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.

Made to respect women of any kind who dress in any way

Nov 10th, 2014 5:43 pm | By

Uh huh.

A guy called Karim Metwaly, who clearly gets to wear a T shirt and baseball cap without expecting harassment, did a video of a woman walking in Manhattan first in leggings and a T shirt and then in full hijab and a long black robe. Guess what.

Uh huh.

I strongly believe women have the right to dress in which ever way they want and also believe that guys play a major role, they should not talk in disgusting ways and should lower their gaze. This video was in no way a survey or an accurate representation and should not be considered as such. This video was done as an experiment and these were the results with no tampering or editing trickery. Footage that was left out due to time does not change the outcome represented in this video. This video was made to respect women of any kind who dress in anyway. Please feel free to share. – Karim Metwaly

No I don’t think it was. I think that’s bullshitting. I think it was made to claim that if women would only wear tents and head-bandages, they would not be harassed, and that women who don’t dress that way and do get harassed are getting harassed on purpose.


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

Sullivan provides an example for Sam

Nov 10th, 2014 4:37 pm | By

So Andrew Sullivan uses “SJW” as a sneer too. I know he’s very conservative, but I’m a little surprised he’s conservative in that particular style. Or maybe I’m not; he’s said plenty of absurd things before.

The SJWs Now Get To Police Speech On Twitter

Uh huh, and we get to steal your testicles, too!

Well, you could see this coming. Twitter announced last Thursday that it was teaming up with a left-feminist activist group to investigate gender-based harassment on the social networking site:

A group called Women, Action, and the Media, which advocates for better representation of women, is testing a new reporting process for gender-based harassment. The group developed a tool for reporting harassment and will forward confirmed reports to Twitter. “If it checks out, we’ll escalate it to Twitter right away (24 hours max, hopefully much less than that) and work to get you a speedy resolution,” says the group, which abbreviates itself as WAM. “But please note: we’re not Twitter, and we can’t make decisions for them.”

So not policing at all then. Not some generalized “policing” of “speech” but a tool to attempt to do a better job than Twitter does of dealing with harassment – not speech in general, but harassment, which is by definition targeted at people. If you stand under my window and shout insults at me for hours, I can probably get the cops to tell you to go away. You can still speech, you just can’t harass me. (Until tomorrow, when we can start over again.)

Instead of seeing the web as opening up vast vistas for all sorts of voices to be heard, they seem to believe it is rigged against female voices, or that women are not strong or capable enough of forging their own brands, voices, websites and fighting back against ideas they abhor with wit and energy and passion and freedom. Instead, WAM’s goal is to police and punish others for their alleged sexism – along the well-worn lines of contemporary and controlling left-feminism.

No, it isn’t. It’s to attempt to do a better job than Twitter does of dealing with harassment. It’s not to police and it’s not to punish; it’s to try to prevent harassment. It’s not to police and punish sexism; it’s to try to prevent harassment.

Here’s the mindset behind the project:

“I see this as a free speech issue,” Friedman said. She said she knew some would see the work WAM does as “censorship,” but that a completely open and unmoderated platform imposes its own form of censorship. It effectively prevents women, especially queer women and women of color, from getting to speak on the service.

How exactly? Does Twitter prevent women of color from using the service? Or is it simply that WAM believes that women cannot possibly handle the rough-and-tumble of uninhibited online speech?

It’s not the rough-and-tumble of uninhibited online speech; it’s harassment. And whether or not you think that people of type X can “handle” it, the point is that no one should have to. Nobody should have to “handle” an endless stream of racist abuse, for example; there should be no endless stream of racist abuse. Andrew Sullivan should try not being a callous asshole and see what that’s like.

I can find no reason to oppose a stronger effort by Twitter to prevent individual users from stalking or harassing others – but if merely saying nasty things about someone can be seen as harassment, then where on earth does this well-intentioned censorship end? Is it designed to censor only misogyny and not racism? What about blasphemy?

Who said merely saying nasty things about someone can be seen as harassment? Nobody I know of. But saying nasty things about someone forty thousand times in public, or saying nasty things about someone as part of a public dog-pile that goes on for weeks – that can be seen as harassment.

Here’s me saying something nasty about Andrew Sullivan: he’s a smug conservative-politically-correct tool.

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

And another one

Nov 10th, 2014 3:25 pm | By

Another slaughter of school children in Nigeria.

At least 46 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.

A suicide bomber dressed as a student is believed to have caused the blast at the boys’ school in Yobe state .

Police suggested the militant group Boko Haram carried out the attack.

Yobe state’s governor has shut all public schools around Potiskum and criticised the government for not tackling the group.

Way to break racism and smash borders and do away with the need for passports!

Boko Haram has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic state.

It is waging a sustained campaign to prevent children from going to school. It believes girls should not attend school and boys should only receive an Islamic education.

