I must say this is disheartening. When otherwise fairly clear minds succumb to the pressure of “maybe you overstepped the mark” when they spend more time than they should reflecting on their own actions, rather than the realities that led up to those actions.
It is one thing entirely to apologise to yourself by saying “I should be above that” for uttering a thoughtless flippancy. It is quite another to then guilt yourself out and apologise to the target, when that target has displayed nothing other than capricious malice in their behaviour, has personally shame targeted you and been a disruptive nuisance in your real life circle of existence. To glibly pop out that you are glad to see the back of them – on Twitter of all things – is hardly grounds for mortification and penance.
It is a testament to the weight of the leaden blanket of guilt that the Watsonistas suffocate the community with, with their catastrophised hyperboles of oppression and martyr’s suffering at the jackbooted heels of the concocted demons that persecute them. It works and they are encouraged by the success of the strategy to keep building on the mythology of victimisation to make it all work better next time. In business language, this is called continuous improvement.
So it is sad to see Adrienne of Skepticasm succumb to this relentless pressure and fantasist nonsense that Watson, despite her Caligula-like wanton vandalism of the various secular communities, is somehow an innocent victim of unfair circumstance in a cruel and callous world – and after penning a series of excellent critiques of all things Skepchick to suddenly be overcome with remorse and empathy for Becky’s feelings. Honey, that’s precisely how they want you to feel. In chess, it’s called checkmate.
Adrienne, this is why I chose the word disheartening with care – they have succeeded in knocking the wind out of your sails…
The remorseful missive can be found here, with the core (at least my dumb boy misreading of it) extracted here –
[…]Rebecca’s not a bitch. She’s a human dealing with duress poorly. Stop with the name calling.
Humans are predictable. If they’re doing something out of the ordinary, something’s up. There’s never a rational reason to throw a tantrum. If you see someone throwing a tantrum, that means they’re not thinking rationally and something is wrong. That should be a red flag to you to back off, not take her down to the ground, punch her on the back and yell at her broken, sobbing form that you’re tired of her shit. If her tantrum is misplaced, then it’s misplaced. Acknowledge the pain it indicates. She’s hurting right now. Period. […] – link to full post
Which is all well and good. A mature and sensible way of approaching this disaster. It depends, however, entirely on a leap of faith – that Becky is a rational human being capable of empathising in return, capable of viewing reality beyond “it’s all about me!” and capable of one day waking up and feeling remorse for all the needless bad blood she has so cynically instigated without consideration for consequence.
Becky fails on all counts. I don’t just say that because of the, probably unhealthy1, amount of time I have spent analysing this idiocy, but also because of the number of people I know within the skeptic community that have known Becky for many, many years and have similarly expressed their distaste at her selfish and narcissistic antics from the very start. To quote a chat with long time skeptic Sacha (a “gender traitor” and regular commenter here), verbatim and with permission, regarding this specific blog entry from Adrienne –
what she [Adrienne] does not get is that Becky
A: has always been this way
B: she was a complete cunt when i spoke to her on her wedding day, so this “going through a bad time” is bullshit
C: she has sycophants telling her how great she is on a constant basis and it has gone to her head
D: she needs to hear more dissenting opinion especially from skeptic women.
That will get to her more than the men
she can write off the men as sexist in her head
not so easy to do with bright, critical thinking women
more need to tell her the way it is
What Sacha has been repeating to me from the very start is that Watson’s contemptuous attitude to other, non-celebrity, females in the movement – behaviour that actually does live up to the dictionary definition of misogyny – has been there since before Skepchick became a web entity. For Adrienne to excuse this behaviour on the grounds that it may, perhaps, be a side effect of recent personal problems, while well meaning, is quite simply wrong. Becky has been a bundle of self-serving manipulation and hatred since probably well before Adrienne was even aware of the movement, and certainly well before that “marriage” thing blossomed and soured. This is not emotional turbulence, this is the essence of the being. Let’s catalogue this –
The recent insult that Becky paid to Adrienne, that set off a chain reaction culminating in the blogged expressions of regret, was also a double whammy of contempt I’m not sure Adrienne fully appreciates. Not only did Watson attempt to create a directly targeted public shaming of her, she did so while also falsely creating the impression that she was unaware of who Adrienne was – she was just a worthless and inconsequential “randomly” selected example, just the first piece of dog shit she happened to tread in when she stepped outside…
It was nothing of the sort – it was premeditated payback. It was slut-shaming, Watsonista style. These uppity, immodest bitches that don’t toe the line and want to express their own opinions. Traitors. Collaborators. Rape apologists. Sluts. Watson was fully aware of who Adrienne was – she just preferred to create the illusion she didn’t to add the “worthless” factor to the slur.
