Notes and Comment Blog


The two of us, spinning

Aug 7th, 2015 9:38 am | By

Have another treat from NASA: the earth and the moon seen from “above” both.

moon crossing the earth



A gang broke into his apartment

Aug 7th, 2015 9:12 am | By

The murder of Niloy Chakrabarti is horrific. They’re all horrific, and that of course is the goal. “Scared yet?” “Fuck YES.” “Good.”

He had asked the police for protection.

The killers broke into his apartment.

A well-known secular blogger in Bangladesh who was murdered at his home on Friday had told police of threats against him and requested protection weeks before he died.

Niloy Chakrabarti, who used the pen name Niloy Neel, was hacked to death with machetes after a gang broke into his apartment in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. He is the fourth blogger to have been killed in Bangladesh since February.

In an interview with the Guardian in May, Chakrabarti said he was scared that he would be killed and that he had tried to file reports with local police about continued harassment. He claimed his complaints were not taken seriously.

And he claimed correctly, it would seem.

All of the victims had been active on social media, criticising the extremist Muslim ideologies that have gained strength in Bangladesh in recent years or arguing in favour of progressive causes. On his Facebook account, Chakrabarti frequently wrote in favour of women’s rights.

Not allowed. Must be hacked to pieces.

Police confirmed Chakrabarti had been murdered by a group of half a dozen people in the capital’s Goran neighbourhood, although they had no details on the motive for the killing.

“There were six people who knocked on his door, saying that they were looking to rent a flat. Two of them then took him to a room and slaughtered him there,” Muntashirul Islam, a deputy police commissioner, said.

I met Asif Mohiuddin at the CFI conference in June. He was nearly hacked to death. He’s a lovely man.

It makes me want to scream.

One hardline group, Hefazat-e-Islam, has publicly sought the execution of atheists who organised mass protests against the rise of political Islam.

Hefazat, led by Islamic seminary teachers, also staged a massive counter-protest against the bloggers in May 2013 that unleashed violence and left nearly 50 people dead.

Active bloggers in Bangladesh told the Guardian earlier this year they received death threats “so frequently” they could not be counted. They also risk jail terms of up to 14 years for publishing material that authorities deem to be false or defamatory.

In 2013, atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed in the street by religious extremists. A month later, he was arrested and held in prison for making derogatory remarks about religion and his blog was banned.

Tell me again how religion is a force for good.

 



I’m back

Aug 7th, 2015 8:20 am | By

Time to launch the Patreon.

I tested it on Facebook the other day to see if I’d done it right and people started pledging right then but this is the actual launch.

I’m back at the original B&W, with NO ADS and no fatuous people announcing that I’m a transphobe because I have my own ideas about gender. I earned a little income blogging at Freethought Blogs and I need to replace that. Think of me as like a public radio station but without voices and without the “you owe us, please call now” drives. You don’t owe me. Don’t donate unless it’s easy for you and you want to. I like doing this and I like having readers; donating is entirely voluntary.

If you do decide to, you can do it

HERE



Hoping to hear

Aug 6th, 2015 12:39 pm | By

People are so nice.

aww

Ed Brayton is not the person I was hoping to hear was leaving Freethoughtblogs.com. I can certainly understand why, though.

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



A fundamental human need

Aug 6th, 2015 11:59 am | By

Amnesty’s prostitution policy document.

Zip down to page 5, and read note 2.

²As noted within Amnesty International’s policy on sex work, the organization is opposed to criminalization of all activities related to the purchase and sale of sex. Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.

Ok wait. If sexual activity is a fundamental human need, then what happens in cases where there are no prostitutes available? What would happen if all women had job options they liked better than sex work, so there just were no women willing to do it?

If sexual activity is a fundamental human need, what happens in emergency situations, like earthquakes and floods, when people have to take refuge in shelters and thus have to have their fundamental needs met? Would the Red Cross and MSF and everyone else doing emergency work be expected to provide sex partners along with water and food and shelter and medical treatment?

If sexual activity is a fundamental human need, does that mean that straight men have a fundamental right to have access to A Woman at stipulated intervals?

If sexual activity is a fundamental human need, what right do married women have to say no to marital sex? They can’t starve their husbands, so why should they be able to say no to sex just because they don’t feel like it?