And by “an Islamic education” it means memorization of the Koran. Not a real education, just the memorization of a book, and a bad book at that.

The explosion ripped through the assembly hall at the Government Science Secondary School.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told the BBC Hausa service the attack had left 47 people dead, including the suicide bomber. Another 79 were wounded.

Dozens of students were injured so severely medics were unable to save them.

Let’s hear more about the free dental service that ISIS provides, shall we?

The BBC’s Nigeria correspondent Will Ross adds:

By setting off the bomb during the morning assembly, the militants clearly aimed to kill as many students as possible.

Few of the attacks here are ever claimed by any group but Boko Haram will once again be suspected. The jihadists have carried out particularly brutal attacks on schools before.

Chibok is known in many parts of the world because of April’s mass abduction of girls from that remote village. But there have been many other horrific attacks on schools which have received less attention – including last February’s raid on Buni Yadi, in Yobe state.

Dozens of boys were burnt to death, shot or killed with knives in the dormitory. Female students were spared but told to never attend school again, go off and get married. Boko Haram wants the education of boys to be limited to strict Koranic studies only.

Marriage for girls, the Koran for boys; stultification and ignorance for both.

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

No passports in the ummah

Nov 10th, 2014 3:13 pm | By

Harper’s interviewed an ISIS fighter, Kabir Ahmed aka Abu Sumayyah, who killed eight people and himself in a suicide bombing in Iraq over the weekend.

Sumayyah tells Harkin he looks forward to the coming era of passport-free travel as the Islamic State widens its frontiers through Syria, Iraq, and beyond. He reveals that he had been imprisoned in Britain, “for the propagation of my religion.” (His criminal convictions were for stirring up hatred against homosexuals and shouting homophobic abuse at a gay-pride parade.) Sumayyah calls Britain “Dar al-Kufr,” or “the land of infidels.” He tells Harkin that among his new friends, are jihadi veterans from all over the world, including the United States. “It’s like a dream: one day we eat Eritrean, the next we eat Pakistani. We are breaking borders; we are breaking racism,” he says.

And entrenching and enforcing sexism and homophobia, along with bigotry against other religions, no religion, and secularism. Here’s a newsflash: you can break racism and sexism and homophobia and hatred of other religions and loathing of secularism. You can, and the result is much much better.

Sumayyah speaks excitedly of the new government and its personnel. “There is free medical, dental, and eye care, and the doctors are all absolutely free,” he says. “All these services are building blocks of the state.” There are orphanages and special madrassas where orphan children were taught to memorize the Koran and Islamic State military bases were also open to children, especially orphans, so they can “learn about jihad and military matters.”

Sounds like hell on earth, especially for children.

Sumayyah tells Harkin he believes that reports of mass executions of hundreds of Shia prisoners have been exaggerated, or deserved. A full 2,000 Iraqi soldiers had been given the opportunity to repent, he says, “This is the way of Islam. Everyone gets a chance to repent. But if they don’t, it’s death. It’s the same in every country in the world: it’s treason against the state.”


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

Refusing to accept

Nov 10th, 2014 12:56 pm | By

Apparently the Catholic church gets to, or thinks it gets to, decide for itself whether it will or will not be held accountable for years and years of child rape in one of its institutions. The NSS reports:

The Catholic Church is refusing to accept “liability” for long-term sex abuse that went on at the Mirfield Junior Seminary, despite paying out £120,000 to eleven victims of child sex abuse.

The seminary, which closed down in 1984, was run by the Verona Fathers (now known as the Comboni Missionaries) and saw sexual abuse perpetrated by priests against children as young as 11.

But the church can just say no, right? It can just say no we didn’t and we refuse to accept liability, right? That’s how it works with rape, right? People can just say “no I didn’t” and that’s the end of it?

Three Catholic priests of the Verona Fathers are said to have repeatedly abused boys in their care. Now twelve of their victims have joined together to campaign for justice. The former pupils have launched a website to share their experiences of the seminary, called Mirfield Memories, and to offer support for their fellow victims.

A website! Oh my god – won’t somebody please think of the priests? Such accusations should never ever be discussed on blogs or websites! The horror!!

The men’s efforts have led to many of their fellow pupils coming forward to describe their own experiences of abuse at the Mirfield Seminary.

In a press release the “Mirfield 12″ describe some of the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Verona Fathers. One of three priests accused of abuse, Fr Pinkman, “used to bring boys, as young as 11 to his bedroom, to explain the facts of life to them and ask them to remove their clothes so that he could explain further. He went on to abuse many of them”.

One of the boys, Anthony Smith, recalls how Pinkman “pinned me against the wall and kissed me all over my face, rubbing himself against me”.

