I can’t really believe we are doing this all over again. Last year it was “elevatorgate”, and this year it’s the “not going to TAM shitstorm”. Both of these huge blowups have been caused by people who self-identify as “critical thinkers” attacking (harassing, threatening, name-calling…) an outspoken leader in the skeptic movement for – *gasp * – expressing her opinion.
Last year, Rebecca suggested on one of her regular youtube videos that propositioning a woman in an enclosed space late at night was not a way to make a woman feel safe and comfortable, especially not after she had announced that she was tired and just wanted to go to sleep. This triggered a series of escalating responses from both men and women. These responses ranged from the spurious (“others face more threat than you did, so why are you complaining”) to the absurd (“if we can’t proposition women in secluded elevators, how will we ever get a date”) to the thuggishly moronic (“fuck you, you should be raped”). And these, for the most part, from people who could rhyme off a dozen or so logical fallacies at the drop of a hat. Obviously they don’t actually understand the application of those logical fallacies in rational discourse.
This year, Rebecca stated that she didn’t want to attend TAM because JREF president D.J. Groethe chose to blame “…irresponsible messaging coming from a small number of prominent and well-meaning women skeptics…” for the decline in women registrants this year, rather acknowledging that the best way to attract more women might be to assure them that steps were being taken to make the event as safe and friendly to all participants as possible.
As with elavatorgate, Rebecca received a torrent of hate mail, threats of rape and accusations of all sorts. Again, this is the skeptical, supposedly critical thinking community. Apparently William Steig was right when he said “People are no damn good”.
So let me spell it out to those who feel it is okay to harass Rebecca Watson for stating her opinion, and I will try to use as few syllables in each word as possible:
If you scream that someone should be raped for saying that they don’t feel entirely safe attending a conference with you, I think you kind of make their point for them. Don’t you?
So to all those misguided, misogynistic, ignorant, threatening, willfully blind assholes out there, just grow up, will you?