Thanks to PZ for the format/inspiration!

Be self-aware. You are the speaker in a room filled with dozens, hundreds, thousands of people. Especially at atheist/skeptic conferences, we are all very interesting people, but out of those dozens/hundreds/thousands of people who could have been chosen to give a presentation, you were chosen. Your opinion and your words are most likely highly valued, because other people want to hear them. Other people want to learn from you. Other people look up to you. Other people have not had the exact same life history, education, experience that you have had, and want to peek into your world, and hear about your perspective for a few minutes.

Not a round-table discussion where anyone can interrupt or disagree– you are a speaker, and the audience has chosen to spend their time with you. Not each other in the bar. Not with any of the other concurrent speakers. You. And if you are invited to be a keynote speaker, the conference stops, and everyone listens to you. All the more responsibility.

That opportunity requires one to be self aware. “Am I using words this audience understands?” “Am I taking the appropriate tone for this audience? Too stuffy? Too casual? Is it age appropriate?” “Will this choice of sentence advance my cause, or unnecessarily confuse the audience? Unnecessarily anger the audience?” “Could I be more articulate?” “Am I 100% this statement is true?” “Is the audience interested in this topic? Even if it is important to me, how can I engage everyone?” “Is this joke necessary? Could someone think this joke is offensive? Racist? Sexist?” “Am I talking down to the audience? Am I talking over them?”

All eyes are on you, so your own eyes need to be on you. Critically analyzing your every move, as critically as you would be critiquing an Enemy Speaker.

Be aware of your potential targets. Especially at atheist/skeptic conferences, we are pretty much always attacking/making fun of someone. Whether its Jenny McCarthy or Michael Behe or Deepak Chopra, or Sarah Palin, sometimes you need to talk about a person and their actions, not just purely vaccines or evolution or psychology or politics. Sometimes you might even feel the need to address the words/actions of someone in the audience. If you chose to do this, from a privileged position as The Speaker, where The Target will not have a fair opportunity to respond, you need to be Dexter. You need to be 100% sure. “Is this attack 100% necessary?” “Will pursuing this attack advance my goals?” “Will this attack take attention away from my primary goals?” “Is attacking this individual the best way to call attention to this issue?” “How would I feel if someone attacked me, maybe even misrepresented me, to a group of hundreds of people, and I wouldnt get a chance to respond?” “Am I 100% sure I understand this persons perspective/position myself?” “Is it possible that this persons opinions are equally valid as mine, I just dont understand their world view myself?” “Is this person really relevant to the topic Im speaking about?” “Am I abusing my position as speaker to ‘get back’ at someone on a personal level?” “If I pursue this attack, is it possible I will come out looking like an asshole? Have I honestly reflected on this attack, or am I actually being an asshole? (see ‘Be self-aware‘)”

Being a Decent Human Being is actually the best defense you can have against abusing your position as a speaker at atheist conferences. Dont abandon it for short-term gain: youre in a community, and youre going to lose that if you think of yourself as a predator on the make.

What about tactics? Lets say you are super passionate about an issue, but is a keynote speech really the best forum for your issue? Would a moderated, recorded brain-storming session be better? An official debate? An intimate, one-on-one conversation in a quiet side room? A light-hearted, open to everyone conversation in a noisy bar? Or maybe even an online discussion, where everyone can take time to think about their input and responses and questions carefully– where everyone can simply send links to others, so everyone is on the same page, even everyone didnt start on the same page? Using a keynote address to pitch an idea for a skeptics football league is no more appropriate than using a keynote address to confront someone who said something that you found personally offensive (while others did not) is no more appropriate to rant for an hour about how the rent is too damn high. Yes, you have been given the opportunity to give a speech at an atheist conference– but that doesnt mean a speech at an atheist conference is the appropriate tactic for what you are excited about 2 minutes before you give said speech. You need to put thought into this, or you will alienate your audience not because you are wrong or had a bad idea, but because you used the wrong tactic. People will think you capitalized on your invitation as a speaker, not to engage with the audience, but to pursue a personal interest (or vendetta). You abused the forum you were given. They might not be interested in providing you with that same platform in the future.

Of course, if any more experienced commenters would like to offer further suggestions, theyre welcome to continue…as long as they remember these are guidelines for Decent Human Beings, not assholes who will excuse someones bad behavior just because they are friends with the offender.

Comments

  1. #1 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    Oh here we go again.

    Jeez, it’s a veritable temple of narcissism over here.

    Nah, we need more mirrors and LSD for that.

    given PZ’s passive-agressive tendencies, it would not surprise me if he actively encouraged them off-site.

    lol
    That’s right: Myers is a Mad Puppeteer, controlling his commentariat with Sekrit Mind Rays!!!

    Yes. That’s exactly what I said. he’s controlling them. Oh wait, not at all, but you don’t actually care what anyone said, you’re in MUST DEFEND THE CAUSE MODE. Fuck listening, you’ve a crusade to press on with.

    I used to think it was cool that PZ and I shared a birthday.

    Are you 12 years old?

    No, I’m like anyone else who finds random commonality between people who don’t know each other fascinating and kind of cool. I share a birthday with rather a lot of people and things, some cooler than others. If that makes me a “Twelve year old” in your eyes, well, I don’t know you, so really, who the fuck cares?

    but he really is a bit of a cunt.

    aaaaaand whoomp! There it is.
    Thanks for displaying your bona-fides on the subject.

    O NOES! I USED A BAD WERD! THAT IS USED THE WORLD OVER BY PEOPLE WHO DON’T GET THE VAPAHS BECAUSE SOMEONE SAID “CUNT”.

    Cunt’s a fun word, and if you hang out with people from other places, you find the american fear of it is not universal, nor even close. My wife rather likes the word. She hate’s “twat” which is a shame, because it is SUCH a good word for some folks, but cunt’s okay.

    Oh look, not everyone sees everything the same. But do run off and tell the world how much of a misogynist I am for saying “cunt” ya cunting cunt. AAAACK! I SAID IT AGAIN! AND RIGHT THERE! ACK!!!!

    Also, when you start being afraid of *words* instead of *people* you kind of lose moral high ground in the “are you 12″ thing.

  2. #2 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    So when Jenny McCarthy spouts nonsense about science, do I have to agree with her because she’s gone through something very tragic that I can’t completely understand as an outsider(standpoint epistemology!)?

    Actually, that’s not a bad analogy. What a lot of people are saying seems to be that if you are a victim of (crime), then you have special standing to talk about it and disagreement with your views is the same as attacking you personally.

    I’m also seeing a lot of the “All women are potential victims of rape, so therefore, if you are a man and disagree with them on a situation, you’re always wrong, because as potential victims of rape, they have special standing that you as a man do not” points.

    So yeah, basically it is similar to, although not EXACTLY like McCarthy’s assertions that because she is the mother of an autistic child, she has special standing and you are essentially not allowed to disagree with her on anything related to autism, mothering or any combination of the two.

  3. #3 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    They have the power. They have the microphone. It’s nigh impossible for the speaker to disrupt his/her own speech. So, if there’s a disruption, guess who security throws out? The audience member, not the speaker.

    Good point there. That’s the truth for conferences in general, in my experience. if there is a problem between a speaker and an audience member that can only be calmed down by one of them leaving the room, then it’s going to be the audience member. The speaker may get a nice lecture from the organizers afterwards with a lot of pressure to apologize, but it would have to be a pretty huge act on the speaker’s part to have them removed during the session. Like “things we call the cops for” huge. Being a dick ain’t one of them.

    Now they may never, ever speak at that conference or other conferences again, they may even have the rest of their sessions cancelled, if applicable. But that specific session will go on, they’ll retain the podium, and the power.

    I really don’t get how PZ, or anyone thinks that being able to physically yell at someone from a chair or an audience mic equalizes out the speaker’s power. It does not do that. This is not speculation, this is reality. It is provable, and in this case, I say this as someone who can in fact prove it, at least for one set of conferences. I highly doubt other conferences are *that* different.

    In fact, had Watson not pulled her dick move, i’d have ignored the entire thing, because fuck, i don’t really care. PZ’s one of the “more feminist than thou” group, and many of the rest are part of it as well. They get to feel that way, I get to agree, it’s the circle of life.

    But what Watson did was wrong. It was an abuse of power, it was rude, it was a dick fucking move, and I have seen nothing, nothing whatsoever that even *begins* to come close to refuting my experience, work, and data that leads me to that opinion. It’s going to take a lot more than calling me names, (Seriously folks, I’ve been an internet curmudgeon for a looong time. People I don’t know calling me names is really not going to work) or telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about when clearly I do, to get me to change my stance here.

  4. #4 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    “They get to feel that way, I get to ^dis^agree, it’s the circle of life.”

  5. #5 ttch
    July 7, 2011

    In a comment she made on her own post at pandragon, Amanda Marcotte links to this 1976 article on “trashing” in the women’s movement. I think it makes a point exactly opposite to the one she thinks it makes. Ms. Marcotte writes “Rebecca’s crime was using her bullhort to create change.” The article she links to details one woman’s experience of the wrong end of that change, that the quest for power via political solidarity and “purity” tends to destroy dissenting voices rather than winning them over via fair argument.

  6. #6 tybee
    July 7, 2011

    just finished reading the thread at pharynguloids paranoia, or at least down to where nefarioususurper got banished.
    pz is a chickenshit. the rest of the coven is allowed to rant on ,”taking over the conversation”, but one of the few who has dared to differ gets sent away.

    yeah, chickenshit pretty much covers it.

