Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.


Jan 2nd, 2013 4:03 pm | By

I took Cooper to Carmel beach this afternoon. When we got there I realized we had the Chuckit but no ball, because I took him to a crappy place for Chuckit yesterday and the ball went missing on the first chuck. Oh well, it’s a very doggy beach, I’ll probably find one, I told him, so we went down the stairs with the empty Chuckit.

As soon as we got to the water a guy in a family group said, “Lost the ball?” and I allowed as how we had, and did the rueful laugh thing, while Cooper danced around frantically as he always does. We went ahead north and I heard the guy’s daughter (I assume) telling him “We found a ball…” then a wave crashed as it always does.We strolled along, I looked around for an abandoned tennis ball, Cooper hopped and danced and jumped, the waves crashed, other dogs ran and danced and chased balls, then suddenly the little girl was next to me saying “Here’s a ball” and holding it out to me. Awww. So I said “Fabulous, thank you,” and chucked the ball into the ocean and Cooper raced into his paradise. The family group all laughed. The guy said they don’t know the difference, and I said we’ve donated lots of balls to the beach so it all comes out even.

Then for half an hour or so we did Cooper’s thing. It’s a great place for Chuckit because the water is so turquoise and clear but at the same time the waves are so thunderous. He loves flinging himself into them. He even seems to love having them break over his head and completely disappear him. He looks like a sock in a washing machine sometimes. Every now and then a wave breaks with a boom or even a bang – there was one bang that made me look around for the source for a second. I think those are the tubular ones – if they get rounded enough they hit with enough force to make a boom. The ones on Monterey beach do that every time.

As we were walking back to the car, looking down on the beach and Carmel Bay and Pebble Beach and over at the houses and trees, I remembered as I sometimes do that this is a prized and expensive tourist destination, and I get to come here as part of my job. Fun.

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

Bullied or cajoled

Jan 2nd, 2013 10:51 am | By

More anti-feminist rage, more pro-feminist pushback. No doubt you’re aware of Thunderfoot’s video, which (for my sins) I watched. That’s the rage. The pushback is…

Michael Nugent for instance.

Thunderf00t has published a video in which he includes me on a list of people who he claims have been “bullied or cajoled” into what he calls “a bullshit PC appeasement position” regarding feminism.

In my case he is referring to an article I wrote last August for Skepchick, without being either bullied or cajoled, as part of a series on speaking out against hate directed at women.

I’m republishing that article here, because it is still important to speak out against hate directed at women, regardless of your opinions about the internal politics of the atheist movement.

The article follows. Notice the sweetly indirect way Nugent points out that Thunderfoot lied about him and all the other men who wrote articles for Amy’s series at Skepchick. Thunderfoot said they were all bullied or cajoled, and that’s a falsehood.

Notice what the lie implies – that all men hate feminism, that all men naturally agree with Thunderfoot about feminism, that no men would have written articles for that series without being bullied or cajoled – and that feminists are manipulative bullies.

As Adam Lee put it in a comment on Nugent’s post -

The really bizarre part is how Thunderfoot and others are settling on the position that we can’t be saying this because we actually believe it, that someone must have somehow coerced or blackmailed so many prominent atheist men into speaking out against misogyny. This is black-helicopter territory, folks. I’d love to hear what leverage they think the evil feminists have over so many of us, that they can force us to make statements we don’t truly believe.

PZ for another instance.

It’s a new year, and Thunderf00t hasn’t changed a bit — he has a new video where he’s apparently ranting about how feminism is poisoning atheism, which I haven’t watched, so I can’t judge. But there are hints that it’s more of the same. It’s been picked up and praised by A Voice For Men.

Here are a few of the amusing reactions that the video elicited from that gang. Well, they would be amusing if they didn’t testify to a deep hatred of women.

Well, now I look upon these women as nothing but Clowns who have deliberately allowed themselves to brainwashed into believing stupid things like the Earth is flat or some other stupid crap. The vomit that spews from their mouths is not just stupid, it is absolutely laughable. I now sit here laughing my head off at what I read. In my own social movements in life, I laugh at the idiotic dialog of the females I come into contact with. It is unbelievable the level of childish trash that issues forth from the mouths of women whose ages range from 20 all the up to nearly 70.


