So Jennifer McCreight has decided to not blog for a while. Why you ask?

Have you not been Paying attention?

Stephanie Zvan over at Freethought Blogs, really hit the nail on the head here, calling us out for not paying attention to what was being said. Also, and more importantly, she calls us out for allowing it in the first place. Yes, us. You and Me and everyone who calls themself an ally of McCreight .

How So?

Zvan points out that the same people that have been so negative against A+ and McCreight (and apparently Freethought Blogs (FtB) ) are the same people who are so hostile against theists, paranormal believers, homeopathy and other non-skeptics. We have stood by and let them be such and even giggled along with their stream of insults and threats. The old “New Atheism” has spawned this, at least in my opinion. The New Atheists made it ok to ridicule, belittle, mock, scorn and in general be ass-holes to those who don’t agree lock step with us. None of us are completely guiltless here. I know I’ve been overly agressive with particular religious people, and I know I have sat quietly while others have been outright insulting.

No more.

There are words for this kind of behavior, Bullying. Ironically, it is what FtB have been accused of, which is a hard claim to support with the claimants recent actions. The victory crowing of McCreight‘s critics is evidence enough who the bully is here.

Also, I don’t by the “Its the Internet” BS. That’s just code for “I want to be a jackass, but I don’t want to be called on it.”

I’m Calling You Out.

Anonymity on the in internet is quickly coming to an end. Pretty much the only places you can really get away with being a completely faceless individual are places like Reddit and YouTube’s comments section. Pretty much everywhere else your identity is attached to your posts and comments. Which has toned the internet down a bit, but I also remeber the development of the Internet Rules of Conduct, created by…another woman…which were meant to address the appalling behaviour of anonymous individuals on the internet.

I think it’s time to step up once more, and start making the harassment that Women and Gays et al, experience on the internet by making it public. Speak out and you’ll find a lot more support then you will ridicule. Also, rape, violence. and death threats are illegal, and you can and should report them to the authorities. Report them to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you are getting them. It only takes a minute and it’s a positive step, however small, against internet harassment.

There is also the option I take, which I’m not sure it’s the best; I just don’t read comments. I make vids and blogs, and twitter my heart out, but with the exception of rare occasions, I don’t pay much attention to the comments. I have found this does two things, 1) I don’t get all worked up on negative talk and 2) It doesn’t feed the trolls. On the down side it does limit the amount of interaction I have with my audience, which is the only reason I pay what little attention I do.

But My Privilege!

I think the only people who will be upset at what I am saying here are those who will see it as a threat to their privilege. I mean, who am I to take away their god given right to threaten to rape a chick they don’t know on the internet? What am I, some rape hating lesbian whore? Kinda…

Why do you even need to use that kind of language anyway? If you disagree with someone say so civilly and maybe a discussion can come of it that might sway that person to your point of view. Telling them you’re going to kill them or you hope they kill themselves is immature at best and illegal. You, whoever you are, never have the right to threaten, slander, or verbally assault someone on the internet, or anywhere IMO. If you think you do, maybe you should examine yourself and figure out why you think you have this right.

In this LARP I used to play, there was a side game called The Game of Escalation, where whatever was done to you, you had to do back in spades. The winner was the one who’s retaliation was so bad that the other person couldn’t reciprocate, and no, there were no rules beyond that. There was also the ever present threat of losing one’s “man card” which only helped to fuel the game.

That’s kinda how I see trolls and the privileged individuals who want to shout obscenities randomly. For some reason it’s fun for them to bully, offend, and ridicule other people who are mostly strangers to them. They get some kind of kick out of it, and they see it as a right, a privilege they have, to do so. Well it’s not, and like all bullies, someone needs to stand up to them. The more people that will stand up to them the less power they will have to bully, and hopefully they will eventually go away.

Until then, this is a group effort that I hope people will join me in.

You see them all the time, though you might not recognize them for what they are. Fake, vapid, void of content, yet dressed up in a way to make you think they are the real deal. Yes I’m talking about Articles.

Be they in a magazine, the newspaper, or on the internet, bad articles are everywhere! The thing is, most people don’t ever realize they’ve read one. So the content-less content of written media continues to plague us.

Empty Content is Like Empty Calories, Yummy but Without Value.