  7. #7 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    It has truly gotten ridiculous.

    Tell someone to stop bitching? You’re a bigot
    Call someone a twat? You’re a bigot

    Call someone a rather long string of profanity, belittle them continually by referring to them as cupcake, or talk down to someone new by “telling them how it is”? Oh that’s just fine.

    ye.
    fucking.
    gods.

  8. #8 The Panic Man
    July 7, 2011

    Whiny little privileged boys.

    Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

  9. #9 ERV
    July 7, 2011

    Welch– IRONY ALERT!!! IRONY ALERT!!! PLEASE TURN OFF ALL IRONY METERS BEFORE CLICKING ON THIS LINK OR READING FURTHER!! THIS IS THE LAST WARNING!! IRONY ALERT!!!

    Dawkins himself was molested as a child.

    He was a victim of sexual assault from a male.

    He wrote about it in 2006.

    This sheds a whole new light on things, reading that piece from 2006:
    Happily I was spared the misfortune of a Roman Catholic upbringing (Anglicanism is a significantly less noxious strain of the virus). Being fondled by the Latin master in the Squash Court was a disagreeable sensation for a nine-year-old, a mixture of embarrassment and skin-crawling revulsion, but it was certainly not in the same league as being led to believe that I, or someone I knew, might go to everlasting fire. As soon as I could wriggle off his knee, I ran to tell my friends and we had a good laugh, our fellowship enhanced by the shared experience of the same sad pedophile. I do not believe that I, or they, suffered lasting, or even temporary damage from this disagreeable physical abuse of power. Given the Latin Master’s eventual suicide, maybe the damage was all on his side.

    Of course I accept that his misdemeanors, although by today’s standards enough to earn imprisonment followed by a life sentence of persecution by vigilantes, were mild compared to those committed by some priests now in the news. I am in no position to make light of the horrific experiences of their altar-boy victims. But reports of child abuse cover a multitude of sins, from mild fondling to violent buggery, and I am sure many of those cases now embarrassing the church fall at the mild end of the spectrum . Doubtless, too, some fall at the violent end, which is terrible but I would make two points about it. First, just because some pedophile assaults are violent and painful, it doesn’t mean that all are. A child too young to notice what is happening at the hands of a gentle pedophile will have no difficulty at all in noticing the pain inflicted by a violent one. Phrases like ‘predatory monster’ are not discriminating enough, and are framed in the light of adult hang-ups. Second (and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse. An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is. And there is no doubt at all that many children sincerely believe it, often continuing right through adulthood and old age until death finally releases them.

    Richard Dawkins was ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY MOLESTED, and he has the ability to say “Compared to what happened to other kids, it wasnt that big of a deal.” His mistake was having the same level of ‘perspective’ from Watson & Co when what happened to her WAS NOT A BIG DEAL. SHE WASNT EVEN MOLESTED.

    FAIL levels rising!!

    FLOOD DETECTED!

  10. #10 Onkel Bob
    July 7, 2011

    Whiny little privileged boys.

    Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

    Interesting… So you are saying that you deserve the privilege of deciding who is a whiner, and who has a legitimate complaint. And upon making that judgment, you can also decide with whom they may associate and their spatial relationships with other people; i.e., you retain the privilege of subjecting all to your whims.

    No problemo, I usually avoid psychotics raving on the street. I safely can assume I am staying the fuck away from you.

  11. #11 The Panic Man
    July 7, 2011

    Oh, don’t bother whining, bigot ERV – I’ve killfiled you for your sexist shit.

  12. #12 screwy the squirrel
    July 7, 2011

    Also, when you start being afraid of *words* instead of *people* you kind of lose moral high ground in the “are you 12″ thing.

    You make absolutely no sense. No one is afraid of words. And surely being afeared of words would not cause one to lose any type of high-ground, except maybe the sanity high-ground, but especially not a moral high-ground.

    I personally found Rebecca Watson doing the appropriate thing: calling someone out on behaviour which should not be acceptable. Who cares what the venue is. If you act inappropriately then you should be afraid of public shaming at the least.

  13. #13 Sven DiMilo
    July 7, 2011

    Sven’s definition of narcissism: “Anyone, male or female, who dares to disagree with radfem ideological dogma.”

    Haaaaahahahahaha.
    That’s actually pretty humorously ignorant. I mean, I’m no celebrity, internet or otherwise, so there’s no reason at all you should know me, but maybe one of the regulars at Pharyngula could tell you about my reputation over there for ‘agreeing with radfem ideological doctrine’. (hint: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called a ‘sexist asshole’ over there)(they’re wrong, of course)

    But no, my definition of narcissism is “making anything and everything all about meeee!!!!”

    Isn’t that exactly what PZ is saying when he blames radical anti-feminists of making Rebecca go apeshit?

    What?
    That makes no sense at all. The answer would be “no” even if he had said anything like that, which I’m pretty sure he didn’t.

    As opposed to what, Pharyngula?

    Oh, there’s plenty of narcissism to go around. I was not drawing any contrasts.

    Fuck listening, you’ve a crusade to press on with.

    Please tell me what my crusade is. Then we’ll both know.

    Oh look, not everyone sees everything the same.

    That’s correct, Welch. Not everybody sees everything the same. The difference between you and me is, I actually suspect that the way other people see things might be worth listening to occasionally.
    Let’s take the word ‘cunt’. You like it. It’s “fun”. It’s fun for you to refer disparagingly to a male as a ‘cunt’ because it’s such a fun little insult-word.
    Yet you know that not everyone sees it that way. You twist it rhetorically into an ‘american fear of the word’ but you know better: you know that there are a lot of people, yes, most of them North American and many, if not most of them, women, who do not like that word because they are sincerely offended by its use as an insult. Because its use is at root demeaning to women.
    [Do you see how using a word for female genitals as an insult applied to a male might be the wee-est bit offensive? Have you ever asked your no doubt long-suffering wife why she ‘doesn’t like’ the word ‘twat’ (such a shame)? No, probably not. Well, it doesn’t matter for my argument whether you get the ‘why’ or not; just that you know damn well that some other people are sincerely offended by it, for what they see as good reason.]
    So your response is to use it anyway. Fuck ‘em! Bitches ain’t shit anyway, am I right?
    Yes, Welch, that’s precisely the message you sent by using that word. If that’s what you meant, so be it. You’re an asshole. If it’s not what you meant, then you are sending the wrong message and you might want to think about that.

    Now, let me clarify: I am not personally offended by any words you might choose to use. I do not get the vapors, and nor am I ‘afraid’ of words. Any of ‘em. However, I am not an ignorant narcissist, and therefore I try to take into account the feelings of other people when I am trying to communicate with them.

    You don’t. It’s far more important to you to stick to your stupid guns against the radfem onslaught. You’re exactly like the commenter at Pharyngula who said he refused to cross the street at night to avoid frightening single women because that would be “validating victim mentality” and he “doesn’t do that”.

    And it’s exactly what I meant by ‘narcissism’.

  14. #14 Peter
    July 7, 2011

    He should obviously move to the back of the bus.

    I mean, cross the street.

  15. #15 Marco the Beagle
    July 7, 2011

    @Sven
    Let’s take the word ‘cunt’. You like it. It’s “fun”. It’s fun for you to refer disparagingly to a male as a ‘cunt’ because it’s such a fun little insult-word.
    Yet you know that not everyone sees it that way. You twist it rhetorically into an ‘american fear of the word’ but you know better: you know that there are a lot of people, yes, most of them North American and many, if not most of them, women, who do not like that word because they are sincerely offended by its use as an insult. Because its use is at root demeaning to women.

    My first post ever on ERV, and it’s about language. Don’t ever come to Britain, then, it’ll blow your mind. If you find it degrading to women, then, may I suggest “wanker” instead, that’ll be nicely up your street, since it calls out something men and links it to being an idiot? Or how about when something is clearly awful being “bollocks”? By your definition, is that demeaning to men?

    Or are they ACTUALLY just words, and you’re overreacting?

    Still, one good thing that’s come out of this whole kerfuffle (seriously, I realised how much popcorn I was eating watching it, wich ain’t good for a diabetic) is that I found a new blog to read!

    Come for the shouty, stay for the virusy science! Or something!

  16. #16 Adam Bertolett
    July 7, 2011

    The “cunt” talk reminds me of that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where he blurts it out at that guy while playing poker.

    OMG, Larry David made a JOKE about the word “cunt”. He can do that because he’s a male and doesn’t know how hurtful the word really is. Even if he meant it as a joke, it could still hurt people who don’t get his humor!

    Yeah, Sven, people aren’t advocating going around calling people bitches and cunts left and right.

    John is not the person who started the shit-storm. His swearing doesn’t change the fact that nothing that important happened with either the elevator guy or RD.

  17. #17 INTP
    July 7, 2011

    Sven DiMilo (fixed a bit):
    “You don’t. It’s far more important to you to stick to your stupid guns against the Muslim onslaught. You’re exactly like the Arab commenter who said he refused to not get on the plane to avoid frightening US Republicans because that would be “validating victim mentality” and he “doesn’t do that”.

    And it’s exactly what I meant by ‘narcissism’.”

    Just to repeat what Grania said elsewhere:

    “In particular, one that made me want to either throw up or face-palm so violently that I lost consciousness, was the idea that the sensitive, feminist-aware male should cross over to the opposite side of the street, on spotting an unaccompanied woman so as not to alarm, intimidate or upset the lone female.
    Seriously, this is the epitome of a 100 years of feminism? Treating women like helpless, infantile victims? Thanks, but no thanks. I expect men to treat me like an equal, not like a half-witted invalid.