Smith, then 11 years old, felt unable to report the abuse to his parents, as the Missionaries read every letter the children sent to the outside world. Eventually, he informed the Rector of the seminary who “didn’t say a word” in response to the allegations.

But the church says it doesn’t accept liability! So surely all these people who say they were victims have to shut up about it. Don’t they?

The “Mirfield 12″ believe that the Catholic Church is still refusing to take responsibility for the culture of sexual abuse that existed at Mirfield.

The sole surviving priest, Fr Romano Nardo, is still living with the Verona Fathers in Italy. On one occasion during the period of the sex abuse, a child was spotted leaving Nardo’s bedroom at night and the priest was immediately moved away from the seminary. West Yorkshire Police have reviewed evidence and concluded that crimes were committed, but are “unable to get an extradition order” to bring Nardo to the UK for questioning. The Comboni Missionary order have stated that the priest is “not in a mentally stable enough condition to travel”.

So there you go – case closed, nobody talk about it ever again.

One of the victims claims the abuse was carried out over two decades. The campaigners note that when Fr Valmaggia was reported, he was immediately sent away to Italy, whilst Nardo was dispatched to Uganda when one child was seen leaving his bedroom at 6am one morning.

The child in question, Mark Murray, reported Valmaggia to the Church and the police in 1997; however the priest was simply returned to Italy. According to the campaign, “none of the priests were ever reported to the police by the Comboni Missionaries, they were simply moved elsewhere”.

So, therefore, no one is allowed to talk about it now. Right?

Recent years have seen a raft of such cases coming to light, and Pope Francis “begged” for forgiveness from the victims and condemned the Church’s “complicity”. For the Mirfield 12 however, the Catholic Church still has a “long way to go before true and honest dialogue and change occurs”.

Nardo remains safe from extradition, and not a single priest involved in the abuse, or the subsequent cover-up, has ever faced prosecution. The Verona Fathers claim that the sex abuse “had not been proven” and after the compensation money was paid by the Comboni Missionaries, a spokesman for the order claimed that “given the passage of almost half a century, we will never know the truth of what happened”.

So let’s just forget all about it and never mention it again. Yes?

On the website, Murray recounts an exchange he recently had with the Bishop of Verona, Giuseppe Zenti, who offered “prayers” to the victims. Murray complains that “I am not short of people praying for me”, and described his frustration with the stonewalling by Church authorities. The forum of the website is full of comments and experiences from victims, a sad testament to the widespread nature of the sex abuse that went on at Mirfield.

At the time of writing more victims plan to speak to West Yorkshire Police about their experiences at Mirfield, and the Mirfield 12’s website has drawn significant attention from former pupils, some of whom believed they were the only victims of Valmaggia, Pinkman and Nardo, before seeing the many testimonies collected on the Mirfield Memories website.

But that’s exactly why you’re not allowed to talk about it! This is all very bad for those rapey priests!! Shut up shut up shut up!!!

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

Missionary activities

Nov 10th, 2014 12:28 pm | By

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain has a report on the Islamic Education and Research Authority aka iERA. It’s a group for Islamist missionaries, basically.

iERA are effectively a pro-active organisation that facilitates missionary activities, and also an aggregating organisation that co-ordinates evangelism and preaching by affiliates. Even though iERA does not have a central constitution, the ideas that its core group aggregates, and its affiliates assert, correspond tightly with the ideas propounded by Islamist organisations and hate groups like Hizb ut Tahrir. In addition, the ideas of iERA and its affiliates fit into a wider stream of Wahaabi / Salafi Islamism.

iERA can be classified as a hate group because of its persistent promotion of
Islamists who preach hate against non Muslims, women, gays, progressive
Muslims and ex-Muslims. It is also one of the main organisations behind the call for the imposition of Islamist norms in society, including gender segregation at UK universities and the assertion of preachers who promote Sharia courts.

So, it’s a group that, if it succeeds in its mission, will make life hell for most people.

The practical effect of their speeches is a cumulative one, in which hatred,
cruelty and dehumanisation are normalised and a climate of hostility and
supremacism are deemed to be righteous expressions of belief. Their Islamic
missionary activity is not only about spirituality, but a wider call to make society subordinate to theocratic norms.

Read the whole thing.

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

The godless North

Nov 9th, 2014 5:43 pm | By

There’s a documentary tv series in Scandinavia (I haven’t been able to find out if it’s Swedish or Finnish or etc) that did an episode about a US fundamentalist Christian preacher bumbling around Scandinavia getting shocked about how unlike him they are.

Pastor Marty McLain, who describes his religious belief as deriving from a literal interpretation of the Bible, was given the opportunity to see how secular Scandinavia is by a documentary series called The Norden.

What he found came as a shock, apparently. (He could have just gone to New York or Seattle and been shocked there. I suspect he doesn’t get out of Georgia much.)

