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Is that a Radical Feminist Unicorn in Your Pocket or Are You Just Unhappy to See Women Having a Secularism Conference?

[ 358 ] June 8, 2013 |

A few weeks back, I wrote about watching the goings on in the skeptic/secularist community from afar. Well, my binoculars are all fogged up again, and that’s thanks to this interesting blog entry by Stephanie Zvan.

If you remember, during our last episode some uppity women who were probably all having their periods tried to bitchily hold a secularism conference. It was hosted by a man named Ron Lindsay, who helpfully took the stage to explain how their bitchy synchronized menstruation was probably ruining feminism. Oddly this was not received well by the ungrateful godless harpies. Some people, right?

Anyway, apparently one of these godless harpies noticed something rather off about Mr. Lindsay’s speech. It was this quote: “I read a blog post by Louise Pennington the other day; she stated that although patriarchy may predate capitalism, we cannot destroy patriarchy w/o destroying capitalism. Is the destruction of capitalism considered part of a social justice program? If so, that position certainly has very significant implications.”

Whoa. Feminism is over. Closed. Going outta business. Folks, everything marked “Feminism” will now be marked down up to 85%!!

Louise Pennington. LOUISE PENNINGTON. Said this.

Wait. What? Who the fuck is Louise Pennington?

Well, I think in this case, she is The Radfem Unicorn. And by that I don’t mean that she is only  feminist out there who thinks things like this. Nor do I mean that I don’t think what she said wasn’t worthy of discussion. What I mean is that when you name check an obscure radical feminist to tarnish all feminists rather than to spark discussion, you are being a sneaky, disingenuous prick.

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  1. N__B says:

    Is Ron Lindsay the same guy who was pushing aliens and apocalypse in the 1970s? Probably not, it would be too funny.

    • Vance Maverick says:

      Hal Lindsey? I remember someone at my elementary school (playground monitor?) giving me a copy of The Late Great Planet Earth. (It was the ’70s, man.)

        • N__B says:

          On topic: if feminism is capable of destroying religion, organized atheism, and capitalism, I have only one thing to say: GET TO IT, LADIES.

          I’ll be over here, reveling in my manliness.

          • ChrisTS says:

            Jesus, we’re doing the best we can. Besides, it’s weeding season.

            • N__B says:

              I first read that as “wedding season” and was going to say that the most obvious place for feminism to attack was the wedding/industrial complex, but never mind.

              I take it you weed by hand?

              • ChrisTS says:

                Honey, I weed by hand, hand tools, electric tools, and feet if necessary. I just can’t use gas-powered things because they set my [bad] ear ringing.

                For what it’s worth, I also have something that is, essentially, a flamethrower, another that sends superheat deep into the roots of nasties like thistle, and recently, to my shame, chemicals.

                (Of course, I am a good girl and mulch madly.)

                • Rhino says:

                  How well does that flamethrower thing work? I’ve seen advertising copy that claims you just singe the leaves and the weed dies a few days later…

                • ChrisTS says:

                  @Rhino:

                  It does work fairly well, but on something serious like dandelions or thistle, you need to pretty much toast the thing. That’s why I got the other, Swedish, tool that you push down into the roots. There is no flame, but it is super hot and kills the roots.

                  I would point out that these things can be dangerous. I have a scar from the time the flamer touched my leg (it was off, but still hot). I also nearly set the deck on fire. :-=)

                • N__B says:

                  You’re an american, damn it. You’ve got plenty of native-grown tech you’re not using: napalm, Agent Orange, tactical nukes…

                • ChrisTS says:

                  @N_B:

                  Get thee behind me!

                  Way back, I found something that would really, really slaughter poison ivy – even the stuff that had grown to bush proportions. My husband asked me what the heck it was, and I said, “commercial descendant of Agent Orange, as far as I can tell.” They took it off the market. :-(

                • N__B says:

                  Follow me
                  Don’t follow me
                  I’ve got my spine
                  I’ve got my orange crush

                • ChrisTS says:

                  @N_B:

                  Damnit, you made me snort out loud.

        • Vance Maverick says:

          To the topic of the post — why do men insist on making claims and arguments about “feminism”? Has this ever been useful? Maybe next Lindsay can explain what black people should be thinking and doing.

          • STH says:

            I get your point, but there are male feminists, you know.

            • Vance Maverick says:

              Sure, by the Katha Pollitt criterion (do you think women are human? if yes, you’re a feminist) but the decent ones don’t lay down the law about the “ism”.

              • ChrisTS says:

                I think there are some male feminists who go beyond KP’s definition. :-) But they, I suspect, do not take it upon themselves to critique feminism unless asked to do so.

          • DivGuy says:

            What you’re seeing is that a very common rhetorical tic among anti=feminist jackasses and their fellow travelers is mansplaining what “feminism” really means. It doesn’t invalidate the feminist work of lots of male scholars and activists and whatnot.

          • Aaron says:

            I would feel perfectly comfortable making arguments about “liberalism” or “communism”
            Despite the proliferation of positions those isms can refer to. The key point is not to be an idiot or burn straw… people, and actually do a good job of either A. Attacking a point of actual broad consensus between advocates of the position or B. attacking a specific position held by a definable advocate(s). If you go with A you have to do a lot of leg work establishing that this is an actual consensus position, and if you go with B. you should make clear that this is a position held by a particular group/person, who can be named and quoted and represent only their specific “brand.”

      • Karen says:

        That was the only book, including Jacqueline Susann and Judith Krantz, that myarents ever forbade me from reading.

    • wjts says:

      That was Hal Lindsey, who you will be surprised to learn believes Obama has come to make straight the way for the Antichrist.

  2. wengler says:

    I suppose it is possible that women could control an equal amount of capital as men, but it wouldn’t make the corporate capitalist system any less exploitative.

  3. pete says:

    Nothing says “gaffe in the Kinsley sense” so clearly as an official Statement from the President of an Organization (in this case the CFI) that begins:

    The decision to issue the following statement is my own decision, and is not the result of any instruction or pressure, direct or indirect, from anyone, including, but not limited to members of the CFI board of directors.

    Popcorn, anyone?

    • Hogan says:

      And nothing says “from the heart” like the phrase “including but not limited to.”

    • Vance Maverick says:

      I love the banner photo of Lindsay (in color) photoshopped over a destroyed church (in black and white). It wasn’t worth even trying to simulate his presence at the destruction?

      • ChrisTS says:

        I found that photo really stupid and offensive. I’m not a theist, but beautiful buildings and art should be respected whether they had religious origins or not.

        • aimai says:

          Yeah, why should I applaud a talibanesque destruction of something of ritual and cultural significance, part of our world heritage.

          • ChrisTS says:

            Excellent example.

            • Vance Maverick says:

              Just to be clear, I was attempting irony there. Lindsay doesn’t seem to be practicing literal iconoclasm, so the photo is a bit like conservatives pretending to call for armed revolution, secession, etc. while maintaining deniability.

              • ChrisTS says:

                I wasn’t faulting you at all. Your comment about the dumbness of the masthead just gave me an opportunity to remark on my own reaction to it.

                I usually say I am a nontheist, because of a-hat atheists who do extreme and dumb stuff like that. I don’t want to give anyone an excuse to lump me in with that group.

  4. Hogan says:

    Is the destruction of capitalism considered part of a social justice program

    ?

    What part of “duh” do you not understand?

    (Yeah, I know that’s not where you’re going with this, but damn. Passive-aggressive dickweed needs to get out more.)

    • DrDick says:

      My answer to his question would be “Hell yes!”

      • ChrisTS says:

        Some over at Stephanie’s blog are suggesting Lindsay is a libertarian.

        • idlemind says:

          I think a Venn diagram of Libertarianism, Atheist Advocacy, and Anti-Feminism would show considerable overlap.

          • ChrisTS says:

            Interesting point.

          • Rhino says:

            It would damned near look like an archery target. The outermost ring could simply read ‘assholes’.

            • idlemind says:

              I think you’re forgetting the large circle intersecting with Anti-Feminism labeled The Religious Right. But, yeah, among the irreligious there seems to be a weird machismo that associates with Libertarianism and militant Atheism, and the overlap is, in my experience, huge.

              • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

                Over time religions have become more progressive and tolerant creating many camps for people to choose from. Westboro Baptist Church provides the perfect septic tank for the most vocal a-hats in Christianity. Atheism is only just beginning to form progressive alternatives for people who are interested in atheist advocacy but not interested in (or tolerant of) MRA, anti-feminist assholery. So the mra/a-hat voices in atheism are loud and obnoxious and usually take over the room, but I’m guessing that when things settle eventually and atheism has more camps on offer, that the a-hats will be just as marginalized and just as much a minority of the whole as they are for any other religion or group. Anti-feminism is a human problem (especially males), not an atheism problem.

                • R. Johnston says:

                  Anti-feminism isn’t particularly an atheism problem, but it is a particularly acute libertarian problem. Libertarians are largely atheist and almost entirely anti-feminist. Libertarianism is, at its core, rooted in the opposition to any kind of effort to even acknowledge the existence of social justice problems–actually doing something about social justice problems is as far beyond a libertarian as is economic literacy–so that even libertarians who aren’t misogynists are bound to be anti-feminist.

          • William Berry says:

            Right. With Ayn Rand herself sitting proudly (unashamedly?) at the intersection of those sets.

