The more the merrier

David Futrelle covers the story of Dawkins’s passionate defense of relentlessly mocking people we dislike; he covers it with great thoroughness. I read through Dawkins’s numbingly horrible tweets earlier today and didn’t have the stomach to blog about them.

Earlier this month, antifeminist YouTuber Sargon of Akkad — who makes his living pandering to some of the internet’s worst lady haters — posted an animated videoby another antifeminist YouTuber in which an angry Islamist and an angry feminist sing a song explaining that they pretty much believe all the same things. (For some reason, this nonsensical theory is something that a lot of antifeminists have convinced themselves is true.)

The angry Islamist in the video is a familiar racist stereotype, complete with “funny” accent. [Correction: He’s evidently supposed to be a parody of this guy, known as Dawah Man, a legitimately terrible person you wouldn’t think atheists would have to strawman in order to criticize..]

The angry feminist, meanwhile, isn’t a generic figure; she’s an especially crude caricature of [Chanty] Binx, spouting nonsense that neither Binx nor any other feminist actually believes: the video ends with her encouraging the Islamist to rape her, because it’s not really rape if a Muslim does it, dontchaknow.

It’s a vicious, hateful little cartoon made worse by the fact that these words are being put in the mouth of a real woman who’s been the target of a vast harassment campaign for years.

Yet Dawkins thought it was quality enough and on target enough to share with his 1.34 million followers.

Dawkins, a well-respected scientist-turned-embarrassing-atheist-ideologue, has become notorious for his endless Twitter gaffes. But this is plainly worse than, say, his famously pathetic lament about airport security “dundridges” taking his jar of honey; his Tweet contributed to the demonization of a real woman who’s already the target of harassment and threats.

The awesome Lindy West pointed this out to him in a series of Tweets and linked to one of my posts cataloging some of the abuse Binx got after the video of her went viral.

In a series of eloquent and angry Tweets, she made clear to Dawkins how and why he was misusing his huge platform and contributing to an atmosphere of hate online. Dawkins, alternately indignant and defensive, ultimately took down the offending Tweet, but not before making other Tweets that were nearly as bad. Dawkins can’t even do the right thing without being a dick about it.

Those were the other tweets I saw and couldn’t face blogging. I saw some of them late yesterday, and some this morning. What they tell us is that it’s terrific to mock people, as much as possible, it’s just not cool to threaten them.

Like the one where he tells Lindy, “I think she deserves nothing more than ridicule. I would never shriek “Fuckface” at her. But I would laugh at her. Ridicule.” Futrelle comments,

So there you have it: when informed that a tweet of his will almost certainly worsen the vicious harassment faced by a young woman whose only “crime” was being rude to a couple of MRAs in public, Richard Dawkins, a one-time winner of  the American Humanist Association’s Humanist of the Year Award, replies by saying that “she deserves nothing more than ridicule.”

Exactly. It turns my stomach.

Then he decided to take down the tweet, while throwing more shit at Chanty Binx.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago Having learned that the woman in the joke song is a real person who has been disgracefully threatened with violence, I'm deleting my tweets. 65 retweets 436 likes Reply Retweet 65 Like 436 More Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 5h5 hours ago Maybe I'm naive. Can't believe anyone's as nasty as her. Nor that anyone would threaten her. Nor that anyone'd lie about being threatened.

“Can’t believe anyone’s as nasty as her.” Says the guy with 1.34 million followers who has just been reminded that his followers tend to harass people whom he attacks. The “humanist.”

There’s more, then Futrelle gets to the tweet I think I hate the most of all (though there will be worse tomorrow, never fear):

Yes, she deserves abundant mockery, the more the merrier. But she doesn’t deserve violent threats. Nobody does.

He simply said a woman he disapproves of deserves all the “mockery” he can incite – which is a massive amount, and is never confined to what reasonable people would consider mockery. I think that’s the tweet that prompted me yesterday to call him a bully. He is a bully, a terrible, unrepentant, gleeful, conscienceless bully.

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