Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Atheist idols

For me, one of the most depressing aspects of the never-ending shitstorm that began life as Elevatorgate and has been mutating and metastasizing ever since, is realizing how flawed one's idols are. Pharyngula was my introduction to the atheist blog world, and from there I discovered Greta Christina, Phil Plait, and other bloggers. I thought it was great to see such articulate, passionate people laying into religious stupidity and hypocrisy, and destroying god-sophistry with reason, logic and wit.

But after Elevatorgate, PZ and his fellow radfems very quickly showed their true colors.

I have to say, Rebecca Watson's initial response to Elevator Guy's overture was on target. "Guys, don't do that..." End of story, move on. Fine. Now you might argue that it was unfair for Watson to be so creeped out  by a guy merely (and politely) expressing interest in her, but the way someone feels is the way they feel. Nobody owes an explanation or apology to anyone else for how they feel - you are only responsible for your own words and actions. As long as Elevator Guy was not violent or threatening - and on Watson's account, there's no indication that he was - Watson could feel whatever way she liked, as long as she treated him - and he treated her - with at least the minimum level of courtesy and respect that any human being is due.

Anyway, there's no record of what happened after EG spoke to Watson. Presumably she said no, he took no for an answer, and there was an awkward moment of silence for both of them until the elevator doors opened and they went their separate ways. EG presumably thought it was all over, and consoled himself with the thought, "better luck next time." Meanwhile, Watson presumably thought "what a loser." But there is no evidence that she felt herself to be in any particular danger at the time.

The whole thing would have quickly died the natural death it deserved had Watson not decided at a conference shortly after - she seems to make a living going from conference to conference and giving speeches - to abuse her position as keynote speaker and launch into a personal attack on Stef McGraw, a fellow female blogger who had dared to deviate from the radfem party line by pointing out the obvious fact that just because a guy is attracted to a women doesn't prove he thinks of her as nothing but a piece of meat.

Watson knew very well that Stef was in the audience, and choose to put her in a very uncomfortable situation, lumping her in with violent christian extremists and basically calling her a mindless parrot who repeated "standard misogynist thought." It was rather cowardly, seeing that Stef was not in a position to defend herself, given the format of the event. Watson later made some mealy-mouthed noises about "proper attribution" to justify her vendetta, but the damage was done. It was a remarkable display of crassness and unprofessionalism, and in effect Stef became the woman in the elevator. It was also thoroughly disrespectful to both the audience and the organizers of the event.

And that was where PZ Myers entered the picture, and showed himself to be a colossal ass. But this post is getting too long, so I will continue later.

No comments:

Post a Comment