I noticed them first in women’s magazines when I was teenager. All those pretty glossy pages filled with Photoshoped women telling me I’m ugly and fat, and all those articles telling me how to change myself so he’ll want to have sex with me. I was not interested in fostering self-hate, but I was intrigued by how many of the longer articles had page on page of words, but still said nothing.

Then I noticed the newspaper did the same thing. Not the “female-targeted self-loathing” thing, but the “long article, no information” thing. Still, most people I knew could differentiate between a well written article and a bad one. I’m not sure I can say that today.

I’m not really sure I can blame the internet for this, but I do know that I see lots more offences on the internet then I do in print media…but I’m also a lot more selective about my print media, so take that how you will… Still, it perplexed me as to why when I said an article was bad, most people didn’t understand why I said that. I asked my partner that one day, and got this answer:

“I don’t understand what you mean by ‘bad’.”

To which I ranted:

“It has not content! It’s just a list of things not to do with no suggestions as to what To Do! It’s empty of actual meaning, it’s just a bunch of cliche’s strung together. It’s like they looked up the Wiki article, reworded it a bit and submitted it!”

My partner still didn’t get it.

Reading – The Lost Art.

Perhaps it’s that most people aren’t taught to think critically anymore. Mine may have been one of the last generations that was halfheartedly taught to read. By ‘Read’ I don’t mean sounding out words and assigning them meaning, I mean absorbing those words and figuring out what the author was trying to say. Most people I encounter can read words, but they can’t read content.

It’s an interesting problem really, since with the internet at our fingers, we all feel like we’re so much better informed. Yet when we test the overall population we find that the public is less informed then before. Not to mention all the factual errors and that you can find support for damn near any opinion on the net. 

The Critical Eye.

I also think that my generation might be the last to have been taught how to think critically and question what we are taught.  I know that most schools ‘teach to the test’ and that means not teaching thinking, only regurgitation. So we’ve got adults that graduate for school who have never critically broken down an article or an argument.  It leads to believing anything you read or hear from someone presenting themselves as an authority. *cough cough Fox-News cough*

Being able to take apart an article should be a  life skill taught in grade school and perfected in high-school. Unfortunately, like reading critically, it’s become a lost art, and I think society is suffering for it. There is so much crap writing out there, people don’t know when they’ve read something void of  any content. I’m also beginning to think people don’t know when they’ve written things devoid of content either, which is it’s own problem I can trace back to  high-school. 

Filling You In.

So, what is the point of this long rant? Excellent question! 

You see, I have decided to take this problem on. I’m going re-post the articles I find that really tick me off, and break them down for you. Maybe as I rant my way through an article I might impart some piece of knowledge on you, dear readers, and you’ll be able to see what makes an article bad. Once you can do that, I really hope you will pass that on to others, especially your children, and maybe we can claw our way back from the empty content of bad media.

We’ll I’ve finally recovered from my 12 hour drive home from DC and the recent Reason Rally. I’ve been trying to get my thoughts together on the experience.

First, We arrived early so that we could spend some time around DC, I’ve never been to the Capital and so we went everywhere we could. I will say I was rather pleased with the Metro system and really wish we had one here. Think of all the time I would save every day, and all the sleep I could get!

Friday evening we caught up with some local friends and had a bit of dinner, which was very cool since I got to eat with ThunderF00t from YouTube.

You can hear me whistling in the background…

Anyway, that was the beginning of the weekend. From there it just got better, we made it to the rally early despite the rain.

The exact head count seems to be up in the air, somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000. 

The rally was awesome, just do a search and you’ll find links to speeches by Jessica AhlquistGreta ChristinaTaslima Nasrin, Mythbuster’s Adam Savage’s, the Amazing Randi, and Jamie Kilstein…Oh yah, and someone named Richard Dawkins…plus many, many more. Really, it doesn’t take much to find the rest of the speakers, and you really should, these people were great!

It was kind of a sausage fest, but I was really happy to hear almost every male speaker call for more women speakers at the next rally, and the women who were there really kicked ass. There was one I didn’t understand why she was there, but meh, and Bill Maher’s video definitely wins the lame-o award. At least Penn Jillette recorded original material, Maher just slapped together some old clips from his show. They weren’t even new New Rules.