McLain, who’s favorite expression is “wow,” is wowed a lot. Almost no one he talks to on the street seems interested in God. One guy puts it bluntly: “If there is no god, why should I believe in him?” Ouch.

A few highlights:

  • While interviewing several members of a church in Copenhagen, McLain makes the mistake of assuming that, given their faith, they must be homophobes like he is. After he laments the fact that the oppressive government made Denmark’s churches perform same-sex marriages, the Reverend had to awkwardly tell him that neither he nor anyone else at the church had a problem with gay people. McLain’s pained expression is priceless.
  • He runs into a man on the street who (finally!) says he believes in God. Excited, McLain asks if he is a Christian. The man tells him, no, a Muslim. McLain: “A Muslim!”
  • An excruciating discussion with a humanist over coffee ends with the humanist telling McLain, “In short, I have no need of a god. To put it bluntly.” McLain stares off into space, his mind melting.

Something else I noticed from the excerpted highlights I watched – the guy seems not to grasp, or at least let himself be at all affected by, the fact that he is in other people’s country speaking a foreign language. He makes no effort whatever to talk clearly out of consideration to these polite hospitable people who are kindly speaking his language in their country. He mumbles and slurs and gabbles just as casually as if he were at home in his suburb of Atlanta talking to the wife & kids. It’s rude. It’s rude and unthinking and provincial. That kind of thing always makes me cringe when I’m in a non-English speaking place, the way Americans expect everyone to adapt to them.

While the show is shot with the Georgian pastor as the focus, if we inverse the perspective things get quite a bit sadder. It’s impossible to tell just what these secular people make of the shellshocked American staggering around their country, unable to cope with the idea that they don’t believe in Adam and Eve. It must look to some like a time traveler from an ancient era, confused by the progress we’ve made. We can only hope that they are generous with their assumptions. It would be embarrassing to think that they consider this guy a representative of all Americans, because between the “homosexuality is a sin!” and “There’s no proof of evolution, you weren’t there!” all I can say is, “Wow.”

I know. He’s embarrassing. So complacent, so confident, so ill-informed.

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

Plants and their pollinators

Nov 9th, 2014 4:47 pm | By

Here’s a scary thing. The temperature rise due to climate change is making bees start flying earlier in the spring, before flowers have bloomed, and that makes pollination less likely. Guess what pollination is necessary for – food production. Hello famine. (There’s also the horror of shrinking snow pack in the Himalayas, which will cut the water flow to the massive rivers in Asia that originate in that snow pack.) This story is just one particular bee and one plant – the miner bee and the early spider orchid – but if the pattern applies elsewhere, well – that’s ominous.

“We have shown that plants and their pollinators show different responses to climate change and that warming will widen the timeline between bees and flowers emerging,” said Dr Karen Robbirt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of East Anglia (UEA). “If replicated in less specific systems, this could have severe implications for crop productivity.”

And if crop productivity goes down, we’re all in deep shit.

Scientists have already identified a few timing mismatches caused by global warming between species and their prey. Oak tree buds are eaten by winter moths, whose caterpillars are in turn fed by great tits to their chicks, but the synchronicity of all these events has been disrupted.

Suspected mismatches have occurred between sea birds and fish, such as puffins and herring and guillemots and sand eels. The red admiral butterfly and the stinging nettle, one of its host plants, are also getting out of sync.

Not good.

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

The witchfinder general

Nov 9th, 2014 1:55 pm | By

The BBC also reported on that proposed independent school in Kent with links to “witch” hunter David Oyedpo.

The church, whose leader Bishop David Oyedpo was filmed accusing a woman of being a witch, declined an interview.

The organisation, which has its headquarters in Nigeria, is known as Living Faith Church Worldwide and also Winners’ Chapel International (WCI).

Bishop Oyedepo, its leader in Nigeria, has been shown on YouTubeslapping a woman and accusing her of being a witch.

His son David Oyedepo Junior is the pastor at WCI’s European headquarters in Dartford, where the church organisation wants to open Kingdom Heritage Model School for children aged four to seven.

That’s what the UK needs more of – churches that go in for witch hunting, and schools founded by those churches. But this is what you get when you let religious institutions run state schools.

Human rights activist and Nigerian Humanist Movement founder Leo Igwe said the church obtained money from its members using what it called a prosperity-in-gospel narrative.

He said: “They make this money using this narrative and then they use it to establish business, universities, schools.”

That’s Leo quoted by the BBC. Good.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it had received an application and was aware of concerns.

A spokeswoman said: “All independent schools must meet stringent standards before they are registered. These include tough rules on welfare and safeguarding.

“Police intelligence and criminal record checks are also carried out on the proprietor of the school, and any links to organisations which suggest the school might not meet the standards are investigated.”

And your call is important to us and the check is in the mail.

