Categories
antifeminism atheism minus harassment Islamophobia misogyny richard dawkins

Richard Dawkins, Lindy West, and the Cartoon Video of Great Hatefulness

Is Richard Dawkins using his bully pulpit to bully feminists?
Is Richard Dawkins using his bully pulpit to bully feminists?

Almost three years ago, a feminist activist committed what many not-so-impartial observers apparently see as an unpardonable sin: she was less than polite to a small squad of Men’s Rights activists at a demonstration in Toronto. At least one of these gentlemen caught her outburst on video, and uploaded it to YouTube.

You know the rest: the video went viral, and the activist, a red-headed woman known as Chanty Binx (or “Big Red,” to the douchebag army), found herself suddenly transformed into “The Posterchild of Everything Wrong with Feminism,” as one of her haters put it. Her face has become ubiquitous in antifeminist memes, and she’s endured nearly three years of harassment.

Earlier this month, antifeminist YouTuber Sargon of Akkad — who makes his living pandering to some of the internet’s worst lady haters — posted an animated video by another antifeminist YouTuber in which an angry Islamist and an angry feminist sing a song explaining that they pretty much believe all the same things. (For some reason, this nonsensical theory is something that a lot of antifeminists have convinced themselves is true.)

The angry Islamist in the video is a familiar racist stereotype, complete with “funny” accent. [Correction: He’s evidently supposed to be a parody of this guy, known as Dawah Man, a legitimately terrible person you wouldn’t think atheists would have to strawman in order to criticize..]

The angry feminist, meanwhile, isn’t a generic figure; she’s an especially crude caricature of Binx, spouting nonsense that neither Binx nor any other feminist actually believes: the video ends with her encouraging the Islamist to rape her, because it’s not really rape if a Muslim does it, dontchaknow.

It’s a vicious, hateful little cartoon made worse by the fact that these words are being put in the mouth of a real woman who’s been the target of a vast harassment campaign for years.

Yesterday, Richard Dawkins, apparently seeing this horrendous video as a clever takedown of some brand of feminism that he must think actually exists, shared it with his 1.3 million Twitter followers:

Dawkins-tweet

Dawkins, a well-respected scientist-turned-embarrassing-atheist-ideologue, has become notorious for his endless Twitter gaffes. But this is plainly worse than, say, his famously pathetic lament about airport security “dundridges” taking his jar of honey; his Tweet contributed to the demonization of a real woman who’s already the target of harassment and threats.

The awesome Lindy West pointed this out to him in a series of Tweets and linked to one of my posts cataloging some of the abuse Binx got after the video of her went viral.

In a series of eloquent and angry Tweets, she made clear to Dawkins how and why he was misusing his huge platform and contributing to an atmosphere of hate online. Dawkins, alternately indignant and defensive, ultimately took down the offending Tweet, but not before making other Tweets that were nearly as bad. Dawkins can’t even do the right thing without being a dick about it.

Let’s watch Lindy at work:

 

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest like literally what is wrong with you @RichardDawkins RETWEETS 47 LIKES 337 Lamentation Smythethank god it's overMargaret PlessAllison ElaineRachyAlice Pinegabs ❁GORILLA SUITNINA 5:19 PM - 26 Jan 2016 Reply Retweet Liked More Tweet text Reply to @thelindywest @RichardDawkins Who's in these photos? Lindy West ‏@thelindywest Jan 26 the complete ideological horror show aside, that is a caricature of an actual real woman and you are feeding her harassment @RichardDawkins