The Supreme Court struck a blow at the heart of the Voting Rights Act

Aug 6th, 2015 10:59 am | By

Today in my Inbox an email from one of my heroes – John Lewis. It is, of course, a public mailing, so I’ll share it right here.

Every year, I head back to the birthplace of a new America — Selma, Alabama — where a determined struggle for voting rights transformed our democracy 50 years ago.

On March 7, 1965, Hosea Williams and I led a band of silent witnesses, 600 nonviolent crusaders, intending to march 50 miles to Montgomery — Alabama’s capital — to demonstrate the need for voting rights in America.

At the foot of the bridge, we were met by Alabama state troopers who trampled peaceful protestors with horses and shot tear gas into the crowd. I was hit on the head with a nightstick and suffered a concussion on the bridge.

I thought that was going to be my last demonstration. I thought I might die that day.

We knew the dangers that lay ahead, but we marched anyway hoping to usher in a more fair society — a place where every American would be able to freely exercise their constitutional right to vote, and each of us would have an equal voice in the democratic process.

We knew that standing up for our rights could be a death warrant. But we felt it would be better to die than to live with injustice.

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, it was a great day. The Act made the ballot box immediately more accessible to millions of Americans of every race, gender, region, economic status, and national origin. It has been called the most effective legislation of the last 50 years.

But just two years ago, the Supreme Court struck a blow at the heart of the Voting Rights Act, nullifying a key provision that had curbed discriminatory voting rules and statutes from becoming law. As soon as the Court’s decision was announced, states began implementing restrictive voting laws. While some states are changing laws to increase the number of Americans who are able to participate in our democracy, by increasing early voting days and making it easier for people to cast a ballot, far too many states are passing new laws that make it harder and more difficult to vote. Early voting and voter registration drives have been restricted. Same-day voting has been eliminated in some cases. Strict photo identification laws have been adopted, and improper purges of the voting rolls are negating access to thousands, perhaps millions, who have voted for decades. That’s why people are still marching for this cause today. Even as we speak, the NAACP is leading a 40-day, 40-night march from Selma to Washington, D.C. in support of a number of issues, including the issue of voting rights. As citizens, it is our duty to make sure that our political process remains open to every eligible voter, and that every citizen can freely participate in the democratic process. And when it comes time to get out and vote — we have to do so. The right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent, transformative tool we have in a democracy, and the least we can do is take full advantage of the opportunity to make our voices heard. Today at 2 p.m. ET, I’m joining President Obama for an important conversation on protecting voting rights — and I hope you’ll join us. Tune in here. Despite the challenges, I am still hopeful — but we must remain determined. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each and every one of us, each generation, must do our part to help create a more perfect union.

Keep marching on.

John Lewis

Member of Congress



Hands off god

Aug 6th, 2015 10:06 am | By

The NSS reports that the UAE has tightened up its laws by making it illegal to “offend” God.

Wouldn’t you think if there’s anyone who can rise above being “offended” it would be God? I mean – ants can say harsh things about me all they want to; it won’t offend me. Why? Because they’re ants. Their concerns are not my concerns, and vice versa. Our concerns are too different in nature to be subject to emotions like being “offended.” Ants are going to think I’m way too big and ugly and misshapen, aren’t they, because if the criterion is Ant, I don’t meet it. But I don’t care. I don’t particularly want to meet the Ant criterion, and I’m indifferent to any potential disgust ants might feel about how far short I fall.

It should be the same with God. God’s perfect, omni-everything, transcendent – all sorts. Why would God take anything we say personally? It makes no sense.

Gulf News reports that the legislation makes illegal “any acts that stoke religious hatred” and “any form of expression” that insults religion.

The law, passed by decree at the end of July, “prohibits any act that would be considered as insulting God, His prophets or apostles or holy books or houses of worship or graveyards.”

That’s a very very touchy god, that is. If I were going to have a god, it would be a much more magnanimous, understanding, unflappable god than that.

The legislation purports to allow for an “environment of tolerance” and “broad-mindedness”, but includes potential 10 year jail terms and substantial fines for those who break the law.

Provisions in the legislation include a prohibition on expressing doubt about the existence of God.

Anything else? Doubts about God’s shoe size? Preference in fish? Views on climate change?

