Saturday, November 16, 2013

Richard Dawkins Honeyshot

Richard Dawkins has found himself in a sticky situation.

After receiving what one can presume was quite a few ridiculous responses, Dawkins felt the need to clarify:

Of course, if Richard Dawkins was an unemployed teenager, this Twitter rant would be his right as a Twitter user to have very shallow sounding problems. People generally are not sharing their deepest problems of the day in 140 characters or less.

But Richard Dawkins is Richard Dawkins, and all the people that do not think he is really capable of having a bad day showed up to remind him that his problems do not matter.

Skepchick showed up to highlight a tweet made by a particular Amber:

This particular Amber is perhaps best known for labelling Dawkins racist and replying to critics with penises rendered as text.

The most coherent Skepchick-y response to "honeygate" was a post written by Heina, titled "Dawkins Has It Pretty Good, Honey: An [Ex-]Muslima’s Perspective".

Some relevant excerpts:

The first time I flew after 9-11, I was fourteen years old. My father was waved through but my mother and I, in our headscarves, were pulled aside. [...] I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach as I realized that they would be going through everything. Carefully hiding my underwear and maxipads under my pajamas had been for naught. These two men were thoughtlessly rooting through what I, as an adolescent girl, felt were my most private possessions.
Despite my deconversion from Islam, my caution when it comes to airports persists. My head might be bare and my name not “Muslim”-sounding, but I am often mistaken for an Arab, which is synonymous with “Muslim” to many. [...] I’ve viciously snapped at my partner for briefly mentioning the dubious merits of TSA security theater. I’ve stood as far away from other “Muslim”-looking or -seeming folks so as to avoid any perception of collusion or affiliation. When on the phone, I avoid the usual “salaam” greetings I otherwise use with family members. I carry both my passport and my driver’s license with me when I travel even just domestically, “just in case,” as I say.
Given all that, I have absolutely no sympathy for someone who is angry about being subjected to appropriate actions when he violated TSA regulations. I might even feel angry about it when it’s someone prone to sarcastically belittling others’ problems by comparing them to problems he personally believes are worse. Even worse is when it comes from someone who promotes the narrow view of Muslims and Islam that make my life difficult in the first place.I could go the cheap route and say that from this ex-Muslima’s point of view, my problems as a traveler are far worse than those of Dawkins and therefore he should shut up and never complain about his problems ever again. Instead, I will do him a far greater courtesy than he does to others and admit that his pain is not only real, but also indicative of a greater matter.
Almost everyone agrees that at least some of the TSA guidelines are irrational. It’s not a controversial thing to point out that they are. If only Dawkins had noticed and called out said issues in the full dozen years that they have existed, in the time span of over a decade in which they have adversely affected others. But I guess a community that doesn’t produce enough Nobel Prize winners for Richard Dawkins’s satisfaction shouldn’t expect men like him to care for the rights of its members. They’ll only notice when their sweets are taken away from them.

Heina displays some self-awareness here, as she knows that Skepchick in many ways is writing the "Dear Muslima" letter back. "Dear Muslima", for those unaware, is the response Dawkins wrote in response to the elevator incident.

Dawkins has in certain ways told Skepchick that their first world problems (such as being asked for coffee in an elevator) do not matter. Skepchick is merely returning the favor whenever they can.

But to list the absurdities clearly:

The never ending obsession with Richard Dawkins

Often Skepchick/FreeThoughtBlogs/Atheism Plus claim that everyone else is obsessed with Rebecca Watson's experiences in the elevator.

However, in this instance they took an incident regarding Richard Dawkins and the TSA and used the opportunity to present at least four references on their homepage to the previous elevatorgate drama.

This is in addition to the recent wish to dig up events from several years ago and accuse Dawkins of a whole host of fake social crimes.

It's plain to see that the truly obsessed are not the critics of Skepchick, but the Skepchicks themselves.

"Dawkins should have followed the rules"

"Given all that, I have absolutely no sympathy for someone who is angry about being subjected to appropriate actions when he violated TSA regulations."
Yes, Dawkins should have followed the rules. He could have put honey in checked luggage or found a smaller container.

Who else could have followed some rules? The Skepchick table at DragonCon.

In fact, if Dawkins were to engage with the world in The Skepchick Way (patents pending), he would have written down the wrong TSA agent's name and published it on his blog.

Thankfully Dawkins is not that vindictive.

"Dawkins should have written about this earlier. Also, profiling!"

Heina writes:
"If only Dawkins had noticed and called out said issues in the full dozen years that they have existed, in the time span of over a decade in which they have adversely affected others."
First, the statement is misleading - TSA regulations have varied greatly over the past decade. Security procedures have varied airport to airport, and deployments of things like full body scanners are fairly recent events.

Second, it is really a wonder how a citizen of the United Kingdom can be expected to be a longtime critic of TSA security theatre.

One suspects Dawkins is somehow blamed for the TSA superstructure as the social justice warriors think it a massive project spearheaded by his demographic - old white male "Islamophobes". That Dawkins is annoyed by it is a moment for giggles, as the old white boy can finally now lie in the bed made by old white boys.

Dawkins probably also loses social justice points for being rather silent while a fellow "horseman", Sam Harris, wrote several defenses of profiling as a concept necessary to ensuring security.

Of course, this does not stop Skepchicks from building a profile of their opponents, as witnessed by doing a simple search for "neckbeard" or "fedora" on the relevant blogs and Twitter feeds.

An example:
Both Heina and Watson refer to Harris in their responses to Dawkins.

Heina writes:

"People like Sam Harris believe that I ought to be profiled based on those factors — and I am hyper-aware of this fact when I move through airports."

Rebecca Watson writes:
"To be fair, he’s never gone as far as the shockingly irrational Sam Harris, who repeatedly argues for the profiling of anyone who looks sort of Muslim."

It's quite rich to criticize profiling of muslims when we again consider how Skepchick does its threat assessments.

It's based on five two core pillars:

  • Their vicious "men's rights activist" critics are white, neckbearded, fedora wearing virgins
  • Black men in elevators are terrifying

Ultimately it's somehow rational for a woman to choose to not ride in an elevator with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, but it's an irrational racist and "Islamophobic" travesty for an agency like the TSA to ask him a few more questions based on his attributes.

Everyone is an obsessed, irrational, racist rule-breaker.

But not the social justice warriors.

Never the social justice warriors.

They're sweet. Like honey.

1 comment:

  1. What's wrong with fedoras? Or beards? They don't hide their man-hatred very well.