There will be a bias, of course, because I’m black, and I’m an atheist, and I can’t stand the fucker. Understand?
(I’m going to be talking about atheism and maybe Dawkins and perhaps some SJW stuff. Here’s your warning: Read my comment policy and yes, it applies to you.
Come at me with anything trying to defend Dawkin’s fuck ups, and your comment won’t even make it through moderation. Come at me with anything accusing SJWs or whatever of trying to take over atheism or forcibly turn everyone into feminists or whatever conspiracy theory you pulled out of your ass, and your comment won’t make it out of moderation. Try to tell me how you don’t see a ‘movement’ or a reason for a movement, and you see where this is going.
Who knows, I might let it through just to mock you…and block you. Depends on my mood.
Your arguments are boring, have been heard before, and I don’t care to entertain them here. Take your Frozen Peaches elsewhere.)
The irony of Dawkin’s smug ass face on featured image of this article is overwhelming as fuck. And people have been sharing it so much on Facebook that it makes me ill.
Now let me let some of you in on what is apparently a secret in the atheism movement: A lot of us managed to figure out this whole ‘no gods’ thing and/or the evolution thing without touching a single one of this man’s books or hearing him talk. We owe him nothing.
I would bet you good money that a lot of those people are poor, not college educated, racial minorities, queer and/or women. Again, we owe the fucker NOTHING, so in my particular case, I feel no qualms about calling him out when he done fucked up.
(and before anyone mentions it, I hope he recovers from his recent stroke. He’s still a fucker, doubly so for trying to blame it on the stress by ‘fellow’ left leaning feminist who he deliberately stirred up recently. So fuck him.)
You know, in light of the re-invite by NECSS, I think the folks in organized atheism really ought to be trying to get involved with actual inclusivity instead of pushing away some of us away by constantly licking the taint of their “Horsemen” because money and/or media exposure. No matter how shit their opinions are or have become about things that also matter, you know, like feminism and racism.
And the exclusion of most marginalized people has been so obvious that it’s breathtaking. Why should conferences have to be told to provide childcare like it’s some kind of gift instead of just a fucking given? Why do people saying stuff like “It sure would be nice to not have all of our gatherings in a bar late at night somewhere where transit doesn’t run or run well” such a radical thing to ask for? Why are big name conventions completely out of the realm for anyone below a certain income? Why do these conventions keep inviting accused rapists and known Islamophobes and anti-feminists? Don’t they know how unwelcoming that really is?
(and at this point, someone may mention that there are people in those categories that I listed above who are perfectly okay with how things are. Good for them. I’m talking about what needs to be done to make organized atheism more welcoming to others like them. So you don’t have to mention it.)
That’s why I support smaller, more social justice oriented secular conferences. Ones that allow talk about social justice issues, ones who have accommodations like gender neutral bathrooms and childcare and quiet rooms – as a given. Ones who take direct responsibility when there’s a fuck up. Ones run by people who try and succeed in having as much of a diverse panel as they can. Ones that give a fuck about actually making atheism inclusive, rather than some special club that you have to adjust yourself to fit in, or have read the right books, or what the fuck ever.
Ones that the big boys probably don’t even know exist.
And on one hand, that’s fucking sad. They should. It’s where the young folks are, you know, the future our of movement?
On the other hand, it’s the sort of atheism that we need so badly. An atheism that goes beyond “I don’t believe in gods”. One that goes past the dictionary definition and into “Now what do I do about it?”.
That’s the atheism I’m interested in. The one that tries to make the world a better place without god. If that’s not yours, fine (okay, not fine, but I’m not going to waste time arguing with you), but get the fuck out of my way.
(First Disclaimer: Because I know trolls don’t respect boundaries, I’ll just make this clear – try to add trash to my comments section, no one will ever see your shit and you’ll be shown the door.)
(Second Disclaimer: It’s 4AM after my return from con, I’m sore in all of the places – thanks fibro – I’m exhausted -thanks fibro – and my patience for bullshit is damn near zero – thanks anxiety. I am not hosting a debate. That is your only warning)
Skepticon 8 Round Up!
Okay, so I went to Skepticon 8, and boy oh boy did I have a blast! My workshop, Abortion Mythbustin’, was well attended, got some great audience participation and lots of good feedback afterwards. The workshops and talk I managed to attend – again, thanks fibro, anxiety and good ol’ impostor syndrome – were mostly awesome. I want to attend next year sooo freakin’ badly.
I rode down with some great traveling buddies who took care of me when the ride was getting too much, and the accommodations offered at the con were kinda surprising for me. Closed captioning for the talks, a place where those who couldn’t afford to eat could grab actual food, a quiet room, ASL interpretation, gender neutral bathrooms and they really took care of their speakers.
