Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Paranoia Agenda - One Woman Writes about the FTB shenanigans

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One  morning at the breakfast table, my husband started laughing. I was in the kitchen doctoring my coffee like I do every morning. He was laughing uncontrollably. I asked him what on earth was going through that mischievous mind of his. 

He had a great idea for a YouTube video and wanted to know if I would be willing to make the video with him. It came to him all of the sudden. The video was going to be a satirical examination of Surly Amy, Watson and some of the Free Thought Bloggers who have been under fire as of late.




 Over the past year my husband became increasingly annoyed with FTB. I have never known him to become really annoyed with someone, to this degree, without good cause. I, however, did not really care about the Watson-Surly shenanigans. I was aware of it, but never really gave a damn.  I have been doing the YouTube thing since 2006 and find that drama leeches our time, emotion, and energy. I participated in my fair share of Jerry Springer Atheism back in the day. It is not my cup of tea anymore. So I hope you all appreciate this rare blog, and I encourage you to check out my real blogs where I discuss things that I actually enjoy in life.


My writing tends to be brisk, and I avoid as much fluff as I can. With that, lets jump right on into it.


I think that Rebecca and Amy enjoy the negative attention they are getting. They love this crap the same way some women love getting slapped around. They love being attacked by people. They love being called names. They love the drama videos. They love banning people. They love re-tweeting nasty messages. They even love seeing these men fight for their honor. Just like that smug arsonists enjoys watching the building he torched go up in flames, these women love watching the blogosphere light up in flames.



If you do not already know the facts, Surly Amy makes and sells overpriced ceramic jewelry. She is a tattoo clad rotund woman. She even branded herself with a huge A (for atheist). If that does not scream - I need to belong, I need to belong - then I do not know what does. It reminded me of a born again prison thug with a big tattoo of bleeding Jesus across his chest. Charming indeed. 

Will the creator of this image contact me
so I can give you due credit.

Amy had an emotional breakdown at TAM. People wore ceramic jewelry that looks like hers. Some people were tweeting from the conference, and I am only assuming they were tweeting things about her and Watson. Then...we have the infamous T-shirt. Oh...and someone sang a mean song too. I cannot forget that, because that is also an important part of this story. All things combined, she burst into tears, paid for a new ticket and went home early. Some would say that is just a bit melodramatic. But, when we consider her propensity to mutilate her body, cry in the hall, and overeat, it is painfully clear that the poor woman has been suffering from some serious, long term self-esteem issues. 


 The next colorful character in this stupid mess is Rebecca Watson. People have been very mean towards Rebecca, there was even a moment when I turned to my husband in the kitchen and said that I think people should just leave this alone. Then I asked myself, "are these women leaving it alone, or are they just making things worse for themselves by drawing more attention to a stupid situation?" Remember what happened to thirteen year old Jessie Slaughter? The whole Ya' Dun-Goofed and Consequences will never be the same, drama that put that little girl in therapy? Things got so much worse for her when her father started screaming into the web cam. 



Unless these women lack reasonable intelligence, they are painfully aware that they made things worse for themselves. I would not expect someone like Surly Amy (someone who clearly needs therapy and medication) to realize this. Rebecca however I think does get it. But the fact is, these women enjoy being cyber slapped.  


Fair is fair, and I acknowledge that Rebecca Watson has been maltreated online. (As most of us who have been online for a few weeks have been verbally abused). What I find upsetting about her behavior is when this whole elevatorgate started, she received some good advice and some hate. So focused her energy entirely on the trolls and ignored the constructive criticism. As a result, she brought on a hurricane shit-storm for her friends at Free Thought Blogs. Does she even realize that even the crap Amy is taking right now would not be happening if she did not make an issue of elevatorgate? Has she even apologized to them for involving them in this? Of course not. You know why? Misery likes company - that is why. 

With friends like that, who needs enemies.


 People have offered her well-reasoned, evidence based advice on this matter which she categorically chooses to ignore. This women´s behavior is directly responsible for the Cassandras Curse that has befallen poor Becky. Watson ruined any credibility she once had. Now she can only appeal to sheep who follow them with the ¨poor me¨ and ¨they are haters¨ and another ¨poor me¨. As a woman, I find myself appalled by their cry-baby antics. I am appalled how these women chose to ignore constructive criticism and genuine inquiry into their claims. Their spree of poor-me, pity blogging has only worsened their situation.


