorical questions to avoid pointing out an error? Where, do you imagine, is the grammatical or logical incoherence? Flailing your metaphorical hands at it doesn’t actually do anything to the make the words suddenly change their meaning. (sorry, it was an analogy; I know, you have troubles with those).

    Refutation fail there, chief.

  36. #37 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    Ok, John. Allow me to try again.

    You say the analogy fails. You claim this is because it conflates rape/assault with someone saying something I don’t like on a blog. Bullshit.

    You chose to use that analogy, not my fault that it didn’t have the desired result. Next time, don’t immediately conflate everything with rape/assault. it trivializes things that should not be trivialized. Being called out on a blog is not the same as rape or assault. Stef didn’t even use BAD WERDS.

    You note that everything isn’t the same between the analogy used and the thing it’s used to highlight. Congratulations. You’ve done all of the work of noting what makes an analogy an analogy. Given that this isn’t an actual indictment on an analogy to note that not all of its features will be the same as the thing it serves to explain, I’ll respond with an equally intellectual deficient “rebuttal” to your “rebuttal”: http://xkcd.com/895/

    If I am trying to explain something via an analogy, then it behooves me to use an appropriate analogy. If I am trying to justify the actions of what someone else is calling a dick move, and those actions involve a session during a conference, maybe, just maybe, using the “she was dressed like a whore so raping her is okay” example is not really a good one. Maybe I shouldn’t pick an EXTREME example that is a pain point for both men and women, (although women are CLEARLY in the majority, as only 10% of sexual assualts and rapes involve men), which will only create noise. Maybe I should think a bit more about what I use for an analogy, so that it more closely matches the situation.

    Now, for example, were I trying to say that Elevator guy, (WHO STILL HASN’T BEEN CALLED OUT! WHY IS HIS FUCKING PRIVACY SO FUCKING IMPORTANT?) was justified in his actions, (which i have not) because Rebecca had been drinking and possibly acting in a way that could be implied to be flirtatious, then, yes, *then* your analogy would be a good one. But I’m not doing that. I’m saying Watson’s actions *during the session* were a dick move, and you have yet, via bad analogy, to show me otherwise. In fact, you’re actually taking actions closer to the analogy you’re trying to push. “Stef criticized Watson in public so any and all criticism Watson returns, regardless of method or situational appropriateness is okay, and Stef needs to just suck it up.” Um. Bullshit. (Also, seriously, when you resort to XKCD searches, it tells me you don’t really have much of a case of your own.)

    Were I trying to analogize the events instead of the relationship between two events, you’d have the ghost of a point. I wasn’t, and you don’t. The essential feature being teased out is how blaming the victim isn’t a viable chain of reasoning. This in no way conflates one type of offense with another; it does no more work than to highlight that since the victim isn’t responsible for the abuser’s abuse, to argue it in any case is faulty. I chose a rather common example. If that makes you uncomfortable, or unable to note a valid analogy, pick different events. Continue picking different events until you find the kind that doesn’t retard your ability to take in the relevant bit.

    I’m not blaming the victim. Were I blaming the victim of Watson’s dick move, I’d be blaming Stef for it. That’s what you’re doing. You’re saying that because Stef criticized Watson, Watson was perfectly justified in her actions at the talk. I disagree. But you are still pushing the meme that any disagreement with Watson’s behavior over her treatment of stef means:

    1) You think what Elevator guy did was okay.
    2) You completely agree with stef’s criticizm of watson.

    *neither of those apply to me*. I can see where stef’s coming from, but I can also easily see how Watson could have been creeped the fuck out and thoroughly unnerved by what Elevator guy did. Watson has done nothing wrong by feeling that way, or talking about how she felt.

    Nor do I agree with Stef’s points. I know a lot of folks who have survived (sexual) assault, and while some of them would say Watson is being a big fucking baby about it, others would say she was right to feel how she felt. I’m not going to tell someone they’re wrong in their interpretation of a situation that really isn’t that clear-cut.

    But again, what Watson did during the talk was a dick move. If you want to change my opinion on that, you’re going to have to stop making this all about Elevator Guy’s actions, they don’t justify Watson being a dick to stef. Stef is not Elevator guy.

    Are you saying that using analogies other people won’t like is a dick move? I realize that you’re trying to argue that analogy conflates things it doesn’t, but I fail to see how this is something entailed by it. And you’ve certainly done no work in pointing out any problem in the analogy – other than you think it’s a dick move. But this isn’t an argument and I’ll correctly dismiss it as not relevant.

    No, i’m saying that using shitty analogies to prove a point is using a shitty analogy to prove a point, and therefore rendering your point unproven. When you compare disagreeing about calling someone out during a session to justifying rape by being dressed immodestly, that is in fact conflating those two things. That’s what analogies do. They conflate things to show the relationship between the things so that better understanding can be achieved.

    Your analogy isn’t a dick move. Your analogy just sucks, and you need a better one.

    Do you normally ask rhetorical questions to avoid pointing out an error? Where, do you imagine, is the grammatical or logical incoherence? Flailing your metaphorical hands at it doesn’t actually do anything to the make the words suddenly change their meaning. (sorry, it was an analogy; I know, you have troubles with those).

    Refutation fail there, chief.

    I have no problems with analogies. Your analogies just suck.

  37. #38 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    John:
    Let me see if I can sum this up in a way that won’t make you cry out in pain and agony.

    No, I am not making that analogy. You absolutely fail to understand even, incidentally, to whom the fucking thing was directed. Note, you weren’t the person. So, why you’re all personally butthurt accusing me of making claims I haven’t made is not obvious unless you just completely. fucking. fail. to. notice. it. was. not. directed. to. your. argument.
    That’s why it was directed to someone other than you; indeed, I wrote:
    “@131″ [you were number 130, not 131]
    “Let me see if I can translate and help you clear up your point. Since the Rebecca Watson / Stef McGraw affair is nontroversial right now, I’ll use a different example.”

    [That was to number 131, who had made the false relationship during which s/he blamed McGraw for Watson's abuse of power. I then restructured that argument to better emphasize the fallacy underlying it; viz., the only reason to keep mentioning that McGraw wrote something Watson didn't like with respect to a conversation about Watson's abusing her podium power is to blame the victim. To that end, I used a classic example in which almost everyone immediately sees how that blaming the victim scenario plays out.]

