Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ophelia Benson or Sam Harris: Who is the Real Sexist?

So Sam Harris' latest blog gives us his glowing feelings on Malala Yousafzai, recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here is the title and first line of his blog:

Malala's Incredible Contribution
From time to time one discovers a person so good at her role that it is almost impossible to imagine her doing anything else. 

Perhaps you can see the dreadful sexist faux-pas Sam committed there?

Struggling?

Ok, well I told you a little white lie (cheeky me)! Sam actually has written a new blog post but it is actually about a guy called Dan Carlin, who has impressed Sam so much with his history podacast that Sam felt compelled to blog about it.

Here is the title and first line:



Dan Carlin's Hardcore History*
From time to time one discovers a person so good at his job that it is almost impossible to imagine him doing anything else. 

Now you see the blatant sexism?......... Of course you do! (?!?!?!)
 

The sexism is so awful that Ophelia Benson was compelled to call him out on itThis is what Ophelia wrote:


This is one big reason I don’t like Sam Harris. It always has been (since he became someone to like or not like, that is). I went to his blog to look for his post on liberals and Islam, and in the process of looking (which I haven’t completed yet because I paused to say this) I read the first sentence of the first post.
From time to time one discovers a person so good at his job that it is almost impossible to imagine him doing anything else.
It’s just odd, and stubbornly clueless, that even now, even after a big disagreement with a lot of feminists about the way he talks about women, he does that.


So, if we ignore that Ophelia is indulging in the very behaviour she regards as harassment when done to her (trawling her blogs for things to criticise); if we ignore the fact that Sam had a man in mind when he was making that statement; if we further ignore that Ophelia cynically fails to point out to her readers that Sam's piece was minded of a specific male individual and that this had already been mentioned in in the title - then we are left with whether Sam's language was, indeed, sexist and whether it was really something worth pointing out.
 

I will allow you to decide that one for yourself. Perhaps also to decide whether Ophelia would have been equally motivated to write her blog had Sam's really been about Malala and he had used the word "her" instead.
 

What I wonder, instead, is what Ophelia means when she talks about feminists?
 

Does the feminism she refers to mean:
 

1) An interest in opposing inequalities only when it is women who are the ones suffering as a result of that inequality. A feminism that is solely about women's issues and not about men's issues (except on the odd occasion they inadvertantly end up being addressed as some byproduct of addressing a women's issue)?
 

2) Or a philosophy that champions equality for both sexes(/all genders) and seeks to address inequalities that men and women face whenever and wherever they face them?
 

What I DO know is that an inordinate number of people keep telling me that feminism is about the latter: that feminism is about addressing inequalities for women and men alike. In fact, YouTuber AronRa seems to get quite shirty with anyone who challenges this idea that feminism is about the rights of everyone.


A little background:
My job is to fight fires. In years gone by only men performed the job and they were called "firemen". Once the decision was rightly made to allow women to apply and work alongside the chaps the role was changed to "firefighter" to reflect that this was now a job for women as well as men. This was the right change to make.

True enough, some argued that the name "fireman" should remain on grounds of tradition, or origin, or because, in the main, those who did the job were male.

So I ask Ophelia what her feminism is about? What is the feminism of those to who she refers? If it is about the rights of all then perhaps it is she, rather than Sam Harris, that needs to consider the gendered language she uses.

Of course, perhaps, like those dinosaur firefighters (most of whom retired a decade or more ago) she will fall back on talk of tradition, or the origins of the term, or that feminism is (out of necessity) more often about women's issues than men's, to justify the continued usage of gendered language for a gender neutral term. Perhaps she too, like those firemen of old, has become a dinosaur?

What do you think? Is Harris the worst offender here, or has Ophelia failed to see the log in her own eye?

Thanks for reading
noelplum99 (my YouTube home, should you wish to subscribe)
My patreon (should you wish to support me)
Noel Plum (my twitter account)

PS: This is aimed at Ophelia but she won't get to read this (she blocks me in every way she can) but if you found it a useful insight into the way she (mis)represents people, or perhaps you find it a shocking example of Sam Harris' sexism instead - either way pass this on :)

*porn fans may find this somewhat of a disappointment

67 comments:

  1. Ophelia is deliberately finding fault to convince her followers that the anyone she doesn't wholeheartedly endorse is unworthy of listening paying attention to. Its reinforcing the 'out-group-think' mentality that's been carefully cultivated for the past few years. It seems they are so hung up on the gender way that everything is about it - this could have been a blog article on Heinz beans and it would have been twisted into the inequality of intestinal worms to infect men as often as women or vice versa.

