Mr. Deity and the Opposition‬‏

Oh, darn. Even Mr. Deity tackles the Rebeccapocalypse.

Sneer Review: New TAM 9 schedule?

As bored as I already am with the Rebeccapocalypse, this is still funny:

Sneer Review: New TAM 9 schedule?

Somehow, this comes to mind, now:

Richard Dawkins & PZ Myers chatting away

Ah, the BHA put up their recent talk at the Institute of Education in June. Quite enjoyable, even though it was rather short due to the New College protesters that delayed its beginning.

Motivation

Well, what am I going to do with this blog?

I’m not exactly sure. Suffering from depression, motivation is one thing I don’t particularly have in abundance. Currently, I’m even thinking about checking myself back into hospital care. Yeah, my life’s a mess, again. Or rather, it didn’t improve after my last stay.

So, what happened in the roundabout half year since I’ve been released? Not much really, I’m still unemployed and failing to get things done. Some time after my stay, when I was still having semi-regular appointments as an outpatient, I was advised to phase out some of my meds which helped me to fall asleep at night and keep myself in a proper sleeping pattern.
I always was a creature of the night, so I guess it isn’t too surprising that I fell back into staying up a tad longer at night. At first, I still upheld a reasonable sleeping pattern. Sadly, over the course of the last three or four weeks I ended up having insomnia again, resulting in staying awake for up to 40+ hours. Needless to say, this results in finally falling asleep e.g. in the middle of a day, sleeping for way too long and ruining any sensible sleeping pattern.
Waking up late in the evening, failing to fall asleep again, trying to stay up to make use of the upcoming day, failing to do so, ending up wasting a perfect day asleep… it feels like a vicious circle.

How am I going to break that? I don’t really want to go inpatient right now. That would mean I can’t even have a shot on getting my life back in order during the stay. Rather, I lean towards getting back to my original dosage and combination of meds. I believe I’ll manage to uphold the med taking schedule, if necessary I’d even take the plain sleeping pills again. I hope my general practitioner still validates my hospital report so I can get my prescriptions. Otherwise I’ll have to show up as an outpatient in the hospital.

Hey, I formulated a plan, albeit a vague one. Better than nothing. I guess that was one of the ideas floating around in my head when I created the blog.
I remembered how I was scribbling away random thoughts during my early twenties, mostly when I was hanging out at various bars on my own. That was also the phase when I did not drink any alcohol. I guess that writing was helping me back then to keep my life afloat. Even though I already was a rather weird person back then, I managed not to fuck up completely.
I was not officially diagnosed until about two years ago. That was the first time I completely shut down and failed to drag myself through a daily routine for longer than a few days/a week at a time. Until then, I could at least pretend to be functioning normal.

Maybe that’s what I’ll be doing with this blog. Writing down what’s going through my mind to help me straightening out my thought patterns, how I’m dealing with my depression, how depression affects me, and other stuff that interests me.
If I manage to muster enough motivation, that is.

I don’t expect to attract a sustainable readership, I mean who cares about random person’s problems. As long as I get something out of it and blogging ends up having the tiniest positive role in achieving to have a life again that doesn’t resemble a complete mess and utter failure, it was worth it.
In case some reader actually enjoys my musings or can take something away from it, that would be a nice bonus.

Blogosphere shitstorm being picked up by papers

aka the tale of Dawkins making a sarcastic comment on a blog that I think rightfully can be seen as appalling, misguided and knee-jerky which subsequently made it into online news papers. (Yep, there were a lot of colourful adjectives being used to describe Dawkins mishap.)

So, I’ll attempt to recap the gist of the shitstorm with lame attempts to see this in a lighthearted way.

Hey, I guess if tweets can make news in meat space that’s totally expected for blogosphere drama, or something. At least atheist blogs and their comments are noteworthy enough for some online papers.

What did disrupt the calm ocean of the atheist teacup? Well, in this case a coffee cup would be a more apt metaphor as a lot of folks probably would have benefited from more caffeine and a bit more hunting for the facts before commenting during this whole mess.
Yep, this is about ElevatorGate, or rather Rebeccapocalypse as it was so beautifully termed by Greg Laden. If you’re completely unaware of the ordeal (which I doubt if you end up at my blog after virtually the whole atheist/skeptic sphere chimed in) start with Greg Laden’s posts in his Rebeccapocalypse category and follow links to other blogs (Laden’s link farm post might be a good starting point).

Note – I won’t give every freaking detail. That would be way too much work.

So, how did it come about?

The starting point was Rebecca Watson’s vlog in which she merely mentions in passing how some guy made a rude, unwanted and frankly lame and idiotic pass at her. In an elevator. Hence ElevatorGuy (EG). And the words coffee were used. I guess coffee is more arousing than tea, so the whole saga that ensued is understandable. Or maybe not.
Rebecca simply asked that such lame, creepy behaviour shouldn’t be repeated.

A blog post by Stef McGraw (which largely missed the point and ran away from the point made by Watson), a talk by Rebecca Watson at CFIcon using McGraw’s post and some reactions to that started some dissent. Mainly because Watson may or may not have addressed McGraw’s post in a wrong way. (I’m withholding judgment on that until the CFIcon video becomes available.) McGraw posted her impression and Watson clarified her position after that talk.
After that it went off the rails, especially when PZ Myers chimed in, giving it even more exposure due to his huge readership.
And the rest is history, or something. It goes messy and hard to follow.