  5. Ann Outhouse says:

    we cannot destroy patriarchy w/o destroying capitalism

    uh…duh?

    Maybe she’s obscure because she makes no fucking sense. (This may be unfair, as I’m basing this on a quote of a quote.)

    Is the current capitalist system bound up with patriarchy? Indisputably.

    Does it have to be? No.

    • Ann Outhouse says:

      Okay, I read Zvan’s article. I have to assume the quote is accurate. But then there’s Zvan re Lindsay:

      He’s acting like a touchy person who isn’t used to having his power or position challenged and isn’t willing or able to handle the situation professionally. He’s not acting like a men’s rights activist.

      She apparently doen’t get that MRA is all about “having his power or position challenged.”

    • DrDick says:

      Some Marxist Feminist anthropologists would argue that capitalism is grounded in patriarchy (which exists independently of capitalism) and cannot now be separated from it.

      • Rhino says:

        That seems stupid. Capitalism is merely the private ownership and disposition of capital. Women can own and wield capital just as easily as men. Disentangling the two happened decades ago I. The western world, as laws restricting women’s property rights were gradually struck down.

        This process is in no way complete, and it may even be that there will never be equality in, eg, distribtution of CEO positions or business proprietorships, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

        • Vance Maverick says:

          Disentangling the two happened decades ago

          Disentangling what two? But wait:

          This process is in no way complete

          …so never mind, whatever the two were, they’re not disentangled after all.

        • DrDick says:

          Despite the libertarian and other idealist fantasies, capitalism is grounded in social inequality and the exclusion (or at least limiting) of some people from access to the means of production. Class, race/ethnicity, and gender are all important (though by no means the only) mechanisms for doing this. As to the “disentangling,” you might want to look at the gender balance in the Forbes 400, among top CEOs, and the fact that women earn on average 81 percent of what men do.

          • DrDick says:

            I would add that I am not necessarily endorsing their position, but it is not absurd.

          • ChrisTS says:

            Thanks. I was feeling tempted to be nice and explain. You have spared me that effort. :-)

            • Rhino says:

              Chris, I am not saying the situation is acceptable, merely that I don’t think capitalism is the cause for the sexist effect. Like any system, capitalism does tend to reinforce the status quo, but the sexism enforced by capitalism is enforced because women are poorer, and until recently had fewer legislative protections than men.

              Neither patriarchy nor capitalism are responsible for all the evils in the world. Plain cruelty and greed account for far more.

              • ChrisTS says:

                Sorry for being snarky. There is a great deal of literature on the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy (starting, at least, with Engels).

                I am not convinced they are inextricably linked, myself, if only because patriarchy has survived any number of economic systems. At present, however, they seem deeply intertwined.

          • Rhino says:

            I agree absolutely that capitalism leads to and is grounded in inequality, I simply don’t think there is any reason to state that gender must be one of the inequalities. In fact I would say that the only inequality required is financial. For capitalism to function there must be rich and poor, but there is no reason for the rich to be men and the poor to be women. The fact that most CEOs and billionaires are men is, in my opinion, a hangover from previous generations in which women could not hold wealth or power. My understanding is that the proportions have steadily moved towards equality, though they have nowhere near reached it.

            Please understand that I am in NO way supporting gender inequality or unbridled capitalism, I just think that capitalism isn’t the cause of sexism, nor vice versa.

            • DrDick says:

              I never said it was the cause of sexism, systems of inequality and hierarchy are responsible for that. The point is that no elite in a hierarchical system ever relinquishes its privileges willingly. That is what it means to be inextricably entwined.

        • Kal says:

          Capitalism is merely the private ownership and disposition of capital.

          Yeah, no.

          • Rhino says:

            Please feel free to expound further…

            • Kal says:

              Since you asked…

              Capitalism is a set of social relations which may or may not partially take the legal form of private ownership of means of production–it’s a mode of production, not a legal regime. And capital is not something that exists prior to or independent of a system of capitalism. A building or machine, much less the set of numbers in a computer that make up a bank account, is not capital if it’s not being governed by a system which puts it an abstract category of things with value that grow that value.

              I mean, this is Marx, but it’s also reality, in that if we’re trying to figure out the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy, it doesn’t really make sense to try to think about capital separate from the social relations that make it up.

              • Rhino says:

                I appreciate a good joke as much as anyone, but using a Marxist definition of capitalism in debate is sort of the ultimate attempt to frame the argument from the outset.

                Capitalism isn’t anything more than private ownership of capital. All the rest of what you talk about are effects, not causes.

                Also, capital exists independently of capitalism. Everything used in production of anything is capital, whether human capital (labour), resource, tools or technology or created goods and services. The privilege of wielding capital can be conferred in different ways, but to say that it has no independent existence is frankly ludicrous.

                • Dave says:

                  See that hazy line waaay off in the distance? That’s the boundary of the paradigm you’ve chosen to live within. Some people live outside it, from where things look different.

                • Walt says:

                  So your argument, Dave, is that sometimes people disagree about things? Thank you for that — I have no idea.

                • DrDick says:

                  And your argument is not? Kal merely points out that your framing is only one possible way to do so (and not a very good one). It is also the case that capital is NOT universal. One can argue that capital exists outside of capitalism, but it is quite clear that it does not and cannot exist outside of state systems.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  using a Marxist definition of capitalism

                  Marxist say capitalism is also a set of social relations. So did Weber. So do Austrians. So, in a less meta way, does Krugman. So does absolutely anybody who studies capitalism. This isn’t controversial.

                • Kal says:

                  Rhino, you can define “capital” however you want for your own purposes, of course. But if you are interested in understanding its relation to things like gender hierarchies in the advanced world, you are not going to be helped by lumping the knowledge of a paleolithic hunter-gatherer about what plants are safe to eat (as “human capital”) together with the aggregate assets belonging to Apple.

                  Such a definition is also not going to help you make the specific historical argument–whose implications I’m not sure you realize–that private ownership is a cause and everything else related to capital is an effect.

                • Rhino says:

                  Any system involving more than one person consists of social relations. To state otherwise is silly.

                  State a place where capital does not exist. Within a state system or without.

                  Dividing things into causes and effects is the first part of managing a system. It’s basic. You can argue about what the causes are, and which causes lead to which effects, and obviously we disagree on those points.

                  Please feel free to post sources to which I might refer, I am far from an expert on economics as has been doubtless obvious.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  State a place where capital does not exist.

                  Capital existed in many places that capitalism did not. This is what we have been patiently explaining.

                • Rhino says:

                  Mal, several people in this branch have stated that capital doesn’t exist outside of a capitalist system. Notably Kal, to who that part of the comment was directed. The good doctor also made a similar statement, that capital does not exist outside of a state system.

                  These are silly statements. If a state dissolves in anarchy, the tools of the shoemaker and his stock of leather do not evaporate. The shoemaker can still make shoes. For that matter, if the state is then supplanted by true socialist paradise, the tools and leather still exist, and are still used to make shoes. Whether the tools and materials are allocated to the shoemaker, and how the fate of the shoes is decided, is independent of their actual existence.

              • DrDick says:

                Rhino -

                You have effectively defined capital out of existence by making it simply the same as any kind of asset (material or immaterial). People who actually study capital (like those capitalist economists cited by others here) recognize that capital is a very specific kind of financial asset. From a Marxist perspective, what you refer to in your last system is the means of production, which is distinct from capital.

                • ChrisTS says:

                  This is helpful. I would note (repeat) the point that one need not be a Marxist (neo, ian, whatever) to recognize that ‘capital’ is not equivalent to means of production.

                • Rhino says:

                  I’m afraid I simply cannot accept the Marxist definition of capital. To deny the broader definitions of capital, such as human capital, natural capital and even financial capital is seems naive to say the least.

                  Capital is not a specific financial asset at all, but rather a set of inputs to production, which as I have said several times, can be allocated in many ways through many systems ranging from feudalism to anarchy.

                  None of those systems require the subjugation of women, all though every one of them has subjugated women in the past and present to some degree.

                  Not being up on the minutiae of abstract economics, maybe I’m seeing distinctions without difference, or maybe this is just rhetorical and dialectical wanking.

    • bob mcmanus says:

      I absolutely agree with Outhouse, that the Patriarchy is not necessarily bound with Capitalism, or at least not symmetrically.

      We can certainly maintain all or most of the oppressive structures of Capitalism while ending the patriarchy and gain the advantages of liberal capitalism and have a world where women are treated as equals. 50-60% (although we don’t have quotas) of the following can and should be women: Hedge fun traders, CEO’s, Senators, CIA torturers, Generals, white-shoe lawyers, fundamentalist preachers, drone pilots bombing weddings and funerals, mortgage foreclosers, pot-bellied truncheoned Southron sheriffs…all the positions previously closed off to women.

      And that is what we have been getting, too slowly for sure, for the last fifty years. In with the new boss.

      • bob mcmanus says:

        I mean, I certainly don’t subscribe to any (nurturing, for instance) essentialism that would say putting women in charge (ending the oppression, etc) would by itself create a world fundamentally different. The structures and institutions create the roles. Hmmm….

        That would be like saying a black President would, purely because of his race, be radically different than his white predecessor. So offensive I feel dirty for writing it.

        No, history and experience inform us that women gaining power and equality, ceteris partibus, do not behave significantly different than men, save perhaps that they tend slightly toward protecting and rewarding other women, like most ascriptive groups gaining power.

