An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe

yes, actually he SAID: "ALL OF THESE POSTS ABOUT SUPPOSED RAMPANT SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND UNNAMED LISTS OF CERTAIN SPEAKERS “VICTIMIZING” YOUNG WOMEN, AND THE LIKE. SO MUCH OF THAT FEELS TO ME MORE LIKE RUMOR AND DISTASTEFUL LOCKER ROOM BANTER"

So, I have this problem. A vacuous shitbag troll is running around telling everyone that I’m a homophobe based on a reading of my comment here:

DJ Grothe is not LITERALLY a douchebag, as he does not store vinegar or other potentially harmful chemicals in his person for the purposes of “cleansing” a woman’s vagina. In fact, I hear he wants little to do with women’s vaginas.

When people who have shown every intention of manufacturing controversy just happen to be right about something, I have this tendency to not believe them because of all the dross they’ve spat out before. I sometimes trust my pattern recognition all too much. The fact that this troll is presently spamming both DJ and all my compatriots, and has been for two days, is galling, but must not blind me to the fact that some people could find that offensive.

Here’s the thing: that post COULD be read as homophobic. It may not have occurred to me at the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not so. The absolute last thing I want to do is incur any splash damage to gays, especially not by suggesting that being gay automatically entails misogyny, regardless that other gay folk have speculated that it does in fact inform DJ’s present privilege-blind state given that DJ once used it as a pre-emptive shield against criticism for his actions in defending Ryan Grant Long. I am not in a position to speculate on that sort of thing myself, regardless of how many others have done so before me. Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

Under no circumstances were those my intentions, and I sincerely apologize without reservation to any gay folk who feel marginalized or minimized by that comment.

To that end, I will revise that comment to eliminate any potential of splash damage.

DJ Grothe is not LITERALLY a douchebag, as he does not store vinegar or other potentially harmful chemicals in his person for the purposes of “cleansing” a woman’s vagina. I understand he has little respect for women — many of whom own those vaginas that douches harm — anyway, considering he’s tried to convince them that their harassment didn’t happen, and tried to convince everyone else that this harassment was in actuality post-hoc regret about their sexual exploits. And yet he will not apologize for any of this or to the handful of women bloggers he’s repeatedly thrown under the bus, even while apologizing to Rebecca Watson personally. As though this was all about her.

There we go. Perfectly defensible, and it doesn’t hurt anyone else but DJ in the process.

Meanwhile, the troll is still a vacuous shitbag, and is still banned here. And I’ll stand by my statement that DJ is acting like a douchebag to women, until such time that he walks back the statement I took issue with in this post. We’re all still waiting, DJ.

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An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe
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141 thoughts on “An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe

  1. 52

    Gabby: you’re still too late. Jason was directly called out on Twitter, by folks who aren’t trolling and aren’t mentioned above; you can go see the conversation for yourself. He listened, took their advice, and crafted this apology which includes:

    Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

    Under no circumstances were those my intentions, and I sincerely apologize without reservation to any gay folk who feel marginalized or minimized by that comment.

    So it’s not a not-pology, and remarking that others have made the inference (including DJ himself) while specifically saying it’s not his place to make that argument so he withdraws it, is not “blaming” anyone, much less the people who called him out on it. It’s a real apology, just not a very graceful or self-effacing one.

    Personally I’d give it a B.

  2. 53

    Gabby, D.J. and I agree on a number of things. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be in positions where we can come into conflict with each other. As far as this set of conversations go, however, nothing would change about what I agree with. That’s because I’m reacting to his arguments. I’ve considered them, and I disagree.

    You, on the other hand, are the one asking “why should we even consider anything else he has to say”. So what would you consider?

  3. 54

    Personally, not that my opinion would weigh much, I’d drop the douchebag insult all together. There’s no point to it, especially if it coupled with references to Grothe’s disinterest in vaginas is going to distract from the overall point. The rest of the comment (the ‘fixed’ version) is powerful enough on it’s own. To me douchebag just seems out of place.

