Posts Tagged ‘TAM’

Skepchick: Embrace Victim-hood!

July 24, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church being allowed to perform the protests they do highlights exactly how much the US as a whole recognizes the importance of free speech.  Of course I don’t agree with WBC, but it nonetheless underscores the high regard that first world nations have for folks to have the freedom to express themselves. Y’know its one of those ‘I disagree with what you say, but will fight to the death for your right to say it‘ type things.

Now lets compare this attitude to that of Surly Amy (Amy Roth) over at Skepchick.  She was apparently reduced to tears simply because someone wore a Tshirt (see below).  Not only that, she seems to be working on the delusion that she has the privilege that the rest of the world owes it to her to make sure she is never offended.  In her own words:

“I think one of the most hurtful things I experienced while attending TAM was Harriet Hall’s Tshirt that she wore three days in a row. I told her through tears, in the speakers’ lounge, that it was dehumanizing and gender/color blind and very hurtful to me specifically as a person who does have to deal with harassment regularly.”

Yes this is exactly the T-shirt that Amy Roth describes as “dehumanizing”

If you are banging your head on the desk in disbelief at the moment I just want to remind you that this is a girl who blogs regularly on skepchick, and has been supported by freethoughtblogs.  She’s also the girl who makes those little ceramic pendants that many people wear (or maybe used to wear at conferences before Amy’s crying over a Tshirt antics).  Indeed the only way I think you might have a chance of explaining her self-centered position to Amy is though the concept of reciprocation.  How would she feel if I were to be in tears because of people wearing those little ceramic pendants at conferences, suggesting that they indicate people support her anti-freespeech position, and that merely wearing these pendants is ‘dehumanizing’ and ‘very hurtful to me’, with the clear expectation that everyone else should conform to behaviors that I do not find hurtful or offensive: anything less would just be hateful.

Yup, I’m pretty sure Amy would fairly quickly come around to the position that just because someone takes offense at a t-shirt (or similar), no how matter how hysterical the outburst, it really should have no impact on the way conferences are run.

Now it turns out Amy Roth has since issued a ‘clarification’.  It’s often said that a clarification is not made to make oneself clear, but to put oneself in the clear.  Regrettably that only works if you are honest and/or competent, rather than just the shamelessly self serving ‘Rebecca Watson’ type attempt to rewrite history.

So initially Amy writes:

July 17, 2012 at 11:32 am“I think one of the most hurtful things I experienced while attending TAM was Harriet Hall’s Tshirt that she wore three days in a row. I told her through tears, in the speakers’ lounge, that it was dehumanizing and gender/color blind and very hurtful to me specifically as a person who does have to deal with harassment regularly.”

Well that seems pretty clear to me as to what Amy thought the score was, and then one day later this becomes:

July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am  “So know that just a ‘silly tshirt’ did not reduce me to tears. Sadly, there was a lot more going on.”

Yup in just one day, a T-shirt goes from “dehumanizing”, “gender/color blind” and “very hurtful” to now just a “silly tshirt”.  Think someone is trying to shamelessly rewrite history there Amy!

But this is peanuts compared to the Skepchick dishonesty.  Initially Amy writes:

July 17, 2012 at 11:32 am “I said I was glad she felt safe and that I wouldn’t have sent 22 women to the event if I didn’t think it was safe for them either. So who was she talking to?”

Bravo Amy for saying how you think TAM is safe.  Great so what was all the ‘we want a policy and to lynch someone at TAM’ tantrum of FTB and skepchick all about?

Oh wait…. wait… Amy is about to retell the story….

July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am “I hope that Harriet will realize why it was so hurtful and why I was offended by both the front and the back. Some of us have been harassed at events and do not feel safe. The shirt was also hurtful to those in that context as well.”

Bravo Amy, Bravo (slow hand clap), so now we have two sequentially, mutually inconsistent accounts of ‘history’ from the same person, both given within about a day of each other.  One in which TAM is safe, and that’s why you have worked to send people there, and in the other versions of ‘Skepchick’ history, where you worked to send people to an environment that was not safe, indeed that you worked to send women to an environment populated by “gropers and PUAs and drunk fumblers“.  **SLOW HAND CLAP**

Amy concludes with this:

“I have a lot of respect for Harriet, I hope that at some point she will realize that she could have sent the message she wanted without using the name of the blog I write for in the wording and that it was unnecessary.”


“I will continue to try to be a better person and I will continue to try to help other people get involved and to set an example of kind, productive, proactive behavior in hopes that more people will follow my lead than the those who want to mock and belittle.”