I don’t care how they put it, because the simple overwhelming fact throughout the history of Mankind, is that women have NEVER been equal to men and they never will be.

Will at Skepchick for another instance.

Thunderfoot has published a video (it’s getting rave reviews from the MRA blog A Voice For Men) in which he accuses Skepchick Surly Amy of “bullying or cajoling” men into contributing to her awesome series of posts “Speaking out against hate directed at women.” Michael Nugent has a blog post up about it, noting that he was never bullied (or cajoled, which is kind of the opposite of bullying) into writing the article and then reposts the article in question. I’m not going to link to Thunderfoot’s video here, but the link is on Nugent’s post for those with the intestinal fortitude.

I have two major issues with this sort of discourse. First, using “bullying” to poison the well against people because you disagree with them is the exact opposite of rational. And for people in a community that prides itself on rationality and skeptical/critical thinking, there sure is a whole hell of a lot of this kind of nonsense going on.

The second (and more important) concern that I have about this sort of thing is that it has the effect of diminishing the experiences of people who are actually bullied. It lessens the impact of accusing actual bullies. It’s the same sort of shit that these same people complain about with the use of the word “misogynist.” They’re right about one thing—labeling every instance of sexism directed at women as misogyny does lessen the impact that that word has. So stop fucking doing it with “bully.”

Of course poisoning the well is the whole point, so they’re not going to stop.

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

Kill all the teachers

Jan 2nd, 2013 9:00 am | By

And in Pakistan, seven Pakistani teachers and health workers, six of them women, were shot to death in the Swabi district of the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

India needs rape jokes in the form of cocktails, and Pakistan needs fewer teachers and health workers and women. That’s the way to make a better world.

The attack on Tuesday, near the village of Sher Afzal Banda, was conducted by two men on a motorcycle who followed a van taking the workers home and then opened fire on it with assault rifles, the police said. The victims worked for the private Pakistani aid group Support With Working Solution, which works in the health and education sectors.

The aid group was founded in 1991 and, in conjunction with other aid groups, has focused on Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province and on South Waziristan in the tribal region, both deeply affected by poverty and militancy.

Five of the dead were young women who worked as teachers at a primary-level school the charity ran in the area, Mr. Akhtar said. The other two were health workers.

Teachers and health workers. People who work in a region deeply affected by poverty – killed by people who want more poverty and disease and ignorance and murder.

Perhaps humans were a mistake.

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

Next up: a cookie called “the torturer”

Jan 2nd, 2013 8:42 am | By

Good thinking, Bonobo bar in Bombay: selling a cocktail called “the rapist” is a brilliant idea. It’s so convivial and amusing, so jolly and sociable. Rape is such a funny joke, and it’s so hilarious to encourage people to find rape and rapists a source of humor.

Rape culture? What rape culture? Don’t be silly.


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

Where do hate crimes come from?

Jan 1st, 2013 11:47 am | By

Taslima has been writing about the Delhi rape since it happened.

She wrote about the patriarchal mindset.

About India, the land of eroticism, sexism and rapism.

She wrote about saying a woman who was brutally gangraped, tortured, mutilated and killed has “died peacefully.”

And she wrote about the fact that this kind of thing doesn’t just burst out of nowhere.

For the very first time, folks were angry. Or did it wake them up? Does wakefulness appear so easily? It is true that for the first time, thousands of men and women of all ages took to the streets demanding from their government the safety and security for the womenfolk. It has also been demanded that the perpetrators should be hanged by the neck till death. Capital punishment by hanging is not a major issue to this government – it is a rather easy, hassle-free solution. But it is a lot more difficult to take measures so that men cease to see women as sex objects, so that from a tender age, human beings learn to recognize and treat other human beings as human beings.

This is what I was saying yesterday, only to receive a barrage of stupid vicious comments shouting that I was making it all about me despite the fact that I said the precise opposite in the post.

Taslima is making the same basic point. What happened to the Delhi woman was a hate crime. Where do hate crimes come from? A culture that fosters hatred.