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest I didn't know that. Who is the real woman? 1 retweet 5 likes Reply Retweet 1 Like 5 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Here: https://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/04/15/canadian-feminist-activist-receives-death-threats-and-other-abuse-after-being-targeted-by-mens-rights-activists/ … @RichardDawkins View summary 16 retweets 55 likes Reply Retweet 16 Liked 55 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago It would serve you well to research the people & movements whose support you accept & whose propaganda you disseminate. @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago One might even argue that it's a basic responsibility concomitant with wielding such a large and powerful platform. @RichardDawkins 21 retweets 114 likes Reply Retweet 21 Liked 114 More View other replies Show more Zoë “Shitpost” Quinn ‏@UnburntWitch 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest @RichardDawkins oh good he's promoting a guy who built a career off of stalking and harassing me and my family 19 retweets 86 likes Reply Retweet 19 Like 86 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Richard, this is not a thought experiment for us. It's not an ideological pissing match. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago It is a constant, violent, unprovoked, psychologically damaging barrier to full engagement with the world. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins 21 retweets 83 likes Reply Retweet 21 Liked 83 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago You make yourself complicit in that system by validating and amplifying the voices of our harassers. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins 22 retweets 100 likes Reply Retweet 22 Liked 100 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Please stop, or at least do so with full knowledge of the scope, history, and implications of your actions. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins

After what was apparently an unsatisfactory response from Dawkins — I couldn’t find his Tweet, if there was one — West repeated and expanded upon her basic points. [EDIT: The unsastisfactory respose, West tells me, was that Dawkins posted a link to one of the videos of Chanty Binx at the Toronto demonstration.]

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest If this is your response, please go on record, explicitly, that you believe women you dislike deserve rape & death threats. @RichardDawkins

Well, that got his attention:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest What the hell are you talking about. When have I ever said any such thing? 7 retweets 34 likes Reply Retweet 7 Like 34 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Did you read the link that I sent? Posting this video implies an endorsement of her abuse (and will definitely amplify it). @RichardDawkins 9 retweets 71 likes Reply Retweet 9 Liked 71 More View other replies Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest No. What link? Somebody told me who she was. I was about to delete my original tweet. Then I looked up the Toronto vid . . .

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago I sent you a series of tweets. Feel free to read them in my TL. Here is the link again: https://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/04/15/canadian-feminist-activist-receives-death-threats-and-other-abuse-after-being-targeted-by-mens-rights-activists/ … @RichardDawkins View summary 16 retweets 67 likes Reply Retweet 16 Liked 67 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Then you looked up the Toronto vid and...felt like that woman deserved what she got? That's exactlly what I'm talking about. @RichardDawkins 7 retweets 77 likes Reply Retweet 7 Liked 77 More View other replies Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest I think she deserves nothing more than ridicule. I would never shriek "Fuckface" at her. But I would laugh at her. Ridicule.

So there you have it: when informed that a tweet of his will almost certainly worsen the vicious harassment faced by a young woman whose only “crime” was being rude to a couple of MRAs in public, Richard Dawkins, a one-time winner of  the American Humanist Association’s Humanist of the Year Award, replies by saying that “she deserves nothing more than ridicule.”

West replied:

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest Please don't insult me by pretending you don't comprehend the gravity and scope of this conversation and your complicity. @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Great. Good job. If you leave those links up you are fomenting further abuse, and that's a choice you should own. @RichardDawkins

Dawkins then decided to suggest that perhaps Binx was, you know, crazy:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @FulcrumAmber @thelindywest Perhaps mentally ill, to be charitable. Anyway it's disgraceful that she's apparently received violent threats. 1 retweet 8 likes Reply Retweet 1 Like 8 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago First of all, mentally ill people are fully capable of holding and expressing valid, well-considered, justified opinions. @RichardDawkins 48 retweets 214 likes Reply Retweet 48 Like 214 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago 2nd of all, you know nothing of this woman's mental state but her anger. Armchair diagnoses are presumptuous and insulting. @RichardDawkins 37 retweets 159 likes Reply Retweet 37 Like 159 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago And thirdly, it's exactly this spectrum of misogyny--dismissiveness to outright abuse--that feminists are angry about. @RichardDawkins

Dawkins ultimately agreed to take down his Tweet linking to the execrable video. But he offered no apology. And he went on to suggest that just maybe Binx had … threatened herself.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago Having learned that the woman in the joke song is a real person who has been disgracefully threatened with violence, I'm deleting my tweets. 65 retweets 436 likes Reply Retweet 65 Like 436 More Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 5h5 hours ago Maybe I'm naive. Can't believe anyone's as nasty as her. Nor that anyone would threaten her. Nor that anyone'd lie about being threatened.