The sheer double standards here is knee weakening!  Not two posts from one her blog entries on Skepchick, Rebecca Watson is saying that people (notably myself and Paula Kirby) who disagree with them on reason based arguments, actually all think they are a Totalitarian Nazis clique. (FACEPALM)

The last person I saw with such a relish for playing the professional victim was Dawahfilms.  Now Rebecca ‘Rape threat’ Waston just can’t resist the temptation to play the victim again.  I guess it’s like trying to teach an old dog new tricks 😦

Great Amy, so on one hand you are reduced to tears because someone uses the name of the site you blog for, and on the other you have no problem with that same blog suggesting that someones reasoned argument is invalid because you (skepchick) claim they think you are nazis.  Wow a great double whammy there of professionally playing the victim and wholesale well poisoning.  That’s right, professional victim Rebecca ‘rape threat’ Watson leading the Skepchicks effort to ‘set an example of kind, productive, proactive behavior in hopes that more people will follow my lead than the those who want to mock and belittle.’ by suggesting that those who disagree with her think they are Totalitarian Nazi.  Damn not seen anyone so zealously eager to embrace victim-hood since dawahfilms.

Friday 15th – Mon (The Amazing Meeting! Part 2)

July 20, 2011

Got a little lost trying to meet up with the gang for lunch, and while wandering I bumped into Richard Dawkins.  We exchanged pleasantries, but he was clearly going somewhere and I was lost and late for lunch.  Had lunch with DataJack, Ashley and ZOMGitscriss, although me and Crissy were so stuffed from breakfast that we could only hack coffee.  I then went out to the car to bring out the ‘big guns’:  MY catholic outfit and the communion wafers.  By the time I got back to the convention some talk had just finished and there was a giant table full of giant, and very sweet looking cookies.  So I did what any sensible person would have done under such circumstances, I opened up the communion wafers and added them as a plate on the end of the cookie table!

Rev Tfoot and his wafers!

As people filtered by I accosted them with the words ‘Blasphemy Maam?, blasphemy Sir?’,’Get your celestial zombie flesh here, freshest in town!’, ‘Remember Sir, blasphemy is a victim-less crime’ and so on.  Even went in to find PZ at one point and we muched on communion wafers blessed with the magic words from Army of Darkness ‘Klaatu barada nikto.’  Got through about 250 wafers in the end.  It was a  gloorrious blasphemy !  Spent most of the afternoon chatting with people of one sort or another, mostly from RDF and SSA.  Wearing a priest uniform is absolutely fantastic.  All I had done was put on a dress, and people started treating me with all sorts of underserved respect.  It’s baffling to me why wearing the uniform of irrationality should bring you social respectability but it does, and YES, definitely I was soooo tempted to abuse that underserved respect.  Y’see Chuck Norris was guest of honor at some dinner for a karate championship, sooo tempted to bluff my way in and ask him why he hated the flying spaghetti monster.  There was also a significant amount of debate about who would win in a show down between Norris and Dawkins.  It later transpired that Norris had a security detail to take care of him which really kinda burst the internet meme of the indestructible and unbeatable man.

In early evening came the hot tubing!  Regrettably I didn’t have a swimming costume of any sort, so I did what any self respecting man wanting to show the absurdity of religion would do, and went hot tubing in my priest uniform (having stripped off my pants and shoes of course).  IT WAS FAAANTASTIC!  Not only did everyone love it, but the bubbles were going up my dress.  It was just like Marilyn Monroe in subway season.  The drinks had already started to flow, and I had managed to bring some of the 151 out to the hot tub, and by the time they turned the bubbles off I was already ‘a little bit tipsy’.  It then suddenly occurred to me as I was walking back into the hotel, that I was almost naked, bar my priests dress.  I had no wallet, my pants were in someone elses room, and I didn’t have a key, indeed the only thing I had left was the car key and whistle around my neck.  Other than that I was walking around Vegas, dressed as a priest, with only my underwear to protect my chastity.  Well I guess it’s something to cross off my ‘to do’ list.  Back at Delmars (the bar) the booze continued to flow, till many a drink later, I retired with Liz n Howard to pass out on their sofa.

The next morning (Sunday), this time, much the worse for wear I headed down for breakfast with a craving for pancakes.  Enroute bumped into bumped into Eugenie Scott of NCSE and we chatted for a bit about the possibility of doing an interview or something in LA.  Hooked up with Crissy, Liz and Howard for breakfast.  Service was fairly slow, and breakfast was late, so I had to excuse myself early to a podcast with the ‘Ardent Atheist’.  PZ was there, but damn was my brain ‘morning after the night before’ fried.  I did the trooper thing and did my best to hold it together, but, oooh, could I have done with another 4 hours sleep and some paracetamol!  The podcast was made all the more interesting by a girl who was a theist of some sort.  She was very sporting about it, but ultimately missed the fact what makes science, well science, is the models need some level of predictivity.   Somewhat recovered over the afternoon before helping the RDF guys pack up before heading off to dinner with them (a pleasant sushi house).  Back at Delmars that evening things went in a rather predictable fashion with the exception that people were visibly thinner on the ground.  We took a brief break from the bar as Crissys fans had given her some stuff to do while at TAM before heading back down to the bar.