Heh, speakers, I’ll get to that in a minute.
Could they have done better with that? Well yeah. Maybe the dance didn’t needs the flashing lights they warned about, for example. But every convention has their ups and downs. All in all, I’m giving it up to the staff and volunteers. Good job.
Me, A Speaker? Holy Shit!
So yeah, Sunday morning came around and something was wrong. The scheduled speaker, Teka-Lark Fleming, hadn’t even checked into her hotel room (hope she’s alright and they found out what happened to her). They needed someone to fill in the 10 am spot.
“Hey, I have that Clinic Escort talk Brianne and I do on my laptop,” my mouth said before my brain realized what the fuck it just done.
They were delighted and before I knew it, I was on stage, running my mouth without my Partner in Crime.
People liked it. They really did. I got so many questions afterwards and I didn’t throw up. Well, I got shaky as all fuck, which is normal after I do shit after that – thanks anxiety! Big ups to Stephanie Zvan for helping me cope.
The staff were so supportive and nice and grateful and really I should be the grateful one that they gave me this moment…given what had happened the day before.
The Day Before
We had some great talks this weekend. Let me make that clear. We had some GREAT fucking talks. I was excited as all hell to hear from Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, who minced not one single damn word (ending with a slam against ‘Dawkins dude-bros’ which got hella applause). I bounced in my seat when Fallon Fox got on stage.
…and then it was question time.
Straight up, cis people, y’all gotta learn how to speak to/about trans people and their issues without sounding like a damn fool. So many people, mostly white cis dudes, were just fucking up. “Transgenders”, “When you were a man”, shit that made my eyes roll so far.
There was one very awesome question by a sweet looking older woman who asked what martial art should she try. Fallon suggested Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and was straight up sincere about it. Applause!
Then some asshole, in a Tap Out shirt no less, came up and tried to claim that he had knowledge about genetics and hormones and stuff because he was a former bodybuilder…
…in a room where I could count the biologists I knew…
The question was incoherent, but trying to find out if Fallon’s hormones level were the same as a cis woman’s (my term, not his), and when he got to the phrase “kept your manhood”, Lauren Ann Lane, head of this con and moderator of the talk, shut that shit down and told him to leave.
Which, because cis white dude, he didn’t. He kept arguing. Pro-tip: If con staff tells you to do something, you fucking do it.
He was escorted out to applause, and a few fools – behind me – argued that he was in the right. Ugh.
Fallon actually answered what she thought the question was anyway.
Seriously, cis people, use the Google box. Do the work!
The Mizzou Issue
Oh, this one gets a different section.
After the Fallon Fox interview, it was announced that there would be a surprise Q&A with a Mizzou student and journalist Mark Schierbecker during the lunch break. The understanding of the staff (which I talked to afterwards) was according to the press release:
“It’s important that college campuses are a safe and welcoming environment so students can learn,” Schierbecker clarified. “Racism needs to be the main issue here. Fighting racism versus advocating freedom of the press is a false dichotomy, and some people are hijacking what happened to me and other journalists to talk about freedom of the press instead of racism. I want to answer questions about what happened to me, and about speech codes, to make sure at the end of the day, we are working on addressing racism.”
Sounded okay. I didn’t even read the press release until later, but it was the understanding of those around me that this would be some sort of update or information about Concerned Student 1950 and/or Mizzou.
Boy were we wrong.
It started off okay. Danielle Muscato gave a short timeline of the issue, and they showed an edited video of journalists being ‘assaulted’ by the protesters who were enforcing an “Press-Free Zone”.
The assault? Having a camera blocked and slightly pushed. No really. We saw a 6 minute edit, but apparently the footage was 22 minutes long and had more context.
It became clear that this was more about Mark complaining about his assault and hoping that the professor who touched his camera is fired than any actual concern about race or media. Like “Let’s handle my problem so we can get back to dealing with racism on my campus”.
I walked. I couldn’t deal with any more white cis nonsense. I was fresh out of fucks.
Thankfully, I had friends who stayed and we compared notes over drinks. Angry, emotional drinks. The Q&A was more of a press event with this person trying to get sympathy for his issue. Thankfully, Diane from Kansas City Freethinkers got up at the supposed end and started the questions from the audience. Who then proceeded to put his feet to the fucking fire, explain the issues between white media and black experience, having him talk to black journalists. Dude had interviews from Fox News and Brietbart. The short video he put up has been shown on Stormfront. And it was like he didn’t give a shit.
