Friday, February 17, 2012

Is Matt Dillahunty pussywhipped?

This popped up in my Twitter feed today.
I was curious, so I replied asking for a link. Never got a response. I saw the same post on the Facebook, but again, no link was listed, so I had to Google it.
I think Matt Dillahunty is pussywhipped. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy and I enjoy listening to him on The Atheist Experience and The Non Prophets. He’s a very reasonable, rational guy…except when it comes to feminism. You see, he recently married a feminist, named Beth Presswood, who also occasionally appears on The Atheist Experience, but also has her own podcast with a few other women, called Godless Bitches. While that podcast has good points now and then, I don’t like how often Beth uses logical fallacies when talking about women’s rights issues. If there was a creationist or some other fundie nutjob using logical fallacy after logical fallacy, Dillahunty would be all over them and would not tolerate such bullshit. With his wife, however, he doesn’t seem to care.
The writer, Nicole Czanderna, is partly correct. Matt used to be just as rational about feminism as he was about anything else. One of the main reasons I admire him is his ability to think logically and rationally, but he has lost that ability when it comes to feminism. But, it is not because he is pussywhipped, but for another reason I suspect.

Some history:

In March of last year, Jen McCreight posted a conversation she had at an atheist meeting where a guy mentioned that more women in the atheist movement would equal more women to date. Matt joined in on the comment thread, and made a few interesting points.
Look, I almost fully agree with Jen and I’m a huge supporter of resolving this issue and eliminating sexism…Which is why I’ll point out the sexism in your response [referring to previous commenter.]– and in Jen’s.It’s completely understandable and normal – and acceptable – that people might want to increase their dating pool.Notice, though that he said “date”. It’s bad enough that Jen equated this with sex, but when you exaggerate it with crude nonsense, you really expose your own biases.When I was looking for someone to date, sex – believe it or not – wasn’t a concern. Dating, for me, isn’t about sex, it’s about looking for a potential partner, someone with whom you share common interests. It’s about finding someone who is intellectually stimulating, challenging and interesting. It’s about finding someone with common desires, interests and goals. It’s about finding someone to care about BEYOND sex.This frequent representation of heterosexual men as slobbering sex maniacs who objectify women such that “date” really equates to “boobies and blowjobs” is pathetic. It’s narrow-minded and sexist – and shameful … and it may hurt the cause even more than what “Guy4″ said.Are there guys like that? Sure…and there are women like that – and that goes for every sexual identity I’ve encountered.Jen is completely correct that this response from him is part of the problem, but it’s part of the problem because it tends to give the wrong impression – not because his intent is somehow base and repugnant. Your response is also part of the problem – because you’re alienating men by misrepresenting them as inconsiderate, sex-crazed pigs.This individual, like many others, may simply have been expressing frustration at the general inability for people in closeted minorities to find someone that they want to spend time with.
Jen never responded, at least not publicly. She did have an email exchange with him, which he mentioned on a Non Prophets episode (Air date 4/2/11. 4:00-4:20). Though I of course have no idea of the topic of their exchange. But, I do know that he started writing differently about feminism afterwards.

For instance, during an exchange on an Atheist Experience post regarding Elevatorgate, Matt had this to say:
His side of the story is irrelevant [Referring to Elevator Guy]. In fact, it doesn't even matter if he exists and this is entirely fictional. 
This sort of thing does happen, it's creepy and it's a problem that affects how likely women are to attend and participate in atheist/skeptic groups and events - and therefore it needs to be brought to people's attention. 
And this is just a mild example of some of the things that discourage women from participating.  
Your myopic, privileged oversimplifications demonstrate that you don't get question is, do you even care to TRY to understand, or are you just going to keep up the mansplaining. If it's the latter, there's no need to post.
 The stupid in this comment:
  1. EG's side of story is irrelevant.
  2. EG's existence is irrelevant.
  3. Claim that men hitting on women is driving women out of atheism movement with no evidence.
  4. Uses the word privilege.
  5. Uses the word mansplaining, ferchistsakes.
  6. Tells other commenter to shut up and go away.
Points three thru six are all crap that femtheists use frequently. None are rational, thoughtful arguments. They are just trite sayings used to belittle and demonize the opponents. Points one and two are just beyond stupid.

I cannot know the contents of Matt and Jen's email exchange, and I cannot know why he went from rational discussion beforehand to dogmatic femtheist speak afterwards. I cannot know if they are even related. But I can guess.

And, I will guess. Matt wants to be famous in the atheist community and be part of the in crowd. He wants to be buddies with Jen, PZ, Greta, and all the rest. He wants to be one of the popular kids. But, to join the in crowd, he cannot speak rationally about feminists issues, for the in crowd will brook no dissent. To be part of the in crowd, one must be dogmatic. One must be a femtheist. So, Matt has tossed aside his normal rational ways and joined in with the PZ and the gang. So, I don't think Matt has been pussywhipped. He just wanted to hang with the cool kids.

The whole gang at The Atheist Experience have abandoned rationality when it comes to feminism. Russell Glasser, one of the AE co-hosts, looked up Czanderna's blog, and sent Matt a tweet.

