Notes and Comment Blog

Stand with tacks

Sep 10th, 2013 4:56 pm | By

It’s fun to read the tweets under #standwithpax. A few are serious and a lot more are sarcastic. Both sets are funny.

Mike Booth @somegreybloke

I’m going to go #standwithpax and play the world’s tiniest violin whilst laughing.

barefootwriter @bfwriter

if by unpopular you mean ignorant, incorrect, and harmful, then yes, we’re all mad at Pax for expressing unpopular opinions. #standwithpax

The New Bard @The NewBard

#standwithpax I don’t want to live in a country where free speech is punished and a man isn’t entitled to an opinion unless it’s popular.

#standwithpax because if you can’t exercise freedom of speech without a lynch mob coming after you, then freedom of speech does not exist.

Lynch mob!

Matthew Forney @realmattforney

#standwithpax because you shouldn’t lose your job because of your completely unrelated political views.

Not completely unrelated at all. Completely related is more like it. Toward the end of his post Ken White quotes one I hadn’t seen:

Pax Dickinson @paxdickinson

Tech managers spend as much time worrying about how to hire talented female developers as they do worrying about how to hire a unicorn.

Yeah. It’s related. Ken glosses it:

Pax Dickinson is apparently an officer within Business Insider, someone who supervises employees, and someone who interviews applicants to jobs at Business Insider.  If anyone ever accused Business Insider and Pax Dickinson of sex discrimination in hiring or firing, or of workplace harassment or discrimination, that tweet would be useful evidence for the plaintiff, and might convince the jury of discriminatory intent on the part of a Business Insider officer whose actions are attributable to his employer.  He has a First Amendment right to tweet that and cannot be prosecuted for it.  Nor is the tweet, itself, a civil violation.  But it’s potentially powerful evidence of how Business Insider is run, and it’s a freakishly reckless thing for an officer of a business to say in public.

And now he’s not an officer of that business any more.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

They spread malice against all religions

Sep 10th, 2013 4:11 pm | By

Four of the Bangladeshi atheist bloggers have been charged with “defaming Islam” and other bullshit, and could get seven years in prison if they’re convicted, AFP reports.

Judge Zahirul Haque, sitting in a court in the capital Dhaka, said the bloggers were being charged under the country’s Internet laws, senior public prosecutor Shah Alam Talukdar told AFP.

“They have been indicted… with defaming Islam, the Prophet Mohammed and other religions through their Internet writings. They spread malice against all religions,” he said.

What can one say? That should never be a crime. It was normal to treat it as a crime all over Europe a few centuries ago, but we should have learned better by now. Learning better is a ratchet, and it’s shareable and universalizable, so “defaming” religions should never be treated as a crime. Religion should be voluntary.

The government has said it is determined to ensure communal harmony in the deeply conservative country where 90 percent people are Muslims.

Oh yes, “communal harmony,” meaning, everyone does what the majority demands.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Speech has consequences

Sep 10th, 2013 3:50 pm | By

Ken White has a post about Pax Dickinson at Popehat.

He starts by pointing out that free speech does not mean that speech will and must be free of consequences.

Speech has consequences.  It ought to.

In America, we have an elaborate set of laws strictly limiting the government’s ability to inflict those consequences.  That is right and fit; the First Amendment prevents the government from punishing us for most speech.

Private consequences are something else. Speech is designed to invoke private and social consequences, whether the speech is “venti mocha no whip, please,” or “I love you,” or “fuck off.”1 The private and social consequences of your speech — whether they come from a barista, or your spouse, or people online, or people at whom you shout on the street — represent the free speech and freedom of association of others.

Yet people often confuse these categories. It’s one of the fundamental errors of free speech analysis that I like to write about the most.

I think Jason Walsh was doing that on Twitter a few hours ago, but I can’t be sure, because he never did answer my question asking what he meant by “off colour.” But I digress. Ken goes on to say criticism of Pax Dickinson led to the creation of a hashtag #StandWithPax, and to quote a tweet -

I #standwithpax because being offended is not grounds to start a witch hunt.

