So, I finally have a working computer of my own after six months without one, and I get it at the same time that the skeptical-atheist blogosphere is having another of these scuffles over feminism where a couple of women raise some complaints only to have a wall of (mostly) men stand up and scream about the Feminazi Galiban is trying to stop them having a little fun. I won’t waste time summarizing it for those who don’t know what went on; Jason Thibeault has done a wonderful job of it already.
What I would like to talk about (if WordPress will stop trying to embed that link in the rest of it) is this post by Justin Griffith. See, Greg Laden recently announced that he would be going on vacation from FTB, which suddenly today turned into him (along with Thunderf00t for his massive privilege fails) being kicked out. The first part of Justin’s post explains why. It does so very well, in fact.
Unfortunately, beyond the part explaining what Greg did wrong — and even in some of the explaining — Justin is pretty full of shit.
The post opens with an e-mail sent to Justin by Greg, with some pretty obvious threats (if you haven’t read the post by now, go read it, final warning). These are wrong. They are most certainly reason for Greg to be kicked off.
Unfortunately, Justin then sticks his foot in it.
Greg also recently admitted to taking his slime fighting to directly attempt to interfere with Abbie Smith’s education and career. This tactic has been used on Hemant Mehta, PZ Myers, and even me by Christian extremists. I understand the urge to stop something you see as evil at all costs, but our movement does not need to stoop to that level. Are we going to attempt to deprive humanity of a scientist? Notice, I’m not trying to find Laden’s employers to tell them about his behavior. His exposure here is for the betterment of the movement as a whole, not a personal vendetta. Even if it is possible that his employers may see this (I hope they don’t), the secular movement deserves the truth.
Seriously, Justin? You’re comparing pissed off religious assholes who revel in their privileged ability to tell any atheist “shut up” to someone who maintains a thread full of cyberstalkers (one of whom has decided to take up residence here) who routinely post statements that border on threats and libel.
Greg isn’t calling up Abbie’s university to tell them “your student is a misogynist and I don’t like that and don’t think you should have them there”. He’s telling them “your student is enabling and possibly engaging in illegal or potentially illegal activities”, and not in the sense of smoking pot behind the lab either. There is a fucking massive difference here. Greg’s threats are not justified, but neither is your false equivalence.
Justin then goes into a description of how he views the slimepit. It looks good for a while, but then he sticks his foot in it again:
You’ve been trolling them long enough to make them sharpen their eyes and their claws towards gendered slurs. I understand that you think they’rethe bullies, but making somebody cry, or extremely uncomfortable is not a respectable tactic. It’s chaos that generates more people against you than for you. Stop now.
THEY HAVE BEEN AT THIS FOR A YEAR. THEY RAN TO THE DAMN SLIMEPIT BACK WHEN ELEVATORGATE STARTED. THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO KEEP GIVING REBECCA WATSON SHIT.
What they were ‘trolled’ with was nothing more than “you are wrong, here is why” when they came to Pharyngula, Greta’s, Ophelia’s, or anywhere else they complain about to spew their toxic misogynist shit. They kept spewing, and they got increasingly annoyed — and angry — responses to their shit until they finally got banned. And even then, they kept at it, and when not coming in new disguises they would keep at it in ERV’s many, many ‘Monument’ threads that became termed the ‘Slimepit’ itself.
You said it yourself, Justin: they are obsessed. This is not our fucking problem. We’re the targets of this obsession. Victim blaming is not fucking cool.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. (King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail)
That’s you, Justin. You and everyone like you who is calling on ‘both sides’ to stop fighting. You’re the white moderate. You are a part of the group that is the most dangerous in the struggle for social justice: the ones who are calling for “decency”, for “compromise”, for “bipartisanship”, and for those who are complaining about injustice to be decent, and in being decent be silent and listen to the complaints of the unjust because conflict looks bad.
I think that those who say decency involves remaining silent are more interested in good appearances than good things. Conflict is messy, yet like many other messy things such as entropy and gravity it’s a fact of life. We can’t get rid of it, we can only either deal with it ourselves or make it Somebody Else’s Problem. That’s what this is about: Rebecca, Greta, Ophelia, Ashley Miller, Amanda Marcotte, and all the other feminist skeptics and their allies seeing that women are encountering disproportionate maltreatment and harassment and saying “we have a problem, let’s deal with it”, against all the “moderates” who think it should (for some magical reason) just be Somebody Else’s Problem, and worse yet the slimepitters who think that it isn’t a problem and anyone who thinks it is is a totalitarian.
It both amazes and saddens me that from their “detached”, “independent” viewpoint all the white moderates can’t fucking see this.