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A Public Service For Misogynist Trolls

[ 276 ] February 24, 2013 |

It is always a depressing experience to read a comment thread having anything to do with feminism and find out what professional and amateur misogynists think feminism consists of. For example, our newish troll curmudgeon:

Meanwhile, the historical arc of feminist argumentation on the Internet has reached its bimodal zenith with…the argument that any woman who believes that being spoken to by a man seeking consensual sex is not an objectifying act is pro rape.

The reference, as Mr. Mudgeon confirmed later, is to the Rebecca Watson elevator incident that revealed Richard Dawkins to be a world-class concern troll. Dawkins’s apologists have generally distorted Watson’s unassailable argument beyond any possible recognition, but rarely in this purely dishonest a form. Let us compare the troll summary…

any woman who believes that being spoken to by a man seeking consensual sex is not an objectifying act is pro rape.

…with a summary that actually attempts to bear some resemblance to what Watson actually said, with the crucial differences highlighted:

Being hit on by someone following you into an elevator late at night in the immediate aftermath of giving a talk in which you explain how you’ve been affected by the tendency of men in the skeptic movement to view women as sexual objects regardless of the context is creepy and inappropriate.

Note also that there is no suggestion that “seeking consensual sex” is wrong in any context, and also no argument that what happened to her was “rape.” You’re welcome!

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  1. shah8 says:

    Dude don’t care. Derailing was always the point.

    And I thought that was an interesting post with potential for interesting comments. I couldn’t find any, though.

    • pete says:

      This. However, one or two were amusing.

    • Rhino says:

      Because this entire thread started with exactly that premise, as evidenced by the post at the top of the comment thread? Don’t get me wrong, I understand what you mean, I just think that until we actually have equality, most of feminist activism is inescapably going to be dealing with male (and sometimes female) idiocy… That is, after all, the root o the problem: privilege, and people being butt hurt about losing it.

  2. OMFG. I wanted to know about what Curmudgeon thinks about feminism and how we can save the movement. PLEASE DON’T RUIN THIS FOR US, SCOTT.

  3. BTW, while I’m here I’d like to address the “trivial concerns” concern troll comments in the last feminazi thread…

    What you think is trivial often isn’t. It may be trivial TO YOU, but it may be not be to other people. If you’re not a sociopath and have an understanding that other people exist, you will learn to accept this. Aaaaaaand–here’s the thing: “small” things are often indicative of *big* problems. For instance I’ve written a couple of times about “geek gate-keeping.” This may seem silly or trivial to you, but is in fact indicative of pervasive sexism involved in pursuing geeky pastimes. Which is, in turn, indicative of the undercurrent of sexism that runs through an awful lot of things. Now, if you’re a man and you’re an asshole, this may not matter a whole lot to you. But it matters to other people. So I suggest you DEAL WITH THAT.

  4. Amanda Marcotte says:

    No one opposes me seeking consensual sex, though I will suggest that perhaps the bitter anti-feminist obsessives of the Internet might try something other than, “Hi, we’ve never met, but I am interested in con sensually penetrating you and would rather not pretend to be interested in anything else,” as an opening line.

    Just kidding! These guys should stick to that line, which has the benefit of honesty, and leave the flirting and dating to the grown-ups.

    • It’s the Axe Body Spray of the Internet!

    • Eggomaniac says:

      I’m not persuaded they are all that interested in the consent part, at least as you and I understand it. To a lot of them, wearing certain clothes, agreeing to go out on a date, engaging in mild flirting, etc. constitutes “consent”, and they can’t get their heads around why other people think it isn’t.

      • delurking says:

        I’m currently teaching a Women’s Lit class in which feminist topics come up often (like six times a class). This very point came up last week: that is, whether a woman who went out to a party wearing low-cut, revealing clothing was “asking” to be raped.

        “I mean,” one of my (female) students said, “she’s obviously saying she wants sex, right?”

        I had to spend (along with the help of 3 or 4 other more enlightened students in the class) about 20 minutes explaining (among other things) the difference between “wanting sex” and “wanting to be raped.”

        Because, you know, consent. What a concept.

        They did get it, I think, finally.

        • Guh.

          Sometimes it’s not even sex you want, just attention or validation. Something’s gone pretty wrong when low-cut top=put your peen in me now.

        • Linnaeus says:

          You’re doing the Lord’s work.

          • Rhino says:

            Recent evidence on religious belief would rather indicate the opposite, but I know what you meant! And agree. It’s stunning how many people, myself included profess blatant sexism we are not even aware of.

        • WeWantPie says:

          You know, I am forever gobsmacked by the SELF-DEHUMANIZATION men assume for themselves with this kind of attitude (on top of the obvious woman-dehumanization it employs). The assumption is that if a woman does, in fact, want to look sexy for, and have sex with, a PARTICULAR man, she must just want “Generic Sex” with any man at all, because “Men Are Entirely Interchangeable.” !!!11Eleventy!

          Never mind how typically these dudes see women as robots, which is bad enough. It’s disturbing in its own special way to realize that they also see themselves as robots, only with dicks.

      • Another Halocene Human says:

        They want you to ‘consent’ without understanding what that means, in other words, that other people have thoughts and feelings too. It’s all, “I want to have sex with you, you should want me to have sex with you.”

        You know, like a baby: I want to eat. You must feed me.

  5. Theobald Smith says:

    Dick move, Mr. Lemieux. Not liking what someone has to say doesn’t make him a troll — Mr. Curmudgeon is engaging with his critics in good faith, and using your power as a frontpager like this is pretty disrespectful to someone clearly trying to make valid points.

    And the Oppression Olympics *do* dominate the conversation on the Internet. Can’t argue with that.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      You have got to be kidding me.

    • Malaclypse says:

      What “valid point” did curmudgeon make? Please be specific and use examples.

      • Theobald Smith says:

        Several:

        * that a specific subculture on the Internet identifying itself as feminist has serious class and race issues (RaceFail ’09)

        * at least in my reading, that this same subculture has made itself inaccessible to outsiders — terms like “spoons”, “safe space” and “geek gatekeeping” are not only a real barrier to effective outreach and communication, but has also become a shibboleth. (comment threads everywhere, and yes I have heard all of the arguments re: lack of spoons, repeating oneself, burden on the asker, etc.)

        * that the same subculture is no longer bothering with the outreach and messaging necessary to persuade people; for example, a months-long flamewar about the phrase “trigger warning” (the Slacktiverse, not even getting into a conversation about misuse of the term “safe space”)

        • Malaclypse says:

          * that a specific subculture on the Internet identifying itself as feminist has serious class and race issues (RaceFail ’09)

          Please to be identifying where curmudgeon discussed this.

          * at least in my reading, that this same subculture has made itself inaccessible to outsiders — terms like “spoons”, “safe space” and “geek gatekeeping” are not only a real barrier to effective outreach and communication, but has also become a shibboleth. (comment threads everywhere, and yes I have heard all of the arguments re: lack of spoons, repeating oneself, burden on the asker, etc.)