UAE is right off my travel plans list.



Bobcats belong in Joshua Tree

Aug 5th, 2015 4:27 pm | By

Chris Clarke has news.

The California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to ban bobcat trapping everywhere in California. The vote, which took place at the Commission’s regular meeting in Fortuna, caps a controversy that started when a Joshua Tree resident found traps illegally placed on his land less than a mile from the National Park.

Concern over the threat to bobcats in Joshua Tree and elsewhere in the state prompted the California Legislature to pass AB1213, the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013, which directed the Fish and Game Commission to establish trapping-free buffer zones around national parks, wildlife preserves, and other areas where trapping is already prohibited.

After studying a pair of proposals for those buffer zones’ boundaries, the Commission voted in a narrow majority to adopt so-called “Option 2,” which essentially declared the entire state a buffer zone in which trapping is prohibited.

The whole damn state! Not too shabby.

Chris is pretending to be miffed because he never got around to getting this printed up:

California bobcats had come under increasing pressure from trappers in recent years as acombination of fashion trends and illegality of other cat furs increased the global price for bobcat pelts.

“The vote today is historic and shows California’s national leadership in wildlife protection,” said Camilla Fox of the group Project Coyote, which had worked to promote both the Bobcat Protection Act and the more extensive buffer zone proposal. “This victory will help protect California’s native bobcats from the insatiable international fur market where individual bobcat pelts can sell for as much as $1,000 per pelt.”

High five! No Cecil the bobcat, thanks.

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



Guest post: People uncritically generalizing their personal experience

Aug 5th, 2015 2:52 pm | By

Originally a comment by John Horstman on A horribly effective silencer.

I was just reminded of this excellent article from a year ago (looking at some of the theoretical underpinnings/implications of the rise of use of “triggering” as a silencing tactic, among other subjects) by Jack Halberstam, a radical queer anti-capitalist anarchist who may or may not be considered trans. I’m a product of the 90s scene and theoretical perspective Jack describes in that first link, and indeed influenced by zir writing directly, which likely explains a fair amount of my views on the subject. A not-insignificant part of what makes arguments like this (which Jack notes go back decades – a point I and others have raised) so frustrating is the insistence of your recent detractors that their preferences and viewpoints are settled questions with universally-agreed-upon answers when that’s not even close to true (the first linked article discusses the insistence that “tranny” is universally a slur, irrespective of context, as another example).

I encountered similar frustration with Heina’s post where they blithely asserted that, “The fact that cis women are women is not disputed by anyone, not trans women nor non-binary trans folk nor men nor trans men. Even on the very fringes of radical non-cis thought, spaces where I often find myself, I’ve yet to see anyone questioning the legitimacy of cis women’s status as women,” which is similarly untrue, not only from a radical queer gender-critical perspective, but with respect to the constant reinforcement of cis-normativity through continual demands that cisgendered people ‘prove’ their ‘real’ gendered status through normative presentation and behavior. I’m seeing an ongoing problem with people uncritically generalizing their personal experience, and I’m sorry to say that doing so isn’t only a problem when people in relative positions of privilege do so.

@qwints #1:

To every trans* person I’ve talked to, that’s a morally reprehensible concern. AFAB segregated spaces harm trans women, and people seeking to limit protections for gender identity to maintain them are doing the wrong thing for a bad reason.

This is another one of those issues that gets treated as a settled question with universal agreement by a particular subset of the trans activist community, when that’s simply not true. As I think I noted in a comment elsewhere, I’ve encountered plenty of trans people who disagree. The most prominent example I can think of is when Kate Bornstein came to speak at my campus and was asked about her position on the Michigan’s Womyn’s Music Festival controversy. Her response was basically, “Why would I want to be around a bunch of people who don’t want me there?” She doesn’t think AFAB-only spaces are particularly harmful in and of themselves, as long as they are not the only spaces available for some kind of necessary service (and I would be happy to consider music festivals socially necessary for some, and there are a lot of music festivals that don’t have any restrictions around gender – I should know, as I’ve been to Summerfest plenty and SXSW Music once) and neither do a lot of the more radical (and gender-critical) trans and genderqueer people I interact with in our local scene.

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



Vegan, gluten free, raw

Aug 5th, 2015 11:31 am | By

No. No no no no no.