Then he started getting all mixed up. “Everyone is a little bit racist” but “Fuck racists” and “Racists suck”. When called on it, he proceeded to lose the script. And there had to be a script at the beginning of this ‘dialogue’.
Now, watch the video. No one but his PR person Danielle (who promptly quit after this hot mess) mentioned Mark and ‘racist’.
Mark outright said that until this professor is fired, that was when the focus would return to Concerned Student 1950’s concerns. Holy fucking shit. His concern is more about this professor and his ‘rights’. Period.
Afterwards, shit just blew right up. Mark filmed and put up a video, upset and crying about being cast as a racist, said he was autistic and had social anxiety and Danielle told him to say stuff. He called it Journalists Lives Matter, subtitled “Fuck Skepticon”.
Then Twitter grabbed it and suddenly Skepticon was terrible and made an autistic boy cry and they hated autism and blah, blah, blah.
Let’s Get Some Things Straight
Firstly, this isn’t a boy. This is a grown man. A grown man claiming to be a journalist (though not a journalism student). Last time I checked, autism doesn’t turn someone into a boundary pushing asshole, and it’s shitty to claim otherwise. Mark isn’t a fucking victim. If he cared about racism, why the fuck was he on Fox News? Why was he talking to Breitbart? Didn’t he know how they were going to spin this?
And assault? Please. This guy received an direct apology from the professor who touched his camera, but it wasn’t good enough for him. He wants her fired. Please. There are black protesters who get tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets for expressing their right to be in public spaces. Get out of here with this assault bullshit.
Now, there were new people on the #skepticon hashtag trying to defend the convention and/or teach a thing or two about white media privilege who didn’t realize something very important:
There are some usual suspects who follow certain members of the skeptical movement from convention to convention, hashtag to hashtag, throwing poop and making shitty claims though they themselves aren’t even at the conventions.
Any time PZ Myers, Greta Christina, Stephanie Zvan, pretty much anyone from the Freethought Blogs network attends a convention, time for them to act like jackasses.
“Oh, look at all the empty seats!”
“Oh, something slightly inconvenient happened, it’s the end of this convention!”
“Blah, blah, SJW blah blah”
“Vague gross sexual references!”
And it goes on and on. There’s no point in trying to argue with them, folks. They have nothing new or important to say and should probably just be blocked.
They don’t care about Mark.
They don’t care about autism.
They don’t care about racism or diversity.
They don’t care about anything else than slandering people they don’t like and conventions that give more than lip service to making the skeptical movement more diverse and more interesting.
You want to know about tears? I’ll tell you about tears.
When I walked out of that talk, I fought my own tears. Tears of frustration that this fucker just wasn’t getting it. Tears of anger that this was allowed.
I wanted food and a drink to distract me and ended up at the bar. One frozen grapefruit margarita and a calamari plate later, and I could feel human again and not like I was going to bawl in the middle of the hotel restaurant.
Then I was joined by my friends, Greta, Ingrid, Jason, Stephanie, Benny, Chelsea. And was filled in on the rest of what happened AND the staff reaction.
The staff was horrified. What was sold to them was NOT what was delivered. There was panic. There was concern. Should they let the “Q&A” keep going? Should they stop it?
And then, action. They would release the entire video, audience questions included. And then there was an apology posted (Full disclosure: I was asked to review this apology before it was released). They took responsibly for this shitshow even if they were deceived as to the content.
And that is when I gained respect for this convention, and I didn’t feel like crying anymore.
Good show, Skepticon. I hope to see y’all next year.
So, as I was gearing up for my First Talk Ever for FtBCon 3 (which starts today, and my talk is at 8:00CST, and here’s a link just in case you’re interested, and if you can’t catch it then it’ll be on YouTube afterwards and I’m going to shut up now), I noticed something.
Correction, I’ve noticed this thing for forever, and this is finally as good of a time as any to talk about it.
Part of my talk involves pictures of fetal remains. Good thing my stomach has been a churning bowl of sour for nearly two weeks, or I’d be worried about being ill from having to dive into those image searches. Between the ones posed next to coins and pencils and curled up in ways that would be cute if they weren’t dead and probably rotting meat, finding accurate pics was a pain. A gross, bloody, irritating pain.
But I see gross fetal remains pictures every Saturday and frankly, they don’t gross me out. They piss me off. They show me that “we have no other argument, so let’s make you feel sick.”
Or as I like to call it, “Argument from Ew“.
You see this same shit if you scratch a homophobe (not literally, they’re not worth touching). Underneath all of that concern about the children and the sanctity of marriage, you’ll probably find some “Two boys kissing are ewwww” (but let me secretly wank to two women, cuz that’s hot!). Or “people having sex I’ve never heard of are eww!” for anything that isn’t one man, one woman fucking for the making of teh bebbies.
