But You *Must* Talk About the Letter

There’s some commenting happening on Sunday’s post (though by how many actual people is an open question) to the tune of:

You can pretend this isn’t about bin Laden but it is quite strange that someone so finely attuned to “harassment” doesn’t have a Goddamn thing to say against her BFF who is threatening to “kick [someone’s] fucking ass”.

This is kind of funny after the reaction to my comments on D.J. apology.

The “leaders” in this skeptical movement, the Rebecca’s and the DJs, would then do us all a favour if they counted to ten before firing off a blog post and picked up the phone to talk to each other.

I have hardly ever seen people work differences out through email, because it is so hard to do in writing. Get two people in a room or let them speak on a phone and usually they work out that either it was a misunderstanding or how they can resolve their differences.

Why don’t you people just talk to each other and leave us out of it?! Why don’t you people tell us your reactions to everything so we can pick them apart?! Continue reading “But You *Must* Talk About the Letter”

But You *Must* Talk About the Letter

What Am I Doing Here Again?

Please welcome to FreethoughtBlogs Taslima Nasreen:

For a couple of years, the Pen Club had been organizing massive demonstrations in support of freedom of expression. Various authors from Asia and Africa, almost all little known, have been brought over. Salman Rushdie was aware that I have been recently thrown out of India; there were loathsome and incredible attacks against   my freedom of expression. Almost all of my books have been banned in Bangladesh, either officially or socially. Not just Bangladesh, even West Bengal banned my book and threw me out of the state. Not only that, I was kept under house arrest in Kolkata and Delhi for a long seven months during the process of banishment. Eventually, I have been ousted from India. Salman Rushdie was celebrating freedom of speech by cunningly ignoring my glowing history. He can do whatever he wants. One of his security guards wrote an unflattering book about him; he made arrangements with publishers so that the book would not see the light of the day. Yes, he is celebrating freedom of speech. He is a man, people think nothing of it when he chases after young women, even at sixty plus. Even if women have complained that Rushdie doesn’t consider them anything more than sex objects, people don’t hate him. This epitome of male chauvinism, this author has garnered immense name and fame; I am glad that I don’t have any similarities with him beyond the fatwa. To be honest, it irritates me no end to have my name joined with his.

Yet Taslima is joining our network, blogging for the first time in order to do. I’m honored and humbled and suffering from an attack of impostor syndrome. That’s been growing for a while, of course, with every activist, well-known speaker, published book author, and generally really smart, accomplished person we’ve added (and the ones you don’t know about yet whom we intend to add).

I’ll get over it. Even a network of activists needs some people who talk mostly about other things, who remind us that most of us are active on the small scale instead of the large one. And in the meantime, I have plenty to read to inspire me to that next level. Now you do too.

What Am I Doing Here Again?

Around Freethought Blogs

Things not to miss on the network today.

Natalie has the information on yet another Harper attempt to remake all of Canada in his image:

it appears that recent amendments to the Canadian Aeronautics Act, the laws and regulations regarding aviation in Canada, have added a regulation that permits discrimination against transgender passengers, entitling airline employees to refuse them permission to board. Specifically, this one:

Sec 5.2(1)(c) of the ID screening regs of Aeronautics Act: “An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Oh hell no, Harper.

Frederick has a little something to say about being used by Be Scofield in an attack on Greta Christina and “New Atheists”:

I’ve observed a few the written exchanges between Scofield and Greta Christina and agree with the assessment that he is either sloppy or downright dishonest in his characterizations of what she says.  And Greta of all people least deserves to be a target of criticism on the issue of diversity and the “atheist movement.”

Scofield quotes from Sikivu Hutchinson’s critique of the New Atheists blind spot with respect to social justice issues, and the interplay between African American religiosity and these issues of social justice. Yet if he bothered to read the rest of the book besides the passages criticizing new atheism, he’d see that Hutchinson hardly argues for walling off god belief and African-American religious institutions from criticism. Her critique is aimed at presenting atheism/secularism to African-Americans in a way that makes it relevant because it addresses issues of racial and economic inequality.

And Greg has the latest on the war against women’s bodily autonomy–and the strange role the Susan G. Komen foundation has chosen to play in that war, presented here as a picture for the added irony:

Misplaced Komen Ad

Go read them all.

Around Freethought Blogs

Troll Alert: Do Not Engage

Those of you who read a number of blogs here at Freethought Blogs have probably noticed that we’ve had an ongoing infestation. It’s gone by a lot of names, but the commonality is that it can’t stand us talking about equality. I know that this sort of troll is a favorite food for commenters here, but after doing a bit of digging and seeing this guy in several places, I’m going to recommend that people stop engaging and simply report sightings to the blogger in question. Reasons why below the fold.

Continue reading “Troll Alert: Do Not Engage”

Troll Alert: Do Not Engage

Views and Comments

Work is doing its best to take up all my intellectual capacity, energy, and time at the moment. In lieu of a post of substance this morning, I bring you more on the question of controversy and pageviews. Greg offered his take on the question of comments versus pageviews here. I got curious about my own, so being the data-driven person I am, I charted them.