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  2. I don't...I've read that sentence and her response to it over and over again, and I still can't quite make out what was wrong with it. What is she going on about? What blow to women's rights did Mr. Harris make by writing that sentence?
    --Nemo Oudeis

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    1. OH! Because Sam used the words "he" and "him" when referring to a specific (male) individual. Well HOW DARE HE. Is nothing sacred to the patriarchy?!?
      --Nemo Oudeis

      Delete
  3. Your Twitter link is coming up 404 for me. I didn't check the others. It's hard to address the issues of the 'new feminists' because I have yet to figure out exactly what the hell it is they are so upset about in the first place!! It's always looked to be more of a press strategy to wrest reporting on real women's suffering onto the backs of girls suffering such indignities as too many shades of nail polish to choose from. Or not enough. Who knows? Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Michael Shermer, and now Sam Harris? When do they get around to Steven Hawkings? Surely he can be tagged as having made an askew glance somewhere along the way? Ferchrissakes. #firstworldgirlyproblems Enjoy.

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    1. No problem. Here's the latest salvo I've tossed into the mix. Let me know if you find any 'mistakes' in it out of professional courtesy. LOL. http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/gamer-grating/ Enjoy.

      Delete
  4. Ok I've read the post and i have to admit, I'm still not sure how Harris was sexist. Was it because he used "his" and "him" in a sentence which referred to a man? If so then i have to say im on Harris side on this one. Do we really have to always use "his/her"? That just needlessly clutters up the sentence. If it is really such a big problem why not just use "it" and "its". That would at least be gender neutral (still completely unnecessary though)
    -MrWerwipf (youtube)

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    1. I'm also seriously struggling to understand it as well.
      I just read her comments and apparently the primary objection is the use of the pronoun "him" i.e. "It is hard to imagine him"
      Other than my instinctive bad reaction to anything that sounds like grammar nazism, I dont see what the big deal is.

      Lets just assume the worst case that he did intentionally use it, or even that he just worded it poorly, is that supposed to say something about his character?

      - Arakash (youtube)

      Delete
  5. Eh, link's aren't working for me.

    Regardless, neither of the two are exhibiting sexism here and you know it Jim. Benson's grasping at straws, like she does regularly, to portray Harris as an asshole (which isn't even hard to do, so her failure here is quite pathetic).

    PZ Myers, Jason Thibeault or any other FTB bell-end could've written the exact same post without her batting an eye-lash. Because the sins of the "out-group" are the virtues of the "in-group".

    Just like doxxing or making threats or harassment (actual- or the skepchick variety harassment), the rules of the plebs are not the rules of the patrons. Some animals are more equal than others. The peoples representatives are not beholden to the decrees issued to the public, et.c.

    Let's be fair to the feminists: When it comes to Myers and his ilk, feminism is just a catchy slogan, not an actual ideological conviction. You can't have those when your defining character traits are hubris and hypocrisy.

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  6. I do like the comments on FTB article. Almost like nobody did read what the Sam Harris article was about. But that can't be the case, since all those people are brutally skeptical and rational, so they must have actually clicked the article in question. /sarcasm

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  7. The core of feminism should be the second option which has been given in the above blog. I am a self-described feminist and I give myself this label under the notion that this is the definition thereof. However, there are a great deal of people who seek to co-opt the movement to make it about extreme political correctness and cherry-picking minute and unimportant details to support their political biases. Sam Harris, when read by any normal person, certainly does not come off sexist and in fact has never said a single thing which would indicate any sexism in his beliefs. Ophelia is practicing an all-encompassing confirmation bias. Like many other neo-liberals and unabashed multi-culturalists she has chosen Sam Harris as someone to hoist all of her misguided scrutiny onto. Sam speaks in subtleties and statements with nuance. To the intellectual this makes him a revered figure; to the ideologue this makes him an easy target for purposeful mistranslation and Strawman arguments.