        • aimai says:

          There have been quite a few women who rose to power and there is zero evidence that they favored other women after doing so. In fact, quite the reverse. Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir (though I think she did quite a bit, come to think of it).

          • bob mcmanus says:

            I should hope that a Senate with 55 women would be ever so slightly more pro-choice, perhaps because women Democratic Senators would be more pro-choice.
            Also pro-daycare, pro equal pay, pro parental leave.
            I did say slightly, and this can be empirically checked in state legislature voting patterns.

            We could also check private industry, to see if women with hiring power hire more women.

            It could be a networking effect. However, I might be mistaken and am open to correction, and raising women to positions of power would not even be to the net benefit of other women. Such will be the case after the Patriarchy is destroyed, but as yet is but a dream.

            • ChrisTS says:

              But, then, there are women like Bachmann, Coulter, Schafly, et alia.

              As much as I would like to believe that women are – hell, not morally superior to men but just more sympathetic to women and kids than many men, it is not true. At any rate, it is not true enough.

              • Larkspur says:

                Women are 100% human. There may be traditions, patterns of behavior, tendencies to shared values or strategies, but in the end, if a human can do it, that means a woman can do it. We can be ineffably brilliant or hideously depraved. Mostly we’re just folks.

                I still cringe reflexively at the Bachmann, Coulter, Schafly, Rubin, Perino, Blackburn parade of horribles. Then I have to keep reminding myself that, being human, nothing human is alien to me. But damn.

          • Another Halocene Human says:

            One of these three is not like the others, one of these three just doesn’t belong…

  6. bob mcmanus says:

    Wait. What? Who the fuck is Louise Pennington?

    Well, I think in this case, she is The Radfem Unicorn.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louise-pennington/

    “Louise Pennington is a feminist writer who has a background in education. Her personal blog My Elegant Gathering of White Snows is part of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network.”

  7. Snuff curry says:

    I think the FtB commentariat were on the mark when they suggested that was Lindsay’s (hackneyed) attempt at commie-baiting his feminist audience. “You don’t hate capitalism, do you, ladies?”

    • Snuff curry says:

      NB: all commie-baiting is pretty hackneyed, but I’m willing to consider a particularly ingenious attempt at it less so.

      • ChrisTS says:

        Almost impossible to engage in red-baiting that is not hackneyed. There isn’t much to it, after all, so how could one make it novel?

        • N__B says:

          Jonah Goldberg managed to red-bait the Nazis. That was novel, if moronic.

          • ChrisTS says:

            Thanks for the laugh.

            • N__B says:

              Any time.

              Seriously, 95 percent of my comments here are jokes at that level or lower.

              • ChrisTS says:

                I assume you are not apologizing?

                • N__B says:

                  Despite the fact that I am not remotely Anastasia Romanoff, I keep to the tradition of not forgetting, forgiving, or apologizing.

              • Gregor Sansa says:

                That’s 4% better than me (though I recently changed nyms, I kept the avatar, in the house style as established by bvacuumwater.)

                • bspencer says:

                  All the cool kids are doing it!

                  But refurbish my memory–who were u before? Not placing the avatar.

                • Gregor Sansa says:

                  I was the guy who, using my real name, ended up offending half the thread with poorly-executed satire. Also the guy who used an giveaway fake nym for a week because I’d promised my wife to live by probably-overblown security concerns. I’m not J Otto but I live in a country starting with G, and my obsession with voting systems isn’t satirical but almost could be.

                  You probably don’t recognize the avatar because it’s relatively recent. I was using my name here for a long time before I had the avatar.

                • Snuff curry says:

                  I was the guy who, using my real name, ended up offending half the thread with poorly-executed satire.

                  Fucking let it go, already.

                • Gregor Sansa says:

                  Bspencer asked.

  8. Sammy says:

    If quoting obscure people to tarnish entire groups makes someone a prick, then what does quoting some obscure person named Ron Lindsay make you? Frankly, I’m not sure why the relative obscurity of the person speaking an idea has anything to do with the idea being presented, but what’s the threshold for when I should care about an idea? Is it maybe the number of twitter followers the person has? Help me out here.

    Also – it’s a bit odd that you’re quoting someone having an idea and then effectively saying those ideas don’t really count as real ideas. Extremism exists in every movement; are we supposed to not speak up against it simply because it’s associated with “our side”? Troubling news for moderates everywhere.

    • Snuff curry says:

      President and CEO of CFI, one of the largest secular non-profits.

      Why oh why won’t bpsencer write what you want her to write about, ad naus. Get yer own blawg.

      • Sammy says:

        Okay, President of some non-profit I’ve never heard of and which comes behind “Certified Floorcovering Installers” when I googled it, yes, now I see why this is so important.

        …Have we heard what the CEO of Certified Floorcovering Installers thinks on the issue? That’s what I want to know.

        • JL says:

          Within the US secular advocacy movement, CFI is in fact very prominent. I mean, I’m barely at the periphery of said movement, and I know what it is. Would the average person know what it is? Probably not. But the average person in the movement definitely would.

    • JazzBumpa says:

      are we supposed to not speak up against it simply because it’s associated with “our side”? Troubling news for moderates everywhere.

      Wait . . .

      Moderates have a side?!?

    • ChrisTS says:

      Is bspencer trying to tarnish a group? No.
      Is Ron Lindsay an obscure person among secularists? No.
      Is Louise Pennington obscure among secularist feminists? Yes.
      Is it possible for a person to ‘have an idea’ that is not worth potty paper? Yes.

      • Sammy says:

        First point, fair enough.

        #2 and #3 though, are just an excuse for arbitrarily designating a person who is worth listening to (because a lot of people do!) and therefore what is legitimate to respond to. You (and spencer) admit people have shitty ideas, but it’s not okay to call out those shitty ideas if you don’t know the person speaking them? Some awful pretzels you have twist into to avoid confronting the idea that there are negative aspects to the movement. Spencer even admits that this is not an isolated viewpoint, so it’s not as if the ideas are “obscure” to everyone. But I guess if she doesn’t know who it is who’s saying the ideas, then it’s not okay to disagree with them.

        Sure is intellectually honest in here.

        • JL says:

          It’s okay to call out/disagree with the ideas of obscure people, but not to pretend that they speak for the movements to which they belong and use that to tarnish those movements.

        • ChrisTS says:

          but it’s not okay to call out those shitty ideas if you don’t know the person speaking them?

          I’m having some trouble parsing this. Are you asking me if I think it is not okay to call out shitty ideas if I do not know [of] the writer/speaker, or are you saying I should think it is not ok? Or..?

          I’m not sure I can speak for bspencer. For myself, criticizing an idea has little to do with my familiarity with the author/speaker. I think her point was that this well-known person speaking to a group of women, brought together by an interest they share with the well-known person, about the views of someone they might very well not agree with as though that person’s views were also theirs is ..stupid. Given that he was invited to speak to them about their shared interest, not his views on something else, it was also rude.

        • Hogan says:

          You (and spencer) admit people have shitty ideas, but it’s not okay to call out those shitty ideas if you don’t know the person speaking them?

          Lindsay wasn’t calling out Louise Pennington; he was calling out the conference attendees for not calling out Louise Pennington to his satisfaction. It’s common or garned doyourenounceandrejectism.

    • Scott S. says:

      OH NO, CONCERN TROLLS ARE TROUBLED, THIS IS THE END OF US ALL

      • ChrisTS says:

        Are they troubled or just concerned?

      • Sammy says:

        Not a concern troll, I just enjoy pointing out lazy arguments. Or are we all suddenly participating in Sarah Palin’s vision of the first amendment here?

        • I am also Sammy. says:

          If using criticism of one peson’s argument to implicitly tarnish a whole group is unfair, why isn’t criticising one person’s statements the same thing? Your argument is lazy!

        • ChrisTS says:

          It might help if you stated what you think bspencer’s argument is.

          As I read it, she is arguing something like this:

          Lindsay attempted to attribute to a group of feminists (?) the views of a particular feminist, one unlikely to be known to them.
          He did this in the context of an invited speech on a specific topic, not directly relevant to their being feminists (or not – do we know that all the women there were feminists?).
          In fact, the obscure feminist’s views, as he discussed them, were about capitalism [in relation to her version of feminism], which is doubly removed from the topic of the conference.
          He did all this in order to make the audience feel responsible/bear responsibility for the views [that he dislikes] of this person unlikely to be known by them.
          bspencer thinks this was shitty. (So do I.)

    • Bruce Baugh says:

      Ron Lindsey gave the opening address at the Women in Secularism 2 conference, and used his opportunity to attack and denigrate the participants in various ways. People at WiS2 weren’t happy. People who support the goals of WiS2 weren’t happy. It is being discussed in the community which provided WiS2 with attendees, guests, and support.

      In short, it’s as mysterious as a post here taking up something said by Erik Loomis would be.

      • Kiwanda says:

        I don’t think that he did; his discussion of the concept of privilege did not, for example, or his mention of the obscure Louise Pennington in the context of discussing diversity in feminist thought. Even the Statement of Objection at secularwoman.org doesn’t mention “attacking and denigrating” the participants. What specifically are you referring to?

        • Bruce Baugh says:

          I doubt I could explain it satisfactorily to someone so enthusiastic to relay lies about the participants. Good luck finding someone who can translate into I-disrespect-women-by-default speech.

