How’s it going?

This isn’t going well. It’s going badly. It could and should have been a minor thing that lasted about ten minutes and then ended. Instead it’s still going, and the way it’s going is badly.

Alerted by a comment by someone at Abbie’s post, I listened to about 20 minutes of something called Citizen Radio yesterday because it had a talk with Rebecca Watson about All That. I gave up before they got to the talk because I was bored beyond endurance by the hosts’ dialogue, but at the very beginning one of them (Kilkenny or Kilstein, I don’t know which) gave a quick summary of All That, which included casually calling Richard Dawkins “a rich white man” or possibly “a rich old white man.” a dumb rich guy.

Ok, I’m off this train, I thought.

And I am. I’ve soaked up more background since I got on the train, so I was already wondering where I would be if I got off at the next stop, and then that stupid vulgar throwaway line sealed the deal. A rich white man, for christ’s sake. Watson is white too; so what? Is she sort of honorary not-white because…well just because? And as for rich – he got rich by writing brilliant science education books that sold millions and then writing an atheist best seller! Would we rather he hadn’t?

And, unfortunately, that line came from Rebecca’s post about the whole thing.

And then…Chris Mooney said he is interviewing her for the next Point of Inquiry.

She’s a fast rising star in the skeptic movement, and one who–as many already know–has recently been at the center of a huge controversy involving how some in the skeptic/atheist movement treat the concerns of women.You can read about it here, and Phil Plait has the full back story: Suffice it to say that it involves not only what one skeptic man (now infamously) said to Watson in an elevator at 4 in the morning, but how Richard Dawkins then dove in and minimized the incident.

We’ll be discussing this and the lessons to be taken from it–as well as Watson’s important work to spread skepticism and, especially, to make the skeptic movement a more welcoming place for women.

Yes no doubt we will, and thus we find ourselves right back where we were two years ago when Unscientific America came out and several people said it spent far too much time (that is, any) on blog quarrels. This is that all over again, and it’s even the same damn blog.

It looks to me as if a lot of people are forgetting exactly what Dawkins did – he made a handful of short comments on a blog. Is this seriously so newsworthy that it merits whole podcasts and interviews? What next, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, The Daily Show? We’re talking about three comments on a fucking blog.

It’s trivial. Ok? Trivial. I say that in cold blood, as one who writes a blog herself. Nothing I write at my place is worth Serious Media Attention, and neither is anything anyone else says there. The same goes for PZ’s blog, except for the fact that he has so many readers that his does kind of count in some way. But not this way (and I think he’d agree with me).

I still think what Dawkins said was too brusque and also mostly wrong – but I also think it was insignificant in the great scheme of things.

And it’s not going well.

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