Skepticism

I Get Emails

I used to assume that some SGU listeners just didn’t like me, but it has since become crystal clear to me that a huge number of them are, in fact, sexist asses. It’s not just the thinly veiled sexist language, though obviously when someone uses words like “bitch” or “cunt” that tips the hand. What really ended up convincing me is the simple fact that they call me out for being stupid or immature, but do not mention my co-hosts. As the host and perennial straight man, Steve obviously does the most talking, but I am certainly the equal of Bob, Evan, and Jay in terms of intellectual contributions to the show, despite the fact that we’re all different and go through our good and bad days.

So, I get emails. My fellow Skepchicks saw this exchange behind the scenes and encouraged me to share them with you, so here they are! Enjoy, or don’t enjoy if you tend to get depressed by the fact that this sort of email sometimes appears several times a month.

The following information was submitted via theskepticsguide.org Contact Form:
Subject: Canadian Minister of Science
Message: I just listened to your podcast #191 wherein you trashed our Canadian Minister of Science Education. You suggested (actually, more than suggested) that someone with as little knowledge of science as he possesses is the wrong person to hold that high office.

I heartily disagree. He is the PERFECT person for the office of Minister of Science Education. You just have to understand Eddy’s Theory of Legislation, which states that “Legislation can only be written by those who know absolutely nothing about the topic.”

Study almost any legislation that is passed and you will see Eddy’s Theory of Legislation at work.

Happy New Year everyone.
Eddy
P.S. Please tell me that Rebecca is blonde. That will explain so much.

+++

From: Rebecca Watson
To: eddy
Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 1:16 PM

What would my hair color explain, exactly?

+++

Hi Rebecca;
Sorry….It’s just that sometimes you say the silliest things.
I was particularly annoyed in episode 188 when you objected so strongly to an interesting discussion of deep vein thrombosis. I found the subject interesting, and applicable, but you cut it off.

I am sure that you are a very nice person, but you need to be more critical of your on-air character.

You do, however, occasionally add humour.

Happy New Year,
Eddy

+++

Hi Ed,

I’m not sure I’ve ever said anything as silly as your “PS.” Blonde jokes are sexist, tired, and immature, and as rude as your follow-up email. I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to randomly insult a person you don’t know, but I hope in the future you spend your time in a more fruitful manner.

Rebecca

+++

Hi Rebecca;
I am sorry that you are offended, but sometimes I find that many of the things that you say on the podcast are slightly less than brilliant.

I also think that a person who wishes to be regarded as a celebrity should expect some negative feedback, and have a thicker skin. I do not wish to be mean, just honest, and offer my comments in a genuine desire to improve an excellent show.

Warmest regards,
Ed

+++

My skin is plenty thick enough. I just believe that some people are so socially inept that it might benefit them were someone to point it out. Asking if I’m a blonde is not in any way “honest,” or a “genuine desire to improve” the show. Such obvious lies won’t bail you out.

+++

The difference between our mutual insults, I believe, is that I am attempting (apparently unsuccessfully) to be a little humorous and light hearted, whereas you are taking the matter far too seriously.

Let us call a truce.

And have a Happy New Year.

Cheers,
Eddy

+++

The final refuge: “Just kidding!”

I suspect you think I’m taking the matter too seriously because you expected to be able to insult me without me defending myself. There is nothing humorous and light-hearted about singling me out for being “less than brilliant” while giving congratulatory pats on the back to my co-hosts.

I don’t need your truce or your approval, and now that I’ve seen that your “negative feedback” is empty and nonconstructive, I’ll drop the conversation.

+++

Rebecca;
Lighten up !

Actually, I assumed that you are extremely bright, and an excellent actress to project the ditzy blonde image that you often do on the show.

I meant my comments as a constructive suggestion to allow your on-air “character” to sound more intelligent, and let your true genius show through.

You are making me wonder if you were indeed acting.

’nuff said.

I still enjoy the show.

Cheers,
Eddy

+++

Fin.

To quote Tracy’s reaction: “I have never seen an about-turn like that. When he said that your being blonde would explain so much, what he actually meant was that you’re an excellent actress for pretending to be dumb? That is the most cack-handed insult (to you AND blondes) ever.”

I concur.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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144 Comments

  1. Perception is an interesting beast. As is failure to actually think thru something that you toss “off the cuff”. True colors and all that.

    I actually often wish you’d speak up more. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I have a hard time distinguishing voices and sounds and so as much as they shouldn’t Evan and Jay blend together (I only pick out Bob because he’s nearly as crazy science nerd as I am).

    But yeah more bits from you would be welcomed by me at least.

  2. Rebecca, I rarely post here, but I read the blog often and SGU is one of 3 podcasts that I subscribe to due to limited listening time. The show is great! You are an asset on the show and I missed you when you were off a couple of episodes ago. I understand that you are not looking for fan validation with this post, but I have to say that you are the shizit!! Great response to the sexist scum!!

  3. If he finds that
    “many of the things that you say on the podcast are slightly less than brilliant”
    he should provide concrete examples for improvement if he has them i.e. provide some “constructive” criticism.

  4. What’s ridiculous is that he started all this by defending the Canadian Science Minister…the guy that thinks evolution means being able to wear stilettos…he really wants to defend that guy?