          If your big complaint is terminology, you are indeed among the professionally butthurt.

          • Theobald Smith says:

            1. Link to the comment.

            2. Jesus fuck! The complaint is not *terminology*, the complaint is that the overuse of jargon is fucking terrible communication, and that internet feminism has stopped talking to the outside world!

            • Malaclypse says:

              So no actual discussion of the clusterfuck of a three-year-old blowup that was RaceFail. And your complaint isn’t “terminology,” but rather “jargon.”

              Yea, feminists are the professionally aggrieved…

              • Theobald Smith says:

                If it’s not jargon, why do I have to go to either the Urban Dictionary or the bottom of the Wikipedia disambiguation page to figure out what “PoC” means, other than “proof or concept”?

                • GeoX says:

                  Because you personally don’t understand an abbreviation (which I would think would require maybe five seconds of thought to get, but what do I know?), it is therefore “jargon” and can be safely dismissed? Golly. It must be nice to be the center of the universe like that.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Because you are so completely detached from the conversation that “Person of Color” does not even occur to you, even in context?

                  White male privilege, you’re wallowing in it.

                • Hogan says:

                  “Look, could you all just stop having this discussion until you’ve explained to me what all the words and abbreviations mean? No matter how long that takes?”

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  Thank you, Hogan!

                  Between you here, and KennethNoisewater below, I’ve learned that asking for definitions of terms and engagement makes me a troll, and that I’m not allowed to participate in conversations until I’ve learned all the terminology; then, I’m mocked for asking about the terminology.

                  Way to build a welcoming, inclusive community!

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Between you here, and KennethNoisewater below, I’ve learned that asking for definitions of terms and engagement makes me a troll

                  No, being professionally butthurt makes you an asshole. The distinction is subtle, I admit.

                • What terminology do you need help with, Theobald? Consider this a snark-free, helpful zone.

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  Really? I thought it was “disagreeing with you” that makes you call me an asshole.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I thought it was “disagreeing with you” that makes you call me an asshole.

                  Nope, there are plenty of people here who disagree with me on a variety of issues that I would never dream of calling assholes.

                  You earned it, sparky.

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  Sorry, Kenneth, crossposted — snark aimed at Malaclypse was not actually aimed at you, and thank you for offering to help me with my terminology issues.

                  ———————–

                  I have been around for awhile, so I feel like I understand many of the concepts, but I feel like I don’t actually have a good grasp on the concept of “privilege”, as it’s recently evolved.

                  My understanding of the term as originally used was “people with power being blind and/or dismissive of the struggles of people without power,” but I’ve been hearing things like “trans privilege” and “disabled privilege”, which don’t really make sense to me.

                  Am I missing something?

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  I could also use some clarification of the term “safe space,” specifically in regards to what constitutes one, and whether there’s a common understanding for that yet.

                  My understanding of a safe space is an area that is actively policed to keep it safe, and it’s the enforcement that keeps it a safe space — but I’ve seen the opposite, and this has led to some sharp disagreements.

                  Is the answer actually just “learn community norms?”

                • djw says:

                  Is the answer actually just “learn community norms?”

                  When you discover a community you’d like to participate in, this is generally part of the process.

                • Mister Harvest says:

                  If someone rolls in saying, all wide-eyed and innocent and Just Wanting To Learn, “I don’t understand this ‘privilege” thing? Could someone not be a horrible meanie and just explain this one little bitty thing to me?” … it is time to pack up and stop paying attention, because this is station from which “My hair-splitting arguments prove privilege doesn’t exist because even though I am a white guy I am treated badly at work”-train departs.

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  *eyeroll*

                  Way to completely miss the point, Mr. Harvest.

                  If you will go back and reread, my point was “I do not understand how this term has evolved to mean the opposite of what I thought it meant.” I was informed that it has not, in fact, evolved, and that was the end result of a productive discussion.

                  If you want to fling insults, take it downthread.

              • Theobald Smith says:

                And that’s an awfully pat way to dismiss my point. Are you saying that Tumblr has no issues with class or race at all?

                • Oh wow. I gotta know where this is going. What problem does tumblr have with race and class and how is this feminism’s fault?

                • Tumblr broadcasts racefail to my fillings!

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  Tumblr makes me wear an onion on my belt.

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  (To be serious, I’m using ‘tumblr’ as a shorthand for a specific subculture, but ‘internet feminism’ is ambiguous.

                  Anyway, as the conversation seems to be over except for the cheap debating points, I will now refer to this subculture as “the people who read Homestuck.”)

                • @Theobald

                  I’ve never heard of “disabled privilege” or “trans privilege,” which don’t even thing like they could exist to me. The only privilege I have heard of re: trans issues that some men have had second thoughts about become trans women because they know they will lose privilege.

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  Aaaah, ok, that’s good to know — it sounded really weird to me, and I was wondering if I was missing something.

                  Thanks for taking the time to explain this, btw. It is appreciated.

                • cpinva says:

                  oh, bullshit. i’ve never been given grief, simply for asking the meaning of a term, anywhere. of course, how you ask might make a difference. just sayin’……………

                  “Way to build a welcoming, inclusive community!”

                  what made you think it was ever intended to be so? if i’m involved in it, i can guarantee you the polar opposite is true. i don’t get along, or play well, with others. especially so, for painfully obvious douchebags.

              • Jewish Steel says:

                I’m furious over argot myself.

            • internet feminism has stopped talking to the outside world!

              Internet everything has stopped talking to the outside world.

              If you’re getting your understanding of a political movement from the comment threads of blogs, you’re getting a very distorted vision.

          • Johnny Sack says:

            Indeed. “Safe space” keeps outsiders out? Wow.

        • Hogan says:

          a specific subculture on the Internet identifying itself as feminist

          Or as Curmudgeon calls it, “feminism.”

        • * that a specific subculture on the Internet identifying itself as feminist has serious class and race issues (RaceFail ’09)

          And I’m sure cares deeply about this.

          Serious according to whom? I’m not sure I’ve ever run across a feminist who didn’t take LBGT rights, economic inequality and racism incredibly seriously.
          at least in my reading, that this same subculture has made itself inaccessible to outsiders — terms like “spoons”, “safe space” and “geek gatekeeping” are not only a real barrier to effective outreach and communication, but has also become a shibboleth. (comment threads everywhere, and yes I have heard all of the arguments re: lack of spoons, repeating oneself, burden on the asker, etc.)

          Curmudgeon mentioned “geek gate-keeping?”

          And how is mentioning something that’s real a “barrier to communication.” ? That’s a baffling line of thinking.

          that the same subculture is no longer bothering with the outreach and messaging necessary to persuade people; for example, a months-long flamewar about the phrase “trigger warning” (the Slacktiverse, not even getting into a conversation about misuse of the term “safe space”)

          There comes a point where the burden to change has to be on the shoulders who need to change. There also comes a point when someone who is teaching learns that person who wants to “learn” or “engage in a dialogue” really just wants to “troll.”

          And certainly trolling is what Curmudgeon was doing throughout that entire thread. Sowwy.