    “John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town. ”
    [Note, this was to clarify for number 131 how the structure of 131's argument actually is. Fact a and fact b aren't relevant because one doesn't imply the other. What is important is how they're being falsely related. Yes, your name appears. No, it's not directed from me to you as an implication of what you've said. It's written from me as though I were number 131; 131 might as well have said that as it has the same merit.]
    Where I failed is in not putting a note at the start “Dear John: don’t take this wrong way. It’s not you, it’s me. In fact, it’s not even directed at you. Please, don’t read it or you’ll probably require copious amounts of vagisil.”

    On an unrelated issue: stop making the assertion that since you don’t like an analogy (even were it directed to you) that it becomes untrue because you don’t like it. That’s now how it works; one would think that a person who normally demonstrates clear thinking as you normally demonstrate thinking wouldn’t need a remedial class in introductory logic.

    And yet you have the wherewithal to ask me if I read what I write? Fuck, do you read what you read before asking stupid questions about it?

  38. #39 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    @138, an addendum:

    I most certainly do not trivialize situations in which someone exploits having power over another person for personal gain. Nor will I be spoken to as though I do, particularly in an argument where I’m in no uncertain terms advocating that it is in all cases wrong. It is unethical without caveat. It is never not unethical.

    Similarly, it is also equally unethical to blame a person for being victimized because of another person’s abuse of power.

    Let me make this quite plain – if you ever only understand one thing I write, let it be this:

    It is immoral to abuse one’s power to victimize anyone for any reason. Equally so, it is unethical to blame the person who is victimized for being a victim.

  39. #40 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    Let me see if I can sum this up in a way that won’t make you cry out in pain and agony.

    I worked midnight avionics maintenance in the Air Force in N.D. and I’ve been in IT for 20 years. With a taser, a belt sander and a bag of rock salt, you couldn’t make me cry. Stop reading your own press, it’s warping your thinking.

    No, I am not making that analogy. You absolutely fail to understand even, incidentally, to whom the fucking thing was directed.

    Then learn to write better. Your inability to properly state your point? Not my farm, not my pig. I am not responsible for reading your mind, I don’t know you from the hobo on the corner. I have only the words you type. Maybe you should choose them better.

    Note, you weren’t the person. So, why you’re all personally butthurt accusing me of making claims I haven’t made is not obvious unless you just completely. fucking. fail. to. notice. it. was. not. directed. to. your. argument.
    That’s why it was directed to someone other than you; indeed, I wrote:
    “@131″ [you were number 130, not 131]
    “Let me see if I can translate and help you clear up your point. Since the Rebecca Watson / Stef McGraw affair is nontroversial right now, I’ll use a different example.”

    [That was to number 131, who had made the false relationship during which s/he blamed McGraw for Watson's abuse of power. I then restructured that argument to better emphasize the fallacy underlying it; viz., the only reason to keep mentioning that McGraw wrote something Watson didn't like with respect to a conversation about Watson's abusing her podium power is to blame the victim. To that end, I used a classic example in which almost everyone immediately sees how that blaming the victim scenario plays out.]

    “John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town. ”
    [Note, this was to clarify for number 131 how the structure of 131's argument actually is. Fact a and fact b aren't relevant because one doesn't imply the other. What is important is how they're being falsely related. Yes, your name appears. No, it's not directed from me to you as an implication of what you've said. It's written from me as though I were number 131; 131 might as well have said that as it has the same merit.]
    Where I failed is in not putting a note at the start “Dear John: don’t take this wrong way. It’s not you, it’s me. In fact, it’s not even directed at you. Please, don’t read it or you’ll probably require copious amounts of vagisil.”

    So let me get this straight. You’re arguing on a blog with many people in the comments, one of whom uses his name, “John” in all his comments. You then reply with a comment wherein you use my name repeatedly, yet aren’t really all that clear that the use of *my* name in this instance is a convenience because it’s a short, easily typed name.

    and yet somehow, I am supposed to divine that you aren’t actually talking to me, because you reference someone else once, then wander off into a series of analogies USING MY NAME.

    I know you wish to believe yourself the bestest raconteur on da internets, but maybe, just maybe you could consider that it would be, perhaps, given the way your post was written, easy for someone named, oh, i dunno, *john* to think you were talking directly to him as well.

    Just consider it. for a second. If you’re going to use someone’s actual name, then expect that person to assume you’re talking to them. If I was in the room with ERV, and I said “Abbie’s such a stupid bitch”, it would be rather understandable for ERV to get just a little put out with me, especially if I hadn’t made it REALLY clear that I was talking about some *other* abbie who unlike ERV, is a stupid bitch. Even though ERV would have come to the wrong conclusion, the essential communications failure there would be mine.

    On an unrelated issue: stop making the assertion that since you don’t like an analogy (even were it directed to you) that it becomes untrue because you don’t like it. That’s now how it works; one would think that a person who normally demonstrates clear thinking as you normally demonstrate thinking wouldn’t need a remedial class in introductory logic.

    I don’t have to like your analogies. I get to think they suck. You don’t have to agree, but that doesn’t make me wrong. I think your rape analogy sucked. Get over it.

    And yet you have the wherewithal to ask me if I read what I write? Fuck, do you read what you read before asking stupid questions about it?

    You’ve not given me anything to ask intelligent questions over, so stupid’s all I’m left with. Put more thought into your words, you might get better results.

    The thing is, I actually think we *may* agree on Watson’s actions. I’m not sure, you’re quite busy trying to tell me how stupid I am, so I’m caring less and less what you think. But here’s another thought.

    If it looked to you like I had misinterpreted who you were talking to, (because again, *you used my name*), why not just say “Um, I probably shouldn’t have used your name in my example, I wasn’t really talking to you directly. I just used your name.”

    after re-reading your ‘original’ post a few times, and mentally changing the name to someone else, yes, I can see where you might not have been talking to me. If that is the case, then i apologize for my own mistake, but offer up the tip that you should be more judicious when using names in the future.

    If we happen to agree on Watson’s actions so much the better, if not, I still apologize.

  40. #41 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    John, judging by the comments not from you, you’re the only one who failed to appreciate that it wasn’t directed to you. It’s a small sample size, so I’m not putting a great deal of stock into its reliability. But sure, chief.

    Like I said, I erred in not appending a dear John letter to put you on notice that though your name is used, you weren’t being addressed.

    Funny you should mention reading my own press – I was just having that discussion. I never google me, but I’m told I should as, apparently, some interesting stuff is written of me. Meh.

