Monday, June 3, 2013

Ableist Amanda

Today, you may agree with something that appeared on the Atheism Plus forum!

What is the topic?

The topic is that Amanda Marcotte is a bit of a jerk. Even worse, an ableist jerk.

Oh, and the FreeThoughtBloggers are largely jerks as well!

Enemy of an enemy is a friend?

Some highlights from the thread:

In an otherwise good article Amanda is showing some pretty bad ableism. I didn't expect that from her. The background is that former tennis player Jimmy Connors has written in his biography about his relationship with former tennis player Chris Evert.
[Amanda Marcotte] There’s a callousness to the way Connors sandwiches details about the abortion in between his tennis results. “That all happened during one of only two pro tournaments I didn’t win in 1974,” he contextualizes, in a line so unselfconsciously self-absorbed it led one Slate colleague to wonder if he suffered from Asperger Syndrome.
The complete article: ... plain.html
Sure she is relaying something an unnamed colleague said, but by putting it in the article without comment she is responsible for it.
[In my experience] the atheist community on a whole -- even the "progressive" bits for the most part -- loves their ableism and hates it when people tell them to stop calling ignorant people morons =/
edit: oh yeah and this obviously doesn't only apply to calling ignorant people morons. it's just that, if they had to address any of their ableism, they wouldn't be able to say that they're just more intelligent than "those people" they dislike. and of course without anyone to feel "objectively" superior to they would all die a horrible death and it would be our fault for pointing out that a random human isn't in any way "objectively" superior to another random human.
She's been ableist before.
And she gives no fucks.
Amanda Marcotte is a terrible bigoted human being, just like much of atheism.
(hi I am in a terrible mood but I would stand by this one at all times)
Unfortunately it does seem that the SJ blindspot for most people is ableism, Until relatively recently I always thought it was transphobia but that's partially as it is what I experienced, now I actively look for ableism I see it everywhere...
Edit: reading this back to myself it seems opression olympically, sorry for that :(
I don't think it does Catherine, I think it's only natural to notice the oppression which affects you first. It's only when you start looking further that you start seeing the other types.
That above quote is horrible. It's not even "slightly" ableist - it's blatant.
[... quote from Benson about atheists wanting to be superior ...]
That's really it, even despite how a lot of people in the movement will talk as though one doesn't need a degree to make good arguments. At the end of the day, the overwhelming feeling from mainstream atheism and skepticism? "We R So Smart. We R So Smart. S-M-R-T." From the regressive libertarian wing when they ape creationist tactics to deny social justice entirely, and from the "progressive" wing when they gaslight people with disabilities and otherwise deny the fuck out of ableism just so they can keep calling creationists "moron" rather than "ignorant" or "denialist".
It is one big gigantic circle-jerk of a wannabe-overclass. They have some other *-ism problems (ageism is one, and the mainstream community seems very uncritical of capitalism), but their sacred cow is ableism because that's how they pit themselves as the Intelligent Overclass and all the religionists and woo-believers as Ignorant Rabble.

Later in the same thread... 
Chris Clarke is the only FTBlogger I know of to explicitly repudiate the word "moron".
edit: I should note that, sadly, PZ has not done anything; in fact, he still uses the word -- or at least did in his major post about the WiS disaster. And then of course there's other ableist shit that happened on FTB, general sentiment stands, 'cause not many prominent atheists are stepping up to the plate like Clarke has. The only other person I can think of who agreed was Fincke, and Fincke got a shitload of dismissiveness (edit 2: of which I participated in some, sadly -- that being said I still think Fincke needs a fucking editor) when he first said that we should at least reconsider "stupid". Why? Atheist community loves their ableism, it's what allows them to feel superior to woosters and religionists.
I can't count how many times I've had to explain why intelligence-denigrating slurs are ableist slurs, only to have the conversation derailed into how I'm denying SCIENCE!!1!
Oh look I wrote about ableism (anti autistic ableism) a while back. It made one person who got spamfiltered really mad, & the blogger whose blog comments it was a reaction to was kinda dismissive ("yeah that's bad" NO SHIT SO SAY SOMETHING OMG I SAY SHIT WHEN PEOPLE OPPRESS OTHERS ON *MY* BLOG)
The comments that are left are kinda terrible bc it degenerated and then i killfiled the dood who got spamfiltered. But yeah.
(I feel the need to point out that it has been talked about bc people tend to do what i did later & then are considered like fucking pioneers. No. Sick of that.)
Oh and I gave up on Amanda Marcotte the third time she doubled down on using autism as a slur.
Amanda Marcotte has a lot of wicked snark when taking apart right-wingers and misogynists, but she does love her hipster-queen persona. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY unless you can list the top ten girl bands of the 90s and forsake unfashionable things like Snuggies. [...]
and now people are taking it upon themselves to hurl ableism at Justin Vacula. because no true skeptic would ever be capable of bigoted assholery, the assholes just have to be objectively worse.
it's like they just can't fucking get over themselves, ever. they have to be the paragons of reason rationality and righteousness and don't you dare suggest that they're anything so frail and fallible as human. until of course you call them out on it.
Oh but of course. Since they are true skeptics they would know if they were being bigoted asshats, and since they don't know that they're being bigoted asshats, they're clearly not being bigoted asshats.
Because that's how true skeptic logic works.
That sums it up pretty well, Imagination Theory. it's hard to get an atheist to budge on intellectual insults because in a way those intellectual insults can define them and the world they live in. And if they're not "allowed" to point out how much smarter they are...I dunno. "Something terrible will happen."
also, it's not ableist because we're referring to stupid things, not people. all implications have disappeared into the Magical Fairy Tale Never Never Land Of No Ableism At All Here Folks.

