Sunday, March 24, 2013

EllenBeth Wachs, PZ Myers, and the dongle joke

PZ Myers wrote an article about the dongle joke. More on that later.

More interesting for the moment is the conversation that EllenBeth Wachs (semi-famous in US secular circles, longtime fan of PZ, longtime not-really-a-fan of l'uberfeminist) had with some other PZ Myers fans.

Some things to keep in mind when reading this:

  1. The thread can be sometimes hard to follow because EllenBeth Wachs often quoted her detractors
  2. This is not a unique story - many people have enjoyed PZ Myers' blog in the past, before they found out that it is written by douchebags for douchebags. Read and it will all make sense.

It seems her first comment was the 284th of the particular thread:

EllenBeth Wachs writes:
I have not seen one person saying Adria deserved the response she got. As a conference organizer myself, I will just note, taking a picture and tweeting it is not an approved method of reporting an instance of harassment.
Should she have been fired? Of course not. The man shouldn’t have been fired either. There has been major overreaction everywhere. Gee, where have we seen this before?
Let me make a prediction. Donglegate will be going on two years hence and people will be screaming for Adria’s head and photoshopping her.

[Emphasis added] EllenBeth Wachs points out the obvious - absolutely no one is defending all of the responses Adria Richards received.

A rather measured response. Who is going to find much at fault in this?

Immediately, EllenBeth finds herself subject of criticism.

Comment 341 authored by EllenBeth Wachs (EBW from now on):

@307 Beatrice, I am not sure how you get that I have only made it about how the woman needs to behave better.
@289 Thumper most people generally don’t find me “nuanced” I am usually accused of being to blunt. So here it is.
I support Adria for what has occurred in the aftermath of the tweet. I do not agree with her decision to tweet this. I thought that was rather clear. By doing so, she involved many bystanders unnecessarily.
Were the guys out of line? Yes. 
Did they deserve to have a complaint filed? Yes. 
Does Adria get a pass for doing it in an inappropriate manner because she’s a woman in a ragingly sexist environment? No. 
Did she deserve to get fired. No. 
Did the guys deserve to get fired. No. 
Does she deserve rape and death threats? Well of course not.
In Comment 370, EBW finds herself arguing with PZ Myers...
@345 JAL just because you say it is irrelevant doesn’t make it so. Also, I get that you think the way she handled this is acceptable. I disagree. See how that works?
PZ, this isn’t about assigning blame to Adria because she is a woman. She made a misstep in not reporting the men appropriately. Conferences have adopted harassment policies for specifically this reason. It seems we have set ourselves up for a situation in which a woman, therefore, could never be blamed for actually doing wrong. I don’t accept that.
I had a harassment complaint filed against one of my speakers at my last conference. Had she tweeted the complaint rather than bring it to me directly as done, I would have been rather perturbed and my speaker would have been within his right in filing a counter-complaint. After discussing this with her, she chose to withdraw the complaint. Now had she tweeted it, it would have done irrevocable damage.
Then EllenBeth Wachs started receiving a great deal of insults.

Comment 392 [EBW]:

@353 Blitzgal
"Why do you keep focusing on what she did wrong, unless it is to imply that she was asking for it?"
Reading comprehension- get some. Look at what you quoted from me. Not only am I not implying she was asking for it, I stated quite clearly she doesn’t deserve the fucked up response.

Comment 419, EBW becomes more direct with her critics:

@ 413 Blitzgal
"Oh, I understand you just fine. You are officially against the rape and death threats, but it’s vitally important that we all hear again and again and again and again and again and again exactly what Adria Richards did wrong. Your emphasis on how wrong she is makes your intentions crystal clear.."
My intentions? Okay Kreskin, care to tell me what exactly they are?

Comment 426, EBW goes the "let he without sin cast the first stone" route:

Is there anyone in this comment section that hasn’t made an inappropriate remark (joke) at an inappropriate time? Would you like to have it tweeted to thousands instead of having the opportunity to explain or apologize? 
Just sayin’ 
While it may have been Adria’s choice to make the tweet and not the conference organizer’s, ultimately the conference also paid a high price for her choice.
Comment 439 EBW goes to bat for a fellow dissenter under criticism:
Seriously??? Are you reading the same responses from Matthew Best that I am? 
They are quite coherent and rational in the face of blistering vitriol. WTF?? Why are you calling for his banning? Because he disagrees?

Comment 448, she responds to be called a "chill girl" for her defense of Matthew:
@442 JAL lol- at chill girl. No, how about you don’t assume that I think it’s just because he’s a man he’s being calm and rational, m’kay?
Frankly there’s quite a few men here that aren’t being calm and rational so shove that theory.
and @440 Diane, I didn’t just reference conferences, did I? thanks
Comment 455 directly criticizes PZ for presuming guilt:
PZ – You are presuming guilt. In this country we have the presumption of innocence. The conference organizers have the obligation to determine the facts. Thus the need for the harassment policy and the various ways to report violations.
Comment 464 - now profanity is being thrown EBW's way...
FFS, now I’m an apologist for misogynist behavior? Are you fucking kidding? And I’m getting called a “dumbfuck”
Caine- I will need your real name so you can be sure not to be involved with any of my conferences. It’s terrible I treat people fairly.
Comment 494 contains a realization...
Oh FFS, people, it was made snarkily.
and Kate Waters? I suggest you get your facts straight.
I can see what happens with merely disagreeing here. It’s too bad.
Comment 501, EBW responds to being blasted by Kate Walters.
@496 Kate Walters
"My facts? That you’re a victim blaming, misogynistic “chill girl” who lacks basic reading comprehension? The facts you yourself have presented in this very thread?"
Yes, you clearly know me so well. Next you will tell me you are an FBI profiler. Hey kids, this has been fun. Go on to your next target.

