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Abbie Smith is a graduate student studying the molecular and biochemical evolution of HIV within patients and within populations. She also studies epigenetic control of ERVs.

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« Powassan virus: Why did no one tell me about this??? | Main | HuffPo lulz »

Bad form, Rebecca Watson.

Category: AtheismDouchebaggery!
Posted on: July 1, 2011 10:00 AM, by ERV

Note from ERV-- Like all posts on ERV, I wrote this one the night before (Thurs) and scheduled it for the next day (Fri). But with this post, I wrote it, but then just saved it, intending to completely alter the tone of the post as I was eating breakfast. But then I woke up to an extremely cognizant, articulate post by Stef McGraw, complete with a shockingly arrogant, jackass comment by Rebecca Watson, and I was like "Ah, no. No 'Full House' heart-warming conversation with Watson. She wanna act a bitch, she gonna get a bitch."


One of these days, theyre going to come for my Vagina License.

Theres no way to summarize this, but because this is the internet, I will just link to things:
This.
This.
This.

I left a comment on that last link yesterday morning, but the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was.

I have no idea who Stef McGraw is (*shrug*). Nor do I have any opinion of the Skepchicks (*shrug*). But I have been in Stefs position before, as well as Rebeccas. And because this is the internet, I can leave a long, detailed reason why I think what Watson did was bad form, and if she wants, she can leave a long, detailed response here, or her blog, or ignore me, or whatever. Im not going to bring this up in a random speech where Watson is in the audience, and run off.

Rebecca broke one of The Rules of the internet: Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace.

Do not do this.

Ever.

No one gives a crap about what treefrog72 said about you on livejournal. No one gives a crap about what Stef McGraw said about you on YouTube. No one. Unless you are PZ, no one reads your blog or watches your YouTube channel. You bring that crap up in a speech, and literally two people in the audience know wtf you are talking about. Its no more appropriate to do that in a speech than it is to tell inside jokes most of the audience wont get, or use scientific jargon the audience wont get. Its just bad speaking.

Furthermore, because the audience has no clue what youre talking about, they just kinda have to take your word for it that the situation is what it is.

But thats not always the case, is it?

Chis Mooneytits and his partner in crap, Sheril Whatever
, completely misrepresented Crackergate (internet) in their MeatSpace book, 'Unscientific America'.

Caseytits Luskin completely misrepresented the ERV blog (internet) when he brought the Discovery Institute Circus to Oklahoma (MeatSpace).

How does anyone in the audience know that Watson didnt do the same damn thing? How would they know if Watson totally quotemined McGraw? You cannot provide links irl, or wait 20 minutes for everyone to watch a stupid YouTube video and read all the appropriate links and get up to speed in a speech (assuming anyone in the audience had the inclination to do so, which is unlikely).

And so what if she didnt? What if what Watson posted was a 100% accurate depiction of McGraw?

This wasnt a fucking debate. McGraw was called out, but was never and would never be given the exact same platform to respond. Very bad form, Watson. Curious that Caseytits Luskin pulled the exact same stunt on me. ProTip: when giving speeches, its probably best to avoid behaviors identical to that of Creationists.

Lucky for Watson, McGraw does not have (though I hope will develop with time) my killer instinct. See, when Casey pulled that shit on me, I went straight to the mic, confronted him about calling me out, and flipped him off when it became clear I was talking to someone with the mental acuity of a strung out cow.

But thats kinda the crux of the matter, isnt it? I am who I am on this blog. Others appear to be in-your-face-gangstas made of meringue.

Watson did not confront her male proposition-er, nor did she 'NAME NAMES!'. Personally, I would have said "Dude, did you hear my speech today? Cause you are being super creepy. LOL. Peace out, Dude, Im going to sleep." I wouldnt trundle off to bed and write a post about it in the safe shelter of my blag. But fine, I recognize that not everyone has my self confidence and quick wit (DUDE!). But why the hell did Watson make the very poor, split-second decision to 'call out' McGraw in the safe shelter of a podium?

When I spoke at the TX Freethought Convention, I probably said something a bit too casual about epigenetics. A speaker later in the day, Michael Newdow, took issue with that phrase. So he came up to me after my talk and said flatly "I want to use something you said as evidence of how even scientists can be woo-y when it comes to medicine." I was like "WTF!" and we spent about 30 minutes straightening things out. I learned things, he learned things, the people listening in on our conversation learned things.

HOLY CRAP!

What a novel concept!

Someone says something you disagree with, so you actively try to discuss the issue with said person in a reasonable manner!! THE SECOND SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE!!!

Who the hell thinks Watsons behavior will 'get through' to McGraw better than a 30 minute discussion with McGraw on why Watson was hurt/disappointed/whatever by what McGraw said? On what planet would Watsons behavior have resulted in a net positive? Someone with Watsons speaking experience and internet experience should have done better.

Even granting the premise that what Watson did was technically 100% 'not wrong', what she did was bad form.

And worst of all... dammit worst of all-- Watsons comments in her speech re: McGraw were apparently completely unnecessary. The audience appeared to view her McGraw comments as separate from her actual speech, and Watson herself said that it was leik, only two minutes, for reals. So why the fuck did she bring it up at all? Why??? Cause it was the bitchy thing to do! McGraw said something Watson thought was bitchy, so Watson did something bitchy right back. Goddammit. As a woman in skepticism, Rebecca Watson, thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it. I really do. Irony is one of my favorite sources of lulz, and nothing is more ironic than someone embodying the stereotype they purport to be combating, especially when I myself am trying to combat those stereotypes. Faaaaantastic.

If I were McGraw, I would have been surprised, hurt, and frustrated by Watsons behavior.

If I were the audience, I would have been confused and annoyed.

If I were McGraws friends, I would have been disappointed and pissed off at Watson.

And if I were Watson, I would have recognized in retrospect that while my actions were not 'wrong', they were bad form, and would try to do better in the future. Id also try to have a discussion with McGraw instead of, once again, retreating to the safe, padded walls of my blag. Fucking pathetic. Cant even *fathom* that ones actions might not have been ideal...

Buuuuuut I am Abbie. So Im pretty much where I was before. *shrug* But the same shit that got pulled on Stef has happened to me, and I am a female science/skeptic speaker, so I had to say something.

On with the science.

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Comments

1

Yes, it was very bad form, dragging that stuff into a completely different talk. I'm always amazed how easily small sparks get blown up on the internet into huge conflagrations. Some people love to blow on the embers.

Posted by: Jerry Coyne | July 1, 2011 11:17 AM

2

The thing that really bugs me about this whole kerfluffle is that the original issue was certainly one people could debate. I get why Rebecca was put off by the elevator proposition, but a woman disagreeing with her is hardly a betrayal of all feminist kind. Reasonable people can disagree on whether the guy was a douche, clueless, or a clueless douche, but this doesn't even hold a candle to the kind of anti-feminist bullshit that regularly falls from the mouths of Palin or Bachmann.

As far as calling someone out in a speech? Talk about a circular firing squad. If Rebecca wanted to call people out in her speech, how about some ENEMIES of skepticism and feminism, not people who disagree with you on minutiae? I love Skepchick and Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, which is why this even more disappointing.

Any blog post that uses that anteater photo is immediately my favorite for the day ;)

Posted by: Rob Monkey | July 1, 2011 12:43 PM

3

Count me as in favor of the proposition that we should be able to proposition one another. This one seems to have been handled awkwardly. We don't know what conversation occurred on the way to the elevator, and if someone were to proposition me, I'd prefer that they do it in private.

But I'm just baffled by Watson's approach here-- lumping McGraw in with the misanthropic Youtube commenters is just plain weird. "There are people on the internet wishing that I'd get raped-- and some people even have the nerve to disagree with me!"

I always thought that the whole point of feminism was that women could do/think/be/say anything they wanted, and as a result, there is no Correct Way to be a feminist. Insisting on ideological purity is a sure way to kill a movement that still has a lot to offer.

Posted by: madder | July 1, 2011 1:29 PM

4

*Slow clap*

Posted by: Atheist in the wings | July 1, 2011 1:47 PM

5

I was checking out Watson's blog again and there are a lot of people who disagreed with her interpretation of the elevator incident. They were immediately shouted down by Watson fans, even though they seem to be regular readers of the blog.
So, Is Rebecca going to start keeping a list of everyone that is in her circle of readers and call them out by name? Why did she choose two women to call out, one with a real name? There were lots of people who did not identify their gender (and of course anyone questioning Watson was automatically considered a mean, evil, man).
Of all the commenters who did post, only about 10% actually posted about Stef's comment or the conference. The rest are still discussing he elevator incident. I think this just proves that Watson's decision to call Stef out was a poor one. No one gives a crap about someone who disagrees with you on the internet, except YOU (Rebecca).

Posted by: peg | July 1, 2011 2:13 PM

6

Thank you Erv. As someone who really, really, really, really doesn't want to be a dick or to do something dickish to a woman (or to anyone unless they have done something worse to deserve it, usually to someone less empowered than me). When people are dickish to me, usually I just avoid them in the future until I have forgotten the details and then it doesn't matter to me anymore.

If I ever do something that can be interpreted that way, I would really like it to be pointed out to me so that I can understand what it is I did wrong, and so I can learn to not do that in the future, and so that I can generalize from the specific case into broader cases. That helps me to be a better person.

I really like your example of epigenetics. The best thing you can do for any scientist is to point out a mistake they are making and flaws in their conceptualization of reality. That helps someone be a better scientist. If someone doesn't like that, then they are not a scientist and don't want to be one.

That should be how human relations work too. If you do something hurtful, you should be told about it so you can change and not do it again. That is unless you wanted to do something hurtful and you will want to do something hurtful again, and again, and again, and again.

One of the reasons I am drawn to science and to skepticism is that I know how to do it and I do it very well, much better than I do human relationship stuff. Science and skepticism is trivial for me because it is only about facts which don't change (unless they are found to be in error) and the relationships between those facts which are always compatible with logic. Facts and logic, what could be simpler, things that are all connected and which pretty much never change. That is why I always LOL when “skeptics” try to “prove” my nitric oxide stuff is bogus using rhetoric. If they could prove it bogus, I would thank them profusely, but they need to use facts and logic.

People are much more complicated and relationships are much more complicated squared. But because people can interact, they can provide feedback when you are doing it rong. Without that feedback, mutually satisfactory relationships would be impossible. One sided relationships are possible, but that is anathema to what feminists are trying to accomplish.

It does sadden me to see Rebecca trying to use her status as the Skepchick to put other people down. That is a Kyriarchy driven thing to do. It is not pro-feminist, it is anti-feminist. But good that you saw it and pointed it out so she can change and become a better skeptic and feminist.

Your vagina license is in no danger of being revoked. ;)

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 1, 2011 2:23 PM

7

I had another thought about this and how it relates to PZ and the accommodationists. The accommodationists want to be at the top of the atheist social social status hierarchy, PZ says “what hierarchy?” The accommodationists are trying to accomplish this by disagreeing with the style with which PZ interacts with non-atheists and pulling him down so that they can move up.

Social power hierarchies are all zero-sum. You can only move up by moving other people down. There are no equals in a social power hierarchy. Everyone who is higher has more power, status, authority than everyone who is lower.

True feminists (of which I consider myself to be) don't want to replace the Patriarchy with a Feminiarchy, or a Matriarchy or a Skeptiarchy, or any other kind of Kyriarchy with some people having privilege over other people. True feminists want no one to have any kind of privilege over anyone but themselves.

I don't want to have privilege over anyone but myself. I don't want my ideas to be considered other than on their merits. If my facts or logic are wrong, tell me so that I can correct them. If I am acting as if I have privilege over someone, tell me so I can change my actions.

This is much of what is wrong with science, when scientists use their social position to bully other scientists, rather than using facts and logic. This is what is wrong with the way that funding is done in science, the way that kudos is earned and to whom kudos is given. It really needs to be done based on science and not on social power.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 1, 2011 8:16 PM

8

I just thought of something weird about the elevator incident that I haven't checked to see if anyone else brought up. She basically said "Hey guys, don't come up to me at conference late at night when I'm alone and start flirting with me." And yet, that is exactly how she met her ex-husband. Sounds a bit hypocritical to me.

Posted by: Reckoner | July 2, 2011 12:27 AM

9

Hm. As someone who was at that bar that night and only left minutes before Rebecca(taking the same elevator), so knowing the lay of the land somewhat, I have to say it would have been extremely easy for someone to time it right to get into an elevator with her to do the creep thing. And to remind dimwits like Reckoner @ 8, it is a creep thing to do to propose coffee in your room to a lone woman inside an elevator at 4am. Rebecca is a public person, and we were at this bar for hours and hours with high-profile folks like PZ, there would have been plenty of opportunity to approach her during this time to discuss what he wanted to discuss. I therefore totally agree with what Rebecca says here :

It’s pathetic when someone hits on a person (who has been talking nonstop about how much she loathes the sexual advances she’s subjected to at conferences) by saying absolutely nothing to her before inviting her to his hotel room.

So while you can argue about whether it's worth bringing this up in an unrelated talk where the audience doesn't quite know the details, I think Stef is wrong in her assessment of what happened there.

Posted by: Rorschach | July 2, 2011 5:29 AM

10

@Rorschach,

Stef McGraw could be wrong or not - although it seems like a matter of opinion, not a matter of evidence.

If she is wrong, does that justify what Rebecca did to her, lumping her together with would-be Rebecca rapists, in front of an audience, and later write about it on her own Skepchick blog?

Posted by: Claus Larsen | July 2, 2011 6:19 AM

11

Claus Larsen,

it seems even Abbie is not making that argument :

I also imagine Rebecca had the 'best' intentions with her anecdote, but it appears the anecdote was only tangentially related to her actual presentation topic.

That's also what I think is the worst allegation here, that it was not really related to her speech topic, and that the students ended up not listening to her actual talk afterwards, and instead had the dorms erupt with enebriated communication about this "anecdote".

Posted by: Rorschach | July 2, 2011 7:05 AM

12

@Rorschach,

I wasn't talking about Abbie. I was asking you:

If McGraw is wrong, does that justify what Rebecca did to her, lumping her together with would-be Rebecca rapists?

Posted by: Claus Larsen | July 2, 2011 8:06 AM

13
If McGraw is wrong, does that justify what Rebecca did to her, lumping her together with would-be Rebecca rapists?

McGraw is wrong. As to RW, where did she do that exactly, got a quote ? I think if you choose to blog, you better be prepared to cop some flak, and that might include being mentioned in someone's talk. But, I am sympathetic to the gist of Abbie's post, and to what McGraw said as well :

had Ms. Watson instead chosen to write a scathing review of my position on her blog (with a link to mine, of course), I honestly would have no complaints. My reasoning in saying this is that in the blogosphere, we are on an equal playing field. Given we both give links (which we have) to other’s blogs, there is not the obvious imbalance of power which is present in the speaker/student attendee situation.

I actually agree with that to a degree. I don't know what the opportunities were on the night to rebut what she said, but she has a point that there was a power imbalance.

Posted by: Rorschach | July 2, 2011 8:29 AM

14

I would have thought you had read McGraw's account by now:

"Then, a day later at the conference, Watson delivered a keynote speech on the religious right’s war against women. Before she got to her main content, though, she decided to address sexism in the secular movement, which she views as a rampant problem. I shared her disgust as she showed screenshots of people online calling her demeaning names, making comments about her appearance, and, worst of all, making rape comments.

Then, switching gears, Watson made a remark to the extent that there are people in our own community who would not stand up for her in these sorts of situations; my name, organization, and a few sentences from my blog post then flashed on the screen before my eyes. She went on to explain how I didn’t understand what objectification meant and was espousing anti-woman sentiment.

My first reaction was complete shock. I wasn’t surprised that she had seen my post, but I didn’t think she would choose to address it during her keynote, let alone place it in a category with people advocating for her to be raped. In fact, I was excited to possibly speak with her afterward in order to discuss the matter face-to-face. Instead, all I could do was just sit there and watch myself being berated for supposedly espousing anti-woman views and told that I wouldn’t stand up for women in sticky situations with men, as one hundred of my peers watched on. I found both of those accusations to be completely and utterly incorrect, as anyone who actually knows me could tell you I care deeply about fighting sexist thought. I started thinking, how can I respond? It didn't feel right to have to endure a widely respected keynote speaker's accusations that I was a living example of what was wrong with our movement while I sat there unable to defend my position."


Fursdays wif Stef #33


Since you think McGraw is wrong, does that justify what Rebecca did to her, lumping her together with would-be Rebecca rapists?

Posted by: Claus Larsen | July 2, 2011 8:48 AM

15

Rorschach-- So while you can argue about whether it's worth bringing this up in an unrelated talk where the audience doesn't quite know the details, I think Stef is wrong in her assessment of what happened there.

I dont care.

If Watson had a problem with McGraw, she should have talked with McGraw. To bring up a personal disagreement with an individual in a speech in front of a LOT of people, where the other person would not be given the opportunity to tell their side, explain their reasoning, refute the others comments, especially when the comment was only tangentially related to the topic of the speech is BAD FORM.

It was a bitch move.

Which is relevant to Watsons proclaimed area of 'expertise'.

No good came to female skeptics from Watsons bitch move. Furthermore, her reaction to McGraw has taken my opinion of Watson, "*meh* internet personality, whatever", to "Oh, so shes Rook, Sapient, and the Prostitute all wrapped up into one. This is going to end well."

Some good could have come from Watson engaging McGraw in a 5/30/120 minute discussion. Possibly a lot of good. If I would have heard about this interaction, my opinion of Watson would have improved.

Even if Watson was 100% right, she absolutely went about addressing this issue the wrong way. That is unquestionable. And the problem is, Watson is so goddamn arrogant she wont even learn anything from this. Which means she will do it again. Which means I would be entirely uninterested in inviting her to speak anywhere. I dont want to listen to someone bitch about internet drama I dont care about for two fucking hours.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 9:01 AM

16
nd the problem is, Watson is so goddamn arrogant she wont even learn anything from this. Which means she will do it again.

We could give her the benefit of the doubt, don't you think !

Posted by: Rorschach | July 2, 2011 9:16 AM

17

Did you read my post? You think someone who responds to McGraws account of the events with "I HAVE OVER 10,000 READERS YOU FLEA!!!" is going to learn from this?

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 9:24 AM

18
You think someone who responds to McGraws account of the events with "I HAVE OVER 10,000 READERS YOU FLEA!!!" is going to learn from this?