          • Theobald Smith says:

            There comes a point where the burden to change has to be on the shoulders who need to change. There also comes a point when someone who is teaching learns that person who wants to “learn” or “engage in a dialogue” really just wants to “troll.”

            Thank you for proving my point.

            Baby, bathwater, etc.

            • STH says:

              Theobald Smith, you should know that the “just asking questions” trope is a favorite of trolls because it very effectively derails discussion, makes the troll the center of attention, and wastes everybody’s time. If you start reading a new feminist blog, say, and start “just asking questions,” nobody will know whether you’re sincere or not, and they probably won’t react well. And frankly it is an assertion of privilege to interrupt an ongoing conversation to make everybody explain their terms to you. If you want definitions, use the fucking Google.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                There’s even a clever and memorable term for this type of derailing strategy.

                • Rhino says:

                  A very similar tactic is demand citations, constantly, even for matters of public record or assertions of opinion or personal belief. For example I was once excoriated over my failure, and refusal, to provide per reviewed proof that Canadian First Nations water supplies are being contaminated by oilsands development. A topic which has been extensively discussed in every Canadian media for years.

                  Like the JAQ technique it causes the defender to waste time acti g as the troll’s unpaid research assistant. If the defender replies by telling the troll to do his own damned research, he is hit by the hoary and usually incorrect assertion that the claimant must provide the proof.

              • Rhino says:

                I once heard someone say that the difference between jargon and terminology was obfuscation vs. precision.

        • Tehanu says:

          To persuade people of what? That people with power ought to behave decently to people who have historically not had power? If you need “persuading” of that, you’re not only a troll, you’re an idiot.

          • Theobald Smith says:

            Wow, way to dismiss the entire concept of “ally” right there.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Perhaps if you want to be an ally, you might wish to first ponder why people are calling you an asshole.

            • Linnaeus says:

              Being an ally, though, means that you have to take some responsibility for your own education on the issues that are important to the community in which you wish to participate. You can get some of that from other members, and some of it you have to do on your own, especially if you’re joining in on a long-standing discussion in media res.

              It also entails being willing to accept that you have to earn people’s trust and that you will make a lot of mistakes doing that along the way and you will take lumps for that.

              • Theobald Smith says:

                Sure. What I am saying is that this process could be streamlined with the creation of resources, and by giving people the benefit of the doubt.

                Yes, there are trolls out there. That said, there are also a lot of people out there who don’t forgive mistakes made out of ignorance, and that hurts real people who might have otherwise *been* allies.

                • S_noe says:

                  Here’s one resource: Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog. Not always super-intuitive to navigate, but give it a shot!

                • STH says:

                  Nobody is obliged to accommodate you when you are in their space. Your needs aren’t any more important than those of the folks already there and in the middle of conversations. And based on some of the things you’ve written here, I’m not willing to accept that you’re just an innocent ally wanting to learn.

                • Theobald Smith says:

                  Feminism 101 Blog is basically what I was looking for. Thanks, S_noe!

                • S_noe says:

                  Theobald: no problem. And PS: we all have bad days on the Internet. Hope it helps!

            • Origami Isopod says:

              “Allies” who want their hands held and their feelings catered to are drags on any social justice movement. First lesson: It’s not about you.

        • Another Halocene Human says:

          After all this wanking and reading up on RaceFail 09 which I had never heard of (even though I know who some of the principles are) because I have little to no interest in following scifi lit fandom online (I blame Warren Ellis), I cannot figure out for the life of me what relationship it has to the Rebecca Watson affair, which happened in the online atheist community, aside from there being a theme of privilege and trolls deploying derailing strategies to spooge all over certain blogs? And some “heroes” laying themselves low (such as both Dawkins and Thunderf00t in the atheism community) in the eyes of many?

          No, seriously, what’s the connection? I’m sure there were some people lurking in both conversations, but during the Watson flame wars I followed, I don’t recall anyone mentioning RaceFail. (I thought it was a category of things, not an event, until today.)

          This is conspiracy theorist kind of logic, one person belongs to this large group, which large group also was involved in this other thing, therefore the two are connected. Obama was a state senator and USS from Illinois, Rod Blagojevich was governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Obama’s open senate seat, Blagojevich was politically close to Jesse Jackson, Jr, Jesse Jackson Jr spent campaign funds on Michael Jackson memorabilia and the Build-A-Bear workshop, I BLAME OBAMA CHICAGO POLITICS HERPITY DERP.

          • delurking says:

            Racefail09 actually had some good outcomes.

            See (1) all the women and (well, a few) people of color who are nominated for Nebulas this year (2) the (slight) increase in PoC and women who are being published by the Big Six these days (3) the *slightly* smaller chance when you pick up a SF anthology these days that every single name in the ToC will be a white straight male.

            So — progress. Baby steps, but progress.

      • Trolly Troll says:

        What “valid point” did curmudgeon make?

        1. You’re restricting the freedom of women who want to be sex objects.

        2. What’s wrong with being a sex object, anyway?

        3. I-it relationships can be good.

        4. If God didn’t want women to be sex objects, why’d He give ‘em boobies?

        5. We must continue to study (discuss) these points interminably, because there’s still some scientific dispute about whether women are really people. The mere fact that this discussion has been going on since the mid 1960s (if not the mid 1800s) doesn’t mean that we can’t repeat points long refuted

        6. It’s up to the feminists to reach out to us in language we can undestand, and to convince us. It’s not up to us to try to learn anything

        7. As long as femists have no sense of humor, the proposition that women are people must remain merely an unproven assertion

        any resemblance between these points and any actual points made on this blog is purely coincidental. See. e.g. The Internets.

    • Theobald Smith says:

      Perhaps I should amend “conversation” to “comment threads on certain blogs and Tumblr.”

    • Hogan says:

      Not liking what someone has to say doesn’t make him a troll

      No, his self-centered attempt to derail a discussion is what makes him a troll.

      • Rhino says:

        What you call an attempt to derail is what others call debate. Not everyone who disagrees with me is a troll. Sometimes they are wrong, or tragically stupid.

        • Hogan says:

          Sure. But “never mind what Ruth Rosen says, we must now talk about what I think of feminism” followed by inflammatory misrepresentations is not engaging in a debate; it’s demanding that others engage in the debate I think we should have, because it’s what I think that’s important, and using the inflammatory misrepresentations as bait because what I think is probably not interesting enough to attract actual engagement.

          • Rhino says:

            Hogan, that strikes me as every comment thread on the Internet in forever. I’m not disagreeing that it is irritating and a great deal of work to debate these people, I just don’t see a way around it.

            This exact scenario is why I admire people like Malaclypse, Marcotte, and even this theobald* guy. They do the heavy lifting while I snark from the sidelines.

            *i don’t actually agree with theobald, and think he is having his ass handed to him, but he is losing a debate, not trolling in my opinion.

            • Hogan says:

              Hogan, that strikes me as every comment thread on the Internet in forever.

              One of us needs to get out more, and in those cases, it’s usually me.

