I would very much like it if people stopped treating Dawkins as the Secular Pope. We don’t want any “leaders” in this movement, and yet friends of the secular movement will bow and scrape, and foes will treat him as the King of Atheism whose decrees are handed down from on high for all to internalize. Hell, half the time we can barely decipher what he’s saying. Take Twitter for example. A 140 character limit does the man no justice whatsoever — he does not wear “pithy” well.
A funny thing happened yesterday. I started seeing hits from Reddit. A *lot* of hits. Fully a fifth of my traffic came from a particular thread on Reddit — despite my being in a slow blogging period, posting my one post I managed very late in the day, and despite the long tail on my bigger posts already waning.
(In other words, by “a lot” of hits, I mean ~400. About what I’ll get from posting a video of a turtle doing something cute.)
Something I’ve noticed very prominently recently in these wars amongst atheists and secularists, wars waged over our daring to suggest that maybe us feminists might also want a say in how women in the community are generally treated, is that every time one particular section of our community dislikes something, they find it sufficient to build up mythologies around it in an attempt to destroy it, rather than challenging the ideas on their merits. This subset of our rationalist community invents things from whole cloth to demonize the people they want out of the movement.
It has happened with Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, Atheism Plus, and just about every person associated with both the ideas of secularism, skepticism or atheism, and the idea that maybe we need to sort our house out if we ever hope to be welcoming to people other than the stock-in-trade of the community, the semi-affluent cis white male. It has happened with me a number of times. It has happened with Ophelia more times than I can count, and Stephanie, and Rebecca Watson, and PZ Myers. To people who disagree with A+, like Natalie Reed. Even to people who had never heard of any of these fights before.
It has happened and will continue to happen to every person who dares to say “I disagree” to any “leader” in this so-called leaderless movement, on any topic approaching social justice. I mean, with that sort of temerity, surely they’re just asking for a river of shit to flow over them, amirite? Surely they’re dishing “it” out, so they can take it (never mind that we’re amplifying “it” by many orders of magnitude)?
And so it goes that an incident in which I was involved tangentially, and briefly, kicking around some anti-feminist goobers on Facebook until their break with reality became blatant and too overwhelming for me to deal with, was morphed by certain elements’ mythologizing into a concerted effort to shut down a forum and silence free speech.
The Availability Heuristic is a well-known cognitive bias that primes people to more readily believe something when they can easily come up with examples. Of the cognitive biases that I’ve encountered among rationalists in the skeptical and atheist communities, this bias is the one I’m most capable of coming up with examples. I am therefore primed to believe more readily that atheists and skeptics are not immune to this bias — myself included.
I have hardly had any time lately to blog (or much of anything leisure-related, honestly), but I’ve been trying to keep an eye on how the media’s been reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing. With Glenn Beck and the rest of the right-wing desperate to make this bombing about Islam, to fuel the rampant anti-Muslim racism in the States presently, this particular news article jumped at me as just a little too blatant about drawing links that aren’t there. It takes some ridiculous contortions to make the Boston bombing suspects’ actions have anything whatsoever to do with Islam, and the Washington Post was more than willing to pretzel themselves in an article purporting to explain how the brothers are essentially home-grown domestic terrorists with non-existent ties to outside influence.
The wording here is just too precious:
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation, said Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by police as the two attempted to avoid capture, do not appear to have been directed by a foreign terrorist organization.
Rather, the officials said, the evidence so far suggests they were “self-radicalized” through Internet sites and U.S. actions in the Muslim world. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has specifically cited the U.S. war in Iraq, which ended in December 2011 with the removal of the last American forces, and the war in Afghanistan, where President Obama plans to end combat operations by the end of 2014.
So today, on my latest Mock the Movie transcript, this post hit my moderation wall:
Author : ShiningMoon (IP: 220.127.116.11 , adsl-98-89-26-128.mgm.bellsouth.net)
E-mail : [email protected]
Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/18.104.22.168
A girlfriend of mine and my girlfriend (friend and S.O. I’m lesbian) pointed out that people here aren’t taking what happened to her at the hands of Jason seriously. My girlfriend was raped. Thibeault did that. What people want to say in a friend’s defense won’t change that. I’ll believe my girlfriend over this guy.
However, another thing that I’ve found about this website in the past days are that its generally respectful of victims saying they were abused. So, what did he tell you? Did he claim that she also said he didn’t rape her? This isnt what happened. Consideration that Jason might’ve added details in is what keeps me from judging those who simply accept his word that my girlfriend is a liar. This is all I have to say. I won’t be arguing with people here about whether or not my girlfriend was raped, partly because she doesn’t want a drawn out discussion, and partly because I myself won’t endure that.
Taunts like “Where’s she? Why won’t she face him herself if she’s truly a victim?” will NOT be acknowledged. Assuming that someone is likely to be comfortable facing him, even online, is ignorant at least.
I haven’t been able to get my knuckles scraped up in this particular brawl lately, but I HAVE noticed something that I feel I need to say. I intended this post for today to just be a linking post to Stephanie’s recent rundown of the situation, wherein she lays waste to the claim that our fights are about “bad werdz”. It’s never about the words, it’s about harm. It’s about trying to give offense as a strategy, one that’s intentionally chosen, by the opponents of those who dare call themselves both free thinkers and feminists.
There’s a meme hidden in amongst all these conversations that I’ve heard quite often in a different context, of religious folks “taking offense” at your “attacks” on their religion.
vjack also just doesn’t “get” XYZ-shaming.
Accusations of [insert noun of your choice here]-shaming are rarely helpful because nobody else has the power to make us feel shame unless we give it to them.
vjack apparently thinks we live in a world in which we have just one social encounter at a time and that these never add up in some way to become those emergent entities we call “communities” and “cultures”.
This is an identical construction to this other idea that one cannot “give offense”, one can only “take” it. Meaning, it is not possible for someone to be offended by something unless they allow themselves to become offended by it. It’s something I’ve heard Matt Dillahunty use several times against religious folks who claim that his ability to lay bare the hypocrisy behind their religion means he’s attacking THEM, and they are offended by such things.
But no matter how right Matt was that these people shouldn’t take offense, the specific meme that “offense cannot be given” was wrong then too.
Sorry again that I’ve been so silent — gigantic things are afoot in my life at the moment and it’s all I can do to keep myself from being plowed under. I’ll tell you all about ’em as soon as I can.
Pat Robertson has some helpful advice for those of you who have to buy items from thrift stores and Goodwill (wait… buying items from Goodwill? We’re not talking about the Salvation Army perchance, are we???). That advice is — you should rebuke them all before bringing them into your household in case there are demons attached to them.
Of course, buying things directly from a retail store drastically lowers your chances of getting a stray demon. You never know what kinds of demons might manifest in that pair of shoes you picked up from the thrift store, whereas with buying directly from retail, the chances are you’re only risking exposure to Mammon. So be careful when you sell all your possessions to buy a sword — that sword might be inhabited by an emissary from Hell!
Figures that the One Percent has a lower chance of getting attacked by demons. They get all the juiciest privileges, don’t they?
This is kinda screwed up, though with this post I will consider the matter resolved for the time being. If you get triggered on anything bordering on stalkerdom or obsession, consider this a trigger warning and don’t click through. Continue reading “Well that escalated quickly.”→