    Rebecca I love your sense of humour and you’re a great asset to the show. I think it’s great that you responded to this insult, that you didn’t just let him get away with it. And wow, he just kept digging his hole deeper…why not just apologize? I would think that as an SGU listener he would realize the value in admitting when he’s wrong.

  5. I wouldn’t take anyone seriously who thinks people who don’t know what they’re doing should be in charge. The inherent lack of logic in that is amazing. Imagine if you heard someone saying that about anything other than politics.

    “I don’t think anyone who actually knows surgery should remove my appendix.”

  6. I think Noadi is spot on, but I fear that in the specific case mentioned, the minister does in fact “know something” about the topic he’s writing legislation about. From my memory of the podcast, the minister “knows” that the prevailing theories of biology and science are wrong. So in this case, he knows something that is 180 degrees away from the facts and science.

    Double reason not to take the e-mailer seriously – not that there was much chance of that.

  7. Going to have to respectfully disagree with the consensus on this one. Eddy appears to be taking a lighthearted and sarcastic tone with his original e-mail – something I’m surprised other commenters don’t seem to get. He says the lawmaker is right for the job because he knows nothing, this is obvious sarcasm.

    As for the interchange between Eddy and Rebecca, my take-away from that is not that Eddy is a sexist ass, but that Rebecca really does not like blonde jokes.

  8. Danarra, honestly, I was more or less with you until Eddy’s final correspondence. He clearly does not view Rebecca as a valuable member of the show’s cast, or really as a person, it seems, and doesn’t even do the decent thing and just say so.

    Instead, he does what many men have done to me when they offend me, which is pretend they were joking, to undermine my sense of reality and make me feel foolish. “Lighten up, ladies!”

    Yeah, sure, the joke’s on you.

  9. Rebecca, you make the SGU fun, and you have great insights. I also like that there is a feminist/liberal voice on the SGU.

    Don’t let the sexists bring you down. You are an inspiration to men and women. :)

  10. Agree with most of the comments here. I’m halfway through the back-catalog of SGU episodes and many times you bring great humor and insight to topics. I’m thankful that you are in the cast. One thing that stands out is that you use the “I see what you did there” retort a bit much, but it’s all good. I’m just glad that you are still a part of the show even though you have to do the podcast so very late at night. Maybe you guys can move the recording times to early Saturdays/Sundays, and just post each episode in the middle of the week? I’m nervous that the inconvenience of time may eventually make you quit the show.

  11. @LinzeeBinzee:

    I would think that as an SGU listener he would realize the value in admitting when he’s wrong.

    Valuing something, and being able to do it are two different things.

    @Noadi:

    I wouldn’t take anyone seriously who thinks people who don’t know what they’re doing should be in charge.

    I read that as sarcastic. He’s not saying “yay ignorance!”, he’s saying “Politician is a moron? Tell me something I don’t know.”

    Of course he was still acting like an ass. Oh, and Rebecca you’re my favourite of the SGU team, I’m always disappointed if you can’t make it onto the show.

  12. Unfortunately sexist assholes idiots exist in every single sector of society including skeptics. This is why I think I blog such as skepchick is so important. It really helps raise the profile of women in skepticism and the fact that we are just as intelligent as the guys.

  13. I have to wonder if Jay from the SGU gets these emails questioning his brilliance… I think of him as the Everyman on the show, a smart guy but not necessarily as widely knowledgeable (I’m thinking of how he often ‘loses’ Science or Fiction). Obviously different people have different perspectives and that’s what makes the podcast so great.

    So does that self-deprecating thing that Jay does lead to advice from Eddy, or is it only the chicks that require his words of wisdom?

    Also, speaking as a blonde… to quote Dolly Parton: “I don’t mind dumb blonde jokes, cuz I know I’m not really dumb and I know I’m not really blonde!”

  14. I’m often curious how to handle situations such as these. It seems to me that Eddy’s intent was to be funny (both with his sarcasm about the Minister of Science Education and with the blonde joke), and wasn’t expecting Rebecca to read it or respond. When she did, rightfully to defend herself, he was taken aback and went on the defensive.

    In a sense, it is a classic case of being taken the wrong way (in his eyes, anyway). I think once she responded, he probably had an “oh, shit” moment realizing that “oh, yeah – perhaps since she is on the show, she might actually read the emails to the hosts…” He went about it the wrong way, of course, and backpedaled poorly, digging a hole for himself and treating Rebecca with even more disrespect.

    So, my question is this – how could this situation fare better? My guess is that Eddy is probably left with the feeling that women are emotional and can’t take a joke. This is, of course, untrue. Rebecca surely should have called him on being an asshat, but I don’t get the impression that it changed the way he views women – in fact, it may have made it worse.

    My first impression is to do the same and call people on being jerks. This usually backfires, and I’m wondering if there is a better way to handle the situation so that the person realizes they were wrong AND you feel like you were able to defend yourself.

    Any ideas?

  15. You contribute just as much to the SGU as the other rogues, in my opinion, and bring a unique voice that is obviously missing when you’re not there. You’re a great counterpoint to the guys and I think the show wouldn’t be the same without you there.

