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."
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.
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.
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.