The only other downside to the event were the protesters, all 12 of them. I guess the Wesboro Baptist Church did show up, but they didn’t come close to the rally for some reason, and they didn’t stay very long. From all accounts I can find they got to the rally late, there was only about four of them, they didn’t talk to anyone, and they left soon after arriving. I guess since they weren’t getting the attention they wanted they took their ball and went home.

The rest of the protesters were a little more tenacious. They refused to go to the designated area set aside for them, which I agree with. Protesters aren’t animals to be pinned up and watched with armed guards on horseback. That’s sick.

Instead, they roamed around freely mingling with the rest of us, and of course, arguing with us.

    

They told us we were going to hell, that Jesus would save us at the same time he was damming us, awesome, where do I sign up?

I really tried to stay away, and I even convinced a few people to not feed the trolls. But then this happened…

I got wrapped up in the awesomeness of it, in that I watched AronRa and then ThunderF00t school Eric Hovid (Ken Hovid’s son). It was…epic…

Anyway, so what I have taken away from this whole event is that I really need to step up my activism, as do we all. So I propose a letter writing campaign, to rebut the crappy coverage of the rally!

The first article in the main stream that I read was this piece of crap from USA Today. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I expect journalistic excellence from them, but this was something I’d expect from a right-wing religious rag, not a paper trying to pretend they are actual news. So it got me thinking, many of the speakers at the rally all but begged us to become more involved. To me that means become more visible, and becoming more visible is writing letters to the crappy newspapers who write biased articles. Oh, and I’ll be sending it to my local papers as well.

I want you to do this too, I want you to write your own rebuttal to this, and any article you’ve read with such a horrible slant, and send those letters to all your local papers as well as the paper of the article. Let them know you’re and atheist, let them know you’re a real person, let them know you’re not ok with being marginalized just because you don’t believe in an imaginary sky daddy. Use your voice and be heard!

Post your responses here, and share you’re Reason Rally experiences here as well.

In closing, here are a few more pictures from the rally, enjoy!

          

Or maybe Not.

For those following the recent melt down over the Rebecca Watson Vs. Richard Dawkins debacle I won’t go into too many details, for those that aren’t, Good For You! Don’t Clink on these Links, it’ll just suck you in! You were warned.

Anyway, There’s a lot of crap out there to read and watch, but most of it really misses the point. The “Point” isn’t that some dude came onto some chick in an elevator at 4 am, and then some other guy (not part of the original interaction) got upset when the chick politely said ‘no’. The “Point” is how the rest of the blogoshpere blew the fuck up over this for no good reason!

Watson has commented on and posted some of the responses and email she’s received over the matter, and frankly, the people are amazing…I mean, there aren’t enough negative descriptors out there to describe the folks, and sadly most of them are men. Which, ironically, proves her point on how some men get all pissy when women ask/tell them not to do things that are creepy/threatening/down right inappropriate.

And those are just the responses sent to her personally. That’s not counting all the You Tube vids by the uniformed and blog posts by the oppressed masses representing the endangered white male.

What really gets me here is, then men (and some women) are (or claim to be) Atheists, and/or Humanists.  I mean, WTF? When has it ever been ok in Humanist ideals to be a sexist asshole? Isn’t that the point of Humanism, to be good to each other and respectful of each other regardless of gender, race, or sexual preference? How is telling Watson that she is “too ugly to rape” in line with Humanist ideals?

What sticks out most here is not the rampant sexism in the Atheist community, or the constant apologetics that want to make the world safe for male privileged. It’s that this same blow-up happens about every six months or so and apparently never really gets resolved. I mean, I expect more from the Atheist and Humanist communities then I do the rest of the world, else I wouldn’t have identified with them. Yet these pleas from the feminine populace to be treated respectfully and equally 

constantly being shot down with ridicule and threats is really enraging.  

Despite my acidic tone here, what really needs to happen is the community at large needs to sit down and figure out why this happens. What are the root causes of this? Why isn’t this issue getting resolved? Can we break it down into it’s basic parts and deal with it?

Once we do that we need to work to change it! We need real ideas, not “Men just need to learn to know better!” Or “Bitches be trippen.” We need solutions, because otherwise this is all going to blow-up again around Yule and I really don’t want to start my year off that way.