What is lost in all the noise surrounding the Watson circus is that none of this is really an argument of girls versus boys. Some of the most vociferous and irrational voices in the Watsonista apologist camp are male1, and conversely, some of the most coherent critics are female (and they are legion).
Similarly, claiming it’s all about misogyny is also a red herring – it’s merely a convenient window for the misandrist blog industry to go into opportunist overdrive (it’s bigger than crassmass), and those that disagree with this point are politely asked to refer to their dictionaries (hint ladies: it has something to do with the word “hatred” which is not the same thing as “faux pas”).
No, what the issues ultimately boil down to are ones that are a girls only affair – the continued argument between gender and equity (or liberal) feminism, and Elevator Guy is just the meat in the sandwich. This subtlety is lost on Watsonistas – I have yet to see even one that acknowledges the dichotomy, or even understands what it is. Around the film that forms near the bottom of the barrel attacking women that dare criticise Watson is gibberish like this –
… She “doesn’t get along with women”. She watches porn. She calls men pussies as an insult. She gets to be the cool chick. Guys will say she isn’t like other chicks, who act so fucking stupid and girly all the time. Nope, she is different. She isn’t always whining or talking about boring girly crap like jewelery or babies. The gender traitor usually bonds with men over some typically masculine hobby like video games, guns, violent movies, drinking, etc. She gets to be an honorary dude, as long as she shrugs off sexism and helps dudes feel better about themselves. That is her job inside the group of friends…2
Blah, blah fucking blah. No point even responding3. In any case, dissent never sees the light of day on these blogs (heresy y’know? Not censorship, greater good etc.), but one gender traitor pretty much nails it all elsewhere –
I think the writer of the inside-the-gender-traitor blog is tying her (I assume it’s a her, but it could be a man, I didn’t check for sure) own mind in the hopelessly confused logic knots of her own agenda. No, she has no insights into the people she describes as traitors–her description is her own fictive construct and she’s just using it to smear and label people who don’t agree with some of the things she says. The article reads very like a spoiled two year old stamping their foot when it doesn’t continue getting the preferences and indulgences it always got before.
Echoes my observations. The Watsonistas, especially Watson herself, are self-absorbed to the point of narcissism and have no capacity to empathise outside of their tiny ideological shoe box in any way whatsoever. They are just like fickle, spoiled children living in a convenience store reality.
The mother of all gender traitors is, to the aware of course, Christina Hoff Sommers who coined the terms gender feminism, equity feminism and possibly even the first to use the term victim feminism4. It is worth reading her extended description of gender feminism from her preface to her arch-heresy Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women –
American feminism is currently dominated by a group of women who seek to persuade the public that American women are not the free creatures we think we are. The leaders and theorists of the women’s movement believe that our society is best described as a patriarchy, a “male hegemony,” a “sex/gender system” in which the dominant gender works to keep women cowering and submissive. The feminists who hold this divisive view of our social and political reality believe we are in a gender war, and they are eager to disseminate stories of atrocity that are designed to alert women to their plight. The “gender feminists” (as I shall call them) believe that all our institutions, from the state to the family to the grade schools, perpetuate male dominance. Believing that women are virtually under siege, gender feminists naturally seek recruits to their side of the gender war. They seek support. They seek vindication. They seek ammunition.
Not everyone, including many women who consider themselves feminists, is convinced that contemporary American women live in an oppressive “male hegemony.” To confound the skeptics and persuade the undecided, the gender feminists are constantly on the lookout for proof, for the smoking gun, the telling fact that will drive home to the public how profoundly the system is rigged against women. To rally women to their cause, it is not enough to remind us that many brutal and selfish men harm women. They must persuade us that the system itself sanctions male brutality. They must convince us that the oppression of women, sustained from generation to generation, is a structural feature of our society.
It reads like a résumé for all of the shrieking hysterics, both female and male, that have tried, rather successfully, to catastrophise this nonsense to the point where it threatens the stability of the entire atheist and skeptic movements. If it happens that the movements get irreparably damaged or destroyed in the process, who cares? These are spoiled children smashing their toys against a wall in a hyperventilating tantrum. They’re not even remotely interested in consequences.
Of most interest here is the concept of the quest for the smoking gun, which ultimately, is all that the mysterious Elevator Guy is. Whether he is real, a fabrication or even PZ Myers himself is irrelevant. He is a symbol that has been elevated to the status of gender feminist icon, an accessible, sensational image of all that is evil and corrupt, a tawdry facsimile of the mythical serpent in the Garden of Eden. And who needs proof anyway when you have belief? The mere act of questioning the veracity of the story is the number one misogynist cardinal sin anyone can commit. Which makes this admin post on Randi.org (and discussed here) so utterly delectable –
Is there any evidence at all his guy was at the skeptics conference, as opposed to just hanging out at the bar of the hotel he was staying at?
It seems to me Rebecca is trying to have it both ways, upset because she assumes he heard her talk and then denies the guy was part of any conversation at the bar.
And Rebecca was banned from this very forum because she didn’t have the social skills to understand when she was crossing the line, oh the irony!