Married women bear various marks on their bodies to advertise their marital status. Just as lifeless photo-frames are sometimes marked with a red mark as ‘sold’, the application of the vermilion mark on the forehead and the parting of hair suffices as a veritable purchase notice for married women; for them, from the hair on the scalp to toenails are considered property of their husbands. Married men, however, are never properties of their wives. If protests against the rape of women carry on while leaving such patriarchal traditions intact, would rapes ever stop? On one hand, ninety-nine percent of Bollywood movies portray women as sex-objects, television carries the same message, newspapers splash images of barely-clad women; everywhere the women are merely bodies – smooth, soft skin; only breasts, only genitalia; their brains are not brains – women philosophers are not philosophers, scientists are not scientists, intellectuals are not intellectuals, professionals are not professionals. Once they are within reach, are men going to discuss science and philosophy, or are they going to be more inclined towards rape? I don’t think men don’t know that whatever a woman might wear, be it a short skirt or nothing, no one has the right to rape her. I think men know it well. At the same time, they also know that they are the decision makers! Men have more muscles, more brains, more courage; they can take greater risks, and they are beyond shame and fear; men are brave, fearless, powerful, stronger both physically and mentally – there is nothing they cannot do. This is what they have learnt, this is what they have been taught every moment of every day since their birth. The act of rape, to these men, is an evidence of their virility. The truth is, however patriarchy has raped women’s bodies, it has raped women’s minds even more; it has raped their vitality, their lives and liveliness, their limitless possibilities, dreams and freedoms. A physical injury often heals, an emotional injury doesn’t.

We’re allowed to say this.


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

Reading Jonathan Haidt

Jan 1st, 2013 11:03 am | By

I’m reading Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. So far I’m finding it less annoying than other stuff of his I’ve read. I think I’m seeing a flaw, though, but maybe he gets to what I think is missing later on.

Groups are useful, so cohesion is useful. Religions foster cohesion, and are an efficient way to discourage cheaters and free riders. People behave better when they think someone is watching.

Groups can do things that individuals can’t do.

Haidt thinks modern intellectual types – people like him, people like me – overvalue individuals and undervalue groups.

I suppose that’s true of me, at least up to a point. But but but

Well for one thing, modern intellectual types do a pretty good job of managing groups that can accomplish more than individuals can. Far from perfect, but pretty good. For another thing, anti-modern anti-intellectual types who love the group more than the individual can create hells on earth.

There’s an interesting bit on pp 256-7 though, about a study by the anthropologist Richard Sosis, of 200 communes founded in the US in the 19th century. Some were religious, others were secular and mostly socialist. The religious ones survived longer. Why?

He found one master variable: the number of costly sacrifices that each commune demanded from its members.

But that worked for religious ones and not secular ones. Why?

Sosis argues that rituals, laws, and other constraints work best when they are sacralized. He quotes the anthropologist Roy Rappaport: “To invest social conventions with sanctity is to hide their arbitrariness in a cloak of seeming necessity.”

Pesky secular people ask why, and refuse to do it if they don’t get a good answer. Then everything falls apart. Costly sacrifice is a good solution to the problem of cooperation without kinship, and secular people are bad at it.

Interesting. Suggestive. But…

Well, what if for instance the costly sacrifices are made by just one part of the group? Like, say – oh, just wildly at random here – women? Other races? People branded “untouchable”?

Haidt can be surprisingly bad at seeing this, or at least at mentioning it. But I’ve read only a little so far (I jumped ahead to 256), so maybe in this book he does better.

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

Fan Shell Beach

Dec 31st, 2012 4:34 pm | By

So Cooper and I went for the walk at Asilomar and  (then around to Pacific Grove, but the PG library is closed on Mondays and then closed tomorrow because New Year, so I went to Carmel and its library. We took 17 Mile Drive instead of 68 and 1, and we stopped at Fan Shell Beach so that Cooper could hurl himself into the surf. The tide was coming in and I managed to get caught by a high wave and got soaked from the knees down – jeans, socks and shoes. Squelch squelch squelch down Dolores Street to Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Stree, squelch squelch squelch up the steps and into the libe. I got four appetizing books though.

It’s 4:30. The sun sets a little after 5. (Which is so late! In Seattle it sets at 4:15.) Nearly time to leave for the sunset walk to the beach.

Yes travelogue. Usually I’ve got nothin! A month of rain and thick dark clouds. When I go somewhere, I talk about it.