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

Naveed could not control his emotions

Nov 9th, 2014 1:38 pm | By

Another one of these. Another murder to defend a long dead “prophet” against another putative insult. There’s a bit of “political correctness” for Sam Harris.

A policeman in Pakistan hacked a man to death for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, police said, just two days after a Christian couple was lynched over blasphemy in the same province.

It’s understandable though. The guy wouldn’t stop.

The man, Tufail Haider, 55, was taken into custody late on Wednesday in the city of Gujrat after a group of people allegedly overheard him making the remarks, beat him up and handed over to police.

“Officer Faraz Naveed brought him to the police station and sent him to lock-up. Haider did not stop using nasty words about Sahaba (the companions) despite warnings from various officials,” said police officer Khurram Shehzad.

“At around 5.00 a.m., Naveed could not control his emotions. He went into his cell, brought an axe, entered the lock up and hit Haider’s throat several times.”

And that was the end of Haider.

Blasphemy charges, even when they do go to court, are punishable by death in Muslim-majority Pakistan. They are hard to fight because the law does not define clearly what is blasphemous.

Even presenting the evidence in court can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.

Pakistan’s minorities feel that the state fails to protect them, and even tolerates violence against them.

Because it does, and it does.

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

Then for your new friends

Nov 8th, 2014 4:23 pm | By

There’s SPAM ‘n’ Limas.

No don’t interrupt me, I’m laughing too hard.

Spam 'n' Limas


Boy doesn’t that Spanish sauce sound fabulous? The lard is a nice touch.

I wonder what the white substance you can see around the lima beans is. The recipe doesn’t mention anything like that so is it…some kind of horrid foam we don’t want to think about? Something the lima beans and spam give off as they bake?


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

So if you’re having “company” over for dinner

Nov 8th, 2014 4:13 pm | By

Here’s how to give them and yourself an evening in hell.

Super Salad Loaf

Best Foods / Via

A bologna shell? Wtf? You scoop out a lump of baloney and stick smashed peas mixed with mayonnaise and jello in the hole?

People did this?

Look at those poor sad people in brown uniforms approaching the door, all eager for the treat, not knowing what they’re going to get. Look at those fiends greeting them with cheery waves.

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

Damaging the far-right narrative

Nov 8th, 2014 3:53 pm | By

Iram Ramzan interviewed Nazir Afzal for the Oldham Chronicle a few days ago.

Mr Afzal hopes Stockport MP Ann Coffey’s report into child abuse in Greater Manchester won’t deter victims from coming forward. But he doesn’t think the report does enough to highlight the achievements of his service.

Ms Coffey’s report suggested that the perceived attitudes of jurors caused the CPS to fail to charge suspects. She reported that in some cases the CPS highlighted the victim’s clothing, or that members of her own family had been derogatory about her behaviour, and that these facts had persuaded the CPS not to prosecute.

In the last six years 12,879 sexual offences against children were reported to GMP, but only 2,341 defendants were charged and 1,078 found guilty.

One of Mr Afzal’s first acts on becoming a chief crown prosecutor was to start prosecutions against the Rochdale grooming gang, overturning an earlier CPS decision.

He says the CPS record has improved a lot over the last three years.

“We’re in a better place. One of the things the report didn’t highlight was the conviction rate is the highest ever. I wouldn’t want anything to deter victims from coming forward.”

North-West figures show that in 2013-14, 194 of 288 child abuse cases were successfully prosecuted.

That’s a massive improvement.

Mr Afzal stresses the majority of sexual abuse occurs within the home – and by white perpetrators. The second largest incidence is online, the third is institutions — such as in schools — and finally comes street grooming: “It’s a sizeable but small group,” he added.

The judge sentencing the Rochdale gang told the defendants they preyed on girls because they weren’t part of their community or religion. But as Mr Afzal pointed out, Oldham defendant Shabir Ahmed was also convicted of the rape of a Pakistani girl.

Mr Afzal suggested the grooming gang preyed on vulnerability: “The perpetrators weren’t religious, they were men controlling women and girls. We need to stop getting distracted by ethnicity and focus on what this is — women and girls being abused, feeling they can’t talk about their experiences.”

And that’s far from being a monopoly of the religious.

“You don’t provoke rape by your dress, or the choices you make. You don’t provoke rape because you’re drinking. In no way is that an excuse for what that man does. The perpetrators are doing it because they want control. As a prosecutor I will make them face the consequences.”

He does believe women of south Asian and other minority backgrounds find it more difficult to speak out due to issues of honour and shame: “Asian victims don’t come forward — it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We have to reach out to them.”

Mr Afzal said he has received strong support from Pakistani people since the Rochdale case.

The only offensive comments have been from the far right. “I damage their narrative,” he added.

As do women like Iram Ramzan and Tehmina Kazi. Damage that narrative! Damage it and then bury it.