It is reassuring that there are still pockets left where rationality prevails over drama, and emotional blackmail has no traction.
Hoff Sommers’ deconstruction of this madness is precise and deserves far wider dissemination5 than it has. It is a crucial piece of work and is not something that could have the same value or punch were it from a mere male. My only quibble with Hoff Sommers is a minor one and in no way detracts from my respect for her or her scholarship. It is more an issue to do with Occam’s Razor than disagreement anyway, and it is this – her gender feminism thesis has a very close overlap with Nietzsche’s ruminations on slave morality formed way back in the dim, dark days before even the first Suffragette raised her voice, and while the current dramas are very definitely gender focussed, I maintain that they are merely a symptom of a much wider disease that is taking hold within the godless and skeptic communites – the New, New Atheism: an ascendant, more general neo-puritanism with a passion for moral panics, scapegoating and similar lynch mob style behaviour, cf. earlier musings on hypersensitivity about language, militant, guilt inducing veganism, the godless Temperance Union, especially the TamTamPamela crucifixion, and an awful lot more besides. This style of idiocy, including Elevatorgate, has all the hallmarks of Nietzsche’s ideas of slave revolt and there are some choice quotes to be found in his writings –
“Nowadays it is not the man in need of art, but the slave who determines general views: in which capacity he naturally has to label all his circumstances with deceptive names in order to be able to live.” — The Greek State
“There is nothing more fearful than a barbaric slave-class which has learnt to regard its existence as an injustice and is preparing to take revenge not just for itself but for all generations.” — The Birth of Tragedy
Not only do the slaves in uprising wish to control our thoughts, words and actions, they hunger too for revenge for what they perceive to be an eternity of injustice perpetrated on them. The whole mindset is bound by the same nihilism as the passive religions – it is all life denying, not life affirming; regressive and not progressive; it seeks to drag others down rather than elevate oneself up. It is all a yawning blackhole of self-loathing that wants to suck all around it into the same mass of negation. If anything, it is all retrograde anti-humanism – grind us all into paste and pour us out in new uniform molds.
And of course it is inevitable that the concept of slave as used by Nietzsche will fly straight over the heads of the Watsonistas, and habit being what it is, they will default to the absolute basest and worst interpretation. To which I say – “I don’t really give a fuck. Maybe if you occassionally read stuff that wasn’t limited to deranged confirmation bias propaganda, you’d have a better grip on the world and reality in general.”
I doubt very much that Hoff Sommers is unaware of her parallels to Nietzsche. Perhaps she has very valid reasons of her own to make gender feminism a distinct concept from slave morality. Or perhaps she knew she was already pushing the envelope against the fem-bot Taliban further than any of her sisters had done previously, and invoking the N. man would have been a step too far and opened the gates to all manner of clueless Nazi accusations. Would really like to ask her for her thoughts on this. Maybe I’ll bump into her in an elevator sometime…
Special Bonus Nietzsche for Gollum
This extract just struck me as the perfect response for the “don’t be a dick” sermon on the mount –
– But let us return: the problem of the other origin of ‘good’, of good as thought up by the man of ressentiment, demands its solution. – There is nothing strange about the fact that lambs bear a grudge towards large birds of prey: but that is no reason to blame the large birds of prey for carrying off the little lambs. And if the lambs say to each other, ‘These birds of prey are evil; and whoever is least like a bird of prey and most like its opposite, a lamb, – is good, isn’t he?’, then there is no reason to raise objections to this setting-up of an ideal beyond the fact that the birds of prey will view it somewhat derisively, and will perhaps say, ‘We don’t bear any grudge at all towards these good lambs, in fact we love them, nothing is tastier than a tender lamb.’ – It is just as absurd to ask strength not to express itself as strength, not to be a desire to overthrow, crush, become master, to be a thirst for enemies, resistance and triumphs, as it is to ask weakness to express itself as strength.
— On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic
1 – Most embarrassing of a sorry bunch has been PZ Myers when he’s ventured out of the safety of Fortress Pharyngula. Without the Dutch courage of his trained baboon army behind him to “me too!” in chorus, his outbursts have been quite cringe worthy – zero substance, as always, and mostly nonsense post hoc straw-clutching and spatterings of ad himinems to belittle masculinity, even of the females. Typical dreck –
– some of the milder stuff, which you’re supposed to digest purely on the grounds that his brain is bigger than yours (apparently), so just shut up.
2 – To be fair, it has to be noted that Skeptifem is from the “dumber than dogshit” end of the apologist blogging spectrum. Though, of course, that does nothing to stop Skepchick from interviewing her as though she is worth taking seriously. Is anyone surprised? No. Not anymore.
3 – In fact, the more you observe these blogs and the commentary on them, the more you realise how similar they are to those of the creationists they despise. They are not interested in discussion, they are just “me too!” junkies and prohibit any dissent of any kind.
4 – The cesspit of lies certainly thinks so. The following url redirects to Hoff Sommers –
5 – For the benefit of Becky, please translate “dissemination” as “cum shot”.