Paging Russell Blackford, paging Michael Shermer, paging paging paging.

The foundation of “witch hunt” rhetoric is the notion that some free speech (say, Pax’s) is acceptable, and other free speech (say, the speech of people criticizing and ridiculing Pax and his employer) is not. You can try to find a coherent or principled way to reconcile that, but you will fail. Pax Dickinson is not stupid. He tweeted provocative things, which have a natural and probable tendency to cause social consequences, seeking the social consequences he wanted:  the admiration of the like-minded, the anger of people he could laugh at, and general attention.

But not too much attention; not the wrong kind of attention; not the attention of his boss, for instance.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Pax Dickinson’s finger

Sep 10th, 2013 11:12 am | By

There’s this guy Pax Dickinson, who likes to be provocative on Twitter. For “provocative” you could substitute various other words, but let’s go with the more neutral word for now. Nitasha Tiku wrote about him yesterday.

What has two thumbs and a homophobic, racist, misogynistic, classist worldview? Pax Dickinson. We just noticed this vile Twitter account from Business Insider’s chief technology officer today. But he’s been at it for awhile.

She includes a lot of screen-capped tweets.

In The Passion Of The Christ 2, Jesus gets raped by a pack of niggers.  It’s his own fault for dressing like a whore though.

feminism in tech remains the champion topic for my block list. my finger is getting tired.

That second one – that’s not a great thing for a tech honcho at Business Insider to say. It doesn’t make Business Insider look good. It makes Business Insider look as if it might be actively opposed to recruiting women, or possibly even to hiring women.
Business Insider fired Pax Dickinson today.

“Unprofessional opinions are not endorsed by anyone respectable” reads the Twitter bio of Pax Dickinson, chief technology officer of Business Insider.

They’re sure not endorsed by his bosses, CEO Henry Blodget and chairman Kevin Ryan, the site’s co-founders. A day after Valleywag raised a stink over Dickinson’s habit of using Twitter to share his views on feminism, poverty and race relations, he is out of the company. “Forced to resign” is how Daily Intel characterizes it; I’m told he was simply “fired.”

There’s probably never a good time to get called out for using racial slurs and making rape jokes, but Dickinson’s contretemps came at a particularly unfortunate moment, with allegations that the tech industry is a hostile environment for women once again front and center thanks to a boorish presentation at TechCrunch’s massive Disrupt conference in San Francisco. TechCrunch quickly apologized for the presentation, for an app called Titstare that purported to capture images of men ogling breasts.

Blodget, who didn’t immediately have a comment when I contacted him, has weathered his share of controversy, coming in for a heavy dose after he wrote a post headlined “Why Do People Hate Jews?” But Blodget quickly quieted critics with his conciliatory manner, whereas Dickinson’s response was to threaten a physical confrontation.

A credit to the company, right? No.

I saw this because the Irish journalist Jason Walsh was expressing concern about the firing on Twitter, so I looked to see what he was talking about. Should we be concerned? I don’t think so. I think people high up in organizations do need to avoid displays of contempt for outsiders and underlings. I think organizations need to seek out people who do that well.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

More than five times her age

Sep 9th, 2013 4:40 pm | By

HRW reports that an eight-year-old girl died on her “wedding night” after her “husband” used her for sex.

Kuwaitis have called for stringent action against a family in Yemen after their eight-year-old daughter died of internal injuries on the first night of her arranged marriage to a man more than five times her age.

Rawan died in city of Hardh in the Governorate of Hajjah in northwestern Yemen, Kuwaiti daily Al Watan reported on Sunday, quoting Yemeni media.

She is believed to have suffered a tear to her genitals and severe bleeding.

Yemeni activists urged the local police to arrest the “beastly groom” and the girl’s family and transfer them to a court where justice would be served and the case would be used to help put an end to the practice of marrying very young girls in the impoverished country, the daily said.