              • Rhino says:

                This time, it’s me. Firmly ensconced as I am in hospital bed with IVs of antibiotics and morphine hanging out of me. Thank god for you guys or this would be boring as shit.

                • Hogan says:

                  Wow, you really do need to get out more, or at all. Hope it happens soon.

                • Rhino says:

                  It’s one of those not life threatening complications following a nearly terminal things. I feel a wierd combination of boredom and impatience most of the time. How dare this pesky superbug try and step up after I survived necrotizing fasciitis. Thanks for the good wishes:)

                • Tybalt says:

                  Damn, hats off to you for the remaining uneaten flesh. There but for the grace etc.

            • cpinva says:

              i do.

              “I just don’t see a way around it.”

              once established that they are simply trolls, ignore them, or feed them pancakes, with syrup.

              • Rhino says:

                Yeah. Works for obvious trolls like jenn bob, not so good for people engaging I. Actual Debate. Do to much of that and suddenly all you have is a leftish version of the right wing echo chamber and that is good for nobody.

                Theobald is wrong about most of this, but he ain’t a troll. Frankly, I hope he sticks around. Much like our friends Manju and Brad, he has the potential to stimulate actual informative discussion, rather than reflexive attack.

                At least they promote discussion for the rational among us. It occurs to me that there is such a thing as a ‘reverse troll’. Someone so in-the-tank for a specific position that they immediately treat any disagreement as trollery. Such people act like hair trigger attack dogs, and are perhaps the origin of the PC/feminazi/crazy libertatian/xtian nut cliches, certainly I have met such people in almost every politically active group, they are a tiny and irrational minority of extremists but they certainly exist.

            • delurking says:

              He’s winning, because he’s making us talk about men (him) instead of about feminism. Which — you know — that is always the goal.

              • Rhino says:

                Men are half the people involved. That’s not winning or
                Losing.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Men aren’t the people most profoundly and negative affected by gender issues.

                • Rhino says:

                  I never said they were. But they are necessarily half the solution.

                • delurking says:

                  Oddly though, 100% of this conversation seems to be about how butthurt (certain) men are by women talking about feminism.

                  Why is that?

                • Rhino says:

                  Because this entire thread started with exactly that premise, as evidenced by the post at the top of the comment thread? Don’t get me wrong, I understand what you mean, I just think that until we actually have equality, most of feminist activism is inescapably going to be dealing with male (and sometimes female) idiocy… That is, after all, the root o the problem: privilege, and people being butt hurt about losing it.

    • slightly_peeved says:

      if the only competitors in the oppression Olympics are white men who don’t have sex very often, you might have a point. kind of like how Olympic basketball used to be, in that everyone pretended it mattered while the real competitors were excluded.

    • sharculese says:

      Thank god another pompous dipshit is here to give us his opinions on how to fix feminism. We sorely needed another of those.

    • wengler says:

      The 2014 Oppression Olympics, coming to you live from Pyongyang!

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      and using your power as a frontpager

      Awesome. I mean, really, does it matter at this point if the parody is intentional or not?

      • Theobald Smith says:

        …think about what you’re saying, Scott.

        On the front page of your blog, you mock and shame someone posting out of ignorance, but in good faith, in order for your comments section to pile on to this guy. You’ve declared him an acceptable target, and told your community to bully him.

        It’s not acceptable behavior when Kos or FDL does it, it shouldn’t be acceptable behavior here. (And I will mock anybody who responds with “tone argument fallacy”.)

      • Theobald Smith says:

        …Basically, the point I’m trying to make is “flaming someone for genuinely wanting to engage in debate makes me deeply uncomfortable.” Not everybody who disagrees is a troll.

        You’re free to disregard that point, but I think it’s kind of important.

      • I still remember the time Scott used his powers as a front-pager to call me out for my ignorance.

        Fondly.

  6. STH says:

    I wonder sometimes if men understand how dispiriting it is for women to spend time on a site (or in a group) where they’re treated with respect, so they start to relax and feel like they’ve found a safe space, only to have something happen like Dawkins’ response to the Watson elevator incident. Surprise! You thought you were an equal part of this community and reasonable concerns on your part would be taken seriously–ha!

    • I have not experienced this, really. I’m atheist, but not really involved in the skeptic community (outside of reading blogs)…but I imagine it must be kinda devastating. Rebecca’s story kinda broke my heart.

      • STH says:

        The whole saga has been heartbreaking for me and many women in that community. It’s just gotten uglier and uglier, with more and more harassment, doxing, and death threats. And all because Rebecca Watson asked men to please consider how some pickup lines can come across and others brought up past harassment at conferences and asked for a policy regarding it. That’s all.

        I had a conversation about this with my boyfriend the other night and he said that, while he’s an atheist, he’s never going to get involved in any organized atheist events because “they’re all assholes.” That’s how we’re now perceived.

        • Linnaeus says:

          Because I used teh Google, I now know what “doxing” means.

        • wengler says:

          Atheists are evangelizing non-theists. Many, if not most, come out of rejecting some extreme religious orthodoxy forced on them by their family. They unconsciously use the same tactics they were raised with to spread the new religion. Their priests are Dawkins and Hitchens.

          They are indeed assholes.

            • commie atheist says:

              It’s true! I’m constantly trying to force people to not believe in god. It’s my religion! Actually, deep down I really do believe in god, but I hate him, because I don’t like being told what to do. I’m so pissed off at wengler for finally figuring it all out.

              • Gotta love the “logic” of atheist-bashers.

                • Rhino says:

                  I hate to say it, but I have encountered extremely evangelistic atheists quite a few times on teh interwebs. They are pretty obviously a tiny fraction of atheists (hell, I’m an atheist myself) but they squawk and shit much louder than the rest of us who simply don’t believe in a god…

                  Fortunately, aside from the frequent barbed comments about the excesses and abuses perpetrated by organized religion, you don’t see those people much in the more intellectual parts of the net. Spend a few days on a more ‘diverse’ part of the net like reddit, and watch the cranks and crazies and evangelists and fanatical libertarians swarm.

                  As an example, we have brad, reddit has hundreds of people who honestly believe you should be allowed to sell yourself into slavery, and that the US military should be privatized.

                  We have commie atheist. Reddit has hundreds of people who will publicly excoriate some one who uses the phrase ‘good god, man’ in a comment.

          • JoyfulA says:

            Yes, and they seem to be libertarians as a rule.

        • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

          he’s never going to get involved in any organized atheist events because “they’re all assholes.”

          Sorry, but that’s just lazy thinking on his part. This is the best possible time for a non-misogynist-a-hole to get involved. There are more events than ever focussing on equality issues and trying to keep the MRA element out. PZ Myers, Greta Christina, Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight, Ophelia Benson (anyone on FTB), etc. There are finally places for people who care about skepticism and want to move on to discussion of bigger issues without the distracting noise of privileged male whining.

          • STH says:

            I totally agree and I was a little irked at him about that comment (I mean, I’m an atheist, have an atheist fish on my car, etc.) I think he’s just suffering a little liberal burnout–too many horrors in the world, too little progress. And he grew up in the UK where religion isn’t as omnipresent as it is here, so it’s a little harder for him to see atheism as an urgent issue. But, yeah, I’m a huge fan of the FtB folks, especially PZ.