Pumpkin spice Kandy Kale.

 

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



A horribly effective silencer

Aug 5th, 2015 9:43 am | By

I have to reply to some of the garbage that’s being spewed on PZ’s post about me from yesterday. I’m going to do it here because – oh well the reason’s obvious.

It’s all people who have been examining everything they can see of my Facebook activity going back months – which is creepy and disgusting all by itself. Even if I’m a raving Republican, that’s creepy and disgusting. Since I’m not, it’s all the more so. (If I were a Republican lobbyist or politician or influential think-tanker, ok, fair game, but a minor blogger? Not such fair game.)

One major item in the indictment: I read and sometimes comment in a Facebook group called Discussing gender critical & gender identity. It’s an open group. At the top of the group’s page it has a note on rules, which starts with this:

This group offers a space for people with very different views about “gender” and “gender identity” to engage in respectful discussion. We require people to be civil and we request that group members listen to one another. The point of the group is to foster dialogue and allow for a broader discussion of these issues between those who advocate for gender identity, those who hold gender critical or abolitionist views and those who are exploring and/or undecided.

It has a range of views. Nobody agrees with all of them, because that would be incoherent. It has some interesting discussions, with people who disagree with each other. I don’t agree with everything said there (see above), to say the least. I don’t endorse the group, and neither do I denounce it. I think I have a right to read posts in the group and even (gasp) comment on them without being hauled before the Court of Asshole Opinion.

People have told me Elizabeth Hungerford, one of the admins, is a TERF…but then I’ve learned to be wary of that label, because I’m not sure it’s applied carefully in all cases. In any case I’m not endorsing her, or denouncing her either. People have pointed out that letter to the UN – that looks like a bad idea to me, but I don’t know enough about it to pronounce on it. Elizabeth friend requested me on Facebook and I accepted. That doesn’t mean we go to each other’s houses and put our jammies on and talk about boys – it means we can see each other’s walls. I’m pretty sure I disagree with plenty of her ideas, but then…that’s the case with everyone. Yes, it’s a matter of degree, but I’m still not convinced that this is something the Pharyngula Horde gets to decide for me.

I have on occasion made a joke in that group. The people on PZ’s post are brandishing a couple of those jokes as evidence of my thoughtcriminality. This is how low we’ve sunk – or maybe it’s how low we’ve always been, I don’t even know at this point.

I make jokes about things all the time. I say flippant things. I try not to do it on sensitive subjects, but sometimes I get that wrong.

Well obviously someone like that doesn’t belong on Freethought Blogs. The horror!

And then there’s this one from someone called “Thumper” –

From anteprepro’s link at #101

Ophelia Benson: I know. The TERF panic is a horribly effective silencer.

Oh my god, NO!! How could I possibly have said that?! It’s so obviously NOT TRUE at all in any way!!!

You could not make it up.

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



Even a joke should have some meaning

Aug 5th, 2015 8:38 am | By

Alice Through the Looking Glass chapter 9:

However, there would be no harm, she thought, in asking if the game was over. `Please, would you tell me — ‘ she began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.

`Speak when you’re spoken to!’ The Queen sharply interrupted her.

`But if everybody obeyed that rule,’ said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, `and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so that — ‘

`Ridiculous!’ cried the Queen. `Why, don’t you see, child — ‘ here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. `What do you mean by `If you really are a Queen”? What right have you to all yourself so? You can’t be a Queen, you know, till you’ve passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better.’

`I only said “if”!’ poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.

The two Queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen remarked, with a little shudder, `She says she only said “if” – ‘

`But she said a great deal more than that!’ the White Queen moaned, wringing her hands. `Oh, ever so much more than that!’

`So you did, you know,’ the Red Queen said to Alice. `Always speak the truth — think before you speak — and write it down afterwards.’

`I’m sure I didn’t mean — ‘ Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen interrupted her impatiently.

`That’s just what I complain of! You should have meant! What do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a joke should have some meaning — and a child’s more important than a joke, I hope. You couldn’t deny that, even if you tried with both hands.’

`I don’t deny things with my hands,’ Alice objected.

`Nobody said you did,’ said the Red Queen. `I said you couldn’t if you tried.’