    I suppose you would consider Grania to be a “gender traitor” as well?

  18. #18 Phyraxus
    July 7, 2011

    I think it is amazing that these people think calling someone a bigot when they have a sound argument is some legitimate counter argument. Seriously, holier-than-thou arguments don’t work, it doesn’t matter if it comes from fundie christians or from fundie feminists.

    As for wanker and bullocks, yeah, that is totally demeaning to men, but you know how these people don’t give a flying fuck about them. Just don’t use the word bitch cuz then they will start… bitching LOL

  19. #19 INTP
    July 7, 2011

    Panic Man: Whiny little privileged boys.
    Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

    Like I said: “…does anyone get the subtle feeling the other side is moving away from “I disagree with you” and moving towards “you are my enemy because you don’t think the way we do”?

    Perhaps it’s not so subtle after all. I’m happy to be stay away from sanctimonious radfem zealots.

  20. #20 Marco the Beagle
    July 7, 2011

    @Phyraxus

    Funny thing is, over here in Blighty, wanker’s an appropriate and slightly affectionate name to call a friend. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany times have I been called it by my best mate, as I have been known to call her “you soft cunt” and “smeghead”. :-P

    Right, serious head for a minute… Since my passion is language, and meaning, and all that, I just had a thought that popped into my noggin, when I was typing the language thing up there: might SOME of the reaction to Dawkins’ post be because of cultural differences between Limeys and Yanks?

    I say that, ‘cos I read it, and didn’t see “massive, massive dick”, but “sarcastic Englishman being a sarcastic Englishman”.

    Although I’m prepared to concede those two are one in the same thing :P

  21. #21 ttch
    July 7, 2011

    screwy the squirrel wrote:

    I personally found Rebecca Watson doing the appropriate thing: calling someone out on behaviour which should not be acceptable. Who cares what the venue is. If you act inappropriately then you should be afraid of public shaming at the least.

    And that’s the problem. The idea that some feminist/atheist/skeptics should go about “publicly shaming” their feminist/atheist/skeptic colleagues for “unacceptable behavior”. Pointing out problematic actions and opinions, yes. “Naming names”, yes. But following it up with the “conclusion”, in this case, that Ms. McGraw was “espousing anti-woman sentiment”, no.

    Calling a fellow feminist/atheist/skeptic an enemy is not the way to convince her that she is mistaken. (Skeptics are supposed to use rational argument, no?) It is, however, an excellent way to splinter feminism/atheism/skepticism into ineffectual squabbling sub-groups.

    Yes, let’s “shame” everyone who disagrees with us! We’re always right, right?

    Out-groups like feminists, atheists, and skeptics don’t need purity. They need “big tents”, the willingness to argue about their differences, and the ability to live with those that can’t be resolved.

  22. #22 windy
    July 7, 2011

    You’re exactly like the commenter at Pharyngula who said he refused to cross the street at night to avoid frightening single women because that would be “validating victim mentality” and he “doesn’t do that”.

    Oh no, the pods got Sven!

    …would that be anything like the commenter that goes into certain emotionally charged threads and says things that are likely to be interpreted as ‘rape apology’?

  23. #23 Onkel Bob
    July 7, 2011

    Oh, don’t bother whining, bigot ERV – I’ve killfiled you for your sexist shit.

    I was be sarcastic (and nasty) when I wrote that I avoid raving psychopaths on the street, but apparently I was a little closer than I imagined. Appparently panic is the condition not the handle.

    Hint Panic, errr, Man, you don’t need to set a Firefox Killfile to mute Abbie’s posts, all you need to do is not visit her blog. That is unless it’s being uploaded into your fillings as we speak. Then you’ll need a tin-foil hat.

  24. #24 Sven DIMilo
    July 7, 2011

    …would that be anything like the commenter that goes into certain emotionally charged threads and says things that are likely to be interpreted as ‘rape apology’?

    No, of course not; nothing like that at all.
    or…hmm…OK maybe just a little bit.

    I do not think that disagreeing with people about what is and isn’t prudent behavior and what is or isn’t ‘victim blaming’ is the same thing as consciously refusing to take others’ perspectives and feelings into account.
    If I think you are wrong about something I am likely to argue with you about it. If I think my behavior might frighten you, I’ll try not to do it. If I know you are personally offended by some term or word I’ll try not to use it (unless I am trying to offend you).
    None of that seems inconsistent.

  25. #25 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    And Lo, the misogynist (me I suppose) replies!

    Let’s take the word ‘cunt’. You like it. It’s “fun”. It’s fun for you to refer disparagingly to a male as a ‘cunt’ because it’s such a fun little insult-word.

    actually, I like it because of how single-mindedly offensive it is. it is not a weak, flaccid word like “asshole” or “dick”. You can’t explain it away as easily. You call someone an asshole, they might just take it as a compliment. Same thing with dick. Those are weak words, weasel words, they allow you to wiggle out of things.

    Calling someone a stupid cunt leaves you no wiggle room. You meant to be offensive. You meant to piss them off, and it shows that you have a rather low opinion of the person or at best, their behavior. I admire PZ’s intellect, the way he fights for science and many other of his causes. But on his blog? He’s regularly a cunt about things, and encourages a level of abuse that would probably frighten him, with good reason, were it heaped upon him in person.

    I think it’s a fun word because it is a precise word, in terms of intent, both in its sexual use and its use as a personal pejorative. I like precision. It’s fun.

    Yet you know that not everyone sees it that way. You twist it rhetorically into an ‘american fear of the word’ but you know better: you know that there are a lot of people, yes, most of them North American and many, if not most of them, women, who do not like that word because they are sincerely offended by its use as an insult. Because its use is at root demeaning to women.

    I’m not “twisting” anything. The largest population group that gets butthurt about “cunt” is that of the United States. Canada could, en masse, disapprove of the word, and they’re still not even close to the same numbers. Mexico is not a primarily english speaking country, so their reaction to english profanity isn’t going to be the same, because profanity in another language tends to not have the same intensity of meaning, especially if you don’t actually speak the language in question. In countries where english is the primary native language, the US is *by far* the largest group blindly offended by “cunt”.

    However, there are lots of people around the world, in primarily english-speaking countries for whom “cunt” is no more inherently offensive than any other example of profanity. My pointing that out is not “twisting” anything. It’s a fact. You don’t have to like a fact, facts don’t depend on your approval.

    As well, honestly, someone being offended by a word, not how it’s used, not why the person using it is using it, but the mere existence of a word? Don’t. Fucking. Care. Now, if I’m using it in a hurtful manner, then I expect people will not be happy about that. I may still disagree with them, but I’ll not think them wrong for not liking how I use it.

    And not, the word at its use is not demeaning to any woman unless I use it against one. You calling someone else a stupid fucking mick is not demeaning to my ancestry in the least. It may make me think you’re a bit of a tool, but you’re not demeaning my Irish ass in the slightest. Same thing with Whore, Dick, Prick, tit, twat, pussy, bitch, dickhead and all the rest. Those words just lay there until they are used, and then their use doesn’t demean anyone outside of who its used against. You are free to disagree with me on this, but I’ve yet to see proof I’m wrong here.

    [Do you see how using a word for female genitals as an insult applied to a male might be the wee-est bit offensive? Have you ever asked your no doubt long-suffering wife why she ‘doesn’t like’ the word ‘twat’ (such a shame)? No, probably not.

    considering my wife uses cunt far more than I do, I think *I’M* the one suffering more than she does. I asked her about that, because the first time I used that word around her, she said “Ew. Hate that word”. (OH LOOK, SHE FUCKIN’ SPOKE UP) I asked her why, because it seemed odd, given that she doesn’t mind cunt. Her answer was she just didn’t like the way the word sounded. It squicked her out, it just makes her feel Ugh. Since, as someone I both know and care about, her opinion matters more than that of people I don’t know, I don’t use that word around her. She is of some importance in my life, for her, I don’t use the word. For you, not so much. Most people do that. For the people who have special meaning in their life, whether family, friends, bosses, coworkers, etc., they will of course, temporarily modify their behavior so as to go through life easier.

    Since, unlike you presuppose, I am actually aware that a lot of women don’t like that word, I don’t use it as much as others. It’s not because it “demeans” them. I don’t care *why* they don’t like it, nor do I *need to care*. It is enough for me that a lot of american women don’t like it and so, in vaguely polite company, i tend to not use it.

    It’s not because i’m protecting women, I don’t think of them as beings in inherent need of protection, and if you said that to most of the ones I know, I’d be the one keeping them from putting your head through a wall, (mostly because I’ve studied martial arts longer than them, and am better at it.) It is for the same reason I don’t fart loudly in meetings, or eat ear wax at the dinner table: it’s rude in those situations. In others, I don’t see a reason not to, so I merrily cunt away, not giving a cunting fuck if you like it or not. In fact, I may now use it more, because you’re being such a whiny bitch about it.

    Well, it doesn’t matter for my argument whether you get the ‘why’ or not; just that you know damn well that some other people are sincerely offended by it, for what they see as good reason.]

    You could give two squirts of piss what I actually think, Cthulu knows you’ve not fucking bothered to ask.