            Hey, Theobald–want to see a real ally, not an “ally”? Check out PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog.

  7. Ronan says:

    Yes, but also..who gives a s**t..someone out there has a skewed perspective on feminism..meh

    • Ronan says:

      This is the website that wrote of any opposition to drone strikes as an outgrowth of white privilege, right?..A place only concerned with the well fed US chattering classes?

      • Hogan says:

        Websites don’t write; people do. Which person do you have in mind?

        • Ronan says:

          all of ‘em, it seemed..should be wrote off, also, not wrote of..as in dismissed

          • Hogan says:

            So you have no idea what you’re talking about. Good to know.

            • Ronan says:

              Perhaps you missed the entire bloody ‘debate’ Hogan

              http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/09/an-essay-only-a-white-person-could-write

              There wasn’t much opposition to this nonsensical post, and even less living by the maxim

              “What you think is trivial often isn’t.”

              • Erik Loomis says:

                Not that I should bother, but the post said that trivializing the very real differences between the two parties on matters of very great importance to everyday people in order to focus on the one issues where the two parties are the same and then to advocate for throwing your vote to a third party candidate based upon that was an argument that reeks of privilege.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  And note that nothing at all in that post or anything else I have ever written said that opposition to drone warfare was illegitimate. If you want to characterize my arguments honestly, it would be a nice change.

                • Ronan says:

                  Well I agree with the point that there are substantial and important differences between the two parties, and that F-Dorfs position is undoubtedly, in part, a result of his own privilege..but the post and comments were every bit as dismissive as curmudgeons anti-feminist rants, with absolutely no awareness shown by anyone of how their own privilege could lead to their stance on the issue

                • OK, I’ll bite: exactly what kind of “privilege” is it that leads one to conclude that a repetition of the Iraq War in Iran would be a bigger deal than the drone strikes?

                  Is it because our quality public schools allow us to do math, while others don’t have that privilege?

                • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

                  OT (since you’re 100% in the right that you never made such an argument against opposition to drone warfare, Erk): I agree that there are substantial differences between the two parties and that those who deny those differences are being silly or worse. But, in fact, the tiny group of people on the left making the argument last year that there was no difference included some people of color.

                • Another Halocene Human says:

                  Well, IB, in my experience they are dominated by scared shitless whites, and I wonder why. Given that some of the big champions of DRONEZZZZ go on to make racist comments online when challenged, it just makes you wonder. Then you have some friends of mine who are big anticolonialists and so hate the US government (oh well, civil rights movement, right?) and champion any asshole who opposes the US even if they’re a lying puppet for the same kind of interests they’d hate at home. Fuck other people, it’s about being right. Privilege.

                  Most white males never think about what it would be like to be a young female, with a child or without, in an anarchic situation. Or being an ethnic minority (Like NOLA post Katrina). All they think about is their power fantasy of waving their semi-automatic and totally guillotining those rival older males the fascist assholes keeping us down.

                  I think there is some old Confederate shit behind the “drones!!!” garbage. This notion that the USG can never fire weapons on US citizens… guess what, it happened every time there was a civil insurrection. Yes, the US government has that power. That power has been used to various enforce tax laws, end the spread of the slave plantation state, enforce civil rights, or take them away (as in the Japanese internment camps). Hopefully on balance that power is used wisely. Most of the groups calling for civil insurrection are violently racist and opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So why are these rangy white lefties making common cause with Stormfront and glibertarians?

                  Yes, there’s a history of the US government using its state power to crush the labor movement. That may be part of the paranoia, although labor’s biggest gains in US history happened when labor finally got a friendly ear in high office (1930s).

                  Is Obama Woodrow Wilson, who imprisoned the IWW’s leadership?

                  Is he?

                • witless chum says:

                  Well I agree with the point that there are substantial and important differences between the two parties, and that F-Dorfs position is undoubtedly, in part, a result of his own privilege..but the post and comments were every bit as dismissive as curmudgeons anti-feminist rants, with absolutely no awareness shown by anyone of how their own privilege could lead to their stance on the issue

                  That wasn’t the first discussion on LGM about drone strikes and third-party voting. Both were issues that’d been pretty well-argued previous to that.

                • Ronan says:

                  “That wasn’t the first discussion on LGM about drone strikes and third-party voting.”

                  Sure, I’m complaining about that specific framing and subsequent discussion. The fact that Loomis et al have a more nuanced perspective isn’t here nor there.

              • djw says:

                This is trolling for precisely the same reason crumudgen was trolling: it’s offering a highly tendentious and obviously controversial characterization of a previous internet controversy, at best tangentially related to present topic of discussion. There’s no reason whatsoever to assume this is done with any purpose other than derailing.

                • Ronan says:

                  Yeah it’s probably trolling to a degree but also some bitterness at watching debate after debate shut down by such a US centric understanding of privilege. The unexamined xenophobia of large swathes of the US left. The race ad class divisions built into every movement. This rarely goes acknowledged, and it should
                  I don’t think it’s a ‘tendentious and obviously controversial’ reading of the debate, as a number of people made a similar point at the time (Jim Henley IIRC)

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  The fact that “a number of people made a similar point” does not make it not obviously controversial, particularly since a lot of those people, including Henley, already had issues with myself and this blog. Moreover, you still can’t find a single place where I said opposing drone warfare was a bad thing. The fact that people don’t understand how change actually happens in the United States is not my problem.

                • So, you think Curmudgeon is genuinely concerned about racism in feminism? Do you think this is something he blogs about, brings up in discussion (when he’s not trolling)?

                  Also, people are allowed to discuss what’s good about a movement without having to discuss what’s bad about it. I’m pretty sure that feminism is the only movement that’s held to such high standards.

                • The unexamined xenophobia of large swathes of the US left. The race ad class divisions built into every movement. This rarely goes acknowledged

                  By “rarely” you must mean “all the time”.

                • djw says:

                  When I said “highly tendentious and obviously controversial characterization” doesn’t imply you’re the only one who held it, and I’m not sure why you’d think that particular observation would relevant. It’s an attempt to re-fight an old fight, rather than discuss the topic of the current thread. I don’t think Jim Henley is a troll for taking the position he did in the discussion you reference. If he went around trying to restart that argument in unrelated threads, months later, he’d be trolling. (Unlike you, he’s not a troll, which explains why he doesn’t do that.)

                • Ronan says:

                  I can’t look into Curmudgeons heart, but would seriously doubt he cares all that much about race in feminism..I don’t really either tbh, before someone complains about me being disingenuous..
                  of course you can concentrate only on the good in a movement, but that doesn’t get you very far, and isn’t particularly helpful for those excluded..my only complaint is that the concept of privilege is used in such a limited and hypocritical manner..and if you want to attack others privilege you should acknowledge your own (that’s not directed specifically at you, obviously,but more generally)

                • Ronan says:

                  Fine, I am trolling, more out of a general annoyance than a wish to derail the thread..so I’ll bow out here

                • Yeah, I don’t think closing your eyes to problems in a movement is a good idea. By the same token, i don’t think having someone squawk “BUT WHAT ABOUT ________?!!!!!” is great either.