Randi showed up briefly and everyone in the bar went absolutely ballistic.  Said a mournful goodbye to Ashley, who had been run ragged over the past few days (she had an early flight), but not before giving me instructions to keep Crissy safe and make sure she got back to her room safe (having some knowledge of how these conferences tend to play).  I hung around for a couple of hours but I too was a spent force, and by now in pigtails(!), and after explaining to Crissy my ‘duties’, she made it quite clear that the gesture was appreciated, but she was aware of what these conferences were like, and could handle it, and she looked like it too!  Said my goodbyes to Crissy too, gonna be while before I see her again. 😦

Went up to sleep in a vacated room of one of the folks from the RDF.

On the final day (actually the day after the conference ended, Monday), I was again feeling kinda groggy, but not that bad.  Took breakfast with friends from RDF (M, S and N), before helping them shift some of their stuff.  On walking out of the casino, I suddenly realized I had no plan for what to do next.  None.  Took a brief look at the map and decided that I should head towards California.

Friday 15th – Sun (The Amazing Meeting! Part 1)

July 19, 2011

Made it on the Road out of Telluride on the 15th at about 9ish with the prospect of the 11 hr drive to Las Vegas for the Amazing meeting, about 600 miles through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.  The road from Telluride to Moab was fantastic though some of the most dramatic red canyonland I’ve seen.  Then came the long grind across Utah.   Turns out in my haste to get on the road I was again worrying short on supplies, most notably water.  The traffic going across I70 is really very light, and for good reason, it’s a road to nowhere across some of the most ‘god aweful’ country imaginable.  Not to say it’s not pretty though, indeed all the rest areas are ‘view points’.  Most of them have vendors selling indian jewelry right underneth the ‘no vending’ signs.  Didn’t see a cop for hundreds of miles, and it’s not surprising, frequently its 50+ miles between gas stations.  The sedimentary rock is very similar to that of the grand canyon half a state to the south.

Got to TAM late in the evening and met up with Crissy and Ashley at Delmars, the bar there.  Soon after I’d met  Mr Deity, Captain Disillusion and many others (W00T!).  Everyone was really friendly, but I was a spent force.  11 hrs of driving in 12 hrs can really take it out of you.

Thankfully there was plenty of booze around and it’s amazing how quickly you can forget about your fatigue.  Quite soon I was whisked off to Penns ‘donuts and ham party’ upstairs.  Great fun all round, and there was quite soon some very drunk and very discoordinated swaying to Lennons ‘Imagine’.  And yeah, this really does sum up the atmosphere at TAM, really friendly and really fun!  Small wonder its growing at 30 % a year 😀

Turns out the casino, while a monument to mankinds inability to do statistics, is a sort of rational oasis, with many an atheist performer.  Ashley knows EVERYBODY and soon my poor little brain, shaken off it’s foundations by a combination off countless hours of driving, worry about having no water in the desert, too much booze,  dancing, donuts, good company and a whirl of new faces n names was overloaded.  Eventually we headed up to Lisa n Howards place on the top floor.  By this time, verily the worse for wear, all I remember was the view was epic, and the main topic of conversation with a male stripper was, ‘was it possible for a man to take his socks off sexily’.

Woke up on Saturday still kinda buzzed, indeed I seemed to spend most of my time in Vegas either drunk or recovering.  In fact now that I think about it thats pretty much how everyone seemed to spend their time at Vegas, well of course apart from the big hitters.  Some real philanthropists at TAM too (thinking of you Mr-DataJack), folks who were ready to invest real amounts of money in the movement, and were more than happy to spring for breakfast.  Breakfast was HUGE and spent it with Crissy and Troy (comedy Jesus).

Well I’d love to say more, but the suns setting here in Barstow, and I’ve still got to find some food and somewhere quiet for the night!


Thursday July 14th (Well paint me red and call me tickled pink!)

July 14, 2011

For the large part when I’m on the road I like to fly ‘under the radar’, keeping myself to myself.  Where travel’s involved, that mostly involves sleeping in the car: it’s just you just spend minimum downtime between getting to places that way.  You can find somewhere quiet before it’s fully dark, and be on the road in the grey dawn, well before sunrise.  Sure it’s SMALL, cramped and uncomfortable, I mean the car is so full of stuff that there is zero chance of putting the seats back or anything. But it also comes with some wonderful gems of moments that otherwise you just wouldn’t experience.  Really wholesome, beautiful moments, like putting your feet up with a near panoramic view of dusk moodily creeping over the San Juans in the Rockies,

Or waking up to the pregnant imminence of the oncoming sunrise on the high plains.

In that sense Vegas is somewhere I would normally drive through.  No one knows I came, no one knows I left.  However I put out a tweet earlier this week saying I was hoping to make it to TAM (still going to be a hard days drive though (~11 hrs)).  Wasn’t even sure what was going to happen when I got there.  So I got in touch with Ashley the other day, just to keep he up to speed that it was now likely that I would actually make it, only to be told that I was expected to the level where accommodation had been arranged!

That blew my little cotton socks off!  My plans had merely gotten as far as ‘get to Vegas!’, with everything after that falling into the ‘improvise and adapt’ category and it was just really nice to find out that someone had heard that I was incoming and was looking out for me.