Don’t get too smug, liberals, you do it too. I get a little angry when asshole vegans (rare, thankfully, but still annoying) tries to show me factory farm pics in order to get me to stop eating animal flesh. Yes, I’m aware where hot dogs come from. And that my eggs are chicken menstruations. And that there’s pus in the milk that eventually becomes the dairy products I enjoy (milk in its basic form makes me nauseous). Um, nope, that’s not going to work for the same reasons fetal remains will make me pro-life anytime soon.
And don’t even get me started on anti-vaxxers. Oh noes, vaccines contain ingredients that sound weird. Eww, don’t let them put that gross stuff into your kids, no matter how useful it is if you bothered looking up the “why” and not just the “what”! Ditto with GMO fear and Big Pharma fear (you will take my life-saving meds from my cold dead hands), and so on and so forth.
Maybe it works for some people, but trying to gross me out into changing my mind feels like an insult. Don’t try to convince my stomach that you’re right, appeal to my brain, damnit. That’s what I use to think! I’m grown and we’re not in elementary school.
And now that I’ve gotten that off my brain, time to panic about my upcoming talk! Yay!
(Trying it again, because I hit the Publish button WAY TOO SOON)
Okay, so I love parodies, and I love writing parodies. My brain has been busy with dealing with the recent fuckery in the atheoskeptical circles with regards to sexism and accusations of rape and wagon circling that is almost Vatican-like. I have read posts and comments and a couple of folks have wondered about an appropriate version of Tim Minchin’s The Pope Song:
Fret not, fellow SJWs and feminists and other people who care more about the safety of their fellows over the protection of the reputations of more famous speakers, I’ve got you covered:
(Note: this is an edited version of what I’ve posted privately)
So, while the gamerbros are doing a bang up job of proving just how awful they can get (for serious guys, we have Joss Whedon and Will Wheaton on our side, you have the guy who played the guy more famous for a knitted hat.*), I had a thought.
If the guys who aren’t going along with this, guys who stand up against harassment and abuse of women in gaming, are snidely called “White Knights”, what does that make the gamerBros?
And it came to me…they’re wanna-be anti-heroes.
You know the anti-heros, gritty, tough guys who don’t give a shit about silly things like morals or property damage, but are going to save the day. The Duke Nukems, the Kratos’, the Renegade Commander Shepards, the Agent 47s, the “I-can-go-on-but-here’s-the-TV-Tropes-link”. (Hell, if I wanted to take an example from TV, the Jayne Cobbs) You’ll note that some of those heroes I listed are some of the same heroes that are noted in some of the games Anita Sarkessian’s Tropes Vs. Woman series. They can lie, cheat, steal, kill, treat everyone around them disrespect, and get away with it because they are the heroes. The games are designed with that in mind. As long as the world gets saved, who gives a shit if you took time out of your mission to kick a puppy or two, sell off some slaves, desecrate a holy site, unnecessarily kill a dozen NPCs, was a massive tool to even your allies, right?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve played the asshole too. I love RPGs with morality choices. I’ve played the xenophobic jerkass Shepard, the ruthless Warden, the complete shitty Hawke. Hell, I remember have such a low reputation in Baldur’s Gate 2 that after saving the day, the elves were like “Thank you, now leave.” It’s an interesting way to play.
But in this current ‘fight’, video games are in apparent danger. People are talking about them in a critical way! What if designers listen to them and ruin gaming forever! What if evil feminist armies raid houses and put everyone who stared a second too long at Miranda’s ass against the wall for execution? Time to fight! No holds barred! Everything is permitted! Nothing is true!
The problem, of course, if that this isn’t a video game. The anti-hero exists only in fiction. Most of these boys are either too chickenshit to do anything remotely like their on-screen avatars, or they actually understand that this is reality and taking cues from those guys will get you fucking arrested, so they do what they believe is the next best thing. Harass, intimidate, abuse. It doesn’t matter how low they go, as long as Our Games are safe from terrible awful OPINIONS!
Which is both sad and hilarious. Sorry, boys, you’re not the anti-hero here. You’re not even the hordes of cannon fodder.
If anything, you’re monkeys, shrieking and throwing poop at anyone who dares look hard at your cage for longer than a few seconds.
This isn’t a fucking war to be fought. As I said in my previous post, either games are art, and subject to criticism, or they’re toys. Either way, shrieking and throwing poop isn’t going to phase the rest of us who want our chosen favorite hobby to mature. Like or hate the criticism, but literally showing your ass isn’t making you the bad ass rebel you think you are.