There were verbal battles about EG’s intent, if that mattered at all, if EG was or wasn’t sexist, if Watson was correct in naming McGraw, if Watson misaligned McGraw, and a lot more nitpicking which I lost track off. Some old personal animus was revived, some probably newly created. Major battle themes were feminists vs. MRAs. Some people called for calming down, the reactions to that were everything from lauding to damning. Some jokes were attempted (e.g. Hemant Mehta’s T-Shirt posts), which were received in diverse ways. Somehow it could be argued they weren’t called for as Hemant made a calm down post before that.

Some aftershocks still occur at various blogs (too many to mention).

Oh yeah, and at some point in the middle of all this, Richard Dawkins made 3 comments at Pharyngula. Jen McCreight replied to the first two. Let’s classify those as being misguided, probably outright wrong, at the very least ill-received. That’s fine everyone fucks up from time to time. Dawkins’ third comment was him asking for explanations why he was wrong without using fuck in every sentence. *giggle*

And this is now being picked up by papers / news outlets on the net:

And those are mostly weird. I mean I understand it’s hard to have a grasp of the whole shitstorm, but except for Gawker they fail to reasonably tell the whole story.

  • David Allen Green from the New Statesmen leaves out a lot and seems more interested in grinding an axe with Dawkins and atheists in general (Why the fuck does he bring up AC Grayling and Johann Hari? Not involved, afaik)
  • Caitlin Dickson from the Atlantic Wire only deals with it on the surface and kinda simplifies what was said to be fought about and what actually was fought about. And frankly, no one’s winning. This is a discussion. Opinions may change, but no one will have won. Hopefully after cooler (re?)examining of the facts the best conclusions will prevail. Then the discussion was good to be had.
  • Gawker’s Brandon K. Thorp gives the best account. And his attempts at humour are actually enjoyable. I don’t understand why he links to stclairerose’s vlog (which was only briefly discussed at the very beginning) and missed the angle about McGraw.

So, the article on Gawker is actually rather good given how messy the last days weeks where.

So, Dawkins’ comments got picked up along with Watson’s contributions and some other participants were mentioned, too. From what I saw mostly better-known names. The way this was reported, I’m not sure if this exposure gives up a good light. Oh well.

What do I take away so far? During this I

  • was sad
  • laughed
  • was disappointed
  • reevaluated my positions
  • stumbled across some blogs I didn’t know
  • changed some stances
  • learned some tidbits
  • got bored
  • even left some comments (yeah, I fueled the fires, too)
  • …?

I guess somehow it still results in a net positive. Even though some of the exchanges went awry, it’s good to have discussions about sexism / feminism.

There are still minor points I’m not yet settled about (mainly about Watson’s talk at CFIcon and her point about McGraw as the video’s not yet out – I’m curious if that video will have an effect on ERV’s opinions).

So, let’s end on a light note, we’ve got visuals to remember this:

UPDATE: What I forgot to mention: I wonder if any of the main blog overlords mailed each other over this issue to ask for clarification on the respective standpoints before furiously making post after post after post in order to avoid misunderstandings? ;-)

Comic subtlety meets internet rage

So, Richard Glover of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote a thought provoking (albeit not that awesome) column about the stubborn tendency towards denial or overreaction when presented with facts that either challenge or support ones underlying ideologies. Read that original column first, it’s a nice enough read and obvious that it uses subtle humour and some hyperbole in jest.
Anyway, after the column had been linked by some US right-wing website, Glover was met with some serious internet rage by right-wing whiners:

After 25 years writing this column, I’ve had my first experience of an internet hate campaign. So far, more than 2400 people, nearly all American, have emailed me. More emails come every time I hit the send/receive button. About 5 per cent contain threats of violence. Even stranger, quite a few threaten me with sexual violence. They say, in various forms, that they want to rape me.

That’s hilarious in a weird way. I suppose most of those emails were written by men, as studies show that men are more likely to engage in internet fora and the like (among other reasons due to the often appalling sexism). 120 threats of violence isn’t that surprising, but quite a few rape threats? Considering the demographics of homosexuality in the US only around 8 percent of men identify as gay or bisexual (in 2010). Why would those other ~90 percent threaten him with rape? Well, rape is about power, not sex, so uncontrolled show of violence again? I fear this also shows something else: maybe “good old” homophobia rears its ugly head again, as well as sexism – being penetrated resembling women, and seeing them as weak. I guess it’s not hilarious after all; it’s rather demonstrating how wide-spread sexism and homophobia still is? Fuck that. :(

So, it’s going to be interesting to see with what further nonsense those right-wingers have come up.
Glover first gives us some background how this mess came about:

Here’s how it started. Last week, in this spot, I wrote a piece about climate change. It was critical of both the left and the right and contained some comic hyperbole about both: that environmental zealots wanted us all to live in caves and that climate-change deniers should tattoo their beliefs on their bodies so they couldn’t later deny their role in preventing action on climate change.

After that, Glover elaborates on some of the best bits he received. From being labelled as commie (kinda expected) to alluding to becoming worm fodder. It’s quite funny. Weird, but funny. A good read. And sad, as the reactions seem to support those awful stereotypes of – you know – gun-toting, rather uneducated ‘Mericans. I don’t know such obnoxious characters, I’ve only met pleasant, open-minded, welcoming and caring US citizens. Seriously folks, where do you hide ‘em? ;-)
I bet there are left-leaning idiots too, but the right-leaning ones don’t seem to hold back from showing off their stupidity as much.

Without further ado, hop on over to the SMH and have some lulz reading A climate change wave of hate.

Blasphemous Rumours

Depeche Mode’s awesome track put into a short:

Afaik, this was created by film students, but I can’t find the info to verify that right now.

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