    So your response is to use it anyway. Fuck ‘em! Bitches ain’t shit anyway, am I right?
    Yes, Welch, that’s precisely the message you sent by using that word. If that’s what you meant, so be it. You’re an asshole. If it’s not what you meant, then you are sending the wrong message and you might want to think about that.

    Projecting a bit? I’m not the one trivializing the real problems of discrimination and misogyny by stating that the mere use of a single word, rude and offensive it may be, forever labels one as a misogynist, until…well, until they fall to their knees and fellate the great powers of feminism, whatever that may be. This “YOU USED A WORD I DON’T LIKE, YOU’RE A (LABEL)” shit is the same misguided, (i’m being kind there) reasoning that thinks shit like “the n-word” or “the f-word” will end racism or homophobia or even make the SLIGHTEST dent in it. It’s only one step up from the moronic slacktivisim that makes people think that changing their twitter avatar background color will end an oppressive theocracy in Iran.

    You want to stop people from hurting other people by calling them “fag” or “nigger”? laugh at them. When you’re out with people normally the targets of those words and someone screams them at you, don’t get all preachy or angry or ready to fight. Point and laugh at the little morons, laugh like you’re going to piss yourself. When others ask why y’all are laughing, tell them you’re laughing at a group of little morons who actually think calling a group of grown-ass adults a BAD WERD is going to fuck up their self-esteem and make them hate themselves.

    You get a good laugh out of it, always a good thing, and you have not let the little morons control your mental state. (By the way, thanks for letting me know I can piss you off so easily. I’ll remember that.) You also publicly shame someone in the one way that there is no real mental or emotional defense for: laughing at them. Anyone who has ever had large group laugh at them, especially a group they felt superior to can attest to how harsh that can be.

    Point and laugh. We’ve tried preachy slacktivism and anger. How well has, or is that working out for you?

    Now, let me clarify: I am not personally offended by any words you might choose to use. I do not get the vapors, and nor am I ‘afraid’ of words. Any of ‘em. However, I am not an ignorant narcissist, and therefore I try to take into account the feelings of other people when I am trying to communicate with them.

    Because calling me a sexist and all the other glorious implications in your little screed here, (thanks for the implications about my wife too) show me in bright, shining lights how much you care about the feelings of others.

    You don’t. It’s far more important to you to stick to your stupid guns against the radfem onslaught. You’re exactly like the commenter at Pharyngula who said he refused to cross the street at night to avoid frightening single women because that would be “validating victim mentality” and he “doesn’t do that”.

    I’m not going to cross the street at night to avoid frightening people because I don’t assume a grown-assed adult is a frightened child, and I have the same right to walk down the fucking street as I see fit as they do. If my mere presence frightens them, then how is crossing the street going to help? That just makes it easier for me to hide and later sneak up on them. If a 44 year old slightly paunchy dude walking down the street in ugly shoes frightens you that much, then you have real issues that you need to deal with, and I’m not being snide there. But I am not going to evaluate every random encounter with every random person and wander back and forth across the street just so I MAYBE don’t scare someone.

    “Not validating victim mentality” nothing, that’s just fucking stupid.

    And it’s exactly what I meant by ‘narcissism’.

    I’m not narcissistic, i’m an asshole. There’s a difference.

  26. #26 drbubbles
    July 7, 2011

    >199

    You offer assertions warranted by the existence of people in agreement with you. And yet there are many who disagree, or this debate would not be. (And I‘m the one who hasn’t read what people have written?)

    The very existence of the debate proves my point: people disagree about the significance of naming the name. The debate is fundamentally about whose interpretation is right.

    >200

    I’ve always thought that the independent corroborating material evidence for evolution is not ontologically equivalent to different individuals’ assessments of a social interaction.

    Likewise, I’d thought it fairly well established that science is epistemologically different from the interpretation of interpersonal interaction. And I say that as a one-time anthropologist.

    >204 “They get to feel that way, I get to ^dis^agree, it’s the circle of life.”

    So does this not apply to what people think about RW’s naming the name? And, if not, who decides when it does and when it doesn’t?

    I have my opinion, of course. But, who cares? Actually I’m not at all sure why I even commented in the first place. Maybe to suggest some perspective? Maybe because the Casey Anthony verdict has me thinking about certainty and what we think we know? Maybe because I’m not sure what good the polarization over RW will accomplish? I don’t know.

    But, again, who cares? Even I sort of don’t anymore.

  27. #27 Sven DiMilo
    July 7, 2011

    I suppose you would consider Grania to be a “gender traitor” as well?

    Not a term I have ever applied to anyone. In part because it’s a judgment that’s not up to me.
    But since you kind of asked my opinion of Grania’s comment (whoever that is): I think she’s lying. I think that if, say, she was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and I was walking behind her in the same direction, she would feel more comfortable if I crossed the street to pass her than if I approached and passed on the same side. I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment.

    If not, then I think she’s stupid. But not a gender-traitor.

  28. #28 Wild Zontargs
    July 7, 2011

    As a member of the sidelines, I’d like to thank ERV and the posters here so much for one of the (relatively) few sane takes on this whole shitstorm.

    I’ve noticed that an awful lot of the commenters elsewhere have seen none of the context of this whole thing, and are just running on the attacks posted on Blag Hag, Bad Astronomy, Skepchick, et al. Most have no idea that Stef McGraw even exists. On the occasions where I’ve bothered to jump in and attempt to provide context, I’ve been called several kinds of idiot and pelted with all the usual links. Then I post a timeline of events showing the lead-up to and context of, say, Dawkins’ remarks, and… hey, where did everybody go? All that’s left are the members of the echo-chamber.

    Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of straw-feminists set up by the usual suspects in the past, but some of the posts I’ve seen in these threads blow right past them into “did I really read that right?” territory. Scary.

  29. #29 Dave
    July 7, 2011

    I think that if, say, she was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and I was walking behind her in the same direction, she would feel more comfortable if I crossed the street to pass her than if I approached and passed on the same side.

    If I was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and you were walking behind me in the same direction, I would feel more comfortable if you crossed the street to pass me. And I can be mistaken for an ex-pro-running-back. Thats not the question. The question is, would she want you to cross the street because she is a woman? And I dont think she is either lying or mistaken when she says she doesnt. In fact, I think its rather condescending of you to say that you know what she would want in that situation better than her. Which, come to think of it, is a large part of her point.

  30. #30 Sven DiMilo
    July 7, 2011

    Or are they ACTUALLY just words, and you’re overreacting?

    They are ACTUALLY just words, but I am not over-reacting. I merely let Welch know that I had judged him harshly for his use of the word ‘cunt’ as an insult.

    Yes, yes, the connotations are different in Britain. How loverly.
    You clearly have no clue how many times the ‘cunt and/or bitch’ conversation has occured over the last 5-6 years at Pharyngula and elsewhere on the internets. It’s not a conversation I’m willing to repeat yet again; it’s all out there and you could read it if you wanted to.
    I will say that if you think that calling a man a ‘wanker’ or a silly idea ‘bollocks’ is comparable to calling somebody a ‘cunt’ then I suspect you’ll never get it anyway. Think social asymmetry.

    (fixed a bit)

    You are a nut. Maybe leave the Dawkinsing to Dawkins? Because there’s no comparison there.

    It’s precisely this weird anger at merely being asked to consider the viewpoints of other people different from you that I am talking about as narcissism. (If I was a real ideological-dogma-bound radfem I’d call it ‘privilege’ as well.)

    Nobody is trying to take away the rights of anybody else to walk wherever the fuck you want or use whatever fucking words you want. Go ahead! You have every right in the world to behave as a complete jackass if you want.

    However, you should also expect to be judged for your behavior; it is reflective of your personality and your opinions and thought-patterns.

    When I see somebody who:
    – follows a woman onto an elevator at 4am to proposition her
    – refuses to alter his walking trajectory to avoid freaking somebody out because he doesn’t think people ought to freak out
    – insists on his right to call somebody else a cunt in the face of clearly expressed objections
    – or otherwise insists on the primacy of one’s own personal insular viewpoint despite knowledge of the different viewpoints of others
    I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.

    Shoe fit?

  31. #31 Sven DiMilo
    July 7, 2011

    And I dont think she is either lying or mistaken when she says she doesnt.

    *shrug*
    Stupid, then, I guess.

    eh, I’m done here.

  32. #32 INTP
    July 7, 2011

    Sorry Sven, I simply don’t buy the idea that men need to treat women as victims like that. I perceive women as human beings and as equals, not victims whom I have to go out of my way to constantly tiptoe around to avoid alarming her. When I pass an unaccompanied woman on a street or get on an elevator with her, I mind my own business, respect her privacy, and act like a gentleman. Nothing more is required. I don’t think that makes me a narcissist, or “mysogynist” nor women who agree with me as “liars”, “stupid” or “gender traitors” as some like to put it.

  33. #33 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    #226

    “They get to feel that way, I get to ^dis^agree, it’s the circle of life.”

    So does this not apply to what people think about RW’s naming the name? And, if not, who decides when it does and when it doesn’t?

    They’re quite free to disagree. I may *think* they are wrong, and have some actual “data” (not in the strict scientific sense) to prove my point that I’ve not seen from their side, but that doesn’t ACTUALLY make them wrong.

    It means they agree with someone who, as I see it pulled a dick move.

    It’s when they start with the *all* disagreement with RW here is wrong that I get kind of cranky. Or the gender-traitor bullshit they’re pulling with Stef and ERV. Or the rest. That’s bullshit.

