Sunday, May 19, 2013

Marcotte quotemines Vacula

The Houston Chronicle had an article about the drama the other day.

In short, the Houston Chronicle article, or rather blog post, created a narrative where the "Women in Secularism" was a "fight for equality" against the likes of Paul Elam, Justin Vacula, and the "SlymePit" forum.

This is a nonsensical narrative of course, and the one Amanda Marcotte would love to put in the limelight.

This is what the HC article leaves out, which was left in the comments by this blog's author:

A thoughtful article.
However much of this piece entirely fits within the narrative some of the speakers at WiS want to build, rather than all the facts surrounding their critics.
Many people want this to be viewed as a simple matter of AVFM vs WiS, Paul Elam vs WiS, or Justin Vacula vs WiS.
These characters are easy for the ‘feminist’ activists to demonize and exile.
If you dig deeper, you’ll find the speakers of WiS have had more controversial things to say about people like Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, Harriet Hall, etc.
And it’s more often men showing up to secular conferences and making the most provocative speeches and burning the most bridges within the secular community. All for the sake of ‘progressive’ and ‘inclusive’ political ideals.
And finally, many actors in this play have openly stated they “hate” skeptics/atheists and refuse to identify as skeptics/atheists.
Is this leadership or is this distraction?

As article comments go, you can expect this snippet is currently one of many. At time of writing, the Houston Chronicle article had 123 responses. As you can imagine, some are probably good, some are probably nonsense.

Amanda Marcotte has written a review of the blog post, entitled "Fringe Misogynists Expose Themselves To The Houston Chronicle".

Marcotte relies on the fact that her readers really won't think too hard about the hundred or so comments on the article, and will take it for granted that they're all unrelenting hatred.

Marcotte then copies one of the most problematic pieces from the Houston Chronicle blog post:
As Justin Vacula of Skeptic Ink Network said in response to another piece from conference speaker Amanda Marcotte, “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”
Here Vacula is responding to the idea that atheism somehow logically requires someone to abandon completely patriarchal beliefs. If someone can be atheist and be a misogynist, then atheism must encompass the entire spectrum of feminist viewpoints.

Marcotte's original confusion arises from her post "Why Atheism is Consistent with Feminism and Pro-Choice Positions":
But as Natalie Reed and others have discovered, a not-insubstantial percentage of atheist men have convinced themselves they can both not believe in a god and somehow still conclude that women were put (by who?) here on Earth for the purpose of pleasing and catering to men.

Another way to respond, if Vacula's words are too jarring, could be: "Is Marcotte actually so daft as to be surprised that not every secular person is vehemently pro-choice?"

Just to be clear - at no point does Vacula actually state that women exist to be subservient to males.

Back to the present, Marcotte adds in her response to the Chronicle article:
Well, at least we know where he stands. I, for one, appreciate an anti-feminist who comes right out and says it. I do grow weary of those whose cowardice in the face of people’s repulsion towards them argue for female inferiority ellipitically.
And then continues to "quote" Vacula again:
[Misogyny] comes in various forms, but at the end of the day, it always comes back to trying to feel bigger and more powerful by telling yourself that not only are you superior to half the human race by birth, but that they exist, to quote Vacula, to “serve men”.

It's obvious Marcotte is quotemining here.

Now on to the comments, this time on Marcotte's "Pandagon" blog, if you had any doubt about how much of a hatchet job Marcotte is attempting here:
[girlcousin] Good article! And, the person you describe is why russian brides are so popular. These a**holes are always whining about how no one over here is a 'real' woman, so they have to buy a wife, who, hopefully has Boris off the American husband once they have their green card. Complete win win.
[ekwhite] After reading just one or two comments on the Houston Chronicle article, I feel like I fell into a sewage pit. And does Justin Vacula really believe that women exist to serve men? Did he just drop in from the 19th century?

... And there many more people in the thread that believe Vacula is some sort of wife beating evildoer.

Then some people have a go with some "feminist" humor:
[lm945] I have no problem serving men. They go very well with fava beans and a nice chianti.
[Heidi Jo Bean] Reminds me of what Jeffrey Dahmer said to Lorrana Bobbitt: "You gonna eat that pickle?"
And Marcotte herself responds to someone who pointed out that maybe her quoting of Vacula was misleading:
[Amanda Marcotte] That's simply not true. I linked his blather, and if you can decipher it, have at it. But it's not useful to argue with fools. I am, unlike the fool in question, not hiding my arguments at all. I just don't see the need to painstakingly restate them in a world with heavy archiving every time any lunatic demands it.

The hilarious part is that Marcotte's original "atheism is pro-choice" piece is linked directly from the article. She linked his blather and her blather in the same post! This is how her original reasoning is so easily cited in this discussion.

Yet apparently Marcotte can't find the time to remember her own sentences or her own arguments.

Why do people invest time reading an author that does not bother to recall their own work?

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