Now, A Voice for Men is a truly sick, disgusting site. The shit in charge once publicly promised to vote to acquit if he was ever on a jury for a rape trial. Sick, MRA bullshit. But, Czanderna did not link to anything like that. She linked to a post detailing some of the truly sick shit that radfems have said on some internet forum. She said about the radfems:
Most feminist may not be as extreme as what is depicted in the Agent Orange Files, but I certainly don’t see most feminist disapproving of such behavior, either. I want this to be seen. The scariest thing about these bigots is that they hold positions of power, and some of them even interact with children. These people need to be exposed and brought to light.
The Agent Orange Files detail some radfems advocating for killing off the vast majority of men. Genocide. Really. Read the files.

Linking to what may very well be the only post on A Voice for Men that is worth reading does not make Czanderna a misogynist. But, in a Facebook thread about Czanderna's post, Matt said: of the first responses I got was from Russell Wain Glasser who pointed out that he found her blog and that she was reposting mysoginst crap on it...
So, Russell misrepresented her blog (was he lying, or just lazy when it comes to research?) and Matt jumped to the conclusion that she is a misogynist. As of this writing (twelve hours after Matt's Twitter and Facebook posts), Matt had not yet checked Czanderna's blog. Yet he knows her well enough to call her a misogynist. A cursory glance at her blog shows that she likes cats and is a feminist. She just isn't a radfem.

He has proved her point that he gives feminism a pass when it comes to his usual rational discourse.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

One of the Pharyngula horde, perhaps?

On Rebecca Watson and that stupid in-group/out-group dynamic.

I didn't write much of anything about the whole Elevatorgate affair, but I need to make my opinions clear.  So, in brief: Watson was wrong; Dawkins was right; McCreight should stop blogging while angry; Myers needs to get off his high horse; and, Benson should just shut the fuck up.

But my thoughts on Elevatorgate do not matter much. I give them solely for full disclosure. I care far more about the fall-out. Atheists have become divided with a huge amount of animosity on both sides. Freethought Blogs has become the home of the femtheists, while the so-called MRAs hang out at the Slime Pit. The Pharyngula Wiki has degenerated into a place for hate-filled rants against those who like coffee, while the coffee drinkers responded by creating the Phawrongula Wiki. While often entertaining, the in-group/out-group dynamic has gotten tedious.

While I am obviously on one side, I care more about the larger picture. I keep reading those whom I disagree with. Some of what Watson writes still has worth. The same is true for McCreight and Myers. I have never read anything by Benson that has worth, but her petulant whining is often amusing.

The other day, Watson tweeted a link to an excellent article about Chris Brown and the Grammys. John Hodgman retweeted her.
Valerie Keefe responded.
The article that Watson tweeted was a well written and thoroughly researched piece discussing Chris Brown's upcoming performance at the Grammys. It was worth a read, and I'm glad Watson mentioned it. Otherwise, I probably would not have seen it. Keefe though ignored the article and just started rehashing Elevatorgate. She was trolling, and not being helpful.
Watson was wrong here. Elevator Guy was thoroughly shamed by the atheist community.
Watson is not helping the situation with her dishonesty here. The explosion of anger about Elevatorgate did not come from her politely asking not to be propositioned. The anger came afterwards. She knows that.
And this is just whiny, victimization. I know that Keefe was trolling her, but her poor me reaction doesn't help anything. It is just a way to continue the bullshit.

JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks ranted about this problem while ranting about the Amazing Atheist in a post of rants the other day.
And let me just say I'm sick and fucking tired of this in-group/out-group shit. I disagree with PZ and Jen McReight on some things sure, but I will never let in-group/out-group mentality prevent me from seeing or commenting on the things that we do agree on. Jen and I have had it out and yeah I've been on the opposite sides of things from her and PZ in the past obviously. But some who comment on her blogs and other blogs like hers need to hear this... if you can't see how the comments made by the Amazing Atheist were completely fucked then you're missing something, maybe intentionally maybe not. This idea that "Oh Jen doesn't like something, we should go find ways to ignore the point and attack her anyways" is moronic to the core. Stop. Please? It doesn't help anyone's cause. I blog for two reasons: 1. to vent. 2. to call bullshit when I see bullshit that annoys me. I do not blog to troll. Do I troll? Yes, but not here. I troll when whoever I'm speaking with is no longer interested in productive discourse... or when my local news channel posts some ignorant shit that ignites a shitstorm of ignorant comments that really can't be fought at the speed they flood in and it only makes me feel better to at least make their heads explode in return. I do not use this blog to troll, nor do I go around on other people's blogs in order to troll. I'm not in this to play stupid games.
Bravo. It's simple, kids. Remember that we are allies, and we need to work together. Atheists pride themselves on the ability to use logic and engage in ration discourse. Keep things civil, and remember, Watson, McCreight, Myers will make other stupid feminism posts again. Wait until then to call them out for their foolish bullshit. Opportunities will be there. Meanwhile, keep things rational.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Candidate kicked off of ballot for not speaking English good.