User Actions Follow Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins Richard Dawkins Retweeted Boltzmann Is this really true? How depressing. But it would explain a lot. Richard Dawkins added, Boltzmann @NameIsBoltzmann @RichardDawkins People lie about being threatened all the time these days. Some have gotten caught threatening themselves.

We’ve seen this, er, argument before.

sharkethics

Does Dawkins have any conception of just how much abuse women like Chanty Binx get? If she were sending herself all the threatening and harassing messages she gets, she wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep.

And I wonder if Dawkins thinks she drew the caricature of herself that was used in the video he retweeted.

Thoughtful as ever, Dawkins made sure to remind his 1.3 million followers that Binx still deserved all the mockery they could deliver. Just not the death threats please!

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 8h8 hours ago @YourSluttyGF Yes, she deserves abundant mockery, the more the merrier. But she doesn't deserve violent threats. Nobody does.Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins @cleanpulse @YourSluttyGF I don't feel the smallest bit guilty. She deserves mockery. But if there's a risk of inspiring violence, NO NO NO!And he begged his readers to think about the real victims here — those people, like him, who might have to curtail their mockery somewhat because their terrible, terrible fans might be inspired to hurt someone.

Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't EVER threaten anyone with violence. We should be free to use comedy/ridicule without fear it may inspire violence

RIP, Richard Dawkins’ comedy career.

Is Dawkins actually unaware that by punching down at a woman who’s already been the target of a three year harassment campaign he almost certainly is contributing to the threats he claims to deplore? It’s hard for me to believe that he could be so naive. But the alternative explanation — that he knows full well that he’s encouraging the harassers — is even more disquieting.

One good thing has come out of this ugly episode today: The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has un-invited Dawkins from its event this year. A post on the group’s website today explains:

The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organizations.

We will issue a full refund to any NECSS attendee who wishes to cancel their registration due to this announcement.

The NECSS Team

Good for them. The atheist movement needs to stand up to the haters and harassers in its midst, including those like Dawkins, who may not directly harass or threaten but who use their huge platforms to amplify and embolden this hatred and harassment.

It would be nice if Dawkins were to actually learn something — a little humanity, a little humility? — from this incident, but when it comes to the subject of feminism Dawkins seems incapable of taking in new information, much less learning anything from it.

EDITED TO ADD: And now, as if to prov what I just said in that previous paragraph, Dawkins is now second-guessing his decision to take down his tweet linking to the video, because GamerGaters are telling him that Chanty and I made up the evidence of the abuse she got.

dawktakeback

NOTE: Lindy West has a book coming out soon. Pre-order it below!

CORRECTION: I added  a bit noting that the Islamist in the cartoon video is supposed to be a parody of a real person.

EDIT: I added a line about Dawkins tweeting a link to a video of Chanty Binx at the Toronto demonstration.

1.2K Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

….. as in girls should have their labia snipped or…? I’m confused and not sure whether I should be horrified.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

My sons were born in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997 and 2001, and neither were circumcised. My husband and I had no inclination to change that when we adopted them. I have read the ‘what if he wonders why his penis doesn’t look like Dad’s?’ argument, and it made no sense to me. I asked our younger son’s therapist about it – “how would that even be an issue? I have no idea what MY father’s penis looked like.” She replied with great tact, “well, Robert, there are all sorts of families.”

Regarding the OP – wow, the Dawkins fans REALLY keep an eye out for perceived disrespect. When I read about some of the things he comes out with, I am reminded of Norma Desmond and the damage that an army of sycophants can do to the human spirit.

littleknown
littleknown
6 years ago

First off: Thanks, everyone, for your kind responses (both agreeing and disagreeing). I love this space, and I love you all.