On that note. My post on it from a while ago just got pharyngulated, so expect some incoming traffic lol. I agree with you, this argument from popularity also struck me as strange, especially seeing that a loser blog like mine has 30000 readers a month.

Posted by: Rorschach | July 2, 2011 9:36 AM

19

Rorschach,

"We could give her the benefit of the doubt, don't you think !"

Rebecca did not give the elevator guy the benefit of the doubt.

Nor did she give McGraw the benefit of the doubt.

Are you going to answer my question?

Posted by: Claus Larsen | July 2, 2011 10:06 AM

20

Erv, I have met Rebecca, and I don't think she is to arrogant to change. I think she has a lot of “stuff” going on and doesn't have a good framework to deal with it, the framework of “skepticism as war” not being a good framework to do relationships in.

The tactics that one needs to use to deal with misogynist Creationists, who are incapable of arguing or dealing in good faith, even with themselves, are different than the tactics one needs to use to deal with fellow skeptics and feminists, people who are trying to do things honestly and in good faith and would if they understood what they were doing wrong.

Not to excuse bad behavior, but also not to hold bad behavior over someone for the rest of their life. If people understand they did something bad and want to change, they can change. If people are trying to change, then we should help them change and give them encouragement, feedback and cut them a little slack when they backslide.

The whole point of skepticism is that when you find out that you believe in something that is wrong, you change your belief until it corresponds with reality better. If you find out that a certain type of behavior pattern in relationships doesn't work, a skeptic would change their behavior. A non-skeptic would externalize the problem and blame everything else.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 2, 2011 10:44 AM

21

Oh good. Now PZ is positively reinforcing the negative behavior. Yeah, no Watson is totally going to learn from this.

Shes going to learn that she is AMAZING and she can use her platform as a 'skeptic' speaker to get back at WHOEVER SHE WANTS. SHE HAS OVER 9,000 READERS!

Hey, you guys remember a group of internet personalities called 'The Rational Response Squad'? A few random people with no education in theology, or history, or womens studies, or anything really, who traveled round the country speaking at atheist/skeptic conferences? Had the total support of Dawkins, Randi, Hitchens, and hmmm, PZ? What happened to those internet personalities with no relevant education, bolstered into celebrity in the skeptical movement? What happened to them? Hmm... cant remember...

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 10:46 AM

22

erv, count me as another one who disagrees. When someone is mostly known for their internet-related activity, like Rebecca Watson, it's pointless to demand that they don't "bring MySpace drama into Meatspace". Of course, they are going to talk about what goes on in their online neigborhood when giving a speech at a meeting! And it's weird to pretend that Stef McGraw couldn't answer: wasn't McGraw at the same meeting? Didn't RW's speech include a Q&A session where contradictors could have taken her to task? Let's have a little perspective, here. Not to mention common sense.

Posted by: Irene Delse | July 2, 2011 12:12 PM

23

Ya, 1 minute in a Q&A (where Watson would still be given the Final Word) is leik, TOTALLY equivalent to Watsons 60 minute, uninterrupted platform.

But youre right-- Im sure it is hard for Watson to differentiate her internet and real world, because playing on the internet and speaking at conferences what she does.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 12:20 PM

24

Thank you for writing this, Abbie. It's spot-on.

And PZ's post is facepalmingly ridiculous. Good lord :/

Posted by: Miranda Celeste Hale | July 2, 2011 2:22 PM

25

I love PZ, but he really has a bad case of "more feminist than thou" some days. Watson wasn't wrong for being creeped out, annoyed, scared, whatever she felt. You get to feel what you feel in a situation, there's no right or wrong there, it just is.

But when you control a mic, and you're a speaker, you don't get to play the game Watson did. That was a total dick move, because she knew, *knew* that there was no way Stef could actually counter her argument. At best, stef could have asked a one minute question, and then hoped watson wasn't still feeling dickish. Barring the entire audience taking her to task, which I doubt would have happened. Even when they disagree, fans won't say the person they're fans of is wrong during a speech or public Q&A, it'd be rude, or a dick move.

Disagreeing with Stef McGraw is not a dick move, disagreeing on her website is not a dick move. That shit during the speech? Total dick move.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 2, 2011 3:29 PM

26

"What happened to those internet personalities with no relevant education, bolstered into celebrity in the skeptical movement?"

The geologist is leaving which means when Buggirl finally gets sick of their hooey and leaves, any two of the half dozen atheists women I work with will have more combined degrees, years of education and speaking/writing/comprehension skills than the entire Skepchick "task force"

I am becoming increasingly repulsed by indolent undereducated hipster assholes using atheism and post modern feminist theory as a cover for false claims of autodidactic superpowers and abusive attention seeking behaviors.

I guess we didn't learn that lesson from Donkey, Shreck and the Colgate twins.

In the interest of full disclosure I managed to get through only small portions of those video links over the course of a day because I kept going out in the alley to yell and kick things.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 2, 2011 3:59 PM

27

"any two of the half dozen atheist women I work with will have more combined degrees, years of education and speaking/writing/comprehension skills than the entire Skepchick "task force""

Yeah but, can they sell you jewelry and "merch"? Didn't think of that one, did ya, Prometheus? ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2011 4:26 PM

28

I un-subscribed from that site a while ago..

10,000 readers... awful ego driven statement..

and if a woman asked her for a private talk, alone in a room,@ 4 am?

Posted by: Mary | July 2, 2011 4:29 PM

29

Anon-- Maybe next conference they could throw some thongs down on Dawkins autograph table?

LOL!!!

Ah, internet.


Prometheus-- I was actually referring to the RRS, a group composed entirely of uneducated attention whores elevated to the status of 'atheist celebrity' for no apparent reason. Dawkins was the first to wise up, and they promptly accused him of having an affair. Rook eventually got called out for giving presentations on topics he had *zero* relevant education on. Brian Sapient got beaten up by an atheist rapper he ripped off, and had a mental breakdown. And Kelly became a stripper-->prostitute (was fired. not joking)-->now makes porn. Like I told Watson, the internet is fickle... One day youre hanging with Richard Dawkins, the next day you are getting airtighted in Scott Lyons living room.


Mary-- *points to Mary* *points to ERVs nose* We dont know if this man was, in fact, a masculine woman. Maybe it was, and Watson didnt want to look like a homophobe, so she took 'artistic license' with the story. Maybe Watson genuinely thought it was a man, but she was in fact a woman. We dont know. The mystical 'man in the elevator' could be anyone. HE COULD BE IN YOUR HOUSE RIGHT NOW!!!

Good thing Watson casually attacked some chick in her keynote speech, just in case. We can all sleep safely now.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 4:50 PM

30

'Rebecca broke one of The Rules of the internet: Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace.

Do not do this.

Ever'

Why not?

Can you please tell me what the other 'Rules of the Internet' are?

Posted by: Petria | July 2, 2011 6:59 PM

31

Reckoner said:
-snip-

She basically said "Hey guys, don't come up to me at conference late at night when I'm alone and start flirting with me." And yet, that is exactly how she met her ex-husband. Sounds a bit hypocritical to me.

... or she's learning from experience that it's not the best situation for starting a new relationship (you did say that she met her ex under similar circumstances).

:^)

Posted by: Steve Caldwell | July 2, 2011 7:34 PM

32

I really want to hear the man's side on this.
We know nothing about the incident, including what words he used, was he really alone etc, all we know is what Watson has said.
And even though he was at this conference, and even though he apparently knows Rebecca from the skeptic community, he has yet to make a peep about being called a probable rapist and definite misogynist from hundreds of people.
You would think he would at least want to give his side of the story.

Posted by: Peg | July 2, 2011 7:55 PM

33

Youre operating under the assumption that 'he' exists.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 7:57 PM

34

ERV, that was actually my last line, "assuming that he does really exist" but I took it off, lol.
What if the guy had actually said:
"Don't take this the wrong way but I find you interesting My mom loves your work, would you like to come up to our room and have a cup of coffee?" ( or Partner instead of Mom, maybe he was gay)
or if there was actually 4 people in the elevator and he said it to everyone present "I find this conversation very interesting, would anyone like to continue it over coffee in my room, don't take that the wrong way ha ha ha."
Or if the guy said "You are an interesting speaker, would you let me interview you over coffee in my room for the new Micheal Moore documentary I am working on?"
or maybe English is not his first language and was really trying to say "This is an interesting hotel, do they offer coffee in the room?"
Or maybe he did say it exactly as Rebecca stated but he was actually in the elevator first and she followed him out of the bar, and he took it to mean she was interested because he had already left for the bathroom when she said she was getting sleepy.
Maybe he has Aspergers Syndrome and simply has shitty social skills.
We have really only heard one version of the conversation and there is no video tape for us to examine. I just think if you are going to call someone a possible rapist, you should be given both view points before you crucify him and anyone else who sees the incident differently than you do.
It is very rare for two people to have the same experience and both see it the exact same way. Ask any cop.

Posted by: Peg | July 2, 2011 8:34 PM

35

"Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace."

Since when is that a rule? It's about as ludicrous as the "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" canard, not no mention naive.

It's doesn't matter whether you talk trash about me at the office or whether you do it on Facebook - I'm still going to be pissed at you.

A person in Vegas for work cheats on their spouse - because it "happened in Vegas" means this cheating is off the books and the spouse is not going to care? Unlikely.

If somebody makes a blog post or a youtube video to which you respond via blog or 'tube, it's just silly to be suprised at finding yourself mentioned - in any form.

And from this post by somebody who saw Rebecca's talk - http://malimar.livejournal.com/412658.html - it seems as if the anecdote of mention McGraw was germane to the topic at hand.

Though I must admit I'm surprised find myself agreeing with Rebecca instead of ERV. I never thought that would happen. :-)

Posted by: Cory Albrecht | July 2, 2011 8:44 PM

36

"Ex-husband"?

Huh.

I guess that explains a little something, since I'd been wondering how anyone could not know Rebecca was married. But apparently it's me who's out to the loop.

--o--

Anyway, I take her word for it that she was accosted in the elevator, that was indeed a dick move.

And calling out people from a bully pulpit is also a dick move.

Posted by: Sili | July 2, 2011 8:46 PM

37
"Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace."

Since when is that a rule?

Things might be easier for you if you read the rest of the post, where I explained precisely why it is unwise to bring up internet drama in the real world ;)

Remember PepsiGate? Have you tried to explain that to a normal human? Its hysterical.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 8:49 PM

38
"Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace."

Since when is that a rule?

It's never been a rule. Even if you don't do it, someone will do it for you.

Posted by: dexitroboper | July 2, 2011 8:59 PM

39

The topic Watson was supposed to discuss was
"The Religious Right's War on Women".
As an example she used the people who commented "this atheist bitch needs to be raped" etc.
She then derailed her own speech by moving onto how people in the secular movement were just as bad, like the guy who talked to her in the elevator.
And Stef's blog post.
So, No, it was not germane to the topic she was supposed to speak about as Stef is not part of the religious right, she is not conducting a war on women and she is not making violent and misogynistic comments about Rebecca.
She was, however, called a misogynistic sympathizer because she disagreed with Rebecca.

Posted by: Peg | July 2, 2011 9:06 PM

40

From the naming names post:
"I added a paragraph of that response to a slide for the intro to my talk, in which I hoped to call out the anti-woman rhetoric my audience was engaging in ... when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online, it validates that misogyny in a way that goes above and beyond the validation those men get from one another."

It looks to me like she used that quote as an example to illustrate a point, not as a way to attack the specific person who wrote the paragraph.

I did the same thing at Ophelia Benson's blog in a post about submission in Malaysia. I only wanted to comment that that happens here too, and as an example I linked to a post in which a christian blogger was talking about how a christian wife should be submissive to her husband (her boss). I didn't do it to attack the blogger, I used her post as an example.

In this case, it doesn't really make sense to say "if you have a problem with that blogger you talk to her instead of quoting her elsewhere and talking to other people about her post, people who probably have no idea what's that all about", because I don't have a problem with anyone, her post was a good example of a point I wanted to come across so I quoted it. It's not personal, it's an illustration of a general problem. I think that's more or less what has happened with Watson.

From the same post:
"criticizing a person’s words is not the same as criticizing the person. At no point did I ridicule McGraw, and I even started that part of my talk by stating that I had no desire to embarrass anyone — only to use actual, relevant examples to show the anti-feminist thought that seems so pervasive."

Posted by: jose | July 2, 2011 9:29 PM

41

I dont mean to embarrass anyone, but Im going to go ahead and embarrass someone sitting in the audience right now, and not give her an opportunity to respond.

Im not racist, but black people smell funny.

Im not homophobic, but I wish gay people wouldnt be all up in my face about it.

With all due respect, you mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.

YAY! Just preface bullshit with some platitude and you can say ANYTHING!

But lets pretend Watson is not being disingenuous-- Howd her little plan work out for her? This is what she wanted? The internet shitstorm? McGraw totally writing her off (along with a bunch of other people)? Alienating allies? The point of her speech being completely ignored? Me thinking she is a Kasey-Grant-in-training? Wheres the 'Holy crap I didnt mean for this to escalate like this!' post? All we have are arrogant comments on Stefs blog and her running to PZ for help.

Fuck that shit.

Oh wait-- I mean, "I dont mean to degrade the potential benefits of fucking and shit, but fuck that shit."

Rebecca is a proxy of me-- female atheist speaker, and you all better fucking rake me over the coals if I pull a stupid stunt like this. I swear to god if I get the kind of pathetic excuses Watsons people are throwing up, I will shut this whole thing down.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 9:50 PM

42

@40

Did you do the same thing as in illustrating a point, then calling Ophelia a misogynist sympathizer knowing full well that Ophelia was in the audience, and knowing full well that she had to sit there and be lumped with rapists and misogynists with no way of rebutting or arguing her case. I guess it was okay right? Because if Ophelia objected to anything she could have just gotten up right when you mentioned her and yelled "point of clarification!" in the middle of a damn presentation.

Posted by: lido209boi | July 2, 2011 9:51 PM

43

"But lets pretend Watson is not being disingenuous-- Howd her little plan work out for her? This is what she wanted?"

I think what she wanted was to illustrate her point with an real example. The point was:

"when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online, it validates that misogyny in a way that goes above and beyond the validation those men get from one another."

"you smell funny" is a personal remark. It's not the same thing as "you are wrong because your post is a pretty standard parrotting of misogynistic thought". I agree with her when she says "criticizing a person’s words is not the same as criticizing the person." When you say "you mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries", you're making a personal attack, instead of attacking an argument. That's why I don't think you're making fair analogies. She didn't paste a pic of the blogger in her slide to say she's ugly or that she smells bad; she quoted a paragraph and argued against it, and that paragraph happens to be written by a person with a name and an occupation and I think when you quote something you should always give the reference.

Posted by: jose | July 2, 2011 10:05 PM

44

@42, you can see what I did right here.

Posted by: jose | July 2, 2011 10:07 PM

45

As a woman, I did not find McGraws blog post anti-woman or misogynistic. McGraw did not find her statements anti-woman or misogynistic. But Watson told, apparently 100 people, that Stef McGraw was anti-woman and misogynistic, and did not give McGraw a platform to state "Actually, I dont think my statements are anti-woman or misogynistic..."

How the fuck is that not personal to McGraw?

If someone called me racist, homophobic, sexist, etc by quoting something I said on the internet without any back story, you bet Id be pissed.

Oh wait, that is EXACTLY WHAT CASEY LUSKIN DID TO ME.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 10:12 PM

46

"I hope the Atheist bitch gets raped"

"Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive?"

This is the pure basics of what Stef said:

It's possible the man actually just wanted to talk and do nothing more, but I'll even give that point to her; I obviously wasn't there, and don't know what sort of vibes he was giving off. Fair enough. My concern is that she takes issue with a man showing interest in her. What's wrong with that? How on earth does that justify him as creepy? Are we not sexual beings? Let's review, it's not as if he touched her or made an unsolicited sexual comment; he merely asked if she'd like to come back to his room. She easily could have said (and I'm assuming did say), "No thanks, I'm tired and would like to go to my room to sleep."

Watson is upset that this man is sexualizing her just after she gave a talk relating to feminism, but my question is this: Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to view to take interest in a woman AND see her as an intelligent person?

when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online, it validates that misogyny in a way that goes above and beyond the validation those men get from one another

Do you really think that what Stef said rises to
"anti-woman rhetoric and misogyny"? in the same way "The bitch needs to be raped" does?


Posted by: Peg | July 2, 2011 10:31 PM

47

@jose

Wow ... dude you didn't fucking read this blog nor Stef's blog at all. You're honestly going to fucking compare you writing a comment on Ophelia's blog (an open forum where anyone can post comments) to this ordeal? I mean fuck, ERV and Stef has made it quite clear that the problem is exactly that Rebecca didn't respond in a blog post or an open forum where Stef could rebut the accusations that Rebecca made of Stef. They have both said that if this exchange was done through blogging with links to each other it would have been fine. Or that perhaps if Stef was sharing the stage somehow with Rebecca this would allow for a fair exchange.

I mean fuck, did you even bother to read this blog?

Posted by: lido209boi | July 2, 2011 10:31 PM

48
Personally, I would have said "Dude, did you hear my speech today? Cause you are being super creepy. LOL. Peace out, Dude, Im going to sleep."

You are so cool and totally different from those other bitches. And he would've been all "LOL, good form, dude! Peace out!"

Or raped you.

Either way, you'd be so cool and totally different from those other bitches.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 2, 2011 10:57 PM

49

For realz, Watson was liek, TOTALLY in fear of rape, which is why after she escaped from the elevator, she immediately contacted the conference organizers to ID the perp, arrange for escorts to/from other conference events, and to warn other women at the conference!

Oh WAIT!

She just made a YouTube video!

How BRAVE!

To think, all I had to put up with with my measly little stalker was someone following me to/from work, trying to get into my apartment when I was home/not home/asleep, dude having delusional conversations with neighbors in attempt to get them to let him into our apartment building, him getting into my mailbox, trying to contact me at work, blah blah blah.

All then all I did was go to the campus police, go to the city police, consulted a lawyer, filed for an emergency restraining order and the associated court dates (three times) where I was terrified of seeing him, take self-defense lessons where I learned how to kill a fellow human with my bare hands, hide every piece of cutlery in my apartment, stash weapons in every room of my apartment (and always carry one), take my pit bull with me everywhere (oh, one time dude hid in our parking lot behind our apt and leaned on my car door so I couldnt get Arnie out, LOL), and warned all of the females in my neighborhood to stay away from him.