 In a series of blogs entitled: Speaking Out Against Hate Directed at Women, Amy is gathering up popular atheists, to chime in on sexism and harassment. Recently popular atheists like Matt Dillahunty, made a brief contribution to FTB. He did not say anything specific about FTB drama that Rebecca Watson brought upon FTB. Nor did he comment on elevatorgate, fake jewelry, the T-Shirt or their antics. Matts short diatribe about sexism was a nice, general, all-purpose statement about sexism and trolling. Matt is a smart guy, and his response was crafted in a very eloquent manner. He addressed the trollish behavior, and left it at that. He said nothing about Love In an Elevator, TAM, the fake Jewelry Incident, or the T-Shirt. What I see Amy doing attempting to leach off Matt's credibility. 


Unfortunately, credible by association does not cut it in the real world. You can gather as many people as you want to post nice things about why sexism is bad. Most decent people will agree that sexism is bad. But notice that these people are not touching the real silly antics going on here. 


By posting more blogs, tweets, and comments these women are throwing wood in the fire, then crying when the more and more people are responding with anger. 


If you did not get the subtle joke, Atheism Plus will fail for the same reason ASU failed.




Sure, some will say that I am a traitor to my own gender. I do not care. This kind of silliness only harms womens issues more than helps it. I know what it is to be a victim of REAL  stalking, abuse, and sexual assault. I know what it is to be objectified. I know what it is to be treated differently in school because I have a vagina. And, before you all call me a traitor to my own gender, I would like to share with you a real story about misogyny. This is a story about me and my father. 



AMERICAN PATRIARCHY AT ITS FINEST

Back in the late 70´s something unfortunate happened. I was born.... with a vagina. The Horror! I know. That is pretty bad. Imagine what it must be like being born with something like that. It did not sit well with my Patriarchal Republican father who decided that he would never pay for my education. Even when I lived under his roof, my little brother was blessed and I was ignored. He did not pay a cent for elementary school, Jr. High School, High School or University. He never even purchased a single book for me. He never enrolled me into extracurricular activities because that was money that was needed for my brother. 


My brother received his entire private school education paid for - in full by my father. My father also helped my little brother through out his college education. My father has also made it clear that not only is my brother more valuable, but that he would inherit everything. My father never had the same goals or expectations of me because after all, not only did I have a vagina but I was never valuable to him. 


Apparently sexism runs in the family. My paternal grandfather saved money for my male cousins' university education. Grandpa never set aside a cent for my university education because....you guessed it....I have a vagina. What is most interesting is that the male cousin is now in prison. Grandpa´s money was well spent. 


I provided for my own education, traveled the world, and lived a life richer and fuller than anyone else in my family. My childhood was very difficult. I was a free thinker early on, and paid for it dearly when my father placed me in foster care. My crime was not being a disobedient child - my crime was being a Democrat. My crime was demanding that I be treated fairly. I know what it feels like to be a victim of patriarchy...and it is NOT being hit on in an elevator.





THE BLOGS

Bloggers like 
Jason Thibeault and Justim Vacula have been running amuck with the Rebecca - Amy drama. Justin Vacula wrote a blog criticizing Amy´s cry-baby antics. He published some pictures of her ceramics which she swiftly pulled illegally using the DMCA. In her DMCA complaint, she said...¨I am being harassed.¨ Then the internet was ablaze about what the DMCA is for, and what it is not for.

Justin posted a follow up blog explaining that the DMCA is not to be used when it falls under the umbrella of Fair Use. [17 U.S.C. § 107 : US Code - Section 107: Limitations on Exclusive Rights.] DMCA is not used to shut people up because you do not like what they are saying.

Any lawyer will tell you, first send a letter requesting the material be removed. If the person does not comply, then take legal action. The fact that she refused to send Justin a Cease and Desist Letter (slash) e/mail,  personally means that she is a coward. Justin made the point that filing a DMCA leads to a chilling effect among the blogging community. In other words, it discourages legitimate exercise of ones first amendment right to express ones opinions. 
17 U.S.C. § 107 clearly reads that Justin's use of the images falls within the scope of the law. Even if Amy copyrighted her work - 17 U.S.C. § 107 : US Code - Section 107 clearly states that she does not have exclusive rights when the reprinting is used within a certain context. Being 'harrassed' is not listed as a reason within the scope of 17 U.S.C. § 107 : US Code. Let's presume that Amy did not know this. Okay. Fine.