  16. Eddy is shifting his position and being a wuss, but he’s right that you’re definitely seeming completely overly sensitive here, especially given the fun you folks poke at others on the podcast. I don’t see him calling you a bitch, cunt, or anything else so loaded and that defensiveness to something so inane as ‘blonde’ just makes things worse. I think whoever told you to post these emails may have not given the best advice…

  17. My biggest problem with this is that Eddy still apparently hears Rebecca as a “ditzy blond” character, regardless of her intelligence or intent. This makes me question his perception of women on the whole. To him, does “humor + woman = ditz?” Sure, she occasionally drops some groan-worthy puns, but I still don’t see how intelligence and wit add up to Eddy’s assertion of an (either intentional or unintentional) unintelligent character.

  18. I’ll name the logical fallacy here and say this sounds a lot like confirmation bias. Likely he heard you say something he didn’t like or agree with, and so because he’s sexist, attributed it to your sex and thus confirmed his belief that women just don’t understand science or logic. The blonde reference was way out of line.

    I always really enjoy your contribution, even wish that more feminist issues were covered on the show. Sorry that you get these comments regularly. That really blows.

  19. I am not sure of the point of this post, or the comments. Clearly this is a forum extremely supportive of all the Skepchicks, particularly of Rebecca. Mostly for good reason I might add.

    I do not agree with the way Eddy chose to express his views, and I am not a frequent listener to SGU, so I readily admit I do not know what I am talking about other than to say that I am disappointed when I sometimes reach the conclusion that Ms. Watson is not a stronger contributor.

    But then, I wonder why I wonder that. It is easy to distinguish her comments from the others, and I have so much desire for Rebecca to always be wise, insightful, humorful, and “the best” that it will be an impossible standard for her to meet. And it is unfair of me to be measuring her by a different yardstick or to be expecting more than I expect from the others.

    Somewhere I seem to recall some reference, maybe by Rebecca herself, that she was lucky to have been an early web 2.0 skeptic of the XX genomic persuasion that she had early fame and opportunities. Longevity does not always equate to excellence.

    This scenario plays itself out in many ways, in many contexts, and I think that upon detailed analysis we always see it is quite complex.

    For all sorts of reasons, I just think that this line of inquiry, in its present form, can not really go anywhere or yield anything substantive.

  20. Thanks for all the responses . . . sorry I’m just now coming back. Damned time zones!

    @PeacheeKeen: Jay never gets emails like this. Never. (Okay, he got a few emails about his terrible fake accents, heh.) And he probably gets the angriest about these, too, as he immediately sees the difference between how people respond to the two of us. I often have to convince him not to respond to rip these guys a new one…

  21. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: The “blonde” comment was stupid, sexist, insulting and absolutely uncalled for. Rebecca’s answer to it was apt and to the point.

    But I also think Eddy’s reply to that was a (barely, but still) acceptable attempt at saying “sorry”. Obviously, he’s being defensive (when corresponding with people like this, it’s useful to to give them a way out instead of pushing them further down the path they’re on), but I think this is a human reaction to being called out. He says he’s sorry. He points out a specific example of something Rebecca said on the show that he didn’t agree with.

    Was it the best possible answer he could have given? Not by a long shot. Was it acceptable? I think so.

    As for the larger issue of males not getting negative feedback, I write a fairly popular blog about interaction design, and I often get insulting mails from readers. I’m also male. I will absolutely believe that females get more and more vicious hatemail, and it’s obvious that males are way less likely to get sexist mails (except perhaps mails making claims about their sexual orientation), but this is the Internet. If you stand for anything at all, people will try to push your buttons with whatever they have at their disposal, even if it’s only an ability to write barely comprehensible insults.

  22. Funny clever irreverent woman = ditzy
    ergo
    Eddy = stink.

    Rebecca, I love SGU and I LOVE you on it. Gum has flown out my mouth on the G train due to some of the things you’ve said. You are wonderful and I’m so bleeding jealous of Sid you wouldn’t believe it.

    You are fucking sunlight through my windows.

    I mean it. : )

    May you drive the Eddys of the world out of their precious skulls.

  23. Blonde jokes are not “just” jokes or “lighthearted” comments. They’re sexist entirely on their own. I prefer my jokes to be actually funny, rather than just lazy, stupid and ignorant.

    @Lukas: All the more reason to keep calling them out and bringing attention to them. Maybe, slowly, we can change the internet landscape at least a little bit for the better.

  24. @“Other” Amanda says:

    I think once she responded, he probably had an “oh, shit” moment realizing that “oh, yeah – perhaps since she is on the show, she might actually read the emails to the hosts…”

    Which only makes him seem even more sexist, because who did he think would read it? The “real,” male hosts.

    I’m wondering if there is a better way to handle the situation so that the person realizes they were wrong AND you feel like you were able to defend yourself.

    “You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.”

    Or more succinctly: No.

  25. Condescending prick.

    Lukas, I disagree with you on his apology being acceptable, albeit just barely. It was, in fact, not an apology at all.

    “I am sorry that you are offended,…”

    Basically translates to:

    “Dear Rebecca, it’s your own fault that you’re bothered by my factually neutral comments. You’re probably a touch oversensitive, you might want to work on that for a bit.
    I am, however, very sorry you are managed to get yourself all worked up and hysterical, because I’m such a nice and caring guy. Though don’t expect me to acknowledge that I had anything to do with it, since you getting upset is not my fault at all. Eddy”

    Incredibly rude and condescending yet still sneakily trying to come off as a good guy by using the words I”, “sorry”, “offended” and “you” in a sentence.
    Gah!

    Not that the rest is much better, but ever since someone pointed out just how sneaky this little phrase is, it’s made me want to throw things.