        • Hogan says:

          Even the Statement of Objection at secularwoman.org doesn’t mention “attacking and denigrating” the participants.

          No, it just says he “greet[ed] our members, our Board, and other attendees with his personal, ill-formed criticisms of feminism.” Totally different.

        • bspencer says:

          The speech was inappropriate. It was not the time, it was not the place. It’s really as simple as that. I’m sorry you’re having trouble grasping that concept.

          • ChrisTS says:

            I wish I had read this before I bloviated all over the place. Succinct and clear.

          • Kiwanda says:

            These women disagree.

            Again: his speech concerned the interaction of the topic of the meeting with the mission of the Center of which he is president. This was appropriate, especially since the mission of his Center is free inquiry. I’m sorry you’re having trouble grasping that concept.

            • bspencer says:

              I don’t care. It was not the time or place. It was inappropriate. End of story.

            • Sharculese says:

              Yeah, Dr. K, he’s just asking questions about whether bitches are the worst. God, why do you hate science.

              • Kiwanda says:

                Does it really give you any satisfaction to beat on a strawman that way? It seems mostly about expressing general hostility; why don’t you just say “Fuck you” or “Shut the fuck up”? Oh wait, you did that.

                • Sharculese says:

                  If it causes a dude like you to whine about ‘straw men’ as if that wasn’t the most overused and content-free term on the entire fucking internet, then yes.

                  Also, fuck off.

    • Sharculese says:

      Troubling news for moderates dweebs who get off on being ‘above it all’ everywhere.

      ftfy

  9. cpinva says:

    who the hell is ron Lindsey, and why was he in charge of a secular feminist meeting in the first place? also too, I made the mistake of following the link in ms. svan’s article, to the MRA “column” (I guess). i’ll not be doing that again, absent really good drugs beforehand.

    • Ann Outhouse says:

      Okay, because you’re a nice person, I’ll do your wikipedia search for you.

      • cpinva says:

        saw that already, but thanks. the question remains: who the hell is ron Lindsey, and why was he (a male) opening a secular feminist conference? seems like that should have been a job for a, well, woman. unless I totally missed something here. the bit about capitalism, based on his background as an attorney, representing employers in employment cases, comes as no surprise. still, given the obscureness of the source blogger, one is still left to wonder how he happened to stumble upon it?

        • Snuff curry says:

          According to Melody Hensley, who organized WiS 2, Lindsay (as prez and CEO of CFI, the organization sponsoring the conference) asked to give the opening speech. He didn’t share his notes beforehand, or give any indication he was going to provide anything other than a token welcome to the attendees and speakers.

          Given that he’s a grown-up and has made conciliatory gestures towards feminism-lite before, no one involved appeared to believe he’d try to hijack the thing in such an amateurish fashion.

          Apart from giving yet us yet another example of Linday’s libertarian wank, I think Svan has done a good job showing, in yet another light, what a piss-poor performance that was. Apart from knowing of the existence of feminism, he seems to have no grasp of its history, of feminist theory, or of the past and present movers-and-shakers within the community. All he did was trawl the interwebs looking for a strawman to argue against, and even there, he was only partially successful. I’m surprised he didn’t open with a dictionary definition of feminism, like any other diligent middle-schooler does. And now we know he reads A Voice for Men and/or Huffington Post. Gross.

        • Vance Maverick says:

          the question remains: who the hell is ron Lindsey

          What are you looking for? An argument for his “notability”? Relevance?

          • ChrisTS says:

            I think it is a “Who the f**k do you think you are?” question. (Largely rhetorical.)

            • cpinva says:

              kind of all of the above. I’ve never heard of him before now (or his group, for that matter), and couldn’t figure out why a male would be involved, at that level, in what was obviously a gathering of feminists. that, and who the f*ck does he thing he is?

  10. ckc (not kc) says:

    …what’s the threshold for when I should care about an idea?

    …have you been offered a biscuit?

  11. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    There’s so much wrong with Lindsay’s playing feminism cop in this speech that it’s understandable that the OP couldn’t cover all that’s wrong here.

    But I do want to say explicitly what others have suggested upthread: the idea that social justice and capitalism are incompatible has a long and rich history and deserves to be taken seriously, whether or not one ultimately agrees with it and whether or not anyone has ever heard of Louise Pennington.

    • ChrisTS says:

      Yeah; it’s the feminism cop stuff that is the heart of the problem. Even more so as I doubt they invited him to speak about feminism rather than secularism/skepticism.

  12. bob mcmanus says:

    Here is the Wiki article on Socialist Feminism, pretty short but succinct with lots of links.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_feminism

    Some names listed there I have read, Haraway, Ehrenreich, Gilman, Goldman;some names new to me and that I will look for. I am a little surprised not to see Firestone. Sites and orgs to check out.

  13. Kiwanda says:

    The apparent point of Zvan’s post is that Pennington is obscure, but well-known to MRAs, therefore Lindsay seems to be influenced by MRAs, “directly, or through intermediaries”.

    This is apparently to explain Lindsay’s discussion of the concept of privilege in his speech, as “a concept that has some validity and utility; it’s also a concept that can be misused, misused as a way to try to silence critics.”

    While this balanced view is something that both bspencer and Rebecca Watson generally seem to agree with, it has been taken as inappropriate, by Zvan and others, for inclusion in an opening speech to a meeting for Women in Secularism at the Center For Inquiry. After all, as president of an organization devoted to freedom of inquiry, why should Lindsay be concerned with conduct that shuts down discussion?

    (Regarding Zvan’s blog, and FtB more generally: a warning to those who use pseudonyms and wish to comment at FtB: Ophelia Benson recently doxxed someone, Zvan defended this, and PZ Myers has now stated it as policy, for those who are “shitheads”, despite the general assurances of the site. So, don’t comment there if you value your privacy, and you might say something that would offend some people who seem to be pretty touchy.)

    • aimai says:

      Oh my god! the feminists are silencing people! And are choosing who to doxx like some guy like PZ Meyers even gave them permission. What’s next?

      • ChrisTS says:

        Yeah, but I detest exposing of people who, a-hats or not, had a reasonable expectation of anonymity. Ban them, if you wish and say up front that you assume the right to do so.

        • Snuff curry says:

          Check Myers’ blog. He gives all commenters fair warning that they’ve no “expectation of anonymity” under certain conditions. He says in the sidebar:

          I reserve the right to publicly post, with full identifying information about the source, any email sent to me that contains threats of violence.

          • Kiwanda says:

            Threats of violence, or “sniping and sneering”.

            See also Zvan, who I have to admit, doesn’t actually come out in favor of revealing commenters’ personal information; she just uses hundreds of words to oppose any of the arguments against it.

            • ChrisTS says:

              I clicked the first link and came to an earlier comment of yours [on this thread]. I don’t know if that was an error (I admit to being hopeless with links, myself), but it would be helpful to have a link to something else closer to whatever the source is.

              • Kiwanda says:

                I see that my link at that comment is broken. Here (I hope) is where Myers says that he reserves the right to reveal email and IP addresses not only for threats, or even for sock puppets, but for people who are shitheads because they “snipe and sneer”. (As I quoted him at my linked comment.)

          • ChrisTS says:

            I think that passes muster.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Whose comment are your responding to? It doesn’t seem to have much to do with mine?

    • ChrisTS says:

      Feminists Humans behaving badly. Does not surprise me.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Feminists Humans Benson, Zvan, Myers behaving badly, was what I noted (well, “FtB in general” was too broad, I suppose).

        • Aimai says:

          I don’t know the particulars. pz is not pseudonymous or anonymous. If he received death threats, or the extremely common rape threats, why shouldn’t he expose his harasser? Lots if stalkers and dangerous people hide behind anonymity while proposing to do harm to someone in a semi public position. The harm doesn’t have to be confined to bitchy comments in thread. The casual reader might have no idea what’s going on.

          • Kiwanda says:

            See here. Nothing about rape or death threats (which in any case should be reported to the police).

            But there are also bad reasons to use a pseudonym on a blog. The very worst? Some people use anonymity to empower their ability to be a shithead. They snipe and sneer, they hide behind fake names, they use multiple sock puppets to generate the illusion that more people support their hatred, and also to prevent people from blocking them — they want to force you to read their venom.

            I do not support shitheads.

            I ban them. I am announcing now that if you persist in being a shithead on my blog, I won’t hesitate to expose your IP address and email.

            So apparently “sniping and sneering” is enough for PZ Myers expose your email and IP address.

            • Gee, if you get a whole bunch of advance notice I would say there are zero problems you can have that won’t be of your own making.

              • Kiwanda says:

                So, you support revealing the email and IP addresses of people who “snipe and sneer”? Just so we’re clear.

              • Kiwanda says:

                …on second thought: sure, if the clearly and prominently stated policy of the blog is that personal information of commenters may be revealed by the blog owner if the owner decides they’ve been “sniping and sneering”, then fair enough.

                • ChrisTS says:

                  And, as he notes, it takes time for him to monitor the comment threads.

                  As I said, before, I prefer banning to outing, but some trolls are very energetic in creating sock-puppets or getting new ISPs.

              • Another Halocene Human says:

                Hm, like the Obama warrantless ‘net snooping scandal, apparently PZ Myers nuking trolls from orbit is now a scandal?