Good luck.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Good bye Sunila Abeysekera

Sep 9th, 2013 4:10 pm | By

Human Rights Watch reports:

Human Rights Watch mourns the death of Sunila Abeysekera, a prominent and highly respected Sri Lankan activist who spent more than two decades documenting human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Abeysekera passed away in Colombo on September 9, 2013, following a long illness.

With a rare ability to act as researcher, advocate, and spokesperson within Sri Lanka and abroad, Abeysekera was internationally recognized as one of South Asia’s preeminent human rights activists.

During Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, Abeysekera refused to take sides, denouncing abuses by both the government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her fierce commitment for the rights of all civilians regardless of ethnicity won her broad-based respect. She faced death threats for her work in an environment which both during and after the war was dangerous for human rights defenders. In spite of these threats, she frequently took her message to the United Nations and other international venues, where she was a combative defender for justice.

Abeysekera was a leading activist on behalf of the human rights of women in Sri Lanka and globally. She recognized that Sri Lanka’s civil war had a terrible impact on the lives of countless women and children. “Women and children are the first victims of any kind of conflict,” Abeysekera said.

Abeysekera started her first career as a drama critic but Sri Lanka’s internal conflicts quickly pulled her from the stage. She entered the human rights field, and became the executive director of INFORM, a nongovernmental organization that exposed serious abuses and sought to bring institutional change in the country. Abeysekera struggled against the entrenched culture of impunity to hold perpetrators accountable for enforced disappearances, killings of civilians of all ethnicities, and the protection of those displaced by Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.

HRW has more.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

At least one

Sep 9th, 2013 12:19 pm | By

So Elysium is a movie about social inequality, yet it’s almost all-male. Oops. Funny how they just can’t get that right, isn’t it. Well no not funny. That’s not the word.

Just one question then, isn’t it ironic that a film about segregation contains only one fully-rounded female character, and even that role was originally written as male?

Ironic? No, not really, not at this point. By now it’s just abjectly contemptible. Catch the fuck on, will you?

Blomkamp set out to write a film with “at least one central female character”, not an overly revolutionary aspiration in a film about equality. Elysium has a central unromanticised female character, but one that was only switched to female when “it suddenly occurred to him the character could be a woman”. Like the heroines of Salt and Flightplan, this role is strong partly because it was written to be a character before it was rewritten to be female.

Ripley in Alien is another (and then she was made more womany, that is more conventional, in the sequels). If they write them as women they seem to think they have to make them specifically woman-like, whereas men are just people. This drives me batty.

This is a film that sets out to teach an anti-segregation message and still failed the Bechdel test, which checks that at least two women in a film talk to each other about anything other than a man. We’re used to seeing films with only token female characters, and tests like the Bechdel help alert us to what we’ve stopped noticing, if not when we stopped noticing them.

Notice. Notice notice notice. It’s so fatally easy not to.

Whether it is done as intentionally as in Elysium or not, films and TV series form part of a lens that shows us distorted refractions of our world, that shapes the way we think, that reinforces and ideally challenges our values. If I’m shown a world with one central woman in it, I should notice. I should be surprised. I should not be impressed, I should be disappointed. As Pryor said, perhaps it is time we got on with making our own movies. Then we’d be in them.

And we’d be people. Just people. Like anyone.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Well good morning to you too

Sep 9th, 2013 11:58 am | By

I go to Twitter and what greets me?



Loser, hypocrite, bitch, #cuntbucket AND #douchecanoe: @OpheliaBenson < fuck you ruiner of things. >> look: … think!!

.@OpheliaBenson is a horrible person.

.@OpheliaBenson makes me think I should avoid Seattle. (Even though I was born in Tacoma.)

Total stranger to me, that person. I thought I would RT the first one, but got the “you can’t” message – so that person tweeted that shit at me and then blocked me. I don’t do this “that feminazi blocked me just because I called her a cunt!!” routine, I don’t do the “you may not block anyone” routine at all – but I do think that throwing a bunch of shit at a stranger and then blocking is chickenshit.

Anyway. That was my Twitter “good morning.”