    Rebecca, I think your replies are very good. I will have to remember this post in case I ever deal with similar idiots.
    Also, while I love the male podcasting skeptics, I often wish it was more balanced, gender-wise.

  26. Okay, that last sentence, about the gender balance, was intended to be somewhat more eloquent.
    Basically, I love the skeptical podcasts and get extra super happy when there are women involved, either as presenters or guests, because the world seems to love to think we can’t think logically and be clever.
    Therefore, I’d like there to be more women on skeptical podcasts.

  27. There is a really easy way to nip this in the bud, Rebecca. Because arguing with people like this is just falling into the classic trap of “Never teach a pig to sing – it wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

    Once upon a time about 15 years ago, I was the webmaster for a biomedical equipment repair company. At the time, the Internet was a much smaller and more difficult to manage place, so to give us some recognition within the community, I created some really good online resources (not exaggerating – still got all the press clippings).

    However, this is a mostly male community. A male community of the type where they play with computer hardware all day – many were (and are) socially awkward. So while the e-mails I was getting weren’t insulting, in the “real world”, they would have qualified as sexual harassment.

    So every time they even asked any small thing about my appearance, I obliged them with a picture of myself. Or rather, a picture of Lucy Lawless as Xena, Warrior Princess (today, choose whatever image you feel will do the trick – there weren’t many on the Internet back then ;) ).

    Shut them right the hell up, and saved bytes of bandwidth in argument, and hours of my time in argument.

  28. @Jen: Blonde jokes are not “just” jokes or “lighthearted” comments. They’re sexist entirely on their own.

    I don’t find blonde jokes necessarily sexist. Blonde jokes told about women certainly are. Blonde guys, however, get a lot of ribbing too.

  29. @epthorn:

    Eddy is shifting his position and being a wuss, but he’s right that you’re definitely seeming completely overly sensitive here,

    No. She’s not being overly sensitive to outright sexism. This is just as bad as Eddy telling Rebecca to “Lighten up”.

    No.

    I don’t see him calling you a bitch, cunt, or anything else so loaded and that defensiveness to something so inane as ‘blonde’ just makes things worse. I think whoever told you to post these emails may have not given the best advice…

    It was stills sexist! Blatantly so!

    Why is it okay? Why should she just ignore it? As you probably read, she gets this shit all the time. Why is it she is being “overly sensitive” but you seem to take light of the fact that he was being blatantly sexist? “He was sexist, but you need to just lighten up, man! Who cares!” She has to deal with this crap every day, of course she cares!

    —-

    @davew: Why does it always turn into a “But guys get it too!!!” with you? No, they don’t. They really, really don’t.

    I don’t know any blonde jokes aimed at men. There are thousands aimed at women.

    Why is it whenever we talk about sexism in Skepchick, inevitably a man has to comment (and this happens every time), claiming, “But men have it just as bad or worse!!”.

    Derailing sucks. Stop it.

  30. @davew: I don’t find blonde jokes necessarily sexist. Blonde jokes told about women certainly are. Blonde guys, however, get a lot of ribbing too.

    This has actually been on my mind quite a bit . . . I’ve heard a lot of jokes, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a blond joke about a man. I take it from your comment that you have?

  31. @Chasmosaur: “There is a really easy way to nip this in the bud, Rebecca. Because arguing with people like this is just falling into the classic trap of “Never teach a pig to sing – it wastes your time and annoys the pig.””

    Ha, yes, I have long abided by that rule and in general rarely respond to jerks. I have been lately, I think because not responding again and again leaves me feeling as though these people waltz through life like this, never realizing that they might be challenged. So, every now and again I challenge them.

    I turned to Sid the other night after sending off my last email to this guy, and said, “Should I stop fighting with these random guys on the Internet?” He didn’t even hesitate. “YES.” “Okay.” We’ll see how long it lasts. Someone on the Internet is wrong!

  32. @Rebecca:
    “I think because not responding again and again leaves me feeling as though these people waltz through life like this, never realizing that they might be challenged.”

    Oh, they get challenged, and many do it for the attention. So taking the wind out of their sails is much more effective.

    Arguing with them only makes them feel validated. You have to hang them by the rope they’ve provided, no further. It lets them know you actually paid attention, and found them laughable.

  33. @davew: Whatever ribbing you have heard directed at blonde men is not greater than or even equal to the common practice at laughing at blonde women. I’m not talking about individual instances of this type of thing happening, I’m talking about the pervasive, cultural assumption that blonde women are stupid and there to be joked about. The casual way the emailer refers to this in the original email is good evidence of how we all know what he’s talking about when he says that, and that he knows we know. There is nothing that exists on the same scale for men. The two are not equal.

  34. While you haven’t been quite your old self since relocating to the Land of Intelligent-Sounding Accents due to the time difference I would never suggest you don’t contribute to the SGU discussions.

    I think it may be a bad reaction to you getting married. Once you became unavailable lots of guys probably found you less appealing. Lucky for me you’re my daughter’s age so I have a built-in defense against such thoughts.

    Still, if the schedule remains a problem perhaps there could be a guest Skepchick substitute occassionally.

  35. To those saying it was just a joke: it wasn’t. And by that I do not mean it was offensive (although it was). No matter how warped one’s sensibilities, simply accusing someone of being blonde is not a joke in any meaningful sense of the word. It’s an appeal to a stereotype. Maybe this:

    P.S. Please tell me that Rebecca is black. That will explain so much.