But Watson bravely stood down her imminent rapist in a YouTube video and did absolutely nothing to protect other women at the conference, or at future conferences.

Im so glad she survived. Someone asking you if you wanted coffee is so much worse than actually being in fear you are going to be raped or killed.

lol, Salty Current, the 'feminist'. LOL!!

Maybe you should leave a comment with my alpha, Jerry Coyne. I mean why cant he control his female, I mean REALLY.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 11:11 PM

50

LOL!!!

This went on for so long, I got used to opening my door a crack, waiting to hear Arnie run to the door, and then opening the door. I figured if he got in my apartment, he would kill Arnie, so if Arnie was alive it was safe to go into my own apartment. If I didnt hear Arnie, he was dead, and he gave his life to protect mine-- exactly what he would ever do.

The stalker is 'gone' now, but I still do that.

I cant even comprehend how Watson adjusted back to normal life after the elevator incident.

God you are such a fucking joke, SC.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 11:16 PM

51
For realz, Watson was liek, TOTALLY in fear of rape, which is why after she escaped from the elevator, she immediately contacted the conference organizers to ID the perp, arrange for escorts to/from other conference events, and to warn other women at the conference!

Are you crazy?

To think, all I had to put up with with my measly little stalker was someone following me to/from work, trying to get into my apartment when I was home/not home/asleep, dude having delusional conversations with neighbors in attempt to get them to let him into our apartment building, him getting into my mailbox, trying to contact me at work, blah blah blah.

All then all I did was go to the campus police, go to the city police, consulted a lawyer, filed for an emergency restraining order and the associated court dates (three times) where I was terrified of seeing him, take self-defense lessons where I learned how to kill a fellow human with my bear hands, hide every piece of cutlery in my apartment, stash weapons in every room of my apartment (and always carry one), take my pit bull with me everywhere (oh, one time dude hid in our parking lot behind our apt and leaned on my car door so I couldnt get Arnie out, LOL), and warned all of the females in my neighborhood to stay away from him.

So you didn't just "bravely" confront him and say "Dude, you're being seriously creepy" and have him slink off sheepishly? Hiding behind the police? A restraining order? Where were your self-confidence and quick wit?

Maybe you should leave a comment with my alpha, Jerry Coyne. I mean why cant he control his female, I mean REALLY.

Oh. You are crazy.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 2, 2011 11:28 PM

52

And youre a mindless bitch! Huzzah!

Go eat some Haagan Daas! You earned it!

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 11:31 PM

53

ERV:
To think, all I had to put up with with my measly little stalker was someone following me to/from work, trying to get into my apartment when I was home/not home/asleep

All then all I did was go to the campus police, go to the city police, consulted a lawyer, filed for an emergency restraining order and the associated court dates (three times) where I was terrified of seeing him, take self-defense lessons where I learned how to kill a fellow human with my bare hands

I totally agree. A person must be sold into sexual slavery, and be gang raped daily for at least 5 years before one has the right to feel uncomfortable and fear rape in potentially unsafe situations. How dare RW feel threatened in this instance? She didn't even have to buy a pit bull! Of course you are completely aware of her entire sexual history, and know that she has never been raped or even been in a potentially rapey situation. After all. how many women have really ever been stalked or....oh....right.

Posted by: grung0r | July 2, 2011 11:38 PM

54

I'll try to explain something:

You've acknowledged that the guy was being "super creepy." In an elevator alone at 4 AM, "super creepy" is threatening. The best thing is to try to get out of the situation safely; later, you can confront the person and/or address the creepiness as a larger phenomenon, but getting out of that situation is paramount. That's what Rebecca Watson did. Your argument was that she should have gotten out of the situation and then proceeded to ignore the super creepy behavior, despite its having been threatening and part of a pattern and a larger problem. People could say the same thing about your being stalked: could've been much worse, so shut up about it and stop overreacting ("a pit bull - really?").

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 2, 2011 11:43 PM

55

@44, The same way my link to that "your-husband-is-your-boss" blog post is nothing personal against the blogger. I think it illustrates something that is very wrong (submission to the husband) so I quoted her post. I don't know that person, I wish her best of luck in life. It's her post what matters to me, not her, because quoting her post as a real example helps me get my point across.

It also works if I quote something in a positive way (it should go "appreciating a person’s words is not the same as appreciating the person."). Let's say I'm talking with friends about pop sci and style and I think lolspeak is very effective to get science to lay people. I quote one of your posts and provide a link. But I don't know you. Even if I specifically say "this was written by ERV who is a scientist who does HIV and epigenetics research", I'm not making a flattering statement about your persona by quoting your post, only about your style. What's important to me is that that lolspeak post is a good piece of science communication, so I use it as an example to illustrate my point.

Also, I don't think she said "McGraw is anti-woman and misogynistic", but "McGraw’s post is a pretty standard parrotting of misogynistic thought". Note how it's about McGraw's post (in my previous example that would be your style), not McGraw. There's once again the difference between criticizing a person’s words and criticizing the person.

About giving McGraw a platform to respond. I think it would have been appropiate if Watson wanted specifically to refute McGraw and only her, so the comment on that paragraph was aimed to her in particular, instead of it being an example of a general point aimed to the whole audience. But this was not personal nor was it aimed to McGraw in particular, so Watson quoted the paragraph the same way people cite anecdotes; just cite the relevant part, provide the source so people can make sure you're not making stuff up, and comment on what you've cited. I think Watson should have given McGraw a platform if this whole thing were about McGraw: about how she's wrong, about how she in particular is sexist (she specifically), etc. But in my opinion it wasn't. Instead, it was about a post Watson used which just happens to be written by McGraw. She wanted to make a point about how bad things are if not only old men are misogynistic but also women, even young women! And to illustrate the point, she quoted a real young woman saying stuff Watson thinks is wrong. This woman happens to be McGraw. It could have been anyone else in the world. That's why I think this isn't about McGraw, but about misogyny being pervasive, so I don't think Watson had an obligation to give McGraw a platform to discuss the example.

Posted by: jose | July 2, 2011 11:43 PM

56

SC
You are completely missing the point.
Rebecca was not almost raped. No where does she say he did anything that can be construed as attempted rape.
ERV is talking about someone who was not just propositioning her on an elevator one time, she is talking about someone who was routinely stalking her. Who followed her to work, who followed her home, who tried to force his way into her apartment.
That is the problem with this whole fucking thing. Not every man is a rapist. Not every man is even a potential rapist. If you really think someone is trying to rape you, the fear is overwhelming, especially in a stalking situation. Rebecca says nothing about being afraid when she was on that elevator, she is "uncomfortable" for being sexualized.

Had he followed her to her room, been waiting outside her door the next morning, etc, then yes, she should have been worried. She would have been afraid.
She doesn't even say "He followed me to the elevator" She says "He got on the elevator with me." He could have been there first, he could have been walking with her.
It's ridiculous that you are choosing not to see the difference between someone asking you out for coffee (even if it DOES mean sex) and someone who is following you around over a period of time and hiding in parking lots to wait for you.

Posted by: Peg | July 2, 2011 11:44 PM

57

LOL!

Look at all the 'feminists' of not only equating, but talking over and dismissing a very real case of stalking/potential rape/murder in favor of a guy asking a girl for coffee!!

AAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Why oh why does no one take you seriously?? IM SUPER CEREAL YOU GUYS!!!

AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Thank GAWD Watson protected all of us w00myns with her brave YouTube video! Got that perp right off the street! She iz SUPER W00MYNS!!!

That means she totally has a license to abuse her position as a keynote speaker to personally attack someone.

FAIL.

Posted by: ERV | July 2, 2011 11:44 PM

58

Jose
I appreciate you trying to be thoughtful about this, but it was about Stef personally and specifically because Stef was the only one in the audience who was there and whose full name/position was used to make a point that had been made my several others. If she wasn't meaning this to be about Stef in particular, then why did choose her in particular knowing she was there, prior to using that quote. Why not use one of the dozens of other quotes of someone who was not there to make her point?

Posted by: Peg | July 2, 2011 11:51 PM

59
Look at all the 'feminists' of not only equating, but talking over and dismissing a very real case of stalking/potential rape/murder in favor of a guy asking a girl for coffee!!

Oh, please. Stalking? Potential rape/murder? How melodramatic! I'm sure he just liked you and wanted to hang out. I mean, did he assault you? Do you have scars? What a hysterical overreaction on your part. And of course the police went along, because they always believe helpless, whining women, even when they have no real reason to be afraid.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 2, 2011 11:57 PM

60

Peg, it was not her name what was used to make a point, but her paragraph. Her argument. Her name was given as well because when you quote something, you should give the reference.

She was attending the talk, but I don't think that changes anything. I agree with PZ when he says when you're up there you're actually subject to attack. That's how I feel whenever I have to give a presentation in front of a critic audience.

As for why her and not others, I think Watson explains it. First, she was told several people were disagreeing with her, but nothing specific. She says: "When I was discussing the video with friends the next day, I was blown away to be told that there were other student leaders who had expressed similar dismissive attitudes recently on Facebook and on other blogs." You can't really quote "other leaders on facebook and other blogs".

Then, one hour prior to her talk, someone didn't just tell her about some blog, but she was sent a link, something specific she could work with: "An hour or so prior to my talk, someone sent me this link to a post by Stef McGraw on the UNI Freethinkers site. I added a paragraph of that response to a slide for the intro to my talk." That would be the reason why she quoted McGraw. Had the person who sent the link sent another different link to another blog criticizing her instead, she would have quoted that other blog.

Posted by: jose | July 3, 2011 12:08 AM

61

This post is about Watsons irresponsible behavior regarding Stef McGraw (thanks, jose, for keeping it on target).

I choose not to care about Watsons 'incident' for numerous reasons.
1-- We do not know what happened. I am not 'acknowledging' anything regarding that incident, SC. However I am willing to grant the premise that the incident occurred how she represented it, and her emotions were as she reported.
2-- If I believe the incident, I do not care, because I have actually feared for my safety/life before, and it is not the kind of emotions or situations Watson conveyed.
3-- If I grant the post-rationalization-of-behavior premise, that Watson feared for her life/rape in that situation, my response is to get pissed off beyond mortal comprehension. She let a potential rapist/murderer loose on her fellow skeptics. She warned no one. He could have gone downstairs, lured some woman left in the bar up to his room, and raped/killed her instead of Watson. He could be at the next conference I attend. He could be at the next conference you attend (anyone, as 'you'). I would have to believe Watson was terrified, but did nothing to protect other people, then went home, made a YouTube video, and declared herself a WINNER!!!! ... I couldnt sleep at night knowing a pathetic, self-centered, self-absorbed monster like her was 'speaking' for 'atheist women'.


SC-- The first detective I spoke with said just that. "Its not a big deal." So he closed the case. I filed for protective orders anyway. Sometime later, the DA called and apologized-- the guy was not from their normal department, and they would file criminal charges against my stalker. But by that time, my stalker disappeared, so they never had to reopen the case.

I dont think you could FAIL harder if you actively tried. But try anyway. It will amuse me.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 12:18 AM

62

Jose,
"You can't really quote "other leaders on facebook and other blogs"."
Except that she quotes Tweets, Email messages, youtube comments and video responses without citing them correctly.

All of which she says are from Male and female Atheists, and almost never calls them by name or even screen name even though some of their names are also their screen names.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik

One really interesting point in that video is that she says she disagrees with someone who was on an earlier panel, a woman atheist who does not think sexism is a problem in the atheist community- and she calls THAT woman out by name and says that she did not decide what to talk about until she heard that woman speak.
She also says that she did not want to address it in the Q and A session because I wanted to give "an hour long lecture."
Do you not see the hypocrisy here? She says that Stef could have responded to her criticism in her own Q and A, even though she chose to use her panel presentation to address what she disagreed with, because the Q and A did not offer enough time.
The two women she chose to call out by name from her podium were women who disagreed with her and yet she gave a pass in naming names on hundreds of other comments/blogs/etc who were much, much more misogynist.
So, I still don't think this "it's not personal or specific" argument works here.

Posted by: Peg | July 3, 2011 12:57 AM

63

@59 Even if that is an attempt at irony - your post is shocking. Piss off now. Thank you.

Posted by: Jack | July 3, 2011 1:05 AM

64
This post is about Watsons irresponsible behavior [sic] regarding Stef McGraw

I guess I was confused by "thats kinda the crux of the matter, isnt it?"; "Watson did not confront her male proposition-er,"; "Personally, I would have said..."..., and the fact that McGraw was responding to Watson's posts about the incident in the elevator.

I choose not to care about Watsons 'incident' for numerous reasons.

I can guess at the major one. You're young. Younger than Rebecca and certainly younger than me. You think you have a lot of experience, but you don't. It's difficult for you to put yourself in other women's shoes. I hope this will change.

3-- If I grant the post-rationalization-of-behavior premise, that Watson feared for her life/rape in that situation, my response is to get pissed off beyond mortal comprehension. She let a potential rapist/murderer loose on her fellow skeptics.

If she had gone to hotel security, you'd have mocked her. There's no way for a woman in a "He's super creepy" situation to act short of laughing everything off that's acceptable to you, and the very fact that she feels threatened, doesn't know the guy's intent, but can't assume it to be harmless is held against her. So instead of pointing out that in that situation the guy's behavior was creepy and there was no way to know, she must assume that either he was harmless or he was a predator, and either way she loses.

You're saying she had no valid reason to feel threatened by being propositioned by a stranger alone in a hotel elevator at 4 in the morning. That's stupid, Abbie.

SC-- The first detective I spoke with said just that. "Its not a big deal." So he closed the case.

Here's what you don't understand: You're the first detective.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 1:17 AM

65

Jack-- No, I want to see how far shell take this.

I think its some kind of 'feminist communism'-- Reminds me of the scene from 'The Simpsons':
Little Vicky: Im sorry, but giving everyone an equal part when they're not clearly equal is what again, class?
Class: COMMUNISM!

'Feminist communism'-- All potential attacks are equal attacks. There is no spectrum. A guy asking a disinterested girl for coffee is equal to my stalker is equal to being sold into sex slavery. Thus saying being asked out for coffee is not a big deal is exactly like saying sex slavery isnt a big deal.

Explains why PZs people freaked out at PseudoDawkins-- he implied that coffee is less-than sex slavery, which means he is trivializing the entirety of the female experience.

But they dont see coffee=sex slavery as trivializing sex slavery.

Thats why SC freaked out at me saying coffee is less-than stalking experience. Everything is the same, so was 'trivializing Rebeccas life experiences' (technically, trivializing Rebeccas theoretically possible but no reason to believe have occurred life experiences).

But they dont see coffee=stalking as trivializing stalking.

Its intriguing.

SC-- You think you have a lot of experience, but you don't.
*yawn* Ageist. Totally dismissive of my life experience, including what I revealed to you in this comment thread. Good job, feminist!

SC-- If she had gone to hotel security, you'd have mocked her.
*yawn* Oh you are SO RIGHT about that theoretical Abbie in an alternative universe! Way to go, Ace!

SC-- You're the first detective.
*yawn* And there was no crime, given Watsons own account of events! So I get to go to sleep. Huzzah.

Try harder. Youre still failing.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 1:28 AM

66

- You acknowledge that the guy was being "super creepy."

- In this situation, "super creepy" is threatening.

- Trying to get out of the situation is most important.

- There are two later options: 1) Publicly saying "Guys shouldn't be super creepy, and here's why..." 2) Publicly saying nothing.

- You choose 2. This makes you complicit with threatening super creepiness.

Which of these do I have wrong?

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 1:35 AM

67

ERV, dude, you know the rules. If you get into a bad sitch, manage your fear, and handle it like an adult, even though you're scared, CLEARLY, it wasn't that serious. After all, if that stalker had been SERIOUS, you'd have spent your days cowering and wondering WHY THE INTERNET WASN'T DOING SOMETHING.

But because it was a situation that could be handled by a woman, obviously, not that serious.

Clearly, rebecca's case was a far worse problem, because she, a strong, empowered womyn, was so oppressed by the evil agent of the phallocentric patriarchy that not even her innate connection with life, the earth, and the Goddess could help her.

WHAT ELSE COULD SHE DO but make a video and then call out one of her cohorts who had clearly been brainwashed by the phallocentric patriarchy? WHAT WORSE SIN COULD THERE BE THAN NOT STANDING WITH YOUR SISTER??OMGWTFBBQKHAAAAAAAN!!!!

If you want support the answer isn't to handle the situation, it's to do fuck all nothing but whine, and pull dick moves on any "girl" who dares disagree.

Well, if you want the support of idiots who show that in the end, they do not in fact view adult women as grown-assed adults who are able to handle life's fucked-up moments and don't automatically need to be protected from all the eeeebul men around them.

Your "sin" here was competency. Funny how that's worse than helplessness.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 1:40 AM

68
- There are two later options: 1) Publicly saying "Guys shouldn't be super creepy, and here's why..." 2) Publicly saying nothing.

- You choose 2. This makes you complicit with threatening super creepiness.

Oh i'm sorry SC, did we miss the part where Rebecca called out creepy guy by name? It seems to me she's been too busy bagging on stef to do that. I guess when you're an intarweb celebrity, you only have time to bag on so many people in a day. I'm sure she'll get around to calling out the person who ACTUALLY CAUSED HER PROBLEMS soon enough. Right after she puts stef in her place.

Because that's more important.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 1:44 AM

69
'Feminist communism'-- All potential attacks are equal attacks. There is no spectrum.

Were you attacked? You're crazy. And illiterate - the point was not that all attacks were equal, but that all women are potentially threatened, and some situations are especially threatening. But this is a joke to you, because you're an ignoramus.

A guy asking a disinterested girl for coffee is equal to my stalker

What stalker? Some harmless guy. Don't be a hysterical pussy.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 1:48 AM

70
Oh i'm sorry SC, did we miss the part where Rebecca called out creepy guy by name?

What does "Publicly saying 'Guys shouldn't be super creepy, and here's why...'," which she did, have to do with that?

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 1:53 AM

71
Oh i'm sorry SC, did we miss the part where Rebecca called out creepy guy by name? What does "Publicly saying 'Guys shouldn't be super creepy, and here's why...'," which she did, have to do with that?