                  You seem to think feminism is teeming with privileged people. Um, ok. But you do realize that people can be privileged in one way (for instance being smart/well-educated/conventionally attractive/wealthy/white) while being vulnerable to oppression in another, right?

                  I can care about female genital mutilation and care about geek gate-keeping at the same time. It is possible to do this.

                • Ronan says:

                  “you do realize that people can be privileged in one way (for instance being smart/well-educated/conventionally attractive/wealthy/white) while being vulnerable to oppression in another, right?”

                  I do. Absolutely. My problem is less with feminism and the real problems it highlights, than with how the rhetoric of privilege is used to shut down debate.
                  And yes, I accept that’s not really relevant here.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Ronan, the race and class divisions on the left in the U.S. are discussed quite frequently. It largely depends on what blogs you read.

                  For that matter, the same goes for the divisions over gender. I could go over to Naked Capitalism, for example, and find lots of dudes who don’t want to discuss anything but socioeconomic class and who impugn anything else as “identity politics.”

      • Rhino says:

        See, kids THIS is an attempt to derail a discussion!

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        This is the website that wrote of any opposition to drone strikes as an outgrowth of white privilege, right?

        No.

  8. Shakezula says:

    P.S.A. P.S. The more you cry, the more I laugh.

    Remember, professional butthurtisrs (vs. the spoof trolls and I’m not sure where Mr. Cur Mudgeon lands on that scale) have been reduced to whingeing around the internet because that’s all they gots.

    I’m sure someone could work out a scale that shows there is a strong correlation between the vituperativeness of a sincere troll’s comments and his awareness that his opinions don’t matter

    I’m thinking more of what I saw right after MD legalized equal marriage and again when the state started issuing licenses. See also, the later part of 2007. But I believe the rule applies whenever a bigot is reminded that he has received his ass on a platter.

  9. Jewish Steel says:

    Just my thumbnail reading of the schism afflicting the skeptical community. It seems like it attracts two distinct types: People who are genuinely interested in promoting rationality and scientific approaches to lots of different topics, and sneering, know-it-all, lonely fan-boy boobs.

    Coincidentally, skepticism also seems to have a libertarian contingent too. Hmm.

    • slightly_peeved says:

      my beef with the sceptical movement is the extension of ‘rationality’ to cover the opinions of scientists on areas where they are not expert, and where their rationality is actually rationalisation of their existing biases. As an example, the ‘rational’ approach to propositioning women in elevators.

      • Jewish Steel says:

        The doctor’s disease. “My expertise extends to damn fool thing that pops into my head.”

        At least us artsy types don’t try to cloak our satyr moves in the mantle logic. Wanna see my etchings?

      • Another Halocene Human says:

        Are you sure you’re talking about scientists and not engineers? PZ Myers is a scientist, and he backed up Watson. And a lot of online feminists are scientists.

        While there is crossovers and it’s not an iron rule, I find science education attracts and inculcates a vastly different attitude from engineering school, which seems to stamp out the socially awkward, libertarian drones who make so much unwittingly offensive commentary on any thread involving ‘teh females’, wrapping pseudoscientific base claims with artful logical constructions and having no notion of how ridiculous that looks.

        • slightly_peeved says:

          both groups do it; good on Myers for backing her up, but Dawkins didn’t.

          It’s a fundamental problem for the Brights or any atheist group who start advocating living rationally or living according to science. The scientific jury is still out on how much we can trust our introspective evaluation of our own reasoning processes. if anything, the answer suggested by the data is’not very much.’ or inability to be honest assessors of our own behaviour is the reason that science is done through peer review and repeatable experiments. Rationality ends up being another word for what feels right. scientists, engineers and academics all do it, though science tends to get used as the imprimatur.

  10. with a summary that actually attempts to bear some resemblance to what Watson actually said

    The odd thing is that there are so many seemingly agreeable trolls who will respond with “well okay, but” and go on with their objections as if Watson is still somehow ubergruppenführer of the cock-chopping commandos. It’s hard to let go of the fury.

    • BigHank53 says:

      It’s illuminating that Rebecca Watson has replaced Andrea Dworkin in the nightmares of misogynistic halfwits. Not that Andrea Dworkin was what they imagined, either…

      • Are you forgetting “Worse than a Thousand Hitlers” Marcotte?

        • mark f says:

          I thought it was Anita Sarkeesian now? Here is a FB conversation I foolishly walked into:

          [Sarah]: I know that many women (sadly) feel that being a feminist is a bad thing.

          [Bob]: They don’t want to be labeled feminists because most of the feminists you see/hear about are bat shit crazy assholes that want to rape and castrate men. :P

          [Mark]: In case Bob isn’t joking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnJxqRLg9x0

          [Bob]: lol anita sarkeesian. you would be hard pressed to find anyone else on Earth that is even more worthless than she is. gg.

          [Mark]: You actually made it pretty easy, Bob.

          Here is another concept you can familiarize yourself with: http://www.drury.edu/ess/Logic/Informal/AdHominem.html

          [Bob]: Oh boy… Mark, look, as much as you want to white knight for women (I’m sorry, do you prefer it to be spelled womyn?) on the Internet, Anita Sarkeesian is as much of a feminist as a giraffe is a hippopotamus. I’m not going to argue with you on the Internet because no one ever wins, so all I’m going to say is that I dislike that woman a lot, and whether you agree with why I dislike her or not I couldn’t care less. It doesn’t change the fact that she is a piece of shit because she ignores any and all criticism, she pushes her own personal agenda, she’s a hypocrite, and she is a scam artist.
          Her entire “career” is to point out everyone’s privilege, but she should take a step back, shut the fuck up for a minute, and look in a mirror. I’m sure she can afford quite a few mirrors after she scammed all those Internet retards out of $160,000.

          [Mark]: Heh. Therefore, when Bob said “most of the feminists you see/hear about are bat shit crazy assholes that want to rape and castrate men,” he was in no way employing the straw feminist trope.

          [Bob]: If you stopped using childish made up logical fallacies in conversations, people might actually continue talking to you.

          At the time I didn’t know that the woman in the video was Anita Sarkeesian or that she was the same woman having all sorts of trouble with gamers around that time; I just thought the video made the point well. As did Bob, in his own way.

      • Leeds man says:

        Dworkin? Pffft. I want Mary Daly to haunt their dreams, cackling non-stop.

  11. Dan Mulligan says:

    Maybe I’m just too cowardly but I have learned to never read the comments on anything to do with female sexuality, abortion, rape, or gun control. Oh yeah, and Christianity. The level of ignorance and prejudice scares me too much.

  12. Scott S. says:

    Bah, when the only thing that gives your life meaning is being a raging douchecanoe to anyone who isn’t a straight white rich Christian male, you’ve already basically failed at life.