                I love the term “dox”. Classic projection. Arrested development trolls love to post address/phone number of people, public and private, that they are pissed at (usually wrongly, because their trigger finger is too jumpy or they’re sociopathic bullies), but HEAVEN FORFEND! that their ISP should give them up when they go on other sites and violate TOS.

                This shit is as old as the internet.

                • Kiwanda says:

                  So now revealing private information of commenters (for “sniping and sneering”) is “Nuking trolls from orbit”, and it’s OK, because those bad people over there do it.

                • cpinva says:

                  you seem wholly focused on “sniping and sneering”, when myers’ caution was an entire paragraph, a litany of items, commited by trolls, and for which he will out/ban them. so, in order to make your argument sound more reasonable than it actually is, you conveniently ignore the rest of his warning.

                  your credibility here is lacking.

        • ChrisTS says:

          Not sure what your point might be. I was not criticizing your post. I was observing that humans often behave badly, even ones with whom I/we might be in agreement on some matters.

    • Hogan says:

      why should Lindsay be concerned with conduct that shuts down discussion?

      E.g., suggesting that feminists are just like Nazis?

      • Kiwanda says:

        If he were speaking to an audience that believed that feminists are just like Nazis, I think and hope that he would challenge that belief.

        • Hogan says:

          So contrarianism is a principle, not a tactic? You should be writing for Slate.

          • Kiwanda says:

            Sorry, I’m puzzled here. Are you saying that Lindsay said that feminists are just like Nazis? (Which of course he did not.) I thought you were referring to people like Rush Limbaugh, and implying that Lindsay should have bravely stood before the Women in Secularism audience and condemned Rush Limbaugh, which would have been kind of an empty gesture. But maybe that’s the kind of speech Aimai would think appropriate.

            • Hogan says:

              Are you saying that Lindsay said that feminists are just like Nazis?

              I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

              This approach doesn’t work. It certainly doesn’t work for me. It’s the approach that the dogmatist who wants to silence critics has always taken because it beats having to engage someone in a reasoned argument. It’s the approach that’s been taken by many religions. It’s the approach taken by ideologies such as Marxism. You pull your dogma off the shelf, take out the relevant category or classification, fit it snugly over the person you want to categorize, dismiss, and silence and … poof, you’re done.

              Oh, but maybe when he says “silence” he means “make uncomfortable.” Because I’m sure someone as naive and inexperienced as Ron Lindsay would have no idea how words work. Or maybe he just means Louise Pennington, because it’s totally worth spending the opening address of a secularist conference to address a blog post by someone who does not identify as part of the secularist movement.

              Lindsay should have bravely stood before the Women in Secularism audience and condemned Rush Limbaugh, which would have been kind of an empty gesture. But maybe that’s the kind of speech Aimai would think appropriate.

              I happen to have aimai right here.

              • Kiwanda says:

                Still not seeing “just like Nazis”, sorry.

                it’s totally worth spending the opening address of a secularist conference to address a blog post by someone who does not identify as part of the secularist movement.

                “spending the opening address” is hardly accurate. But, she identifies as feminist, which topic he was discussing. As for why he mentioned her, probably this.

                I happen to have aimai right here.

                OK, so Aimai thinks he should’ve said essentially nothing. There’s some free inquiry for you, right there.

                • ChrisTS says:

                  You know, I have been reading your comments and, I hope, responding, as those that might be posted by an honest interlocutor. But, your bizarre swipe[s] at aimai are beginning to make me think I have been fooled.

                • Hogan says:

                  As for why he mentioned her, probably this.

                  Which is important to the conference why?

                  There’s some free inquiry for you, right there.

                  Yeah, I don’t know anything about ceremonial rhetoric either. We should totally apply for his job.

    • Snuff curry says:

      (Regarding Zvan’s blog, and FtB more generally: a warning to those who use pseudonyms and wish to comment at FtB: Ophelia Benson recently doxxed someone, Zvan defended this, and PZ Myers has now stated it as policy, for those who are “shitheads”, despite the general assurances of the site. So, don’t comment there if you value your privacy, and you might say something that would offend some people who seem to be pretty touchy.)

      Stop lying, dipshit. Benson did no such thing. All the evidence is available to everyone (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

      And Myers has always said that he’ll post an IP of people who threaten to hurt him, never someone who just disagrees.

      And learn the definition of “doxxing.” It’s become a dogwhistle for MRAs who want to harass women and issue death- and rape-threats without consequence.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Easy there, Snuff.

        Re Benson, let’s see:

        1. Don’t see what your link (1) has to do with doxxing, except that it shows the commenter in question, Skep tickle, *disagreeing* with Benson. Please tell me more.

        2. This link shows that Benson doesn’t know what “harassment” means, and she casually let’s drop that she knows some personal information about Skep tickle.

        3. Here Benson notes that she got Skep tickle’s email address via comments on Benson’s blog, not otherwise. OK, so?

        4. I got nothing here. Skep tickle mentions her profession. And?

        5. Here Benson mentions sending something about Skep tickle to the president of the Seattle Atheists group that Skep is a member of. Relevance unclear.

        Re Myers, and conditions under which he’d reveal IP and email: I’ve already quoted his recent comments on this here.

        Re “dogwhistle”: you know who else didn’t like doxxing? Hitler!

        • Snuff curry says:

          You’re playing dumb. Those are the threads where the shockhorror “doxxing” occurred.

          Any evidence forthcoming?

          • Kiwanda says:

            Easy there, Snuff. I was trying to understand your helpfully unannotated set of links.

            Admittedly, it’s not “Skep tickle is Eliza Sutton”, but it’s great either.

            “(I know your name and occupation and location too.)”.

            “She’s on the board of an atheist group under her own name.”

            “Eliza, don’t tell me what to …”

            “Eliza skeptickle’s whole schtick there…”

            Google “eliza atheist board”, first hit is Eliza Sutton, a.k.a. “Skep tickle”.

            See also: Benson admitting to tampering with comments. Something Myers and FtB blogger Crommunist also enjoy.

            • Snuff curry says:

              Nope, no “doxxing” there. Anything else?

              You obviously weren’t reading her when Skeptickle (she’s asked folk not to use her name, so I’m not going to) originally asked Benson to remove an image that concerned her.

              The image in question was a screencap of Skeptickle’s public twitter page. The tweet referred to Benson by name. In the interim between Benson posting that screencap and Skeptickle appearing on my first link, Skeptickle made certain tweets private, in an attempt, she says, to ensure that her mother doesn’t find out where she lives. When she explained her concern about her mother to Benson, Benson removed it.

              All the rest of this is smoke and mirrors. Stop lying, or cite something that proves your “doxxing” claim.

              • Kiwanda says:

                Easy there, Snuff. (Really, what’s with all the “lying”, “playing dumb”, “MRA dogwhistle” stuff? Can’t we all just…)

                Sure, that’s “”doxxing”", unless you find google hard to use. Dunno, some people upthread seem to think it’s easy.

                Re twitter and pictures, I believe you’re thinking of Katie Graham, not Skep tickle. Not sure what you mean by “the image in question”. Note that Benson refused at first to take the picture down. Anyway, this earns Benson no “human decency” points as far as Skep tickle goes.

                (Since her private information was available anyway via Benson, Skep tickle has since mentioned her name in a blog comment.)

                • Anonymous says:

                  No, that’s emphatically not “doxxing.” “Doxxing” is distinct from using a search engine to link on-line comments to a meatspace person employing information that person has previously (and quite happily) disclosed. Which, in any rate, is not what Benson did.

                  You’re right, however. I was confusing Graham with Skep Tickle, which makes your accusations against Benson look more and more like petty lies, given that all she did is address a sock-puppet by her first name, the name she was given.

                  Refer to Skep Tickle’s comments last year where she calls herself Eliza, and a later comment where she acknowledges that the Skep Tickle and Skeptixx ‘nyms are her own and that her location is not a secret. Note that the gravatar attached to those comments is the same, because gravatars are linked to e-mail addresses and thereby follow people around the interwebs as they register for comment boards and leave messages. This is not world-class sleuthing. The notion that Benson somehow Got Hold of Eliza’s e-mail address through nefarious means is you, and others, playing the innocents. Of course she’s seen Eliza’s e-mail address. E-mail addresses from commenters are often available to blog-owners, since it is by their e-mail address or IP that blog-owners can block unwelcome visitors from leaving messages.

                  As this is the third or fourth time I’ve asked you to show me where Benson introduced new information or used old information to expose Eliza’s identity (not a well-kept secret), to show me The Dox that Shook the Slymepit’s World, I conclude you have no evidence to share, but are relying on people too fed up with the whole thing to contradict you or to do their own independent investigation when you parrot, ineptly, yet another whinging dude-bro myth.

                • Snuff curry says:

                  That was me, obv.

                • Gregor Sansa says:

                  I’m using a nym here. Somewhat upthread, I have given enough information that any regular here could figure out my real name immediately and my email address in in a couple of minutes. I’d still be (mildly) offended if you responded to me by addressing me by that name.

                  There is a large gap between “Intelligent sleuth could break someone’s anonymity” and “could figure it out with nothing more than two pages of google results”. Bridging that gap without permission isn’t the end of the world, but it is rude, and defensive victim-blaming makes it worse, not better.

                • Gregor Sansa says:

                  Sorry I kinda took the troll’s side. I stand by what I said, but on the side that’s as far away from the troll cooties as possible.

