I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should be all tickled pink. The Blue Ball Skeptics have finally done the inevitable and pointed out that *gasp* the comments section on Pharyngula is really rude.
This is news to all of us.
None of us were aware of this.
The sky has fallen.
For the record, the comparison I made between Myers comments throughout the years and Nugent’s comment section throughout a three day period was simply to point out Nugent’s (and Atheist Ireland’s and the Secular Policy Institute’s, etc) selective policing; as well as how odd it seemed that an organization would “dissociate” from a blogger with whom they had no on-going formal relationship.
I was not trying to make any sort of blanket defense of Myers (or his comment section) as I do absolutely think they occasionally cross the line. I had hoped that I had made that clear in the second part of my post. I also think it is true, however, that quite a bit of criticism that is hurled their way is exaggerated and needlessly persistent.
Something that struck me, when reading The Blue Ball Skeptics piece is that almost all of the examples from Myers’ comments section were just variations of “Fuck off”.
Fuck you, you piece of shit.”
“FUCK YOU. SERIOUSLY, FUCK YOU.”
“Fuck you, you lying sack of shit.”
“And before I forget: fuck you too!”
“Fuck you and your alleged skepticism.”
“…while you’re at it, go fuck yourself.”
“Oh fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
While the examples that I found from Nugent’s comment section were of a different variety.
Instead of angry expletives, many of them were fanciful flights of whimsy and fear mongering. They painted this bizarre picture where people that they disagreed with were a vast conspiracy of raging do-nothing sociopath cultists ripe for ISIS recruitment and worse than Pol Pot.
That bizarre narrative is not unlike the more general dismissals of people with new ideas as “Social Justice Warriors” “Cultural Marxists” “special snowflakes” “professional victims” and whatever-the-hell-else. This isn’t a new phenomena and they are completely and utterly on-message. I could play talking-points bingo all day.
The mad dash to make comparisons concerning civility is in full force, as well as simultaneously saying it’s not about civility but about “smears”.
For example, someone challenged me to find *anything* as bad as what Myers’ has said anywhere in the Slyme Pit.
In about a minute, I found a thread called “Bleeding from the Bunghole” which I thought was similar in tone to the cringe-worthy “porcupine” shoving variations that Myers’ comments were once known for. I’m not keen on either of those things, but it’s just crudeness really. I know there was much worse at the Slyme Pit and so does Michael Nugent, but I thought I’d find something that was comparable.
I mentioned this challenge on my twitter and was shortly shown something from a long time ago that I hadn’t yet seen. Apparently, allusions to possibly sticking an ice-pick into the base of the skull of a friend of mine, doesn’t count as “anything” to the person who challenged me.
But that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because, among all the “Fuck you” comments that the Blue Ball Skeptics pointed out, they included these:
…it is better that someone might occasionally get a bad reputation they do not deserve than that serial rapists should continue to get away with being serial rapists.”
“What’s happening is some women want to warn other women that Michael Shermer is a serial rapist.
What I have pointed out, what Ashley Miller has pointed out and what Secular Woman has pointed out is that scolding someone for speaking about their rape is different than scolding someone for saying other shit you find embarrassing.
Go ahead and be annoyed about name-calling or get defensive because God-Dawkins is being “smeared” for using the term “mild” in the most inappropriate way imaginable. Express how you think attacking prominent atheists is counter-productive by attacking not-quite-as-prominent ones.
Do whatever floats your boat. You can claim the moral high-ground and play pious peace-maker. And yes, I absolutely know that you are trying to do the right thing however much I think you’ve stepped in it.
You may feel overwhelmed by the criticism, but there is something that you could do.
Please ask Atheist Ireland to amend their statement to not include “he has accused a named person of committing a serious crime without employing the journalistic ethics expected in reporting on such an allegation” because we all know what that statement is referring to.
The ethics of such a disclosure is a discussion that must not be conflated with discussions of civility and certainly not discussions of what you think makes atheists look bad. However much you want to believe that attacking Myers on this point is attacking his lack of “journalistic ethics” and not attacking the woman who made the disclosure, you’re wrong.
And to everyone else, if you think that a woman disclosing a traumatic experience in an effort to prevent other women from being raped should be in the same list of sins as “colorful suggestions about what they may or may not do with a rotting porcupine” well…
…go fuck yourself.