|"Fuck off and die," says frequent Skepchick/Freethought Blogs commenter 'Spokesgay.'|
The before-mentioned podcast episode and various 'misogyny wars' posts, though, have not been met with open arms from particular persons writing for or commenting on the Freethought Blogs and/or Skepchick networks.
PZ Myers -- one of the most, if not the most, popular and trafficked bloggers on the Freethought Blogs network -- for instance, responding to my writing "I'll honestly be one of those people in leadership positions to do something" concerning Surly Amy's call for leaders in the freethought community to take a stand against violent threats against women in the freethought community, ridiculed me saying,
He then followed this with
Blogger Jason Thibeault a.k.a. 'Lousy Canuck' -- along with blogger Stephanie Zvan of 'Almost Diamonds' -- has called me a "vacuous shitbag troll" and a "tone troll" following my call for civility in response to 'Lousy Canuck' calling the president of the James Randi Educational Foundation a "douchebag."
Blogger Ophelia Benson of 'Butterflies and Wheels' has called me an "asshole" and accused me of "telling lies" about her in a podcast following her using the terms/phrases "disgraceful," "very dishonest," "unethical," not too careful with the truth," "hack pursuing a vendetta," and "dishonest hack" to describe me (and Karla Porter).
All of this poor treatment, though, was quite underwhelming compared to the treatment I received hours ago by frequent Skepchick and Freethought Blogs commenter 'Official SpokesGay' (hereafter referred to as 'Spokesgay') whom 'Lousy Canuck' happens to apparently endorse.
'Spokesgay' tweeted, "There are no "all sides of these debates." Bigoted sexism and taunting is wrong. Full stop." in response to a blog post by Michael Nugent and related discussion to the blog post which ironically advises people to "Accept that each of us is likely to be right about some issues and mistaken about others" and "Try to approach each issue on its merits, rather than on the basis of which side you think the person is on."
I saw this as a black-and-white attitude in which 'Spokesgay' sees only one possible correct position and no room for disagreement. Limiting a debate to only one 'side,' it seems, is quite the dogmatic and righteous attitude. I tweeted, "So, people either fully agree with [Rebecca] Watson and co. or they are bigoted sexists? No in-between? No disagreement on some issues? Responding, 'Spokesgay' tweeted, "Yeah. No disagreement on "women are human and should be accorded theory of mind."
'Spokegay,' and many others, it seems, have really simplified the 'debate' concerning the 'misogyny wars.' Some people ask, for example, whether 'sexual images' should be permitted at atheist/skeptic conventions. What, exactly, is a 'sexual image?' Should the phenomenal album "Velvet Darkness They Fear," often referred to as one of the best examples of 'beauty and the beast' vocals in all of metal, containing overt themes of religious skepticism, be barred from sale at conferences because the album's artwork contains exposed breasts of a woman lying on bedsheets? Should policies insist that people ask permission before a hug? What approach should people take to respond to shoddy thinking - shaming or educating?
What about effective approaches to feminism? What should feminists be committed to? Which issues should be of primary concern? In which ways, if at all, should organizations and persons act to better the position of women? Should the concerns of men be overlooked while the conversation is dominated by women? What about focus on characteristics such as race? Returning to the tweets...
I responded to what I saw as the over-simplification from 'Spokesgay' tweeting, "That's one issue. There is disagrement on others such as policy implementation, breadth of problems, how to address issues." 'Spokesgay,' in response, said, "So fuck you." I responded saying, "So, "fuck you" is the answer to people who are libertarian/equity feminists in disagreement with other fem's on some issues" simply noting that other approaches exist.
'Spokesgay,' jumping to conclusions about my viewpoints (and apparently my political viewpoints, to be more precise), responded saying, "No. "Fuck you" is the answer to shithead douchebag libertarian fuckwad fapper motherfuckers like you. Cuz it ain't all about your peen." My response, refraining from any name-calling, was, "So, your cause is righteous, huh? Everyone else who even mildly disagrees is wrong and a horrible person by fiat?"