    I’m not trying to tell you how stupid you are. I think you’re ordinarily quite thoughtful and clear in thinking, as I said. Don’t let that stand in the way though! But in this case, I could have made it clearer so that you wouldn’t have been the only one of whom I’m aware who failed to understand. Though Windy did suggest that it took a moment to figure it out. Still she managed and you didn’t, and that’s partly my fault.

    Yes, we do agree on Watson with respect to her power abuse issue.

    I could have written it that way, but I wanted to change as few features of Daedelus’ argument to only deal with the relevant issue. I didn’t account for your misreading the post. That is partly my fault.

    I have said that you’re free to think my analogy sucked. You’re not free to say that logically incorrect. Your distaste for it doesn’t change the fact it’s an apt analogy. Again, remedial logic classes shouldn’t be required on this elementary point.

    Anyway, with a bit of help, I think you’re finally reading something very close to what I’m writing. So, now I need a beer, except I don’t drink!

    Again, yes, I could have changed the name to avoid confusion.

  41. #42 Joe Fatzen
    July 5, 2011

    I have said that you’re free to think my analogy sucked. You’re not free to say that logically incorrect. Your distaste for it doesn’t change the fact it’s an apt analogy. Again, remedial logic classes shouldn’t be required on this elementary point.

    Of course he’s free to. While something that should logically parse and flow is more objective than subjective a matter, he’s free to argue why it does not follow. You are free to argue why it does. Chances are, the interpretation that more “logically follows” will get hashed out over time. At the moment, I am leaning more towards the points John has made, not yours.

    Others, by the way, are perfectly free to weigh in as well. You are free to state your case better, or restate it differently in a way that you think will analogy-ize (new word!) more on-target.

    We are also perfectly free to point out that it would go a lot smoother if one refrained from rather asinine comments like “Let me see if I can sum this up in a way that won’t make you cry out in pain and agony.” John stated his case well and in detail, and it was plainly easy to follow. Yours has so far meandered around and been more concerned with trying to convince others that your previous comments were in no way poorly-framed or ill-targeted and that anyone who does not see that must be replied to snarkily.

    We are free to point out that this is not the case.

  42. #43 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    It happens. I get burned as much by thinking it’s NOT directed at me as when I think it is. I keep thinking “If I’d just change my name to “Bigdick McGillicuddy”, this wouldn’t happen.” The joys of a common name i suppose.

  43. #44 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    @142:
    Lawl. You are actually saying that whether something is logical is a matter of opinion? hahahaha

    I almost stopped right there. Yes, it’ll get hashed out. In case like this, it’s not exactly a complex logical structure. *stops self*

    Sorry, I’m still laughing. Well-played, Joe Fatzen.
    Yes, by all means. Everyone, please weigh in. I want to know your feelings on if a implies b; b implies c; therefore, a implies c is true.

    @143 and to John C. Welch:
    Change your name to that and we can hug it out.

  44. #45 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    Justicar, I wanted to. My wife nixed it. Something about “there is no way Bigdick will ever get laid again. John is risking it big time, but Bigdick is DEFINITELY going to the land of “Nevertouchedaboobie” for sure.”

    Damnit. You’d think with a name like “Bigdick McGillicuddy” you couldn’t ever lose. Stupid reality.

  45. #46 thememe
    July 5, 2011

    Watson is saying *NOTHING* in defense of herself, and openly hiding behind PZs apron! AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Now she did: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

    I was quite unsure about her motivations, and thought the concerns she had were just poorly communicated. Now I think she is more interested in her own self-promotion than anything else (including feminism and skepticism). While playing blame/shame-games hardly lead to concrete and good solutions, it can lead to a raise in popularity (especially if someone is a public figure) because it triggers peoples emotional responses. Thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments usually don’t do that. *sigh*

    Why doesn’t she make concrete and clear suggestions how secular communities and movements can improve and make women feel more comfortable (IF they feel uncomfortable, I am still not clear about that). Instead she prefers to do the “you’re either with us, or against us”-George Bushy thing.
    I don’ get it…

  46. #47 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    Now she did: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

    I was quite unsure about her motivations, and thought the concerns she had were just poorly communicated. Now I think she is more interested in her own self-promotion than anything else (including feminism and skepticism). While playing blame/shame-games hardly lead to concrete and good solutions, it can lead to a raise in popularity (especially if someone is a public figure) because it triggers peoples emotional responses. Thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments usually don’t do that. *sigh*

    Well of course she’s self-promoting, it’s how she gets paid. Self-promotion pays her rent, clothes her and feeds her. Watson would be a fool if she didn’t relentlessly self-promote, and that’s something to keep in mind. I write a lot for various outlets, and to be honest, yeah, I do self-promote somewhat. Those freelance checks are damned handy.

    I’m lucky in that I have a “real” job, so that’s all they are: handy. So that’s something you always have to remember with her, or anyone else whose line of work is, well them. (another example are what I call “New Media Douchebags” like Robert Scoble, Anil Dash, etc.) Anything you say to them that they *can* use to draw attention to themselves will most likely BE used to do just that.

    THis doesn’t make Rebecca a bad person, an untrustworthy person, or whatever. But, to stay clothed and fed, she has to, HAS to relentlessly draw attention to herself. So yeah, being surprised she’s a drama queen? I’d be surprised she’s not.

  47. #48 Joe Fatzen
    July 5, 2011

    Lawl. You are actually saying that whether something is logical is a matter of opinion? hahahaha

    No. And I see your willingness to comprehend comments and not immediately jump to “holy crap I’m totally right why the fuck are you disagreeing with me let me toss assholishness galore while not actually understanding what was said–again” is thrilling, let me tell you.

    You laid out something you think is logically correct and consistent and lays out something properly analogous. Someone else is free to disagree and state why they do not feel this is the case–either that what you posited is NOT logically correct (supplying reasons why), or that the manner in which you presented it does not make for a particularly good analogy (supplying reasons why).

    See, we are all humans here. And while our humanity does not mean everything we process is subjective by nature, it should be pointed out that–being human–YOU MIGHT BE INCORRECT ABOUT A THING.

    I know this will probably come as a shock to you, and is something you would never, ever, ever concede as remotely possible. Why is a sentence like “You’re not free to say that logically incorrect” is laughably idiotic. Because you might be wrong. And someone is freely allowed to correct you. And you know what…? They might be wrong.