And this is quite fitting, for it is glaringly obvious that Kate is a professional 'feminist'.

Comment 544 from EBW tries to clear things up for the especially dumb Pharyngula crowd:
Okay, let’s be very fucking clear. I, at no time, suppressed a harassment complaint. I do not want this lie being spread. I asked the person multiple times if she wanted to file it. She did not.
I have not spent all my time in this thread defending sexism misogyny and victim-blaming. 
I simply gave an observation that I didn’t like her tweeting her complaint FFS.
Comment 588 EBW strikes at the heart of the matter:
Kate Walters writes:"Anyone in her position ought to know you shouldn’t even discuss those matters outside of the complaint process or the administration of the organization unless you have express permission to do so, or until such a point as a formal complaint has been made within a system where it is clearly understood that such actions will be made openly and publicly"
Say, like TWEETING IT??
Comment 592, EllenBeth checks out of Pharyngula:
@Stacy, thanks for the assist. I apparently am the devil today here and can’t do or say anything right in commenters eyes. No worries. This “chill girl” won’t be back. You’ve ensured that.

One thought - is it not strange that to criticize Adria Richards is 'blaming the victim' yet at the same time the "FreeThoughtBlogs" crowd think its perfectly OK to tear into EllenBeth Wachs?

Was EllenBeth Wachs just asking for it, PZ Myers?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You left out the most illuminating part of it all. How Julian, very long-term and very committed Pharyngula regular and initially an Atheism+ supporter, posted comments on that thread in support of EllenBeth Wachs, and criticisms of the people viciously flaming her, only to be banned by PZ Myers on the pretext Julian was a "Slymepitter", which he isn't at all. I would guess Julian would be in shock right now; he's been a Pharyngula regular for years.

  3. I'm not familiar with Julian, but very interested in hearing his side of things. From the look of the thread, PZ Myers failed at reading comprehension.

  4. If you don't feed the horde, they will eat their own

  5. Ellenbeth has mental and emotional issues as I have come to find out personally . Trying to be rational with Ellenbeth Wachs on most topics is like trying to be rational with a sociopath on a killing spree. Her and "Comb Over Keiffer " are the perfect match.

  6. "Ellenbeth has mental and emotional issues as I have come to find out personally . Trying to be rational with Ellenbeth Wachs on most topics is like trying to be rational with a sociopath on a killing spree. Her and "Comb Over Keiffer " are the perfect match."

    Hey Kuhlmann! What's with being anonymous? I recognize your style anywhere.

    1. Well answer the question why did you lie ? You know the Deputy Mullen told you that you have no case here in my county, you did not drop the charge They told you "no case".

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Also why did you state you wanted to meet me on The Apt J Podcast ? Why did you try to Friend me on Twitter. Answer ?

    4. Hey Ellen You stated you have legal papers to show you dropped the charges on me in but you refuse to reveal them because they do not exist. I called and researched both Departments and they stated clearly the Magistrate in Forsyth County Dropped them ,when Deputy Mullen found out you were a con artist after I exposed what you stated about him calling him deputy Doo Wrong on the internet and showing him your four mug shots they dropped everything and Mullen told me you were pissed as hell, Ya got caught in another lie

    5. It does not surprise me because you lie about almost every thing calling me a stalker then stating you wanted to meet me You know if you show me the paper work you stated that you dropped the charges you will serve time because its a mock up and you made the men at APT J promise never to reveal it. Con Artist Supreme.

    6. Still waiting for the public paper work that stats you dropped the charges and yes it is me Wil Kuhlmann What you did was send Apt J forged paper work yet you claim I do not have children or a husband nor am I am Private Investigator , but you claim to have retired from a law firm when you never did. My instincts automatically go up when you call me out on a lie when you are the professional liar pathological liar at that besides being a con artist Even the fat asses at Apt J know your a liar now that is why they hid the video I offered 20 grand to see this paper work and the rsaon you will not present it is you know you will serve time , but I am not giving up , Not ever !

  7. Hey EllenBeth why did you lie on the Podcast about me ? Why did you say you dropped the charge when you knew it was The Magistrate and Deputly Mullen was the one who told you that the magistrate stated he was dropping the charge.... Hmmmmm? I offerd 20 grand to prove it, and what happend? You lied and you know it, and then you went on to say I probably had no children and no partner, is that because your stuck in a house alone with 20 cats ? Sounds depressing and fuck. :)

  8. Hey Anonymous, you're not making EllenBeth look bad you're making yourself look fucking crazy by posting on the blogs of people who aren't EllenBeth and acting like you're talking directly to her, while spouting off some nonsense about an obsessive crazy dispute you have with her that no one cares about. You're a nutter.

    1. Jo, Ellenbeth has stated in a podcast she wanted to meet me and tried to friend me on Twitter and lied about her droping the charges when it was the Mgistrate that said she had no case, so if you want proof. Ask her for it. I can give you proof of her stalking me endlessly after she claimed I was her stalker. .