"Water should be wet"

No shit sherlock, guys shouldn't be super creepy. That's not the same as calling someone out BY NAME from a podium where you control responses to your statement. Again, because you appear to be really fucking bad at this:

At what point has Rebecca Watson called out the actual guy who was super-creepy? By name, appearance, accent, or lack thereof. Anything that is actually specific to that guy in an identifying manner, not just random obvious bullshit.

How far up her ass ARE you, or are you just all sandy-vag'd at ERV.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 2:04 AM

72
At what point has Rebecca Watson called out the actual guy who was super-creepy? By name, appearance, accent, or lack thereof. Anything that is actually specific to that guy in an identifying manner, not just random obvious bullshit.

Wut.

or are you just all sandy-vag'd at ERV.

Gosh, Abbie, your fans are such feminists.

You might want to think about this.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 2:12 AM

73

Why is it so hard for people to understand that what Watson did was wrong independent of what the elevator guy did?

His bad behavior (regardless of how egregious you think it is) does not excuse her bad behavior. The elevator guy is irrelevant to the unambiguously petty and unprofessional conduct she displayed. What she pulled transcends gender. It's wrong when a man does it, it's wrong when a woman does it, it's wrong when a dog does it, and it's wrong when an alien does it.

Posted by: Lobo | July 3, 2011 3:53 AM

74

@Jose

Yeah dude, that was so hardcore of you. You commented on someone's blog and openly disagreed with them. Bravo, bravo.


Now imagine this; Ophelia in response to your disagreeing comment then goes in front of people and call you a wife beating sympathizer. She does this during an invited speech knowing full well you'll be there. She flashes a bunch of wife beating pictures and then pulls up your comment and says, "See this, this guy Jose in the audience is a wife beater sympathizer and a danger to women's right!". Then she goes on to talk about her presentation at hand which is 'women inequality in religious communities.....".

That would be a much more analogous example, like seriously I can't believe you're fucking using your example of posting a blog comment to equate to this whole thing.

Posted by: lido209boi | July 3, 2011 5:10 AM

75

I don't want to weigh on this specific "event" because I don't really care or get it- but can anyone explain why Rebecca is a prominent skeptic and on great podcasts like skpetics guide to the universe? She has no science background, a TTT communications degree and literally has zero knowledge of substantive scientific matters. She repeats, often without elegance or nuance, the conclusions of certain experts ad nauseum and calls it skepticism. Granted, we cannot be experts in every field and should defer to experts when we have reason to, but it seems like she doesn't even try. In method, I don't see how she is much different from her intellectual opponents (religion, pseudoscience, quackery).

I also can not stand how she readily mixes her politics with science- as if politics are scientific in nature and those with diverging opinions are engaged in pseudoscience. Her BFF, PZ (someone I actually kinda like), seems to largely agree and plays the same game. Those of us with different views are alienated.

Am I way off-base?

Posted by: Agent Smith | July 3, 2011 6:24 AM

76

I am going to bow out now cuz even after all these comments..I still do not equate that a man, at 4 am, getting on an elevator with me, asking me for private time = creepy... I just don't. Not every one with a penis is evil...

and none of the arguments have yet to convince me that what RW said from the stage "alright"..

sorry..guess I'm thicker than most..

Posted by: Mary | July 3, 2011 7:27 AM

77

Ah yes SC of course. Now feminism is defined en toto by the werds u uze. Lemme guess, you're all about the b-word, the c-word et al. Because banning words has done SO MUCH TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The problem with you SC is that you've bought into the "women must live in fear and they can't fix that until men change it for them" that the idea of women who say "go fuck yourself, ima fix my problems my own damned self and not be afraid my whole fucking life" short-circuits your brain. Not only can't you comprehend it, but it fucks with your orthodoxy so much, you have to actually oppose it, because what happens to your helpless "feminist" contingent if the idea that women can, by not waiting around, make things better themselves?

Bah. YOU and Watson are the problem as much as the dude in the elevator.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 7:51 AM

78
or are you just all sandy-vag'd at ERV.
Gosh, Abbie, your fans are such feminists.

Oh... SC... might have a point here or something...

What stalker? Some harmless guy. Don't be a hysterical pussy.

Oh... and there it went. Hypocrisy (or at the very least, some serious illiteracy)...

To wit: In the Western world, until the seventeenth century, hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus (from the Greek ὑστέρα "hystera" = uterus).

In all honesty, SC, you were asked a simple question, and following from the thread's progression, it seemed both an obvious and essential point, and you answer with... "wut"

Ok, then. To reiterate: RW calls out a blogger known to be there and not given an equal opportunity for discourse - merely for dissenting opinion. This is a dick move, but whatever. Why doesn't RW call out creepy-dude? She didn't call security, fine, but she could have called him out during that talk and did not? Why give him his anonymity and not a fellow blogger with dissenting opinions that anonymity, or at the least, 5 minutes of her time to discuss the contention instead of making big, bold assertions to the audience and no opportunity to defend herself? Really? We're cool with this approach?

I don't understand the false dichotomy of being for/against someone, as though some people are beyond reproach (even/especially when you agree with them most of the time)... why the need to be a sycophant? Is RW's shit really so fragrant?

Case in point: I don't know if I've let a single thread on here go where Abbie brings up "junk DNA" (*shudder*) because of my background in genomics.

Posted by: Jason | July 3, 2011 7:55 AM

79
Why is it so hard for people to understand that what Watson did was wrong independent of what the elevator guy did?

I wish I knew

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 7:55 AM

80

Agent Smith-- I don't want to weigh on this specific "event" because I don't really care or get it- but can anyone explain why Rebecca is a prominent skeptic and on great podcasts like skpetics guide to the universe?

You sir/madame, win a cookie.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 7:57 AM

81

I find it depressing (and frustrating) that so many people who are supposed to be for reason can't seem to use it on this. It seems to me that most of those siding with RW are unable (or unwilling?) to separate the Elevator Guy issue from RW's response to someone who disagrees with her:
"RW was wrong in attacking Stef the way she did because XYZ."
"But Elevator Guy was creepy! Objectification! Rape! Wah!"

Others seem to have been made blind because someone used the "tone argument" against RW - but the point isn't about what she said or how she worded it, it was about when and where - why is that so hard?

Personally, I would have felt very uncomfortable in the elevator situation, but I think the way RW overreacted to a difference of opinion is ridiculous.

Also, I must obviously be against women because I don't see oppression in every clueless dude who does something stupid that can somehow be linked to sex.

Posted by: RR | July 3, 2011 10:53 AM

82
Oh... and there it went. Hypocrisy (or at the very least, some serious illiteracy)...

The dumbest comment I've read this year. It's just stupid on so many levels. Hilarious.

You know, Abbie, when the people agreeing with you are like Welch and those at Pharyngula with a long history of blatant misogyny, you might want to think about why. I really wish you saw your experiences in terms of solidarity with other women; instead, you seem to want to use them to trivialize other women's. It's unfortunate, and I hope you eventually recognize the problem.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 11:19 AM

83

Hey dumbass. Remember that time I defended YOU. Ironically against self-proclaimed, self-righteous 'feminists'? No? What about a few examples of when I stood by other women being attacked by self-proclaimed, self-righteous 'feminists' like yourself, linked to in this post that you were too self-righteous to actually read?

Oh WHEN will I start standing with WOMEN! And of course, by 'women' I mean 'women who have passed Salty Currents official test of real w00mynhood', not like, actual women who exist.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 11:51 AM

84

@RR (#81)

I find it depressing (and frustrating) that so many people who are supposed to be for reason can't seem to use it on this.

QFT.

Posted by: John Marley | July 3, 2011 12:02 PM

85

Kudos for a great blog, Abbie and on having the courage of your convictions. It's particularly inspiring in this context, where people you have acknowledged as being influential in molding your own thoughts/attitudes -like PZ- are in strong disagreement. This is the *essence* of critical thought, in my opinion (don't have 10,000 readers anywhere, so I can't quantify the value of that opinion. Soz.)

The people trivialising her stalking experience or using it to provoke her on the internet are pathetic, spineless cowards. I can't express my contempt for you. I made several attempts, but I had to delete them all as they were insufficient.

Posted by: Galwayskeptic | July 3, 2011 12:41 PM

86

Wow.
That's a lot of anger on this thread. I'm glad that at the end there people are trying to separate out the two issues again, the elevatorgate and the podiumgate.
Because I get the argument about podiumgate. I disagree with ERV, in that I think when you publish, even just on a blog, you should be prepared to be quoted. But I see that there is a potential issue of courtesy and right to reply.
But there should be no doubt about the elevator incident. I honestly think that ERV and others questioning Watson's honesty when she tells the story of the elevator incident is very nasty. "Youre operating under the assumption that 'he' exists." Why on Earth would you say such a thing? That strikes me as a gross discourtesy to Watson. Surely it is normal to at least grant that the people with whom we disagree are talking in good faith. If you can't do that, there really is no debate. And of course, in this context, it is doubly poisonous: a woman's testimony about a sexual situation being dismissed as fabrication is an integral part of the problem of rape.

I hope the discussion and the disagreement will be a bit more civil than that.

Posted by: Phil Hand | July 3, 2011 1:10 PM

87

Really SC? I have a "long history of blatant misogyny"? Oh DO share with us. Please. With proof and citations of course. Given my verbosity, you should have zero problems finding AMPLE evidence.

I eagerly await your mountain of proof.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 1:10 PM

88

I honestly think that ERV and others questioning Watson's honesty when she tells the story of the elevator incident is very nasty.
Oh, unquestionably! I absolutely agree. I am trying to be nasty. I would rather Watson use me as a target than a random student, if she is running out of material for her speaking gigs. In other words, I want her to pick on someone her own size.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 1:37 PM

89

Phil,
"...a woman's testimony about a sexual situation being dismissed as fabrication is an integral part of the problem of rape"
Again this situation is being compared to a rape. Which begs the question:
If you were the target of all this hatred and being accused of being a potential rapist/acting "rapey" as part of the secular community at large, would you not chime in at some point over the period of a week and say
"Hey,
a) I apologize or
B) that's not what happened or
c) I am not a rapist.
Would you allow the entire community to erupt in flames over your actions and just sit back and watch what happens?
There were a lot of people at the conference and the bar who have been commenting and yet no one has said, "Oh, THAT guy, yeah he was x"
x= drunk, creepy, stalkery, rapey, 87, blonde, European, Charlie, gay, reading from a bible all night etc etc.

"Surely it is normal to at least grant that the people with whom we disagree are talking in good faith"

We don't know who this guy is.
We have not been given his view of the incident, and yet hundreds of comments who disagree with his actions refuse to take his words/actions in good faith.

Watson did not do this with Stef, nor did she do it with the guy in the elevator. Should she be given a courtesy that she refuses to give to others?

Posted by: Peg | July 3, 2011 2:12 PM

90

Peg,
Thanks for replying calmly.
I just posted this on another blog:
"I think it’s important to note that Watson hasn’t actually said much about this guy. She hasn’t accused him of being a rapist or potential rapist. She hasn’t said she thinks what he did was terrible or nasty. She just said ” this makes me incredibly uncomfortable”, and advises other men not to do it. No-one was demonised, no-one was labeled. She experienced something which didn’t feel good to her, and she told us about it. Responsible men will say, Oh, OK, I’ll be careful not to make other women feel uncomfortable this way in future. Some others appear determined not to accept the reality of the situation."

I haven't heard Watson's talks, but she has not made any online comments about him directly. Her *only* comment (that I've seen) has been to say that she felt uncomfortable. Others have called him a creep or a freak; but that's hardly Watson's fault. She just talked about her own experience.

I didn't mean to imply anything about the situation when I mentioned rape. The problem that women face is much more general than rape: it is the problem of any sexual violence or coercion. And again, a large part of the problem is our willingness to imagine that a woman who says anything negative about a sexual situation is lying or attacking men. I this case, where Watson has made no allegations about the man at all, hasn't labeled him, hasn't speculated on his intentions, there is nothing to disbelieve. And that makes the attacks on her honesty by ERV (and you? I haven't checked back over the thread) very nasty indeed.

Is this what you want? A culture where a woman who makes any negative comment about a sexual situation is subject to doubts and attacks on her character? Because that's what we've got, and you just seem to be adding to it.

The podium/McGraw issue is a separate one, and we can argue that, too. But why this automatic jump to "she must be lying"? It's so poisonous, and completely proves the point to me that feminism has a long way to go yet.

Posted by: Phil Hand | July 3, 2011 2:35 PM

91

NB. Clumsy wording there. I don't speak for women, I don't know all the problems women face. I'm told sexual violence is a major one.

Posted by: Phil Hand | July 3, 2011 2:38 PM

92
Really SC? I have a "long history of blatant misogyny"?

Those were separate: you / those commenters. As for you, I'll let your comments on this thread stand on their own.

Remember that time I defended YOU. Ironically against self-proclaimed, self-righteous 'feminists'? No?

Defended me? You mean when you joined in the laughter about Dr. Isis, using her stupidity about me as a club to slam another feminist?

What about a few examples of when I stood by other women being attacked by self-proclaimed, self-righteous 'feminists' like yourself, linked to in this post that you were too self-righteous to actually read?

Actually, I think that's what you do a lot. You use these situations to bash feminists. There was no attack on McGraw by Watson. Watson made a video, McGraw cluelessly criticized it in a blog post, and Watson responded in a conference talk. It's one of many platforms people have to air their views, and it doesn't preclude anyone from responding via any number of means.

Oh WHEN will I start standing with WOMEN! And of course, by 'women' I mean 'women who have passed Salty Currents official test of real w00mynhood', not like, actual women who exist.

I don't know when. Hopefully soon you'll at least stop posting things like this:

Other people are so much nicer than me.

There is no excuse for what the accuser did, from any perspective. I would be plastering their pussy name and what they did everywhere, and fuck if I would refer to them as a 'colleague'.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/bat_sex_is_not_protected_by_ac.php#comment-2515103

That was in response to a petition from one party (the man) that misrepresented the facts, about which you knew very little. Evans didn't show himself well on that thread, and in the course of it, it appears, took your "advice" and released internal documents including her name, a violation for which I believe he'll be held accountable. (The court, by the way, upheld the harassment finding but quashed the original penalty, which was later reduced to counseling and one year of monitoring.)

I'm done here. This is making me sad.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 3:36 PM

93

Yup! The time I defended you against Isis. Or the time I defended Isis from the PI attacking/degrading her online when she had the audacity to critique his work. Or the time I defended Jen against some random 'feminist' ass. Or the time I defended a fellow female PhD student from online harassment from HIV Deniers.

And wait-- you used an example of *me* taking one sides account of a series of events, which turned out to be incorrect, to defend you taking one sides account of a series of events, that may or may not be incorrect?

Jesus Christ you are dumb.

Im not saying that because youre female.

Im saying that because youre dumb.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 3:55 PM

94

*whoosh*

Sad.

Posted by: SC (Salty Current) | July 3, 2011 4:13 PM

95

WAIT!! WAIT guys! I think itll be okay! I just remembered Watson is bffs with Amanda Marcotte!!!! DUH! Oh Im sure Marcotte is all over IDing the 'elevator guy'. Oh sweet-- this will be cleared up any minute now. I actually bet thats what Marcotte and Watson have been doing all weekend!

Good-- thats one less bit of drama we need to worry about.

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 4:52 PM

96

Yawn. Enjoy your fate as a gender traitor, erv. You'll find out eventually, same as the rest of us, that its a game you can't win. You'll never really be one of the guys and you can never really overcome what being a woman in this culture means. The high fives and social approval you get from sexist jackasses won't be worth it in the end.

Posted by: skeptifem | July 3, 2011 4:54 PM

97

OH NOOOOOOO!

Does that mean we cant get mani-pedis and watch Oprah together anymore????

Posted by: ERV | July 3, 2011 5:01 PM

98

WTF Gender Traitor???? "Enjoy your fate"???

I always thought the accusation of being a femnazi was strictly invented by asshole MRAs. Sorry, mind blown, waiting for new fuses. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that are assholes in every group.

As this blog seems to be mostly sane, please, someone correct me if I get the background facts wrong

RW was approached by a guy, who made her feel threatened. Some time later posts a video referencing how she felt.

A speaker at the CFI conference said that the skeptical feminism movement wasn't getting their message across.

RW decided that the Q&A was inadequate to respond to that, and changes the topic of her talk.

Some time during this she is told women are responding to her video in a way she wouldn't like. She finds that some of them are student attendees at the conference, and starts getting mad.

RW decided to publicly shame someone she KNEW was a student attendee, from the position of keynote speaker, and justified it by saying SMcG could have used the Q&A as a response.

Queue shitstorm.

Posted by: Robert S. | July 3, 2011 5:38 PM

99

It's a known fact that Rebecca is married. Therefore I'm lead to believe someone of the male persuasion made advances/flirted with her. If that's the case then she's a hypocrite. If it was the case he did the old Sparta marriage routine and kidnapped her and raped her then I take back my comment about hypocrisy; she's just an old-fashioned gal who doesn't like weak men who bother with consent.

Posted by: Doug | July 3, 2011 6:32 PM

100

@Doug:
The Elevator Guy (lets call him EG for short) was at best being a jerk. EG != McGraw. McGraw's comments that EG might be a non misogynist jerk does not mean EG = McGraw. RW stirred up a shitstorm over the way she went after McGraw, not that she stated that she felt threatened and cornered by a guy proposing she come back to his room.

Posted by: Robert S. | July 3, 2011 6:52 PM

101

Abbie, we're totally GENDER TRAITORS 4-LIFE!!!11!!!ELEBENTY!! :)

Posted by: Miranda Celeste Hale | July 3, 2011 7:38 PM

102

If Watson found Elevator Guy to be so creepy and threatening, then IDing him would seem to be a priority. No doubt the hotel in Dublin has security, and RW's concerns would likely be taken seriously. She was in an English-speaking country, and so would have no trouble making herself understood to hotel staff; moreover, she was an invited speaker at a conference being held at the hotel. It's simply good business practice to address the concerns of your customers, whether in the US or any other capitalist country. Although I don't think this has been stated in the fallout threads, the conference was held at the O'Callaghan Alexander, a four-star hotel. Is that where this incident took place? If so, we're not talking about a David Lynchian hissing nightmare dive with a clanky steampunk elevator that lacks alarms or call buttons - pressing those would have been an option too, if the situation became very threatening.