After careful consideration, I said to myself, ¨How long will it take to draw a picture of Amy and some of her crappy necklaces, scan it, and put it online?¨ Whelp, the answer is twenty minutes. I am not as good an artist as I would like to be, and maybe if I had more time I could have drawn something much better. Admittedly, I did make Amy a lot more attractive than she is in real life. She knows its true and does not need me rubbing her face in it. 


 [ Images of Surly Amy and her artwork will be available on this blog after I scan them]


When I think about Surly Amy´s pity whoring behavior, I have to admit that it reminds me of something theists would do. Theists tell atheists to sit down and shut up anytime we voice an opinion that they do not like. Muslims will go so far as to call for our deaths for committing what they consider to be blasphemy. 


What I love best about this whole absurd situation is how these particular women are attacking their own community, professing that any person is not a ´proper skeptic´ unless they accept  [insert ideology here]. Then they criticize and block any person who respectfully objects to their ideology or personal opinions.  Then, they focus on the sicko-trolls whilst ignoring the healthy constructive criticism.



I read Jason Thibeault's blog The Campain Against Amy Davis Roth. The title uses the buzz words, and perfectly frames the argument. For example, he could have called the blog The Rape Enabling Agenda

One of the things he claims, and so far I do not doubt what he is writing here, is that Amy did not leave TAM early because she saw an offensive T-Shirt. He claims that there were many things that happened at TAM, and she left because of all of it. He wrote that it all had a snowball effect on Amy. I am inclined to believe him on that point.


 I have a feeling that he is telling the truth about that. Even though I find Amy a talentless twat, I do not think she would pay to leave early just because of a T-shirt. 


He claims that she left because of the following reasons:


1. Live Tweeting in the Convention. 

2. A song performed by the Satiristas stating that the feminists have a stick up their ass.
3. One of the grant recipients proclaimed herself a "Not Watsonista" and snubbed Amy and some other grant winners.
4. People proclaimed Amy was out to destroy TAM
5. People were wearing jewelry similar to Amy's jewelry which said things like  you should be embarassed” or “that’s not funny” (referencing something she said about rape jokes)

After Justin Vacula published his blog about Amy, he was inundated with comments from people saying that his opinions of Amy were made for the sole purpose of harming her jewelry business. I have yet to see any evidence of this. I also seriously doubt that any blog has so much power that it could hurt her business. What will hurt her business is if I start telling people how much she is making from each necklace she sells. Let me put it this way. I make all kinds of bath and beauty products. My profit margin is about sixty percent. 
Image originally posted by
https://twitter.com/ElevatorGATE

Amy is spending less than one dollar to make a necklace she sells for $18-$22. The ear rings are bringing in about the same profit margin. I would never knock any person for being an entrepreneur, I am after all, one myself. Perhaps that is why it is easier for me to look at a market and have a sense for how much money a person is making. Some have made fun of Amy for this (see image to the right). I however, would congratulate her on a job well done.

I hope she is collecting both sales and income tax on all of this, because that is a handsome amount of cash she is  making.

Phil Plat wrote in his blog, The Bad Astronomer, ¨Rebecca Watson calmly and rationally tells men not to hit on women in enclosed spaces and reaps a supernova of hate and irrational vitriol.¨ Actually Phil, that is not an accurate representation of the facts here. Rebecca Watson blew it out of proportion. Then when things got out of control online, she started throwing more and more wood into the fire.(see image above), and is enjoying watching bloggers fight with each other. The fact that she even felt it necessary to put elevatorgate on the internet should raise an eyebrow. First, she said he asked her out for coffee. Then, she made follow up videos saying that he ´Cornered´ her in an elevator. I call bullshit.


Youtuber IntegralMath posted the following video. Please take the time to watch this video before you continue reading this blog. 



In the beginning of the video, Rebecca Watson (Ms. Blue Hair) says that many women say that they do not experience misogyny because they cannot recognize misogyny. Soon after integralmath posted the above video, Xiled posted a video response. Xiled holds that these women are being straw-manned. In her video, she explains that what these ladies are offended by is not literally a man asking what her name is, but street harassment. I think that Xiled is right in her point here. The women were clearly talking about street harassment. I thought that I needed to add this to be fair.