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

Which ones are the professionals?

Nov 8th, 2014 12:17 pm | By

There’s a long and informative Storify by A Man In Black on YouTube, Patreon, and the Rise of the Professional Victimizer. There are people who make a very nice living out of cranking out videos that harass particular women – Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian to name two.

AMIB says thunderf00t is the top worst at this.

A Man In Black @a_man_in_black
Phil “thunderf00t” Mason is a scientist and somewhat (in)famous blogger/vlogger from the freethought/atheist community.

thunderf00t makes videos about science and anti-feminism, and has long attacked Anita Sarkeesian.

His videos usually range in the low six digits for views.

He’s cashed in on attacking Anita Sarkeesian, however. He has two videos from last July attacking her, at 500K and 300K views.

As of July, he was also making more than $2000 per Patreon video, which he releases about twice a month. 

A nice little earner. Four grand a month for trying hard to ruin a woman’s life.

Thunderf00t released a video titled “Quinnspiracy and does ‘maybe’ mean no?” on Aug 23, bringing his audience with him.

People like thunderf00t’s audience are a large part of why is about harassment.

A guy’s gotta eat.

This is just a tiny slice; I recommend the whole thing.

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

We’re not allowed to have logical discussions

Nov 8th, 2014 11:29 am | By

Coolio, some people are sending their responses to Sam Harris’s request for examples of Political Correctness run amok publicly, so that we can read them. This fella on Facebook for example.

Sam Harris, remember back when Richard Dawkins “ranked rape”?

Well, he tried to make a point about logic and then everyone said they understood what he meant, but still did the exact opposite of what a person who understood would.

The media wrote about how he ranked rape, even though rape was only a hypothetical example in his argument about logic, not at all the main point of what he said.

We’re not allowed to have logical discussions about anything that’s emotionally sensitive, or even use it as an example to illustrate a point.…/richard-dawkins-says-date-ra…


Totally. Absolutely. Because Richard Dawkins for sure no question felt an urgent need to explain to people that saying X is worse than Y does not equal saying Y is good. Just that. No reference to anything else, just a purely about-logic point. He just happened to use rape as an example, but it could have been anything else, anything at all. It’s only politically correct chumps who miss the purely about-logic point and zero in on the example, which is completely beside the point.

Also, Twitter is the best possible medium for making points about logic, including while using rape as an example. The very best possible. Nothing could ever possibly go wrong; it is always perfectly easy to make your points clear, and engage with questions and criticism, and say everything that needs to be said. Nothing ever goes haywire on Twitter, and it’s just amok political correctness to suggest that Twitter isn’t the place for discussions of comparative rape.

If Sam Harris is writing a book on Political Correctness run amok, there is every sign that it will be a humdinger of a good book, probably his best since The Moral Landscape.

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

You get up with fleas

Nov 8th, 2014 10:55 am | By

Sam Harris is getting help, or at least psychological support, in his quest for political correctness run amok. Bill Dembski Denyse O’Leary at Uncommon Descent is all sympathy.

Guy made the mistake of actually challenging something serious now.

Like, he could have been a pop sci celeb, with articles like “Ten reasons you go to church that you wish you never knew,” or “Ten reasons you give to charity that have nothing to do with caring,” or “Why the government really does know what is best for you.”

Legacy media editors can’t get enough of that stuff, even if readers are dropping away like fleas off a dead moose.

Instead, unaccountably, the guy decided to take on the current pussyfoot between progressive politics and Islamic terror. Hope he has insurance against being brained with a picket sign or just plain blown up.

Meanwhile, do let’s help. (I sent him Rotherham. – O’Leary for News)

Aw, that’s sweet. Dembski thinks Harris is just thinking of the segment of the left that confuses criticism of Islam or Islamism with persecution of Muslims. Apparently Harris’s contempt for feminism has escaped his notice…or possibly he prefers not to mention it because he shares it.

Another ally comments:

There is no need to look very far, IMO. Darwinism, materialism, machine consciousness and parallel universes are all examples of political correctness gone crazy.

Have fun with that, Sam!

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

“Insolence” in Malaysia

Nov 7th, 2014 5:59 pm | By

Last July in Malaysia a fatwa was issued on Sisters in Islam; the New York Times gives some facts:

In July, the official religious council in wealthy and populous Selangor State issued a fatwa, or religious decree, against Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian group that advocates women’s rights.

The fatwa declared Sisters in Islam “deviant” and also denounced “any individual, organization or institution that upholds the belief of liberalism or pluralism in religion.”

The fatwa did not define liberalism or pluralism, but called on the authorities to ban and seize books that promote the ideas and to “censor and block any social website contrary to Islamic teachings.”

Rosli Dahlan, a Malaysian lawyer who has represented clients challenging the power of the religious authorities, said the scope of the fatwa was unprecedented.