I started with my 15 top-trafficked posts since moving to Freethought Blogs. Then I added my 15 top-commented posts here, so I was getting the high range of both. The overlap was only six posts, which should tell you something right there. Here is what the relationship looks like. Continue reading “Views and Comments”

Views and Comments

About Those Pageviews

D.J. Grothe keeps mentioning pageviews in this discussion and suggesting they have some sort of causal effect on unnecessary dramatics and controversy. It’s not a new charge, of course. This is the internet, the land of the hyperactive meme. So let’s take a look at the idea, shall we?

There are three parts to this. Continue reading “About Those Pageviews”

About Those Pageviews


In the last four months of 2011, since moving to FreethoughtBlogs, my blog has received more visits than it did in its entire Blogger incarnation. That means (I hope) that some new people have discovered my blog and liked it. Assuming that’s the case, this seems like a good time to let you know what you might have missed this year. Here are a few posts that were favorites.

Dirty Little Geeks
This post made more people happy than anything else I’ve posted this year, I believe.

Male Rape Victims: Let’s Talk About the Men
This one made a lot of people happy as well, but for an entirely different reason. This covers research on male rape victims and their (few) differences from female rape victims.

Talking About Leadership
Debbie Goddard recommended this post on leadership challenges in the skeptical movement. I won’t even try to give you a better endorsement than that.

The Comments You Didn’t See
There’s a lot of noise from some quarters about free speech and comment moderation. This post captures a number of the comments moderated into oblivion during “Elevatorgate.” I’ve considered making this a semi-regular feature.

This year, I only posted one of my stories on the blog. This is that.

The Judgment of Rep. Weiner
In which I responded to many of the common reactions to and assumptions about the pictures and sexting.

Sexism Always Wins, but It Still Loses
On not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The Politics of the Null Hypothesis
The common charge is that it’s those on the “largely nuture” side of the IQ/genes debate who make their claims for political reasons. I took a little look at that.

True Equivalence
Putting the words of “atheist fundamentalists” up against religious moderates and fundamentalists.

Skepticism and Rape Adaptations; More on the Science of Rape “Adaptations”; and Skepticism Is a “How,” Not a “Who”
In which I start by criticizing an evolutionary psychology “researcher” and end up telling a CFI chapter how to do skepticism.

At the Atomic Testing Museum, At the Nevada Test Site, and Duck and Cover
Sharing the experience of a trip to Las Vegas for something very different than gambling.

Sex, Science, and Social Policy
Does crime go up in neighborhoods with adult businesses? Well, it depends on how you gather your data.

Should Have Known
On all the “She should have known” statements surrounding the assault of Lara Logan.

On the Assange Case
This is the last of a series of posts addressing the arguments against following through on the rape allegations against Julian Assange. It contains links to the rest.


Paying for Free

It’s one of those days, the sort that happen a lot this time of year, where a moment to sit down and write is in short supply. Apropos of that, and the early comments here (really?), enjoy this repost. It was originally posted here. For the record, he money earned by having ads on the site don’t change this math.

What is the point of entertaining you if you only tell me when I’m doing it wrong?

I will point out up front that I’m very lucky in my audiences. Some of this is work on my part, since I have no problem being fiercely critical of the hypercritical. A lot of it, though, is having largely other bloggers as readers of my blogs, other fiction authors as readers for my stories. There are few things more grand than to have work appreciated by those who understand what went into it.

How other bloggers cope sometimes is beyond me, though. Continue reading “Paying for Free”

Paying for Free

When the Puppets Come Out to Play

Mr. Moustache

Ooh. Really?

Mr. Sock

Interesting, but I think you’re both wrong. You appear to be a pair of fun photographers. Franc Hoggle aka Felch Grogan aka Victor Ivanoff is something else altogether. And now, since he can’t handle being ignored for several weeks, everyone who knows him in any incarnation has the opportunity to know who he is in all (or just many?) of them.

When the Puppets Come Out to Play

Minneapolis FtB Meetup

As long as we have Jason in town for another week, and Greg is mostly between the holiday obligations that come of marrying into a very social family, it’s time to take advantage of having a bunch of us in the same place at once.

So this Friday (December 2) at 5:30, we’ll be at Bar Abilene in Uptown, along with Ben and Jodi and, if we’re really lucky, Amanda and the hyper-cool Huxley. Join us for dinner or a little later for drinks. I recommend the cherry margarita and the guacamole prepared fresh at the table, but everything is good.

It is a Friday evening, so please let us know if you’ll be there. We’d hate to run out of seats. Leave a comment or drop one of us a line to let us know when you plan to show up.

Parking on the street requires the willingness to walk a few blocks or an undependable degree of serendipity, but there is a lot behind the restaurant on Fremont that’s fairly reasonable.

I hope to see you Friday!

Minneapolis FtB Meetup