So, for whatever reason, I’ve been hanging out on the YouTube again.

I actually managed to keep things civil for a while and had some good, fruitful, discussions with others there.  (I know, that’s difficult on the YouTube – but it happens.)  Someone even eventually apologized for calling me a “fucking moron”.  It was all full of win.

So, I went back there just now, and stumbled upon yet another discussion about Elevatorgate and Schodinger’s Rapist, which produced this gem:

shonkey 2 hours ago

Anxiety does not cause harm, especially if it something like a woman being afraid of a guy walking down the street minding his business. She’s not going to have a heart attack because some guy walked by her. Any “harm” that arises in that situation, is self inflicted due to their maladjusted social interactions & over inflated ego and self worth. Sorry sweety, but that guy walking down the street crossing your path is not going to try & rape you. You’re not even his type. Don’t flatter yourself.

So, I thought about it.  I made some pithy comment, but I kept thinking about it.

Within this comment is a great example of “the problem” – however, it isn’t that he was mean.  He is absolutely not being civil, and other comments he made were similarly charged with childish bravado.  However, it dawned on me that it wasn’t his incivility that infuriated me.  Others had been arguably much worse.  It was his ignorance fused with arrogance – the one-two punch of bad.

He had a keen point that if a woman is so fearful of rape or attack that even mundane interactions causes fear, such as walking by a man alone at night, it is unfair to that man.  You can have a reasonable discussion that considers what his ethical obligations are, if any, to actively avoid making her uncomfortable.

I’m willing to have that conversation.

Now, what should be done about the rest of it? – The stupid, condescending, belittling, dumbass part?

Well, moderating blogs it’s everything.  Posting the shit people say and publicly calling it out doesn’t do the trick.  (Yep, what I’m doing right now is completely futile.)  Being confrontational doesn’t always end well.  Ignoring it doesn’t help.

So – I offer an alternate plan.  We could call it “Say That Again Con” or perhaps “Please Elaborate on Your Positive Assertions Con” better known as “PEYPAC” – not to be confused with “payback” – it’s P – a P damn you!

Keep in mind the context here.  There is a bunch of comments on YouTube from people really angry and worried that calls for civility and inclusion within atheist and skeptic conferences is going to lead to “Leninist” levels of group-think and censorship; especially under the guise of “A+“.  The highest rated comment right now is:

This is why I’ll stick with Atheism Less:

Less dogma

Less censorship

Less whining

Less professional victimhood

Less feminism

Less bad arguments

Less moral superiority

Less proselytizing

Overall less bullshit.

So, that’s the backdrop.

With PEYPAC, we could give them what they want: a soapbox, a forum, a stage, a spotlight…  (You know, sort of like “teaching the controversy” because I don’t think Creationists really want that to happen.)

Right now, in your head picture “shonkey”, while using his real name, standing on a stage in front of a bunch of people – skeptics, atheists, freethinkers…

Imagine Mr. Shonkey, wearing his signature shades and plaid button-up shirt, a young man, probably in his 20s standing up there in front of everyone.  The audience sits politely listening intently as he begins his talk, all eyes on him.

Can you imagine him, trying to defend the stance that “anxiety” categorically causes no harm?

Can you imagine him, explaining how female arrogance is the reason, on a sociological level, that girls and women fear being raped?

Can you imagine him, standing up there in front of that crowd, attempting to support the premise that girls and women, who lack conventional beauty, don’t get raped?

Perhaps as he goes through his power-point slides a few attendants look around confused, a couple people look at the floor and scratch their heads, and maybe a few leave.  Most are polite enough to stay until the end and several are eager to ask questions.

“So, as you can see,” he says [paraphrasing other comments of his and one other commenter on the YouTube thread], “The byproduct of feminism is the emasculation of men and the relegation of women to the status of children.  As you can see by this example, feminism demands that the man walking down the street cower and the woman is treated like a delicate flower, unable to deal with even the most innocuous social interactions.”

Now think about what you would ask him.

What would the philosopher ask him?  The sociologist?  The feminist?  The psychologist?

In person.