Update: A couple of hours on -



Not sure I understand how “oh no someone called me the c-word on twitter” is even something adults talk about.

That’s great, isn’t it? Calling a total stranger a cunt is perfectly adult, but talking about the fact that some random thug called me a cunt – that’s not something adults talk about.

Let’s take lessons in ethics from that guy!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Be careful with the self-portrait

Sep 8th, 2013 5:43 pm | By

A new installment in a recurring series, What Not to Have in Your Twitter Profile.

(Is that really a series? No, probably not. But it might be. It could be. I’m preparing for contingencies.)

 Everything I believe is evidence based. No exceptions.

That. In fact forget Twitter profiles; don’t describe yourself that way and don’t think of yourself that way. Really, don’t; it’s a recipe for disaster. It might as well be the slogan of our dear friend Dunning Kruger.

And even if it weren’t – it’s still gross. It’s also deeply ironic, since it’s only people who think careful thought is a good thing who describe themselves that way, yet if they actually were careful thinkers, they would never describe themselves that way. Yknow? Careful thinkers know better than that. Careful thinkers have taken some trouble to inform themselves about human cognition (because how could they be careful thinkers if they hadn’t?), and that means they’re aware that we’re all subject to biases and blind spots and implicit associations and answering the easier question instead of the question that was asked – and so on. They know we’re mistake-prone, to put it simply. Even experts in the ways we’re mistake prone are mistake-prone.

So it’s just asinine, as well as conceited and boastful, to announce that you do Reason flawlessly. You don’t, because nobody does.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Be suspicious

Sep 8th, 2013 4:16 pm | By


Hahahaha yeah tell that to Dave Silverman and Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker and Greg Epstein and JT Eberhard and Teresa MacBain and the staff of the SSA and -

oh you meant just the ones you don’t like. Ohhhhhh.

Of course, almost none of them actually do have a “career” in atheism or make a primary income from atheism. So that makes your advice kind of pointless.  But never mind, the spirit of it is clear enough.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

One down

Sep 8th, 2013 11:49 am | By

So the bullies won at least part of their war with Caroline Criado-Perez – she got a new wave of hahaha rape-threats, so she deleted her Twitter account.

Caroline Criado-Perez, who led the campaign to reinstate a woman on an English banknote, took to Twitter on Thursday to vent frustration at the police’s apparent loss of information related to previous death and rape threats, which Scotland Yard has since denied.

The journalist deleted her account after receiving further threats on the site in recent days.

Bullies win, everyone else loses.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

No no, this is a tobacconist

Sep 8th, 2013 11:25 am | By

Maybe it wasn’t the Wild and Crazy Guys, maybe it was the compilers of the Hungarian Phrasebook.


Thanks to resident alien for the reminder.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

If she says her drink is big, you can say “so’s my dick”

Sep 8th, 2013 10:44 am | By

You know, MRAs and their fans think (or pretend to think) feminists hate men and say outrageous things about men, but take a look at “Ask Men,” which bills itself an advice site for men. Just the front page is insulting – it’s insulting the way things aimed at women are insulting to me. Sports grunt grunt. Cars grunt grunt. And then there’s “how to get a woman to put out” sorry I mean “top ten ways to flirt with a woman sexually.”

1 Find the double meanings

The English language is literally packed with words you can twist around to create sexual meanings. Wet, juicy, hard, fast, hot — the possibilities are endless. For example, if she says her drink is big, you can reply with something like: “Big can be a good thing, don’t you think?” You’ll be surprised how easy it is to add a bit of sexuality to everyday conversations once you start looking for opportunities.

Oh jeezis – this must be where Colin McGinn gets his ideas. “Hey baby – wanna pretend we’re glass-blowers so we can talk about hand jobs and blow jobs? wink wink nudge nudge know what I mean?”

2 Want to know a secret about female sexuality that 99% of men don’t know? Here it is: Many women feel compelled to vacuum their house when they’re ovulating. Some experts believe it has something to do with wanting to “clean the nest” before laying her “egg.” So, when a woman tells you she is vacuuming, say: “Vacuuming? Are you ovulating or something?” She’ll be stunned that you know this and wonder what else you know about female sexuality. Of course, if she doesn’t know what you mean, fill her in. Women love it when you teach them something new — especially about themselves.