    This is why, you see, my follow-up sentence mentions specifically “more objective” and the entire rest of the paragraph was talking about hashing it out. If it logically follows, then it can be logically determined. You, however, effectively stated “I SAID THIS THING AND YOU CAN’T SAY NOTHING ABOUT IT!” Mathematical proofs are perfectly mathematically provable, but if you publish yours for peer-review, you don’t get to preface it with “ALSO I’M RIGHT AND ACCEPT EVERYTHING I WROTE HERE ALSO SCREW YOU.” It does not work that way. You might be incorrect. They might correct you.

    This was, in fact, frightfully easy to determine from my comment. BUT I AM LAUGHINGS AT YOU LOLZ. You know, get down with your bad self.

    But you know, your ability to parse things seems to be on edge lately, so using simple words:

    1) This comment: “You’re not free to say that logically incorrect.”
    2) is dumb.
    3) The correctness of statements with an objectively correct answer can be determined.

    The end.

    In the end, I don’t think we’re actually disagreeing on any of the nontroversial matters at hand with Watsongate. But you have been pulling the “be a giant asshole” trigger really quickly, and have been scrambling to reframe how your not-brilliantly-formatted post to daedalus and your follow-up dickishness to John is–in fact–everyone else’s fault. Whereas your first reply to John should have been, “Wait, what? I wasn’t saying that. I also wasn’t replying to you, so why are you…? Oh shit, my bad. My reply was to daedalus2u and I forgot to put quotes around the section of his I was quoting where HE was replying to you.”

    Then you went more posts talking past him, and even your clarifying post didn’t mention anything like “Oops, I didn’t use quotation marks properly” but instead ended with more dismissive dickishness.

    How about that?

    Just so we’re clear:

    “You’re not free to say that logically incorrect” is a dumb statement.

    Although amusingly one is perfectly free to say that it’s GRAMMATICALLY incorrect. See, this is me, ending with a dickish clincher. Which you are obviously used to.

  48. #49 Peter
    July 5, 2011

    I especially like the way she quoted Dawkins without the later clarification, she’s a class act.

  49. #50 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    Joe Fatzen:
    I like dicks – sue me.

    Oh noes – you found a grammar error on a blog. And it was mine!

    Yes, the answer to whether what I said is correct or incorrect can be determined. It does not in the slightest degree depend on anyone’s feelings. Its truth value is determined objectively by very well-established rules of logic. There is no subjectivity in the universe that changes this elegant fact.

    Let’s hope I didn’t make a grammar error in this one.
    To clarify: you are not allowed to say that is logically incorrect [and be right].

  50. #51 Justicar
    July 5, 2011

    John C. Welch:
    Maybe if you made it Bigdick McGillicuddly?

    Yeah, this just in – a person whose job it is fly around the world talking has to be seen as a person who has something to say. She doesn’t really have any substantial points to make except that she needs to be listened to about one subject. It’s always one subject: how is atheism important? Well, as a feminist blogger who . . .

    I’ve heard her say it before. I’ve heard other people say it before. She’s not particularly unique, or clever. I’m not saying that I am either, but my food doesn’t depend on my making people think I have something to say.

    Which is why I’m not hijacking atheist conferences for my wedding one year to announce my divorce for the following one.

    But she is good at playing the victim – first by the supposed elevator guy, and now because all she said was “Hey, guys. Don’t be creepy mkay?” and now people are writing mean things about her. *pouty face*

    But it’s OK – PZ’s got her back, and she’s gotten a lot more subscribers “score” she says. All it took, she notes, was to get Richard Dawkins to say something stupid. Mm hmm. Color me impressed.

  51. #52 thememe
    July 5, 2011

    @John C. Welch

    THis doesn’t make Rebecca a bad person, an untrustworthy person, or whatever. But, to stay clothed and fed, she has to, HAS to relentlessly draw attention to herself. So yeah, being surprised she’s a drama queen? I’d be surprised she’s not.

    No, I don’t think she is a bad person nor that self-promotion necessarily is a bad thing. But I am disappointed. I think she got onto some reckless megalomaniac ego-trip that harms feminism and skepticism. (I hope it will pass)
    I am a regular reader of skepchick.org, but recently, I got pretty much disturbed and irritated by some articles that can only be characterised by poor reasoning and ‘appeal to emotion’. (Maybe you got more readers, if you do that, i dont know). But what I found most disturbing is this “you’re either with us, or against us”-attitude: If you don’t agree with us on certain aspects, goals, interpretation…then you’re misogynist or whatever…and of course the commenting croud will applaud……sorry if I expect more (but i may be somewhat naive on that) from people that proudly call themselves Skeptics and Feminists. Yes I am disappointed.

  52. #53 John C. Welch
    July 5, 2011

    I am a regular reader of skepchick.org, but recently, I got pretty much disturbed and irritated by some articles that can only be characterised by poor reasoning and ‘appeal to emotion’. (Maybe you got more readers, if you do that, i dont know). But what I found most disturbing is this “you’re either with us, or against us”-attitude: If you don’t agree with us on certain aspects, goals, interpretation…then you’re misogynist or whatever…and of course the commenting croud will applaud……sorry if I expect more (but i may be somewhat naive on that) from people that proudly call themselves Skeptics and Feminists. Yes I am disappointed.

    Luckily, I’m more cynical than you, and I have to live in the New Media Douchebag world on a regular basis, so I see gobs of Rebecca’s every day. Most of them have penises, but they’re all like her in too many ways.

    So if you read comment 112 here, it’s a copy and paste of a comment I made on Rebecca’s Skepchick post about “naming names.” It’s a fairly long comment, and one that, I think, lays out why people dislike her stunt. At the end, there’s almost a throwaway reference to what I thought was another dick move, namely some juvenile mockery of another comment. Something like 15 paragraphs that *I* wrote, not counting quotes of her words, and the only thing she responds to is a minor bit about her “job”.

    She could give a fuck about the actual issue I raised, but if it’s something that might affect her next speaking fee, she is ALL fucking over THAT. She’s a New Media Douchebag. I’d view her as entertainment, not an actual serious source of anything other than maybe how not to color your hair. (Seriously kids, learn how to do that shit right. Turning your hair to raggedy straw is not a good thing. Spend a little dosh, have a pro do it. Well worth it.)