    • Rhino says:

      Amusingly, the phrase ‘douche canoe’ is an offensive slang term for the vagina. Presumably without even knowing it, you just insulted women.

      • Origami Isopod says:

        Oh, bullshit. Even Urban Dictionary doesn’t back you up. It’s just the word “douche” with a noun attached for humorous purposes, as is also done with “ass” (e.g., “ass clown,” “ass ninja,” etc.)

        • Rhino says:

          Interesting, as I recall reading it in an exhaustive list of slang terms for the vagina not very long ago. Apparently the neologism came from the shape of the Labia ( there was reference to the phrase ‘man in the canoe’ used for the clitoris) and that of course douche implies that said vagina is smelly, dirty and in need if cleaning.

          Urban dictionary is about as valuable a source as my memory, I would say.

          • Rhino says:

            Now that I think about it, I think the link to the list was posted in this blogs comments.

          • Another Halocene Human says:

            Is “shower of wankers” a reference to group urine play? Obviously it’s a contraction of “golden shower” plus “wanker”, which means a masturbator, so obviously that literally means a reference to things coming (hehe) out of a dick. Two can play this game!

      • Leeds man says:

        ‘douche canoe’ is an offensive slang term for the vagina

        I’m not getting out of the boat for that one.

      • BigHank53 says:

        Presumably without even knowing it, you just insulted women.

        Just asking a question here, Rhino, but if I called you, for example, an asshole, would that be insulting to every member of the animal kingdom?

      • LeftWingFox says:

        Odd thing about the phrase “Douche”, is that it’s almost always used to describe guys, especially frat types and “The Situation”.

        It’s happily consistant with the feminist reading of douche: a product marketed to women as essential which in reality is almost always unnecessary and often harmful.

        Which probably describes “The Situation” as well as anything.

  13. Kiwanda says:

    Curmudgeon said:

    the argument that any woman who believes that being spoken to by a man seeking consensual sex is not an objectifying act is pro rape.

    In response to Watson’s original video, Stef McGraw said:

    …My concern is that she takes issue with a man showing interest in her. What’s wrong with that? How on earth does that justify him as creepy? Are we not sexual beings? Let’s review, it’s not as if he touched her or made an unsolicited sexual comment; he merely asked if she’d like to come back to his room. She easily could have said (and I’m assuming did say), “No thanks, I’m tired and would like to go to my room to sleep.”…

    To which Watson responded:

    I hear a lot of misogyny from skeptics and atheists, but when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online, it validates that misogyny in a way that goes above and beyond the validation those men get from one another. It also negatively affects the women who are nervous about being in similar situations. Some of them have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, and some just don’t want to be put in that position. And they read these posts and watch these videos and they think, “If something were to happen to me and these women won’t stand up for me, who will?”

    Curmudgeom overstates, but Scott understates.

    Watson’s initial comment was fine, Dawkins’s reaction was too much, her boycott reaction to his reaction was too much, her reaction to Stef McGraw’s reaction was too much, hateful comments on youtube are bad, lumping all disagreement in with hateful comments on youtube is bad, dividing the world into “in agreement with Watson on all things elevatorgate” and “hateful misogynists” is bad.

    there is no suggestion that “seeking consensual sex” is wrong in any context

    Probably this means “..in every context…”, but if not, there was at least *one* context where (ambiguously) seeking consensual sex was bad.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      That’s a total misreading of Watson’s quoted response, Kiwanda. There’s nothing there that contradicts Scott’s description of the controversy. As to your concluding sentence: At the end of the day, one of the things Watson was, indeed, suggesting is that there are certain ways of seeking consensual sex that predictably and understandably make most women feel uncomfortable and that men should refrain from engaging in. I would have have thought that such a sentiment was uncontroversial, but the continual attempt of so many folks to dispute it (and to condemn Watson for saying so) suggests otherwise…and actually further validates Watson’s response to McGraw that you quote.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Not sure how I can give a “total misreading” when I barely gave a reading. Curmudgeon stated Watson’s response as painting people such as McGraw as “pro-rape”. That was overstating. Scott’s claim that Curmudgeon’s description was a distortion “beyond any possible recognition” is an understatement of Watson’s treatment of disagreement.

        continual attempt of so many folks to dispute it (and to condemn Watson for saying so)

        If you can find anybody in that discussion who disputes the general idea that some ways of seeking consensual sex should be refrained from, please point them out.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          There’s nothing in the quoted passage from Watson that suggests anything remotely similar to the view that McGraw is “pro-rape.” So, no, it does not show the truth as lying somewhere in between.

          If you can find anybody in that discussion who disputes the general idea that some ways of seeking consensual sex should be refrained from, please point them out.

          As I said, I was responding to your final, attempted gotcha (“there was at least *one* context where (ambiguously) seeking consensual sex was bad”). I’m glad you find the general idea acceptable. So what, exactly, is your beef with Watson?

          • Kiwanda says:

            My last comment was really only about the ambiguity of “any/every”.

            There’s nothing in the quoted passage from Watson that suggests anything remotely similar to the view that McGraw is “pro-rape.”

            Nor did I suggest that there was.

    • STH says:

      She didn’t say it was bad. She said that men should consider how they come across in these situations. It was the middle of the night in a hotel in a foreign country and she was alone in an elevator with a man she didn’t know well after she’d just been saying she has a problem with men sexualizing women in conference situations. It’s not wrong, but men should understand that this is going to be frightening to a lot of women because of their past experiences; hell, a lot of women wouldn’t have gotten on that elevator. I would have done it, but I would have been a bit nervous about it.

      • Kiwanda says:

        “creepy and inappropriate”, but not bad? OK.

        • Tybalt says:

          Yes. Creepy and inappropriate but (perhaps) not a moral wrong. Can we have at least that much nuance?

          • Kiwanda says:

            Evidently my “bad” covers more territory than your “bad”.

            Also, too, I think you can find people in the discussion (not necessarily Watson in initial comments) who think asking people for coffee, late at night (though things are evidently still hopping downstairs), in a foreign country (Ireland), in an enclosed space (soon to be open), *morally* bad. Again, like most people I think, no particular objection to Watson’s initial comments.

    • Linnaeus says:

      Probably this means “..in every context…”, but if not, there was at least *one* context where (ambiguously) seeking consensual sex was bad.

      But not because sexual interest qua sexual interest is bad, but because of the context and manner in which such interest was expressed. That’s all that Watson was getting at, McGraw missed that point entirely, and Watson took a lot of undeserved shit from other people who appeared to be actively trying to miss the point.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Sure, McGraw didn’t focus, as she should have, on that aspect. That doesn’t mean that McGraw was “parroting misogynistic thought”, and metaphorically bringing in victims of rape to condemn McGraw was well over the line.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          McGraw argued that because people are “sexual beings,” nothing short of unconsensual touching or explicit sexual speech by a man can be criticized even as “creepy” (let alone something worse). Watson, correctly, points out that this is a common, misogynistic argument. This is not simply a question of McGraw failing to focus on the right things. It’s a question of McGraw directly ruling out women criticizing any male behavior short of fondling or explicit speech.