That has got to be parody, right? But, no, it’s not. Which is worse – the ludicrous idea that it’s clever to say “Vacuuming? Are you ovulating or something?” or the even more ludicrous claim that women love it when Mr Horndog passes on some bullshit claim about women.

The advice is insulting to men (as well as women), and it’s also just bad advice. Maybe if they added a warning label saying this is advice strictly for avowedly pickup-oriented social occasions and no others, it would be ok, but it appears to be just general advice for talking to women to get them to fuck you. You know why that’s bad advice? Because what they’re advising is sexual harassment. It’s not like sexual harassment, it is sexual harassment. Note that “You’ll be surprised how easy it is to add a bit of sexuality to everyday conversations once you start looking for opportunities.” That is sexual harassment you’re talking about there!

It’s as if the advice had been written by the Two Wild and Crazy Guys, now that their English has improved.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

One tent and a stack of Bibles

Sep 8th, 2013 9:51 am | By

There’s a new documentary, Mission Congo by Lara Zizic and David Turner, that alleges some very dubious activities by Pat Robertson. Charity bait-and-switch fraud allegations.

Robertson has a non-profit organization, Operation Blessing International (OBI). He’s in a position to raise a lot of money for it, given the 700 Club and the Christian Broadcasting Network and all. He can just say send money, and people send money. He said send money specifically to aid refugees from the Rwandan genocide who fled to camps in DR Congo.

Chris McGreal, a journalist for The Guardian who was stationed at the refugee camp in Goma, recalled a strange sight. The camp was plagued by a cholera epidemic, which claimed over 40,000 lives. As victims were rushed to medical tents on stretchers, he witnessed a preacher running alongside the stretcher clenching a Bible and preaching to the victim. The Bible-thumper was a member of OBI.

“They had one tent and a stack of Bibles,” said a member of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which provided actual aid to the refugree camp in Goma, in the film.

“People began to refuse the Bibles,” added a local. “‘What we need is food and medicine,’ they said. Operation Blessing would say, ‘That’s not our mission.’”

Bibles. They brought bibles. They brought bibles, and nothing else.

According to Jessie Potts, who served as Operations Manager for OBI in 1994, the charity stopped sending medical teams to Goma several weeks into the operation. Instead, the film alleges that these resources—the donations, the cargo planes, etc.—were used for the for-profit African Development Company Ltd., a diamond mining operation that was headquartered in Kinshasa, while the mining site itself was located in the remote village of Kamonia. Robertson was the sole shareholder and president of ADC.

There are many details, including named people who go on the record.

OBI’s Chief Pilot Hinkle claims in the film that the cargo planes, which bore the logo “Operation Blessing” on the tail, were barely used for any sort of charitable work. Instead, he was shipping 8-inch and 6-inch dredges, 55-gallon drums of fuel, food supplies, four-wheelers, and Jeeps out to the diamond dredging operation in Kamonia. Of the 40 flights he flew, the film alleges that 43.9 hours were spent on humanitarian aid, while 271.9 hours were spent on transporting dredges around Zaire. At one point, Hinkle says he became so disgusted that he had the “Operation Blessing” logo removed from the aircraft. The film also claims that the 3,000-foot airstrip Robertson touted on his program was not used for the transport of medical supplies, but for the mining operation.

You know…if the allegations are true, that’s fraud. It’s my understanding that fraud is a crime. Are prosecutors afraid to go after Pat Robertson because he’s on TeamGod?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Only 9 countries

Sep 8th, 2013 8:23 am | By

UNESCO has a new finding: 54 million of the world’s 76 million illiterate young women live in just 9 countries.

Embedded image permalink

Notice that Bangladesh is the one place on the list where there are more illiterate young men. I wonder why that is.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Hey go back to Atheostan

Sep 7th, 2013 4:37 pm | By

Hey get a JOB. Hey if you don’t like me harassing you, GET OFF THE INTERNET. Hey if you don’t like the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance, YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE HERE.