  53. #54 Anonymous
    July 5, 2011

    Hemant:

    “I had written before that the way Rebecca publicly berated Stef McGraw at the CFI conference was unprofessional. That led Amanda Marcotte to call me a “sexist paternalist” whose intent was to shame Rebecca for being successful.”

    http://friendlyatheist.com/2011/07/05/a-few-more-thoughts-that-are-sure-to-be-uncontroversial/

  54. #55 thememe
    July 5, 2011

    @John C. Welch

    hmm.. yes ..New Media Douchebag.. Now her actions finally make sense to me. Unfortunately, if i see it that way, Richard Dawkings critical comments were the best thing that could have happened to her :(

  55. #56 TotalGeek
    July 6, 2011

    Just a short comment.

    I think you’ve written a great article here.

    I really like your comment about:

    “Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace.”

    If everyone can just learn that little gem of wisdom, the world will be a better place.

    Cheers!

  56. #57 Michael Kingsford Gray
    July 6, 2011

    Uncomplimentary, my dear Watson.

  57. #58 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    “You are so cool and totally different from those other bitches. And he would’ve been all “LOL, good form, dude! Peace out!”

    Or raped you.

    Either way, you’d be so cool and totally different from those other bitches.”

    Well, I guess that salty IS a rapist-in-waiting then.

    You know, even if RW had told EG “No way, creep!” bringing some anger into the situation and making it a power game, EG, unlike you, took “No” for the answer. You know as in “not raping”.

    That YOU can’t take no for an answer is a reflection on you, not anyone else.

  58. #59 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    “But there should be no doubt about the elevator incident. I honestly think that ERV and others questioning Watson’s honesty when she tells the story of the elevator incident is very nasty.”

    Why?

    a) it’s a made up story in the same manner as the parables, something to learn by. The good samaritan didn’t ACTUALLY exist, but the story WAS a moral and useful one to tell

    b) it is true, but only vaguely reported. Did you read the title of the group for which RW was talking for? Atheists and skeptics. Take a look at the last one

    c) it’s true but still nasty for some reason other than “skepticism”. If so, please explain what and why. E.g. “It’s nasty because it minimises the fraught danger women find themselves in” needs to be defended and the return comment to that has already been made: “asking for coffee==sex slavery” minimises the fraught danger the sex slave trade contains.

    PS you’ll also need to work out why SC’s comments have not been nasty.

  59. #60 Wow
    July 6, 2011

    “(And to those saying “Stef should grow a spine”,”

    For me, can those people saying “Stef should grow a spine” should say “Rebbecca, grow a spine”.

    I can understand being creeped out, but you can overcome that with use of a spine, like ERV has.

    Apparently, though asking *Rebbecca* to grow a spine means you’re a class traitor or rapist in waiting.

    As to whether EG did something bad, I honestly don’t think we have anywhere near enough to say. We have plenty enough to say whether RW was wrong in her treatment of Steff, though.

  60. #61 mathguy
    July 6, 2011

    For the past several years, I’ve not been that involved in the skeptical movement…been busy earning my phd (guess I’m not as smart as Abbie or Tara at Atieology who did both). I follow a few blogs like PZ’s and this one. Now that I have a real job as a professor and a little extra spending money, I’ve been planning on attending some of the meetings, maybe a TAM. After seeing all this shit, I don’t see the point.

    Is anyone else old enough to remember when the lights of the movement were people like Carl Sagan and Martin Gardner? Now we have Rebecca Fucking Watson and all this pomo-pseudofeminism shit everywhere?

    Abbie keep up what you’re doing–begin a scientist and speaking on skepticism. Watson and those like her are stuck in an internet echo-chamber and I don’t anything can ever change that.

  61. #62 Justicar
    July 6, 2011

    Mathguy:
    Watson just called to complain about Rebecca doing something to him.

    Grats on the PhD and professorship. Please, please, PLEASE, don’t let a teaching session go by where you neglect to point out the importance of critical analysis.

    And never again juxtapose Carl Sagan with Rebecca Watson. Comos was and will always be lightyears beyond the capacity of skepchick. They should really change its description to: “Skepchick is a group of women (and one deserving guy) who try to write about science, skepticism, and while promoting pseudoscience. With intelligence, curiosity, and occasional snark, the group tackles diverse topics from astronomy to astrology, victim-hood–a get paid to complain guide–to explaining why you’re a rapist.”

  62. #63 GratefulDoc
    July 7, 2011

    Thanks for writing this, ERV. I will be checking out your blog in the future to read about science and other things that actually matter.

    I really don’t get RW’s appeal, but I’m just a skeptical dude, not a “skeptic” in the in-crowd. Aside from a semi-humorous comment once every 3rd week on SGU, she just injects a snarky, snide and self-congratulatory tone to the show. I wish they’d just replace her with another woman who can do more than simply parrot people who are smarter than her. I’m not surprised by her over-the-top reaction to this whole debacle. I can’t believe she was ever on a panel with Dr. Dawkins. Ridiculous.

  63. #64 DavidByron
    July 7, 2011

    Is Watsons’ behaviour here feminist or not? I ask because the folks at her site and PZ Myers’ seem to approve of it as feminism. The comments here not so much. But it seems more than a little minor disagreement.

    Watson sees Dawkins disagreement as so significant she is leading a boycott of him, saying he is anti-feminist. That’s how certain her position is. Who is correct? What is feminism?

  64. #65 Pete Rooke
    July 7, 2011

    I must register my disagreement with Abbie.

    Propositioning someone for sex (and I was not initially aware that the offer of ‘coffee’ was actually a thinly veiled reference to this) at any time, let alone at 4am alone in a elevator, is immoral and wrong.

    The two were not married! Or indeed, even in a relationship.

    That is not to say that Ms Watson is a moral/righteous person (she is most certainly not).

    But she is right to call people out for excusing this! The sexual mores of our times our twisted.

  65. #66 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    That depends on whether or you’re not the right kind of feminist, DavidByron.

    Some people are keen on that no true Scots[wo]man fallacy.

    If you’re not Rebecca Watson’s kind of feminist and mention it, you’re a misogynist and advocating an attitude that is actually harming women. This is a repugnant claim, and not enough people are calling bullshit and demanding internet blood for it.

  66. #67 FZ
    July 8, 2011

    Found this site after a long search getting the detail for this storm in a tea cup incident.
    Not much to say other than, ERV, you’re freaking awesome.
    If I wasn’t living in Australia or married I’d ask you out for a coffee, even if it was 4am in an elevator! LOL

  67. #68 Wow
    July 8, 2011

    “Propositioning someone for sex (and I was not initially aware that the offer of ‘coffee’ was actually a thinly veiled reference to this)”

    How do you ask someone for a coffee?

