Purposely misunderstood as a way to generate clicks

So Robyn Blumner has spoken.

Robyn Blumner, in her interview with Hemant Mehta on his podcast says this about Richard Dawkins’ twitter feed (starts at 30:31):

“I think Richard Dawkins is purposefully misunderstood at times as a way to generate clicks on some bloggers’ page. It’s because his name brings page views and eyes so why not generate a lot of heat around something that is pretty tame if you really unpack it.”

No, his name doesn’t “bring page views.” That’s nonsense. She must be confusing the Dawkins fame that sells tickets to conferences with the mention of his name on a blog. The two aren’t comparable. Dawkins sells tickets to events because people want to be in his presence; they want to see and hear him in person. I’m not mocking that, either; I like being around people whose writing I’ve admired for years. But being in a favorite writer’s presence is one thing and seeing the writer’s name on a blog is quite, quite another. So different. No comparison.

And also – what he says isn’t always all that tame given all the circumstances – what he stands for to a lot of people, his influence and popularity, the people and groups he singles out as objects of his contempt. To spell it out, he adds to the already horrible atmosphere for women and feminists in the secular / atheist movement. That’s not all that tame.

Monette put it clearly:

Pretending the stuff he does isn’t a problem does not send a positive message to CFI’s members who are anything but upper class white males. No, he doesn’t speak for the foundation. But, he is on the board and will be making decisions regarding the direction and handling of all of CFI’s projects.

And Blumner is the CEO.

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