Thursday, July 07, 2011


I am back to columnizing while I panic about the big move. Reminding myself: break it down, do it little by little, stop looking at the enormity of it all! Applies to both subjects, I suppose. Sigh.

Atheists, Rationalists & Rape

By K. A. Laity

The "rational answer" depends entirely upon your starting point.

While most of the hubbub on both sides of the pond focuses on various egregious examples of tabloid mayhem (depending on whether you hate Nancy Grace or Rupert Murdoch more), there's been a smaller but just as shocking story developing in the rational (not necessarily to distinguish it from tabloid) world.

At a student leadership conference where she had been invited to talk about the religious Right's War on Women,"Skepchick" blogger Rebecca Watson had an unpleasant encounter:
You may recall that last week I posted this video, in which I describe an unpleasant encounter I had with a fellow atheist that I thought might serve as a good example of what men in our community should strive to avoid – basically, in an elevator in Dublin at 4AM I was invited back to the hotel room of a man I had never spoken to before and who was present to hear me say that I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed.
 What she was unprepared for was an atheist community—both men and women—who dismissed her discomfort with an unsolicited sexual comment and accused her of everything from outlawing sexuality to "constantly" telling men " how sexist and destructive they are"...

Read the rest at BBHQ.


Crispinus said...

Big move?

K. A. Laity said...

Dan, did you miss the whole "I've got a Fulbright in Galway next year" conversation? Was that while you were in Italy?

Crispinus said...

No, I didn't miss it -- I just needed some reminding! That qualifies as a big move, no doubt.

K. A. Laity said...

Want some of my stuff?

Todd Mason said...

As BB wouldn't allow a second comment as some meltdown apparently was happening, here 'tis:

That first Dawkins comment:

Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn't lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.


--Hm. Well, chauvinist (sadly, not only too many Muslim women but those of other descriptions as well suffer these indignities and outrages, de facto when not also de jure), and some of the religious zealots doing at least some of the mutilation is mothers upon daughters.

Men, too, often feel low-level threats (if less often one on one, and usually from groups of men), and girls and boys are preyed upon by men and women, so the dismissal out of hand of bad behavior on the part of the anonymous man in Ireland, or of criticism of that bad behavior, just becomes that much more puzzling.

K. A. Laity said...

He's just such a dick. The more I hear about the skeptics/aetheist movement (as opposed to people who simply are skeptical or atheist) the more they seem like assholes. Stay away from me, true believers.

K. A. Laity said...

But LOL on zombie Bill Buckley: "Perhaps if we were to endeavour to pursue a bold option to EAT YOUR BRAINSSSSSS!"

Todd Mason said...

Well, as a lifelong atheist I will note that the self-appointed spokespeople for atheism tend to be tainted with self-importance and a blithe disregard for the sensibilities of others, not altogether different from those in high position in the hierarchies of other faiths.

I think I'd prefer a chat with atheist Julia Sweeney or agnostic Bertrand Russell, certainly, over one with Dawkins or Sam Harris.

And as BB continues to refuse any further comment from me, here's what your latest comment there inspired me to write:
Nor, truly, is having reasonable expectation of being treated as a human, of at least a baseline of human worth, truly "privilege" least, it shouldn't be. (I've always found that model problematic. Everyone should be able to expect a baseline of respect. If rights mean anything at all, as too many will argue they don't.)

Todd Mason said...

I think the revenant Buckley would actively resent zombiehood; any other form of fleshy or protoplasmic afterlife would be preferable. (Or perhaps I project.)

K. A. Laity said...

By privilege, I meant the well-to-do, snooty university-educated male who travels doubtless with a lot of perks and fawning crowds.

Zealots of any stripe are unappealing.

Well, BB is forwarding multiple copies of your first post and a second post to me.

Todd Mason said...

BB is clearly a well-oiled machine.

Too often, "male privilege" seems to suggest the ability to move about without fear of assault (among other catastrophes and plagues). Not only should this never be a privilege, but too often even the wealthy and perk-attracting celebrity male can't depend on this (ask the Kennedys), and most if not all men are certainly under threat in one way or another from time to time, at least, if less constantly than women too often are. But I'll certainly take your use with your meaning of it.

And, of course, there's always the specter of my passion, your cause, their zealotry.