  4. 55

    This has fuck-all to do with gay’s as de facto misogynists. This is good old traditional ‘gay’ as an insult. Suggesting that someone isn’t the ‘acceptable’ version of male. No, this was old school and he knows it. He went for the cheap laugh and didn’t consider offense.

  5. 56

    Context, Stephanie.
    How can he discuss what we should or should not find offensive? He clearly can’t make these judgments. I’m sure there are things Jason and I would agree on if we were to put aside accusations and talk like reasonable people but I’d need him to admit his hypocrisy and have an actual conversation rather than perform for the crowd.

  6. 57

    I can’t help but be reminded of the faux-outrage of Republicans over the whole Ann Romney work comment (or any other time the right-wing outrage machine revs up). They’ll scream and cry and make huge mountains out of molehills for a slight against one of their own, but ask them to put their money where their mouths are (condemn Rush Limbaugh’s tirade against Sandra Fluke, vote to give single mothers financial support) and they suddenly can’t be bothered.

    Gabby, it sounds like you can read minds. You might want to apply for the MDC.

  7. 58

    Gabby, I think you’re lying, based on your comments elsewhere. I also think you’re what I will be pointing to the next time I have to demonstrate to someone what an argument ad hominem actually is.

    The bit about putting aside accusations was hilarious though. All the funnier when you started talking about hypocrisy.

  8. 59

    Err, Gabby, I think you’re on the wrong post. This post is the apology for what you’re calling out.

    Jason, I think you could have been a bit more graceful. Explanations of how you came to (accidentally) do what you did wrong look awfully like DJ’s long self-justificatory notpology. Such items detract from an apology rather than enhance it. The judges give you 6.5 points.

  9. 60

    Goose and Gander Tom, haha. But you know I’m right. That’s exactly what he did and now he’s looking for a way to seem like less of a hypocrite. And the list of his defenders just shines.

  10. 61

    Gabby, he’s apologized, he’s changed the statement. What else do you want him to do? Or is your goal just to keep complaining about him and say that nobody should pay attention to him on any topic now?

  11. 63

    Stephanie: where else has Gabby been? The screen name is familiar, but I can’t quite place it.

    And Gabby: yeah, Jason screwed up. He considered the criticisms he received, he thought about them, and he apologized and did what he could to make it right–what do you need out of this situation? Look, people aren’t perfect, and privileged people are going to screw up sometimes. I’m more concerned about how they learn from it and make it better (neither of which, for instance, DJ has done), rather than just excoriating.

  12. 64

    Alethea, I actually appreciate explanations, because I like to understand what’s going on, and why the person made that mistake. I also find it really valuable to see if the explanation *makes sense* to see if they’re being sincere, and I think it shows introspection. Anyone can say, “I’m totally unconditionally sorry,” but I feel like I prefer a bit more context so I can evaluate it, and figure out if it [whatever the problem was] is going to be an issue in the future.

  13. 65

    Thank you Leftsidepositive. Though I know we disagree on some of these points, that was friendly. Can I ask (I’m sorry, I don’t twitter) if he received any complaints on the point I made as to the nature of the insult? The suggestions above really seemed to be red herrings.

  14. 66

    Gabby is the one who told Chris Hallquist that FtB would take off his head or something equally stupid because Chris “stood up for” D.J. in a post. I don’t believe he comes to this with any kind of willingness to see anyone else’s points.

  15. 67

    I said that I hoped he’d be declared an enemy of the state rather than head on a pike. He seems like a decent fella. Honestly, I think Jason’s probably a decent fella too, just a little desperate for approval and hypocritical.

  16. 68

    Seriously, go have a read of the Twitter conversation leading up to this.

    Gabby, anyone with a script-enabled browser can read the tweets here:

    https://twitter.com/#!/lousycanuck

    Partial:

    Natalie Reed ‏@nataliereed84
    @justinvacula @lousycanuck @DJGrothe @szvan @OpheliaBenson @GretaChristina I don’t think its ok to replicate bigotry to deal with bigots.