        • Tybalt says:

          THOSE WOMEN ARE NOT METAPHORS. Rape is not a metaphor. It is a real thing that happens to many women. Those women are real and Watson is invoking them as an example of real people who are really hurt and inhibited by exactly that kind of victim-blaming.

          I am sorry for getting upset, but there is some shit I can’t put up with.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Oh, and now we have the dudebro concern for poor little Stef McGraw, who was obviously incapable of defending herself from the ebyl castrator with “feminist hair.”

      Also, women aren’t allowed to call out each other’s opinions in public. When men do that, it’s debate. When women do that, it’s a “catfight.”

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      This is a ludicrous misreading of Watson’s follow-up comment. Again, she didn’t compare making an obviously inappropriate pass to rape. She did say that one reason to avoid inappropriately hitting on people in enclosed spaces is that they may have been sexually assaulted in the past. See the difference?

  14. CD says:

    Thanks for alerting me to this particular internet tradition! I had not realized quite how horrible Richard Dawkins is.

    • Rhino says:

      It was pretty disappointing to find out just how full of clay Dawkins’ boots were.

      • chris says:

        Why? He’s not the pope of atheism and has even said so himself.

        Atheism is not about him (a point I would expect him to agree with, anyway).

        And the fact that some old white guys fail on this kind of issue is hardly surprising.

        • Rhino says:

          My admiration of him was not as an atheist, but as a scientist. His lay and explanations of evolutionary biology blew my mind. To find out that in his private life he was not only am offensively evangelistic atheist, but a sexist and cowardly bully with the morals of Torquemada, was fairly disheartening.

          I’m an atheist myself, but frankly I am damned tired of hearing atheists preach the one true lack of religion.

  15. Dave says:

    In the wise, wise words of Status Quo, “Down, Down, Deeper and Down.” And, in a very real sense, is there anything more to say than that?

  16. thebewilderness says:

    MRA and anti-feminist Trolls are an excellent example of the Dunning-Kruger effect with extra cowbell!

  17. Anonymous says:

    It would appear that Curmudgeon / Theobold Smith’s objections to what they call “internet feminism” could be neatly distilled into the following plaintive howl: women are on my interwebz, and instead of obeying my demands of tits or GTFO, they’re talking to one another! Coooooties!

  18. David Nieporent says:

    The bloggers here must get paid a bonus by George Soros every time they use the word ‘troll’ (*), because the word is used more here than on any other blog I’ve ever seen. Dissent from the left, and you’re a Naderite troll. Dissent from the center, and you’re a Broderite troll. Dissent from the right, and you’re a plain old troll.

    I love the bubble that so many seem here to live in, but newsflash: disagreeing with you doesn’t make people trolls. (Nor does disagreeing with your view of feminism make one sexist, let alone “misogynist”.)

    (*) Time-and-a-half payment for using the term ‘concern troll.’

    • Tybalt says:

      Jesus, Davey, dissent would be a starting point. You posted in the Ruth Rosen thread whining a propos of absolutely nothing about people being called sexists for disagreeing with Loomis. Do you have a point or are you that enamoured of the sound of your own screeching?

    • The idea of your butthurting about people living in a bubble is nothing less than breathtaking.

    • John Protevi says:

      Nonsense. Most of the times the term “troll” is used here correctly: those who seek by inflammatory comments to make the conversation about their comments, not about the post’s topic. What about JenBob’s performance doesn’t meet that definition?

      • David Nieporent says:

        I don’t know that I’ve seen his comments because they get deleted so fast. But from people’s reactions here, I’m willing to accept that he is a troll. But everyone who dissents around here gets labelled a “troll” a term which carries with it the connotation of insincerity, an element lacking from most of the applications here, by both commenters and bloggers. (I would further note that by definition so-called “concern trolling” is not an attempt to make inflammatory comments, as the whole point is to feign one’s membership in the group.)

        In addition to this very post, from a quick google search of this site: last week, Loomis said, “Andrew Revkin of the New York Times continues his climate trolling.” (I get that he doesn’t like Revkin because Revkin doesn’t get hysterical enough about climate change — but what about Revkin’s comments were “trolling”?) Lemieux called a silly NYT “trend” piece (but I repeat myself) about hipsters in suburbia “trolling.”

        In recent weeks, a commenter called Cory Booker a “concern trolling Democrat.” Another one said, speaking of abortion, that anybody who claimed to care about process was a concern troll. Someone called Data Tutashkhia a troll. (He’s a Stalinist apologist, but I’ve seen no evidence that he’s not sincere about it.) Another commenter called Stephen Diamond a “troll.” Another person labeled anyone who dissented from the hagiography of Aaron Swartz a troll, explicitly calling people who “are normally thoughtful and on the side of the good in these kinds of matters” trolls if they disagreed. Joe from Lowell was called a “troll” because he took a position in favor of dress codes / school uniforms and noted that it was just possible that what students wear might affect the learning environment.

        That’s just a few quick examples. The word appears hundreds and hundreds of times in comments around here.

        • sharculese says:

          Maybe you should try being less of a whiny fucking baby?

        • Wow, trolling about trolling. So very meta. [slow clap]

          • sharculese says:

            I honestly don’t think Davey is trolling. I think he’s legitimately as whiny and self-indulgent irl as he comes off in his posts. But good god, if this website hurts his feelings so bad he should probably stop reading it.

            • I dunno. Jumping up and down yelling “Look at me, look at me, let’s all talk about my very important premise that this site talks about trolling too much!” seems pretty darn trollish to me.

              Regardless, carry on, I’ll resume lurking.

            • David Nieporent says:

              This website does not hurt my feelings. You don’t know me in real life, and don’t sound smart enough for me to associate with in real life.

          • David Nieporent says:

            Wow. Misunderstanding the concept of trolling in a discussion about trolling. Thanks for proving my point.

        • mark f says:

          But everyone who dissents around here gets labelled a “troll” a term which carries with it the connotation of insincerity, an element lacking from most of the applications here, by both commenters and bloggers

          This is not so much a “here” thing so much as it’s an internet thing. It’s annoying, but what are you going to do? Personally I don’t even mind insincerity, per se, so long as the person is being substantive. Across the internet many trolls, “trolls,” unintentional trolls* and those who respond to them often aren’t, though. One of the reasons I like reading & commenting here is that people mostly do try to have good faith conversations.

          *People who genuinely believe “your an obot socialist!!!” is a worthwhile comment.

    • witless chum says:

      How much to the Kochs pay per accusation of Soros payment?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      To state the obvious, Dawkins was engaging in concern trolling in pretty much the purest possible form. If you can’t see that you just don’t know what the term means.

      • David Nieporent says:

        I can see why you believe that, since you think that anyone that doesn’t accept your funny little view of feminism is a sexist/misogynist, and therefore can’t be sincere.

  19. Tybalt says:

    Frankly I’m just amazed that Scott can namecheck misogynist trolls in the title of the post and they’ll all show up on cue. Scott, do me a favor and try saying “Jumanji!”

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