Becky Garrison and the Disappearing #FtBullies

On Friday, I ran into some behavior from a reporter I expected would know better. It ended up being so typical of interactions with people who insist something is FreethoughtBlogs’ fault, I had to capture it for posterity. If the embed doesn’t work, the original is here.

Becky Garrison and the Disappearing #FtBullies

29 thoughts on “Becky Garrison and the Disappearing #FtBullies

  1. 1

    She’s been singing that “Block Bot harrassed me, #FTBullies, something something” song for a while now, and she’s no more credible now than then. I haven’t seen a single instance of her getting harassed, much less explaining HOW getting briefly put on the block bot harasses her. She’s all about how obvious it is, and she even says she just took a look, but somehow it’s beyond her to even point to a single example.

    It’s all those real world deadlines that conveniently come up when she’s pressured, I guess.

  2. 2

    She’s now on twitter claiming that she has answered all of our questions (no she hasn’t), repeatedly claiming FtB, Atheism+, and block_bot are all linked, and very predictably, replying to any request with “Tired of this convo, signing off”, as she often did above. She’s a very, very tired journalist, apparently, who doesn’t like having her methods questioned.

  3. 3

    So the blockbot, which has nothing to do with FTB, caused this person some inconvenience over an article her editor had no interest in publishing, and therefore she’s all upset because reasons. Got it.

  4. 4

    A reporter writes : “War breaks out between two countries in the Middle East. If you google it, you’ll find the whole story, except some bits that got deleted maybe. My work here is done.”

    Excellent reporting, Becky.

  5. 5

    This is precisely why I always pay attention to what a person chooses not to respond to. A person treating a discussion like a fight instead of an exchange of information will always avoid the strengths of their perceived opponent.

    Paying attention to what a person chooses not to respond to can speak volumes of their character, and true intent.

  6. 6

    Reminded me of this one where there was a similar claim of harassment from A+ and the person involved was calling everyone that disagreed with them a harasser and A+ bully …

    Ended up with them being pretty sexist and nasty. Also the claims all boiled down to one person having a strange go at her and friend – they were not an A+ tweep at all. Quite bizarre how A+/FTBullies become peoples boogeymen and they then see them everywhere!

  7. Rob

    As far as I know I’ve never read anything Becky Garrison has written. Maybe she’s a great and insightful write with excellent research and communication skills. Maybe. On this issue at least however, she is to journalistic ethics and standards what Ken Ham is to science. She has been called on bullshit and has twisted, turned and ignored evidence; and then claimed victory.

    When I eventually do read an article she has written it will get a fair hearing, but with a healthy dose of critical scepticism.

  8. 8

    Hoho, that’s fucking hilarious. She’s claiming info can be had by doing a search for it *in the expectation no one will do the search* and when people come back with no results, she just accuses them of not having looked some more.

    That’s one explanation. A more generous one – though one that suggests she needs to check her paranoia – is that she’s looking at the same information and reading it completely differently. She’s seeing it through a very weird lens.

  9. 9

    @ Great American Satan 7
    I think that is actually another strategy that a person choosing battle over discussion uses quite often. Pretending to have no time and making the other person do the research for their own claim. It serves to exhaust the other person, especially if they know that they will find nothing (I’m convinced some of this stuff can be unconscious) because they are lying and as you point out they expect that no one will actually do the search.

    Directly calling out their bullshit and suggesting dishonesty is quite warranted at that point. If it’s their claim, it’s their evidence. People this dishonest have a job as a reporter and here I am unemployed and struggling. I really hate our species sometimes.

  10. 10

    Jesus, that Storify is at nearly creationist levels of dishonesty when asked to provide evidence for the claims.

    “I’ve got evidence!”
    “Okay, show us.”
    “There’s lots of it, you just have to look!”
    “Sure. Where should we start?”
    “I can’t believe you can’t see it!”
    “See what exactly?”
    “The evidence! It’s right there!”
    “Where? Where? Where?”
    “I’m too busy to show you. Look for yourself.”
    “Blow this for a game of soldiers.”