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

Facing the Pacific

Dec 31st, 2012 11:21 am | By

I forgot to mention that I’m in California. Monterey Peninsula. I got here Saturday.

I thought I was going to take Cooper out for a walk along the coast at Asilomar at about ten this morning, but here I still am. Ok after lunch then.

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

An iron rod into the woman’s body

Dec 31st, 2012 10:39 am | By

The Delhi rape-victim has been cremated. That’s the end of her.

[Prime Minister Manmohan] Singh said on Saturday that he was aware of the emotions the attack had stirred, adding that it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman’s death will not have been in vain.

What emotions would those be?

Let’s look again at what happened to her.

On the night of the attack, the woman and a male friend, who also has not been identified, were on a bus after watching a film when they were attacked by six men who raped her. The men beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into the woman’s body, resulting in severe organ damage. Both were then stripped and thrown off the bus, according to police.

Why? Why would they do that? Why wasn’t it enough to rape her, or to rape and beat her? Why did they also shove an iron bar up her vagina and beyond it with enough force to destroy 95% of her intestines?

The only obvious answer, I think, is hatred. Just hatred.

And that kind of thing scares me. Not personally, really. In spite of all the stupid lies the hate-campaigners keep recycling about me that I’m so stupid and scaredy and radfem that I see innocent emails from supporters as threats for no earthly reason (the prediction that I might be shot is never mentioned), I actually don’t spook easily. I never have. I’ve always wandered around on my own a lot, from childhood on, which wouldn’t be the case if I were personally afraid. It scares me generally. It scares me for women and for the state of the public discourse. It creeps me the fuck out that open boastful misogyny has become so popular and mainstream lately.

I think it’s strange that the vocal boastful misogynists don’t worry about this. I think it’s strange that they convince themselves, or pretend to, that shouting loudly and repeatedly that Woman X is a fucking bitch has nothing whatsoever to do with misogyny itself or with dispersing it ever more widely across the landscape. I think it’s strange that so many people think it’s good to foster a climate of ragey hatred.

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

Am too so

Dec 31st, 2012 9:35 am | By

Callistacat pointed this out, and it made me laugh -

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

Go, Joseph, and tweet-sin no more

Dec 30th, 2012 11:09 am | By

Kevin Smith of CFI-Canada did another “Ask the Experts” for the Ottawa Citizen – this one on the burning question, “What are your ‘spiritual’ New Year’s resolutions?”

Dam’ fool question. To be nicer to my fellow humans? To see more spooky things? To be a better dualist?

Kevin hints at a similar sort of doubt, but then gives them a reply anyway.

My motivation comes from an unlikely source: the Pope. God’s deputy has taken up  Twitter, and he’s surprisingly adept at pontificating in 140 characters or less.  Recently, he committed what I consider his first tweet-sin, when he charged  atheists with denying human dignity. He wrote, “When you deny God, you deny  human dignity. Whoever defends God is defending the human person.”

That’s a tweet-sin all right. What utter bullshit. Human dignity is not dependent on “god” and in many ways “god” is degrading to human dignity. Whoever tells humans that their first duty is to obey a hidden non-responsive deity which is indistinguishable from a deity that doesn’t exist at all, is defending slavish obedience at the expense of the human person.

But that’s me. I’ll let Kevin talk.

In the spirit of defending my humanist principles, I resolve to do the  following:

I will continue my commitment to skeptical inquiry, accepting nothing at  faith value.

I will continue to be an activist for the rights of my fellow human beings,  regardless of skin colour, sexual orientation or gender, including the  transgendered. I will speak out particularly against those who take advantage of  their position of power, inciting hatred towards homosexuals solely on the basis  of mythological dogma.

Oh, zing! Gotcha, popie.

I resolve to persist as an advocate for church-state separation, where one  religion alone cannot influence public policy at the expense of the rights of  our country’s citizens.

For many, a new year ushers in an opportunity for change. It would be  commendable for those who are “spiritually inclined” to adopt such resolutions  for the good of humanity.

Although most resolutions never see the light of New Year’s Day, I remain  optimistic. I believe that humans have a capacity for kindness and  inclusiveness, despite those who seek to divide us with hostile edicts — or a  reckless tweet.