“This is an attempt by religious authorities to extend their tentacles into areas where they don’t belong,” Mr. Rosli said. “This seems to be a return to the Spanish Inquisition.”

The Rakyat Post reports on a press conference held by Sisters in Islam on October 31:

It was just 10 days ago that Sisters in Islam (SIS) found out the organisation had been declared as subscribing to “religious liberalism and pluralism” in a gazetted fatwa in Selangor.

The fatwa, gazetted on July 31 this year, also singled out “any individuals, organisations or institutions”.

Shocked at the fatwa, it compelled SIS to file a judicial review against it at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning.

This isn’t one of those meaningless internet fatwas that any random schmuck can issue, this is an official fatwa. (So why didn’t the council inform Sisters in Islam? I have no idea.)

SIS is challenging the fatwa by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) on several constitutional grounds, including the violation of their right to freedom of expression, association and religion, as guaranteed by the federal constitution.

They will also question Mais for allegedly having trespassed federal powers that only the Parliament could make laws restricting fundamental liberties and the fact that the religious authority could not direct federal institutions like the Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block social media sites.

According to the fatwa, it deemed any publications with elements of liberalism and religious pluralism as “haram” and also urged the MCMC to block websites that opposed Islamic teachings and laws.

What a nightmare.

Also present at the press conference, Zaid said he supported the judicial review and questioned whether the religious authorities themselves understood the meaning of “liberalism and pluralism” in the matter.

“I know they (SIS) have done a lot of good work. As Muslims it’s our obligation to help those in need.

“How can you ‘haramkan’ an organisation that helps people, Muslims in fact,” he said.

Zaid said it goes back to the prime minister himself, who has lauded moderation in the country and Malaysia’s involvement in the UNHCR, but let the likes of Isma, PAS and Perkasa run free.

“I go back to the prime minister. He needs to make the system practical so that it doesn’t breach the rights of others.

“We want the prime minister to tell us where we are going. The country is in a serious situation and we have to distinguish where we draw the line,” he added.

Sisters in Islam issued a press release on their challenge October 31.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) has filed a judicial review on a gazetted fatwa in Selangor declaring SIS as subscribing to “religious liberalism and pluralism”, and therefore deviating from the teachings of Islam. The fatwa allows for any publications deemed “liberal and plural” to be banned and seized. In addition, it calls for any form of social media that go against the “ajaran Islam dan hukum Syarak” to be blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC).

We view with grave concern the allegations made against us and question the basis for this fatwa.  Since 2003, SIS has served close to 10,000 Muslim women who turned to us for legal help to seek redress to their marital problems.  We have trained over 4,000 women on their legal rights through our popular legal literacy workshops. More than 90% of them stated that the knowledge provided by SIS has empowered them to know their rights in Islam. We teach women how to access the justice system for themselves and for their children, accompany them to court, and recommend lawyers to represent them. These thousands of women we have helped and trained have gone on to help others in their families and communities.

They explain the legal situation, which is quite startling:

Malaysia is the only Muslim country that enables a fatwa to have the force of law through a mere gazetting process and then criminalises any violations of the fatwa. According to section 13 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Selangor) Enactment 1995, any person who gives, propagates or disseminates any opinion concerning any issue, Islamic teachings or Islamic Law contrary to any fatwa for the time being in force can be fined up to RM3,000, or jailed for up to 2 years, or both. Any document or other medium [sic] may be seized and destroyed even without any conviction.

So there you go. This council can issue a fatwa, not inform the people who are subject to the fatwa, and then get them fined or thrown in jail or both for continuing to do what they’ve been doing for years. What a grotesque set up.

These excessive powers exercised by the religious authorities of Malaysia, with the complicity of the executive and legislative bodies are dragging the country down the road to theocratic dictatorship.The criminalisation of non-compliance to a fatwa deviates from Islamic legal theory and practice. A fatwa is merely an advisory opinion to guide Muslims to lead a life according to the teachings of Islam. It is not legally binding and it is optional for the individual to follow it, or seek another fatwa.

It’s gruesome. Now the theocrats are bullying SIS for challenging the fatwa.

PAS Youth castigated Sisters in Islam (SIS) today for plans to challenge in the courts a fatwa, or religious edict, against liberalism and religious pluralism, labelling the Muslim women’s group as “insolent” and “extremist”.

Defending Selangor’s Fatwa Council, the Islamist party’s wing also accused SIS of challenging the monarchy and the Federal Constitution, which it said puts Islam as the religion of the federation.

“SIS’ insolence in challenging the National Fatwa Council’s prohibition against it for professing liberalism and religious pluralism is proof that the group is driving a deviating agenda against Islamic teachings in this country,” said a statement by the wing’s deputy chief Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi.

