Why Does Thunderf00t Stay at Freethought Blogs?

Thunderf00t is a new blogger at Freethought Blogs and he has created a hell of a storm, saying some of the things I have already said. No, I do not agree with all of what he said, nor the way he said them. But the ensuing debate leads me to wonder why he stays there. First, let's put this into perspective.

Some high profile secular women have undressed for a Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar, which is promoted by some of the women at Freethought Blogs and includes Greta Christina and Maryam Namazie in solidarity with blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, who posted a nude photo of herself as a scream "against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy." Others participated in Boobquake. Skepchick regularly posts something called "Skepchick Quickies" (*ahem*). The message is clear to me, that women can use their bodies as they see fit. I understand that completely. Men do not own the bodies of women. (No, I'm not interested at all thank you very much).

But this sends a mixed message to some ignorant young men now doesn't it? It's not surprising to me that some of them may think some secular women are "available." It can create an environment at Freethought conventions where some men may look to hook up. Thunderf00t is asking what's wrong with that in the bars afterward? Hooking up is what some people want to do (men and women). Knowing which ones want to do so is another question. How are some of these men supposed to know?

Listen, sex is a big motivator in life, something I argued is too strong for some human beings to handle and one reason I don't think God created us at all. So people hook up for sex, or try to anyway. I suspect Christians go to their own conventions to hook up. No, I know this given the sexually represent views of sex they have.

To help combat this problem Al Stefanelli reports that American Atheists now have an official policy regarding harassment at events, and guess what, one of the rules is no touching others without prior permission. Yep, that's right, "Don't Ask or No Touch."
Yes means yes; no means no; and maybe means no. Please take no for an answer for any request or activity. You are encouraged to ask for unequivocal consent for all activities during the conference. No touching other people without asking. This includes hands on knees, backs, shoulders—and hugs (ask first!). There are folks who do not like to be touched and will respect and like you more if you respect their personal space.
Is this really the voice of an organization that represents reason? Not on that score I'm sure of it. If someone touches your shoulder and you don't want him to do so then step back. If he persists then say something to him. If he does it again then get some help from others. It's that simple. This AA statement places the burden on the person doing the touching. And while no means no, and yes means yes, maybe means maybe! What, are we being hypersensitive here not to offend some women? Apart from the ban on perfume and fragrances (is there a problem?) the rest of the statement concerning harassment is very much welcome of course.

The bottom line is that people, most all of us, use what we've got to get what we want. If we're attractive we use that to get what we want. If we're muscular we use that to get what we want. If we have money we use that to get what we want. If we have friends in important places we use that to get what we want. If we have fame we use that to get what we want. If we are intelligent we use that to get what we want, and so on. We struggle with each other for more power, money and/or sex, or we use money, power and/or sex as ways to gain more of what we want. People who have it try to get more of it. People who don't have it use what they've got to get more of it. There is a battle between the power-brokers, the tycoons, and the sexes.

This battle is playing itself out over at Freethought Blogs, and Thunderf00t isn't afraid of stirring the pot:



This video is backed up by a series of his posts which are drawing a lot of fire:

MISOGYNIST!!!

FFS PZ Myers, enough with the strawmen!

FFS PZ MYERS, PLEASE – LEARN – TO – READ

Without commenting in more detail, when it comes to dividing atheists I agree with thunderf00t, as I wrote about before:

How to Self-Destruct as a Movement.

How to Avoid Just Talking to Ourselves.

Why would people want to blog where their voices are shouted down? I once ministered at a small church where two families were basically feuding with each other. I have also been a part of a pool community where people played pool against others they did not like. What keeps people together like this? They have an overarching goal that allows them to put up with these differences and dislikes. For the church people it was the church itself, it's message it's history and it's close proximity to where people lived. So they stayed. In the pool community it was largely the game itself.

So what really draws people to become and stay FTBers if there is so much disagreement? I think it's power (or influence) and the money they earn from being there. With it comes the ability to speak out on sexual issues within atheist communities.

In one of his video's Thunderf00t mentions that he gets more hits than the largest Christian denominational website does, the Catholic Church. That's very impressive! It tells me something else. As I look at the people asked to join Freethought blogs the one criteria that stands out among most all of them is a person's popularity. A popular blogger, podcaster, or video maker who does his or her thing frequently has a very good chance to be asked as a FTBer. But why is being popular a criteria at all? Well that is obvious. The more popular the people are at FTB the greater influence that site has, and the more money is made from it.

I understand this. I initially joined for the same reasons. And Ed Brayton is probably a genius in putting it all together. But to the rest of atheists it's giving us all a bad name because they are inward focused rather than on the larger issues that confront atheists in a religion dominated society. I don't see that abating any time soon, which is a shame. All I can say is that I am happy not to be there even if I wish them all well, and I do.

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Edit: Thunderf00t has been kicked off FtB. For my take on it see here.

1 comments:

Rev said...

I think PZ can be a bully and don't agree with everything PZ, RW, and Ed say. But I don't see what problem there is with the AA policy, especially combined with your victim blaming.

Try thinking through a scenario. Let's say your wife is at some bar. She's wearing a skirt and a clingy top. As you argue it, this sends a mixed message. It shouldn't be surprising that some guy at the bar think your wife is "available." Instead of chatting her up and figuring out if this is true, the guy buys her a drink, sits down next to her, puts his hand on her inner thigh and whispers an invitation into her ear. As you seem to argue, this guy would be within his rights- after all, she's never said no, maybe means maybe and she's obviously broadcasting "maybe" and "available" to the guy. Right?

Some of us have the gall to think this is pretty rude. Even drunk at a bar it's not hard to spend a few minutes chatting and learning what they're looking for. It's only then the guy might figure out she is waiting for her date. None of this has to be some formal process outside the usual interplay that happens between to people. Is that really so much to ask?