There you go, Joe! Do better next year. Not that you will, of course.

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

Raped killed and dumped

Dec 30th, 2012 10:36 am | By

As the body of the raped and murdered Delhi woman was cremated, normal life continued.

In Kolkata, one of India’s four biggest cities, police said a man reported that his mother had been gang-raped and killed by a group of six men in a small town near the city on Saturday.

She was killed on her way home with her husband, a senior official said, and the attackers had thrown acid at the husband, raped and killed her, and dumped her body in a roadside pond.

Maybe the six men were amateur law enforcement officials, and the woman had done something wrong.

Or maybe it was just run of the mill misogyny, but that doesn’t get discussed much in India, at least not by people who matter.

Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide rarely enter mainstream political discourse.

Because…well, you know. Wrong sex.

Newspapers raised doubts about the commitment of both male politicians and the police to protecting women.

“Would the Indian political system and class have been so indifferent to the problem of sexual violence if half or even one-third of all legislators were women?” the Hindu newspaper asked.

The Indian Express said it was more complicated than realizing that the police force was understaffed and underpaid.

“It is geared towards dominating citizens rather than working for them, not to mention being open to influential interests,” the newspaper said. “It reflects the misogyny around us, rather than actively fighting for the rights of citizens who happen to be female.”

There is no misogyny! That word doesn’t mean what you think it does! You’re making up a new definition for it! Feminism! sproinnnnnnnnnnnnng


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

First do lots of harm

Dec 30th, 2012 7:59 am | By

Good move.

A member of the hacking group Anonymous broke into the website of Britain’s biggest abortion provider because he “disagreed” with the decisions of two women he knew over their pregnancy terminations, a court heard.

Quite right. Some guy “disagrees” with the decisions that two women made about their pregnancies, so he goes to work to mess up thousands of lives. Because it’s all about him, and his opinions are reason enough to cause harm to thousands of people.

Fortunately he ended up deciding not to publish the details he found by hacking, but not until after he had stolen them.

We’re seeing a lot of this kind of thing. Dude X decides he has a principled hatred of woman Y so by golly he is going to do her harm because he is right and she is wrong. Being right is a license to harm people, according to this way of thinking.

I dissent.

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

Some communities make misogynists and harassers unwelcome

Dec 29th, 2012 7:22 pm | By

Meanwhile, that “Dear Hacker Community – We Need To Talk” article that I saw yesterday and meant to read and maybe comment on – that article disappeared on account of how Asher Wolf’s site got hacked. Guess what she and the hacker community needed to talk about.

I know a lot the community doesn’t want to talk about this stuff. I know I didn’t personally try to build a bridge between wannabe-crypto-users and hackers so I could deal with shitful sexism, misogyny and down-right crappy behavior.

I know most people would rather just delete a sexist webpage or image, apologize for the offensive comment, or shitty behavior and move on. Again.

But things aren’t changing for the better. And pasting anti-harassment rules on conference wikis doesn’t seem to be making a dent in obviously unacceptable behavior of some arseholes.

Yes, of course, there are arseholes in all communities. But some communities make sexists, misogynists, harassers and general arseholes truly unwelcome.

Unfortunately, the hacker community seems to flounder at making progress in the area of human relations.

Oh how familiar that sounds. The article is back, on a mirror site. Read it.

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

As long as they are equally valued

Dec 29th, 2012 7:09 pm | By

Christina Hoff Sommers is appalled at the way people are trying to make boys be more like girls and girls be more like boys.

Say what?

The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys”R”Us and one of the largest toy companies in Northern Europe, for its “outdated” advertisements and has pressured it to mend its “narrow-minded” ways. After receiving “training and guidance” from RO equity experts, Top-Toy introduced gender neutrality in its 2012 Christmas catalogue. The catalog shows little boys playing with a Barbie Dream House and girls with guns and gory action figures. As its marketing director explains, “For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust.”

Oh no oh no oh no! That’s terrible! It’s fabulous that all the other toy companies and retail outlets are doing the exact opposite with all their might, and it’s horrendous that anyone anywhere is trying to undo a little of the damage. Hell no toys can’t be just toys! Hell no children can’t just decide for themselves what they like. Certainly not. All the toys must be clearly marked as for one sex or the other sex, so that no child will be confused for one second about whether it’s an innie or an outie.