  11. 11

    I agree with Garrison about one thing: that whole exchange was an exercise in futility (though not for the reason she thinks it was). She also used a tactic that’s really one of my pet peeves. Ending half of her argumentative tweets with some version of “please stop tweeting back at at me” is really sleazy and dishonest. She’s basically insisting that you let her have the last word, and if you don’t you’re harassing her. It’s really dishonest.

  12. 14

    Most of those twits are beyond me. Even in the context of earlier twits I’m stuffed if I can work out what this one is supposed to mean:

    @szvan Some w #FtB network put me on #BlockBot, harass me ever since asked for evidence re MShermer case. Outrage amazing over stupid song

  13. 15

    Read some more. Why is everything in the world *emergent*? The fuck does she mean by that? You’re like an emergent this, she’s like an emergent that. Like we came out of something. A closet? We were hidden until we revealed our … what? Toddlerness, by one count. I didn’t know we were in a toddler closet. That is a very odd thing to say.

    I wish I had the loot to get a masters in divinity at the ivy league. I’d set myself and my loved ones up in comfort for a few years and use the rest to help impoverished trans folks with medical procedures. (Aw yeah, give me a cookie for hypothetical charity I will never have to act on.)

  14. 16

    @GrumpyOldFart, let me translate for you…

    Some w #FtB network put me on #BlockBot,

    Nope SpokesGay added her to @the_block_bot and he doesn’t write for FTB…

    harass me ever since asked for evidence re MShermer case.

    She RT’d EmeryEmery’s stupid fund for Shermer then weaselled out of answering a single question asking her if she supported the funding of an alleged rapist. Just repeated RT is not endorsement over and over … So she stayed in the block list after SpokesGay added her. Unfortunately she then decided to ring/email the boss of someone barely related to the whole thing – happened to mention to SpokesGay it was Becky who RT’d the fund tweet. Continued to harass her/her boss for a week so we removed her to try and stop the harassment. Unfortunately she continued ringing and demanding this persons job over something she didn’t even do. Personally I think she should be on L2 at least given the sustained harassment she has subjected this person to IRL. But not worth starting it all up again over blocking on Twitter.

    Outrage amazing over stupid song

    This is a reference to her tweet that was directed to #FTBullies hash and started this off … Silly joke but aimed at a hash that paints all FTBs as bullies – is a good tell for foamingly irrational anti-FTB ppl. Which she clearly is.

    Use of #FTBullies is obviously an “emergent” property of delusional harassholes 😉

  15. 18

    Great American Satan

    Read some more. Why is everything in the world *emergent*? The fuck does she mean by that? You’re like an emergent this, she’s like an emergent that. Like we came out of something. A closet? We were hidden until we revealed our … what? Toddlerness, by one count. I didn’t know we were in a toddler closet. That is a very odd thing to say.

    I gathered from one of the tweets that it’s some kind of religious movement. So I Googled, and found something that makes me think I gathered correctly. Haven’t studied further yet, so I don’t know what’s so emergent about us.

    From oolon’s post I gather that she’s not only “dishonest”, but also a bully…

  16. 19

    She’s referring to “emergent Christianity”, a recent version of the old cult that’s trying to bury old practices under new layers of vacuity and mysticism, while still insisting on clinging to Jesus. Apparently, she dislikes them very much (which is OK, I think they’re a bunch of piddling fantasists myself), and she dislikes FtB very much, therefore…

    We’re beginning to get some insight into Garrison’s brain here, I think. She’s one of those people who like to lump her imagined foes together into one vast shadowy conspiracy that’s out to get her.

  17. 20

    Emergent Christianity? The only definition of “emergent” I know is a very jargon-y one. It refers to a result that’s determined by a simple rule set, but is not an obvious consequence of that rule set. Conway’s Game of Life is the canonical example. Christianity is far from a simple rule set…

    Yet more people using sciency jargon to make themselves look impressive, I suppose.

