Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More CFI Drama

It was requested on Twitter by a hopefully new reader that a response be written for Amanda Marcotte's "An Open Letter to the Center for Inquiry".

However there is nothing to really argue here. Marcotte (and presumably some others) want Ron Lindsay out. They are upset. No amount of typing by third parties is going to change that.

All that can be done is to point out the ridiculousness of their opinion or proposed solution.

For example, from Marcotte's piece:

Needless to say, preening about how men are “silenced” when asked to shut up and listen to women’s experiences before rendering judgment on the validity of them is offensive enough. Under the circumstances, where he is a speaker and the audience present is required to shut up and listen out of politeness, the arrogance of this complaint was particularly grotesque. We are to shut up and listen to him, but men are entitled at all points in time, it appears, to yap over any woman whose complaints about sexism they find beneath their attention.
On top of it all, his lecture was full of attacks on strawmen. I have seen people use this word “privilege” as a weapon to claim that no one of a certain race/class/gender has a right to an opinion at all, but that strategy tends to be the purview of anonymous blog commenters who have no real power in the world.


Here Marcotte admits that "privilege" is used to shut down evil Republicans Libertarians rich white males on various feminist online properties but this only done by "anonymous blog commenters" that have "no real power in the world".

There are quite a few things are ridiculously stupid about this statement:

  1. The "anonymous commenters" are presumably the people that actually attend feminist events (and her talks)
  2. Marcotte's own profile is built on spouting off on the internet, and using one's real name doesn't magically buy you credibility
  3. The "misogynist" faction of this "debate" is always asked to defend the anonymous sexist messages that Watson and Marcotte receive. Now, when Marcotte is asked to account for undesirable feminist comments, she dismisses them with an argument she wouldn't herself accept if the tables were turned.
Marcotte continues on playing the "privilege card":

The thought leaders who have been angling for feminism to be a major concern of the secularist movement do not do this

Is Marcotte serious? Did Rebecca Watson not write an article called "The Privilege Delusion"?

An excerpt from Watson's piece:
"You posted in response to Dawkins on the Pharyngula thread, bravely battling both [Dawkins] and the hoards of clueless privileged people who didn’t get it. [...] I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days [...] Also, some of you are wondering if I’m criticizing all rich, white, old, etc men when I call out those attributes. No! I am merely illustrating the unbelievable height of Dawkins’ privilege."
Back to Marcotte:
In doing so, he angered many prominent and important members of the secularist community and I suspect embarrassed his staff, though anti-feminists who have spent years harassing and abusing women for daring to promote a feminist view of secular activism were delighted. (As with Lindsay, I have largely found these anti-feminists’ complaints to be incoherent strawmen. I’ve asked many of them to provide substantive points of disagreement with feminists, and have yet to hear any that reflected reality. It has become clear to me that they simply dislike feminism, but don’t have the courage to explain their real reasons why.) From a purely political point of view, his actions have been a disaster. He outraged the mainstream supporters of his organization in order to placate a few fringe characters. 

To restate point #3 - here, Marcotte is plainly pinning anonymous "anti-feminists" on Ron Lindsay, immediately after dropping all responsibility for "anonymous" privilege card playing feminists. It should be pointed out that in Marcotte's last article, her fans made Bobbitt jokes in the comments.

The rest of Marcotte's piece is pleading with CFI to convince/force Lindsay to apologize or resign.

The irony here is that Marcotte is essentially trying to prove that men like Ron Lindsay are not being told to "shut up and listen" over male privilege.

Yet the fact of the matter is that Ron Lindsay is being asked to "shut up and resign" over something even more trivial.

Such contradictions.

1 comment:

  1. AtheismPlus: agree with us or lose your job.

    Lets just hope the higher-ups in CFI call these people on their bullshit and keep Lindsay on.