As one Swedish mother, Tanja Bergkvist, told the Associated Press, “Different gender roles aren’t problematic as long as they are equally valued.” Gender neutrality is not a necessary condition for equality. Men and women can be different—but equal. And for most human beings, the differences are a vital source for meaning and happiness. Since when is uniformity a democratic ideal?

Different gender roles aren’t problematic as long as they are equally valued. But they’re not. Has Sommers just not noticed?

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

Charlotte Allen redux

Dec 29th, 2012 9:23 am | By

I missed the part where Charlotte Allen replied to her critics. It’s a treat.

It’s no small thing, of course, to stop a gunman, whatever his size, but there might have been more of a chance with a few men on hand. I asserted that the “feminized setting” that prevails at elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel creates a culture of “helpless passivity” that puts women and small children at risk when a psychopath like Lanza decides to blow out the doors.

And an admiring audience failed to materialize, so she is explaining it all again.

No, I was not blaming any of the 26 victims or the parents who enrolled their kids at Sandy Hook. I am, however, blaming our culture that denies, dismisses, and denigrates the masculine traits—including size, strength, male aggression and a male facility for strategic thinking–that until recently have been viewed as essential for building a society and protecting its weaker members. We now have Hanna Rosin at Slate urging parents to buy their little boys Easy Bake ovens so they’ll be more like little girls. Women are less aggressive by instinct, and they are typically trained to be nice. I praised and continue to praise the courage of the Sandy Hook principal, Dawn Hochsburg, and the teachers who gave up their lives along with her, but with some men on the scene who knew what to do, some of those lives might have been saved.

Might have been – well sure, but you could say that about anything. If Adam Lanza had tripped and fallen then lots of people could have jumped on top of him, too, and all the lives might have been saved. If things had been different they would have been different. Very true, but we already knew that. There have been other mass shootings where there were men present and many people were still killed, including men. It’s not even clear why Charlotte Allen assumes none of the women present “knew what to do” – and of course it’s completely unclear what she thinks there is “to do” in the face of automatic weapons.

I am also responding to David Weigel, who told me I gotten my facts wrong: that there are actually two men, a custodian and a fourth-grade teacher, on Sandy Hook’s 52-person staff. He’s right, and I stand corrected. This does help prove my point, though: just two adult men in a building containing 500 people — and it’s not clear that both of them were at work that day. Indeed, a visit to Sandy Hook’s staff website is a depressing experience, the sea of women’s names. Why aren’t there more men? Perhaps not enough want the job? But why? Because they are tacitly discouraged from careers in elementary education? It’s certainly not the money, because union rules typically require kindergarten teachers and high-school chemistry teachers to be paid on exactly the same salary scale. Another depressing page on the Sandy Hook website is the “Safe Schools Climate” page. It’s a page of links to “anti-bullying” resources. Yes, the Sandy Hook staff’s idea of a “safe school” was a school where kids didn’t say mean things about each other on Facebook! The Sandy Hook massacre was a tragedy, but it was at least in part a tragedy of the collision between feminist delusions and reality.

Jesus H Christ almighty – what is she talking about?? Is she claiming that feminism keeps men out of elementary schools? Wtf? Since when does feminism claim that elementary school teachers should all be women? The point of feminism is more that university professors should not all be men. And then, she finds a sea of women’s names depressing. I find that depressing. Same old shit – imagine her saying that if you replaced “the sea of women’s names” with “the sea of black faces.”

And then the sneer about anti-bullying – and I feel like throwing up.

Maybe it’s some kind of Sarah Palin “shake up those pesky liberals” shtick. Hooray for bullying.

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


Dec 29th, 2012 7:00 am | By

Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism gives us some more everyday sexism.

Meanwhile, this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival made headlines for featuring a high number of jokes about rape and domestic violence. Such “jokes” are also endemic online.“We must wake up to the way that social media enables and magnifies abuse and harassment of women,” Ms Dustin says. The popular social news website Reddit has entire categories dedicated to “raping women”, “hot rape stories”, and “choke a bitch”. And an article on the student website UniLad in January said: “Eighty-five per cent of rape cases go unreported. That seems to be fairly good odds.”