    6h Stephanie Zvan ‏@szvan
    @nataliereed84 @lousycanuck Which part do you have a problem with, Jason mentioning homosexuality or describing sexuality graphically?

    6h Natalie Reed ‏@nataliereed84
    @szvan @lousycanuck The snarky association of DJ’s homosexuality with his misogyny. It’s not a big deal, but I think graceful acceptance…

    6h Stephanie Zvan ‏@szvan
    @nataliereed84 @lousycanuck The problem is including any snark? It’s hardly the first time a possible association has been mentioned.

    6h Natalie Reed ‏@nataliereed84
    @szvan @lousycanuck But I still think it isn’t okay to make jokes about homosexuality being misogynistic. And if we’re saying that one…

    6h Jason Thibeault ‏@lousycanuck
    @nataliereed84 @szvan How do I reword it so that the point about DJ stands, without condemning other gays? Because it’s worth discussion.

    5h Stephanie Zvan ‏@szvan
    @lousycanuck @nataliereed84 Or, more to the point, for not considering that it could be read that way.

    5h Jason Thibeault ‏@lousycanuck
    @szvan @nataliereed84 This is tough. I hate splash damage and don’t trust the troll who’s claiming it, but I trust you that it’s necessary.

    That’s a decent example of somebody listening to criticism and making a clumsy but good-faith attempt to make exactly the corrections that were suggested.

    I don’t see any reason to claim hypocrisy or homophobia there, past the cluelessness that most any well-meaning newcomer would have.

  17. 71

    Goose and Gander Tom, haha. But you know I’m right.

    There’s more of that telepathy, but now that I’m on the receiving end, I think your chances of winning Randi’s million are pretty slim.

    I’m curious who the goose is, here. I suspect that the answer will be a heaping helping of false equivalance. Or dodging the question.

  18. 72

    How in the world do you read that twitter conversation as supporting your side rather than mine? Is there a stereotype of gays being misogynists? And even if there is, how is it accepted by this crowd? I don’t know what I’m missing here. Help me out.
    Stephanie
    If you’re talking about Ed Brayton, I do go to his blog but I certainly don’t remember saying that. I said we should be able to discuss it without distorting the facts.
    And we used to kinda/sorta know each other a while back on Greg Laden’s blog. Years ago when he was being attacked for being so clearly sexist, you and I seemed to be the only ones willing to defend him.

  19. 73

    Jason Thibeault,

    Your revised statement isn’t perfect, as it still refers to “a woman’s vagina”. You may wish to further clarify.

    Steve Williamson,

    Reread comments 5, 7, and 15. “Vagina owner” and “woman” are NOT the same thing. If Jason had said “woman” when he really meant “person who has a vagina”, that would be inaccurate and disrespectful. Here’s Wikipedia on transgender identity in case you’re genuinely interested in the difference.

    In general, when you’re talking about actual genitalia, as in the context of douches or abortion, then it’s appropriate to refer to people as “owners of vaginas/uteri”.

    When talking about women, it is not appropriate to refer to genitalia. 1) It’s insulting to women, because it reduces us to sexual objects. 2) It’s insulting to trans* people, because it implies that sex organs determine gender identity. 3) Even if you’re a douche who doesn’t care about hurting others, it’s inaccurate and displays your ignorance.

  20. 74

    Way to derail a discussion in the first post.
    Was this post meant as just a parody of a notpology, or is it actually one? It has all the classic ingredients, but somehow I can’t get a fix on the sarcasm factor.

  21. 75

    Gabby: “side”? That’s a preconceived assumption that you might want to reconsider. I never heard of you before this thread.