Following with more name-calling and entering into the territory of possible libelous accusations, 'Spokesgay' tweeted, "And then there's you, being a son of a bitch and harassing women, taunting them for objecting to their treatment." My last response was a simple "and then there's you, making assumptions, employing mind-reading tactics implying malice, avoiding objections, and changing topic."
Ending our 'discussion,' 'Spokesgay' finished with, "Sorry, I forgot. . . fuck off and die."
I find it really interesting that some members of a crowd who are leading the charge against what is allegedly a torrent of constant abuse against women in the secular community seem to, in many cases, have no concern for modeling civility and the sort of conduct they are demanding from those who happen to disagree on even minor issues. Apparently, it is permissible for some people to levy personal attacks against charitable and respectful dissenters and perhaps even -- according to the standards of some in the Skepchick and Freethought Blogs communities -- harass, bully, and threaten others.
Treat with respect, though, people like Rebecca Watson...and don't even dare so much as to question her judgment for that is 'telling people what is best for their mental-well being.'
Don't dare follow or *gasp* re-tweet satirical Twitter accounts which some people happen to find amusing. Don't dare wear a t-shirt which says you feel safe and welcome at a conference you happen to be speaking at for that might be "one of the most hurtful things," eliciting tears, a convention attendee/sponsor may experience. Don't dare wear 'fake necklaces' to express disapproval with bloggers and convention-goers.
Don't dare question behaviors and reactions of people who deem e-mails to be threats/threatening before investigation when the e-mails later turn out to be from a concerned supporter.
Leave skepticism at the door. Don't dare question the established narrative. Assert nebulous terms in order to disqualify people from the discussion at hand while assuming you know the life experience of individuals whom you never met. Vilify and demonize those whom you disagree - for their ways are simply wrong and your cause is the 'only way.' Matter not what certain people have contributed to the atheist/skeptic movement, for their approach to one issue defines the person's entire character and makes them a horrible person who shouldn't be treated like a human being.
Disagree with 'Spokesgay?'
The answer is simple.
Fuck off and die.
I wonder how certain bloggers at Freethought Blogs and the Skepchick network would react if I were to behave like this toward their fellow bloggers - telling them to "fuck off and die" while calling them "shithead douchebag motherfuckers," especially considering the slightest 'infraction' is grounds for inappropriate behavior, banning, and moral demands on others to change behavior because people happen to be offended...
The level of discourse in the ongoing 'misogyny wars' -- from some blogging under the umbrella of feminism -- is absolutely disgusting and quite a blight on what is supposed to be a humanistic rationalist community. Lines are drawn, sides are designated, and enemies are declared. People are considered 'bad persons' for simply posting in internet forums like 'That Little Outpost of Hell' dubbed 'The Slyme Pit.'
People are presumed guilty by default. People who express skepticism concerning judgment are dubbed to be 'invalidating experience' or telling women they are liars. Coordinating conjunctions are even unacceptable because, of course, issues are simply black and white. Comments from obvious internet trolls who shouldn't be taken seriously -- unidentifiable persons who are not even necessarily [active] members of the freethought community -- are grounds for maligning an entire community and making people believe that women aren't welcome at freethought meetings. Disagreement is just not tolerated - and grounds for speakers to single out conference attendees during keynote speeches claiming they 'parrot misogynistic thought' and are responsible for driving women away from skeptic events.
'Surly Amy' has recently called for men in leadership roles in the freethought community to take a stand against hate directed at women. Even better than that (and thus not excluding trans- individuals, limiting based on arbitrary facts about persons, or leaving out persons not in leadership roles), I call for all persons in the freethought community -- and not just people in leadership positions -- to make personal commitments to stand against disrespectful discourse in a civil fashion. Refrain from jumping to conclusions about people with whom you happen to disagree. Don't discredit individuals based on their opinions on one issue. Understand that there can be various approaches, and not just your own, to combat problems of sexism/harassment/misogyny/whatever. Model the sort of conversation you want to see.
Can we do that...or should we continue fighting against one another, dividing this movement, and attacking persons? The ball is in your court.
Take some skepticism and desirable conversational discourse from Epica's "Monopoly on Truth" because, as the song says, "The truth isn't just a derivative of your views."