It is interesting how internet arguments are constantly shifting.


THIS IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT - my personal experiences

When I lived in New York City there used to be an Easy Internet Cafe on 42nd street. (now out of business) It was fairly inexpensive, open twenty four hours, and a great place for tourists to get online. A man was on the computer next to me, he did not speak to me and I did not notice him. I left the store, and then before I knew it, he confronted me at the entrance of Macy´s and 34th street. The guy followed me EIGHT blocks. 

Image of where the man followed me

The elevator guy (if he is even real) probably saw Rebecca, liked the way she spoke and wanted to speak to her privately. The guy in the internet cafe did not know me, he never spoke to me before, never heard the sound of my voice, and did not know what kind of person I was - yet the dude followed me all the way down to 34th street. 


Do you think this is the first time this sort of thing has happened to me? When I lived in Virginia, men would whistle at me as I entered and exited my building. They lived up on the fourth floor and I lived on the basement. Sometimes when I walked with my daughter they would make noises at me from the window. I had to deal with this crap day in and day out. I cannot begin to describe how objectified I felt. 


I remember driving through Oregon and a man was driving next to me. He wrote ¨FLASH¨ on a piece of paper and put it up to the window. That is right - a random dude asked me to flash him on the freeway.


I have been followed by men driving on the freeway a few times. It happened to me three times in Texas and once in North Carolina. The guy in North Carolina actually followed me to the rest area where he confronted me by the bathrooms. He was driving from Washington DC to Florida. I was driving from Washington DC to South Carolina. He gave me his number and told me that if I ever wanted to go to Florida he would send me a ticket. I chatted with him a couple of minutes, took his number and said I would think about it. 


Speaking of airplane tickets. That same building I lived in Virginia where the guys would whistle at me, I had some neighbors from India who lived on the third floor. It was a husband and wife. I met them at the swimming pool with my daughter. The wife was pregnant so I kindly gave them many of my daughter's baby items. They invited me to dinner at their home a few times. 


I eventually moved to New York City and the Indian husband gave me a call in New York City. We went out for a quick bite to catch up. Then he revealed this deep infatuation he had with me. He told me that he wanted to leave his wife, and he wanted me to go on a vacation with him. I was disgusted.


In 1996 I was living in Houston Texas, I still had Washington State plates on my car and got pulled over a few times. Two police officers pulled me over on Richmond avenue four blocks from my apartment. They agreed to let me go if I would lift up my shirt.They asked me if I would be willing to make them breakfast at my place. I was a teenager when this happened. This happened when I was still speaking to my father. After it happened I called him and told him about it. 


Men have followed me, hit on me, flirted with me, and even touched me. That is right..I have been groped. In Washington DC nightclub (year 2001) I broke a guys nose on the dance floor. He grabbed me on the dance floor. The bouncers threw him out. 


Once in New York City two guys ( I think they were from Eastern Europe) jumped into my taxicab. They thought I was drunk, when I was moderately tipsy after a night out. I had the cab driver stop the car. They ran off. Those guys were planning on raping me. That was a very freaky event and left me shaken for a few weeks.


So when I hear ridiculous elevator stories from Watson, it makes me roll my eyes with disgust. The online reaction is not what Phil Plait describes as ¨a supernova of hate and irrational vitriol.¨  Irrational? That is just offensive. As if all the people who think these women are wrong are just being...irrational. That is an unfair and dismissive claim. 



DOES THE FIRE HAVE ENOUGH WOOD?

Their arguments are based on trivial bullshit and things blown out of proportion. Yes some guys are dicks but most of them are not. Speaking only for myself, this is about not wanting to hear stupid bullshit. This is about professional victims who are pulling at strings, making a mountain out of a molehill, and treating decent men like thugs that should be treated with suspicion. If she does not want to be hit on in an elevator, then she needs to tell imaginary elevator guy not to hit on her. This is a non-issue. There. Done. Problem Solved. Wow, I need to get a job with the United Nations because I just solved a problem in two seconds that people have been bitching about for a year. Ta Da


The fact that this issue is being argued and debated for this long leaves me speechless. Phil is wrong when he dismissively says this is about ¨ irrational hate¨. This is about women creating problems for the rest of us. This is about the rest of us not wanting to waste our valuable time entertaining these paranoid, silly women and their stupid pity-ploy shenanigans. This is about spoiled women, acting like little girls, who seem to be clueless what it feels like to rue the day you were born a girl. 