    Is every attempt by a man to have a date with a woman a request for sex? Am I propositioning my own sister when I invite her round for a coffee?

    And how DO you ask a woman out? How do you get to be not-married if men aren’t allowed to ask you for a date? Are all marriages supposed to be arranged?

    And one last thing, I REALLY don’t like this whole “rape switch” idea.

    And one reason is that it’s the same thing as saying that a woman who gets raped was asking for it.

    “She was asking for it” == “She flipped the man’s rape switch”

    Because IF (and I REALLY don’t believe it’s true) any man will rape under certain circumstances, then it’s saying that the man had no choice and therefore wasn’t his fault even more than “she was wearing a short skirt and flirting” is making it not the man’s fault. In the case of a “rape switch”, it’s apparently something EVERY SINGLE MAN has and cannot remove. There’s no equal imperative in the “she was wearing a short skirt”, the only imperative there is that the male responded to incorrect or misinterpreted signals, but could still have ignored those signals.

    It is, to me, a really disgusting thing. But apparently OK to say for some women. I can only guess that it demonises men and therefore is OK, whereas “she was asking for it” demonises women and that’s not OK.

    Me? I think both demonise humans and diminish the crime.

  68. #69 FZ
    July 8, 2011
  69. #70 randy
    July 11, 2011

    “A teacher with the Nova language school, Ms Hawker had been approached on the street by Ichihashi and agreed to give him an English class. After the hour-long lesson in a coffee shop, Ichihashi told her that he did not have any money with him and that they should go back to his apartment so he could pay her.”

    Sounds innocent enough, Ms Hawker was found dead later.

  70. #71 Anonymous Internet Commenter
    July 11, 2011

    Myspace and meatspace eh?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZuowNcuGsc

  71. #72 windy
    July 11, 2011

    Sounds innocent enough, Ms Hawker was found dead later.

    The murderer’s approach sounds like what many people were arguing Elevator Guy should have done – that he should have asked to meet her another day (4 days later to be exact), in a public place, and offered a reason that was not likely interpreted as an invitation for sex. What lesson do you draw from this exactly?

  72. #73 urgh
    July 12, 2011

    Do we even know anything happened? And if anything happened, why did she freak out so hard? Is she not used to get the attention by guys?

  73. #74 Prometheus
    July 12, 2011

    Ms Hawker had been approached on the street by Ichihashi and agreed to give him an English class.

    Bad example:

    Based on her You Tube videos RW lacks a rudimentary grasp of the English language.

  74. #75 Think or GTFO
    July 12, 2011

    GratefulDoc @163

    It is rather weird that she was on the same panel as Dawkins. She’s nowhere near the same level, and it’s actually a mystery why she was there. I’m not saying it just because of this latest drama, but I have never liked RW.

  75. My thoughts on the whole Atheism/Feminism stupidity
    http://tonyryan.org.uk/?p=582

  76. #77 Anonymous
    July 14, 2011

    Some commenters here really need to take a hard look at themselves. The post was about one thing: etiquette of internet/real world interactions. We may agree or disagree with what the author said (I, for example, disagree: internet is part of real world, and not something we must never speak about when “out there”, ever). This thread descending to incredibly nasty personal attacks against RW is despicable. Seriously, get a grip, people.

  77. #78 Justicar
    July 14, 2011

    Why get a grip when we’ve got a perfectly good gripe in our hands?

  78. #79 Ihaveaspergerspleaseexplainsimplethingstomelol
    July 15, 2011

    Okay, Rebecca is complaining that guys are hitting on her all the time at conferences.

    Well, okay but what does she mean by that?

    Does that mean guys are flirting with her and that annoys her because flirting is sexualizing? Or does she mean that men are straight out constantly propositioning her for sex?

    If it’s the first case then I think she’s a hypocrite because she does that to men. (as has been noted by previous bloggers) If it’s the second case then maybe she’s just interpreting men as propositioning her? I mean based on her knee jerk assessment of a guy asking her out for coffee, it sounds like she kind of projects sexual intentions on to men. Am I naive for thinking that way?

  79. #80 Richard Manning
    July 15, 2011

    Okay folks, this is what is going on.

    Rebecca Watson insists that she explicitly told guys not to sexualize her on the panel discussion with Richard Dawkins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKHwduG1Frk&feature=player_embedded#at=242

    However the actual panel discussion which was uploaded by AronRa she never talks about being sexualized in the kind of way that she purports elevator guy is doing to her.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik

    She doesn’t talk about being hit on at all she talks about getting crude emails.

    Rebecca Watson distorts things and does not know how to distinguish between her feelings and reality.

    That doesn’t make her a good feminist or a good skeptic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik

    So this is what people are referring to when they talk about how Rebecca had already told others that she didn’t like being “hit on” at conferences. Sadly that’s not what she said at all and the so called skeptics never bothered to check their sources.

  80. A bit of a follow up to earlier:
    Let’s reclaim the elevator!!
    http://tonyryan.org.uk/?p=602

  81. #82 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 18, 2011

    ERV

    Maybe I misread it as a non native-speaking english, but I don’t read the “10000″ thing as ‘my audience is bigger so STFU’. I’ve read it as ‘calling you out in a talk with 1/100th of the audience of my blog alone is not worst than calling you out in the blog itself, so stop whinning’. Hhmm yeah, it still sounds a little arrogant.
    And still, talking about arrogance:

    Even if Watson was 100% right, she absolutely went about addressing this issue the wrong way. That is unquestionable.

    Maybe I should STFU…
    And no, I don’t understand why McGraw could not use the Q&A section to fight back? Because she is too shy to speak out away from the seccurity of her keyboard? Because RW would have the ‘final word’? So what? Oh..

    Ya, 1 minute in a Q&A (where Watson would still be given the Final Word) is leik, TOTALLY equivalent to Watsons 60 minute, uninterrupted platform.

    Really? RW would have 60 min to answer every question during Q&A? No? Ah..She did spend 60 min calling McGraw out? Wow! THAT was bitchy indeed.
    I also would please like to know more about this ‘what happens in the internet stays in the internet’ rule. I think many divorce attorneys would like to know about it also.

    Cheers

  82. #83 dzhellek
    July 22, 2011

    All of this because of one drunk Irish guy?
    yee gads

  83. #84 forced to be anonymous
    July 23, 2011

    Hopefully soon you’ll at least stop posting things like this

    Ooh, I loves me some Salty Cu…nt!

  84. #85 Name
    July 24, 2011

    Who?