With the "Schrödinger's Rapist" scenario being bandied about on the various threads, it doesn't matter whether the guy alone with you on the elevator propositions you or not - he could be a rapist, right? He doesn't have to say anything at all before he attacks. That's scary, yes, and it often happens that a woman might be alone with a strange man on an elevator in a big hotel. If the prospect of the situation "alone on an elevator-that-is-there-called-a-lift in a hotel in a foreign country with a creepy man at 4 AM" frightens you, then perhaps the reasonable thing to do would be to ask a friend, male or female, to escort you back to your room. Use any variety of explanations: "I'm feeling drunk/woozy/jet-lagged/very tired/anxious/uncertain whether this key will work." Or don't even provide an explanation, just ask politely. Surely RW knows loads of people at atheist conferences who would do that for her, ask no questions, and think nothing negative of it.

I realize that this is all essentially useless post hoc analysis, but it seems to me that rather than trying to change the behavior of creepy socially inept dudes (which, call me a pessimist, but I don't think will work on teh interwebz), maybe it would be better to help other women recognize ways they could make themselves less vulnerable to a potential attack.

Posted by: Barn Owl | July 3, 2011 8:02 PM

103
Those were separate: you / those commenters. As for you, I'll let your comments on this thread stand on their own.

If telling someone they're being sandy-vag'd about something is all it takes to be a misogynist, either you're completely fucking ignorant about what misogyny really is, or that word no longer has any fucking meaning.

By that idiotic standard, calling someone a cocksucker is the same thing as what was done to Matthew Shepard.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 9:19 PM

104
Yawn. Enjoy your fate as a gender traitor, erv. You'll find out eventually, same as the rest of us, that its a game you can't win. You'll never really be one of the guys and you can never really overcome what being a woman in this culture means. The high fives and social approval you get from sexist jackasses won't be worth it in the end.

nothing more vicious than defied orthodoxy.

As far as I'm concerned, Abbie has a permanent standing invitation to any conference I have any control over, and if I'm ever even *vaguely* near somewhere she's speaking, i'll go to see her. Besides, as an occasional martial arts teacher, I'd love to see what she learned from that dude, could be cool as hell.

I admire the hell out of Abbie for her willingness to say to "her people": "Hey, wait, what the fuck? We're supposed to be on the side of reasoned response, not blind fucking reaction to any perceived slight. We're supposed to be BETTER than the other guys, EVEN WHEN IT'S INCONVENIENT."

That is the sign of someone worth knowing and dealing with. Following the pack takes no fucking brains or backbone. Put your nose up against someone's ass and follow them. Being independent only when everyone else is independent just like you is neither independent nor strong.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 9:27 PM

105
OH NOOOOOOO!

Does that mean we cant get mani-pedis and watch Oprah together anymore????

U HAZ SEEKRET PENIS U GENDER TRAYTOR!!!!

"Secret, penis girl,
secret, penis girl,
They've taken your vagina,
and given you a wang"

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 3, 2011 9:29 PM

106

So how many people have called you a gender traitor by now? :p

Its good to see how important ideological purity is to some.

Posted by: JohnV | July 3, 2011 10:18 PM

107

Really SC - I laid out exactly what I was asking for. It was really quite simple.

I'm not sure if you bothered to read actually read it, or not. But you went ad hominem instead. Good job. Logical fallacy - thanks for playing though.

You seem to think it makes sense to call someone an hysterical pussy - not even noting the inherent misogyny there?

Whatever, regardless, you're not interested in intellectually honest discussion; you just have your own axe to grind. What do you get from trolling, here, exactly?

Posted by: Jason | July 3, 2011 11:13 PM

108

@96 - What the unmitigated fuck? o_O

Posted by: Joe Fatzen | July 4, 2011 1:50 AM

109

"gender traitor 111!!!! We're not going to hang out with you anymore, and no-one else will either!!!""

Good god - makes me want to watch Heathers again.

It's shitty reasoning clothed in politics and ideology.

Posted by: Lavendrgrllll | July 4, 2011 3:28 AM

110

Erv defends McGraw, is then accused of being a misogynist and gender traitor.

Sums it up, really, doesn't it?

The opposition is very stupid.

Posted by: Peter | July 4, 2011 3:40 AM

111

I have to say that I'm 2 for 2 today. Until about an hour ago, all of the "press" I've seen on this has been on Pharyngula and, well, various links he's thrown up. I was dismayed to learn that despite what I thought were fairly solid credentials in--if not outright being absolutely pro-woman, then--not being a misogynist, or sexist. I was fairly certain that I was in no way a rapist. But daring to not buy hook, line and sinker Rebecca Watson's shuck and jive, well, I quickly learned I was the exact opposite.

So, I think I'll stick around to see what the thoughtful people are having for breakfast instead of the "you're a fucking retarded retard woman-hating cupcake mcdouchemuffin" line of "argument" over there.

Hi, people!

-Justicar

PS: not to detract from the minutia, but can you tell me more about this strung out cow business? =^_^=

Posted by: Justicar | July 4, 2011 9:13 AM

112

Here, the comment I posted on watson's skepchick article on the whole thing:


There are two issues here:

Elevator Guy and Stef

Elevator Guy was wrong. I don't think anyone with a brain will disagree there. *how* wrong is up to everyone's own worldview, but yeah, he was wrong, and I can agree a mite creepy. Some people are just that ignorant of what's going on around them.

Stef may be wrong, she may not be wrong with regards to the content of her criticism. Her criticism and disagreement in and of itself is not wrong. Freedom of speech is never freedom from disagreement and criticism.

However:

Now I must share one additional fact about me: I loathe passive aggressive behavior. Loathe it. I sincerely believe that if you are going to criticize someone’s argument, you should clearly and honestly state to whom you are referring and what exactly they have said or done that you find objectionable."

What I think you're missing Rebecca is that to a *huge* number of people, your actions on the podium (in whatever form the "podium" takes), were just that: Passive-Agressive. You've spoken before. You know that by and large, most people may, during a Q&A disagree with your points or content, but getting up, when you've been called out *by name*, walking up to a mike, and taking *personal* issue with a speaker's actions is almost never going to happen.

Stef had *precisely* two options in that moment: sit there, say nothing, and feel, (legitimately i think), like a bit of a target but at least retain some anonymity, or stand up, face the crowd, who was more than slightly sympathetic towards your view of the incident and of stef's comment, and turn a Q&A on the topic of your talk into "Yo, why you gotta hate on me like that".

That was the only way she could have questioned you in that moment. She would have *had* to turn a talk into a personal issue between you and her. It would have been seen as a total dick move, and made her look totally oversensitive.

So really, she didn't have a choice other than sit there and take it, something which I cannot believe didn't occur to you. You speak, publicly, entirely too often to be completely unaware of the power a speaker holds over the audience.

(And to those saying "Stef should grow a spine", well, I can only hope something similar happens to you in the same circumstances. The video of you and your mighty spine will be something I look forward to.)

Furthermore:

For me, this is a question of respect: I have enough respect for the person I am criticizing to not make them guess that I am talking about them or guess at what they said that needs to be defended, and I have enough respect for my audience to allow them the opportunity to double check my work. If I hide the person and the exact words that I am criticizing, how does anyone know whether or not I’m creating a strawman? How can the person in question respond?

Indeed. How could Stef have really responded? Stand up in the middle of what could have felt a bit like a (polite and probably not dangerous) mob who were on your side, and again, turn a Q&A into a personal discussion?

Not bloody likely.

Talk about it on her site? Well, yes, but it's not exactly the same, power-wise, is it?

(note: I actually help plan conferences, and have been a regular speaker at tech conferences since 1999. I am *highly* aware of the power dynamic between speaker and audience, and who has more of it. Hint: it's never the audience.)

Talk to you after your talk is over? Maybe a few HOURS later, but certainly not while you're surrounded by your supporters. Again, going into a hostile crowd alone, knowing you're going to stir them up? Yeah, that's a way to feel safe. Not.

You claim to have shown her respect, but you seem to be missing how you also put her in a position where she had no real option to directly respond to you. That's not respecting someone. That's calling them out when you know that in the end, there's not shit they can do about it.

Finally:

“Rebecca, if you are going to be a public figure, it is your job to keep as much of an audience as possible.” . OMG, that is one of the funniest comments I’ve seen in a long time. You seriously think that’s my “job”? No, seriously? Seriously. Seeeeeeriously?"

Here, in case you've forgotten, your bio from this site:

"Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter: "

I can't imagine how anyone might possibly think you do this as a "job" from that bio. Wow, what kind of schmuck could possibly infer that?

Note to any who made it this far: This has nothing to do with elevator guy, (whom I notice, has yet to be called out by name or appearance or anything. ) He was still wrong. But one incident does not excuse nor require the other.

john
jwelch@bynkii.com

(just so no one thinks I'm "hiding" behind a pseudonym.)

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 4, 2011 9:20 AM

113

Things are starting to get nasty with people throwing gratuitous insults at the various parties.

This behavior is destructive to the goals that all skeptics and all feminists share. That includes the elevator guy, RW, SM, PZ, Erv, GL, SZ, everyone else and me. This kind of infighting damages both skepticism and feminism, makes people less likely to work together against our common enemies, and yes we do have common enemies, enemies who would impose their own idea of Judea/Christian/Sharia law on us and who would rape women in elevators or anywhere else they could and then blame the victim.

This whole argument (as far as I can tell) is about form and tone and communication and when and how ideas are communicated, not about what was communicated (as far as I can tell, but I am pretty much tone deaf so much of this “argument” (such as it is) is over my head).

People need to step back and think about how their comments are helping skepticism and feminism, furthering the goals of skepticism and feminism and portraying skepticism and feminism as lifestyles that are cool, useful, and a good way to live one's life and that young people who want to grow up to be cool and good adults would want to emulate.

There is nothing elitist about skepticism or feminism. You don't need education or intelligence to be either a skeptic or a feminist. Education and intelligence can often get in the way of both. Neither education or intelligence is a substitute for following the “rules” of skepticism and feminism.

To be a skeptic all you need is to base your arguments on facts and logic. If you do that, you are a skeptic even if you never graduated first grade, even if you still are in first grade. Being a skeptic isn't about having lots of facts, it is about what you do with the facts you have. If you don't have the facts to back something up, a skeptic has to default to “I don't know”.

To be a feminist, all you need to do is not treat anyone (or allow anyone else to be treated) as if they have more or less privilege than someone else. You can be a first grader and be a feminist but it is tricky because children don't know enough to keep themselves safe. Feminist adults who exert control over children are not doing so because of adult privilege, but to keep the child safe and should be able to explain to the child (using only facts and logic), why it is necessary to do so. If you are an adult and can't explain something using facts and logic, then you need to rethink your approach until you can.

What are people's motivations in this discussion? Is it to convey information and make arguments using facts and logic, or is it to try and exert privilege over someone else, or to prevent someone from exerting privilege over someone else.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 4, 2011 11:46 AM

114

To think, all I had to put up with with my measly little stalker was someone following me to/from work, trying to get into my apartment when I was home/not home/asleep, dude having delusional conversations with neighbors in attempt to get them to let him into our apartment building, him getting into my mailbox, trying to contact me at work, blah blah blah.

Well, I hope Rho finally learned his lesson and leaves you alone now. :-)

Posted by: Tommykey | July 4, 2011 12:19 PM

115

Tommykey-- I know you meant to be funny, but Rho actually went up to the mic to tell Casey Luskin 'bad form' when Luskin pulled this crap on me. The guy who I/we tricked to get the Dembski plagiarism video went to the mic and said "Bad form."

Members of Rhos church, who I previously and still refer to as a 'creepy cult' came up to me after the talk to apologize for Luskins behavior.

The 'skeptical movement' needs to take a moment to think about their behaviors if even YEC look at an incident like this, towards an 'enemy, and say "Ohh... that was not cool."

Posted by: ERV | July 4, 2011 12:45 PM

116

ERV, it's a sad state of affairs when you have to advise people to step back and take note of someone being honest and "doing the right thing", because that just isn't a quality held in high esteem these days. Itn't it?

Posted by: Justicar | July 4, 2011 1:48 PM

117

daedalus2u wrote: "To be a feminist, all you need to do is not treat anyone (or allow anyone else to be treated) as if they have more or less privilege than someone else."

Did McGraw treat anyone (or allow anyone else to be treated) as if they have more or less privilege than someone else?

Posted by: Claus Larsen | July 4, 2011 3:33 PM

118

Thankfully for McGraw, there is a new target.
Note this joke tweet:http://twitter.com/Java6Nerd/status/87877095153336321
Don't be silly! Dawkins would have offered his rape victims tea, not coffee!!!

Posted by: Peg | July 4, 2011 3:59 PM

120

Peg--
Im sure Dawkins will definitely lose some sycophants over this. I seriously doubt he will mourn their loss. Nor do I technically see it as a loss at all, especially when the young ones have shown so much class over this... and theyre falling in the Dawkins camp.

Posted by: ERV | July 4, 2011 4:09 PM

121

AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

LOL!!! Check out Watsons 'fan page' on facebook!!! ROFL!!!!! While all of the students involved with or who witnessed this event are writing amazingly intelligent, articulate, impassioned posts (curiously, all the ones Ive seen are in defiance of Watson)... Watson is saying *NOTHING* in defense of herself, and openly hiding behind PZs apron! AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

On the bright side, a lot of young ones are now well aware of the fact this woman is not a good role model, which is why Ive ignored them for what, five years now?

Make skepticism/atheism a part of your lives, kids. Dont make it your life. Cause eventually youll run out of things to talk about. And then you will make up drama. And then people will get sick of your shit and youll end up getting airtighted in Scott Lyons living room to pay the rent.

Posted by: ERV | July 4, 2011 4:35 PM

122

Claus, yes, McGraw did treat RW as if RW didn't have the privilege to respond to the elevator guy the way RW did. RW was talking about herself and her feelings and her responses, RW has privileged access to her own feelings and responses, it is no one else's place to tell RW that her feelings and responses were wrong or non-feminist.

Was RW's response overkill? Probably but I haven't actually looked at it, but from the shit-storm that it has generated, maybe it was. But I think it was a tone overkill, not a content overkill. Tone is really hard to get right in meat-space and even harder on the internet, and really hard when people have different backgrounds.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 4, 2011 7:10 PM

123

Tommykey-- I know you meant to be funny, but Rho actually went up to the mic to tell Casey Luskin 'bad form' when Luskin pulled this crap on me.

Yes, just kidding, hence the smiley face. I was just recollecting a time when he complained in the comments about not having much interaction with you.

In all seriousness though, I have no doubt that he is a decent guy.

Posted by: Tommykey | July 4, 2011 7:21 PM

124

daedalus2u-- It was a tactic overkill. There was no reason for Watson to do what she did the way she did it. A 1-on-1 conversation would have been orders of magnitude more fruitful and professional, even if they both walked away with the exact same opinions of the topic, they would have had to hear the other one out.

Tommeykey-- No, hes not. But even he 'gets it'. :)

Posted by: ERV | July 4, 2011 7:34 PM

125
It was a tactic overkill. There was no reason for Watson to do what she did the way she did it. A 1-on-1 conversation would have been orders of magnitude more fruitful and professional, even if they both walked away with the exact same opinions of the topic, they would have had to hear the other one out.

Bang. Exactly. Watson could have done the same thing without calling her out in a room full of supporters and sycophants, where there was no difference in power, and had an actual discussion. Instead, she chose to play bullshit high school power games, and is shocked, shocked I tell you that the entire fucking planet isn't falling in line with her.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 4, 2011 9:16 PM

126

Ok then, tactic overkill, but I haven't actually seen the response, I can't get video where I am. But from the shit storm it clearly did hit something.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 4, 2011 9:47 PM

127

daedalus2 wrote: "Claus, yes, McGraw did treat RW as if RW didn't have the privilege to respond to the elevator guy the way RW did. RW was talking about herself and her feelings and her responses, RW has privileged access to her own feelings and responses, it is no one else's place to tell RW that her feelings and responses were wrong or non-feminist."

McGraw did no such thing. All she did was point out that there could be alternative explanations to how Rebecca experienced it. Rebecca, on the other hand, abused her power as a speaker.

daedalus2 wrote: "Was RW's response overkill? Probably but I haven't actually looked at it, but from the shit-storm that it has generated, maybe it was."

Then, I suggest you actually look at something, before you comment on it. Otherwise, you are only making yourself look foolish, and wasting other people's time.

daedalus2 wrote: "But I think it was a tone overkill, not a content overkill. Tone is really hard to get right in meat-space and even harder on the internet, and really hard when people have different backgrounds."

Indeed. Only thing is, Rebecca markets herself as a communicator, not just online but in particular in meat-space. Of all people, with her background, she should be the first to know that such dirty tricks are not acceptable. She has spoken at many conferences, she knows how to get a message across.

Rebecca is so quick to scream for apologies from those who say or do something to offend her. That she cannot even recognize that there could be reason to apologize herself, even as a "Hm, OK, I'm sorry you feel that way, I happen to disagree, so there we are", is testament that she does not practice what she preaches.

Posted by: Claus Larsen | July 5, 2011 12:08 AM

128

I can't believe I just wasted 2 hours reading about eight different blogs on Elevatorgate instead of watching "Troll Hunter" on DVD.

I always assumed the Second Coming of Christ was the even that was going to divide the 'atheist community'.

At least she didn't get onto that elevator from that shitty M. Night Shyamalan movie.

Posted by: Eric | July 5, 2011 2:17 AM

129

Claus, I did read what McGraw wrote, and she does say that RW is being a bad feminist by saying that 4:00 AM in an elevator is not an appropriate time for a man to make sexual advances toward a woman. I don't have to read or see anything else to appreciate that McGraw called RW a bad feminist.

McGraw wrote: “Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed”.

To reverse the situation, men would have to be smaller and weaker than women and men would have to be the ones that get pregnant. This happened in Ireland where abortion in the event of rape is illegal.

Reversing the situation means reversing the privilege that males have, not just changing who says what to whom.

Being a feminist is not a suicide pact. We are not in a society where women have privilege equal to men. Until we do live in a society where men and women have equal privilege, the reality of the society we do live in has to be dealt with.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 5, 2011 7:07 AM

130

Daedelus, none of that, none.of.that justifies what Watson pulled during the talk. "bad behavior" by one person does not justify your own. Billy kicking a puppy doesn't make it okay for you to punch a baby. Billy kicking YOUR puppy does not make it okay for you to punch HIS baby.