    … will make that clearer.

    And while I’m in A Mood, I’d also like to call special attention to Eddy’s “on-air character” comments as being offensive on such a massive scale I can hardly wrap my mind around it. Can I even count the ways?

    1. It’s a naked admission of a straw man argument. (“I’m not attacking you; I’m attacking a fictional version of you!”)

    2. It implicitly argues that her behavior isn’t worth defending. (“It’s just a character.”)

    3. It implicitly argues that no “real woman” would behave the way she behaves. (“No one could possibly be that stupid.”)

    4. Points 2 & 3 combine to argue that Rebecca is stupid for calling him out. (“The only way you’ll win this argument is to admit you really are that stupid.”)

    There’s more, but in the interest of being happy and sunny for one brief moment today, I’ll end here by thanking Rebecca for calling him out.

  36. Oh dear. Rebecca, that sucks. I’m sorry that a fellow Canadian would be such a dolt. I just wanted to let you know that you are the highlight of the show for me (it’s nice to hear a girl who is smart, liberal AND sceptical). And hey, we share a name, so that’s fun too.

  37. @Rebecca: This has actually been on my mind quite a bit . . . I’ve heard a lot of jokes, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a blond joke about a man. I take it from your comment that you have?

    Unfortunately for most of my adult life my coworkers have been almost exclusively men. All the humor I hear is from geeky guys directed at other geeky guys. (It’s like Big Bang Theory without the wit… or the woman.) Blond jokes are not uncommon, although guys my age who still have blond hair are. Blond men seem to go gray or bald fairly young.

  38. I’ve been listening to SGU for something like 3 years now, and every single member of the panel (and stand-ins like Mike) all say their fair share of silly things (though I’d be tempted to give Bob the nod for first place). Maybe because you’re the only woman your ‘silly’ comments don’t get conflated with those of the others so it stands out more in the minds of people predisposed to get irritated by a woman daring to invade their precious skeptical space.

    I know you catch a lot of flack on the board (and apparently via email as well) and it’s generally pretty obvious that what many of those individuals are really objecting to is the fact that you’re a woman who speaks her mind. Sadly there is a substantial though hopefully minority portion of the target audience who are simply sexist.

    It’s a problem endemic to the skeptical movement and the sorts of avocations that appeal to the skeptical mindset (engineers, mathemeticians, scientists, et al). I think that outside of my time working for a Wall Street firm the worst sexism I’ve seen in the workplace has all come from IT type people, who also are disproportionately likely to identify as skeptics.

    Frankly all else being equal I’d rather hear a woman (or minority male, or GLTB, etc) discussing skeptical issues because it gives me a new perspective to consider things from.

  39. Wait . . . Wait . . . So what is this guy hearing exactly? Are ditzy blonds different in Canada than they are in the US? What exactly do dumb blonds say in Canada, and how do they say it?

    I mean, I’ve known Rebecca for like . . . a hundred years or something. And aside from an hilarious Columbo impression, and the occasional Chewbaca noise at parties, she doesn’t do voices. She’s definitely never played a ditz.

    But maybe dumb blonds sound different in Canada. Maybe they sound exactly like Rebecca.

    Probably the exchange rate, or the cold weather.

  40. “Lighten up”? Might as well add, “and get in the kitchen!”

    Have to agree with many of the posts– not sure how he thought he’d just slip that “PS” in there and have it go unchallenged.

    Does this guy listen to what you actually say or just hear your voice come on and shut his brain off?

  41. It appeared pretty clear to me that Eddie thinks women should be role players, or supporting cast members who should accept condescension and instruction as given. Sadly this value system is modeled in many families and some men don’t realize that this is not appropriate and based on false presumptions and ideas. It can be subtle but overcoming what our childhood and what our families have taught us in this regard is not much different than overcoming our family’s religious notions or beliefs in other woo and magic, it can be difficult but men need to be called on this type of faulty thinking. I don’t really see Eddie so much as a prick, perhaps more ignorant, pathetic and regrettably common.

  42. “P.S. Please tell me that Rebecca is blonde. That will explain so much.”

    That statement is meant to be an insult. Rebecca shouldn’t have to lighten up or grow a thicker skin. You can paraphrase the tone of the comment like this:

    ‘Please tell me Rebecca is blonde because it explains why she is so stupid.’

    Why do some men expect women to suck it up and take insult without any recourse? I have to deal with this crap at work constantly. I am a firefighter and only 3% of firefighters in the US are women. I have called my male coworkers on their crap before only to be hauled into the office and have to either talk about my attitude problem or get grilled on how I’m feeling or if I’m ok. Where two guys in the same situation are left alone to work out their issues the majority of the time. Men are allowed to be confrontational and it’s expected of them. But a woman who does the same thing is the bitch. She has a bad attitude. Or she’s being too sensitive and emotional and should lighten up.

  43. This isn’t about whether or not anyone likes Rebecca, either in person or on the show. If that was the case, Eddy would simply have written, “P.S. Rebecca is awful.” Whether or not that’s his opinion, what he wrote was a sexist attempt to ingratiate himself with the male hosts, who he also judged to be sexist.

    I also want to mention that I spent the first twenty years of my life around people for whom sexism was absurd. We believed that true misogyny was a thing of the past and made sexist jokes to each other, mostly for shock value. I then moved to an area with a different demographic where sexism was comprised of true contempt for women. I met my wife there, in fact, and her father is still convinced that women are incapable of making rational decisions without the help of men.