This is the same slut-shaming game Watson played out against Stef McGraw, Rose St. Clair, Paula Kirby and any other gender traitors not of the faith that speak out of turn. This vile character assassination shtick is, of course, turned into a game of viler oneupmanship by other Watsonistas, finding its zenith perhaps with Ophelia Benson and her Iranian cleric-like crusade against Abbie Smith and ERV…
noun: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women
Then from the specific to the generic. As for Becky’s oft regurgitated “I get rape emails!” whine. Really. Wake up and smell the sewer Becky. This is the internet. If you post a Youtube vid claiming Abyssinian cats are superior to Persians, and it gets wide enough circulation, you will get death threats. Similarly, if you post violated nun sob stories and squeal about the Patriarchal Conspiracy™, you will most likely get rape threats. It is raw Pollyannaist stupidity to express surprise when you do. This is the price you pay for freedom – it means other people also have the right to be mindless, vindictive assholes, not just you.
The reality is that there is a constant representation of malicious, sociopathic elements wherever you go online, other than the barricaded cloisters of the Baboon Board2 that are censored with an iron fist. To imply loons only target Becky is exceptionalist special pleading. A cheap play for sympathy in an already corrupt and unfairly stacked game. It is a deliberate pantomime from Becky to milk cheap emotional response from the uncritical and no more – as a professional communicator, she knows this and exploits it to the extreme. Watson knowingly and unapologetically plays in Dr. Phil territory – and the Watsonistas just lap it all up.
This is all an exercise to take a generic and non-specific problem that exists across the entirety of the ‘net, and repackage it into a highly specific and localised problem only affecting Becky. In short, it is a stage magicians deception and nothing more. Becky, as the old saying goes – if you can’t stand the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen. Just spare us the whining. I stopped even counting death threats I have received3 over time way back in the ’90s. Get over it. You are not that special.
Now back to the more personal – and some things I can at least partially agree on with Adrienne. She continues further in the same post –
…I don’t want to even know what goes on in her personal life, for the same reason it makes me uncomfortable to imagine my theory professor taking a piss… I started to catch a glimpse when someone linked me to a rather vitriolic post about her that contained all sorts of intimate details and speculation from her personal life that made me sick to my stomach… It’s not fun to read. I don’t enjoy reading about another human’s misfortune and I find it especially painful to watch someone plaster her very, very personal history (probably rumors) and grotesque speculation (solidly bullshit) all over the ‘net. It’s cruel and unnecessary. Skeptics should know better. Humanists should know better. ADULTS should know better…
While I need to call bollocks on the outright denial of schadenfreude (c’mon Adrienne, what is 90% of comedy if not laughing at the misfortunes of others?), I can agree with the rest – the private should remain private, and as far as speculation goes, always evidence or STFU. This is just basic, no-brainer, common decency and respect that no one should need explained to them.
But… again there is a leap of faith involved. One needs to assume that Watson and her acolytes share this sense of common decency. Well, they don’t Adrienne. There isn’t an ethical drop of blood in any of their veins. They have constructed their own quasi-religious moral dualism, driven a wedge into the earth to cement the division between “us” and “them” and proceeded to redefine good and evil in terms of their own, One True ideology.
Too bad for you if you’re one of “them”. All normal ethical considerations cease to have any substance. You are, for want of a better term, shit. And you have been personally shown that by their Watsonista slut-shaming of you.
In fact, the more you read of their various blog and forum outpourings and see their spoken diatribes, the more you come to realise that their entire vocabulary is the language of dehumanisation of the other – in substance no different to that of any other personality cult that’s preceded it. From Goebbels to Fred Phelps to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Valerie Solanas. We are the other. We are subhuman. That’s you, me and everyone else that refuses to drink the Kool-aid.
As for the specifics, Adrienne is very coy about pointing to actual examples, but I have no doubt they exist and have seen quite a few. There is a bottomless pit of gibberish about Watson’s freakshow from all ends of the socio-political spectrum, all levels of dignity and civility and messages that range from that of genius to the unintelligible.
For my mind, the prime example of uncivil and unintelligible Watson degrading gibberish is her Encyclopedia Dramatica entry. I fully agree with Adrienne that this kind of personal villification is something the planet would probably have been better off not producing. Where we will have to agree to disagree is whether it is cruel and unnecessary or not. Adrienne seems to believe it is. I am of the opinion that it is not – and that the ultimate responsibility for the creation of that particular web page lies with Watson herself4.