I think I may have a bit of a reflexive reaction to the use of “owning” because I spilled a lot of ink trying to convince some friends (now former) that Karen Straughan’s theme of “own your shit” was garbage.

@Tessa:

I like the idea of “owning” meaning something more like “stand up and be counted”. I chose my ‘nym based on the fact that I am extremely shy, and standing up to bullying doesn’t come naturally to me.

After I was treated quite badly in a couple relationships, for a brief period of time, the “own your shit” stuff made sense to me. But as I saw more and more what was behind it, I wretched, and then I quickly made an about-face. I like to believe that it is a “little known” fact that there are way more guys like me than the misogynists who never question any of their shit like to believe there are, and I thought it was time I stood up.

Although, I do prefer some version of “stand up and be counted” to “owning” the misogyny. Part of me recoils at the idea of “accepting that this is what’s become of the atheist movement” — it feels too much like admitting defeat, when there are so many strong feminist atheist bloggers and writers.

It feels a little bit like when conservatives ask, “Why aren’t there more Muslims speaking out against terrorism and for women’s rights?”, and the progressive Muslims respond, “We’re right here. Why don’t you have us on your show? Why do you keep inviting these apologist blowhards?”

I know the numbers feel bad for we feminist atheists right now. Maybe I’m too much of an optimist.

@Alan, others:

Count me among those who appreciate the “nerdy” de-rails.

sparkalipoo
sparkalipoo
6 years ago

@Tabby Lavalamp

reading the writing of Muslim feminists taking on sexism in Islam is quite fascinating* because they do a lot of analyzing passages from the Qur’an that are used to justify sexist traditions in Islam to show how the common interpretation of those passages are wrong

*at least if you’re like me and find talking about the different ways religious texts can be interpreted fascinating

Tovius
Tovius
6 years ago

@LG.

“man labia”? That’s ridiculous. Anatomically speaking, it’s clearly the man clitoral hood.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@Kat, thank you so much for your kind words. Yeah, the worst part of it is the loss of so many wonderful people along the way.

………

Dawkins’ Twitter timeline is pukeworthy with all the praise of himself
he retweets and the gross defenders of that video. For example:

Reformed Samurai ‏@ReformedSamurai 9h9 hours ago
#feminists yelled more about @RichardDawkins tweeting a video then about the #cologne rape attacks.
#GAE #feminism #womenagainstfeminism

Good show, asshat. The Cologne attacks is the reason the video was made but Dawkins is too closed-minded to even question why an “Islamist” and a feminist were presented as chummy.

Since male circumcision was mentioned, I noticed the following headline in AVFM: Help hasten their demise, those who circumcise. (Archived version.) The article doesn’t elaborate but talks about specific doctors they’ve targeted on their other website where they catalogue them. That’s a pretty explicit call for violence.

sparkalipoo
sparkalipoo
6 years ago

@ Alan Robertshaw

on the not addressing problems in other communities, I think I agree with you

I think when people are against interventionists, what their against is white knighting or the way interventionism has been used to justify imperialism (in India, the British argued that the Indians where not able to rule their own country because of the abuse of Indian (mostly Hindu) women), and the way interventionists have ignored the efforts of community members to fix the problem and have ignored similar issues within their own community and I do think those criticisms and concerns are valid but at the same time I think that their are ways to intervene without doing those things

Dalillama
6 years ago

Alan Robertshaw

But we have ‘faith schools’ here. Should outsiders interfere if girls have to sit at the back of the class or are excluded from certain subjects (there’s a bit of a controversy about that here at the moment)?

Yes, you bloody well should. Those girls are equally as entitled to a proper education as the boys are. (The phrase ‘separate but equal is drifting through my mind for some reason…) Indeed, this type of thing is why if I had my druthers faith schools would be banned entirely.

Tessa
Tessa
6 years ago

littleknown

Although, I do prefer some version of “stand up and be counted” to “owning” the misogyny. Part of me recoils at the idea of “accepting that this is what’s become of the atheist movement” — it feels too much like admitting defeat, when there are so many strong feminist atheist bloggers and writers.