`She’s in that state of mind,’ said the White Queen, `that she wants to deny something — only she doesn’t know what to deny!’

`A nasty, vicious temper,’ the Red Queen remarked; and then there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.

H/t Bjarte Foshaug

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



Even a joke should have some meaning

Aug 5th, 2015 8:35 am | By

Alice Through the Looking Glass chapter 9:

However, there would be no harm, she thought, in asking if the game was over. `Please, would you tell me — ‘ she began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.

`Speak when you’re spoken to!’ The Queen sharply interrupted her.

`But if everybody obeyed that rule,’ said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, `and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so that — ‘

`Ridiculous!’ cried the Queen. `Why, don’t you see, child — ‘ here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. `What do you mean by `If you really are a Queen”? What right have you to all yourself so? You can’t be a Queen, you know, till you’ve passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better.’

`I only said “if”!’ poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.

The two Queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen remarked, with a little shudder, `She says she only said “if” – ‘

`But she said a great deal more than that!’ the White Queen moaned, wringing her hands. `Oh, ever so much more than that!’

`So you did, you know,’ the Red Queen said to Alice. `Always speak the truth — think before you speak — and write it down afterwards.’

`I’m sure I didn’t mean — ‘ Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen interrupted her impatiently.

`That’s just what I complain of! You should have meant! What do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a joke should have some meaning — and a child’s more important than a joke, I hope. You couldn’t deny that, even if you tried with both hands.’

`I don’t deny things with my hands,’ Alice objected.

`Nobody said you did,’ said the Red Queen. `I said you couldn’t if you tried.’

`She’s in that state of mind,’ said the White Queen, `that she wants to deny something — only she doesn’t know what to deny!’

`A nasty, vicious temper,’ the Red Queen remarked; and then there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.

H/t Bjarte Foshaug



Imagine for a second

Aug 5th, 2015 7:59 am | By

I just said this in a comment, and now I want to say it more conspicuously.

Imagine for a second what it would be like to have total strangers cross-examining every trivial remark you’ve ever made in an effort to find things you said that could be seen as politically suspect in some way.

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



High vibe

Aug 5th, 2015 7:46 am | By

Are you eating high vibrational food? Are you sure?

The ancient Greeks introduced the world to the concept of energy and its effects on humans, animals, plants and health. We’re all connected spiritually by energy, whether we choose to believe it or not. We all form a part of the circle of life, which revolves in a circular motion with no beginning and no end, particularly when it comes to cooking, eating and respecting our food and where it comes from.

I can think of some beginnings and some ends.

The ancient Greeks knew that if the food they were cooking had good energy and brought “agapi” (unconditional love), their dishes would be masterpieces and would heal them at the same time.

They did? Which ones? Thucydides? Heraclitus? Anaxagoras?

We’re all made of energy, and we therefore require the consumption of energy in the form of food, air and water for sustenance and good health. We also require thoughts made up of positive vibrational energy. The ancient Greeks would think good thoughts, live life with agapi and practice affirmations to assist with this process.

We can raise our energy vibration and better connect to ourselves, nature and God by eating highly nutritious energetic foods and eliminating unhealthy thoughts and relationships. Eating high-energy foods help us reach higher consciousness and better connect with our higher source.

It goes on like that.

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



High vibe

Aug 5th, 2015 7:43 am | By

Are you eating high vibrational food? Are you sure?

The ancient Greeks introduced the world to the concept of energy and its effects on humans, animals, plants and health. We’re all connected spiritually by energy, whether we choose to believe it or not. We all form a part of the circle of life, which revolves in a circular motion with no beginning and no end, particularly when it comes to cooking, eating and respecting our food and where it comes from.

I can think of some beginnings and some ends.

The ancient Greeks knew that if the food they were cooking had good energy and brought “agapi” (unconditional love), their dishes would be masterpieces and would heal them at the same time.

They did? Which ones? Thucydides? Heraclitus? Anaxagoras?

We’re all made of energy, and we therefore require the consumption of energy in the form of food, air and water for sustenance and good health. We also require thoughts made up of positive vibrational energy. The ancient Greeks would think good thoughts, live life with agapi and practice affirmations to assist with this process.