Before you shout me down Adrienne, consider – as vile as that page is, there is really nothing in it that surpasses the vileness of what Watson has said and done herself, or her Watsonistas have. I am sure you have seen more of that than you can stomach, so I won’t recycle examples here, and there are plenty of citations in my previous posts anyway. So regardless of what the intent of the ED page is, the reality is that it is little more than a mirror reflecting Becky’s behaviour back at herself. Each is as vile as the other. Yin and Yang.
As for the bloggers you hint at that push the limits of the personal, yes there are plenty of examples of those around too. You’ve probably seen this one at a guess and may have made veiled reference to it –
Girl, your elevator number backfired on you because after your “marriage” charade at TAM, your failed marriage & you getting fat only made you miss the attention, we have all been there but unlike you I hit the Gym because of the weight my children made me gain, you, on the other hand, could not bear it and went the pundit way.
You are just exploiting your personal failure through a misplaced sense of purpose, the truth is that your personal life is not successful, you cannot bear the idea of having children on your own because you cannot be better than your parents. All of that makes you dump all your need for a purpose onto skepticism.
Harsh? Perhaps. Cruel? Probably. Would I write something like that? No. But undeserved? Absolutely not.
There’s an Australianism for this – what goes around, comes around. Becky is paying the piper for a lifetime of narcissistic selfishness, backstabbing, socially manipulative piggery. You can criticise these types of items that are scattered all over the web on many grounds – but saying it’s undeserved is not one of them.
Becky is an absolute moral and ethical destitute. It is finally all coming back to haunt her. On the sum of all of her behaviour, the very idea of anyone ever needing to apologise to her over anything, anywhere and at any time is beyond absurd – and that goes especially for you.
If anyone needs to apologise, it’s Watson to us – for dragging godlessness and skepticism down into the gutters of divisive gender feminist and victim politics. If she had any decency whatsoever, she would apologise to us, exile herself from the public arena and allow the damage she has wrought to try and heal itself. But this will never happen. No tin-pot wannabe dictator in history has ever admitted being wrong about anything. It is we who always pay the price for their “infallibility” and “rightness”.
So Adrienne, while you torture yourself with considerations for Becky’s “feelings”, I would also like you to conduct a thought experiment. What “feelings” and “considerations” do you think were on Becky’s mind when she –
- gave the talk at the CFI Student Leadership Conference and presented examples of her “rape” mail via visual aids, implied much came from within the community, and without warning or explanation, blended images of Stef McGraw’s blog and personal details into the collage of “hate” as though she were one of the perpetrators – knowing full well Stef was in the audience?
- Or at the same conference, promoted skepticism by stating to an entrapped audience, that had no means of knowing better, that pretty much any woman that attended any skeptic conference was lucky to escape without being sexually assaulted?
- Or when she was deleting private data, sending forged messages and destroying user identities at Randi.org after finding she had elevated account priviliges, and then boasting about it?
- Or this vid of raw snarling desperation – where I have absolutely no idea what she was thinking?
- Or taking a cheap potshot at you in her latest blogged diatribe?
The list goes on. Perhaps, the trickiest of all, what consideration do you think she’d show you if you were all that stood between her and one of her undeserved pay packets? And we haven’t even touched in the issue of large scale racist and sexist demographic slanders and broad brush accusations of rape apologetics and gender treachery at any who pause to question her derangement.
I am perplexed. Adrienne, I am sure there is nothing but the best of intents behind your desire to make some kind of peace here. But it is wasted. For one, it won’t make a skerrick of difference – you will be on her hate list for eternity regardless of what you do, short of absolute submission, conversion and wholesale complicity for future abuses – which I like to assume you have too much dignity for. And second, the assimilate or destroy mentality would reject any peace offering you make anyway.
Really, you sound like too sensible a chick to be losing any sleep over this. Save your pity for those that deserve it. Do what you do well instead – keep on writing. Unapologetically.
1 – I’m getting tired of repeating this, but I keep having to. Watson is not my primary focus – the destruction of the last traces of Enlightenement Freethought is. Watson just happens to be such a complete package of everything that is wrong with secularism that she is a walking, talking reference point – a living, breathing “punch me, I’m stupid” sign, as are the entire Watsonista army.
2 – Yes they are sociopaths too. I know. But they are of the ideologically approved variety, and Becky can play with impunity there.
3 – Though I can count two relatively recent threats from new, new atheists. One a pseudo-historian that did not appreciate my dogging his footsteps for his relentless plagiarism, and the other a godless homeopath that did not like my closed mind. Safe as milk bet that both would be sitting in the Watsonista camp here.
4 – Salivating at the prospect of how the Watsonistas will mis-contextualise and misquote this. Here’s a start “HE SAID WOMEN THAT GET RAPED DESRVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111”. There is no such thing as too cheap a shot with these folks.