It feels a little bit like when conservatives ask, “Why aren’t there more Muslims speaking out against terrorism and for women’s rights?”, and the progressive Muslims respond, “We’re right here. Why don’t you have us on your show? Why do you keep inviting these apologist blowhards?”

I see it as the opposite of admitting defeat. I’m all about admitting a problem before moving on to fix it.

I think the problem here is the different between an ingroup argument vs an outgroup argument. I consider WHTM as a mostly ally group in terms of atheism. A secular group at least. I think most of the people in the conversation are atheists and allies.

I feel there’s a huge HUGE difference between someone within the group saying “we have a problem in our group, we have to change it” and a complete outsider who is additionally hostile to the group saying “your group is x, you need to change it.” For one, the outgroup isn’t saying it in good faith, it’s just a means to bash and use as an excuse to hate individuals (this isn’t always the case, but would typically be so in the example you provided).

I really don’t think the two can be really compared to one another.

(Rather than simply “owning,” the more accurate wording would be “owning up to.”)

Kimstu
Kimstu
6 years ago

@Air Hare:

NECSS posted a tweet showing that self-same video, giving the title, etc, presumably intending to justify their no-platforming of Dawkins. When Lindy West was informed of this, did she ask them to delete their tweet? […] No, not a word from her to NECSS (whose tweet is still up).

That’s because what West and NECSS are objecting to (as NECSS makes perfectly clear in their public statement referenced in an accompanying tweet) is Dawkins’ “approving re-tweet” of the video (emphasis added).

Contrary to popular manosphere delusions about feminist “censorship”, West is not demanding that everybody should just pretend that this offensively defamatory video cartoon doesn’t exist or that nobody should ever mention it. What she’s criticizing is simply Dawkins’ clueless and/or malicious endorsement of the video.

WeirwoodTreeHugger
WeirwoodTreeHugger
6 years ago

On the interventionist thing, white people have an unfortunate tendency to make everything all about us. Any skepticism of white westerners wanting to help is pretty damn justified.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Now we let First Nations kids die in Canada because heaven forbid we bypass parents and force highly effective evidence-based medicine on misinformed children and prevent them dying needlessly…..

It does look bad whenever Whitey marches into a situation relevant to people of another culture and tells them how they’re going to fix it. People have every right to be suspicious when that happens. We…. don’t have a good track record for that kind of thing.

I don’t think white people in general should let fear of being called racist prevent them saving the lives of vulnerable individuals though, which is what we’re seeing now in cases like Makayla Sault’s. Her family didn’t have a clue what they were talking about regarding her disease and treatment and she was a child who mistakenly believed chemo was killing her when what it was doing was killing her leukemia, the variant of which she had was at least 70% curable with chemo. Because her parents are ignorant though instead of telling her, “I know that’s how it feels but chemo makes you feel a lot worse before it makes you feel better”, they decided it was a good idea for her to pursue alternative medicine.

She’s dead. Because the federal government was too afraid to violate her parents’ rights because they’re First Nations and it would look bad (someone might call them racist!) the kid is dead.

There are definitely cases in which, really, we have no right not to stick our noses in it and I see things like access to education and basic survival as pretty obvious examples.

Outside of the obvious cases though I totally get why white people are often reluctant to step in to a situation relevant to a culture not their own and dictate how it’ll be managed. It stinks of colonialism.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
6 years ago

@Alan in terms of the school issue, not only am I parent and a former governor (not at a faith school), but I am a taxpayer and while I am not a citizen, I am a permanent resident and am a citizen in the broadest sense of the word in that I engage in the polity and have much invested in this country (UK) and my community. There is one of these kinds of faith schools within walking distance from my house – paid for from not only general taxation but also from my council tax as this school is still within the LEA system (sorry non-UK people, education policy is complicated here and getting more arcane by the day.)

