Friday, October 12, 2012

You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy. We Must Be Cautious.

Apparently the ranty professor hasn't heard it said that "no publicity is bad publicity":

But then the hyperskeptics kicked into action. I got dunned with people claiming that the slymepit really wasn’t that bad, how dare I damn them with this accusation, I should research the place before making such accusations (never mind that I’ve had past experience with it, that I see its denizens commenting all over FtB, and that it’s fucking called the fucking Slymepit).

...Oh, well. I am vindicated, and next time some blinkered asshole tells me to hyperskeptically examine my well-founded assumptions about the slymepitters, I’m just going to direct them to this post, because I’m not going to read that vile collection of misogynistic scum again, no matter how hard they try to guilt me into it.

As I hope I've made abundantly clear by now, I hate groups of people. By definition. With rare exceptions. Any group of, say, more than four or five people, unless they happen to be a rock band. But as I said the other day when making fun of the increasingly-ridiculous Adam Lee (who, not to be outdone, recently called the Slymepit a "hate site"), I've read the blogs at FTB and the A+ forums and been repulsed by the tendentious politics and the group dynamics among the commentariat. I also went and read several dozen pages at the Slymepit to see for myself what all the vitriol was about, only to conclude that reports of their infamy were greatly exaggerated. If anything, they seem more possessing of the anarchic spirit of irreverent mockery that certain atheists used to be known for until they started believing their own press about how they're going to change the world. I'm not sure giving them free advertising is going to have quite the effect he thinks it will.


  1. Brian M5:35 PM

    While I think some of the FTP stuff is a little over the top, you are seriously ignoring the rank misogyny and vileness of much of the anti-feminist crowd.

    As Ophelia pointed out, it is perfectly A-OK for that crew of teen boys (I assume they are all teen boys, right?) to let loose with the "bitch" and "cunt" words, yet somehow racial slurs are never used or not OK.

    I think it is perfectly OK to call out the underlying attitudes and to criticize use of language.

  2. As far as I could tell from the Slymepit, a fair number of them are women. A lot of them appear to be Brits and Aussies too, and they use "cunt" in conversation the way we talk about the weather.

    I don't use gendered insults myself, and I've written before about why I think they're stupid in general, and self-defeating in an argument. But "misogyny" gets thrown around like "privilege" in the A+ circles, to the point where it loses all meaning for me.

  3. brian m5:43 PM

    I think the levels of "conscioussness raising" can be stultifying sometimes, but I'm not sure that I would spend so much energy defending some horrific stuff. Haven't even spent any time at the Slyme Pit (why would I) but one cannot deny that there is some nasty stuff in the Mens Rights Movement and the nastier side of the Atheism (minus) movement.

  4. Brian M5:44 PM

    such as....

  5. In the post I was quoting from, PZ was ranting about the Slymepit specifically. After having read numerous such rants from him and other FTBers before, I finally got curious enough to wonder what this terrible place was, and what went on there. When I checked it out for myself, I saw a lot of things -- I saw some juvenile stuff, I saw some boring ramblings, I saw some right-wing viewpoints on everything from feminism to environmentalism, I saw some hilarious humor, and I saw some people who were genuinely pissed off at having been poorly treated by the A+ political correctness brigades and had some intelligent criticisms of them. It's not a monolithic place where loathsome people just sit around hating vaginas obsessively.

    I don't doubt people like that exist, but the FTB bloggers are being misleading if not outright dishonest in implying that all of their critics are misogynists and reactionaries, or that the Slymepit is the central HQ for people like that.

  6. Brian M8:50 PM

    Fair enough, Scribbler.

  7. Brian M12:00 PM

    But...and this is IT I promise!
    Quoted from one of the maelstroms of discussion on the topic:

    "What it sounds like you’re saying with this post is “I am tired if having to think about this stuff, and dealing with it is annoying me.” Now, by labeling people who call someone out as a troll and a bully, we can dismiss those people, and silence their concerns. The problem is, it won’t be the balloon examples– and this is already happening– it will be the examples of calling out overt misogyny (as in the skeptic community) or racism that will see the brunt of this labeling."

  8. That's funny; I was just reading that post.

  9. Anonymous2:56 AM

    The Vile Scribbler said...

    As far as I could tell from the Slymepit, a fair number of them are women. A lot of them appear to be Brits and Aussies too, and they use "cunt" in conversation the way we talk about the weather.

    One only has to do a simple google search - use of terms like "cunt" by FTB, specifically by Ophelia Benson who is obsessive about it, far outstrips the 'pit. It gets far, far worse when you dig even deeper. Making an image of just one month's worth of Benson's blog shows she averages 8 cunt outbursts per day.

    These complaints from FTB show more clearly than anything else a vulgar cultural imperialism and some kind of entitlement to "own" the language we all use and dictate how we use it. This is an interesting link -

  10. The Devil's Towelboy4:05 AM

    Here's a far more comprehensive study of Ophelia Benson's output -

    It's quite amazing. Love to see this done to the others.