    I no longer make sexist remarks, not only because misogyny no longer seems absurd, but because I’m disgusted to think that I may empower more sexism. If you’re one of the men that thinks that nobody thinks that way nowadays and the women are just being a little sensitive, then I might suggest that some of the women are reacting to a harsher face of sexism than you yourself would ever knowingly wear, but that is nevertheless real.

  44. In all fairness, you get lots of positive mail too. I know you get some fanmail, because I’ve sent some. I hope the proposals of marriage have decreased since you actually got married.

  45. To sum up;

    Eddy: You’re an idiot!

    Rebecca: No I’m not. Say you’re sorry!

    Eddy: You’re an idiot, I’m sorry.

    Rebecca: Grrrrrrrrr

    Eddy: What? I’m just saying…

    “Imagine what a monkey could have done with a wrench.”
    Quote I imagined Perry saying upon hearing that the LHC was shut down by a bird with a bagette.

    “Yeah, a MONKEY wrench!”
    Rebecca’s imagined response.

  46. Well, I think there is an assumption on many people’s part that sexism is a thing of the past because it’s not as in your face as it used to be. I never really thought about it much until I started a job that is almost entirely male and encountered the subtle sexism that’s replaced pats on the behind at the office and the like for myself. The attitude is still there, but the behavior has changed because of sexual harassment awareness.

  47. @amichaels:

    Men are allowed to be confrontational and it’s expected of them. But a woman who does the same thing is the bitch. She has a bad attitude. Or she’s being too sensitive and emotional and should lighten up.

    Personally, I embraced the bitch title. If they were going to call me one, I was going to be one. And the men backed down. And I ceased to have to be a bitch when they realized I wasn't going to take their crap, just because I'm generally a nice person. It's amazing how it works.

    I used to have the chip on my shoulder. All it did was weigh me down. As most BS of this type is predictable, think of good comebacks ahead of time. Or, for laughs, watch the current episode of "Better Off Ted" on Hulu

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/118232/better-off-ted-the-great-repression

  48. I’d like to say I like Rebecca with her occassional potty humur breaking up the “smartitute” of the others at some points, and at others, giving the boys a run for the “smart person” award. Rebecca seems to be knowledgable on how these topics relate to your everyday life. The others have a tendency to geek out and start having big dreams-re: any show discussing nanotech or AI. Rebecca plays the role of the layman scientist. She may not be able to calculate pi to the nth degree, but she can go off on stupid people, and explain 15 different way why they’re stupid.

  49. As someone who:
    1 – is not into political correctness and is generally skeptical of accusations of sexism, etc.
    2 – has read every feedback e-mail to the SGU

    I have come to the conclusion that Rebecca is definitely singled out for criticism by some and the only motivation I can discern is sexism. Some e-mails are blatantly sexist – this was not even the worst of them, by far.

    Many of them amount to nothing more than reacting to “that uppity female.”

    But Rebecca is also singled out for much-deserved praise, especially as a role-model to young women.

  50. @revmatty wrote: “I think that outside of my time working for a Wall Street firm the worst sexism I’ve seen in the workplace has all come from IT type people, who also are disproportionately likely to identify as skeptics.”

    And while we all agree that it’s sexist and stupid to generalize attributes of blonde females, perhaps we could also extend this favor to “IT type people”.

  51. @Steve Novella:

    Totally agree, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that Rebecca definitely gets singled out as a member of the show for sexist reasons.

    Personally, however, my circle of friends uses blatantly sexist language all the time sarcastically, with the intent of poking fun at it and because it has humor. I know for a fact that Rebecca does this sort of thing as well, as I just heard her say douchebag about 20 times in the span of a few minutes on the most recent episode of SGU (the Jan 1st episode). So while Eddy’s final comment in his original email was probably a bit tactless, it originally didn’t bother me — it sounded like he was just poking fun at some of Rebecca’s jokes. To do so sarcastically or jokingly with a blond joke is, to my mind, no more serious or offensive than Rebecca’s own jokes (she’s made penis jokes on SGU, and used all sorts of potentially inflammatory language like douchebag). I think using these sorts of phrases is perfectly fine /as a joke/ as long as people know that.

    His further emails, however, were pretty bad. And I, again, don’t doubt for a minute that she gets much worse emails, and that sexism is still certainly a problem worth fighting, particularly within the ranks of skeptics.

    As Lukas implied in @Lukas: , the sorts of IT stereotypes that people on this forum have used in this thread, and do constantly elsewhere, have just as bad origins as blond jokes.

  52. I was once told at a TAM, “well Kitty it’s easy to tell you are a REAL blonde”. When I objected to the blonde joke I go the old “see that’s what’s wrong with you WIMMEN, you can’t take a joke. Are you some sort of feminist..”

    Gee, I should think skeptics are feminists, at least as I learned the term when women weren’t welcome in police forces and fire departments and the military front lines. When a woman doctor was a “shocker” on Petticoat Junction (Lassie’s mom played a doctor on the show and it was considered as big a deal as Petula Clark holding hands with Sammy Davis jr).

    It always seems when women object to being objectified, you get the “you have no sense of humor”. Here the insinuation to Rebecca is that she has too much of a sense of humor?

