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Passions in Poetry

Rebecca Watson, Richard Dawkins, and others

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Brad
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0 posted 07-08-2011 09:10 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I've been watching this grow for about a week now.  I'm curious what people think here.  Essentially, the discussion(?) revolves around power, propriety, and unconscious privilege.

trashing Dawkins

Here is the video that started it all:

skepchick

The kicker is toward the end and it's really nothing of importance. Or at least I don't think RW intended it to be seen as that important.  If you have time, watch the whole mundane thing because I think that gives a clue as to RW's tone.  

The way I see it is that she was addressing friends.  

Now, I have to face it.  My own position here is wimpy:

1. RW was right to say what she said, right to feel "creeped out".

2. RD was right to point out that worse things are happening in this world.

3. Women who disagree with RW are just as right to point out that they wouldn't be "creeped out".

Anyway, I sent an e-mail to "The Atheist Experience" asking that they conduct their discussion of this rationally.  They replied that I was wrong.  RW was right and that was that (They were stronger than that but I wasn't offended. They actually replied.  That's enough for me.     )

What I find most distressing, perplexing, embarrassing is that we (sceptics, atheists etc. )hold up rationality as an ideal and I just don't see anybody being all that rational right now.

Can't we all just get along?  
Brad
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1 posted 07-08-2011 09:37 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, there seems to be some rationality around:

humantoinhuman

quote:
Again, the fundamental idea—”be sensitive to others’ feelings and don’t make them pointlessly uncomfortable”—is a matter of simple decency, not restricted to dating advice. Rebecca was right in her explanations to highlight that for many women, these kinds of clumsy advances by men are fraught with entirely realistic worries about violence, rape, and worse. Men owe it to themselves to avoid stupid misbehaviors that might lump them in anybody’s eyes with predators. But this isn’t a matter of how men should treat women, or of how people of any group should treat those of another. Individuals need to recognize and respect the feelings of other individuals. Anything less is inhuman.


If you read that, then the only position that I should have to defend is what Dawkins said.  It was wrong to say it the way he did but the point stands. This does not mean that RW was wrong.  I just think they are both right.

[This message has been edited by Brad (07-09-2011 03:50 PM).]

rwood
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2 posted 07-09-2011 02:33 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

I am sensitive to certain culling essences they both communicate to bolster their stance.

RW: "Girls are sensitive." Boys are not?? Is that an insensitive comment directed at men? I don’t believe she meant it to be, be this is a very non-progressive myth tucked inside her supposedly progressive cause-- that needs busting 

RD:  “Stop whining, will you….yawn.” (flippant sarcasm toward mutilation purposefully skipped.) Is this a typical male response? I don’t believe so, atheist or no. Even though his response was nearly repulsive, I don’t believe he should be labeled a misogynist. I do know that he is an extremist with many of his beliefs, but I don’t know that he hates women. Maybe he’s got an anger management problem? I think RD was just miffed because RW was putting a brother in a bad light. Dunno. But the author of your posted link cracked me up with this:

“Why are you arguing over whether God exists while children are starving in Africa.”(Flory)

Interesting. A group of atheist individuals gathering together to express their viewpoints on what is being tossed around on the net as a simple male faux pas to a very blown-out falling from grace. Seems very religious or churchian in orientation.

What really was the need for the supposed creepy guy to be cast as a sexualizing misogynistic atheist? Everyone has “dope” moments. And if RW puts herself out there as a public speaker, activist, supporter for her cause, then she should become better rehearsed for awkward moments. If she is so public with her feelings, then why was she unable to assertively clarify 2 points with the guy? 1: A private meeting of the sort is an improper suggestion and 2: I would be happy to schedule a proper time and public place for discussion.  Automatically asserting that he was sexualizing her seems empty-handed with what info she’d given. I’m not discounting her or her professed fears, I’m just confused about her approach and feel she has acted out of fear which may not have been the proper thing to do. This presents elements of passive aggression.

Improprieties need correction at the root of the impropriety, imo. They don’t need to be elevated and spread out into categorical limbs of fear or belief system hype.

And no, I don’t feel she was addressing friends. Offenders or outsiders are material for her beliefs as well as her video. Just as God is material for RD’s cause.

RD is long-practiced with his obnoxious elitist aggression. He makes it very easy to overlook RW’s more youthful and subtle attempts to widen the gap for those she feels are outside of her social cause in some way. I don’t detect an agenda, at this point, but I do detect insecurity on her part.

Anyway, they are both ineffectual for my support. They are contradictory with their rights as speakers in reference to their causes. They are human.
Brad
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3 posted 07-09-2011 03:49 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Now that was a breath of fresh air.

Thank you.  

Interestingly enough, I was accused yesterday of being passive aggressive (in the e-mail exchange).  At least with me, there's probably some truth to it.  Living in Asia as long as I have, I've been conditioned to act that way.

  
Brad
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4 posted 07-18-2011 04:41 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

violence against women

Should we be more aware of this?  Of course.  

