At the risk of splitting the “misogynist dickbaggery in the atheist movement” discussion in two, I really need to mention the amazingly well-timed Reddit meltdown of TheAmazingAtheist. It’s already been covered pretty well by PZ Myers and by Jen McCreight of BlagHag but, what the heck, I’ll throw in my two cents as well.
TheAmazingAtheist, for those who don’t follow these things, is (or was?) a popular atheist podcaster well-known, and beloved by some, for being something of a misogynist dickbag. He’s been on a anti-feminist kick for the last couple of months, winning himself many plaudits on Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit, though even the MR regulars couldn’t help but notice that he’s a bit of an ass.
Well, now he’s pretty much revealed, with a series of horrendous comments on Reddit, what a complete and utter asshole he is. Let me put a second TRIGGER WARNING here (for violent talk about rape), on top of the default TRIGGER WARNING I put on all my blog posts.
The context : a discussion (which he started) about the propriety of one feminist Redditor calling themself ICumWhenIKillMen. I’m not going to defend that nickname, which obviously makes light of violence in an obnoxious way. But AmazingAthiest was apparently so troubled by this sort of language that he felt compelled to spew forth a succession of violent rape threats.
Let me draw your attention to some of the highlights. (Click here to see his whole comment history on Reddit, where he comments as terroja).
Things started going south about 19 hours ago, when he told one detractor:
I’m going to rape you with my fist.
He followed this with:
I will make you a rape victim if you don’t fuck off.
It got worse:
I’m tired of being treated like shit by you mean little cunts and then you using your rape as an excuse. Fuck you. I think we should give the guy who raped you a medal. I hope you fucking drown in rape semen, you ugly, mean-spirited cow. Actually, I don’t believe you were ever raped! What man would be tasteless enough to stick his dick into a human cesspool like you? Nice gif of a turd going into my mouth. Is that kind of like the way that rapists dick went in your pussy? Or did he use your asshole? Or was it both? Maybe you should think about it really hard for the next few hours. Relive it as much as possible. You know? Try to recall: was it my pussy or my ass?
He continued in this fashion for some time, mocking those who pointed out that rape threats can be triggering, and regularly referring to his opponents as “cunts.” (Each of the following paragraphs is from a separate comment of his; click the quotes to see the full comments in question in their original context.)
Fuck you, liar. All night you douches have tried to shit on me and tear me down. Then when I do the same it’s like, “Whoa man! That’s too far. Calm down.” No. Fuck you. Go get raped in whatever orifice you have to get fucking raped in. I am sick of your shit. I regret nothing.
Yes, you read that right: he was saying this shit to a rape victim.
Eventually, theAmazingAtheist found himself stopped short by this scathing critique, from the Redditor called veerserif.
I now know that, apart from being misguided, intentionally ignorant, and quick to resort to pathetic excuses, you are also a purposefully hurtful person with no sense of empathy, and no sense of remorse. You’re not just unintentionally uninformed, you actively turn what you know against people who should be deserving of your sympathy.
I was mistaken before. I thought, maybe, just maybe, after the circlejerking and the giggling, I could try showing you the stuff you said I didn’t highlight. I could show you what feminism has done for men, or maybe tell you about the existence of sex-positive feminism.
But this… this is a whole new level.
Your reputation, in my eyes, has fallen so far that dragging it back up to “mild disgust” would require nothing short of a miracle. You pretend to care about other people, but you really don’t. You like to think that you’re a decent human being, but you fall so far short of that you’re practically on separate planes of existence.
Deliberately triggering a rape victim? Equating being called out on your bullshit to the trauma of rape?
You know what you deserve? You don’t deserve death. You don’t deserve rape. You don’t even deserve some cosmically mandated, hilarious schadenfreude which would not only be brilliant, but just.
What you deserve is for everyone to know this side of you. You deserve for anyone who thought you were a good person to know what you’ve just done. You deserve your fans’ adoration turning to hatred, you deserve the judging stares and looks that people will give you. You deserve to be reminded, every day, of what you do and what you’ve done. You deserve to remember every day that there are people who suffer more than you, that there are people who are stronger and smarter, braver, more principled and better than you, in every way, until the day you realise exactly how wrong your actions have been.
I don’t want to see bodily harm visited on you, because I don’t want to see bodily harm visited on anyone. What I do want is for you – and, for that matter, every shitposter I’ve ever seen – to learn that anonymity is not an excuse.
He went on to make, yep, a little video about his experience, and to offer a weird and unconvincing “rebuttal” to PZ Myers’ comments on his meltdown. See PZ Myers’ post for links to the video, as well as the rebuttal itself (which is effectively re-rebutted by Myers). See here and here for a transcript of the video.
Naturally, there’s a discussion of the meltdown on ShitRedditSays as well.
One heartening sign in all this: the massive numbers of downvotes theAmazingAtheist got for his worst comments. I hope that a significant number of them were from actual Men’s Rights Redditors, and not only from people who came into the discussion from elsewhere on Reddit, but of course there is no way of knowing.
Will atheists and MRAs drop theAmazingAtheist like a hot rape-threatening potato? Or will they start rallying around him as some sort of heroic truth teller and rape threatener? Somehow I suspect there will be a bit of both.