    I mean she cut short a talk about Deep VIEN THROMBOSIS! I’m telling you, those interesting thrombosis dialogs are why I keep tuning in. The point of it is that Rebecca has the smarts but also the balance that is needed to keep the show moving and interesting. Take away the Rebecca and while the other members are talented and interesting… it’s just not SGU.

    No one ever accuses a funny man of being a “blonde”.

  53. Middle-aged male here. I’ve listened to the SGU for about a year, and have worked my way backward in the episodes so far to early 2008.

    In addition to Steve, I would also put Bob above the rest in intellectual contributions to the show. Rebecca strikes me as rather sarcastic (more than the others), and the bulk of her comments seem to be either digs at her fellow rogues or puerile one-liners. I realize that the show is part comedy, but personally don’t care for such a shtick from anyone, male or a female. Perhaps the hate mail comes from men who are threatened by a confident woman.

    Nevertheless, I’m glad there’s a woman on the show. I tried listening to Kirsten Sanford’s podcast and was surprised that she seemed almost embarassed to be talking about technical science matters, making self-conscious jokes about technical terms. Between that and her inane (male) sidekick, I couldn’t listen. The barriers for women to take themselves seriously in science are there, and I applaud Rebecca on her sturdy ego.

  54. @Rebecca: I wonder, though, if it would be more effective coming from him or (better) from both of you. Somebody who already thinks little of you will only think less of you if you defend yourself. However, if somebody he admires ALSO defends you, then he might be more inclined to actually realize that he was being an asshat.

  55. What makes SGU’s podcast so wonderful is:

    1. The format allows for listener participation on several levels and over time the comradery of the panel has allowed us to truly feel like a community, if not a part of an extended family.

    2. The glue that is the sensational Steve Novella: everything sticks because of his presence and due dilligence regarding the editing process.

    3. Though Steve is the primary voice of the SGU, there is a ready, non egotistical division of labor depending on the topic

    4. Though all but Rebecca are either family or long term friends, the diversity of Steve and the “rogues” allows for for different point of view ( though critical thinking is present throughout ) on similar or various topics. Guests explicitly expand the expertise or the perspective on a given topic.

    I know of no family or community, unless it’s a fanatactical cult, where there is complete agreement. For example, I despise political correctness ( though I understand it’s purpose ), but when making a politically incorrect joke a risk of being offensive is always present. I like twisting a tale , exaggerating a point, or blowing up a concept to create humor.

    The key to humor is it’s surprise … and then comes the context. Laughter is a release, but so is anger. The context as compared to one’s own experience and tendencies will influence whether a person laughs or screams. In other words, know one’s audience.

    We must also know one’s intent. Some humor is masked aggression. Some humor is satire. Some is … etc etc etc.

    After reading the comments above it is obvious that Rebecca has been the target of aggression. We are a family related by critical thinking, but it doesn’t mean we all think alike or are alike. Remember, Marylyn was a Munster too. So was Cousin It.

    Jewish jokes are best told amongst Jews.
    Blonde jokes are best told amongst blondes. It doesn’t mean you can’t tell these jokes in mixed company, but it can’t be aggressive. Sexism, mysogony, antisemitism, racism are aggressive acts. But these same topics among friends or people who know each other well can be great satire. Often, one who is in the media, be it a movie star, a sports person or a podcaster becomes unreasonably familiar to the listener and boundaries are crossed. In this family, in this community, in any family, in any commnuity, the loudest are most often heard. Sometimes the loudest are assholes who don’t understand that they aren’t REALLY related and mutual respect must always play a role when communicating, never aggression .

    Finally, no one was more politically incorrect, inappropriate, or over the top than Perry. Perry’s presence allowed Rebecca to express herself without any reservation even though she entered an all boy’s club. There is nothing that Rebecca has said that Perry didn’t say more offensively, especially when disagreeing with Rebecca. But it wasn’t sexist – it was personal – and it was with genuine mutual fondness.

    I think if Perry WAS aware of these e mails he’s rip the guys a new monkey asshole. And we all know how painful that can be.

  56. Steve correctly mentions that this is far from the worst of the emails in terms of sexist insults, and I just wanted to add that that’s the reason why I included it. I figure that anyone can see the problem with someone coming right out and calling me a bitch, but the bigger problem is the sneaky sexism that lurks just below the surface of so many other correspondences.

  57. I personally feel that you bring a much needed shift in perspective to the show and I consider you an intellectual heavy-weight.

    On behalf of my gender, I’d like to revoke his “y” chromosome.

    It perplexes me that sexists would find a show like SGU palatable. I know skepticism has traditionally been a dudes-only club but this has changed and SGU reflects that change quite well.

  58. I think it’s already been discussed on this blog before that pretty much all jokes are, in a way, at the expense of someone.
    I personally don’t mind if a joke is at my expense. Provided it’s a joke, and not a thinly veiled insult trying to pass itself off as “hey,I’m just kidding” (which the remark in the email from the OP was an example of).

    I’ve found the best course of action in such instances where someone is giving a sneaky jab, is self depricating humour. It’s tricky, but it defuses any insulting power the “joke” had, because you’ve just shown that rather than having your button pushed, you don’t care and can in fact make funnier jokes about it than the insulter.

    I actually learned most of that by observing reparté between Rebecca and Sam. Damn those two could whip up some funny on the JREF forum.