                • Snuff curry says:

                  Look, Gregor Sansa, fair play to you and all, but you’re coming at this from a point of profound ignorance.

                  Benson connected no dots for herself or anyone else; she bridged no gap. Eliza commented on Benson’s blog as Eliza, so Benson called her Eliza. Eliza has been commenting on skeptic and secular boards for many years now–again, as Eliza–and she is the one who “outted” herself, a long time ago, as working on an atheist board and as sometimes using other ‘nyms. Benson didn’t reveal anything, and has never threatened to share information that she does possess (because Eliza gave it to her), and Eliza is a victim of no-one and nothing, because no one has done anything or threatened to do anything to her.

                  Read up on what’s going on.

                • Gregor Sansa says:

                  OK. Good to know that the troll is wrong as well as being a troll. And yes, I was ignorant of the details.

    • DivGuy says:

      General rule: People who use the word “doxxing” unironically are rarely to be listened to.

      Sub-rule: People who get worked up about “doxxing” as one of the great injustices in the world are, further, rarely not assholes.

      • “Doxxing” should be a word with an obvious difference from just “outing” but there you go: a useful word dies when dummies get hold of it.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Call it whatever you like, but “doxxing” seems to be the term used these days. Who was getting “worked up” about it as “one of the great injustices of the world”?

        It seems like a fair warning: if you comment at Benson’s, Myers’s, or Zvan’s blogs, and buck the local echo chamber, your comments may be tampered with and your identity may be revealed.

        I find this behavior on their part represents a certain lack of integrity. As a general rule, or maybe a sub-rule.

        • Snuff curry says:

          Blog-owners “tamper,” by which you mean moderate, commenters all the time (disemvoweling, [BONERS] or some other variant). They do it here, too, when warranted.

          • Kiwanda says:

            No, I don’t mean “moderate”, I mean “tamper”.

            I have no problem with a blog owner banning commenters and deleting comments; it’s their blog, I guess. (It does have the consequence that comments that appear are thereby “owned” by the blog owner, to some degree.)

            I am referring to changing the content of comments so that commenters are represented as saying something that they didn’t actually say.

            • Snuff curry says:

              Repeat after me: no one cares about how concerned you are. Nobody cares that you want to dictate to blog-owners how they handle trolls. Blogs are the private property of the owners, and nobody has a right to have their comments published or read when visiting.

              • Kiwanda says:

                Please, call me a lying dipshit all you like (and you seem to like), but no strawmanning like this. I’m a little embarrassed for you: it’s so obvious here.

                • Snuff curry says:

                  Surprising to no one, liars get wounded feelings and hypersensitive when their obvious lies are obvious. Again, no one cares.

            • Malaclypse says:

              I am referring to changing the content of comments so that commenters are represented as saying something that they didn’t actually say.

              The great injustice in life is that the internet comes with a kitten setting.

              • ChrisTS says:

                That was awesome.

                I do not like outing, at all, and much prefer banning, disemvowelling, or something like this. I think mocking the troll until it goes away is probably more effective than banning, which is likely to result in sock-puppets, etc. That said, this, in particular, would seem to require a lot of work.

        • ChrisTS says:

          I think most/many who are familiar with the term understand as meaning to seek out information on a person (on the toobz).

          What you are talking about seems more like ‘outing’ or ‘exposing’ ( a perfectly fine, old word). Further, we might quibble about how much revealed information counts as ‘exposing.’

          • Kiwanda says:

            I’m just using the word as I’ve seen others use it in this context, where it seems to mean “revealing personal information about a person that they wished to keep private”.

            • It’s really more about digging through your stuff and publishing it: documents, therefore doxxing. Driver’s license, credit card numbers, mortgage info, credit rating, email addresses, etc. Substantially different. And something like what was happening to Brian Leiter.

  14. aimai says:

    I agree with IB that Pennington’s ideas are not ludicrious–but nevertheless Lindsay was nutpicking and also, I”d like to point out, faking his answer to the quiz “what am I talking about today to make myself look well read and smart?” He wanted to throw up a quick argument with a straw feminist–and one no one in the audience had ever heard of. Its a bit like graduate student bullshitting but with the twist that instead of punching up he’s punching down–instead of quoting up to show how well read he is within the canon he’s faking an interest in the obscure and unread to make himself look more edgy and thoughtful.

    That linked article and the MRA point is interesting. But its also extremely middle brow of him to choose someone who blogs, unread, at the Huffington post. Its almost Friedman’s cab driver absurd to attribute to this particular blogger some kind of super human wisdom or, more accurately, some kind of spectacular programmatic folly like “plans on taking down capitalism on behalf of her vagina.” (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    But you know what–this guy does think like an MRA–the instantaneous accusation that the feminists were like North Korea tips you off. Feminist collectivism silences lonely individual? Its straight out of the MRA shtick.

    • ChrisTS says:

      But you know what–this guy does think like an MRA–the instantaneous accusation that the feminists were like North Korea tips you off. Feminist collectivism silences lonely individual? Its straight out of the MRA shtick.

      You’ve given me pause for thought. I dislike the guilt by association trick Watson employed to link Lindsay to MRA (via Pennington, which seems very obscure). But you are correct that his response to her was of a certain type.

      I am mostly puzzled as to why a man invited to be keynote speaker at a conference of feminists with similar independent interests (secularism) would give a speech in which he scolds them for their feminism. Unless that man is, in fact, of the type you suggest.

      • Kiwanda says:

        Where did he “scold them for their feminism”? At least regarding the use of the concept of privilege to shut down discussion, I kind-of gave one possibility above: he is president of an organization devoted to freedom of inquiry.

        • Aimai says:

          You never invite people to your house–whether a conference or a wedding, and start by telling them how not to behave, what opinions to avoid. You especially do not lecture your honored guests like they came to trash the place. If you treat people like children, or the enemy, font be surprised if they don’t want to continue the relationship. Opening speeches shouldn’t be broadsides against the audience.

          • Kiwanda says:

            A speech that was an elaborate version of “You’re so very special” would be treating them like children. A speech that raised some issues concerning the relation of feminism to humanism more broadly, and free inquiry (remember what he’s president of, at least for a little while more), is treating them like adults.

            A “broadside against the audience”?

            “The suppression of women, their treatment as inferior, subordinate beings has a long history, encompassing virtually all human cultures.”

            “I think there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there are socially embedded advantages that men have over women, in a very general sense. These advantages manifest in various ways, such as the persistent pay gap between men and women. Also, I’m not a believer in a priori arguments, but I will say that given the thousands of years that women were subordinated to men, it would be absolutely amazing if in the space of several decades all the social advantages that men had were promptly and completely eradicated. Legislation can be very effective for securing rights, but changing deeply engrained patterns of behavior can take some time.”

            “People do have different life experiences, and many women have had experiences and perspectives from which men can and should learn.”

            Yeah, he really dumped some shit. How dare he?

            • ChrisTS says:

              Um, how about a speech that addresses the subject matter of the conference (skepticism/secularism)? That is why he was invited to speak.

              What would you think of an invited speaker to a Blacks in Secularism conference who spent any portion of her/his speech criticizing ‘Black culture,’ rap music, or the political leanings of African-Americans?

              • Kiwanda says:

                Again, he was addressing a group meeting at the “Center for Inquiry”, of which he’s president. The Center is concerned with “freedom of inquiry”. He discussed issues at the intersection of the topic of the meeting (Women in Secularism, and thereby, feminism) and the mission of the Center. I don’t see that as inappropriate.

            • Gregor Sansa says:

              I get how saying controversial and even confrontational things can be a way of treating people like adults, if you have done an adult amount of homework on the issue beforehand. I get how some people forget about the qualifier there (hello, Larry Summers…). But what I don’t get is how someone could forget about the qualifier, then mansplain the issue, without realizing that his mansplaining is not treating his listeners at all like adults, but rather just letting his dick flag fly.

        • cpinva says:

          Where did he “scold them for their feminism”?

          I believe it was here:

          “I read a blog post by Louise Pennington the other day; she stated that although patriarchy may predate capitalism, we cannot destroy patriarchy w/o destroying capitalism. Is the destruction of capitalism considered part of a social justice program? If so, that position certainly has very significant implications.”

          the implication being that the feminist goal of taking down the patriarchy will, by necessity, destroy the economy as we know it. which is utter bullshit. oddly enough, cash isn’t sexist, it doesn’t care who has it or controls it.

          • Kiwanda says:

            Read the speech. He was discussing whether feminism had any divisions, and raising the question of whether this particular version of feminism was widely shared.

            • Immanuel Kant says:

              He was raising the question of whether a little shared version of feminism that none of the people in the audience had ever professed was widely shared?

          • Rhino says:

            Capitalism has very little to do with ‘cash’, and rather more to do with power. One of the hallmarks of capitalism is that once you control a lot of capital it becomes very difficult for your competitors to dislodge you. So arguably capitalism favours the current top dogs, who are mainly men.

            Thing is, all the things that would need to be changed to remove the gender bias of capitalism are the same things that need to be changed to protect everyone. Getting rid of cronyism, political influence of money, revolving door regulatory agencies and most of all the old boys networks.

            The basic concept of markets and using demand to set allocation priorities is pretty effective. It’s the rules of how the market runs that need attention.