    Seriously.

  85. #86 cmmm
    August 1, 2011

    The threads that develop on this topic make me sad.

  86. #87 Horace
    August 19, 2011

    Has Ms. Watson stopped using the hate mail that Richard Dawkins gets as her cell phone ringtone, yet?

  87. #88 William Bell
    October 2, 2011

    I recently made the mistake of suggesting on FtBs that you would be a good addition *BIG MISTAKE* I have basically the same perspective as you on this. And I am not sure where all this problems that crowd has with you come from (they also did not really notice that I suggested UNIFI as well, which I am sure most people in the debate remember as the blog SM is at).

  88. #89 DrClaw
    December 8, 2011

    Hey people,

    I posted this on skepchicks, it failed moderation. (aww) so here it is. Apologies for length and repetition. Anyone thinking to contribute to any of this discussion, lets let it die. But this needs to be read somewhere.

    (considering the complete VENOM in that mile of comments on her blog, I think this was pretty tame. More likely it cut a little too deep in places, so she’s a coward.)
    —————

    Hello Rebecca!

    I want to start by congratulating you on bravery in the face of threats, which is simply awful. I am not a regular in this community, however I am an atheist and have read the god delusion. I want to ignore the guy in the lift (elevator is Lift in australian lol), as he was creepy, but I think I’ll touch on it sadly. I’m ignoring the other lady you ‘dissed’, as this is uninteresting to me, and seems a scholarly trifle. I want to discuss the Dawkins thing. For several reasons, first, I think there could be some misunderstanding, I’ll get to that. Second, I think some of your writing is done hastily, without adequate editing, and without a cool off period before publication. This has been really unfortunate. HOWEVER, I want you to remember I support you, and what follows is meant to be constructive. I’ll quote you and reply. I know, that like many other comments, some of the things I say may sound unfounded, I encourage individual research.

    “I was living in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism, because in my world we were all rational atheists who had thrown off our religious indoctrination”

    The glass ceiling is ‘well and truly’ still in place in the western world, and equal pay is sadly an unrealistic short term goal to second and third world women. Feminism is always going to be needed, it’s healthy, and still is a battle to fight. Thinking you lived in a post-feminist culture makes you appear quite comfortably ‘first world’, by displaying an ignorance of the actual situation. Many of us never had religious indoctrination, and no healthy group is always in consensus. Some may be sexist, some may be racist, but what unites the group is scepticism/atheism. Not feminism. I think it should be a group norm within this movement, and so do you, but now you know many others only have the former in common with yourself. While a few may change tune, don’t expect a chorus.

    “.. like how we tell women they should be quiet and polite and not question what is told to them..”

    This is the poor editing, which is constructive criticism for a writer. These two examples contradict each other. Either you thought you lived in a post feminist culture, or you think woman are told to be good stepford wives and obey. These are polar opposites, and even a quick glance by an editor would have clarified your position. I feel this oversight could be because of the shock of Dawkins’ comment, and your need for further publishing as the site traffic peaked.

    “Maybe they could wait for her to make the first move, just in case.”

    This would be great if it happened in real life, likely it is merely ‘my milage varying’. It is worth noting that a large proportion of women will never make the first move, and wait for the man to do so. I base this on: in animals it is often the male, but not always, who initiates, he’s looking. Secondly, traditional western upbringing, from the baby boomers onwards, taught men to do this. However, it would never have been appropriate for a gentleman to proposition a lady in such a way as you experienced.

    Recently I read ‘The Rules’ which suggests a tactic of he must initiate, to make him feel like he had to chase. The book say that women who offer themselves are less value to a man as he didn’t have to work for it. She won’t be kept long term, and will wonder why. They suggest assertive behaviour, but are passive at the first meeting, always. I don’t really agree, and I hope women do ask men out in the future. If you think about it, while a lady may feel threatened by a man in certain situations, it is much less likely that the opposite is true. This means it is actually safer, and easier for everyone if the woman asks. It just needs to start happening.

    Now to the potential for misinterpretation:
    Dawkins is British, and also a renowned scientist. He specifically is into Biology, and has made a few stunning contributions in his time as a writer and scientist. This is not in question. We know from youtube that he doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and has little patience for religious types. For some of us, Dawkins appears so passionately determined to correct religious nutters, and does so, so viscerally, that he actually manages to come across hostile. He’s a scientist, not a diplomat. Sometimes, in order to communicate properly and not just take offence, great care must be taken to understand.

    There is something else about the British, they have this thing called speakers corner. For over a hundred years, anyone with a soapbox and an opinion can go there and spout their ideas to gathered crowds. That’s just blogs, circa 1872. When someone on a soapbox was talking rubbish, they might get shouted down, ignored, heckled, or criticised. British people became comfortable telling each other what they really thought. Taking poignant criticism gracefully can be tough to learn, but it is part of having a public opinion, especially an opinion you desire feedback on, like your blog.

    Dawkins’ response to you, in my opinion, is not as much disregarding your feelings, as it is a satirical attack on a member of the first world, complaining that they have life so bad.
    This is his version of the ‘first world problems’ meme, or ‘white whining’ is another name for it. It is quite clever really, and shows just how ridiculous this is.

    Dawkins sees the whole world as biology, and in the billion women who have it the worst off on earth, there are no english speakers. He is making the judgement that a billion women in genuine suffering conditions, make almost any complaint in the first world seem beyond a joke. A bad one. That is his perspective. Perhaps you are seeing it as, “my feelings were disregarded, and an unfair comparison was made to trivialise my plight, at which I took great offence to, as did many other women”. Many other (first world) women. All of which, how sickeningly, enjoy ‘first world privilege’. Regardless of whether you are respected adequately as a woman, you have a life UNIMAGINABLE to these people. Dawkins is saying have you no shame? Do you know what is happening outside your little ‘cons’ in the united states? Yes, you do. We know you do. Dawkins knows you do. It is improper for the first world to continue working on itself, at the expense of the third. They are dying. You had your sensibilities offended by a reality check.

    Dawkins fights creationists, as you know. That is what he does, you have that in common. He is not good at ‘touchy feely’, he gets death threats like you have no idea of. Not, an indirect “I’d like to see it one day”, but an actual statement of intent with a date. If you found this little incident and all the traffic and attention a novelty, imagine his life. This is no defence for treading on your feelings, but this is the british stiff upper lip. They were being bombed daily by the nazis and they went to work everyday. If someone upsets you, for fucksake, keep calm and carry on. Dawkins is not perfect, nobody is. But you look back at what was said to you, try and see it from outside. Maybe he respects you, and is frustrated with the big picture being ignored for such trivialities. How dare a public forum for scepticism be railroaded into a decades old feminist rant? Bor-ing. He saw real feminists back in the day. He comes from the country which started the suffragette movement. He now sees the spoilt great great grand children of these women, wasting resources. Thrift brings prosperity.