Yes but those are just tropes and tropes don’t matter and besides “tropes” is a big stuck-up fancy intellectual showoffy conceited arrogant word that only a bitch would use because bitches are so arrogant and bitchy, plus they all stole it from Anita Sarkeesian because nobody ever used it before she did.

Jacqui Hunt, of Equality Now, says: “We absorb messages from all around us every day, so what some might dismiss as harmless banter takes on a completely different quality when it forms part of a general culture of demeaning, pejorative and prejudicial reporting on women.”

Noooooooo. That can’t be right. That implies that tropes matter and everybody knows that tropes don’t matter. Messages don’t matter, culture doesn’t matter, stereotypes don’t matter, nothing like that matters. That stuff is all non-physical, and nothing non-physical matters. What are you, some kind of crazy dualist or something? You think ideas matter? Ha! I laugh in your face. Ideas don’t matter. Only a punch in the face matters. Anything short of a punch in the face is totally inert* and harmless.

In fact, these jokes and media slurs could even be having an impact on rape conviction rates. Alison Saunders, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, told The Guardian this year that widespread “myths and stereotypes” about rape victims may give jurors “preconceived ideas” that could affect their decisions in court. When victims were “demonised in the media”, she said, “you can see how juries would bring their preconceptions to bear”.

Nope nope nope nope. Can’t be true. Can’t possibly happen. Juries never pay any attention, their whole lives, to intangible things like jokes and media slurs. That’s why there’s never any need to sequester them and make sure they don’t see any tv or newspapers. Myths and stereotypes make no difference to anything ever.

It will not be easy to tackle such deeply ingrained ideas. “We need nothing short of a revolution in our approach to sexual violence,” Ms Dustin says. But although the attitudes revealed have been worrying, the fact that such stories have been so prevalent in the media this year is a sign of progress, she believes. “The scale of revelations about abuse of women and girls in the Jimmy Savile case may have begun to turn the tide.”

As awareness grows, says Ms Diamandopoulos: “We have to get together as women … to grow the seeds of the fightback, which has already started, with organisations such as Rape Crisis, Object, Everyday Sexism, Mumsnet and others. Together, women have moved mountains before – we can do it again.”

Pfffffffff. Ideas – attitudes – stories – revelations – awareness. Come on – none of that makes any difference to anything! When has an idea ever made anything happen?

People are so silly.

*Oh I’m sorry, I used the word “inert.” That’s one of those words like “trope,” probably – too big and fancy for a good honest person to use, and just a way of trying to emasculate decent men.

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

Women end up exacerbating tensions

Dec 29th, 2012 6:25 am | By

Via Katha Pollitt on Twitter – an Italian priest explains things to women.

Italian media reported that parish priest Piero Corsi fixed a text to the bulletin board of his church in the northern village of San Terenzo di Lerici, which said women should engage in “healthy self criticism” over the issue of femicide, or men murdering women.

Healthy self-criticism! Good thinking. It is a just world, so if a women is murdered, it has to be because she did something so bad that it deserves murder. (There is that whole pesky “sanctity of life” thing, so you would think a Catholic priest wouldn’t write a text saying that anything deserves murder, but maybe that’s just before birth. I’m not a theologian, so I’m not sure.) So what are these bad things that women should be healthily criticizing themselves for?

“Let’s ask ourselves. Is it possible that men have all gone mad at one stroke? We don’t think so,” said the text, which was reproduced in several newspapers.

“The core of the problem is in the fact that women are more and more provocative, they yield to arrogance, they believe they can do everything themselves and they end up exacerbating tensions,” it said.

“How often do we see girls and even mature women walking on the streets in provocative and tight clothing?”

“Babies left to themselves, dirty houses, cold meals and fast food at home, soiled clothes. So if a family ends up in a mess and turns into crime (a form of violence which should be condemned and punished firmly) often the responsibility is shared,” it said.

Oh. Women are arrogant. They walk on the street. Something something dirty something cold something fast something soiled. So men murder them. What can you expect?

It’s probably just a small thing though, right? Not many women are that cold and soiled and arrogant and murdered.

A third of women in Italy had reported being victim of serious domestic violence, a UN report citing data from Italian statistics agency ISTAT said.