I don’t think I need to be a parent to engage on this issue, because it is my money that’s being used to subjugate girls in Muslim faith schools. These are also girls and boys who are being raised to be my neighbours and my son’s neighbours. While I think the greater harm is to girls who are raised and educated as 2nd class, I think it also harms boys to see girls/women in this way – as sexual objects and lesser – and actually that’s of very great concern to me as a mother of a boy. (So yes, being a parent makes me more impassioned on this issue.)

I get that many people feel it is tricky to have discussion that are probably best dealt with within the community of Islam. But when it affects people beyond that community, it’s ok to say something within bounds. I’m not sure it’s ok for me to raise a campaign about women having to be at the back of mosques or not allowed in at all. But on the other hand, I have direct experience of this in my own Christian upbringing (not separate seating, but lesser roles and a strict prohibition on women leading ‘mixed’ communal prayers) and I understand the effect, so I think it is ok for me to say it’s not good if the topic comes up.

What gets quite tricky about Islam is that in its core texts it promotes gender essentialism and the notion that while men and women are equal, one of those groups is more equal than the other. For example, women’s testimony is worth half of a man’s. Women aren’t to attend funerals because they will get ‘too emotional’, etc (I don’t know if that’s strictly sharia legal, but have been told it is.). It’s possible to be have a double proxy marriage, but it’s more common for a woman’s father or uncle, brother to give her consent to the marriage and for the groom to be present. (A marriage not recognised under UK law which means these women can really get the shaft on divorce or death.) It’s not my job to go in and reform Islam – but I don’t have to hold my tongue if the matter comes up – it’s wrong.

Tessa
Tessa
6 years ago

@Kimstu

That’s because what West and NECSS are objecting to (as NECSS makes perfectly clear in their public statement referenced in an accompanying tweet) is Dawkins’ “approving re-tweet” of the video (emphasis added).

Contrary to popular manosphere delusions about feminist “censorship”, West is not demanding that everybody should just pretend that this offensively defamatory video cartoon doesn’t exist or that nobody should ever mention it. What she’s criticizing is simply Dawkins’ clueless and/or malicious endorsement of the video.

First I want to quote all of Air Hare’s post because it’s a couple pages back and I want it more visible!

Air Hare’s post:

NECSS posted a tweet showing that self-same video, giving the title, etc, presumably intending to justify their no-platforming of Dawkins. When Lindy West was informed of this, did she ask them to delete their tweet? Was she still as concerned about “fomenting further abuse”, “amplifying the voices of our harassers” and so on as she said she was when she asked Dawkins to delete his tweet?

No, not a word from her to NECSS (whose tweet is still up). Which leaves the unmistakable impression that her claimed safety concerns were little more than an ideological cudgel she could use to bash Dawkins.

Tribalism before principle yet again.

What’s especially amazing is that the person posted that here of all places. A site that displays amazingly horrible sentiments from the dregs of the internet for the purpose of shining a light on (and mocking) them. Heck, if Dawkins hadn’t started all this, the video in question would have probably been posted here (hint to Air Hare if you’re still here, it wouldn’t be in any sort of approving way).

And the fact that Air Hare can’t see how a tweet approving of a video and a tweet not only condemning it, but condemning the approval of it would have different social implications is really rather telling.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
6 years ago

@Kat @Aunti Alias

There’s a tendency around here to justify it by saying that trolls or possible trolls are fair game. I’ve been around here on and off for a few years now so the community knows I’m not a troll yet I was on the receiving end of a dogpile once, too. No one spoke up so that added insult to injury. It’s really a shitty feeling.

I think the reason is that there’s a tendency to attack those who do speak up. I know I’ve got ‘bad cred’ among certain people here. Some of the behaviour is really classic bullying and abuse. And yes, it does drive good people off and only serves to entrench the views of people who come here with some unquestioned MRA-ish views, who are starting to recognise that maybe those views aren’t so good. When the attacks become personal the immediate reaction is often defensiveness. I mean, I reacted that way myself – some of my reaction I regret. I felt under attack and I was under attack. It was bad enough that I was living with an MRA-ish shitheel and I am still having to deal with him on matters of money and custody and you know what those guys’ views are like on these matters. But to be attacked viciously on what I considered to be tangential points, felt really disproportionate. To be attacked on mental health matters really sucked, because well – actually I’ve been really struggling with my own mental health and am currently at a very low ebb – struggling with daily functioning, suicidal ideation, etc. Maybe I’m just a sucker for abuse. I dunno.