This is not complicated stuff.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 7:22 AM

131

John, I am not saying that what McGraw wrote justified how she was treated, but she did write that RW was a bad feminist. Maybe some people believe that RW is a bad feminist and needed to be put in her place. Publicly dissing people for how they speak about personal experiences regarding unwanted sexual advances is not usually considered to be a feminist-type action.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 5, 2011 8:36 AM

132

@131
Let me see if I can translate and help you clear up your point. Since the Rebecca Watson / Stef McGraw affair is nontroversial right now, I'll use a different example.

John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town.

If fact b doesn't bear on fact a, which you concede, but you cannot mention fact a without bringing up fact b, then you are in fact arguing that one fact cannot be separated from the other fact.

So, is it a relevant feature, or is it an irrelevant feature? If you say it's relevant, please explain how. If you say it is irrelevant, then I expect that you will stop mentioning it in places you claim it doesn't belong.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 8:52 AM

133
John, I am not saying that what McGraw wrote justified how she was treated, but she did write that RW was a bad feminist. Maybe some people believe that RW is a bad feminist and needed to be put in her place. Publicly dissing people for how they speak about personal experiences regarding unwanted sexual advances is not usually considered to be a feminist-type action.

You just justified how Stef was treated, so yeah, you kind of are saying that.

John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town.

Example fail. Everything is not exactly the same. But thank you for trying to conflate rape/assault with someone saying something you dislike on a blog.

If fact b doesn't bear on fact a, which you concede, but you cannot mention fact a without bringing up fact b, then you are in fact arguing that one fact cannot be separated from the other fact.

I can easily ignore your example, because you're trying to say that justifying rape/assault due to "immodest clothing" is the same as Watson pulling a dick move at a conference. But, since things like "Everything is not exactly the same appears to be lost on you", the wearing of a miniskirt, (fact a) does not justify rape/assault. (fact b). Stef saing something Watson doesn't like online, (fact a) does not justify Watson pulling a dick move, live, in person, where the power balance was vastly different. (fact b).

Look at that: someone else's actions don't justify your dick move.

So, is it a relevant feature, or is it an irrelevant feature? If you say it's relevant, please explain how. If you say it is irrelevant, then I expect that you will stop mentioning it in places you claim it doesn't belong.

You're not actually reading what you type, are you.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 10:30 AM

134

Justicar, it is not as simple and as black-and-white as you want to make it out to be. There are shades of stuff going on on both sides. The degree of polarization that this is producing (and which you are contributing to) is not helpful.

Your analogy is poor and is not appropriate and seems (to me) to be a trollish comment designed to inflame rather than provide a useful analogy. You even call the McGraw/Watson event a nontroversy. How does your analogy relate to a nontroversy? A woman wearing a short skirt should not endanger her no matter where or when she wears it. Unfortunately there are some places and some times where wearing a short skirt does endanger a woman, as does simply existing in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of her own. It is important for a woman to know what places and what times it is unsafe to be in. The reason it is important is for her safety, not so that she can be blamed if she becomes a victim and the perpetrator exonerated because it was her fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Calling a woman a bad feminist because of what she has said about an unwanted sexual advance she received is not the behavior of a good feminist. Does calling someone a bad feminist deserve the death penalty? No, it does not.

My comment 131 was in response to comment 130 which was in response to comment 129 which was in response to comment 127 which was in response to comment 122 which was in response to comment 117 which was in response to my comment 113.

As I asked in my comment 113,

“What are people's motivations in this discussion? Is it to convey information and make arguments using facts and logic, or is it to try and exert privilege over someone else, or to prevent someone from exerting privilege over someone else.”

Why are you trying to shut me up when I explain that what McGraw wrote did have anti-feminist content? If you want to understand complex situations, you need to look at all the data and not cherry-pick the data that fits the argument you want to make.

Posted by: daedalus2u | July 5, 2011 10:53 AM

135
But, since things like "Everything is not exactly the same appears to be lost on you", the wearing of a miniskirt, (fact a) does not justify rape/assault. (fact b). Stef saing something Watson doesn't like online, (fact a) does not justify Watson pulling a dick move, live, in person, where the power balance was vastly different. (fact b).
Look at that: someone else's actions don't justify your dick move.

I think that's the point Justicar was trying to make by rephrasing daedalus2u's point (confused me too, at first)

Posted by: windy | July 5, 2011 12:20 PM

136

Ok, John. Allow me to try again.

You say the analogy fails. You claim this is because it conflates rape/assault with someone saying something I don't like on a blog. Bullshit.

You note that everything isn't the same between the analogy used and the thing it's used to highlight. Congratulations. You've done all of the work of noting what makes an analogy an analogy. Given that this isn't an actual indictment on an analogy to note that not all of its features will be the same as the thing it serves to explain, I'll respond with an equally intellectual deficient "rebuttal" to your "rebuttal": http://xkcd.com/895/

Were I trying to analogize the events instead of the relationship between two events, you'd have the ghost of a point. I wasn't, and you don't. The essential feature being teased out is how blaming the victim isn't a viable chain of reasoning. This in no way conflates one type of offense with another; it does no more work than to highlight that since the victim isn't responsible for the abuser's abuse, to argue it in any case is faulty. I chose a rather common example. If that makes you uncomfortable, or unable to note a valid analogy, pick different events. Continue picking different events until you find the kind that doesn't retard your ability to take in the relevant bit.

Are you saying that using analogies other people won't like is a dick move? I realize that you're trying to argue that analogy conflates things it doesn't, but I fail to see how this is something entailed by it. And you've certainly done no work in pointing out any problem in the analogy - other than you think it's a dick move. But this isn't an argument and I'll correctly dismiss it as not relevant.

Do you normally ask rhetorical questions to avoid pointing out an error? Where, do you imagine, is the grammatical or logical incoherence? Flailing your metaphorical hands at it doesn't actually do anything to the make the words suddenly change their meaning. (sorry, it was an analogy; I know, you have troubles with those).

Refutation fail there, chief.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 12:22 PM

137
Ok, John. Allow me to try again.

You say the analogy fails. You claim this is because it conflates rape/assault with someone saying something I don't like on a blog. Bullshit.

You chose to use that analogy, not my fault that it didn't have the desired result. Next time, don't immediately conflate everything with rape/assault. it trivializes things that should not be trivialized. Being called out on a blog is not the same as rape or assault. Stef didn't even use BAD WERDS.

You note that everything isn't the same between the analogy used and the thing it's used to highlight. Congratulations. You've done all of the work of noting what makes an analogy an analogy. Given that this isn't an actual indictment on an analogy to note that not all of its features will be the same as the thing it serves to explain, I'll respond with an equally intellectual deficient "rebuttal" to your "rebuttal": http://xkcd.com/895/

If I am trying to explain something via an analogy, then it behooves me to use an appropriate analogy. If I am trying to justify the actions of what someone else is calling a dick move, and those actions involve a session during a conference, maybe, just maybe, using the "she was dressed like a whore so raping her is okay" example is not really a good one. Maybe I shouldn't pick an EXTREME example that is a pain point for both men and women, (although women are CLEARLY in the majority, as only 10% of sexual assualts and rapes involve men), which will only create noise. Maybe I should think a bit more about what I use for an analogy, so that it more closely matches the situation.

Now, for example, were I trying to say that Elevator guy, (WHO STILL HASN'T BEEN CALLED OUT! WHY IS HIS FUCKING PRIVACY SO FUCKING IMPORTANT?) was justified in his actions, (which i have not) because Rebecca had been drinking and possibly acting in a way that could be implied to be flirtatious, then, yes, *then* your analogy would be a good one. But I'm not doing that. I'm saying Watson's actions *during the session* were a dick move, and you have yet, via bad analogy, to show me otherwise. In fact, you're actually taking actions closer to the analogy you're trying to push. "Stef criticized Watson in public so any and all criticism Watson returns, regardless of method or situational appropriateness is okay, and Stef needs to just suck it up." Um. Bullshit. (Also, seriously, when you resort to XKCD searches, it tells me you don't really have much of a case of your own.)

Were I trying to analogize the events instead of the relationship between two events, you'd have the ghost of a point. I wasn't, and you don't. The essential feature being teased out is how blaming the victim isn't a viable chain of reasoning. This in no way conflates one type of offense with another; it does no more work than to highlight that since the victim isn't responsible for the abuser's abuse, to argue it in any case is faulty. I chose a rather common example. If that makes you uncomfortable, or unable to note a valid analogy, pick different events. Continue picking different events until you find the kind that doesn't retard your ability to take in the relevant bit.

I'm not blaming the victim. Were I blaming the victim of Watson's dick move, I'd be blaming Stef for it. That's what you're doing. You're saying that because Stef criticized Watson, Watson was perfectly justified in her actions at the talk. I disagree. But you are still pushing the meme that any disagreement with Watson's behavior over her treatment of stef means:

1) You think what Elevator guy did was okay.
2) You completely agree with stef's criticizm of watson.

*neither of those apply to me*. I can see where stef's coming from, but I can also easily see how Watson could have been creeped the fuck out and thoroughly unnerved by what Elevator guy did. Watson has done nothing wrong by feeling that way, or talking about how she felt.

Nor do I agree with Stef's points. I know a lot of folks who have survived (sexual) assault, and while some of them would say Watson is being a big fucking baby about it, others would say she was right to feel how she felt. I'm not going to tell someone they're wrong in their interpretation of a situation that really isn't that clear-cut.

But again, what Watson did during the talk was a dick move. If you want to change my opinion on that, you're going to have to stop making this all about Elevator Guy's actions, they don't justify Watson being a dick to stef. Stef is not Elevator guy.

Are you saying that using analogies other people won't like is a dick move? I realize that you're trying to argue that analogy conflates things it doesn't, but I fail to see how this is something entailed by it. And you've certainly done no work in pointing out any problem in the analogy - other than you think it's a dick move. But this isn't an argument and I'll correctly dismiss it as not relevant.

No, i'm saying that using shitty analogies to prove a point is using a shitty analogy to prove a point, and therefore rendering your point unproven. When you compare disagreeing about calling someone out during a session to justifying rape by being dressed immodestly, that is in fact conflating those two things. That's what analogies do. They conflate things to show the relationship between the things so that better understanding can be achieved.

Your analogy isn't a dick move. Your analogy just sucks, and you need a better one.

Do you normally ask rhetorical questions to avoid pointing out an error? Where, do you imagine, is the grammatical or logical incoherence? Flailing your metaphorical hands at it doesn't actually do anything to the make the words suddenly change their meaning. (sorry, it was an analogy; I know, you have troubles with those).

Refutation fail there, chief.

I have no problems with analogies. Your analogies just suck.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 12:53 PM

138

John:
Let me see if I can sum this up in a way that won't make you cry out in pain and agony.

No, I am not making that analogy. You absolutely fail to understand even, incidentally, to whom the fucking thing was directed. Note, you weren't the person. So, why you're all personally butthurt accusing me of making claims I haven't made is not obvious unless you just completely. fucking. fail. to. notice. it. was. not. directed. to. your. argument.
That's why it was directed to someone other than you; indeed, I wrote:
"@131" [you were number 130, not 131]
"Let me see if I can translate and help you clear up your point. Since the Rebecca Watson / Stef McGraw affair is nontroversial right now, I'll use a different example."

[That was to number 131, who had made the false relationship during which s/he blamed McGraw for Watson's abuse of power. I then restructured that argument to better emphasize the fallacy underlying it; viz., the only reason to keep mentioning that McGraw wrote something Watson didn't like with respect to a conversation about Watson's abusing her podium power is to blame the victim. To that end, I used a classic example in which almost everyone immediately sees how that blaming the victim scenario plays out.]

"John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town. "
[Note, this was to clarify for number 131 how the structure of 131's argument actually is. Fact a and fact b aren't relevant because one doesn't imply the other. What is important is how they're being falsely related. Yes, your name appears. No, it's not directed from me to you as an implication of what you've said. It's written from me as though I were number 131; 131 might as well have said that as it has the same merit.]
Where I failed is in not putting a note at the start "Dear John: don't take this wrong way. It's not you, it's me. In fact, it's not even directed at you. Please, don't read it or you'll probably require copious amounts of vagisil."

On an unrelated issue: stop making the assertion that since you don't like an analogy (even were it directed to you) that it becomes untrue because you don't like it. That's now how it works; one would think that a person who normally demonstrates clear thinking as you normally demonstrate thinking wouldn't need a remedial class in introductory logic.

And yet you have the wherewithal to ask me if I read what I write? Fuck, do you read what you read before asking stupid questions about it?

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 1:45 PM

139

@138, an addendum:

I most certainly do not trivialize situations in which someone exploits having power over another person for personal gain. Nor will I be spoken to as though I do, particularly in an argument where I'm in no uncertain terms advocating that it is in all cases wrong. It is unethical without caveat. It is never not unethical.

Similarly, it is also equally unethical to blame a person for being victimized because of another person's abuse of power.

Let me make this quite plain - if you ever only understand one thing I write, let it be this:

It is immoral to abuse one's power to victimize anyone for any reason. Equally so, it is unethical to blame the person who is victimized for being a victim.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 1:52 PM

140
Let me see if I can sum this up in a way that won't make you cry out in pain and agony.

I worked midnight avionics maintenance in the Air Force in N.D. and I've been in IT for 20 years. With a taser, a belt sander and a bag of rock salt, you couldn't make me cry. Stop reading your own press, it's warping your thinking.

No, I am not making that analogy. You absolutely fail to understand even, incidentally, to whom the fucking thing was directed.

Then learn to write better. Your inability to properly state your point? Not my farm, not my pig. I am not responsible for reading your mind, I don't know you from the hobo on the corner. I have only the words you type. Maybe you should choose them better.

Note, you weren't the person. So, why you're all personally butthurt accusing me of making claims I haven't made is not obvious unless you just completely. fucking. fail. to. notice. it. was. not. directed. to. your. argument. That's why it was directed to someone other than you; indeed, I wrote: "@131" [you were number 130, not 131] "Let me see if I can translate and help you clear up your point. Since the Rebecca Watson / Stef McGraw affair is nontroversial right now, I'll use a different example."

[That was to number 131, who had made the false relationship during which s/he blamed McGraw for Watson's abuse of power. I then restructured that argument to better emphasize the fallacy underlying it; viz., the only reason to keep mentioning that McGraw wrote something Watson didn't like with respect to a conversation about Watson's abusing her podium power is to blame the victim. To that end, I used a classic example in which almost everyone immediately sees how that blaming the victim scenario plays out.]

"John, I am not saying what [generic woman] did justifies how she was treated, but she was wearing a miniskirt late at night on the wrong side of town. "
[Note, this was to clarify for number 131 how the structure of 131's argument actually is. Fact a and fact b aren't relevant because one doesn't imply the other. What is important is how they're being falsely related. Yes, your name appears. No, it's not directed from me to you as an implication of what you've said. It's written from me as though I were number 131; 131 might as well have said that as it has the same merit.]
Where I failed is in not putting a note at the start "Dear John: don't take this wrong way. It's not you, it's me. In fact, it's not even directed at you. Please, don't read it or you'll probably require copious amounts of vagisil."

So let me get this straight. You're arguing on a blog with many people in the comments, one of whom uses his name, "John" in all his comments. You then reply with a comment wherein you use my name repeatedly, yet aren't really all that clear that the use of *my* name in this instance is a convenience because it's a short, easily typed name.

and yet somehow, I am supposed to divine that you aren't actually talking to me, because you reference someone else once, then wander off into a series of analogies USING MY NAME.

I know you wish to believe yourself the bestest raconteur on da internets, but maybe, just maybe you could consider that it would be, perhaps, given the way your post was written, easy for someone named, oh, i dunno, *john* to think you were talking directly to him as well.

Just consider it. for a second. If you're going to use someone's actual name, then expect that person to assume you're talking to them. If I was in the room with ERV, and I said "Abbie's such a stupid bitch", it would be rather understandable for ERV to get just a little put out with me, especially if I hadn't made it REALLY clear that I was talking about some *other* abbie who unlike ERV, is a stupid bitch. Even though ERV would have come to the wrong conclusion, the essential communications failure there would be mine.

On an unrelated issue: stop making the assertion that since you don't like an analogy (even were it directed to you) that it becomes untrue because you don't like it. That's now how it works; one would think that a person who normally demonstrates clear thinking as you normally demonstrate thinking wouldn't need a remedial class in introductory logic.

I don't have to like your analogies. I get to think they suck. You don't have to agree, but that doesn't make me wrong. I think your rape analogy sucked. Get over it.

And yet you have the wherewithal to ask me if I read what I write? Fuck, do you read what you read before asking stupid questions about it?

You've not given me anything to ask intelligent questions over, so stupid's all I'm left with. Put more thought into your words, you might get better results.

The thing is, I actually think we *may* agree on Watson's actions. I'm not sure, you're quite busy trying to tell me how stupid I am, so I'm caring less and less what you think. But here's another thought.

If it looked to you like I had misinterpreted who you were talking to, (because again, *you used my name*), why not just say "Um, I probably shouldn't have used your name in my example, I wasn't really talking to you directly. I just used your name."

after re-reading your 'original' post a few times, and mentally changing the name to someone else, yes, I can see where you might not have been talking to me. If that is the case, then i apologize for my own mistake, but offer up the tip that you should be more judicious when using names in the future.

If we happen to agree on Watson's actions so much the better, if not, I still apologize.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 3:45 PM

141

John, judging by the comments not from you, you're the only one who failed to appreciate that it wasn't directed to you. It's a small sample size, so I'm not putting a great deal of stock into its reliability. But sure, chief.

Like I said, I erred in not appending a dear John letter to put you on notice that though your name is used, you weren't being addressed.

Funny you should mention reading my own press - I was just having that discussion. I never google me, but I'm told I should as, apparently, some interesting stuff is written of me. Meh.

I'm not trying to tell you how stupid you are. I think you're ordinarily quite thoughtful and clear in thinking, as I said. Don't let that stand in the way though! But in this case, I could have made it clearer so that you wouldn't have been the only one of whom I'm aware who failed to understand. Though Windy did suggest that it took a moment to figure it out. Still she managed and you didn't, and that's partly my fault.

Yes, we do agree on Watson with respect to her power abuse issue.

I could have written it that way, but I wanted to change as few features of Daedelus' argument to only deal with the relevant issue. I didn't account for your misreading the post. That is partly my fault.

I have said that you're free to think my analogy sucked. You're not free to say that logically incorrect. Your distaste for it doesn't change the fact it's an apt analogy. Again, remedial logic classes shouldn't be required on this elementary point.

Anyway, with a bit of help, I think you're finally reading something very close to what I'm writing. So, now I need a beer, except I don't drink!