Er, well. I mean well.

A Yuma County, Arizona judge has disqualified a City Council candidate from running because of her poor English skills. Alejandrina Cabrera admits that she speaks only a little English, but adds that she can understand and read it. She can understand and speak well enough to have an interview with The New York Times.

 San Luis, the town she was running in, is 90% Mexican-American. It is a Spanish speaking town. People go shopping, they speak Spanish. They go to the gas station, they speak Spanish. They see a doctor, they speak Spanish. And when town residents go to speak at council meetings, they speak Spanish.

Everybody speaks Spanish all the frigging time.

But Spanish with a bit of English speaking apparently isn't good enough to carry out the duties of the City Council.

The judge based his decision on the 1910 law that granted Arizona statehood. Part of the act was a requirement that all elected office holders must be able to speak English without the aid of a translator. That requirement was, and is, pure racism. The white Congress and the white powers that be didn't want any of the brown, Spanish speaking Mexicans, who still remembered when Arizona was still part of Mexico, to run for office. With an English only requirement, the Arizona statehouse had better chances of being white only. It was racism then, and it's racism now.

A causal glance at the current Republican primary race shows that intelligence, honor, morals, ethics, compassion, empathy, or common sense are not requirements for high office. So, I do not understand why English is necessary for a city council candidate in a town that is 90% Spanish speaking.

The only requirement is getting enough voters to elect her. That should be enough.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just so you know, she was too shy to ask for it herself. She had me pick it up.

From "I, Anonymous"

From Slog's I, Anonymous column:
Dear Archbishop 
You are a regular patron of my place of employment. I always knew you were a priest of some sort, but I didn't know until recently that you are the archbishop leading the Catholic Church's fight against gay marriage in Washington.
Go read the rest. It's short. Won't take long.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jen McCreight may not be a cunt...

though I've called her one once a while back. It was rude of me, but I have no regrets. She was acting like one, and I felt she deserved it. Also, I was being ironic or something. I was also trying to be funny. My level of success there is entirely subjective.

Cunt is not the most offensive word in English. That distinction goes to nigger. Cunt is perhaps a close second. But, that's subjective. I use either word rarely, but I use them. Sometimes the situation calls for such a slur.

For instance, a phone call amongst myself and a few cabbie buddies a few years ago. P told us that he took a black couple to some project in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn. They only paid half the fare and took off owing $20. He got out and demanded his money. The couple just walked away. P yelled, "Nigger, I should get my gun and shoot you in the back." The guy told him to go ahead and kept walking. P told us that he felt guilty using the slur. He felt he diminished a whole race because he was angry at one farebeater. The other drivers disagreed, saying that a thief deserves any insult available. I remained silent, just listening, when P asked me, "I bet you would never have called that guy a nigger no matter what. You're too much of a damn hippie. What would you have said to him?" I responded, "I wouldn't have said anything. I'd have just shot the nigger in the back."

I was being amusing. We all had a good laugh. If you think I'm racist or a bigot because of that conversation, you're retarded. Context matters.

Jen McCreight wrote a post the other day where she ignored context completely. Penn Jillette commented on a friend's Facebook post about a woman who wrote a rather shitty piece for MSNBC about the Super Bowl commercials. He said:
What a remarkably stupid cunt. Why did I read this? Strained comedy that does exactly what she’s busting. Horrible. How about not watching? This is just someone trying to hate people and be superior and having to work really hard at it. She does the same fucking joke 4 times and pats herself on the back for it. I’ve never seen any of these ads, and never will, but what a fucking talentless cunt.
Jen provided no context to Penn's comment. She did not quote the original Facebook post or include any of the other comments. Yet, she was outraged that Penn called a writer a cunt. She went so far to say, "According to Penn Jillette, if a woman makes a joke he doesn’t find funny, she’s a stupid talentless cunt."  Which is a bit of a leap; he only called a single woman a cunt. And not to her face, but on a private Facebook post.

I suspect that Jen did not have access to the context of Penn's comment. She got it from a tweet by the author that Penn referred to as a cunt. That author did not provide any further context. Perhaps she did not have any further context herself. I don't know and don't care.

What I do know, and care about, is that based on this one out-of-context Facebook comment, Jen has stated, "I’m done with Penn Jillette. We can come up with better skeptical role models and celebrities than this."
That's it. He's done. Fuck the misogynistic asshole. Based on the nearly 500 comments on her post so far, many folks agree with Jen. They are done with Penn. No further context needed.

This ostracization of prominent atheists and skeptics in this community because of perceived misogynistic slights has gotten completely out of hand. Watson is done with Dawkins. Christina is done with Grothe. Some are even done with Coyne just because someone posted a video by the same fag that called Benson a cunt onto his blog.

Enough is enough. Feminism is an important issue, but for some facets of feminism, there are no clear answers. People disagree. Men and women, many who claim to be feminists disagree. Orstacization is not helpful. It weakens the atheist movement.  Debate, discussion, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness are key. This hate and anger is childish. We are atheists, dammit. We are not supposed to be dogmatic.