It said that as many as 127 women had been murdered by men in 2010, often as a result of “honor, men’s unemployment and jealousy by the perpetrator”.

And fast food, and women walking on the street.

People are annoyed with the priest, but he doesn’t mind.

“After everything that’s happened, which has certainly been well beyond what I intended or expected, I think there’s need for calm, rest and silence to respond with the serenity and harmony required to carry on,” he said.

For him. He’s a guy, so he’s allowed to be arrogant. Women who are arrogant – well they need to be murdered, obviously.

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

Since the rapists started harassing her

Dec 28th, 2012 3:47 pm | By

And then there’s the rape victim in India who killed herself yesterday. She was being harassed by the rapists. That’s right. First they rape her, then they make her life hell afterwards because.

The police also got in on the act, making her report to the police station late at night and tell them all about the rape.

…as no arrests were made, the accused not only harassed the victim and her family, but also started issuing open threats. Hounded, the girl shifted to her aunt’s house in nearby Samana town on November 29. “Since the rapists started harassing her at Samana too, she consumed some poisonous substance around 5pm on Wednesday, and died at Government Rajindra Hospital in Patiala late at night,” the victim’s mother Surjit Kaur told HT.

Avicenna wrote an angry letter to India on this subject a couple of days ago.

I am ashamed to be an Indian man.

Do you fucking know why women are so fucking angry about the rape of a 23 year old? Why now every new rape case that comes to light in India (like the rape of Momoko, a Manipuri actress) will set off riots like the ones in Delhi?

Can you grasp why women are pissed? Why shouldn’t they be? They have fuck all to be happy about. Sexual harassment is so much the norm that they tell foreigners in guidebooks like the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to watch out for sexual harassment. They tell them to try and travel in groups and to stick together and to try and bring a male companion with them to at least deter sexual harassment and rape attempts. Fuck all kinds of duck! Do you have any idea about how insulting it is to be regarded as “Molesters and Rapists” internationally? Fuck! My girlfriend is in Spain on holiday where a bunch of Indian men suddenly appeared to randomly hit on her while she took photographs. Do you have any fucking idea how creepy, misogynistic and just outright stupid that sounds?

Short answer? Probably not. Some people seem to be really bad at forming any idea how creepy, misogynistic and just outright stupid certain things sound.

We cannot keep being called a culture that is just endemically unsafe to women. It has to stop. Do you know how heart breaking it is to be told by your girlfriend that you are not like other Indians because I think the harassment isn’t attractive? That our dating strategy is akin to Stockholm syndrome…

The rage of these women is entirely justified. If you wish to show your support then please does so. Make some noise; let people in India who are in power know that they cannot keep hiding this horrific side to India. It’s our silence that has caused this to come to a point. All we can do is make noise and show the people who are fighting for justice and to stop rape in India that we support what they are doing. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, make your voices be heard. People in India need to know that we actually give a flying fuck and that we show solidarity against the people who make excuses and try and stop this change.

The rapes have to stop.

Merry Fucking Christmas and a Happy Fucking New Year.

Yours in disgust

Avicenna Last

Thank you Avicenna.


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

The news from India

Dec 28th, 2012 2:54 pm | By

Avicenna is on his way out to the protest, to provide medical coverage. He was already getting ready to go when the victim’s death was reported; now he expects riots. Be careful, Avi.

Meanwhile, experts were giving their views in the hours before the victim lost the fight.

“Had the girl simply surrendered (and not resisted) when surrounded by six men, she would not have lost her intestine. Why was she out with her boyfriend at 10 pm?” These comments made by an agricultural scientist at a seminar organised by the police provoked an outrage in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, and demands for punitive action against her.

Dr Anita Shukla, a scientist at the Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, had been invited to the seminar on “Women’s Empowerment” in her capacity as the president of Lion’s Club on Wednesday. Women, Shukla said in her speech, had misused the facilities and rights given to them.

Hmmyeah. She should have surrendered, and she shouldn’t have been out at 10 pm. She was doing everything wrong, wasn’t she. She shouldn’t have had a hole between her legs. She shouldn’t have left the house. She shouldn’t have grown up. She shouldn’t have been born. One mistake after another, she made.

Thanks, Dr Shukla. You’re a big help.

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