Again, yes, I could have changed the name to avoid confusion.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 4:00 PM

142

I have said that you're free to think my analogy sucked. You're not free to say that logically incorrect. Your distaste for it doesn't change the fact it's an apt analogy. Again, remedial logic classes shouldn't be required on this elementary point.

Of course he's free to. While something that should logically parse and flow is more objective than subjective a matter, he's free to argue why it does not follow. You are free to argue why it does. Chances are, the interpretation that more "logically follows" will get hashed out over time. At the moment, I am leaning more towards the points John has made, not yours.

Others, by the way, are perfectly free to weigh in as well. You are free to state your case better, or restate it differently in a way that you think will analogy-ize (new word!) more on-target.

We are also perfectly free to point out that it would go a lot smoother if one refrained from rather asinine comments like "Let me see if I can sum this up in a way that won't make you cry out in pain and agony." John stated his case well and in detail, and it was plainly easy to follow. Yours has so far meandered around and been more concerned with trying to convince others that your previous comments were in no way poorly-framed or ill-targeted and that anyone who does not see that must be replied to snarkily.

We are free to point out that this is not the case.

Posted by: Joe Fatzen | July 5, 2011 5:10 PM

143

It happens. I get burned as much by thinking it's NOT directed at me as when I think it is. I keep thinking "If I'd just change my name to "Bigdick McGillicuddy", this wouldn't happen." The joys of a common name i suppose.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 5:12 PM

144

@142:
Lawl. You are actually saying that whether something is logical is a matter of opinion? hahahaha

I almost stopped right there. Yes, it'll get hashed out. In case like this, it's not exactly a complex logical structure. *stops self*

Sorry, I'm still laughing. Well-played, Joe Fatzen.
Yes, by all means. Everyone, please weigh in. I want to know your feelings on if a implies b; b implies c; therefore, a implies c is true.

@143 and to John C. Welch:
Change your name to that and we can hug it out.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 5:41 PM

145

Justicar, I wanted to. My wife nixed it. Something about "there is no way Bigdick will ever get laid again. John is risking it big time, but Bigdick is DEFINITELY going to the land of "Nevertouchedaboobie" for sure."

Damnit. You'd think with a name like "Bigdick McGillicuddy" you couldn't ever lose. Stupid reality.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 6:33 PM

146
Watson is saying *NOTHING* in defense of herself, and openly hiding behind PZs apron! AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Now she did: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

I was quite unsure about her motivations, and thought the concerns she had were just poorly communicated. Now I think she is more interested in her own self-promotion than anything else (including feminism and skepticism). While playing blame/shame-games hardly lead to concrete and good solutions, it can lead to a raise in popularity (especially if someone is a public figure) because it triggers peoples emotional responses. Thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments usually don't do that. *sigh*

Why doesn't she make concrete and clear suggestions how secular communities and movements can improve and make women feel more comfortable (IF they feel uncomfortable, I am still not clear about that). Instead she prefers to do the "you're either with us, or against us"-George Bushy thing.
I don' get it...

Posted by: thememe | July 5, 2011 7:01 PM

147
Now she did: http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

I was quite unsure about her motivations, and thought the concerns she had were just poorly communicated. Now I think she is more interested in her own self-promotion than anything else (including feminism and skepticism). While playing blame/shame-games hardly lead to concrete and good solutions, it can lead to a raise in popularity (especially if someone is a public figure) because it triggers peoples emotional responses. Thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments usually don't do that. *sigh*

Well of course she's self-promoting, it's how she gets paid. Self-promotion pays her rent, clothes her and feeds her. Watson would be a fool if she didn't relentlessly self-promote, and that's something to keep in mind. I write a lot for various outlets, and to be honest, yeah, I do self-promote somewhat. Those freelance checks are damned handy.

I'm lucky in that I have a "real" job, so that's all they are: handy. So that's something you always have to remember with her, or anyone else whose line of work is, well them. (another example are what I call "New Media Douchebags" like Robert Scoble, Anil Dash, etc.) Anything you say to them that they *can* use to draw attention to themselves will most likely BE used to do just that.

THis doesn't make Rebecca a bad person, an untrustworthy person, or whatever. But, to stay clothed and fed, she has to, HAS to relentlessly draw attention to herself. So yeah, being surprised she's a drama queen? I'd be surprised she's not.

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 7:11 PM

148

Lawl. You are actually saying that whether something is logical is a matter of opinion? hahahaha

No. And I see your willingness to comprehend comments and not immediately jump to "holy crap I'm totally right why the fuck are you disagreeing with me let me toss assholishness galore while not actually understanding what was said--again" is thrilling, let me tell you.

You laid out something you think is logically correct and consistent and lays out something properly analogous. Someone else is free to disagree and state why they do not feel this is the case--either that what you posited is NOT logically correct (supplying reasons why), or that the manner in which you presented it does not make for a particularly good analogy (supplying reasons why).

See, we are all humans here. And while our humanity does not mean everything we process is subjective by nature, it should be pointed out that--being human--YOU MIGHT BE INCORRECT ABOUT A THING.

I know this will probably come as a shock to you, and is something you would never, ever, ever concede as remotely possible. Why is a sentence like "You're not free to say that logically incorrect" is laughably idiotic. Because you might be wrong. And someone is freely allowed to correct you. And you know what...? They might be wrong.

This is why, you see, my follow-up sentence mentions specifically "more objective" and the entire rest of the paragraph was talking about hashing it out. If it logically follows, then it can be logically determined. You, however, effectively stated "I SAID THIS THING AND YOU CAN'T SAY NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Mathematical proofs are perfectly mathematically provable, but if you publish yours for peer-review, you don't get to preface it with "ALSO I'M RIGHT AND ACCEPT EVERYTHING I WROTE HERE ALSO SCREW YOU." It does not work that way. You might be incorrect. They might correct you.

This was, in fact, frightfully easy to determine from my comment. BUT I AM LAUGHINGS AT YOU LOLZ. You know, get down with your bad self.

But you know, your ability to parse things seems to be on edge lately, so using simple words:

1) This comment: "You're not free to say that logically incorrect."
2) is dumb.
3) The correctness of statements with an objectively correct answer can be determined.

The end.


In the end, I don't think we're actually disagreeing on any of the nontroversial matters at hand with Watsongate. But you have been pulling the "be a giant asshole" trigger really quickly, and have been scrambling to reframe how your not-brilliantly-formatted post to daedalus and your follow-up dickishness to John is--in fact--everyone else's fault. Whereas your first reply to John should have been, "Wait, what? I wasn't saying that. I also wasn't replying to you, so why are you...? Oh shit, my bad. My reply was to daedalus2u and I forgot to put quotes around the section of his I was quoting where HE was replying to you."

Then you went more posts talking past him, and even your clarifying post didn't mention anything like "Oops, I didn't use quotation marks properly" but instead ended with more dismissive dickishness.

How about that?


Just so we're clear:

"You're not free to say that logically incorrect" is a dumb statement.

Although amusingly one is perfectly free to say that it's GRAMMATICALLY incorrect. See, this is me, ending with a dickish clincher. Which you are obviously used to.

Posted by: Joe Fatzen | July 5, 2011 7:14 PM

149

I especially like the way she quoted Dawkins without the later clarification, she's a class act.

Posted by: Peter | July 5, 2011 7:19 PM

150

Joe Fatzen:
I like dicks - sue me.

Oh noes - you found a grammar error on a blog. And it was mine!

Yes, the answer to whether what I said is correct or incorrect can be determined. It does not in the slightest degree depend on anyone's feelings. Its truth value is determined objectively by very well-established rules of logic. There is no subjectivity in the universe that changes this elegant fact.

Let's hope I didn't make a grammar error in this one.
To clarify: you are not allowed to say that is logically incorrect [and be right].

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 7:34 PM

151

John C. Welch:
Maybe if you made it Bigdick McGillicuddly?

Yeah, this just in - a person whose job it is fly around the world talking has to be seen as a person who has something to say. She doesn't really have any substantial points to make except that she needs to be listened to about one subject. It's always one subject: how is atheism important? Well, as a feminist blogger who . . .

I've heard her say it before. I've heard other people say it before. She's not particularly unique, or clever. I'm not saying that I am either, but my food doesn't depend on my making people think I have something to say.

Which is why I'm not hijacking atheist conferences for my wedding one year to announce my divorce for the following one.

But she is good at playing the victim - first by the supposed elevator guy, and now because all she said was "Hey, guys. Don't be creepy mkay?" and now people are writing mean things about her. *pouty face*

But it's OK - PZ's got her back, and she's gotten a lot more subscribers "score" she says. All it took, she notes, was to get Richard Dawkins to say something stupid. Mm hmm. Color me impressed.

Posted by: Justicar | July 5, 2011 7:56 PM

152

@John C. Welch

THis doesn't make Rebecca a bad person, an untrustworthy person, or whatever. But, to stay clothed and fed, she has to, HAS to relentlessly draw attention to herself. So yeah, being surprised she's a drama queen? I'd be surprised she's not.

No, I don't think she is a bad person nor that self-promotion necessarily is a bad thing. But I am disappointed. I think she got onto some reckless megalomaniac ego-trip that harms feminism and skepticism. (I hope it will pass)
I am a regular reader of skepchick.org, but recently, I got pretty much disturbed and irritated by some articles that can only be characterised by poor reasoning and 'appeal to emotion'. (Maybe you got more readers, if you do that, i dont know). But what I found most disturbing is this "you're either with us, or against us"-attitude: If you don't agree with us on certain aspects, goals, interpretation...then you're misogynist or whatever...and of course the commenting croud will applaud......sorry if I expect more (but i may be somewhat naive on that) from people that proudly call themselves Skeptics and Feminists. Yes I am disappointed.

Posted by: thememe | July 5, 2011 9:00 PM

153
I am a regular reader of skepchick.org, but recently, I got pretty much disturbed and irritated by some articles that can only be characterised by poor reasoning and 'appeal to emotion'. (Maybe you got more readers, if you do that, i dont know). But what I found most disturbing is this "you're either with us, or against us"-attitude: If you don't agree with us on certain aspects, goals, interpretation...then you're misogynist or whatever...and of course the commenting croud will applaud......sorry if I expect more (but i may be somewhat naive on that) from people that proudly call themselves Skeptics and Feminists. Yes I am disappointed.

Luckily, I'm more cynical than you, and I have to live in the New Media Douchebag world on a regular basis, so I see gobs of Rebecca's every day. Most of them have penises, but they're all like her in too many ways.

So if you read comment 112 here, it's a copy and paste of a comment I made on Rebecca's Skepchick post about "naming names." It's a fairly long comment, and one that, I think, lays out why people dislike her stunt. At the end, there's almost a throwaway reference to what I thought was another dick move, namely some juvenile mockery of another comment. Something like 15 paragraphs that *I* wrote, not counting quotes of her words, and the only thing she responds to is a minor bit about her "job".

She could give a fuck about the actual issue I raised, but if it's something that might affect her next speaking fee, she is ALL fucking over THAT. She's a New Media Douchebag. I'd view her as entertainment, not an actual serious source of anything other than maybe how not to color your hair. (Seriously kids, learn how to do that shit right. Turning your hair to raggedy straw is not a good thing. Spend a little dosh, have a pro do it. Well worth it.)

Posted by: John C. Welch | July 5, 2011 9:23 PM

154

Hemant:

"I had written before that the way Rebecca publicly berated Stef McGraw at the CFI conference was unprofessional. That led Amanda Marcotte to call me a “sexist paternalist” whose intent was to shame Rebecca for being successful."

http://friendlyatheist.com/2011/07/05/a-few-more-thoughts-that-are-sure-to-be-uncontroversial/

Posted by: Anonymous | July 5, 2011 10:53 PM

155

@John C. Welch

hmm.. yes ..New Media Douchebag.. Now her actions finally make sense to me. Unfortunately, if i see it that way, Richard Dawkings critical comments were the best thing that could have happened to her :(

Posted by: thememe | July 5, 2011 11:39 PM

156

Just a short comment.

I think you've written a great article here.

I really like your comment about:

"Do not bring MySpace drama into MeatSpace."

If everyone can just learn that little gem of wisdom, the world will be a better place.

Cheers!

Posted by: TotalGeek | July 6, 2011 12:34 AM

157

Uncomplimentary, my dear Watson.

Posted by: Michael Kingsford Gray | July 6, 2011 3:58 AM

158

"You are so cool and totally different from those other bitches. And he would've been all "LOL, good form, dude! Peace out!"

Or raped you.

Either way, you'd be so cool and totally different from those other bitches."

Well, I guess that salty IS a rapist-in-waiting then.

You know, even if RW had told EG "No way, creep!" bringing some anger into the situation and making it a power game, EG, unlike you, took "No" for the answer. You know as in "not raping".

That YOU can't take no for an answer is a reflection on you, not anyone else.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 9:12 AM

159

"But there should be no doubt about the elevator incident. I honestly think that ERV and others questioning Watson's honesty when she tells the story of the elevator incident is very nasty."

Why?

a) it's a made up story in the same manner as the parables, something to learn by. The good samaritan didn't ACTUALLY exist, but the story WAS a moral and useful one to tell

b) it is true, but only vaguely reported. Did you read the title of the group for which RW was talking for? Atheists and skeptics. Take a look at the last one

c) it's true but still nasty for some reason other than "skepticism". If so, please explain what and why. E.g. "It's nasty because it minimises the fraught danger women find themselves in" needs to be defended and the return comment to that has already been made: "asking for coffee==sex slavery" minimises the fraught danger the sex slave trade contains.

PS you'll also need to work out why SC's comments have not been nasty.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 9:30 AM

160

"(And to those saying "Stef should grow a spine","

For me, can those people saying "Stef should grow a spine" should say "Rebbecca, grow a spine".

I can understand being creeped out, but you can overcome that with use of a spine, like ERV has.

Apparently, though asking *Rebbecca* to grow a spine means you're a class traitor or rapist in waiting.

As to whether EG did something bad, I honestly don't think we have anywhere near enough to say. We have plenty enough to say whether RW was wrong in her treatment of Steff, though.

Posted by: Wow | July 6, 2011 10:14 AM

161

For the past several years, I've not been that involved in the skeptical movement...been busy earning my phd (guess I'm not as smart as Abbie or Tara at Atieology who did both). I follow a few blogs like PZ's and this one. Now that I have a real job as a professor and a little extra spending money, I've been planning on attending some of the meetings, maybe a TAM. After seeing all this shit, I don't see the point.

Is anyone else old enough to remember when the lights of the movement were people like Carl Sagan and Martin Gardner? Now we have Rebecca Fucking Watson and all this pomo-pseudofeminism shit everywhere?

Abbie keep up what you're doing--begin a scientist and speaking on skepticism. Watson and those like her are stuck in an internet echo-chamber and I don't anything can ever change that.

Posted by: mathguy | July 6, 2011 11:47 AM

162

Mathguy:
Watson just called to complain about Rebecca doing something to him.

Grats on the PhD and professorship. Please, please, PLEASE, don't let a teaching session go by where you neglect to point out the importance of critical analysis.

And never again juxtapose Carl Sagan with Rebecca Watson. Comos was and will always be lightyears beyond the capacity of skepchick. They should really change its description to: "Skepchick is a group of women (and one deserving guy) who try to write about science, skepticism, and while promoting pseudoscience. With intelligence, curiosity, and occasional snark, the group tackles diverse topics from astronomy to astrology, victim-hood--a get paid to complain guide--to explaining why you're a rapist."

Posted by: Justicar | July 6, 2011 12:58 PM

163

Thanks for writing this, ERV. I will be checking out your blog in the future to read about science and other things that actually matter.

I really don't get RW's appeal, but I'm just a skeptical dude, not a "skeptic" in the in-crowd. Aside from a semi-humorous comment once every 3rd week on SGU, she just injects a snarky, snide and self-congratulatory tone to the show. I wish they'd just replace her with another woman who can do more than simply parrot people who are smarter than her. I'm not surprised by her over-the-top reaction to this whole debacle. I can't believe she was ever on a panel with Dr. Dawkins. Ridiculous.

Posted by: GratefulDoc | July 7, 2011 4:10 PM

164

Is Watsons' behaviour here feminist or not? I ask because the folks at her site and PZ Myers' seem to approve of it as feminism. The comments here not so much. But it seems more than a little minor disagreement.

Watson sees Dawkins disagreement as so significant she is leading a boycott of him, saying he is anti-feminist. That's how certain her position is. Who is correct? What is feminism?

Posted by: DavidByron | July 7, 2011 4:52 PM

165

I must register my disagreement with Abbie.

Propositioning someone for sex (and I was not initially aware that the offer of 'coffee' was actually a thinly veiled reference to this) at any time, let alone at 4am alone in a elevator, is immoral and wrong.

The two were not married! Or indeed, even in a relationship.

That is not to say that Ms Watson is a moral/righteous person (she is most certainly not).

But she is right to call people out for excusing this! The sexual mores of our times our twisted.

Posted by: Pete Rooke | July 7, 2011 5:36 PM

166

That depends on whether or you're not the right kind of feminist, DavidByron.

Some people are keen on that no true Scots[wo]man fallacy.

If you're not Rebecca Watson's kind of feminist and mention it, you're a misogynist and advocating an attitude that is actually harming women. This is a repugnant claim, and not enough people are calling bullshit and demanding internet blood for it.

Posted by: Justicar | July 7, 2011 5:40 PM

167

Found this site after a long search getting the detail for this storm in a tea cup incident.
Not much to say other than, ERV, you're freaking awesome.
If I wasn't living in Australia or married I'd ask you out for a coffee, even if it was 4am in an elevator! LOL

Posted by: FZ | July 8, 2011 3:41 AM

168

"Propositioning someone for sex (and I was not initially aware that the offer of 'coffee' was actually a thinly veiled reference to this)"

How do you ask someone for a coffee?

Is every attempt by a man to have a date with a woman a request for sex? Am I propositioning my own sister when I invite her round for a coffee?

And how DO you ask a woman out? How do you get to be not-married if men aren't allowed to ask you for a date? Are all marriages supposed to be arranged?

And one last thing, I REALLY don't like this whole "rape switch" idea.

And one reason is that it's the same thing as saying that a woman who gets raped was asking for it.