    You have behaved badly Rebecca, because you know that he speaks out against female circumcision, against child abuse. Against the stoning of women to death. These issues are all more serious than you being objectified in a lift, that is the cold hard truth of it. There are creationists trying to roll back time in the USA, and you want to have a cry about being politely hit on? To attempt to tarnish a warrior for good is wrong. This is the reason you were made an object of ridicule, you need a reality check.

    “I am a feminist, because skeptics and atheists made me one.”

    Rebecca, you are a feminist because because you want to be, it is a cause you want to champion. Take credit where it is due, don’t let meanies take credit for your obvious concern. It is a good cause.

    “this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman”

    This is your real pain right here, and I feel for you, Rebecca. Really. Look at that sentence, three truths. More good about him than bad. You have always admired him, and rightfully so, but he has critiqued your behaviour and you are hurt by it, taking criticism constructively is valuable for writers, and taking it well is actually your responsibility. You have a public blog which you want an opinion on. Of all those comments, you single his out. It wasn’t the most unpleasant, but perhaps the most famous. Dawkins’ comment hurt you because you want his respect, and he was extremely direct about calling attention to the real feminist victims in the world, not you. He sees the big picture, you see yourself, the women in your community. You all communicate with computers, meet up in fancy conventions. It is so massively privileged, so disgustingly unequal, that you should be ashamed to complain about almost anything, lest you not actually be compassionate. But all feminist issues are equal, they can’t be played off against each other. How many pairs of shoes do you think a somali child owns? They earn less than your starbucks in a week. Perhaps he is more able to judge suffering? I have no doubt you found the elevator guy distressing, I am sorry, but there are issues and then there are personal concerns, prerogatives. You started a ruckus, then cried at the opinions you heard, became click bait for all manner of sexist rants, and abused a man of profound reason in a world of occasional haters. You have divided a community which requires strength, especially as we are all ‘crazy atheists’ now. Do you feel that the secular community is in a strong enough position that it should endure feminism diatribes? Was this issue that bad that it warranted this? Sadly, you can’t back down now. So despite the fact that he said that what happened to you was relatively harmless, even if you may or may not agree, you attacked a significant figure in the movement whose good is undeniable. This was selfish and shortsighted, I question your commitment to scepticism in general, over feminism. When Germaine Greer was attacked by feminists, who do you think that served? MISOGYNISTS. When Dawkins is attacked by atheists, who wins? CREATIONISTS. You unfairly singled out a single opinion, an opinion which attracted traffic to your site and more followers. Are you up to 11k yet? Newsflash: nobody minds feminism being taught in schools, so you have failed to identify the real peril to reason and science. That was selfish, but you were hurt.

    “Dawkins is not the present. He is the past.”

    No, he is the present. You can be the future, but don’t throw away what you have. Pick your battles. Know your tools. (lol)

    “a rich white man” and “continue to be stinking rich”

    Anti-capitalist too? Do you think people should be paid for their time and effort? If I wrote books or gave speeches, I’d charge. Do you work for free? This sounds like hurt, turned into spite. Ugly. Let that go, can’t be healthy. For real. Since his wealth, or lack of it, is irrelevant to your lift situation, I assume this is merely trolling. Like I said, wait a while and reread. Do you begrudge gaga her millions? Only difference, she didn’t hurt you. Maybe she isn’t someone you respect.

    “Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice.”

    I don’t even think you believe yourself there. Yeah, because of elevator guy all scientific respect for the man will dissolve.

    “..the unbelievable height of Dawkins’ privilege.”

    As a white English speaker, with a job, living in the first world, with no visible disability, with a home and computer, etc., you are extremely similar. Now compare you both with someone from bangalore, or china. Or johannesburg. Seeing you speak of privilege, is embarrassing to see. Again, pure hurt and anger written between those lines. Get an editor, all the pros have em. Or get a partner or friend to read it back to you first before posting it?

    “Nope, I didn’t call for a boycott. I’m relaying the fact..”

    Whatever. If a nobody (no offence) accuses a famous person of something, that gets attention. You can’t possibly not know this. You ‘relayed it’ to 10k people. You are likely aware that there are Dawkins haters trawling daily for ‘stories’ like this. I wonder if this will make FOXnews? I suppose that would make you proud that the good feminist message got out. Not that every single debate from now on, Dawkins must waste time dealing with troll questions about why he hates women. Which is not the case. Further making atheists look bad. Dawkins wasn’t in the lift, but he potentially will come off worst from this, merely because he actually has some PR to have ruined. I blame Dawkins for even participating in such a vapid discussion in the first place. Like I said, nobody is perfect. I’m just sad that the cause isn’t enough for you two tp get along nicely.

    “..the response I get shows me that the problem is much worse than I thought..”

    If I were you, I’d go with the overwhelming response in support of you and womens’ rights, I’ve been reading for hours. There is a lot of good feedback. It is a pity you didn’t just go with that.

    I know this is a wall of text, I’m sorry. Lastly, it is a sad truth that there are many lonely people out there who would do anything for someone to ask them out. Maybe not in a rapey lift way, I take that point. They would tell you not to send a message discouraging the possible interaction of two adults, the chance of meeting someone to love outweighs their short term risk because they are desperate. This is your final privilege, your youth and beauty. Complain all you want now about unwanted advances from strangers, because as we all get older I imagine it happens less and less.

    Don’t try to change being a sexual animal, that is what you are. An orgasm has been and likely shall remain one of the greatest pleasures available to us, it is natural and healthy to want this. I think you live in a sexual world, and while you should not have to suffer attack, part of being an adult animal is dealing with other animals which want to mate. While politeness is expected in the first world, it is a luxury in places where gender inequity is actually a problem.

    McGraw: “.. showed screenshots of people online calling her demeaning names, making comments about her appearance, and, worst of all, making rape comments.”

    WELCOME TO THE INTERNETS.. please grow some skin, comments sections are where trolls live, and I think you got massively trolled by Richard Dawkins. BIG TIME.

  89. #90 Ileen Brillhart
    June 1, 2012

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