Was EG (elevator guy) violently accosting a woman? Of course not.

Does EG exist?  It's a question that continues to pop up for me as this thing continues.  Increasingly, his silence is getting louder.

First week, silence is understandable. He's embarrassed or doesn't know what's going on.  

Second week, comments made by team Rebecca seem odd.  His position is irrelevant?

Matt D.:

quote:
His side of the story is irrelevant. In fact, it doesn't even matter if he exists and this is entirely fictional.

This sort of thing does happen, it's creepy and it's a problem that affects how likely women are to attend and participate in atheist/skeptic groups and events - and therefore it needs to be brought to people's attention.

And this is just a mild example of some of the things that discourage women from participating.

Your myopic, privileged oversimplifications demonstrate that you don't get it...my question is, do you even care to TRY to understand, or are you just going to keep up the mansplaining. If it's the latter, there's no need to post.
  

AE Blog

Third week, where is this guy? Now, I can overthink things as much as the next person, but it would be irrational to brush this guy off as irrelevant.  It would seem in EG's best interest to come forward and apologize or claim he was misunderstood or whatever.  He's being bashed on now. What is there to lose? But by coming forward he can get his fifteen minutes of fame and arouse sympathy in some women.  

The phrase "consciousness raising" has been brought up several times and it seems at least in terms of that, this has been a tremendous success.  Gee, what are guys reading this stuff going to think about the next time they're in an elevator with a woman.  What's the woman going to think about (I read one estimate that something like seven million people have commented on this -- that seems a bit large but we talking about the world I guess)?

Would atheists concoct something like this?

Why not?

As I'm trying to point out, it worked.  The whole thing is splendidly dialectical.

But something smells fishy.  
rwood
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5 posted 07-19-2011 10:14 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

The whole thing is odd, isn't it.

To Matt D: Ah, poo.

If I want to go to an atheist event, I’ll go, despite creeps et al. If women gave that much power to creeps, we’d holed-up long-long ago and let civilization turn to flotsam.

Are People really that unaware of behavioral improprieties?? Or have the lines become oddly blurred by things like this?

It’s easy to appear insensitive with someone who’s very sensitive or the subject is highly sensitive, etc. But some people do expect an individual to read minds & they don’t assert some sort of correction when they feel disrespected or fearful for whatever reason.

So let’s look at setting: The elevator. There’s a few moments there where one can’t flee. It’s a bad feeling when the person you’re riding with weirds you out, and it doesn’t have to be sexual by any means. Anyone ever rode with a farter? Someone visibly ill and coughing up a lung? Yeah, awkward.

My point is this: We can all give account to feeling powerless to something at some time in our lives, but panicking and or lashing out at over a few seconds of weird seems to be more self-defeating than productive to anyone’s day.

I don’t see anything positive coming out of RW’s telling of her experience, mainly due to the attached labels as I stated. There’s a reason why people are at odds over it. She appeared too assuming, insecure and reticent for someone who is trying to make contemporary strides, and yes, the whole thing seems too mysterious and trivial for any real damage to be assessed.

Again, this is all if EG made no more supposed advance than she’s reported. If he touched her or was harassing in manner that would give more credence to the situation.

I’m sticking with my original feelings on this: If she could not address the issue with the person in question, due to discomfort reasons or fear or whatever? I think it was a low blow to use said EG as a sounding post later on video. If she really meant to “school” the guy in some positive manner she certainly left no room for redemption. But then again, maybe that’s the fuel necessary for the burning of the sexualizing misogynistic atheist.

Sometimes, you give people enough space they creep themselves out---or maybe if it's not enough space...personal bubble stuff. Dunno. EG guy should stay out of the picture. Was a bad call on his part but he shouldn't have to go up or down over it. LOL
Brad
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6 posted 07-20-2011 07:19 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Maybe I'm dimwitted, but I still don't understand how Dawkins' comments were even slightly sexist. You may disagree with him that RW's complaint was "bad", rather than "zero-bad" but that still doesn't make what Dawkins said "sexist".


quote:
It was sexist because he is speaking from a position of male privilege and of ignorance about women's lives and experiences; and because he decided to arrogate to himself the right to dictate to a woman how she "should" feel about being approached sexually by a stranger in an elevator at 4am.


Personally, I think this description of Dawkins is wrong but perhaps I've missed something?

Oh, by the way,

quote:
The dawkins foundation is going to pay for childcare so moms can attend future cons.


Now, I don't get this at all.  The childcare thing was being set up before the silliness that became elevatorgate.  The quote above is in the first thread that I read about what Dawkins is doing.

Here's the problem I have.  I accept that as a white male I am privileged.  I love it by the way.  

What I don't get is that the argument itself is not logical.  I don't see the idea that because of privilege any argument I make is wrong. To me, that's just a reversal of the same mistake.

Dawkins, as far as I know, did not "arrogate" anything.  He made a satirical point that did not, at least as far as I can tell, "dictate" anything.

What he said was not about feeling, it was about significance.

