Richard Dawkins, I think it’s fair to say, is a bit of a dick. Though he’s an expert popularizer of science he seems to be a bit of a blithering idiot on every other topic he tries to address; his broadsides on religion are patronizing and profoundly ignorant, and his forays into gender politics are even more cringey.
“Surly Amy” Roth, a Los Angeles artist and writer for Skepchick, has created an art installation that attempts to capture and convey what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the relentless abuse she and too many other outspoken women face online.
With the help of members of the Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group, Roth has built a small office-within-an-office inside the The Center For Inquiry-Los Angeles – and covered every surface with printouts of actual harassing messages sent to her and an assortment of other misogynist bete noires, including Rebecca Watson, Amanda Marcotte, Soraya Chemaly and Lindy West.
As she writes,
There is a false notion that online spaces are not real. That what happens online does not have an effect on the regular day-to-day life of people. As we have seen recently with the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence, high profile women are seen as mere objects and targets or play-things meant to be stolen, acquired and used- that if they can not handle these made up rules- that they should leave the internet and all forms of technology behind.
My art exhibit is meant to put you, the viewer, in their shoes if only for a moment. See what it is like to be obsessively judged based on “fuck-ability”, “rape-ability”, as an object, or alternatively as what seems to be a target in a socially accepted (or otherwise ignored) game of online stalking, harassment and silencing techniques.
The opening reception for “A Woman’s Room Online” is tonight, September 13th at 7pm at the Center for Inquiry in Los Angeles; the installation will remain up through Oct. 13th.
You can read more about it here.
You may have run across an image macro going around the internet recently featuring a picture of YouTube ranter and sometime Men’s Rights ally The Amazing Atheist – aka Terroja or TJ Kinkaid – and an appalling quote, supposedly from him, arguing that MRAs should campaign to lower the age of consent, because “[n]ature already has an age of consent. That age is approximately 12-13, otherwise known as the onset of puberty.”
I didn’t post about the quote, appalling as it is, because I couldn’t find any proof that Mr. Kincaid actually wrote or said it; I even searched several of Mr. Kincaid’s books and a document entitled “The Somewhat Complete Ravings of TJ Kincaid” to no avail. Apparently no one else has been able to find the quote either.
If this quote was fabricated, I’m a little puzzled as to why, because Kincaid has actually said very similar things before. Given the confusion about the quote, I thought it might be worth noting what we know he has said on the topic.
When is a false rape accusation not a false rape accusation? When it’s leveled against a feminist man.
That, in any case, is the logic behind an appalling post on A Voice for Men attempting to smear a male feminist blogger named Jason Thibeault, who posts on FreeThoughtBlogs as Lousy Canuck, by proclaiming him a rapist.
The post is a typical bit of AVFM “satire” — that is, sophistry — arguing that “by his own feminist standards” Thibeault is a rapist … because he was once accused of rape by a girlfriend, as he wrote about in a recent post. And since feminists believe that ALL accusations of rape are true, AVFM’s Birric Forcella argues, Thibeault is thus a “confessed rapist.”
Obviously, this argument is ludicrous on its face. Feminists don’t believe that all accusations of rape are automatically true. And Thibeault, for his part, says that he was falsely accused.
This doesn’t stop AVFM from giving their piece the frankly libelous headline: “FreeThoughtBlogs’ Jason Thibeault, confessed rapist.”
AVFM may defend its post as “satire” — they have a rather expansive definition of the word — but that headline is pure libel. It’s false — and would be so even if the accusations of rape were true, as Thibeault (who’s responded to the AVFM post here) maintains his innocence.
And AVFM’s intent is clearly malicious. In the first comment to the piece, AVFM founder and publisher Paul Elam declares frankly, and revealingly, “Karma is a BITCH.”
Thibeault’s real crime, in AVFM’s eyes, is that he has publicly supported women who have come forward in recent weeks to accuse prominent skeptic writer Michael Shermer of rape and sexual assault.
And so they have responded by making what is an unequivocally false accusation against him in a headline on their site.
Of course, this isn’t the first time A Voice for Men has falsely accused someone of something based on bad evidence or no evidence at all.
In April of this year, Elam (along with a number of other MRAs and an assortment of White Supremacists as well) worked himself into an uproar over a blog post from an alleged feminist allegedly working in a college admission office who claimed she was routinely trashing applications from white males.
Though even the most rudimentary amount of fact-checking would have revealed that the woman they blamed for the blog had nothing to do with it, she had her contact information posted online by MRAs and others, leaving her open to harassment and widespread vilification. Elam contributed to the hubbub by posting a vituperative post identifying the wrong woman by name — and only after being called on his mistake by numerous other MRAs did his finally retract the post.
You can read about the whole appalling affair here.
Elam has also made false accusations against little old me. In yet another case of libel-by-headline, he accused Jessica Valenti and me of being “child abusers” … because we’re feminists. (Seriously, that was the entire basis of his accusation.)
And at one point, either lying outright or misled by a troll, he put forth the absurd conspiracy theory that I was somehow responsible for an appalling Reddit forum known as the Beatingwomen subreddit.
In his post on the subject, he claimed to have “intel” from two separate sources that “confirm[ed]” my involvement in the subreddit — he provided none of this evidence — and promised that “further word” on the subject would be forthcoming.
Of course, this evidence never materialized — because it was fraudulent and/or imaginary. Elam dropped the subject. I had and have no connection to the subreddit.
And not long ago, AVFM’s Dean Esmay very publicly accused its former Canadian News Director Kristina Mendez (AKA TheWoolyBumblebee) of (maybe, possibly) running off with the money she collected for a center devoted to the memory of Earl Silverman, a Canadian MRA who committed suicide partially out of frustration over the difficulties he had in funding the DV shelter for men he ran out of his home. The folks at AVFM have admitted quite plainly that they have no evidence of wrongdoing here.
Apparently, AVFM’s strategy is to prove that false accusations are common by making as many of them as they possibly can.
EDIT: Added the bit about Valenti and me.
This email from a non-fan was so thoughtful I thought I’d share it, and my responses to it, with you all. This is the whole email, by the way. No, “Dear David” or any other niceties at the start.
1. Why do you represent yourself as a head of a creepy fucking child?
Because the “creepy fucking child” in the picture is me? It’s sort of my favorite picture of me.
2. How can you honestly believe that we live under a patriarchy, at least in modern western society? I mean, men hold no where near as much power as they’ve had in the past. Women nowadays have pretty much all the rights and opportunities that men have (hell, they probably have MORE rights, privileges and opportunities than men have).
3. So what do you think of the Amazing Atheist?
Why don’t you just go and read what I’ve written about him? Do you not know how to use Google, or the search box on this page?
You two do have your similarities to each other: you’re both fat, have beards, wear glasses, are very opinionated, and both enjoy insulting the people you don’t like (feminists/MRA’s) and naturally attract a lot trolls from those respective groups. But, you two are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to feminism and gender politics.
Huh. How could that possibly be, with both of us being fat and wearing glasses? I’ll have to bring it up at the next meeting of the Bespectacled Fat Elders of the Internet.
Also, there is a bit of a difference between bullying people you don’t like (a la Amazing Atheist) and QUOTING WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY SAY (a la me).
And no, DO NOT bring up his sexual exploits, trying focusing exclusively on his merits as a video blogger, and as a person who gives his opinions on YouTube.
I don’t give a shit about his “sexual exploits,” whatever they are. And I don’t have much to say about his “merits as a video blogger,” because I’ve only watched a handful of his terrible videos. What I do know. from what I have seen from him, is that he’s a nasty, hateful, misogynistic asshole who bullies rape victims online and mocked a teenage girl who was bullied into committing suicide.
That kind of outweighs (get it? get it?) any fat solidarity I might have for him because of his fatness.
Hope that helps!
Yours, in fatness,
EDITED TO ADD: My correspondent has responded to this post! Here is his reply. You may notice certain ironies.
That’s fine, go ahead and post all my emails to you on your website. All it’s gonna do is show how much of a colossal douchebag you are. And nice job on having your army of worms and insects crawl from the woodworks to attack me. Just goes to show how much feminists and the people who support them DO NOT deserve to be taken seriously, when all they do is stoop to personal insult and just linking to articles when someone questions them.
On the abortion thing, yeah that’s a problem, but how does it prove that’s there’s a patriarchy in western society? How do you explain the states that do allow abortion, how do you explain the modern western countries where abortions are legal? All it proves is that , yes, there are some states that continue to live in the dark ages and are run by assholes. How bout next time, try to actually answer my question instead of linking to an article and hoping that I’ll be satisfied. But then again, I guess that’s too much to ask out the modern-day feminist simpletons in society.
Oh yeah, and about the Amazing Atheist, he actually bothers to refute what the feminists. It’s not like he just looks at a feminist and says “haha your ugly, your fat, etc.” You on the other hand, stoop to nothing but personal insults. Pretty much all you do is find people you don’t like, hold them up and say “haha look at these people I don’t like, now point and laugh my personal army of woodworms.” You don’t even bother to explain why you think they’re wrong. It clear to me that somebody doesn’t know how to use the search feature on Youtube.
In an interview a few years back with The Sun magazine, atheist bigwig Sam Harris had this to say about the comparable (de)merits of religion and rape:
If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion.
You can read the whole interview starting here.
And some people wonder why so many atheists have broken with Harris and the rest of the Old School New Atheist Boys Club to start Atheism Plus.
EDITED TO ADD: Hadn’t noticed that the interview was from 2006, so maybe this is old news to a lot of atheists. Still horrible.
If you haven’t yet, and want to, here’s the button you’re looking for:
UPDATE: Vacula has resigned.
As most of you are no doubt aware, the atheist and skeptic movements have had just a teensy bit of a problem with misogyny in their ranks. You may recall the unholy shitstorm that erupted last year when Rebecca Watson of Skepchick casually mentioned in a YouTube video that it might not be such a good idea for dudes to try to hit on women in elevators at 4 AM. The assholes of the internet still haven’t forgiven Watson for her assault on the sacred right of creepy dudes to creep women out 24 hours a day, every day.
In the fast-paced, perpetually busy world of today, we don’t all have time to read every post on A Voice for Men. So here is an edited version of Paul Elam’s latest post, on Rebecca Watson of Skepchick. And whores. And how he personally doesn’t spend all his time claiming to be a victim, even though he totally is one, in case you forgot since the last time he reminded you of that.
Whores … typical whore … Main Street walking, garden variety anybody’s whore … honest whore. … corporate whore … corporate whores … whorish sexual symmetry … stupid whore … stupid whore … whore … lying whore … whore … lying whore … whore … lying whore … corporate whore … a lying whore can also be a corporate whore … whoring for the cause … whore … PZ Myers … stupid, lying whore … not just a lying whore who also happens to be a stupid whore … a different subspecies of whore altogether … stupid, lying whore … whore that rigorously abandons intellect, rationale, evidence, decency and compassion, and also fosters much deserved hostility toward themselves … stupid, lying whore … stupid, lying whore … .
Paul Elam, meet Tom Martin.