    The above is how I surmise the situation, feel free to stop reading here if you like, but I wanted to also address something else I have noticed as a radical leftist and activist. This is the notion of 'triggers.' Most people in these communities use this term in a certain deliberate context, which is to say 'a word, notion, image, or topic which conjures painful feelings onto a viewer in the audience.' However I intend to use it in a different way here. I am speaking of certain trigger words or phrases that radicals associate with the behavior and ideology of their opponents. For example, to the radical leftist, 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' immediately triggers the feeling as if the speaker of this phrase is a radical rightist. Just from saying these words they might load on an enormous number of preconceived notions about the speaker's greed, views on self-determination, economic biases, etc... In the same exact way many feminists and social activists have come to associate a variety of trigger words and phrases with this patriarchal oppressive tendency. In all cases this is rather misguided, however in some feminist circles it has become extremely commonplace. So commonplace that they have even associated the usage of pronouns that are not to their liking as a trigger.

    We can see this in her wording in the article:

    "The End of Faith was like that on every damn page, and after awhile I couldn’t stand it any more."

    She has set up these specific trigger words and trigger phrases in such a thorough and un-introspective manner that she considers them blanket detractors. To me, as someone who heavily identifies with the roots of the feminist movement, this is a good indicator of how to pick the charlatans from those who actually just desire social justice. Ophelia indicates herself as the former. She is so concerned with getting stuck on trigger words and trigger phrases that she does not even actually inspect the argument of her opponent. She is intellectually lazy and bypasses argumentation to focus on modes of self-victimization and strawmen.

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    1. manthasagittarius1 here --
      Yes, indeed. It has long since got to the point in a fair few domains, certain forms of feminism not the least, where the trigger is indistinguishable from all the content there is (or is perceived to be necessary).

      Delete
    2. A highly illuminating comment. The sad thing is, as someone who is politically central, I know that there will be quite a number of goals I will nevertheless share with people more politically ideological (and radical) than myself but which may well be expressed in different ways - with different language.
      To not see the same goals but simply see a difference in language or expression is to do those goals a disservice I think.

      Delete
  8. Oh for the love of Dworkin. Unbelievable.

    In case it doesn't show up on her blog (because the comment is awaiting moderation), I wrote: "Earth to Oafie: HE WAS WRITING ABOUT A GUY! It's right there in the title!"

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    1. What a shock - she didn't allow my post to go up.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. She's playing the Bitch....Cheers

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  11. Sometimes you've gotta laugh to stop yourself from shoving the gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger. These people have become so isolated from the real world and so cocooned within their echo chambers that they can even think this is worth mentioning. They attack for the sake of it, using the flimsiest of pretexts and minutiae, because their existences are so worthless that if they stopped and contemplated themselves, they'd slit their wrists in a warm bath.

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  12. As an aside, here's the 'disclaimer' I posted at the bottom of my "pending moderation" comment on the site that claims to be tracking and mocking the "New Misogyny":

    (cross posted to my blog (http://wp.me/pHN7O-1ix) with a link back to here since I can never (almost assuredly) count on getting my posts blocked because there’s no honest way to answer my challenges without looking even sillier and there’s nothing left you can DOX me on. I DOX myself so deep and wide that the Grand Canyon is jealous. The more you know about me the greater my gravitas.

    Enjoy.

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  13. Pronouns, the next great battlefield...

    To be fair, it doesn't sound like Benson is being sexist either. Just an idiot pursuing a grudge. Since she's talking about a specific person, her anger can't be construed as being directed at all men...just as Harris's sentence can't be construed (by someone without a ridiculous agenda) as being directed at all people.

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  14. Without a doubt, the most sexist people on the planet are feminists. Their whole take on women's issues (which 95% of the time involve interactions with men), is only about how the issue affects women, any consequences to men of their lobbying is chucked into the waste bin of irrelevance. So when the O feel ya's of the world start bitchin about what men say or do, you can believe that it's tainted with the tunnel visioned footprint of Patriarchal oppression dogmas.

    Ophelia's complaint is nothing more than sexist attention grabbing. So Harris used a "his" instead of a their when referring to a specific man who was the person of the person stated in the sentence. Ophelia's take was Harris was inferring that a woman can never be that good at her job, even though the omission of the possibility doesn't preclude it.

    This is feminist thinking, petty minded, man hating crap, conjured from their own dark souls. Rather pathetic PC bullshit.