(here’s a hint, rebels want to CHANGE the status quo)
*And for ruining a certain recruitment mission for Mass Effect 2 for me. Jerk.
(AKA: Femi just finished a first draft! Yay!)
Yeah, we get it movie reviewers, the Black Widow is a sexy lady in sexy outfits. Now what about her character?
Benevolent sexism? Still sexism!
The ever-awesome Zinnia Jones continues to call out assimilationist transmisogyny with facts, truth, and interesting censor icons.
The Ferret challenges the concept of “Nobody can make you feel bad without your permission” and why it’s complete horseshit.
Since my clinic didn’t have Saturday hours this week, here’s Katie_Speak ‘s Dispatches from the Sidewalk
I couldn’t decide between two links from the newly renamed “We Hunted the Mammoth” (formerly ManBoobz), so here’s both: How not to hit on a girl part 50-11th and how one victim of harassment is being better than her harassers
Have a great day, you guys. I might go back to bed!
(AKA: Femi’s too busy to write up a thing today)
Wonkette reports of a tale of a man who (allegedly!) covered some of his lady parishoners with the love of Jesus. In the form of come.
ThinkProgress reports on a lady who thinks the only thing keep other ladyfolk from finding a good hubby to care for them is too much cash in our lady paychecks.
RH Reality Check exposes the ever-so offensive to thinking people “Abolish Human Abortion” group.
Greta Christina has a new book out! I must get the audio, because I love her voice!
I’m trying out this recipe for roasted broccoli tonight because it’s hilarious!
Folks, I’ve got a confession to make. As much as I love disparaging and debunking and revealing the nonsense of woo, I’m about as non-confrontational as Ghandi on nitrous oxide. When I skim my friends’ postings on Facebook, I grit my teeth and keep scrolling whenever someone is hyping some sort of woo or sharing some really grating tenet of faith as if it were fact. If I just can’t ignore it, I’ll repost it with my thoughts and a little part of me hopes that the original poster won’t notice and respond with flames. If a discussion gets too heated on my Wall, I will ask the combatants to take it elsewhere, and have once deleted an entire thread when two of my more – how should I put this? – jerkish friends refused to back down, or at least take it outside, boys. I do err on the side of shutting up, though.
Well, most of the time. Not a few weeks ago, I did my “reposting” thing about an alternative treatment in India that had been going on for 166 years with hundreds of thousands treated. It involves swallowing a small live fish, then a “secret blend” of herbs in a paste and a strict diet for 40 days afterward. (link) and is supposed to cure asthma and other respiratory distresses. It has all the trappings of alternative medicine nonsense; the spiritual origin story, the family refusing to reveal the recipe, arguments from nature and antiquity and even hating on evil Big Pharma. It didn’t take 30 minutes before the same friend that first posted it to respond with arguments supporting just leaving this family to administer their medicine, since no one’s complained until now. We went back and forth for a bit, but that stuck with me. As far as we knew, being two women living in the US and unable to know for sure, no one has spoke up about whether this cure even worked until now. Either people honestly believed this would heal them or their children, or hey, why rock the boat?
It has been a few weeks, and that conversation really stuck with me for a variety of reasons*. Did I change her mind or encourage her to think more critically about these sorts of things? Probably not. But still, I now understand that I can’t back down anymore when it comes to the nonsense of the world. There are many examples in recent history of average folks without letters behind their name striking out there and making a difference in the name of science, critical thinking, and consumer protection. The 10:23 Campaign, Elyse from Skepchick’s push to get anti-vax ads out of the theaters around last Thanksgiving and the campaign to get Power Balance (and now the NRG Titanium Ion band) off the shelves in Australia instantly pop to my mind from just sitting here and typing these words. They rocked the boat, they spoke up when no one had before, they risked a lot of hate from believers, but they spoke up and stuff happened.
And I know, I know, there’s the fear of becoming the stereotypical cynic in skeptic’s clothing who has no friends because s/he keeps pissing on everyone’s parade. A lot of skeptics, particularly those still closeted, have this fear and we bend over backwards to keep from causing offense to our friends and family members. There have been blog posts and podcasts and talks upon talks upon talks about this and while I agree that a softer touch could be effective at times, there needs to be more touching, period.
“Well, no one’s said anything before” can’t be an excuse anymore. Time for me to stop shutting up.
*I regret that I didn’t get a chance to mention in our conversation that there is an Indian skeptical movement whose aims are combating this sort of “holy” nonsense in the guise of “medicine”, and they have nothing to do with scary Big Pharma.