That last item of ignorant bullying is from a Fox News personality, Dana Perino. She really did say that.

Massachusetts’ highest court is currently hearing a case against the Pledge brought by atheist parents, who feel that due to its religious wording, atheist children “are denied meaningful participation in this patriotic exercise.” The case specifically involves the phrase, “under God,” which was not actually a part of the original phrasing of the Pledge.

Regarding atheists, Perino said during a live segment, “I’m tired of them.” She continued, “I remember working at the Justice Department years ago when I first started right after 9/11 and a lawsuit like this came through, and before the day had finished, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge.”

“If these people really don’t like it, they don’t have to live here,” she concluded.

That’s the way to deal with minority rights all right – just tell the minorities to leave if they don’t like it.

Dave Silverman, not surprisingly, sees it differently. He did a Facebook post to explain his view of the “just get out then” ideology.

What’s with Dana Perino? Dana Perino is an ‘equalophobe’- she is afraid of ONLY being equal. We see this often, and here’s a perfect example. She will say this is a free country, and that freedom means being able to make a choice, but when that yields a loss of the special status afforded her religion, she becomes aggressive and demeaning. “We are free to choose” becomes “They can just leave if they don’t choose to agree with my majority”.

Christians in this country (and other religions in other countries) use the government to protect their perceived special status, and most are too afraid to see past their privilege in favor of freedom. They are hypocrites, and they need to hear about it, so they can learn that freedom must, by definition, include equality for those with whom they disagree.

From my book: “If someone claims to be offended by the truth, it’s because they are used to privilege and social superiority and actually fear “just” being equal (Equalophobes). Do not let, “I’m offended” silence you.” #iatheist

He even used the word “privilege.”



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Why are we not used to seeing them that way?

Sep 7th, 2013 12:04 pm | By

It’s everywhere. Classical music for instance.

Marin Alsop, who will on Saturday night  be the first female conductor to tackle the Last Night of the Proms in its 118-year history, has suggested society is still uncomfortable seeing women in authority roles such as hers.

In interview with the Guardian, she said: “There is no logical reason to stop women from conducting. The baton isn’t heavy. It weighs about an ounce. No superhuman strength is required. Good musicianship is all that counts. As a society we have a lack of comfort in seeing women in these ultimate authority roles. Still none of the ‘big five’ orchestras has had a female music director.”

And the lack of comfort is created by the very situation it creates. Why do we have a lack of comfort in seeing women in these ultimate authority roles? Because we’re not used to seeing them that way. Why are we not used to seeing them that way? Because we don’t get the chance to see them that way, because they’re not in these ultimate authority roles. Why are they not in these ultimate authority roles? Because we have a lack of comfort in seeing women in these ultimate authority roles. Why do we have a lack of comfort in seeing women in these ultimate authority roles? Because we’re not used to seeing them that way. Why are we not used to seeing them that way? Because we don’t get the chance to see them that way, because they’re not in these ultimate authority roles. Why are they not in these ultimate authority roles? Because we have a lack of comfort in seeing women in these ultimate authority roles.

That’s why affirmative action is not such a stupid idea as most people think. (I’ve said this before. Apologies. It bears repeating.) It’s not just punching a ticket, or checking a box. There are good reasons to do some quota-filling, even if the quota-fillers aren’t ten times better than all other candidates. We really do need to work on creating new and better stereotypes.

Her remarks come in the wake of the outcry sparked by Russian Vasily Petrenko, the principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, who claimed orchestras “react better when they have a man in front of them”, adding “a sweet girl on the poduim can make one’s thoughts drift towards something else”.

Better than that, for example.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

True Courage Is Knowing You’re Wrong But Refusing To Admit It

Sep 7th, 2013 11:47 am | By

From the Onion:

Courage requires us to remain steadfast in our beliefs. It asks that we stand by the convictions we express and never give an inch, no matter what the cost. However off base, wrongheaded, or patently false a position we’ve staked out may be, courage nonetheless demands that we blindly pound home our stupid fucking point, never letting up.