    I also think that if they really believe the person at the podium doesn’t have more power than the audience member, they’ve either not been at the podium much, or they haven’t been an unknown in a while. (PZ saying he has the same power as the person at the podium, even when he is in the audience is NOT the same as a (relatively) unknown student saying it. I’m pretty sure in that situation, with that crowd, PZ is going to have a lot of power due to his fame and history. In a different crowd, he’s going to get told to STFU and get the fuck out of the theater, because there, he has no power, nor any ability, in that time and place to speak up.) The power of the podium is real, and so yes, I also get cranky with people denying it exists.

    #227

    But since you kind of asked my opinion of Grania’s comment (whoever that is): I think she’s lying. I think that if, say, she was walking alone down a Brooklyn sidewalk at 1am and I was walking behind her in the same direction, she would feel more comfortable if I crossed the street to pass her than if I approached and passed on the same side. I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment.

    If not, then I think she’s stupid. But not a gender-traitor.

    Or, maybe she’s like a lot of people who understand that personal danger is real, and rather than hoping the rest of the world crosses the street, they accept the risk, and have taken measures, and have tactics in place to handle any stupidity you may wish to attempt. Maybe she doesn’t let fear run her life, but rather respects the causes of that feeling, and by preparing for the possibilities, reduces her fear to that of a healthy awareness of her surroundings

    I know rather a few women who, on your biggest and baddest day could take your best shot, and if you were stupid enough to leave them conscious, would turn you into the friggin’ elephant man, then stick around, loudly screaming for the cops whilst you laid there bleeding. That’s if you were lucky.

    By the same token, I know a lot of guys who shit themselves every time they’re outside after dark. Sex doesn’t have a whole lot to do with that. The individual and their background does.

    Friend of mine in college long ago got jumped by three dudes in Japan. She’s a nigh 6′ tall blonde, they figured, they were men, she’s a stupid american whore, cake right?

    Well for her. Left one dude with a busted femur, another one rather unconscious, and when the cops arrived, she had the third one on his back, her hand around his throat, and was methodically breaking every single one of his ribs. “They just made me mad” was her reasoning. “Everyone else had been so nice, and these assholes were trying to ruin it for the rest of them.”

    Seems she had a shotokan teacher who didn’t believe women were helpless, and refused to treat them as such. My first Kuk Sool teacher was like that. Grip like a fucking steel trap. No mercy in those eyes. Her technique for escaping hair pulling was awesome. Involved damned near twisting the attacker’s arm off at the shoulder. Actually, if you did it right, it was supposed to tear the arm off after a couple spins. Dislocations were for the weak.

    I know a few local roller derby ladies who could put such a hurt on someone, and even if you hit them widda brick, they might not even notice. High pain tolerances, those wonderful ladies have.

    You seem to think that women are really quite helpless as a group. You’re rather wrong.

  34. #34 Prometheus
    July 7, 2011

    Sven DiMilo@#239

    “….or otherwise insists on the primacy of one’s own personal insular viewpoint despite knowledge of the different viewpoints of others
    I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.

    Shoe fit?”

    I don’t know Sven. What’s your size because what you describe is definitely in your style?

  35. #35 NJ
    July 7, 2011

    Phyraxus @ 175:

    Because when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

    cf. Zuska.

  36. #36 John C. Welch
    July 7, 2011

    When I see somebody who:
    – follows a woman onto an elevator at 4am to proposition her

    is not the same as

    - refuses to alter his walking trajectory to avoid freaking somebody out because he doesn’t think people ought to freak out

    is not the same as

    - insists on his right to call somebody else a cunt in the face of clearly expressed objections

    is not the same as

    - or otherwise insists on the primacy of one’s own personal insular viewpoint despite knowledge of the different viewpoints of others

    shows you’re not listening to anyone who disagrees with you.

    I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.

    Mirror. You should find one.

    Point #1 seems to be causing the most problems. RW/PZ/You take it a certain way. Steff, ERV, others take it another way.

    No one is wrong here, but your crowd is doing a good job of pushing the meme that no one is ALLOWED to disagree with you and be anything but a misogynist.

    Point #2 just sounds stupid. Do you wander down the street doing that for every woman you see? What if there are women on either side of the street? do you stand in the median until they pass? How does the logistics of that even work? What if you can’t tell until you’re really close? What’s the pass/fail distance? What if they cross the street too? Do you immediately change direction or keep going then cross back or what? I mean, you’re pushing this as some kind of good idea, you HAVE to have thought about this before.

    (Can you imagine a woman who figured out that someone was doing this and wanted to be a dick about it. I bet you could have ol’ Sven perched in the median until daybreak if you worked it right.)

    Point #3 I have the “right” to call anyone whatever the fuck I want provided I am willing to live with the consequences, from an equally profane retort, to mass shunning, to the person I called a cunt balling up a fist and beating my ass. Or someone else attempting to do the same. But the “right” to call someone a cunt is the same “right” as I have to call someone a genius.

    Point #4 Right, because only your viewpoint is the right one, all others are illegitimate, sexist, bigoted and misogynistic. it’s that we won’t acknowledge the primacy of YOUR viewpoint that matters. How DARE we gore YOUR ox.

  37. #37 windy
    July 7, 2011

    I do not think that disagreeing with people about what is and isn’t prudent behavior and what is or isn’t ‘victim blaming’ is the same thing as consciously refusing to take others’ perspectives and feelings into account.

    Those are not mutually exclusive, surely? All of us dismiss other’s perspectives and feelings occasionally. For example: people who declare they are atheists despite knowing that it will hurt Granny’s feelings.

    …I think that in the actual situation in real time her personal safety would suddenly seem more important to her than her high-minded demand for equal anxiety-inducing treatment.

    But your crossing the street does fuck all to improve her actual “personal safety”, so maybe as a skeptic she is willing to endure some passing anxiety? (Is there some place where people are actually expected to cross the street as a general rule? Brooklyn?)

  38. #38 Marco the Beagle
    July 7, 2011

    @Sven

    “Yes, yes, the connotations are different in Britain. How loverly.

    Is it wrong that I’m kinda excited about being vilified by Sven? Anyhow, looks like I’m commited to the semantics argument, so here goes…

    I will say that if you think that calling a man a ‘wanker’ or a silly idea ‘bollocks’ is comparable to calling somebody a ‘cunt’ then I suspect you’ll never get it anyway. Think social asymmetry.

    Oh my, the irony in this sentence is SO beautiful. So, calling someone a “wanker” (no, let’s go with “bell-end”, since it directly applies to male genitalia which makes it more pertinent, plus it makes me titter more) is sort of fine, but calling someone a colloquial name for female genitalia is just plain wrong?

    How is that not the kind of social asymmetry you just mentioned?

  39. #39 Phyraxus
    July 7, 2011

    “I will say that if you think that calling a man a ‘wanker’ or a silly idea ‘bollocks’ is comparable to calling somebody a ‘cunt’ then I suspect you’ll never get it anyway. ”

    YOU MIGHT THINK ITS SILLY, BUT I AM A MAN AND IT OFFENDS ME! THESE ARE WORDS DERIVED FROM MALE SEXUAL ORGANS AND ARE DEMEANING TO ALL MEN REGARDLESS OF THEIR USAGE! THE FACT THAT YOU CAN’T SEE THAT MEANS YOU JUST DON’T “GET IT” BECAUSE YOU ARE A RAVING MISANDRIST ASSHOLE!

    Dammit, Prometheus, you beat me to it :(

  40. #40 frank habets
    July 7, 2011

    I’ve been reading ERV off and on for a while now, trying to educate myself on her area of expertise through e-osmosis. Little did I suspect that it would turn out to be the blog where the saner voices would be heard in this teapot tempest.

    // I was especially impressed by Justicar’s posts. And also by that asshole, John Cunt Welsh.

  41. #41 INTP
    July 7, 2011

    How dare that Arab boarded a plane with American tourists on it. Doesn’t he know that he’s causing those Americans to feel alarmed or afraid for their safety? If he was an American-sensitive Arab, he would have the courtesy to take the next plane that has a bunch of other Arabs on it.
    Wow, what a narcissist!

  42. #42 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    John C. Welsh:
    Yeah, it would be a rare occasion for the police to need to get involved. Less severe for security, or some “official” to politely ask someone to leave. However, I don’t think anyone who attends conferences as an audience member does so under the premise that they’re on equal footing with The Speaker who’s been specifically requested by the event organizers to be The Speaker.

    Certainly, anyone who’s been The Speaker should know full well that the prearranged time period for whatever lecture, or talk, or whatever is Their Time. If one doesn’t have that kind of “I’m in charge for the next hour”, I’m curious to see how a speech like that would turn out.

    But just assume a really, really stupid audience member is there. That doesn’t remove the knowledge from The Speaker that s/he is The Shit for the next 50 minutes. The really, really stupid audience member would find out one way or another who owns that particular talk – asked to leave, thrown out, shouted down by everyone else, over-talked by The Speaker. Meh. There are many ways to handle it, but I think we’re ultimately agreed that no matter what happens, audience member loses.

    And at this very event, a man got escorted out by either the police or security (I couldn’t tell which) for shouting during a session at Richard Dawkins “and making profit”. Surely, news of that would have spread around the convention.

    All of that being what it is, we still have the case that Stef McGraw reacted with perfect grace and respect for the event. I think she’s owed an apology. Hell, if she shows this kind of discernment, and careful thought about things, I’d like to hear her presenting instead of . . . well, you know.