    The his contains information that a their doesn't have, so it's more concise the way Harris wrote it.

    How he hell Benson got that Harris was talking about women is beyond me, as he never mentioned women.

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  15. Ophelia by a long shot.

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  16. manthasagittarius1 here --
    Please -- the lass is havering. Is Ms Benson one of those tiresome people who substitute "they" for "he" to avoid privileging the unmarked gender?
    I like Harris when I like him, and when I don't I reply to his ideas, not his writing, which is generally cogent and sometimes quite stylish. In this case, I can also thank him for the alert about the WW I documentary he's endorsing. There's nothing to blame him for here that I can see.

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  17. Sam Harris has done nothing wrong here. It seems that it could only be a huge oversight or purposeful misrepresentation for Ophelia Benson to construe that line as sexist. I suppose one could use gender neutral language in every case which has even the slightest possibility of being misunderstood, but that's asking far too much.

    I can see a slight possibility for a third manner of misunderstanding on Benson's part. Maybe she understood that Harris had a specific man in mind. Maybe, since the sentence is rather impersonal ("one finds a person"), she understood it to be more of a general statement than one referring specifically to Carlin. But I think I'm giving her too much credit (or maybe not enough).

    /user/svoig

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  18. I just failed on my Duolingo French exam because I wanted to use "her life" instead of "his life" out of concern of being a sexist but I missed the fact that the French phase was "son livre", i.e. "his/her BOOK". Damn you PC!

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  19. Nothing worth noting here.

    Benson is again trying desperately to make an issue out of a completely mundane and unproblematic statement in order to justify her blanket rejection of an individual she doesn't like because he doesn't conform 100% to every political/social/philosophical/whatever stance she holds.

    That kind of behavior seems to be a common denominator among the atheism+/SJW crowd.
    Can't have diversity of opinions - after all, the world is black and white!. And remember, if something looks kinda grey, you just need squint your eyes or change the room lighting so that it appears white or black, and then you can carry on your merry polarized way.

    Cheers.

    hian

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  20. If Benson was on fire I wouldn't even consider wasting my piss on her. She is such a dishonest, tribalistic shithead.

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  21. Personally, I'd say she's reaching. Really, really reaching for something, anything, to hang him over. And that's what concerns me about the FTB lot.

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  22. Hello, Ravenslaves O' Youtube here:
    Since my usage of the word "Bitch" is gender neutral, I see no sexism, indeed it is a statement of gender equality, in saying proudly that Ophelia (a non-gender-neutral name, if I may point out) sounds like a total bitch.
    And, as a nod to my friends in the UK, who see no problem using the term "cunt" as a gender neutral term. Perhaps I could call Ophelia a "Bitch cunt" without any of the gender specific rudeness associated with either term, much less combined. From where I come from, the term "whore" is also equally applied to either gender as well. So in that context, were I to say that "Whore, bitch, Ophelia the cunt", it would in fact be a compliment to her as a person of equality, and perhaps a term of endearment in the right circles. Maybe even a form of fore-play to some. I don't judge.
    I could also apply the same sort of kindness to Sam Harris. But in this charged atmosphere where charges of sexism fly through the air like so many arrows on the field of Agincourt, I would fear that the "sexist" label might be aimed at me. So I shall refrain from calling Sam Harris a cunt...for now. I will, however, point out that the name "Sam Harris" IS gender neutral. So in that regard Mr./Ms. "Sam" Harris (It's not for me to apply gender-specific identification labels on others) is very gender neutral on the face of it, while "Ophelia" isn't. It seems this subject just gets deeper and deeper the more time that's spent on it. Luckily for us there's nothing of greater importance going on in the world to worry about.

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  23. Went done in the comments section on her post, where she posted this:

    "No, using the male pronoun for the default is indeed sexist."

    She's an idiot. She's seeing sexism because she wants to.

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    Replies
    1. Goddamnit, I meant down*, not done.

      Delete
  24. If there is so little actual sexism in the world, or even in the atheist/skeptic portion of it, that the use of the pronoun "him" when referring to a male is the worst thing Ms Benson can point to...then we are indeed living in privileged times.

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  25. Hi Noelplum, I personally occupy a 3rd camp ish. I really can't make myself care about gendered language no matter how hard I try. The reason is because it is just an artefact of the language, language is just a tool and should not be treated in such a reductionist way. I think this principle also applies in your response to bionic dance about atheist rocks, and I totally agree with you. So yes language is filled with gendered relics (some pro female though, like referring to ships as 'she') and our language is nothing compared to the German or French where literally every noun has a gender! And in the same way I think forcing the french to change all their nouns (the French government actually tried on a few issues, it failed miserably), the same is true for English. Allow the language to follow its natural progression and if fire-fighter becomes common usage as it seems to be, then that's great. But if it doesn't, then why do people loose sleep over it like they loose sleep over atheist rocks. I think the feminists are completely inconsistent though, because they do care about gendered language, yet obviously ignore the elephant in the room; clearly then Sam Harris has the consistent position, not Ophelia.

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    1. I was with you on letting language evolve until you "triggered" me by using "loose" for "lose" :)

      Delete
    2. Spend enough time on the internet and you loose the ability to spel.

      Delete
  26. My god she does seem desperate to find things wrong with people. I mean if this is the kinda stuff she is focusing on and takes issue with I really don't know how she makes it through a day in the real world. This is extremely petty. Really fucking petty.

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  27. You're wrong about the fireman thing. It is not correct to say that it should change because you want it gender neutral, because the word is already gender neutral. Man is a gender neutral word. It means human, not male human. The correct word, that has been dropped in modern English, is "werman". I find it offensive to change words away from having "-man" because it shows the allowance of ignorance to promulgate over fact.

    But what about how in modern English we use the word "man" to refer to male humans? Well, we don't. What's really happening is we're using the lack of being defined as women (a female human) plus a binary to indicate that what we are talking about is a male human. So what the real problem is, is that our culture, for some reason, believes that there needs to be a special mention of femaleness.

    You could go down the road of saying, yes we need to call special attention to femaleness because it is viewed as bad and that might be a supportable argument if there were only males and females throughout history and if masculine separation did not also exist for most of history. And it is only recently when feminists would argue things have become less "patriarchal" that this distinction was dropped. Instead, I'd argue the special attention to femaleness is a positive thing and the dropping of maleness term is a thing derived from not seeing other sexes as anything special to distinguish from each other.

    This means that the right thing to call a human who fights fires is a fireman, and this leads us into the Benson nonsense of over reacting.

    So, what you get from the above understanding is that by using the gender neutral terms of man/men and the similarly gender neutral he/him/his what you are doing is degrading the person, because femaleness is something that is special about the human and should be mentioned because you should treat them in a special way...because they are special, but when you do not mention their femaleness you are leaving that specialness out and saying you should treat this person like a normal human. While treating someone as a normal person doesn't sound degrading, it is when you're consider of a higher grade than normal. Thus normality (humanness) for these people is a degradation.

    --

    That all being said, ignoring all of it, and accepting the recent stupidity surrounding pronouns, the statement is made from Harris' point of view. He is speaking of himself thus spoke correctly. The problem then is Benson is so unable to see things from or put herself in the mind set of a male that Harris using what she considered a masculine pronoun caused incredible cognitive dissonance and seeing herself as male, she felt degraded, that she had to stop reading the blog post right then and there and express her anger.

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    1. Excellent post.

      If a person isn't intelligent enough to work out whether a term is gender-neutral, should we be at all concerned about their hurt feelings? I think not. Infantilization of women has to stop.

      - Kevin Solway

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  28. This question doesn't need to be asked. Harris is obviously the target of unprovoked vitriol here.

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  29. I just wrote a long comment and Google logged me in and deleted it :(
    Maybe I'll feel energetic later

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    1. You have my sympathies - has happened to me before: aaaaargh!

      Delete
  30. Manthasagittarius here --


    Gender" in the sense of nouns in almost every European language save English has nothing to do with sex or reproductive capacity. To be waging this battle on that pretext is only out of the sort of ignorance that likes a good fight no matter how little the issue matters. A "gender" is a classification of noun based on its morphology, or the form it takes. Morphology is not obvious at this point in English because of the many changes words have undergone over centuries. In other languages, the gender follows some rules that are actually kind of helpful -- in German, for example, any noun ending in "--heit" (like Freiheit) is going to be feminine, and anything that has been made diminutive, like "Magd" to "Maedchen" (sorry, no umlaut on this keyboard) will be neuter.

    We do have a spare pronoun to use -- if one won't revert to "he" as the unmarked category, and can't stick the "his/her" travesty, one can always resort to using "it" for everything. But I suspect that will sit poorly with anyone who has some investment in his or her actual sexual identity.

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    1. "They" is a correct pronoun when the gender is uncertain or unstated, even if its usage has fallen behind in the 20th century. It has the added benefit of not needing to clutter language with bullshit like "his/her" or the abomination that is "xer" and other made-up pronouns.

      Delete
    2. > "They" is a correct pronoun when the gender is uncertain or unstated

      It might be the politically correct pronoun, but the gender-neutral term "he" has the benefit of specifying singular as opposed to plural.

      Delete
    3. Manthasagittarius here --
      "They" is plural. It is not correct grammatically for a sentence requiring the singular, however much it is being accepted gender-politically. And it does lead to confusion in parsing a complex sentence.

      Delete
  31. From time to time one discovers a person so good at his job that it is almost impossible to imagine him doing anything else.

    It’s just odd, and stubbornly clueless, that even now, even after a big disagreement with a lot of feminists about the way he talks about women, he does that.

    I am another one of those who is clueless i guess. Should he have wrote "From time to time one discovers a person so good at its job that it is almost impossible to imagine it doing anything else."? Fucking retarded some of these people, with their feminazigoggles.


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  32. I've read the post. I've read a few of the comments. But for the life of me I can't see it. What the hell is she on about? I can't see it. My mind must be broken.

    Full disclosure:
    I'm a cis hetero Israeli Ashkenazi Jew, full of privilege and entitlement, so English isn't my native tongue, it's my second after Hebrew.

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    1. Okay, I get it now. He wasn't talking about Dan, he was talking about any person. To which I have nothing but this link:

      (plz noel, read this!)

      http://pchiusano.github.io/2014-10-11/defensive-writing

      Delete
  33. I still can't tell if this thing is working, so I'll just keep it short and sweet. "They and them" are plural and many try to hide gender/sex by calling one person a them or a they. That sux but might be unavoidable. Endlessly typing his or her and she or he really and actually and for sure destroys the poetry of the missive often. Very often. Not every time. But wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too often for me to like it. But a lot of times we just have to do the ol' he or she, him or her. I've found the best way to describe bank robbers if you don't know gender/sex is to call them hims or he. It works. Try it some time. You'll see I'm right. And I'm correct. We really need a neutered singular pronoun besides "it." We really do.

    Did you know that zero female firefighters died on 9/11? I manually personally did the research on this one. Had to seek further when I found a dead fireman's name was like a Pat. And yep: every one of the "Pats" was a Patrick, none of them were Patricias. I think these facts should be uttered, then say "Calling a fireman a firefighter is kinda like spitting in his face." And then if that doesn't work, say it's like spitting in the faces of those men who died on 9/11. Calling them police officers instead of policemen is fine because women can pull triggers of guns. What few situations arise where a female officer can't quite do as much physically as her male counterparts I think are few and far between. Female officers are required to help with female suspects, etc., etc., etc.

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  34. Manufactured outrage- pure and simple. It has become the internet's favorite pastime.
    ~Hiway

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  35. If male gendered pronouns are a barrier to people becoming feminists, can anyone explain how Benson overcame this barrier and became a feminist herself in the first place? Does she have some special power that late coming feminists lack? She appears to be immune to the power of male gendered pronouns, but full of fear that other do not exhibit such immunity.

    Dare I say that her fear is an irrational one.

    I mention this in passing, because a day or two ago I realised that I too was a feminist. (I am a bloke, by the way.) Nothing to do with equality, or any other such ephemeral notions, my argument is based on supremacy. Art is important to me, and I was pondering the question of who is the greatest living artist. For me the answer is Tracey Emin. We've all had an unmade bed at some time or another, Emin was the first to get hers into an art gallery. For me, and the type of art I am interested in, I think that is an amazing achievement. So, in recognising Emin as the foremost living artist, I am saying there is a field where a women can do something better than all the others in the world, including all the men. I think that makes me a feminist. No dodgy references to equality, fairness or quotas, just plain old female supremacy.

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    1. "Dare I say that her fear is an irrational one."

      It reminds me (because I believe you had watched my gendered slurs videos the other day) of a point allied to that which I never made in those videos, which is that for all the talk of the potential for "splash damage" harming the prospects of women, how come men, maleness and patriarchy have become so successful in their eyes whilst simultaneously we have been calling people pricks, dicks, cocks, dropping bollocks and making balls-ups?

      When you weigh up the logical possibilities you are left with but one conclusion: they are talking shite.

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    2. Yes I've watched a couple of your gendered slurs videos, and thought they made a lot of sense. "Splash damage" is a bit of sloganising which can be wheeled out by the fanatics, but it takes a thinking person to deconstruct what is and isn't getting damaged by a gendered slur.

      Political correctness can be a way of helping people challenge ingrained attitudes, but it is not an end in itself, it is just a tool to help achieve some greater objective. If women were constantly barred from chairing meetings because we have historically called the role 'chairman' and we couldn't see beyond the maleness of the word then that would be reason enough to change the word. But to believe we have struck some blow for equality by re-writing a dictionary, hoping that that alone will improve the lot of some or other marginalised group, is to have lost sight as to what is actually important in life. Dictionaries, and words, describe changes which have happened over time, but there is no reason to believe they are the actual agents of change.

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  36. Is this going to work?

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  37. It just occurred to me how the crazies have gone wrong. It's actually a recurring occurrence, but I forget and get to figure it out again and again.

    Basically, they're Marxists. Individuals don't matter. They don't even exist. Collectives exists, and they are the entities for whom there is justice or injustice.

    Male/Female makes the ideal Marxist dichotomy, as it is actually something real for a change.
    Male/Female = Oppressor/Oppressed.

    If all you care about is the aggregate of the group, and equality between group aggregates, then ending any "injustice" to men is simply helping the Oppressor Class and thereby making things worse. Similarly, any help to women, no matter how unjust by individualistic standards, is still pushing the balance toward equality.

    Which is just the 1) you listed above. Makes perfect sense, once you've decoded the crazy.

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  38. This ranks right up there with Bunnygate

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  39. Perhaps it's only because I'm ignorant and I have no idea who Malala Yousafzai is, but when I read the first (fake) quote, it immediately stuck out to me as odd. I would have written it as ("person" "their" "them"), ("woman" "her" "her") or ("man" "his" "him"), but that's just me and I'm a stickler for clarity when writing.

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    1. Ok, fair enough, but surely no reasonable person would conclude from this that the use of "his" when he is specifically talking about a man, is sexist? Or conclude that he is saying "that only men are people, or that they’re the only people capable of being that good at their jobs." as the first commenter said?

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  40. I tried to post a comment on herblog yesterday to the effect that she was taking this hatred of Sam Harris too far and saying that she's bitter and twisted. Alas it didn't make it past moderation. But in all seriousness this sort of hatred and bitterness we see from her is surely not normal behaviour? She is so consumed by it that that she just can't think straight at all.

    There are so many similarities between the SJWs and creationists it's scary

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  41. Ophelia and its followers are fucking insane.

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  42. 'Durakken' makes an excellent point in that the suffix '-man' was gender neutral from the days of Middle English (I think). However I feel "firefighter" is a much more apt description of that occupation given that NoelPlum99 and his colleagues risk their lives on a daily basis.

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  43. It is the sad spiral in to irrelevance that has gripped Ophelia and her crew. The fact that Dawkins even acknowledged her presence a few months ago seems to have boosted some egos at FtB to the extent that they feel it necessary to continually correct those who are not of the body.

    Although I find it hard to feel sorry for these kinds of people, I wonder how they ever get through a day where they have to walk by a man-hole cover, or how they can get a man-icure or how they can even bring themselves to eat a man-go. This self-styled feminism that Ophelia and crew practice seems to be so petty that it has to be hard to continually police everyone else for their sins while theirs go unchecked.

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  44. Noel, I much prefer the terms 'Water-wasters' or 'Trumpton'. As a copper, I feel you would expect no less of me.

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  45. Everyone should know by now that xir, xe or some such rubbish is what a dead (although great) comedian SHOULD have said. If there's anyone out there who's yet to listen to Dan Carlin (either show), you could do worse.

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