Let Me Count the Ways

I hate understanding what Peter Boghossian is tweeting about. It doesn’t make him less wrong. It just means I have to write about it, because everyone else is trying to figure out what he thinks he means, and he’s still wrong.

This latest nonsense is no exception. It’s nearly fractally wrong. Let me count the ways.

Screen capture of three Boghossian tweets. Text in the post.
Text: Tweet 1: There are no right angles in nature, yet no one says right angles are *social* constructs because they’re not morally motivated to do so.

Tweet 2: I’ll amend this with the modifier “Platonic” or “perfect”.

Tweet 3: Actually. I rescind this. I think it still holds. No?

He went back later and specified Platonic, in case you think it makes a difference.

Let’s start with the way this is supposed to be wrong. Continue reading “Let Me Count the Ways”

Let Me Count the Ways
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Mock the Movie: Cheeky Ferret Edition

I have to admit that I resent this movie a bit. I quite liked Andre Norton’s The Beast Master when I was younger (no idea what I’d think of it today). The Beastmaster was supposed to be an adaption of the book. It’s so far from an adaptation of the book that Norton made them take her name off it. But it has ferrets, so I’ll watch it. I’m easy that way.

This one is available on YouTube. Continue reading “Mock the Movie: Cheeky Ferret Edition”

Mock the Movie: Cheeky Ferret Edition

How to Make Applesauce

I’m digitizing our collection of recipes. It’s gotten a bit unwieldy over time, and these days, we’re just more likely to use an electronic recipe than one on paper.

Photo of two reddish apples on a branch against a blue sky.
“Apple” by Alessio Maffeis, CC BY 2.0

A lot of this was easy, collecting links to recipes we’d printed out a long time ago, when that was the way we worked. Some of it required copying recipes to a new file to incorporate the changes we’d made to make them ours. Now I’m doing the hard part, the handwritten recipes.

It’s not the typing that makes it hard. It’s the depersonalizing. It’s taking the quirks of gifts and rendering them all in pixels and plain fonts. It’s knowing that even though I plan to keep these pages, we’ll hardly look at them again when there are easier copies to use.

The recipes resist depersonalization, though. They resist standardization. They can’t be fit into a normal recipe format without losing the knowledge they contain. In celebration of that and of the people who live on in these recipes, here’s what my grandmother wanted me to know when I asked her for her special applesauce recipe. Continue reading “How to Make Applesauce”

How to Make Applesauce

Property Damage as Violence

There’s a lot of good analysis out there right now deconstructing media and other attempts to paint antifa protests as the mirror image of white supremacist rallies featuring Nazis and KKK members. I like this one in particular, because it breaks down how it’s done.

So. It wasn’t too long before “alt-right” meant something negative again (as it should). Which is why calling antifa its antithesis, “alt-left,” is notable. Without the racially critical lens that white supremacy tries to avoid, “alt-right” can be reduced to meaning that one is way too conservative, to the point that it is impolite and problematic. And because white people have shown historically that they are bad with definitions (coincidence? unlikely), most would opt to assume that “alt-left” simply means being way too liberal.

Most of them I don’t share, though, because they’ll be rolling along just fine then pop out with something like “And stop saying property damage is violence!” Oops. Continue reading “Property Damage as Violence”

Property Damage as Violence

Questions from the Outrage Brigade

If this post sounds familiar to you, that’s because, like all the talk of “dividing” the atheist and skeptic movements, none of this is new. None of what we’re seeing these days is even responsive to prior critique. But if other people can repeat themselves on this, so can I. Maybe this time, I’ll even get some answers.

For context, a friend posted recently about finding out someone they’d looked up to had been accused of unethical behavior. The post was more a cri de coeur than anything else, along the lines of “Will everyone in this movement disappoint me?” Given that my first guess regarding which person they were talking about was wrong, I can’t really argue with the sentiment.

Someone else did, though. An atheist media personality responded to suggest the question was unfair and unhelpful. Continue reading “Questions from the Outrage Brigade”

Questions from the Outrage Brigade

Everyone (Not You) Should Be Welcome in the Atheist Movement

It’s funny how things change.

Back in the dim recesses of history, otherwise known as about five years ago, I was ruining the atheist and skeptic movements, otherwise known as advocating for codes of conduct at conferences. It was a lonely process.