  43. #43 Marco the Beagle
    July 7, 2011

    @Justicar

    I agree, about Stef McGraw, that lass has handled this with grace and aplomb, when she had every right to go batshit. Soooooo, the good thing that’s come out of this shitstorm is that she’s proven she’s got both the smarts and the attitude to go VERY far.

  44. #44 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    The Panic Man:
    Thank you for approaching us to let us know to stay away from you since, you know, none of us bothered to walk over to you in the first case. But I’ll take the hint and continue not trying to find you. You’re welcome.

    [/equip tinfoil hat
    +5 intellect
    +10 spell power
    +50 sexual charisma]

  45. #45 Pete Rooke
    July 7, 2011

    I must, again, register my disagreement with some who castigate Ms Watson for her behaviour.

    Propositioning someone for sex (and I was not initially aware that the offer of ‘coffee’ was actually a thinly veiled request to begin an intimate liaison) 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 (as an atheist she is most certainly not).

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

    Mr. Pete Rooke

  46. #46 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    I see I was beaten to the tin-foil hat thing. Damn you!

    John C. Welch:
    I don’t know what your experience is with cunts, but the only one I got near I wiggled away as fast as possible. Hell, so fast, they had to my mom open because I was. not. touching. that. cooter.

  47. #47 Phyraxus
    July 7, 2011

    Rooke is funny

  48. #48 Dave
    July 7, 2011

    Stupid, then, I guess.

    So, you think a woman is stupid for valuing stopping the infantilization of women over reducing her own personal anxiety.

    Im glad you are “done here,” I dont think feminism could stand much more of your “help.”

  49. #49 INTP
    July 7, 2011

    Rooke, I don’t speak for everyone here, but I agree with you to some extent. What the EG did was a bit socially clumsy and inappropriate, in my opinion. I can understand how RW would feel uncomfortable. It’s not something I would do. I agree that context is important in social situations.

    What I don’t agree with is how this whole thing turned into a cause célèbre for radical feminism. There are people suggesting now that it would have been wrong for EG to even get on the elevator with RW in the first place, even if he said nothing and minded his own business — and those who dare to to disagree, male or female, are condemned as mysogynists or “gender traitors”. I really find that quite disturbing.

  50. #50 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    Frank Habets @ 240:
    If you think I’m a voice of sanity, reason or even coherent thoughts, I pity you, my friend. Like my grandfather once remarked when a car coming head-on veered into our lane: that man’s either drunk or drives like me. In either case, god help’m. I think there’s a parallel here.

    @226:
    I don’t want to be the one to break this to you, but I do not get the impression that anyone here is arguing about whether using someone’s name is appropriate or inappropriate. Indeed, we’ve been discussing the circumstances under which it’s inappropriate. That would imply, at base, we’re all agreed that naming names isn’t categorically wrong. Yes, you’re not following the conversation we’re having.

    @228 Wild zontargs:
    The nature of the discussion depends on what people want out of it. For the most part, the blog host sets the tone by what they write. Sure, snark is fun and I don’t mind a good flame war now and again. But here, there seems to be a happy mixture of levity, sarcasm and wit. But all of that is interspersed among actual conversation to see about fleshing (teehee) out the contours of the issues.

    So, if learning something (hopefully anyway; I’d be sad if I didn’t) or possibly teaching someone something (a great honor) is your goal, then you have to look long and hard on the internet. If you want to just prattle away about a topic where the words are forgotten as soon as they appear, type a random word and put .com after it. You’ll be in the right spot.

    So long as this remains true, I’ll hang out here as long as they’ll have me (even if I don’t get voted in as Gay Mascot).

    @243 Marco:
    I completely agree. Let’s say she was dead to rights wrong on everything she’s ever said: she’s curious, and serious where necessary. Given those traits alone, she’ll do well at whatever she turns her hand to.

    @245 Pete:
    How puritanical! What do you think this is, the USA or something?

  51. #51 Tom
    July 7, 2011

    Honestly, if I was Stef McGraw, I would be suing RW for defamation. The person’s name is now associated with rape and misogyny because of RW and her “white knighting” spambots. Potential employers now read RW’s horseshit about male power structure just by googling the name.

    Stef is clearly a private figure that was publicly defamed during a public event on a private issue. Most states have found a minor blog isn’t sufficient to make one a public figure. The vast majority of her speech concerned not an issue of public importance, but personal attacks directed at a private person.

    Sue her.

  52. #52 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    Tom,
    They were in Ireland. No state’s laws on this matter control; they lack both personal and subject matter jurisdiction I should think.

  53. #53 Spence
    July 7, 2011

    I know I should be aiming at more challenging targets than this, but I couldn’t resist, and anyway Gummi de Milo has already been torn to shreds by everyone else. The Panic Man sez:

    Stay the fuck away from women, and stay the fuck away from me.

    Huzzah! Brave, valiant “the panic man” will boldly protect the fair young maidens by doing his best to prevent them from being able to talk to men that he personally deems unsuitable. Whether they like it or not.

    Hmm, actually, on spelling it out, that sounds all patriarchal and… well… creepy.

    It is funny, well not haha funny, but strange, that the most common argument put forward promotes the idea of vulnerable, weak women that need protecting. That must be delicately handled, and not offended. Not only is it supremely patriarchal and patronising, it is exactly the line of argument used by the likes of Muslim Imams for the oppression of women in the middle east.

    As many sensible posters have pointed out here, that a few “good guys” cross the road to avoid worrying the solo female does nothing to reduce the actual number of assaults on women (or men for that matter), it just serves to reinforce irrational fear of strangers rather than promoting a rational handling of real life risks. How does that help anyone?

  54. #54 Spence
    July 7, 2011

    Richard Dawkins was ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY MOLESTED, and he has the ability to say “Compared to what happened to other kids, it wasnt that big of a deal.”

    Interesting, for me it casts his commentary in a slightly new light.

    I still think Dawkins’ opening gambit was not a good one. For example, I give to a local cats charity and people have asked me how I can do that when there are starving children in the world. Yeah, but it isn’t an either-or situation. It makes no sense to direct all of our resources to the single worst problem of the day.

    That said – I still think Dawkins’ had a point, he just used an opener to the debate that was a sitting duck. And of course, after his opening gambit was swept aside, the whole debate became so incoherent nothing else was heard through the Pharyngulean jibber-jabber.

    But knowing that he himself was abused, and that he dismissed it as unimportant compared to other things in the world today, does shine a new light on his comments.

  55. #55 ERV
    July 7, 2011

    Spence– I know, right? Even I feel like an asshole.

    Im sure all the victims of sexual assault demanding apologies will feel terrible about assuming that since Dawkins disagreed with them, since Dawkins is a *man*, he must not have ever been sexually assaulted himself. Thats a pretty ugly mirror theyre going to have to look into.

  56. #56 tas121790
    July 7, 2011

    Dawkins was molested as a child and that affected the way he views similar situations. I’m surprised that this is much more complicated than it seemed. As a skeptic I’m shocked things have nuances SHOCKED!

  57. #57 Anton
    July 7, 2011

    this entire episode has reminded me that many are willing to be skeptical of the old gods (ie organized religion in the forms of most versions of christianity and islam), but skepticism of identity politics, critical studies or large swaths of feminist theory are verboten. and that pz, watson, the bad astronomer, laden et al are just as likely to be as rigid and dogmatic in these realms as the priests and mullahs in theirs.

    pz’s peevishness on this topic is actually more vicious than my mormon grandfather ever has been to my atheism. his shown himself to be a dogmatic and petty asshat of little value to skepticism.

    thank you for this post.

  58. #58 JD
    July 7, 2011

    Oh, don’t bother whining, bigot ERV – I’ve killfiled you for your sexist shit.

    So you write you kill-filed her, yet you come to her blog to post this. Jesus you’re fucking stupid. No wonder you’re on Watson’s side. Hey do you juggle too?

  59. #59 JD
    July 7, 2011

    While reading the pandering missives of Herr Myers and his traveling troop of feces slinging monkeys, I wondered whether Abbie would post her thoughts about the unaccomplished Watson’s blatant attention whoring, hypocrisy, and bullying. Thankfully, she did and I’m not the least bit surprised hers was the most cogent and sane response on the matter. I’m also not surprised the thought police would call her a gender traitor and try to revoke her “vagina license”. Pathetic.

  60. #60 drbubbles
    July 7, 2011

    >250 “I don’t want to be the one to break this to you, but I do not get the impression that anyone here is arguing about whether using someone’s name is appropriate or inappropriate. … Yes, you’re not following the conversation we’re having.”

    Oh, here, no. But have you been following other blogs discussing the matter? Those are where you’ll find disagreement with the consensus here. I guess I assumed that was obvious. It’s why I said that naming the name is the only thing that everyone – meaning, here and on other blogs – agrees happened.

  61. #61 Stephen Bahl
    July 7, 2011

    I was doing such a good job of not commenting on any of this nonsense anywhere, and then I read #213 and now I just can’t resist. Okay, so I could. And I’ll feel absolutely silly for not doing so, but oh well…

    Even if it’s 1 AM…

    Even if it’s Friday the 13th…

    Even if it’s a new moon…

    Even if we’re walking on a street in Hell…

    Even if (why not?) I’m covered in blood for some reason…

    …you can cross to the other side of the street yourself if it bothers you so much that I might pass you while we’re on the same side of the street.

  62. #62 ERV
    July 7, 2011

    Stephen Bahl wins the internet.