“Insolence” is it – people daring to think they have rights is “insolence.”

We need to keep a beady eye on this.

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

Please send links/stories to Sam Harris

Nov 7th, 2014 5:04 pm | By

Sam Harris is looking to set a trend again.


Sam Harris @SamHarrisOrg · 6 hours ago
Looking for examples of political correctness run amok. Please send links/stories here:

That trend has been set already, back around 1985 or so, but Sam was probably too busy studying the biology of gender differences to notice.

So, yay. The atheist movement can throw a big ol’ party with Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins as the hosts and everybody else dressed up as various kinds of political correctness run amok. Hilarity will ensue. And the atheist movement will continue to watch bemusedly as sensible people head for the exits.

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

Malleable community standards

Nov 7th, 2014 12:10 pm | By

Remember that excellent, well-argued, informative comment by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on a post by Andrew Brown at CiF yesterday? That I re-published here for your convenience and edification? It’s all the more convenient now, because the wises ones at CiF have deleted it, claiming – absurdly – that it doesn’t meet their community standards. CEMB tweeted the news a few hours ago.

Ex-Muslims Forum @CEMB_forum · 5 hours ago
We wrote this at Guardian about how Exmuslims are silenced … … its now been silenced & deleted

Maajid Nawaz asked the wise ones why.

Maajid Nawaz @MaajidNawaz · 18 hours ago
.@Guardian publish … then @CEMB_forum comment … Enforcing a blasphemy code, Guardian delete comment

What is the Guardian doing enforcing a blasphemy code?

To further ironize the irony, yesterday that comment was an Editors’ Favourite.

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

Dapper whats?

Nov 7th, 2014 11:18 am | By

So here’s another cultural artifact I wasn’t aware of – this “comedian” who goes by Dapper Laughs, who sounds about as funny as a poke in the eye.

It all kicked off when the website UsVsTh3m tweeted a link to a not-so positive review of the 14 track record.

The album includes songs called A Walk To The Pub…With A Tramp, Cracking On To A Sweetheart and Leaving The Pub…With A Tramp.

Sounds hilarious…

He’s new to Eleanor Margolis at the New Statesman, too.

I’ve also been told that he’s a comedian, although I’m struggling to find any evidence to support this. His brand of, not comedy exactly – more like yelling lists of words – consists almost entirely of harassing and degrading women. This is what’s known as “banter” – ie: being obnoxious, but louder and faster. And there is nothing Dapper Laughs won’t mock in the name of banter. Rape, domestic violence, sexual assault: you name it, this guy will demote it from a serious issue to a dad joke. A kind of horny dad joke, but a dad joke nonetheless. Laughs – real name, Daniel O’Reilly – rose to fame via his Vine channel, by posting short clips of himself making some pretty retro sexist jokes, claiming he has a massive dick, and using the word “moist” a lot. In one Vine, he pretends to threaten his girlfriend with a gun for wearing a short skirt. LOL?

O’Reilly/Laughs has just been given his own show by ITV2, who have taken it upon themselves to promote this hyperactive throwback from some wanker on the internet to TV star. The clear message here is that misogyny is just as marketable as ever. It’s been pointed out that feminism’s fourth wave has become a bit of an industry. If so, Girl Power is a burger stand and sexism is McDonalds. The fact that social movements are just as tied up in the free market as everything else is often overlooked.

I’m new to Dapper Laughs, but I’ve been horribly aware of the lad culture industry that spawned him for a long while. A “lad”, for those fortunate enough to think it’s just old fashioned slang for “boy”, is someone who is part of a competition to see who can degrade women the most, in the name of banter. Grabbing a woman’s arse? Banter! Rating a woman’s tits, out of ten? Banter! Shooting a woman? Top notch banter!

When and why and how did this become so fashionable? Where was I at the time? Why wasn’t I consulted?!

Outside of the internet and the media though, one of lad culture’s favourite haunts is our universities. In a recent article about the phenomenon, the Guardian reported that 68 per cent of women at UK universities have been sexually harassed. The Americans, who have a solid history of university sexism deployed by fraternities, are probably wondering why us Brits have only just recognised this as A Thing. What seems to have happened is that aggressively macho frat culture has somehow hitched a ride over the Atlantic.

Really? Oh god. I’m sorry. I apologize for my country. I’m so sorry. Mind you, I was never consulted on that either, and I’ve never liked it or found it amusing or had anything to do with it. But still, I live here, and I apologize.

A driving force behind this movement is the idea that those opposed to it are simply humourless. The sour-faced feminist trope is an old one, and it’s still being used to silence women. The banter brigade have convinced themselves that they own comedy, meaning that anti-banter is fundamentally anti-humour.

And anti-sex, and anti-free speech. All of those. Misogynist rapey banter is all the good things and its critics are all the bad ones. #banter!

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