  18. 21

    The emergent thing puzzles me too… I’ve never seen an anyone outside the traditional religious right or the “young, restless, and reformed” get so exercised by “emergents’. Like PZ says, they can be annoyingly vapid but bullying? That seems more in the Mark Driscoll vein.

  19. 22

    I’m guessing that Garrison saw some harassment from members of some organization calling itself “emergent”.

    * * *

    The whole “this conversation is over” thing is disingenuous. If you want to stop discussing it, then stop. Repeatedly claiming the conversation is over while repeatedly continuing the discussion just comes off as, “I’m right, now stop bothering me.”

    My take on it is this:
    garrison: “something something FTBullies”
    ssvan: “why you say FTBullies?”
    garrison: “b/c evidence”
    ssvan: “what evidence?”
    garrison: “…dissembling…”
    ssvan: “I can’t find any evidence”
    garrison: “You’re harassing me”

    Garrison just doesn’t seem to like being asked to back up her statements.

  20. 23

    So, google tells me that in 2008, Becky Garrison wrote a book snarking on the New Atheists from a christian perspective. I actually find her kind of interesting… what happened between then and now? Google is silent.

    But her penchant for conflating all things she doesn’t like in order to smear her enemies appears to have come through her de-conversion intact, judging by this interview with Hemant Mehta in 2008:

    You say a lot of things in this paragraph that are inaccurate. This includes: saying New Atheists are the same as Brights (a lot of Brights would disagree with you), citing the opposite of a Bright as a Dim (instead of a Super), saying Dawkins/Harris/Dennett are anti-God (when that label could only correctly be applied to Christopher Hitchens), and saying they are ridiculing people of faith (rather than faith itself).

    Becky Garrison: My sources for the term “Brights” were Gary Wolf, “The Church of the Non-Believers,” Wired, as well as Daniel Dennett’s ongoing use of the term. My suggestion to those who don’t want to be called “Brights” is to take it up with those that taught me the term. [bg] Also, unless a New Atheist turns into another Anthony Flew, the satirist in me will continue to call them anti-God gurus. BTW- The quote you cited is listed in the endnotes as follows: “The New Atheism,” Front Toward Enemy.

    HM: You equate Sam Harris to Ann Coulter:

    “For Harris, 9/11 was the spark that started the fire that led to The End of Faith, while Coulter used this tragic day as a license to spew racist remarks. Both are deplorable.”

    (p. 7)

    Do you actually think spewing racial hatred is the same as criticizing religion?

  21. 24

    As I scrolled down your post there was a picture that continually slid in from the left, disappeared, and then came back into view. It’s hard to describe a picture but it had these components:

    S logo
    bird logo
    envelope logo

    Is there something wrong with my computer or did you put it there deliberately?

  22. 25

    grumpyoldfart: Storify (the service Stephanie used to collect the tweets shown in this post) put those little icons there. They are links to share the embedded Storify through

    • Storify
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Google+
    • Linked In
    • your email

    in that order from top to bottom. If you can see them, your computer is behaving normally.

  23. 26

    Kindly ignore load of #FtBbullies clogging up my twitter feed-tried for few hours to reason w them but akin to dealing w emergent toddlers.

    She’s referring to “emergent Christianity”, a recent version of the old cult that’s trying to bury old practices under new layers of vacuity and mysticism, while still insisting on clinging to Jesus.

    So… We are likened to toddlers emerging from traditional toddlerhood into a more mystic version that still clings to toddleness? Or is “emergent” OK to use as shorthand for emergent xtians, and we are like abnormally religious-minded toddlers in the emergent xtian community?

    Whatevs, Becky G. U R a weird one.

  24. 27

    I note that, yet again, the pitstains and their pals are more than fine with “guilt by association” when it’s coming from someone who hates FtB. (Not that the block bot peeps or the FtBers are guilty of anything, of course.)


    @FloraPoste (#23)
    Nice find, there. Garrison really likes deciding who belongs to which group, doesn’t she?

Comments are closed.