We can raise our energy vibration and better connect to ourselves, nature and God by eating highly nutritious energetic foods and eliminating unhealthy thoughts and relationships. Eating high-energy foods help us reach higher consciousness and better connect with our higher source.

It goes on like that.



Frankly a lot more thought-provoking

Aug 5th, 2015 6:12 am | By

Something Lady Mondegreen said on a post of PZ’s about (unfortunately) me:

I’m getting tired of this assertion that “troubling remarks,” or Ophelia’s perverse desire to listen (without necessarily agreeing) to people who have been declared “known TERFs,” somehow harms trans people or puts them “at risk.” That vague accusation is a good way to justify hyperbolic attacks, and a very good way to shut down discussion, but it’s unconvincing argument.

I’m pretty sure the people who actually beat, rape, and murder trans people are not reading B&W, or asking themselves, “what is gender, really?”

And can we please stop speaking of “trans people” as a monolith, all of whom feel the same way? Over at Butterflies and Wheels, there have been some fascinating threads in which people–trans people (apparently feeling unharmed), cis people, and people who feel neither label applies to them–have discussed their own experiences, thoughts, and feelings about gender. It’s been moving, and frankly a lot more thought-provoking than the didactic but painstakingly inoffensive stuff I gather we’re all supposed to prefer.

See the last para is a compliment to y’all.

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



Two guest posts in one: Glenn Beck level ass-hattery

Aug 4th, 2015 12:53 pm | By

First, a comment by themadtapper on The art of the question on July 24:

This is some Glenn Beck level ass-hattery. “I’m just asking questions! Why won’t Ophelia Benson confirm she’s not a transphobe?”

I love how Joe says “it was just the polite way of asking if you are a transmisogynist”. As if anyone, even an actual transmisogynist, would ever answer anything but ‘no’ to that question. No, what Joe was doing was fishing for something to accuse her over. When challenged on the claim that Ditum and Lewis were “obvious bigots” and the assumption that following on Twitter amounted to an endorsement, Joe promptly blocked Ophelia and then lied about her reply. And in true Beck style he took every refusal to play his game as an admission of guilt to an accusation that anyone with a cursory knowledge of Ophelia’s posting history would know is false. And sadly, just like Beck, he gets what he wants even if you don’t give him what he wants. In come a parade of people to make posts about how hard Ophelia is trying to avoid the question. “Why, she MUST have something to hide after all, since she won’t answer the question!” Or, you know, she knows perfectly well that no answer will satisfy anyway. Because an answer is not what’s wanted. Any answer denying guilt will be met with further interrogation and insinuation, and the refusal to play (whether immediate or after fatigue and frustration set in) will be declared an admission of guilt.

Honestly, if Ophelia right now made a post that consisted of only the words “Yes I think transwomen are women. No I am not a transphobe/transmisogynist,” how long do you think it would be for someone to pop up in here saying “but why did you wait so long to say that, and only under increasing pressure?” No answer will satisfy, because the ones asking have already decided. They could have already gotten their answer by perusing the past posts of this blog. They’re not interested in an answer. They’re interested in spreading innuendo, insinuations, and doubt. The question was never intended to seek information, but to spread disinformation.

Next, a comment by themadtapper on Divorce status today:

I said it in another thread, and I’ll say it again here. This is some Glenn Beck style bullshit.

“I’m not saying she’s a TERF, but why’s she following TERFs on Twitter? I’m not saying she’s a TERF, but why won’t she answer the accusations of TERF-dom? I’m not saying she’s a TERF, but why’s she asking TERFs for advice? Ok, maybe she isn’t asking TERFs for advice, but surely you can see how people might think that? I’m not saying she’s a TERF, but but but but but…”

Frankly, at this point I can’t really accept that anyone demanding apologies from Ophelia, or accusing her, or trying to “help” her see the error of ways, is doing so in good faith.

And that goes for you too, Jason. You keep trying to paint a picture of poor, pitiful, helpful you being mistreated by an obstinate, ungrateful Ophelia. You say you’re “disappointed in how [Ophelia’s] reacting to the legitimate grievances” when your “legitimate grievances” include shit like this:

she said particularly impolitic things in particularly impolitic ways,regurgitated damaging arguments handed to her by TERFs that rightly got peoples’ hackles up

And this:

but she’s doing so much lashing out at the genuine, nuanced criticism, and so much cozying up to the TERFs that everyone ELSE recognizes as having it out for trans folk, that it is perfectly reasonable for trans folk to want to steer clear even where people who are not trans might want to continue to engage.