  63. #63 Phyraxus
    July 7, 2011

    LOL

    I pointed out that RD was a victim of sexual assault on

    http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-professor-dawkins-from.html

    And the author removed it like any genuine fundie would.

    I am currently having a “discussion” with the author of the blog on greg laden’s blog.

    -/2011/07/elevators_and_privilege_a_lett.php

  64. #64 ERV
    July 7, 2011

    Thats disappointing, Phyraxus.

    Also, sorry to the people getting caught in the spam traps. I dont see anything wrong with your comments, I just think ERV is sick of this crap (not you, just this topic in general).

    You all should number your replies with names, just in case this keeps happening.

  65. #65 drbubbles
    July 7, 2011

    (Sorry if this is a double-post: my browser crashed when I clicked “post” the first time. Also I pretty much forgot how I said it.)

    >250 “I don’t want to be the one to break this to you, but I do not get the impression that anyone here is arguing about whether using someone’s name is appropriate or inappropriate. … Yes, you’re not following the conversation we’re having.”

    I admit I was flippant at the beginning of #198. But the whole thing wasn’t commenting about naming, it was commenting about the allegation that RW exercised asymmetrical power. While the consensus here is pretty much that RW was asymmetrically powerful, if you look at other blogs, you will find vehement disagreement, such that the only thing that everyone – meaning, here and on other blogs – agrees happened is that RW named someone. And, absent asymmetrical power, the naming is the only thing left to deprive RW of Decent Human Beingness according to the OP here. Which would be silly. Which is both why I was flippant, and why I wanted to point out that the asymmetrical power thing should not be taken as a given.

  66. #66 tas121790
    July 7, 2011

    @Phyraxus 263
    Dawkins should sign that letter.

  67. #67 ERV
    July 7, 2011

    tas121790 wins the internet.

    Ive got a bucket of internets, people. Keep em comin!

  68. #68 Rystefn
    July 7, 2011

    Phyraxis @263

    I’m not surprised. I don’t go ’round Greg Laden’s blog or Almost Diamonds anymore, since the authors of both have deleted comments of mine because I had the audacity to disagree with them and not knuckle under and take it back. My limit for that sort of shit is once (well, for the unrepentant).

    It’s sad that people really act like that. I genuinely cannot follow their reasoning… well, unless they were fumbling about for Rystefn repellant and one accidentally stumbled upon it, so the other immediately followed.

    Also, apparently, someone has been following my comments back to my blog, so I guess I should make a post about it so they won’t be disappointed. After dinner, probably.

  69. #69 Justicar
    July 7, 2011

    Phyraxus:
    I was following your discussion elsewhere. I was amused by a post there.

    Erv:
    I don’t want to say I told you so, but I did tell you it wouldn’t vindicate Dawkins.

    “Aw, Phyraxus, that was you leaving the anonymous comment on my blog? How very brave of you. Yes, Dawkins was sexually assaulted as a child. This makes it fine that he doesn’t understand that grown men and women face different threats how?” -Stephanie Z

    ” FYI, Richard Dawkins is a victim of sexual assault.

    Translation: “LOOK! Over there!”

    Pathetic.” Sallystrange

  70. #70 Marco the Beagle
    July 7, 2011

    @Pharyxus:

    After years of being a cynical bastard, you’d think I’d have learned, by now, NOT to find it incredibly bloody depressing that asshats like StephanieZ refuse to listen to any form of logic or, in fact, anything that’s not generated in their own heads.

    Well, ye tried dude. Want some painkillers? I mean you’re were smacking your head against that brick wall pretty bloody hard!

    @tas121790 #266:

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd I’m cheered up again! Ta dude. lol

  71. #71 ERV
    July 7, 2011

    I dont know how anyone could not feel like an asshole after learning about Dawkins past.

    I mean, I cant get on my high-horse at all– I didnt know about this until this morning, and even I didnt even *consider* the possibility Dawkins himself has had to deal with something like this. I feel like a gigantic douche, and I wasnt saying “You dont understand sexual assault because you are a rich white heterosexual male!”

  72. #72 Marco the Beagle
    July 7, 2011

    @ERV #271:

    I know what you mean, but I tell ya what, it’s given me a whole new level of respect for the man.

  73. #73 thememe
    July 7, 2011

    http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-professor-dawkins-from.html

    That’s really some fucked up character assassination campaign. I mean..
    When friend of mine recently told me that he thinks that some parts of secular movements became quite cult-like..i thought that he is crazy. Now i am not sure about that…
    But I am getting tired of this BS…and iam getting a lot of cynical and misanthropic thoughts right now..shit.

  74. #74 Phyraxus
    July 8, 2011

    I remember reading that post of his back when he wrote it but I didn’t remember that he had been abused when everyone was screaming “privileged misogynist” at him. Cruel irony that is.

    As for those asshats, near the end there I just WANTED to be misogynistic to piss them off but decided against it. Because they couldn’t refute my logic they said to me what misogynists say to them.

    “ITS NOT THAT BAD, SO STFU!”

    Cruel irony this is too.

  75. #75 Phyraxus
    July 8, 2011

    It’s funny, first they make broad generalizations. Then when you call them out on their bullshit they refine their argument. When you destroy that, they deflect to another topic or move the goalpost. After that fails, I got the “not so bad, stfu.”

    Fundies are fundies, religious or not.

  76. #76 cthellis
    July 8, 2011

    I conclude that the person is rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, narcissistic, and, in general, an asshole.
    Heywaitaminute… Wasn’t Dawkins labelled a huge, inconsiderate, misogynistic, dismissive, poopy-headed jerkface for asking someone not to lay down so many profanities in their replies to him?

  77. #77 Marco the Beagle
    July 8, 2011

    @Phyraxus #274

    You have no idea how much I was desperate, DESPERATE I TELL YA, to leave my one and only post on that thread, and have it say “TITS OR GTFO”, just to make Steph and Sally fucking livid…

    I figured if I was going to go out, I was going out in a blaze of glory. But yes, my self-preservation instinct kicked in, too.

  78. #78 Phyraxus
    July 8, 2011

    LOL i didnt think about tits or gtfo

    for some reason sugartits came to mind

  79. #79 JD
    July 8, 2011

    re: #273, @thememe, it IS absolutely fucked up. Trying to turn Dawkins words into those of a rape apologist is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long time. And I completely agree with your friend’s sentiments on the matter regarding the cult-like elements of some parts of the secular movement. A quick trip to a few of the more famous blogs proves it beyond all doubt. Thankfully, there are a few sane people speaking out against it though. Thanks Abbie, Miranda and Stef.

  80. #80 Marco the Beagle
    July 8, 2011

    BAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s a good job there’s no hell, or we’d be going there. :P

  81. #81 Phyraxus
    July 8, 2011

    Naw, everyone knows god is a misogynist so we’d fit right in up there in heaven :P

    I think sugartits came to mind because it has just the right amount of sexism, objectification, and condescension. As in, “Keep up the good work, sugartits!” then a tasteful office slap to the rear. Funny thing is, my ex-gf watched Mad Men and that shit is CRAZY misogynist. I never really got into it.

  82. #82 Marco the Beagle
    July 8, 2011

    LOL aye.

    What we’ve therefore done tonight is, essentially, have completely futile arguments with people, and laugh sundry bits off.

    So, average night on the internet, really!

  83. #83 TR
    July 8, 2011

    Hi Abby,
    I’m preparing a keynote address, and I wanted to ask for pointers on the title. It is:

    “Hatred and bigotry in the atheist community: Is my (former!) best friend Jeff Doe acting as a mouthpiece for Nazi-fascist ideology? (Yes, Jeff, I’m talking about you.)”

    There’s nothing that could be construed as “passive aggressive” in there, right?? You might’ve noticed that I sort of call someone out by name, but that’s just because I respect him so much. You see, it’s really a question of respect. It’s clear from the wording that I’m just a hard-nosed skeptic who calls things like I see them. You know, cause that’s just how we skeptics role! Right????

  84. #84 Spence
    July 8, 2011

    Justicar:

    I don’t want to say I told you so, but I did tell you it wouldn’t vindicate Dawkins.

    Sure, and I’m not surprised about this either. This is how cognitive dissonance works. When new evidence arrives, you don’t change your belief, you rationalise how that evidence fits in with your existing belief, no matter how contorted the logic is to get you there.

    “FYI, Richard Dawkins is a victim of sexual assault. Translation: ‘LOOK! Over there!’ Pathetic.” Sallystrange

    Let’s get the sequence of events that led to this straight. Dawkins wrote a post that trivialised the elevator incident. RW’s buddies immediately extrapolated from that something that Dawkins absolutely did not say – that he belittled their sexual abuse or rape. He obviously said nothing of the sort, but that doesn’t matter to them.

    Then, when people point out that Dawkins himself is the victim of abuse, SallyStrange trivialises his experience.

    That is: SallyStrange is guilty of exactly the thing that RW’s team are accusing Richard Dawkins of.

    The only problem is, in Dawkins case, he simply didn’t do what they claim he did. And the irony that SallyStrange implicitly accuses Dawkins of playing the victim card is not lost on me either.

    Oh evidence, you are such a fickle creature.

  85. #85 windy
    July 8, 2011

    As many sensible posters have pointed out here, that a few “good guys” cross the road to avoid worrying the solo female does nothing to reduce the actual number of assaults on women (or men for that matter)

    And anyway, any difference that makes in her anxiety level should be trivial compared to the fact that she is walking down the street alone at night in the first place. I don’t think women should be called stupid if they choose to do something like that, but ironically this is one of the issues that has frequently caused Sven to run afoul of almost everyone else at Pharyngula.