"She was asking for it" == "She flipped the man's rape switch"

Because IF (and I REALLY don't believe it's true) any man will rape under certain circumstances, then it's saying that the man had no choice and therefore wasn't his fault even more than "she was wearing a short skirt and flirting" is making it not the man's fault. In the case of a "rape switch", it's apparently something EVERY SINGLE MAN has and cannot remove. There's no equal imperative in the "she was wearing a short skirt", the only imperative there is that the male responded to incorrect or misinterpreted signals, but could still have ignored those signals.

It is, to me, a really disgusting thing. But apparently OK to say for some women. I can only guess that it demonises men and therefore is OK, whereas "she was asking for it" demonises women and that's not OK.

Me? I think both demonise humans and diminish the crime.

Posted by: Wow | July 8, 2011 6:52 AM

170

"A teacher with the Nova language school, Ms Hawker had been approached on the street by Ichihashi and agreed to give him an English class. After the hour-long lesson in a coffee shop, Ichihashi told her that he did not have any money with him and that they should go back to his apartment so he could pay her."

Sounds innocent enough, Ms Hawker was found dead later.

Posted by: randy | July 11, 2011 2:35 PM

171

Myspace and meatspace eh?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZuowNcuGsc

Posted by: Anonymous Internet Commenter | July 11, 2011 6:32 PM

172

Sounds innocent enough, Ms Hawker was found dead later.

The murderer's approach sounds like what many people were arguing Elevator Guy should have done - that he should have asked to meet her another day (4 days later to be exact), in a public place, and offered a reason that was not likely interpreted as an invitation for sex. What lesson do you draw from this exactly?

Posted by: windy | July 11, 2011 7:40 PM

173

Do we even know anything happened? And if anything happened, why did she freak out so hard? Is she not used to get the attention by guys?

Posted by: urgh | July 12, 2011 8:40 AM

174

Ms Hawker had been approached on the street by Ichihashi and agreed to give him an English class.

Bad example:

Based on her You Tube videos RW lacks a rudimentary grasp of the English language.

Posted by: Prometheus | July 12, 2011 9:32 AM

175

GratefulDoc @163

It is rather weird that she was on the same panel as Dawkins. She's nowhere near the same level, and it's actually a mystery why she was there. I'm not saying it just because of this latest drama, but I have never liked RW.

Posted by: Think or GTFO | July 12, 2011 12:00 PM

176

My thoughts on the whole Atheism/Feminism stupidity
http://tonyryan.org.uk/?p=582

Posted by: Tony Ryan - Coffee Loving Skeptic | July 13, 2011 6:10 PM

177

Some commenters here really need to take a hard look at themselves. The post was about one thing: etiquette of internet/real world interactions. We may agree or disagree with what the author said (I, for example, disagree: internet is part of real world, and not something we must never speak about when "out there", ever). This thread descending to incredibly nasty personal attacks against RW is despicable. Seriously, get a grip, people.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 14, 2011 8:37 AM

178

Why get a grip when we've got a perfectly good gripe in our hands?

Posted by: Justicar | July 14, 2011 8:46 AM

179

Okay, Rebecca is complaining that guys are hitting on her all the time at conferences.

Well, okay but what does she mean by that?

Does that mean guys are flirting with her and that annoys her because flirting is sexualizing? Or does she mean that men are straight out constantly propositioning her for sex?

If it's the first case then I think she's a hypocrite because she does that to men. (as has been noted by previous bloggers) If it's the second case then maybe she's just interpreting men as propositioning her? I mean based on her knee jerk assessment of a guy asking her out for coffee, it sounds like she kind of projects sexual intentions on to men. Am I naive for thinking that way?

Posted by: Ihaveaspergerspleaseexplainsimplethingstomelol | July 15, 2011 1:29 PM

180

Okay folks, this is what is going on.

Rebecca Watson insists that she explicitly told guys not to sexualize her on the panel discussion with Richard Dawkins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKHwduG1Frk&feature=player_embedded#at=242

However the actual panel discussion which was uploaded by AronRa she never talks about being sexualized in the kind of way that she purports elevator guy is doing to her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik

She doesn't talk about being hit on at all she talks about getting crude emails.

Rebecca Watson distorts things and does not know how to distinguish between her feelings and reality.

That doesn't make her a good feminist or a good skeptic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik

So this is what people are referring to when they talk about how Rebecca had already told others that she didn't like being "hit on" at conferences. Sadly that's not what she said at all and the so called skeptics never bothered to check their sources.

Posted by: Richard Manning | July 15, 2011 6:56 PM

181

A bit of a follow up to earlier:
Let's reclaim the elevator!!
http://tonyryan.org.uk/?p=602

Posted by: Tony Ryan - Coffee Loving Skeptic | July 17, 2011 10:12 AM

182

ERV

Maybe I misread it as a non native-speaking english, but I don't read the "10000" thing as 'my audience is bigger so STFU'. I've read it as 'calling you out in a talk with 1/100th of the audience of my blog alone is not worst than calling you out in the blog itself, so stop whinning'. Hhmm yeah, it still sounds a little arrogant.
And still, talking about arrogance:

Even if Watson was 100% right, she absolutely went about addressing this issue the wrong way. That is unquestionable.

Maybe I should STFU...
And no, I don't understand why McGraw could not use the Q&A section to fight back? Because she is too shy to speak out away from the seccurity of her keyboard? Because RW would have the 'final word'? So what? Oh..
Ya, 1 minute in a Q&A (where Watson would still be given the Final Word) is leik, TOTALLY equivalent to Watsons 60 minute, uninterrupted platform.

Really? RW would have 60 min to answer every question during Q&A? No? Ah..She did spend 60 min calling McGraw out? Wow! THAT was bitchy indeed.
I also would please like to know more about this 'what happens in the internet stays in the internet' rule. I think many divorce attorneys would like to know about it also.

Cheers

Posted by: Eneraldo Carneiro | July 18, 2011 4:41 PM

183

All of this because of one drunk Irish guy?
yee gads

Posted by: dzhellek | July 22, 2011 5:17 AM

184
Hopefully soon you'll at least stop posting things like this

Ooh, I loves me some Salty Cu...nt!

Posted by: forced to be anonymous | July 23, 2011 9:39 AM

185

Who?

Seriously.

Posted by: Name | July 24, 2011 1:57 PM

186

The threads that develop on this topic make me sad.

Posted by: cmmm | August 1, 2011 12:09 AM

187

Has Ms. Watson stopped using the hate mail that Richard Dawkins gets as her cell phone ringtone, yet?

Posted by: Horace | August 19, 2011 4:25 PM

188

I recently made the mistake of suggesting on FtBs that you would be a good addition *BIG MISTAKE* I have basically the same perspective as you on this. And I am not sure where all this problems that crowd has with you come from (they also did not really notice that I suggested UNIFI as well, which I am sure most people in the debate remember as the blog SM is at).

Posted by: William Bell | October 2, 2011 1:55 PM

189

Hey people,

I posted this on skepchicks, it failed moderation. (aww) so here it is. Apologies for length and repetition. Anyone thinking to contribute to any of this discussion, lets let it die. But this needs to be read somewhere.

(considering the complete VENOM in that mile of comments on her blog, I think this was pretty tame. More likely it cut a little too deep in places, so she's a coward.)
---------------

Hello Rebecca!

I want to start by congratulating you on bravery in the face of threats, which is simply awful. I am not a regular in this community, however I am an atheist and have read the god delusion. I want to ignore the guy in the lift (elevator is Lift in australian lol), as he was creepy, but I think I'll touch on it sadly. I'm ignoring the other lady you 'dissed', as this is uninteresting to me, and seems a scholarly trifle. I want to discuss the Dawkins thing. For several reasons, first, I think there could be some misunderstanding, I'll get to that. Second, I think some of your writing is done hastily, without adequate editing, and without a cool off period before publication. This has been really unfortunate. HOWEVER, I want you to remember I support you, and what follows is meant to be constructive. I'll quote you and reply. I know, that like many other comments, some of the things I say may sound unfounded, I encourage individual research.

"I was living in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism, because in my world we were all rational atheists who had thrown off our religious indoctrination"

The glass ceiling is 'well and truly' still in place in the western world, and equal pay is sadly an unrealistic short term goal to second and third world women. Feminism is always going to be needed, it's healthy, and still is a battle to fight. Thinking you lived in a post-feminist culture makes you appear quite comfortably 'first world', by displaying an ignorance of the actual situation. Many of us never had religious indoctrination, and no healthy group is always in consensus. Some may be sexist, some may be racist, but what unites the group is scepticism/atheism. Not feminism. I think it should be a group norm within this movement, and so do you, but now you know many others only have the former in common with yourself. While a few may change tune, don't expect a chorus.

".. like how we tell women they should be quiet and polite and not question what is told to them.."

This is the poor editing, which is constructive criticism for a writer. These two examples contradict each other. Either you thought you lived in a post feminist culture, or you think woman are told to be good stepford wives and obey. These are polar opposites, and even a quick glance by an editor would have clarified your position. I feel this oversight could be because of the shock of Dawkins' comment, and your need for further publishing as the site traffic peaked.

"Maybe they could wait for her to make the first move, just in case."

This would be great if it happened in real life, likely it is merely 'my milage varying'. It is worth noting that a large proportion of women will never make the first move, and wait for the man to do so. I base this on: in animals it is often the male, but not always, who initiates, he's looking. Secondly, traditional western upbringing, from the baby boomers onwards, taught men to do this. However, it would never have been appropriate for a gentleman to proposition a lady in such a way as you experienced.

Recently I read 'The Rules' which suggests a tactic of he must initiate, to make him feel like he had to chase. The book say that women who offer themselves are less value to a man as he didn't have to work for it. She won't be kept long term, and will wonder why. They suggest assertive behaviour, but are passive at the first meeting, always. I don't really agree, and I hope women do ask men out in the future. If you think about it, while a lady may feel threatened by a man in certain situations, it is much less likely that the opposite is true. This means it is actually safer, and easier for everyone if the woman asks. It just needs to start happening.

Now to the potential for misinterpretation:
Dawkins is British, and also a renowned scientist. He specifically is into Biology, and has made a few stunning contributions in his time as a writer and scientist. This is not in question. We know from youtube that he doesn't suffer fools lightly, and has little patience for religious types. For some of us, Dawkins appears so passionately determined to correct religious nutters, and does so, so viscerally, that he actually manages to come across hostile. He's a scientist, not a diplomat. Sometimes, in order to communicate properly and not just take offence, great care must be taken to understand.

There is something else about the British, they have this thing called speakers corner. For over a hundred years, anyone with a soapbox and an opinion can go there and spout their ideas to gathered crowds. That's just blogs, circa 1872. When someone on a soapbox was talking rubbish, they might get shouted down, ignored, heckled, or criticised. British people became comfortable telling each other what they really thought. Taking poignant criticism gracefully can be tough to learn, but it is part of having a public opinion, especially an opinion you desire feedback on, like your blog.

Dawkins' response to you, in my opinion, is not as much disregarding your feelings, as it is a satirical attack on a member of the first world, complaining that they have life so bad.
This is his version of the 'first world problems' meme, or 'white whining' is another name for it. It is quite clever really, and shows just how ridiculous this is.

Dawkins sees the whole world as biology, and in the billion women who have it the worst off on earth, there are no english speakers. He is making the judgement that a billion women in genuine suffering conditions, make almost any complaint in the first world seem beyond a joke. A bad one. That is his perspective. Perhaps you are seeing it as, "my feelings were disregarded, and an unfair comparison was made to trivialise my plight, at which I took great offence to, as did many other women". Many other (first world) women. All of which, how sickeningly, enjoy 'first world privilege'. Regardless of whether you are respected adequately as a woman, you have a life UNIMAGINABLE to these people. Dawkins is saying have you no shame? Do you know what is happening outside your little 'cons' in the united states? Yes, you do. We know you do. Dawkins knows you do. It is improper for the first world to continue working on itself, at the expense of the third. They are dying. You had your sensibilities offended by a reality check.

Dawkins fights creationists, as you know. That is what he does, you have that in common. He is not good at 'touchy feely', he gets death threats like you have no idea of. Not, an indirect "I'd like to see it one day", but an actual statement of intent with a date. If you found this little incident and all the traffic and attention a novelty, imagine his life. This is no defence for treading on your feelings, but this is the british stiff upper lip. They were being bombed daily by the nazis and they went to work everyday. If someone upsets you, for fucksake, keep calm and carry on. Dawkins is not perfect, nobody is. But you look back at what was said to you, try and see it from outside. Maybe he respects you, and is frustrated with the big picture being ignored for such trivialities. How dare a public forum for scepticism be railroaded into a decades old feminist rant? Bor-ing. He saw real feminists back in the day. He comes from the country which started the suffragette movement. He now sees the spoilt great great grand children of these women, wasting resources. Thrift brings prosperity.

You have behaved badly Rebecca, because you know that he speaks out against female circumcision, against child abuse. Against the stoning of women to death. These issues are all more serious than you being objectified in a lift, that is the cold hard truth of it. There are creationists trying to roll back time in the USA, and you want to have a cry about being politely hit on? To attempt to tarnish a warrior for good is wrong. This is the reason you were made an object of ridicule, you need a reality check.

"I am a feminist, because skeptics and atheists made me one."

Rebecca, you are a feminist because because you want to be, it is a cause you want to champion. Take credit where it is due, don't let meanies take credit for your obvious concern. It is a good cause.

"this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman"

This is your real pain right here, and I feel for you, Rebecca. Really. Look at that sentence, three truths. More good about him than bad. You have always admired him, and rightfully so, but he has critiqued your behaviour and you are hurt by it, taking criticism constructively is valuable for writers, and taking it well is actually your responsibility. You have a public blog which you want an opinion on. Of all those comments, you single his out. It wasn't the most unpleasant, but perhaps the most famous. Dawkins' comment hurt you because you want his respect, and he was extremely direct about calling attention to the real feminist victims in the world, not you. He sees the big picture, you see yourself, the women in your community. You all communicate with computers, meet up in fancy conventions. It is so massively privileged, so disgustingly unequal, that you should be ashamed to complain about almost anything, lest you not actually be compassionate. But all feminist issues are equal, they can't be played off against each other. How many pairs of shoes do you think a somali child owns? They earn less than your starbucks in a week. Perhaps he is more able to judge suffering? I have no doubt you found the elevator guy distressing, I am sorry, but there are issues and then there are personal concerns, prerogatives. You started a ruckus, then cried at the opinions you heard, became click bait for all manner of sexist rants, and abused a man of profound reason in a world of occasional haters. You have divided a community which requires strength, especially as we are all 'crazy atheists' now. Do you feel that the secular community is in a strong enough position that it should endure feminism diatribes? Was this issue that bad that it warranted this? Sadly, you can't back down now. So despite the fact that he said that what happened to you was relatively harmless, even if you may or may not agree, you attacked a significant figure in the movement whose good is undeniable. This was selfish and shortsighted, I question your commitment to scepticism in general, over feminism. When Germaine Greer was attacked by feminists, who do you think that served? MISOGYNISTS. When Dawkins is attacked by atheists, who wins? CREATIONISTS. You unfairly singled out a single opinion, an opinion which attracted traffic to your site and more followers. Are you up to 11k yet? Newsflash: nobody minds feminism being taught in schools, so you have failed to identify the real peril to reason and science. That was selfish, but you were hurt.

"Dawkins is not the present. He is the past."

No, he is the present. You can be the future, but don't throw away what you have. Pick your battles. Know your tools. (lol)

"a rich white man" and "continue to be stinking rich"

Anti-capitalist too? Do you think people should be paid for their time and effort? If I wrote books or gave speeches, I'd charge. Do you work for free? This sounds like hurt, turned into spite. Ugly. Let that go, can't be healthy. For real. Since his wealth, or lack of it, is irrelevant to your lift situation, I assume this is merely trolling. Like I said, wait a while and reread. Do you begrudge gaga her millions? Only difference, she didn't hurt you. Maybe she isn't someone you respect.

"Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice."

I don't even think you believe yourself there. Yeah, because of elevator guy all scientific respect for the man will dissolve.

"..the unbelievable height of Dawkins’ privilege."

As a white English speaker, with a job, living in the first world, with no visible disability, with a home and computer, etc., you are extremely similar. Now compare you both with someone from bangalore, or china. Or johannesburg. Seeing you speak of privilege, is embarrassing to see. Again, pure hurt and anger written between those lines. Get an editor, all the pros have em. Or get a partner or friend to read it back to you first before posting it?

"Nope, I didn’t call for a boycott. I’m relaying the fact.."

Whatever. If a nobody (no offence) accuses a famous person of something, that gets attention. You can't possibly not know this. You 'relayed it' to 10k people. You are likely aware that there are Dawkins haters trawling daily for 'stories' like this. I wonder if this will make FOXnews? I suppose that would make you proud that the good feminist message got out. Not that every single debate from now on, Dawkins must waste time dealing with troll questions about why he hates women. Which is not the case. Further making atheists look bad. Dawkins wasn't in the lift, but he potentially will come off worst from this, merely because he actually has some PR to have ruined. I blame Dawkins for even participating in such a vapid discussion in the first place. Like I said, nobody is perfect. I'm just sad that the cause isn't enough for you two tp get along nicely.

"..the response I get shows me that the problem is much worse than I thought.."

If I were you, I'd go with the overwhelming response in support of you and womens' rights, I've been reading for hours. There is a lot of good feedback. It is a pity you didn't just go with that.

I know this is a wall of text, I'm sorry. Lastly, it is a sad truth that there are many lonely people out there who would do anything for someone to ask them out. Maybe not in a rapey lift way, I take that point. They would tell you not to send a message discouraging the possible interaction of two adults, the chance of meeting someone to love outweighs their short term risk because they are desperate. This is your final privilege, your youth and beauty. Complain all you want now about unwanted advances from strangers, because as we all get older I imagine it happens less and less.

Don't try to change being a sexual animal, that is what you are. An orgasm has been and likely shall remain one of the greatest pleasures available to us, it is natural and healthy to want this. I think you live in a sexual world, and while you should not have to suffer attack, part of being an adult animal is dealing with other animals which want to mate. While politeness is expected in the first world, it is a luxury in places where gender inequity is actually a problem.

McGraw: ".. showed screenshots of people online calling her demeaning names, making comments about her appearance, and, worst of all, making rape comments."

WELCOME TO THE INTERNETS.. please grow some skin, comments sections are where trolls live, and I think you got massively trolled by Richard Dawkins. BIG TIME.

Posted by: DrClaw | December 8, 2011 8:48 AM

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