Phil´s blog goes onto read that he wants people to argue their case honorably, logically, and based on evidence. That is certainly something I can respect. So lets talk about evidence, shall we. Has Phil asked Watson for any evidence that a man asked her out for coffee in an elevator? Has he asked for evidence from any of these other Free Thought Bloggers who claim that they were stalked, threatened, and victimized? Or is he jumping on the bandwagon because, whelp, that is just the cool thing to do right now? Phil wants honorable arguments, therefore, he berated FTBlogger Dana Hunter for calling Thunderf00t an asshat? Did Phil berate Dana for lying in her blog, you know....in her August 11th, 2012 blog where she said ´Thunderf00t hacked our emails´.


Computer Hacking: Computer hacking is when someone illegally modifies computer hardware or software, without the knowledge or consent of the owner, in a way that alters the creator's original intent. 

Computer Hacking is Not:   Using your password and your personal email to retrieve information to a website that you have been given access to.  

Phil went on to write, ¨If you have to resort to the kind of crap we’re seeing now, then maybe your convictions aren’t as rationally based as you think they are.¨ I have not read every single blog, or watched every YouTube video, or read every single comment posted.  What I can say is this - Welcome to the Internet. The internet is the Wild Wild West. You will never be able to control it, contain it, or train it without becoming some version of communist China. Is that really what you want? People are going to leave dickish comments. People are also going to leave intelligent criticism. What one considers to be crap, may really only be your tainted perception. Have you ever thought that perhaps your perception of reality might be just a little bit altered?

For that matter Greta Christina told my husband to go fuck himself because he asked for evidence. So Phil...is that the form of ¨rationally based argumentation¨ you were referring to? Since we are talking about evidence as well, and we both understand the importance of evidence, I will gladly provide it for you in the image below. 



For Original Image, go to my twitter pics. The Quality is better
Blogger Richard Carrier and other FTB´s recently engineered a new ´movement´called Atheism+´ and a new clique go along with it. Atheists are already very different from eachother. That is why we are called ´cats´instead of loyal puppy dogs. You see, we do not feel separated enough from each other. We need Richard to throw in another wedge to separated us even more.

If we have learned anything from the past, any attempt at herding the cats will fail. Before continuing on this whole Atheism Plus, I recommend reading The Rebel by Albert Camus. It is a brilliant essay on humankind, individual freedom, movements and revolt. Camus discusses revolutions and how they succeed. If anything, one will learn what it means to be a part of a real movement. Atheism Plus is nothing more than a divisive litmus test for atheists. It is a club contrived so that its members will share a sense of ¨we-ness¨. It is based on the safety in numbers philosophy. There are literally thousands of studies on the topic. Atheism Plus is contrived for the same reason all In-Groups are contrived. In our desire to feel safe, we bond together with those whom we think are most like us. This way, we can protect ourselves from those who will do us harm. (like attach us on the internet). 

The video below is my own metaphor on Atheism Plus. Start watching the video from the 3 minute mark. Imagine Rebecca, Amy, Dana, Greta and the other FTBloggers are the Buffalo. The name of the herd that comes to rescue the little cow is Atheism Plus. The rest of us are the out-group lions. 




Eventually big name atheists will stop making fluffy, nice, general all-purpose statements about sexism for FTB. Eventually, their attempts at credibility by association will wane. This is where Atheism Plus will play an important role. It will become the next virtual fence that protects Free Thought Bloggers from outside attacks. You see, the underlying cause of their ´movement´is not for uniting atheists. It is not for ´improving atheism´... which makes no sense to me at all. How can one improve on a disbelief? Rather, it is contrived to protect the lone buffaloes. The lone Amys, Rebeccas, and Danas in the group. 

YouTube Personality StanMarsh made a great video discussing AtheismPlus.  He discusses the fact that skepticism and atheism are not the same thing. Being an atheist does not mean a person is a skeptic in every area of their life. Skepticism does  not apply to everyone. This is a great video, I recommend watching it.





Whelp, that is the end of this blog. I am done with it. It If you would like to communicate with me on any other matter, you are invited to checking out any of my other blogs linked in the image below.

I am a businesswoman, mother and wife. That is where my attention lives. Not in this stupid crap. 

XXX OOO

Naomi
video