    And yes, apparently there IS a stereotype of gay men automatically being misogynists, which Jason apparently stepped in without realizing it. It’s bigotry to associate gayness with misogyny. However, it is NOT bigotry to acknowledge that gay people can in fact be misogynistic sometimes, just like anyone else. (In this case there’s evidence for it.)

  22. 76

    Gabby: you went from

    For one thing, my wife would totally join me in a trolling of this level, though I’d like to think that ours would be of better quality.

    to

    I’m not dismissing anyone’s claim and I absolutely agree that this event was creepy as fuck.

    I’m just sayin’.

    Ysanne, Alethea, et cetera: This is absolutely a true and contrite apology to those I hurt unintentionally. It is a refocusing of my original attack such that it hurts only the person — singular — it is intended to hurt. I don’t like splash damage.

    All the stuff about the vacuous shitbag troll is responding to his drumming up controversy about it by spamming people for two straight days. His shitbagness and his vacuousness is well evidenced in this thread.

    I learned that an apology has to explain what I did, and why it is wrong, for it to be a real apology. I am human, and screw up occasionally, and do my damnedest to fix those screw-ups when they’re real screw-ups and not trolls derailing. It can be hard to tell sometimes, so I wait for someone I trust to be honest to tell me that I screwed up, then I will fix things. I won’t be bullied by obvious trolls into changing everything — e.g. everyone saying “douchebag” is beyond the pale (notwithstanding that I made the same arguments without using that word THREE TIMES NOW).

    The derailers believe I am vulnerable to manufactroversies. They do not agree with my attacks on DJ for gaslighting women, but they refuse to engage on that point, so they find side concerns. This strategy is acceptable to me. It allows me the opportunity to take another stab at saying the exact same thing about the person who damn well needs to apologize and walk back some harmful bullshit, on another day, and the trolls can follow me there and try to find some other reason to derail again. Every time they do it, I talk about it again. It will keep happening this way until DJ Grothe cottons onto the fact that what he said was not cool and I will not stand for it.

  23. 77

    Stephanie, if you insist that there is ONE CORRECT OPINION HANDED DOWN FROM ON HIGH about all this, I just can’t consider you a skeptic anymore. The fact that you are stymied that this is a huge issue with many conflicting yet valid opinions on a whole host of things (some of which have been around for years before this current slapfight) shows me that your reasoning has devolved to “you agree with me or you’re an idiot.” Why would I even bother attempting to explain my position to you? I’d rather play Diablo or jump my husband than expend my limited energy on such a pointless task.

    (A position that no one has even asked me about with *genuine* interest, btw — just sorted me into the inbox or trash based on their own prejudices. And kindly don’t insult my intelligence by claiming these loaded questions are anything more than a setup for an opportunity to trash me.)

    None of you has any idea what I think about these issues. All you know is I object to some aspect you do not, or vice versa, and thus I am the de facto enemy. Sounds like a stressful and miserable existence to me. Enjoy.

  24. 80

    Jason, yes I did. That looks interesting out of context like that. Everyone’s right, you’re a class act and wouldn’t do anything weaselly.

  25. 81

    Joey: I think she might actually want to know what’s black and white about “sounds like locker room talk” and “regret” about “sexual exploits”. I wouldn’t mind hearing what you feel is incorrect about that assessment. You know I’ll listen. Well, you should know.

  26. 85

    In fact, I hear he wants little to do with women’s vaginas.

    …as though there is something wrong with a man not being sexually interested in women. This statement is appalling and *anything* DJ has said is precisely ZERO BAD in relation to it.

  27. 86

    Joey, you’re not an enemy, and you know you never have been, so this is all a bit…much. I am, however, quite angry that you and a number of other skeptics are apparently more concerned about the history of who said what to whom three years ago or even one year ago than about the fact that I’ve had a woman describe an attempted rape to me and stepped up to make sure it happens to fewer people in the future–only to see a leader of a major skeptical organization blow it off as regretted “sexual exploits”.

    I’m angry. I should be angry. You should be angry about that as well, whatever else is going on. It helps no one. It hurts a lot of innocent people.