I thought David’s introduction of the new comments policy was a recognition of that, and while I know it’s harder to monitor than someone using the word ‘crazy’, I don’t think there’s been much of an improvement in the behaviour. I think there’s also been a failure to recognise that there is a problem by people who are part of the problem. It’s not easy to acknowledge and address one’s own faults (I’m as bad at this as anyone.)

dhag85
6 years ago

Re: male circumcision in the US

Imagine how weird this practice would seem to an outsider who was born abroad and not part of any particular religious or cultural context where circumcision is considered normal.

– It’s a beautiful baby boy!
– Can I hold him?
– Of course, but first let me just cut his genitals.
– WHAT?

In fact, I recently heard someone talk about being worried about this when they were expecting a boy while living in the US. Not being certain of how things work in US hospitals, or when/how exactly this procedure normally takes place, they felt like they had to monitor the baby at all times in case someone would try to cut his foreskin off without consulting them.

Kat
Kat
6 years ago

@rugbyyogi
Congratulations on leaving that guy.

Of course, even after you get a soul destroyer out of your life, big challenges still pop up. I hope that you’re getting the help that you need.

Mater Beta
Mater Beta
6 years ago

@ EJ (The Other One)

1) Ideology is not a proper noun. One does not capitalise it.

2) Ellipses have exactly three dots. Not two, not four, not seven.

3) Ideologies don’t get offended. Ideologies are sets of ideas and are thus incapable of feelings. It’s humans that can get offended. C’mon, this is Atheism 101 stuff. You know this.

4) Every goddamn ideological group out there has, at some point or another, gotten offended over cartoons. Speaking as a liberal, there’s cartoons that offended me (for example Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon which suggested that Ayan Kurdi would have become a rapist had he grown up); I’m sure that there’s cartoons which offended you too.

To believe in anything at all is to be offendable. Do you believe in anything at all? If you do, I’m sure there’s cartoons out there which you’d find offensive.

1) I’ll concede the capitalization. Far from the worst typo/grammatical error I’ve seen in this comments section. I fear your pedantry may be put to better use in correcting someone else.

2) It’s two ellipses and a full stop, obviously.

3) I think you’ll find it is grammatically sound. Would this be okay: “This school is known for its high grades” – or would you complain that it’s the pupils who get the grades and not the school?

4) I can honestly say I’ve never been offended by a cartoon. I’ve rolled my eyes at things that I consider stupid, but I don’t think that’s the same thing. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever been offended by anything in my whole adult life. It’s a weird concept to me, if something is said through a given medium, I’ll either agree or not agree, if I disagree I’ll either attempt to reason or ignore. I genuinely don’t get where the taking of offence happens. I disagree strongly with what has been said in this blog post, but I am not offended in anyway.
It’s always seemed to me that when someone takes offence, it’s because they don’t have a proper argument. If you did have a good counter argument, you would just use that instead.

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

Hugs, rugbyyogi.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@rugbyyogi, I’m so sorry to hear you’re dealing with an MRAsshole in real life along with mental health problems. I can sure relate to the latter.

Those of us who have dealt with emotional abuse become very attuned to it, I believe. Now that I recognize the telltale signs, I’m able to zero in on it quickly when I see it again. It also makes me more susceptible to getting upset and angry when I have to deal with it whether it’s in real life or online. Boy, there’s a lot of it online.

Trust me, you’re not the only one with ‘bad cred’. We need a club with a secret handshake or something. 😉

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

There are lots of interesting things happening in this thread right now. Honestly, it’s almost as if I leave for fifteen hours to have a romantic night with a young lady and you all go on and continue discussing things without me.