            • Jeffrey Beaumont says:

              The problem is that capitalism is built on a set of social relations that privilege the successful, people in power, wealthy, etc. The capitalist ideology assigns to those people some mystical genius for their success, usually ignoring the social context and advantages that would offer a real explanation. It celebrates the genius of the successful capitalist very much at the expense of any altruistic vision of social well-being.

              Feminism, rather than just trying to make sure half of the celebrate individuals are women, has typically been about much more about a more humanistic, equality-oriented vision of society. In as much it probably has some pretty serious compatibility issues with capitalism.

              • Rhino says:

                Sure, but nothing make feminists more interested in those goals than any other modern progressive group… I think we’re all pretty damned fed up with the garbage being perpetrated in the name of capitalism, of inequalities of class and gender, of the rigged game, of privatized profits and socialized losses.

                So I guess I am agreeing with you, in the end, though I do think a less unfair version of capitalism is far more likely than what we really need, which is a strong socialism with powerful legal protections of civil rights.

                • Jeffrey Beaumont says:

                  Sure, I certainly wasn’t being prophetic. I am just saying that, in general socially progressive movements are at odds with the underlying realities of capitalism… even if both concepts are the children of liberalism.

            • cpinva says:

              Capitalism has very little to do with ‘cash’, and rather more to do with power.

              I hate to break this to you, but absent the cash, or cash equivalent, there is no power in a capitalist society. it enables people to build great wealth, without also requiring a warehouse to contain that wealth. it negates the need for bartering goods for goods, as cash is an easier medium of exchange. there is even an argument to be made that, absent the invention of money, capitalism, as it exists today, couldn’t.

  15. official spokesgay says:

    Ophelia Benson did not doxx anyone. That is a lie from the pro-harass-feminists brigade. Please stop that.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Because I know when I think “equality of the sexes” I think “Soviet Union”.

    God you’re all fucking morons.

    • Tyto says:

      As an increasingly prominent commenter on this blog, I can guarantee you that folks here aren’t under any illusion that the Soviet Union represents any form of unalloyed joy.

      • Anonymous says:

        It wasn’t capitalist, that’s for damn sure. So why don’t posters on here love it? And shouldn’t it, without capitalism, be a land of equality and joy?

        • Hogan says:

          It wasn’t capitalist, that’s for damn sure. So why don’t posters on here love it?

          Because we realize there are more than two possible forms of social-political-economic organization. Since we’re not, you know, imbeciles.

          • Anonymous says:

            Bu bu…I was just told once capitalism is destroyed, “THE PATRIARCHY!!11!1!!1!!111″ will be destroyed too!

            I guess you can tell Comrade Stalin that he’s a feminist.

            • Hogan says:

              I was just told once capitalism is destroyed, “THE PATRIARCHY!!11!1!!1!!111″ will be destroyed too!

              Being an imbecile, you didn’t hear what you were told correctly.

              In conclusion, you’re an imbecile. Have it looked into.

              • N__B says:

                In conclusion, you’re an imbecile. Have it looked into.

                The mental image that accompanies reading your comment is a doctor tossing a coin down a well and waiting to hear a splash that never comes.

            • Vance Maverick says:

              Neither Ron Lindsay nor Louise Pennington posts to this blog.

            • cpinva says:

              Bu bu…I was just told once capitalism is destroyed, “THE PATRIARCHY!!11!1!!1!!111″ will be destroyed too!

              no, no you weren’t, not here anyway. it was claimed to be the case by someone else, on their blog, and was quoted, by someone using it as a slap against feminism. most people posting on this particular thread seem to feel it’s bullshit. this is all pretty simple to follow, are you really that dense?

              • Bill Murray says:

                what was claimed was that you can’t destroy patriarchy without destroying capitalism. While there theoretically could be a non-patriarchal capitalism, that is not what we have and I think it is extraordinarily unlikely that those men benefiting from the power derived from capitalism are going to willingly give it up.

                • cpinva says:

                  what was claimed was that you can’t destroy patriarchy without destroying capitalism.

                  and that’s bullshit. that we have a patriarchal based form of capitalism isn’t saying that, by definition, the only type of capitalism that can exist must be patriarchal. capitalism, as an economic systems, doesn’t give a rat’s ass who’s running the show, male or female. nowhere in economic theory, is it even implied that capitalism, in order to exist, must be a patriarchy. it doesn’t imply this, because it’s not true.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Hi cpinva,

                  I think you missed a nuance of Bill Murray’s comment: It’s not that there couldn’t be a patriarchy free capitalism, but that given that our capitalism *is* patriarchal, the probability of our destroying the patriarchy without destroying capitalism is very low. That is, it’s an empirical, not a conceptual, claim.

                  Given how co-option works, I’m not so clear that its true. Capitalism and patriarchy have been separating ideologically for quite some time (as has racism and capitalism), so I think it’s quite possible that patriarchy will be at least highly mitigated while capitalism grows stronger. Arguably, this has been happening over the past 50 years (at least) in the US.

        • wjts says:

          I can’t speak for anyone else, but your cogent and informed analysis has certainly convinced ME. Any chance I could persuade you to turn your impressive analytical skills to the question of why people park on driveways and drive on parkways?

          • cpinva says:

            I can’t speak for anyone else, but your cogent and informed analysis has certainly convinced ME.

            he does have a way about him, doesn’t he?

        • DrDick says:

          Nobody has ever said that patriarchy is only found in capitalism (indeed, most Marxist Feminists argue that it is universal in existing state systems regardless of economic system). Only idiots like you with no comprehension of English believe that. As bad as the Soviet or Chinese communist system was on gender issues (and the3y are both bad), it was actually less patriarchal that the preceding feudal system or the subsequent capitalist system.

      • Anonymous says:

        These guys, anti-capitalists all,sure look like they’re into feminism! Lol.

  17. Snuff curry says:

    For those commenters who are behaving like scandalized owls (“Who? Who?”), I note that none of you appear to have difficulty doing your homework when, for example, Scott or Eric expose bigoted hack’s bigoted hackery. Funny, that.

  18. ChrisTS says:

    Ok, deep breath.

    I am sorry for my compliance in letting this thread be derailed by trolls and/or idiots.

    • Kiwanda says:

      If this has something to do with your comment above:

      You know, I have been reading your comments and, I hope, responding, as those that might be posted by an honest interlocutor. But, your bizarre swipe[s] at aimai are beginning to make me think I have been fooled.

      Then my “bizarre swipe at Aimai” came from this: Hogan linked to Aimai’s comment on another post; there Aimai seemed to suggest that the appropriate thing for Lindsay to have said was not too much more than “Welcome”. I don’t find that to be very much in the spirit of free inquiry (you know, the mission of the Center for Inquiry), hence my comment.

      • ChrisTS says:

        You know what? STOP. Just stop.

        You may/may not have derailed what could have been an interesting discussion thread. I hope others continue, while ignoring you.

        And, yes, troll, your trolling was one reason I made my apology to people who wanted to, you know, discuss Lindsay’s performance and relevant other matters.

        I, personally, am done with you.

        • Kiwanda says:

          I’ve done nothing but discuss Lindsay’s talk in a straightforward way (with an aside on “”"doxxing”"”), with quotes, links, direct arguments, no name-calling, and considerably less rhetorical pushback than I’ve received. I don’t understand what the problem is.

      • Hogan says:

        Hogan was responding to this of yours at 5:59:

        Lindsay should have bravely stood before the Women in Secularism audience and condemned Rush Limbaugh, which would have been kind of an empty gesture. But maybe that’s the kind of speech Aimai would think appropriate.

        But no doubt we started this conversation weeks ago just to trap you into saying something ill-informed. It’s just like people like us to do that. Next thing you know we’ll be doxxing your mother.

        • Kiwanda says:

          Indeed, Aimai (in comment at Hogan’s link) thought that Lindsay should have viewed his role as entirely ceremonial. (Well, she said other things, some of them dubious, but that was the conclusion.) So I don’t see what was so “ill-informed”.

          • Hogan says:

            What was “ill-informed” was your conclusion about what kind of speech aimai would prefer *before I posted the link.* This is the middle of a conversation we’ve been having for a while; it didn’t start when you showed up.

    • pete says:

      Popcorn: It’s what’s for dinner. Skip to about 8:10 of this.

  19. Nichole says:

    I can’t recall the last time I heard a sponsoring official at a conference use her/his welcome to the event and iopening remarks as an excuse to speechify a position of her/his own as a sort of “value-added” presentation that was unscheduled in the official program/agenda.

    Of course I’ve never been to a conference opened by Ron Lindsey. This may be a typical thing that he does when tasked with making the opening remarks.

    Semms likely that it takes a certain rather large dollop of ego to imagine that the attendees at a conference desire the greeter to present an unsought-for and unscheduled paper at such a conference.

    O, and this. Ya reckon Kiwanda may be Ron Lindsey, or his best friend and colleague?

  20. Dave says:

    If you think this thread is bad, imagine being Ophelia Benson. She used to be an independent writer on philosophy. Now she has a full-time job as an online punch-bag for misogynist asshats. Some of these fuckers don’t need ‘doxxing’, they need hunting down and hanging from a lamppost.

    • Kiwanda says:

      So Dave, which of these fuckers, specifically, should hunted down and hung from a lamppost? Do you think that I should be hunted down and hung from a lamppost? Skep tickle’s offense was some snarky comments, and guilt by (as Benson saw it) association. Benson doxxed (sorry, outed) her, so half the “hunting down and hanging from a lamppost” work is already done. So does Eliza Sutton, a physician working mainly in women’s health issues, need hanging from a lamppost?