    What is happening instead? A bunch of people all up in arms that Jason called someone a “douchebag”. More are now picking over whether his apology for something else was phrased correctly. None of them are doing jack shit about the fact that women–or at least certain women–are considered disposable in this movement.

    That makes me furious. As it should.

    If you don’t want to deal with me angry, perhaps you should wait for another topic to deal with me at all. I’m not going to “compromise” on this. I’m not going to step back and be nice to the people with power. I will shame whomever it takes to get this taken care of because this. is. not. acceptable.

    Black and white. Deal.

  28. 87

    Jason, you quoted it here without context. Possibly to mislead? Why, that would be a weasel move. You should know that I’m weaselphobic.
    It was suggested that the couple was trolling. Someone replied that it couldn’t be trolling because the woman was involved too. Clearly, this is ridiculous. I pointed that out and then you tried to use it to your advantage.
    I’m thinking you’re probably not such a good person after all. Clearly, you’re not afraid to be dishonest to distract from your mistakes.

  29. 88

    I’m sorry to jump in Stephanie, but can you direct me to this “I’ve had a woman describe an attempted rape to me and stepped up to make sure it happens to fewer people in the future–only to see a leader of a major skeptical organization blow it off as regretted “sexual exploits”.”
    This is clearly some information I’m missing.

  30. 89

    It’s possible Gabby, but I didn’t. In fact, I told people where to find the context. And my point for saying that is, you walked back what people thought about you too. Then you flounced saying “I’m going to go read a skeptics blog”.

  31. 90

    @charles: You’re joking right?

    Because I have a hard time believing that anyone with enough brain to command their fingers to type could formulate the syllogism “X says bad thing, Y says bad thing, therefore the thing X said is no longer bad.”

  32. 91

    I stuck to my guns Jason that there was plenty of reason to condemn the couple without distorting the story. When people insisted that the new version of the story, which differed from the original version of the story, had not changed, I gave up and left.

  33. 93

    …as though there is something wrong with a man not being sexually interested in women. This statement is appalling and *anything* DJ has said is precisely ZERO BAD in relation to it.

    You know what’s funny?
    When people don’t read the blogpost they are commenting on.

  34. 94

    […] that keep coming up about those scary, scary anti-harassment policies, but then I ran into the very last “both sides” skeptic that I could handle right now. So I wrote this instead. This is not about “divisiveness”. If […]

  35. 95

    Because I have a hard time believing that anyone with enough brain to command their fingers to type could formulate the syllogism “X says bad thing, Y says bad thing, therefore the thing X said is no longer bad.”

    Tom, I formed no such syllogism, because there was no “X says bad thing” premise.

  36. 99

    No, I read what Quite a bit of what DJ posted. It looks like the problem I’m running into is that I forget to go and get your translation of what DJ posted. I get it now.
    You kids have a good evening.

  37. 100

    Charles @ 85

    …as though there is something wrong with a man not being sexually interested in women. This statement is appalling and *anything* DJ has said is precisely ZERO BAD in relation to it.

    Um, no, that’s definitely not how it works. Two negatives don’t cancel each other out.

    Let’s say Jason’s comment was homophobic. He’s already said that wasn’t intended and apologized, but let’s give you that for the sake of the argument. That doesn’t change a damn thing about what DJ said. One person’s homophobia does not make up for another person’s sexism.

    You do understand that’s what you’re saying, right? You’re saying it’s okay – it’s “zero bad” – to dismiss women’s concerns about sexual harassment and blame women for the harassment they receive, as long as someone else comes along and insults you later.

    Under your logic, anything hurtful Jason might have said will become zero bad if a third person comes along and insults him. Here, I’ll do it.

    “Jason, the only reason you’re being such an asshole to DJ is because you’re an ATHEIST and atheists have no morals!”

    There. Any possible interpretation of homophobia has become zero bad in response to my religious bigotry.

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