Dear Dr. Coyne:
I have a question raised by a recent post. In it, you set some ground rules for your comments:
In the comments section below, please stick to the interview and topics covered by Dawkins. We’re not going to have a pack of slavering dogs accusing Richard of being a “raving misogynist,” since he isn’t.
I checked. I did manage to find two people who had called Dawkins a “raving misogynist”. One of them was on Facebook. One on Tumblr. Neither of them appeared to be drooling. Neither appeared to be someone who comments on your blog.
So who are these “slavering dogs”? I mean, I can understand not wanting such a creature to comment on your blog, but with only two of them, neither of whom appears to be a fan, surely you don’t need to issue a general statement, do you?
Or maybe you’re being more general. You say in a comment:
No, I think the characterization is quite appropriate for those who call Dawkins a misogynist. And this is the end of that discussion.
I don’t think you can quite mean that, though. Reducing people to “slavering dogs” based on their opinion of one person’s behavior…well. And doing it so unilaterally, not subject to appeal?
Perhaps you don’t know what “misogyny” means beyond the most basic of translations that appears in dictionaries. If you did, how else would you characterize the suggestion that Western women have no right to object to unequal treatment because women in Muslim countries have it worse? How else would you characterize the idea that overriding a woman’s expressed desire to not be hit on is “Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that”? How else would you characterize the idea that avoiding sexual assault, which disproportionately affects women, is as simple as pushing a button? How else would you characterize the idea that seeking a discussion space free of anti-feminist trolls is just “for hit counts“? How else would you characterize the idea that women only experience sexism because they’re looking for it?
What are all those behaviors if not misogyny? And what do you call someone who demonstrates a pattern of misogyny? Do you have a better word, or are we simply supposed to shut our mouths and say nothing? Surely, surely you can’t mean that.
So who are these “slavering dogs” who have become less than human by expressing an opinion of Dawkins, Dr. Coyne?