Brave hero!

What is the measure of bravery? I think part of it has to do with how firmly we stand our ground when we have absolutely no fucking clue what we’re talking about.

Another part involves having the mental strength to steel our minds against any reasonable argument that might challenge one of our beliefs. This means cultivating the ability to remain totally impervious to logic, so that when someone points out a blatant error in our line of thought, we can simply shrug and ignore them.

Can you make statements you know to be false in a determined and measured tone of voice? Can you then continue to reel off untruths by pulling idiotic examples out of your ass to further illustrate your faulty point, all the while giving no one else a chance to respond? Can you look basic common sense in the face and laugh?

Because that is what courage asks of us.

We know that brave hero.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

And we would have to do it topless

Sep 7th, 2013 11:33 am | By

Suzanne Moore is perhaps even more annoyed about Femen and Victor Svyatski.

If only men ran feminism, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in. We wouldn’t have to worry about offending them or arguing among ourselves. We would simply take instruction from consultants on gender struggle. Only the prettiest would be allowed to fight the gender jihad. And we would have to do it topless.

You can’t make this stuff up. And I am not. It turns out that that Femen, the Ukrainian feminist group known for semi-naked media stunts, slogan “Our mission is protest, our weapons are bare breasts” was actually founded by a man, Victor Svyatski. It gets weirder. This man hand picked attractive women knowing they would make the front pages – and they did.

Well yes. We already knew that women can get attention by showing their tits (provided they’re pretty enough that anyone wants to look at their tits). Feminism was never actually a movement for more attention to women’s tits, or for more attention to women because of their tits, or for more attention to women who took their shirts off. More attention to women’s tits is one of the more otiose goals it’s possible to think of. It would be like campaigning for more attention to bears that are charging at you growling.

No, the point of feminism was actually more like the opposite of that – less ignoring of women in general, women as such, without regard to the quality of their tits.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Get yer kit off

Sep 7th, 2013 11:07 am | By

Oh good grief.

Bim Adewunmi at Comment is Free last Wednesday:

Australian film-maker Kitty Green has named Victor Svyatski as the wizard behind the curtain of Ukrainian feminist group Femen. Green alleges that Svyatski not only supports the group, as Femen had previously acknowledged, but actually founded the organisation, as well hand-selecting the “prettiest girls” for their topless protests. Love or loathe Femen – and it is no secret that I am no fan of theirs – this is plain depressing.

For the documentary, Ukraine Is Not a Brothel, which is being shown at the Venice film festival, Green recorded an interview with Svyatski in which he acknowledges he may have started the group to meet women. His reply is a masterclass in how to cop out: “Perhaps yes, somewhere in my deep subconscious.”


I never did think the topless protests were a good idea, so I never promoted them, but I didn’t realize they were such an ungood idea as that.

Did we guess that something might have been going on? The clues were there. Topless protests featuring mostly skinny, “pretty” European women. The slogans: “Our mission is protest, our weapons are bare breasts”, “Nudity is liberty” and “Better naked than in a burqa”, gave off an unpleasant stench but didn’t necessarily point to a male svengali figure in the background.

Well yes and no. I wasn’t sure about it myself – was it just another way to exclude all women except the hot ones? Or was it a blow for sex-positive feminism? I couldn’t tell, and of course, being ugly, I have a built-in bias against forms of protest that don’t work well for ugly people, or that just plain exclude them.

In Green’s film, Svyatski talks of the campaigners needing a firm hand as they lack strength of character – and he is the one who will teach it to them. “They show submissiveness, spinelessness, lack of punctuality, and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists. These are qualities which it was essential to teach them.”

No one is saying men can’t be involved in the feminist struggle. Allies are an important component in the march towards equality But if you have friends like this, who needs enemies?

And really, people – if a guy says “I have a great idea for more feminism! Show your tits!!” then take a second look, all right?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)