Oh, but woe is you, defending yourself from the big meanie Ophelia who, for some completely irrational reason, thinks that your accusations of her cozying up to TERFs and regurgitating TERF talking points is an attack. Why, you’re just having a friendly disagreement. You’re just trying to help, if only she’d let you. And if only she’d stop acting like a TERF. Not that she is one, of course, but surely we can see why some people might think that…

But you did paint me as an example of toxicity.

That post was toxic. It was bad, and you should feel bad. You don’t, and you won’t, but you should.

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



Divorce status

Aug 4th, 2015 8:11 am | By

What is the divorce status? It’s in abeyance for now, because I was very strongly urged to make it so.

But I still very much want to leave. I’m going to set up a Patreon account, and if I get a few subscribers, that will help make it possible. (Imagine B&W with no ads again!) I want to leave because several network colleagues have ostentatiously attacked me, not simply as someone they disagree with, but as a bad harmful dangerous person. They consider me a taint, a pollution, a toxin, and that is obviously very bad for a network of this kind. I don’t want to blog on a network where a small but vocal group of fellow bloggers think I’m a contaminant.

We don’t have a rule against a group of bloggers ganging up to ostracize and demonize one blogger. I thought (without noticing I thought it until recently) we did have a tacit rule of that kind, but I’ve learned that we don’t. We don’t have a rule, but what we do have is reality. The reality is that if a group singles out one blogger and goes after her for thought-crime and deviationism, that blogger is going to leave.

What do I mean, thought-crime and deviationism?

This for example from a comment by Jason on his post attacking me:

I think she said particularly impolitic things in particularly impolitic ways, regurgitated damaging arguments handed to her by TERFs that rightly got peoples’ hackles up, and I think she personally does not understand that at least some of the vitriol thrown her way is because some of those positions she’s taken are, actually, expressly damaging to trans folk. And the way she finally acquiesced to saying yes was so loaded with “but but gender is weird” — as though anyone was arguing gender WASN’T — is further damaging and undercuts her yes in a way that looks like a YES-BUT, which always reads as a NOT REALLY. And I am aware that she keeps saying over and over that she’s answered “yes”, but she’s doing so much lashing out at the genuine, nuanced criticism, and so much cozying up to the TERFs that everyone ELSE recognizes as having it out for trans folk, that it is perfectly reasonable for trans folk to want to steer clear even where people who are not trans might want to continue to engage.
To modify my first sentence though, I think my like and trust for Ophelia Benson is eroding the more she refuses to acknowledge that she might have done wrong and that anyone is at all legitimately hurt here. And every clarification — even if a step in the right direction — is loaded with paranoia about snakes in the grass and poisoners and witch-hunters who just want to attack her, that no amount of nuance in the argument is going to get through to her.

That’s not how colleagues should talk about each other in public – not in any organization where I want to work, at least. The main reason I wanted to join Freethought blogs when it was first set up was because it appeared to be a great group of people. I loved working solo but then once the network was created, I didn’t want to be left out of it. I thought it would be fun to have colleagues, and it was. It’s not fun any more, now that a few of them have lined up to talk about me the way Jason did there. If it’s not fun any more, why on earth would I stay? I could decide to stay for the good of the network, but since it’s the network that’s portraying me as a contaminant, I’m not motivated to do that. I’m getting all the shit part of having colleagues, and none of the good part.

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



From Halifax to Harrogate

Aug 3rd, 2015 4:59 pm | By

And now for something completely different, a pop culture interlude. Last Tango in Halifax – any watchers here?

I don’t think much of the latest season, season 3. Too much silly melodrama and way too little daily life, which is what it’s best at. I got bored. It’s funny that melodrama can be boring while daily life can be enthralling, but there it is, at least for me.

Still. It’s better than most things. Women front and center, and talking about lots of things besides a man. It passes the Bechdel test in the first few minutes, every time.

And then it’s Yorkshire.

And it’s Derek Jacobi, the best Hamlet ever in the history of everything.

And Nicola Walker, and Nina Sosanya.

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