The thread continues on a few tangents. However it already is full of win from people that are generally difficult to agree with.

To recap:

  1. Amanda Marcotte is a serial ableist
  2. PZ Myers can't stop using ableist words
  3. Marcotte is a "truly bigoted human being", that is perhaps ableist as it fits into her persona as a "snarky hipster queen"
  4. FreeThoughtBlogs crowd are being ableist in their criticism of Justin Vacula
  5. FreeThoughtBlogs crowd think of themselves as the "true skeptics" and cannot "get over themselves"
This thread = 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. 6. #FTBullies are a hivemind and they never criticise their own... Oh wait!

    1. Admittedly FTB is less of a hivemind by the day.

      After kicking EBW out, and giving Julian the boot, PZ losing his star power, and the uneasy relationship they have with a number of people (are you on good terms with them?) .... it's safe to say that they've switched to full cannibalism mode.

      But remember this has been the operating temperature that Atheism+ has been riding for a while. Recall that Atheism+ thinks the HRC is full of fascists.

      Counting the days until they rage about Richard Carrier...

  2. Fascinating reading! You're not actually agreeing, though, I hope? I mean, I totally agree about the assholery of Marcotte, but there was nothing wrong (IMO) with the Jimmy Connors comment, and while I also agree that the skeptic crowd is in love with its own smartness the idea that this is "ableism" is pretty ridiculous. If anything this is social justice warrior-hood gone mad and devouring its own children like the proverbial revolution.

    (Are these people on Tumblr? I'm recognizing Tumblr-speak.)

    Oh, and I love how "no human being is objectively superior to any other" but being "ableist" makes you a "terrible human being."

    1. :) Luckily I don't agree with these forum types, as I would lose my mind if I lost my mind every time said the word "moron".

      I think Atheism+'s notion of 'ableism' just ensures the words stay 'ableist', as it implies that mentally challenged individuals must be 'morons'. It perhaps insults people with disabilities more than it helps them.

      And it's probably likely that many of these characters have Tumblr accounts... but I've (fortunately?) yet to find them!

      Marcotte is most abusive when she's not using restricted words. Marcotte is a member of a gang that will drop "misogynist" and "racist" on someone and not even blink. She exaggerates and slanders, consequences be damned.

    2. Weird, I didn't get notified of your reply. And good point about how this notion of "ableism" is actually quite insulting to people with mental disabilities, implying that they are "morons."

      Definitely enjoying seeing Marcotte hoist on her own petard. By the way, I'm going after her on an unrelated topic in my next RealClearPolitics column which is going to run either tomorrow or Sunday.

  3. Amanda Marcotte's latest whiny, butthurt, kneejerk reaction to professor Scott Aaronson's calling out some modern feminists for their nerd-bashing(which is really ableism in disguise) is really quite telling. All her fellow feminists joined the bandwagon.

    I have noticed ableism on the left for nearly 2 decades now. And it's mainly aimed at people with mental disabilities(and mental illnesses)rather than physical disabilities. As someone with autism, I can tell you that the ADA really doesn't provide much help for the mentally disabled as much as it does for the physically disabled. We are still mostly unemployed and actively excluded from mainstream society. Ableism is rampant in social media, internet forums, and much of "progressive" pop culture.

    This may be do to the fact that a lot of progressive and SJWs are simply using politics as a social climbing strategy and need an unrepresented group of people to pick on in order to boost their egos and foster a sense of superiority(not to mention feel "speshul").