  21. Kiwanda says:

    cpinva said above:

    you seem wholly focused on “sniping and sneering”, when myers’ caution was an entire paragraph, a litany of items, commited by trolls, and for which he will out/ban them. so, in order to make your argument sound more reasonable than it actually is, you conveniently ignore the rest of his warning.

    your credibility here is lacking.

    What Myers says:

    But there are also bad reasons to use a pseudonym on a blog. The very worst? Some people use anonymity to empower their ability to be a shithead. They snipe and sneer, they hide behind fake names, they use multiple sock puppets to generate the illusion that more people support their hatred, and also to prevent people from blocking them — they want to force you to read their venom.

    I do not support shitheads.

    I ban them. I am announcing now that if you persist in being a shithead on my blog, I won’t hesitate to expose your IP address and email.

    So, he mentions also anonymity (“hiding behind fake names”) and sock-puppeting.

    It’s unclear whether being a “shithead”, and so having private information released (don’t care about banning) requires all those things, or only some. I think it’s the former, especially considering the number and variety of people to raise Myers’s name-calling as worse than “shitheads”.

    Some people above think that as long as there’s been a warning, such outing is OK; has there been a warning?

  22. Kiwanda says:

    Snuff curry shares:

    No, that’s emphatically not “doxxing.” “Doxxing” is distinct from using a search engine to link on-line comments to a meatspace person employing information that person has previously (and quite happily) disclosed. Which, in any rate, is not what Benson did.

    I defer to your wisdom (and others) on the precise meaning of “doxxing”. Later let’s discuss “impact” as a verb, “wiki” for “wikipedia”, “blog” for blog post, “hacking”, etc.

    What Benson did was throw together Skep tickle’s first name (not otherwise easily associated with the nym) and position together in close proximity, in such a way that she was easily found by googling. Less than “Skep tickle is Eliza Sutton”, more than is appropriate for a blog owner. That’s it.

    You’re right, however. I was confusing Graham with Skep Tickle, which makes your accusations against Benson look more and more like petty lies, given that all she did is address a sock-puppet by her first name, the name she was given.

    Speaking of being aware of all internet traditions (like the meaning of “doxxing”), you’re using the term “sock-puppet” inappropriately. It’s not just using a single nym, or even briefly using a second.

    As this is the third or fourth time I’ve asked you to show me where Benson introduced new information or used old information to expose Eliza’s identity (not a well-kept secret), to show me The Dox that Shook the Slymepit’s World, I conclude you have no evidence to share, but are relying on people too fed up with the whole thing to contradict you or to do their own independent investigation when you parrot, ineptly, yet another whinging dude-bro myth.

    I answered in some detail already, after the first, well maybe the second time. I have to take exception with you here, also: I thought my parroting of slymepit-dude-bro-its-all-about-the-menz mythology was very ept. And may I say, you’re very buzzword compliant.

    • Sharculese says:

      Shut the fuck up, Kiwanda. You’re totally incapable of acting like an adult when it comes feminism and everyone knows it. Christ, can we have just one thread on the subject without you stumbling in here to throw a prissy shitfit about how mean feminist x is being to you?

      • bspencer says:

        No. He always shows up for these posts. It’s weird.

        • Kiwanda says:

          That’s an excellent explanation, Sharculese, thanks for clearing that up. I will try to model my grown-up behavior on your measured, thoughtful comments. Or, maybe on “hang’em from the lamp-post” Dave. Not.

          I don’t participate much in threads in which I generally agree with the sentiments expressed: there’s not much point in “me too” comments. (I haven’t in general participated (this) much even when I disagree, contrary to Sharculese.) This topic is also one where there’s a lot of heat, dogmatism, tribalism, straw-manning, and misinformation thrown out by people who on other topics seem to know and behave better, which I find frustrating, in the “someone’s being wrong on the internet” sense.

          • Sharculese says:

            This topic is also one where there’s a lot of heat, dogmatism, tribalism, straw-manning, and misinformation thrown out by people who on other topics seem to know and behave better, which I find frustrating, in the “someone’s being wrong on the internet” sense.

            That’s because clods like you are perpetually showing up with a pompous throat clear to lecture about how if you had all the facts, you’d know that Person Currently Receiving Death/Rape Threats is actually the worst, and then you start in with this long, tedious pleas for a faux-civility that actually means, ‘can you please stop trying to disrupt the status quo? The status quo is comfortable for me.’

            You’re a boring person, and you think dumb, boring things. Fuck along now.

          • bspencer says:

            This topic is also one where there’s a lot of heat, dogmatism, tribalism, straw-manning, and misinformation thrown out by people

            Exactly.

        • ChrisTS says:

          I was not aware of that, but I cannot say I am surprised.

          Personally, I love the smell of bacon fat sizzling in the morning.

  23. Kiwanda says:

    Sharculese shares:

    If it causes a dude like you to whine about ‘straw men’ as if that wasn’t the most overused and content-free term on the entire fucking internet, then yes.

    Also, fuck off.

    When have I mentioned strawmen when it wasn’t accurate?

    Yes. Every single Wastson thread you make the same mealy-mouthed disclaimer and then end up acting like a colossal baby again.

    I have to say, you remember my few random comments (on other threads) much better than I do. How did I behave like a “colossal baby” exactly?

    While I naturally find very fascinating the topic of me, and how I behave, and who I’m obsessed with, and how there’s something Fuck-Related I should be doing, I’m a little surprised at how interested you are in the topic; I mean, you haven’t actually talked about anything else, I don’t think. But please, tell me about me some more.

  24. Kiwanda says:

    Kiwanda says:
    June 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I said:

    Please, call me a lying dipshit all you like (and you seem to like), but no strawmanning like this. I’m a little embarrassed for you: it’s so obvious here.

    Snuff curry says:

    Surprising to no one, liars get wounded feelings and hypersensitive when their obvious lies are obvious. Again, no one cares.

    Huh? I don’t think you actually read what I said.

  25. Kiwanda says:

    Snuff curry:

    Look, Gregor Sansa, fair play to you and all, but you’re coming at this from a point of profound ignorance.

    Benson connected no dots for herself or anyone else; she bridged no gap. Eliza commented on Benson’s blog as Eliza, so Benson called her Eliza. Eliza has been commenting on skeptic and secular boards for many years now–again, as Eliza–and she is the one who “outted” herself, a long time ago, as working on an atheist board and as sometimes using other ‘nyms.

    Read up on what’s going on.

    Once again: right, she didn’t do it, but Myers thought it was such a great idea that now he promises to do it, and Zvan is pondering at length about why it just might be what needs to be done.

    But anyway, what you’re claiming is false: there was no public connection of the name “Eliza” with the nyms. She did not “out” herself. What I’m sure you have evidence otherwise?

    Gregor Sansa:

    OK. Good to know that the troll is wrong as well as being a troll. And yes, I was ignorant of the details.

    I’m really not up on the lingo: I was confused about “doxxing”, and while I thought “troll” meant “someone who wants to disrupt by provoking outrage”, apparently it means “someone who disagrees with the local echo chamber and politely refuses to be shouted down”.

  26. Pogsurf says:

    I’m really not up on the lingo: I was confused about “doxxing”, and while I thought “troll” meant “someone who wants to disrupt by provoking outrage”, apparently it means “someone who disagrees with the local echo chamber and politely refuses to be shouted down”.

    Still bickering about Skep tickle’s doxxing, even after she has auto-didoxxed? You guys need to find something useful to do.

    • Kiwanda says:

      No sure who “you guys” is supposed to be.

      “even after she has auto-didoxxed”? Assuming I understand what “auto-didoxxed” means, I don’t see how it’s relevant to the offense of outing (doxxing) her.

      Anyway, my original comment was about the future, not the past: a warning that if you comment at some FtB blogs and offend, in some poorly unspecified way, they may out you, or tamper with your comments (as in, edit them to say something you didn’t say). In the case of Myers’s blog, outing seems to be threatened even for as little as “sniping and sneering”.

      (I don’t know about commenters who casually threaten physical violence, like local hero Dave, in this thread; I’d guess that since he’s threatening the Bad People (like me), he’d be fine on FtB, just as he is here.)

      • Don’t be such an asshole and you’ll have no problems, asshole.

        Are you a lying asshole? Quite possibly. Own it.

        • Kiwanda says:

          Apparently you missed Myers’ announcement (not fully quoted in the linked post):

          But there are also bad reasons to use a pseudonym on a blog. The very worst? Some people use anonymity to empower their ability to be a shithead. They snipe and sneer, they hide behind fake names, they use multiple sock puppets to generate the illusion that more people support their hatred, and also to prevent people from blocking them — they want to force you to read their venom.

          I do not support shitheads.

          I ban them. I am announcing now that if you persist in being a shithead on my blog, I won’t hesitate to expose your IP address and email.

          So sure, he didn’t mention comments he dislikes, he mentioned people he dislikes, due to their comments.

          As to “problems”: I don’t visit FtB except occasionally as linked elsewhere; stupid and dogmatic people saying a lot of stupid and dogmatic things are boring. And I never comment there. So what problems are you referring to?

  27. ySDfzH17 says:

    311172 57333Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but soon after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… effectively I’m not writing all that more than once again. Regardless, just wanted to say amazing weblog! 518801

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