On Interventionism:
The word could mean two different things, and thus I either agree with Alan entirely or feel that he’s a monster. (This is pretty normal between us.) The issue is the Westphalian concept of statehood.

At the moment, the assumption between states is that each government is the sole actor within their state’s territory, except for situations where a decision is made to enter violently and blow up lots of stuff. This sits well with oppressive dictators (who were the original signatories of the Treaty of Westphalia) and also with first-world people nowadays (who are more comfortable looking after their ethnic kin and Othering everyone else.) This situation is absurd. More to the point, it is monstrous. To artificially restrict oneself to the dual poles of neglect and violence is to set up a bad-faith dichotomy.

On the other hand, if interventionism implies a constant low-level involvement by every nation in the affairs of every other nation, and more importantly a feeling of responsibility for all other human beings, I am entirely for it with one caveat. That caveat is that it must be two-sided: brown people must be given the same license to intervene in the affairs of white people that white people are given to intervene in the affairs of brown people. I suspect, somehow, that this may be unpopular amongst the citizens of first-world countries.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

I feel very fortunate that when I got dumped by a lady hater all ties were cut between us. No shared assets, no kids, no need for continued contact. I’ve no idea how long it would have taken for me to get back on my feet (not that there aren’t still reverberations of it in my life; thinking about the way he treated me still makes me angry and I’m certainly not interested in being his friend) if he were an ongoing presence in my life, dragging me back down every time I made progress. Ick.

Ivriniel
Ivriniel
6 years ago

Richard Dawkins is the Donald Trump of the Atheist movement.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
6 years ago

IN51P1D whines:

You have no interest in acknowledging the possibility that a contrary opinion might be valid.

Apparently you’re too full of yourself to realize that your “contrary opinions” are the same old vapid bullshit that gets aired quite regularly around feminist spaces discussing atheism. Nobody is required to pretend that some inanity they encountered, dissected, and found good reason to reject years ago is new and worthy of consideration just because Douchebag #4292539 to wander in with this “wisdom” has convinced himself he’s a rational, independent thinker with a novel perspective.

Tessa
Tessa
6 years ago

Mater Beta:

I can honestly say I’ve never been offended by a cartoon. I’ve rolled my eyes at things that I consider stupid, but I don’t think that’s the same thing. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever been offended by anything in my whole adult life. It’s a weird concept to me, if something is said through a given medium, I’ll either agree or not agree, if I disagree I’ll either attempt to reason or ignore. I genuinely don’t get where the taking of offence happens. I disagree strongly with what has been said in this blog post, but I am not offended in anyway.
It’s always seemed to me that when someone takes offence, it’s because they don’t have a proper argument. If you did have a good counter argument, you would just use that instead.

Can you give me your personal opinion of what “taking offense” is? You can be offended and have a counter argument.

I will assume the person who posted before under “master beta” is you, you seem to have forgotten the “s” this time, but if that wasn’t you, I’m sorry.

Also, your logic that you shouldn’t mock this person for their very mock-able behavior because of what you think some one else might do as a result is one of the most dystopian things I’ve heard for a long time.

What about her behavior was mockable exactly? Because she got angry? Was the guys outright trying to silence her not more mockable? They were the more aggressive ones. Seems like you have a double standard there. It’s OK to be loud and silencing, but if you show emotion or use bad language you are suddenly fair game?

And as for rest, it’s called “inciting.” There is an expression. “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” In the past, when her video was published, people put out her personal information and started harassing her and threatening her with rape and murder. Are you suggesting someone like Dawkins who has a large following encouraging more mockery of her, wouldn’t incite people similar to the harassment she previously had after her to begin again?

In a fair and just society you don’t hold people responsible for crimes they might commit. You hold people responsible for crimes they have committed. And you most certainly do not hold someone responsible for crimes another person might commit. That’s a level of Fascism that Mussolini would be proud of.

You are talking about incitement. There are many ways you can encourage others to commit crimes and be accountable for it. Both legally and in a general social contract kind of way.

1 21 22 23 24 25 47
%d bloggers like this: