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Richard Dawkins opens mouth, inserts foot, mumbles something about “mild pedophilia” again

A young Richard Dawkins contemplates the beauty of the universe.

A young Richard Dawkins contemplates the beauty of the universe.

Apparently Richard Dawkins was worried that people might have forgotten what an asshat he is. So, helpful fellow that he is, he decided to give us all a demonstration of why he’s one of the atheist movement’s biggest liabilities, a “humanist” who has trouble remembering to act human.

Earlier today Dawkins decided, for some reason, that he needed to remind the people of the world of a fairly basic point of logic, and so he took to Twitter and thumbed out this little thought:

 Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins  ·  5h  X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of X, go away and don't come back until you've learned how to think logically.

However petulantly phrased this is, the basic logic is sound: If I say that Hitler was worse than Stalin, I’m not endorsing either Hitler or Stalin. Unless I add “and Stalin was totally awesome and I endorse him” at the end.

The trouble is that Dawkins didn’t stop with this one tweet. He decided to illustrate his point with some examples. Some really terrible examples.

    Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 5h      Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.     Details         Reply         189 Retweet         287 Favorite  Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins  Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.Yep, that’s right. He decided to do what comedians call a “callback” to some terrible comments he made last year about what he perversely described as “mild pedophilia.” And then he added asshattery to asshattery by suggesting a similar distinction between “date rape” and “stranger rape.”

Anyone seeing these comments as insensitive twaddle designed to minimize both “mild” pedophilia and date rape has good reason to do so. As you may recall, in the earlier controversy about so-called “mild” pedophilia, Dawkins told an interviewer for the Times magazine that

I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.

He went on to tell the interviewer that when he was a child one of his school masters had “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.” But, he added, he didn’t think that this sort of “mild touching up” had done him, or any of the classmates also victimized by the teacher, any “lasting harm.”

Huh. If Dawkins says that a teacher groping him was no big deal, I guess this kind of “mild” abuse shouldn’t be a big deal for anyone else, either, huh?

I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of logical fallacy here.

Given his history of minimizing these “mild” sexual crimes, it’s not a surprise that his crass tweets today inspired a bit of a twitterstorm.

Dawkins has responded with his typical petulance, and has stubbornly defended his comments as an exercise in pure logic that his critics are too irrational to understand.

If you take a few moments to go through his timeline you’ll find many more tweets and retweets reiterating this “argument.” Dawkins is not the sort of person to admit to mistakes. Indeed, he so regularly puts his foot in his mouth it’s hard not to conclude that he must like the taste of shoe leather.

But these recurring controversies can’t be doing much for his reputation. Indeed, they seem to cause more and more people to wonder why anyone takes Dawkins seriously on any subject other than biology. Even his critics on Twitter are growing a bit weary.

Seems like it. I’m beginning to wonder why any atheists — at least those who are not also asshats — continue to think of Dawkins as an ally of any kind.

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Why Elliot Rodger’s misogyny matters

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female "hypergamy"

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female “hypergamy”

When a white supremacist murders blacks or Jews, no one doubts that his murders are driven by his hateful, bigoted ideology. When homophobes attack a gay youth, we rightly label this a hate crime.

But when a man filled to overflowing with hatred of women acts upon this hatred and launches a killing spree targeting women, many people find it hard to accept that his violence has anything to do with his misogyny. They’re quick to blame it on practically anything else they can think of – guns, video games, mental illness – though none of these things in themselves would explain why a killer would target women.

In the case of Elliot Rodger, who set out on Friday night aiming, as he put it in a chilling video, to “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut” in a popular sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, some Men’s Rights activists and other manospherians are doing their best to convince the world that misogyny had nothing to do with it.

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Christina Hoff Sommers: “If ‘bossy’ has to go because it is sexist, then shouldn’t we stop using male-vilifying terms like ‘mansplaining’ & ‘rape culture’?”

I follow a lot of truly terrible people on Twitter — Manosphere bloggers, white supremacists, Fidelbogen — so it took me a moment to realize that this dopey, backwards tweet didn’t come from some obscure reactionary bigot but from none other than antifeminist celebrity academic Christina Hoff Sommers, inventor of “equity feminism” and the author of the bestselling The War Against Boys.

Oy.

Also, I think she meant to end that with #BanBossy, not @BanBossy.

Interesting that she doesn’t seem to understand hashtags any more than she understands rape culture.

#LiesToldByFemales is the misogynistic cesspool you might expect. Plus giant lizards, and JC Penney

Lying female

Lying female

So Twitter is a bit depressing today. One of the trending hashtags at the moment is #LiesToldByFemales and, yes, it’s the misogynistic cesspool that you might expect, a vast assortment of not-very-original stereotypes about women — sorry, females — and their allegedly lying ways. The female-bashing tweeters — some of them female themselves — aren’t even terribly original in their complaints, and most of the tweets seem to be reworkings on a few very basic themes.

We have the good-old fashioned trope of the female-as-narcissist, forever obsessed with how she looks — and given to lying about how much work she puts into her appearance.

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Oops! Roosh V’s #FatShamingWeek rallies Fat Acceptance activists, makes fat shamers look like the dicks they are

Rubens: Not into fat shaming

Rubens: Not into fat shaming

The gentlemen bloggers of the Manosphere — particularly those obsessed with pickup artistry, a.k.a. “game” — like to pretend that they’re part of some sort of reactionary intellectual renaissance. Indeed, some have even convinced themselves that they’re part of a new “dark enlightenment.”

These intellectual pretensions are undercut rather thoroughly by the often puerile content of their blogs, in particular the bloggers’ obsession with cheap insults of the “yeah, well, you’re a fattie who can’t get laid” variety. Indeed, sometimes this seems to be their only real response to their many critics.

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Racist pickup guru Roosh Valizadeh announces plan to “destroy” Pax Dickinson critic with charges of racism

No, I think Roosh V has you beat in that category.

No, I think Roosh V has you beat in that category.

The Pax Dickinson Crisis seems to have abated somewhat, with postings on the #standwithpax hashtag on Twitter slowing to a trickle and the production of manosphere rants on the subject more or less grinding to a halt, at least for the moment.

But there is one manosphere ideologue who hasn’t given up the fight for injustice, and that’s the despicable “game” guru Roosh Valizadeh, who seems to have embarked on a crusade to ruin the life and career of the Valleywag/Gawker writer who first brought Dickinson’s terrible tweets to the attention of the wider world.

Yesterday, Roosh slammed out a viciously racist, misogynist, homophobic and even transphobic rant attempting to smear the writer, Nitasha Tiku, as … wait for it … a racist.

Today, he announced his plans to try to “destroy” her reputation on Google by permanently linking her to that (false) charge.

He explained his strategy, which he suggests will work on all liberal writers who might criticize men for racism or misogyny:

Unless she’s applying for a position at Jezebel, no respectable company will touch a toxic individual who has been linked to racism. They don’t want anyone who may cause controversy for them, and behind rape, nothing says controversy like race. …

It’s a slow-burn attack that will effectively punish these writers and scare their co-workers , whose income is low enough that they need to depend on corporate employment indefinitely, unless one day they get an original thought and can stay away from their iPhone long enough to write a book. It won’t work on the big liberal writers like Jessica Valenti or Naomi Wolf, since any attention they get just helps them sell more books, but it does work on the young girl out of college trying to win feminist brownie points by denouncing a man for being “creepy” based on a bad joke.

And then he compared it with something he seems to have a certain amount of experience with:

Having your name destroyed on Google is the internet version of getting raped.

Lovely.

There are more than a few practical problems with Roosh’s little plan, the most notable being that if some hypothetical hiring manager comes across Roosh’s attack on Tiku — or on any writer he’s tried to tar — all this manager will have to do is spend a minute skimming Roosh’s post to see that the charge is bullshit and that Roosh is himself a raving bigot.

And Roosh, if you’re trying to smear someone, it’s generally not good form to announce this plan publicly in a post that at times reads like the monologue of some cartoon supervillain.

In his piece, Roosh notes that “[n]ot long ago, Buzzfeed insinuated I was a rapist.” Well, it did more than that: It quoted Roosh admitting quite frankly that he’d had sex with a woman who was too intoxicated to consent.

I thought, in the interests of openness, it would be worth quoting that passage from Roosh — it’s in his e-book Bang Iceland — once again. Heck, I’ll even give the bit Buzzfeed quoted a little more context. I’ll let you decide if Roosh is a rapist or not.

I hooked her arm and off we went. The best thing that possibly could have happened was a “failed” afterparty. There had to be a moment when she realized that all her friends are gone and the only reasonable option left was to go home with a strange man she had just met.

While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she couldn’t legally give her consent. It didn’t help matters that I was relatively sober, but I can’t say I cared or even hesitated.

I won’t rationalize my actions, but having sex is what I do. If a girl is willing to walk home with me, she’s going to get the dick no matter how much she has drunk. I’ll protect myself by using a condom (most of the time), but I know that when it comes to sex, one ounce of hesitation or a feeling of morality will get me nothing.

Emphasis mine.

At this point even Pax Dickinson may want to distance himself from this creep.

@Fidelbogen sez: “We needn’t treat feminists fairly or ethically. Underhanded tricks r the order of the day.”

Silly Fidelbogen! Tricks are for kids!

Silly Fidelbogen! Tricks are for kids!

It’s labor day here in the US of A, a day for picnics, parades honoring our nation’s workers, and going through Fidelbogen’s timeline on Twitter looking for especially obtuse tweets from the always obtuse Men’s Renaissance Agitator and would-be philosopher-king of the Men’s Rights movement.

Yes, I know we just did Fidelbogen the other day, but we’re doing him again.

Because it’s my blog, that’s why!

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Jane Austen and the Rape-Threatening Men

The face that launched a thousand threatening tweets.

The face that launched a thousand threatening tweets.

NOTE: Today is Day Two of the Man Boobz Pledge Drive. If you haven’t already, please consider clicking the little button below and sending some bucks my way.

Thanks! (And thanks again to all who’ve already donated.) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

So what sorts of things make some men so furious that they feel the need to send women they’ve never met literal death and rape threats on the internet? It doesn’t take much, apparently. A woman suggesting that it’s not such a good idea to hit on women in elevators at 4 AM. A woman making  videos suggesting that there’s sexism in video games. A woman captured on video telling some men to shut the fuck up. A woman complaining about sexist jokes at a tech conference.

Add to this: a woman campaigning successfully to have Jane Austen’s face put on the Bank of England’s ten pound notes.

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Today in Rape Culture: More #Steubenville Awfullness on Twitter

Not actually the victims in Steubenville

Not actually the victims in Steubenville

The Public Shaming blog and Twitchy.com have been doing the world a service by documenting some of the worst rape apologist nonsense that sprouted up on Twitter in the wake of the Steubenville rape verdict. I thought I would add some more screenshots to the growing pile.

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#TellAFeministThankYou fends off a manosphere manvasion!

Kittens composing feminist tweets.

Kittens composing feminist tweets.

The twitter hashtag wars continue! Apparently still pissed off that feminists pooped on their #INeedMasculismBecause tag the other day, the dudes of the manosphere launched a little counterattack aimed at #TellAFeministThankYou, a hashtag originally started by Melissa McEwan of Shakesville to give an opportunity to feminists to thank other feminists for, you know, being awesome and stuff.

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