  86. #86 John C. Welch
    July 8, 2011

    258:

    Hey, don’t hating on juggling just because some stupids do it. We just ignore them.

    277,278,281

    There’s also the Carlin version:

    “you wanna have a really good time? Walk into a feminist meeting and yell out “HEY! WHICH ONE OF YOU CUPCAKES WANTS TO GIVE ME A BLOWJOB? They like it when you’re direct!”

  87. #87 drbubbles
    July 8, 2011

    >285 “As many sensible posters have pointed out here, that a few “good guys” cross the road to avoid worrying the solo female does nothing to reduce the actual number of assaults on women”

    Where has it been suggested that crossing the road is intended to reduce assaults? My impression was that it is simply intended to reassure the woman that the road-crosser isn’t stalking her.

    I can assure you that the anxiety difference can be substantial. It’s the difference between an uneasy “please let me get there safely” and an acute “OMFG maybe this is the time it happens, oh god what should I do”.

    ———

    Anyway, what I really came here this morning to say:

    So now we know that Dawkins was molested as a boy.

    (1) Does that really authorize him to decide when another is justified in speaking out, any more than anyone else? The larger question being, are overtly similar events not mediated by considerations such as gender identity, which themselves affect one’s sense of personhood?

    This is not to dismiss Dawkins’ experience, but rather to contextualize it. Otherwise we risk a simplistic hierarchy of authority without regard for competence.

    (2) Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed by others through coitus-colored lenses, and with the possibility of being molested again always in the back of his mind?

    Not looking for answers; just wishing some of you would give some thought to these things.

  88. #88 windy
    July 8, 2011

    Where has it been suggested that crossing the road is intended to reduce assaults?

    It was suggested that a woman was stupid for not wanting men to cross the street to protect her “personal safety”. It was then pointed out that this does nothing to reduce the risk of actual attack. Are women stupid for not demanding an illusion of safety?

  89. #89 Wow
    July 8, 2011

    “So now we know that Dawkins was molested as a boy.

    (1) Does that really authorize him to decide when another is justified in speaking out, any more than anyone else?”

    YES.

    Why?

    Because, by the very arguments that RD has been belittled and railed against have included “you’re a privileged male and have no clue about how bad it is to be sexually assaulted”.

    Seems like he DOES know what it’s like to be sexually assaulted.

    “(2) Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed by others through coitus-colored lenses”

    YES.

    Every single male who has heard that women think all men are potential rapitsts know that they’re being looked at through coitus-coloured lenses.

    What do you think “rape” is? A type of plant?

    AND YES AGAIN:

    EG asked for a coffee. This, apparently, means I want to put my willy in you. Smacks rather of the Monty Python sketch: “Weeyl yooo foondool mai boot ooks?” “Yes, take the third right, past the post office and second on the left”.

    “I can assure you that the anxiety difference can be substantial.”

    And my anxiety difference can be substantial too. Except that I’m not allowed to call you a gender traitor and insist that you hand your todger in., nor allowed to jump from “You CAN say no to a proposition for a date” to “All women are frigid bitches” and if told that this is a vile calumny, get a hoard of screamers yelling at you calling you a molester.

    It’s very anxiety producing, not being able to tell a woman that “no” means “yes”.

    Does that mean we should push for a society where men can do that? A society that is sensitive to the male anxieties and fears about being told “no”?

    Or, rather, should I get over it, just like a woman who is anxious because a man doesn’t cross the other side of the street late at night, no matter how much safer she feels about it?

  90. #90 mathguy
    July 8, 2011

    I said something like this on the other post, but the Gawker article reinforces it. I miss the days of people like Carl Sagan and Martin Gardner and Isaac Asimov. In the modern skeptical movement, Sagan would be called an accommodationist, Gardner an idiot, and Asimov a sexist. God forbid they try to post a pharyngula–between begin called Cupcakes and handed rotting porcupines, they wouldn’t be able to get a word in edgewise.

  91. #91 drbubbles
    July 8, 2011

    >289, Wow: “Every single male who has heard that women think all men are potential rapitsts know that they’re being looked at through coitus-coloured lenses.”

    Excellent point, well-taken, and one I have not yet internalized (obviously). Permit me to restate, articulating my unspoken assumption: Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?

    As for your response to anxiety difference, I may just be dense but I have no idea what you are getting at.

  92. #92 Peter
    July 8, 2011

    “So because there “presumably” “would have been” an “opportunity” to talk (RW could have blurted out a few words about the weather while EG was yanking her pants down) therefore EG was not sending the message that he was interested in her only for sex?!”

    So Ophelia Benson can visualize him pulling down her pants. This is the madness I can’t understand. How do you make these leaps??? Maybe a few people were or were not rude to other people. The end.

  93. #93 Justicar
    July 8, 2011

    Per advice from ERV I’m numbering and naming this reply.

    I’m calling it Princess Pricella Jellywompkins II.

    Yeah, I know, Abbie. I was just pointing it out earlier before I even bothered to read what was going to be said about it. I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t mean one bit to most people opposite. Surprised I am not.

    I think even if we held Dawkins down and gang raped him with concrete dildos while chewing gum it wouldn’t count to these people. Even if Dawkins managed to come through it without having some immortal fear of chewing gum or concrete dildos.

    It’s not that people are saying “you’re not entitled to feel uncomfortable, or to look after your own safety” or anything of the sort. It’s more in the vein of, “just because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean we owe you some ridiculous deference, and you are not entitled to make that demand” with a little bit “there are people who were actually being victimized right that second. You simply were not one of them – sorry that you weren’t really being a victim to justify playing that card.”

    But, apparently, I’ve crossed a line to becoming persona non grata for Tone reasons. So long as the vitriol is in a direction some people like it to go, it’s all fine and well, and needs to be done. Free speech and all that jazz. Take Ophelia Benson’s comments to me on Miranda’s blog.

    The fucking second someone uses language she finds objectionable, well, now you’ve gone too far and need sensitivity training. Let’s see if her tone, and the tone she supports atheists having towards the religious changes in her future work, for consistency’s sake.

    I knew going into this taking the derisive track I chose towards Rebecca Watson would not be without its consequences. One consequence I wasn’t expecting is the making of hypocrites and/or liars out of some people.

    Oddly enough, on my blog only three people have clicked the “I hate you” option on the post ratings. Most people at the start were clicking “no mouse”. Now it’s fairly well dead even between “funny” and “let’s fuck”

    Spence, if you’re aiming to say that your comments extended beyond this blog, then I’ll happily concede that point. And I’m sorry if I didn’t read what you wrote in the way you were aiming to mean. Going back over it, I see that I too narrowly read it, and I apologize for that.

  94. #94 Wow
    July 8, 2011

    “Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?”

    Yes.

    Women are looking at Richard Dawkins like he’s a rapist. Rape is coitus, unrequested, but still coitus. And ask Julian Assange about how that assertion can make it (arrest, vilification, guilt-assumption) happen.

    PS when you find yourself having to narrow down your question until you get to precisely one scenario, maybe your question isn’t about asking for an answer but a question begging a conclusion, a’ la Glen Beck “I’m not accusing, just asking the question”.

  95. #95 Wow
    July 8, 2011

    “Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?”

    Plus YES. Someone DID look at Dawkins and DID make it happen.

    You know, all that kiddie fiddling? Remember that?

    So, yes it DID happen.

    And there are priests out there kiddie fiddling little boys today.

    There are women teachers who are even today instigating sexual encounters with male pupils. Those men are being objectified. Yet if they complain: “What are you? GAY???”.

    So YES, in the specific case of Dawkins, he HAS been looked at through coitus-coloured glasses by someone who can and did make it happen.

  96. #96 Wild Zontargs
    July 8, 2011

    So, given the rapidly expanding semi-mainstream coverage, a tiff over a blog response to a Youtube video about being invited up for coffee has turned into a massive character assassination attempt on Dawkins. Based on comments which are almost exclusively shown without a scrap of the original context involving Stef McGraw and the intended purpose Rebecca’s talk.

    This is just sad.

  97. #97 NJ
    July 8, 2011

    Peter @ 292:

    So Ophelia Benson can visualize him pulling down her pants.

    IOW, she is sexually objectifying him? In a negative sense, to be sure, but that would seem to be the conclusion.

  98. #98 Spence
    July 8, 2011

    Justicar, with reference to your comment #Princess Pricella Jellywompkins II

    Wait, what? I’m confused!??! Have we disagreed on something? I must have missed that. Or, more likely, I wrote some gibberish which could have been read in about ten different ways. I’m pretty sure so far I’ve meant to agree with you in any post I’ve written. I may just have not made that clear. And something tells me this paragraph that I am writing has probably confused things even more.

    What were we talking about again?

  99. #99 drbubbles
    July 8, 2011

    >294

    I don’t think your argument leads where you think it does.

    PS How long do I have to wait before it’s acceptable to post clarification? Or am I stuck forever with an overstatement once it’s been pointed out?

  100. #100 drbubbles
    July 8, 2011

    >295, Wow: ” ‘Has Dawkins spent his adult life being assessed through coitus-colored glasses by people with the ability to (try to) make it happen if they so wish, some of whom actually do?’

    Plus YES. Someone DID look at Dawkins and DID make it happen.

    You know, all that kiddie fiddling? Remember that?”

    Perhaps you could re-read what I wrote. Specifically the “adult life” part. Unless kiddie = adult now.

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