I think I get the idea that guys will be satirical over gals in order to avoid the real point being made.  I don't get the idea that using that tactic necessarily makes another point invalid.

It is either valid or it is not.  

Brad
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7 posted 07-20-2011 06:33 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
EG guy should stay out of the picture.


Um, I'm not sure I understand why.

Except for that, everything your saying makes perfect sense to me.  I don't really want to speculate on her personality (she is, at least for me, an engaging speaker) but I do see a pattern: she's very interested in taking down people in power.  Richard Dawkins is just the last in a series.  In April, it was Lawrence Krauss and in this video, she talks about wanting to write a book on Oprah Winfrey.

Intriguingly, Justicar, the apparent bad boy of Pharyngula, has keyed on Watson's use of the imperative, "Guys, don't do that."

Among other things, what got him going, he says, is the description of this as a suggestion.  It's not a suggestion.  He's right.  I noticed that immediately but chopped it up to being hyper-sensitive to this kind of stuff in Korean or Japanese (this is a long story).

I think he's on to something (no surprise there).  In private conversations, I've been trying to point out that you don't need to see EG's invitation as anything more than what it was and still see RW's response as valid.

I've also tried to make the point that it should be seen at face value in order to avoid pesky and endless speculation on his intent.

Even further, I've made the argument that you must take it at face value.  Why?  If you assume that it was a sexual proposition and she had said yes, what happens next?

When it comes to sex, we keep the ambiguity in play precisely because nobody is ever quite sure of anything.

Or has the relationships between men and women suddenly become less complex, less frustrating, and less . . . exciting?
rwood
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8 posted 07-21-2011 06:22 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

EG is most likely just an ordinary guy who picked the wrong place and the wrong time to ask the wrong person to coffee.

If he comes forward do you think he can really take that 10 seconds of his life back?

Seems to me that RW and perhaps the groups jumping on this story need him to be a chupacabra for their cause. I'm more curious why they must embrace the added labels.




Brad
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9 posted 07-21-2011 08:25 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It is, at least to me, curiouser and curiouser.

I see your point.  I would jump though.  I would immediately claim EG status and see what happens.

It-- the argument -- is not dying down by the way.  What was originally embarrassing has become amazingly addictive for me.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

I do hope of course (and there are some hints in this direction) that nobody really got hurt.  If that's the case, if somebody really did get hurt,  then (insert profanity) all of them.
Stephanos
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10 posted 07-21-2011 10:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Okay, so soap box became soap opera.  So what's new?

Brad
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11 posted 07-22-2011 12:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Uh, the ones screaming rationality are the ones being the most irrational?

But hey I'm not against a good soap opera.

Anybody remember Luke and Laura on GH?
rwood
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12 posted 07-22-2011 06:54 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

There are personalities that have made a niche in the tearing down of others out there in the spotlight. They have to be strong enough to be a target themselves with the backlashes they'll receive.

It's too early to tell if she has that type of moxie. But I don't think she's ready to go after Oprah.

She'd be better off writing something that takes on Oprah, but not down. One may not like Oprah, but she has made a ton of important strides as a female in her industry. I wouldn't disrespect that or overlook it for whatever personal reasons, especially while trying to herald feminism. That seems "off" in method for ethical reasons.

If RW got on Oprah's reading list, her cause could very well be catapulted. Oprah does own her very own city-block-instant-best-selling-book club. Why not write to get her on board instead of something that's just out to get her?

Again, I do question RW's methods for several reasons.

Brad
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13 posted 07-22-2011 04:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

getting a bit part in the soap opera

rwood,

I've jumped into the fray in the link above.  Would you join me?  I think your comments would be appreciated.
Brad
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14 posted 07-23-2011 02:53 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Oh, wait a second.  Before you jump in there, lurk a bit.  It's not PIP.

They are ruthless if they think you are an idiot.  As far as I can tell though, they're rational if you are.  

rwood
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15 posted 07-23-2011 07:19 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

No probs. Thanks for the invite. Took a glance and I see what you're talking about in reference to the irrational discourse That--combined with the label slinging makes it hard for anything positive to come forth.

But, I'll see what I can manage
Stephanos
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16 posted 07-23-2011 08:30 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I found this posted there:

"Dawkins never fails to be the most brilliant person ever.

I'm so happy we read from one of his books as the 'reading' at my wedding."

and had to stifle a dry heave or two.


haha

Brad
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17 posted 07-23-2011 05:33 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Stephen,

A year ago, I had a discussion with an old friend.  He thought Hitch was over-the-top but Dawkins was okay.  My friend teaches Korean religion by the way.

What's my point? Uh, I don't really have one except perhaps that Dawkins tends to be the default "reasonable voice" for many people.

It must be the English accent. But wait Hitch has  . . .
Stephanos
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18 posted 07-24-2011 08:16 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I'm afraid that, for many, academia coupled with a British accent means instant credibility of ideas.  How could a guy who talks like that not know what he's talking about?
 
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