The other people working on the issue were great. I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. There just weren’t a lot of us. Institutional support was…uneven. A few organizations were happy for our help. Others claimed we were persecuting them for the money.

Atheist media? Well. Let’s just say that we were generally spoken about, not with. We were called dogmatic and divisive, as though divisions have only one side. The interviews I did on harassment were mostly outside these movements. And the group of media hosts who stood up for our place in the movement were—I’m kidding. That didn’t happen.

Today, however. Oh, today is a glorious new day in atheism and skepticism, in which critical voices are welcomed as our movements’ immune systems. We are hailed for our work to improve our collective thinking and positions on important topics. We are, as every atheist and skeptic is, seen as a crucial part of these movement.

Yeah, I’m kidding about that too.

I’d avoided getting deeply into the recent golden mean piece blaming the left yet once again for destroying the atheist movement. It’s been done. It’s stale and trite, and anyone who’s been in these movements for a few years but doesn’t bother to address the old objections to both-sides-but-really-you-rabble-rousing-SJWs isn’t going to respond to me repeating myself.

I could have done a links post of old work, I suppose, but then Thomas Smith came out with a response. There are pieces of it I disagree with, mostly in places where he was willing to concede equivalencies I’d argue against and his acceptance of labels as demonizing, but it covered most of the bases. I could let it go and let someone else pick up the work this time. It felt like freedom.

Then came the weekend of the Gateway to Reason conference. Continue reading “Everyone (Not You) Should Be Welcome in the Atheist Movement”

Everyone (Not You) Should Be Welcome in the Atheist Movement

Policing Self-Defense

[CN: on top of all the Nazi stuff, talk about the threat of sexual assault]

Black-and-white photo of a large monument consisting of a stone fist atop a stone pedestal. An unreadable sign is taped to the fist.
“Fist of Freedom” (a monument to Nelson Mandela) by sacks08, CC BY 2.0

Yesterday I asked whether the people still telling me not to punch Nazis after Charlottesville were telling me to be martyred or to stand aside while someone else is.

Mostly I didn’t get any answers. I expected that. That’s what happens when “Just say ‘no’ to violence!” runs into situations where violence is inherent and inevitable. Ironically, the act of making an option unspeakable makes the pro-rational discussion with Nazis crowd unable to discuss current events rationally. Weird. (Not at all weird.)

I also ran into a couple of people yesterday who would prefer martyrdom to enacting any violence. That’s fine. I can’t relate to it in any way, but I don’t have to. It’s a personal choice. But it being a personal choice means you don’t get to impose it on me or anyone else. You don’t get to choose that someone else dies in the name of nonviolence.

I did get one response that boiled down to “Well, it’s okay in self-defense. No, I mean immediate self-defense.” Continue reading “Policing Self-Defense”

Policing Self-Defense

Mock the Movie: Pink Edition

Pink Ladies, that is. And T-Birds.

No, we’re not mocking Grease. We’re mocking Grease 2, with the kind of relief one can only experience after a spring and summer of truly tedious badness. I mean, we’re going to watch something this month that isn’t good, but it doesn’t all have to hurt. We can have fresh-faced kiddies and pop songs sometimes.

This one’s available on Netflix. Continue reading “Mock the Movie: Pink Edition”

Mock the Movie: Pink Edition

Mock the Movie: Patriot Edition

There’s some irony in delaying this month’s movie due to the holiday. After all, what would be a better choice for U.S. Independence Day than Captain America?

What? No, not that Captain America. This Captain America. Yeah, we’re going to do it.

This one is available on YouTube. Continue reading “Mock the Movie: Patriot Edition”

Mock the Movie: Patriot Edition

Mock the Movie: Bad Kung Fu Edition

No, we’re not doing Iron Fist again. In fact, we’re still not entirely recovered from spending April on Iron Fist. So we’re going to clear the palates with some absolute trash. I can’t say I know what Alien Warrior (aka King of the Streets) is trying to do, but I know it’s not trying very hard. I’m completely okay with that. It’s a much easier fail to deal with.

This one is available on YouTube. Continue reading “Mock the Movie: Bad Kung Fu Edition”

Mock the Movie: Bad Kung Fu Edition