    As far as dumb blonde jokes go, I don’t mind, because we’re not laughing with the fact she’s blonde, we’re laughing with the fact she’s dumb as a rock.

    BTW, I know a couple of women IRL who can best be summed up by the monikker “dumb blonde”. I don’t think any of them are actually blonde (not naturally anyway) …

  59. @exarch: As far as dumb blonde jokes go, I don’t mind, because we’re not laughing with the fact she’s blonde, we’re laughing with the fact she’s dumb as a rock.

    ——-

    Exarch, I think that where people are objecting to the “dumb blonde” joke, the point is not the blondeness, exactly. The problem is that the humor, the punchline, revolves around the stereotype that there is a special kind of vacant stupidity reserved for women.

  60. @exarch:

    As far as dumb blonde jokes go, I don’t mind, because we’re not laughing with the fact she’s blonde, we’re laughing with the fact she’s dumb as a rock.

    BTW, I know a couple of women IRL who can best be summed up by the monikker “dumb blonde”. I don’t think any of them are actually blonde (not naturally anyway) …

    So basically, when a woman doesn’t meet your standards intellectually, you call her a “dumb blonde”? That is sexist. Period!

    sethmanapio actually said it best: The problem is that the humor, the punchline, revolves around the stereotype that there is a special kind of vacant stupidity reserved for women.

    By using the moniker (one “k” btw) “dumb blonde” you are perpetuating the sexist myth that all blonde women are dumb, and that all women who are dumb (or who you perceive to be dumb) are blonde, or should be blonde. This kind of judgment is (nearly always) only reserved for women. It is sexist.

    Aren’t you a skeptick? Aren’t you a Skepchick, since you clearly hang out here regularly? Do you respect women at all? Stop perpetuating sexism!

    Also: “As for the dumb blonde jokes go, I don’t mind…” Aren’t you a man? Oh yay, sexist jokes don’t bother a man! And if you aren’t a man, you should know better.

    Provided it’s a joke, and not a thinly veiled insult trying to pass itself off as “hey,I’m just kidding” (which the remark in the email from the OP was an example of).

    ALL sexist jokes aimed toward women are just thinly veiled insults trying to pass themselves off as “hey, I’m just kidding, hahahahaha.” No, you’re being a sexist asshole and trying to pass it off as “humor”.

  61. @Steve Novella: The point about Rebecca being a role model is definitely true. My eldest daughter is 6 and I’m getting her into science and skepticism (They Might Be Giants have been a huge help) and am always thrilled to find women in science in skepticism that are positive role models for her. Rebecca, you being not only intelligent and skeptical but also funny and creative is the sort of combination that I want her and her younger sisters to see and realize that if they can do it to. So thank you.

  62. @Lukas: You’re correct. I completely missed that “sorry”. Must’ve homed in on the longer and more annoying non-apology.

    When rereading the first apology-like statement initially translated as “I’m sorry I didn’t explain myself more clearly” to me, but rereading makes me think it might actually be something resembling an apology.
    Immediately followed by an attempt to mitigate it by going on as if he could not be expected to think anything but that given the way Rebecca has acted rather than as if he realised the comment was offensive.

  63. Let it be known I know a couple of guys who would also fit the stereotype of “dumb blonde”. Although perhaps the term used in case of a guy might be different. I don’t know.

    Anyway, the topic was dumb blonde women, I merely suggested that I knew some dumb women who weren’t blonde (and obviously, also some dumb people who weren’t women).

    I never suggested only women can be vacantly stupid. And it’s not the fact that she’s a woman, or blonde, that makes me think she’s vacantly stupid. It’s the fact that she’s vacantly stupid that makes me think she’s vacantly stupid.

    @marilove:
    ALL sexist jokes aimed toward women …

    In my opinion, that’s a really small subset of jokes. And in my opinion, the average dumb blonde joke doesn’t even fit that category at all. The joke, as I said earlier, is about the subject being dumb as a rock, not about being blonde or a woman.
    A stereotype is just a storytelling device allowing you to move on without having to ruin the joke by devolving into explaining in too much detail that the subject of the joke is such-and-such and bla, bla, bla … before getting to the actual punchline.

    Many dumb blonde jokes I’ve heard are actually retrofitted older jokes about the Dutch, or the French, etc… So it’s clearly not about sexism at all.

    I strive not to confuse reality and stereotype, which allows me to see a blonde girl and not automatically assume she must be dumb.
    I really can’t imagine there’s people who can’t make that distinction. Which may be what marilove’s protest is all about, because she does know people like that.

  64. I’ve heard a little bit of blonde=dumb ribbing between guys before, but I’ve never heard an actual dumb blonde joke (as in a blonde, brunette and a redhead walk into a bar and…) that wasn’t about women and stereotypes of women.

  65. As a person who always tries to sound smarter than I actually am, I like the sometimes stupid comments made on the SGU show because I get to feel all smug, doing the dishes anonymously at home.

    But I think Jay tops the list for these (maybe it’s a put-on, I don’t know) especially for his “ThoosiDiedees” moment. I could not stop laughing!

  66. My comment is so far down that you might never read it Rebecca but, just know that for every stupid guy who doesn’t like you or your comments on the show, there must be a thousand who are just madly in love with you! And I’m one of them! ;-)

    Have a good day!

  67. Ok, so after more than a day’s worth of comments, most of them saying the sexism is blatant in that email exchange, I figured I was missing something and asked my ex-husband for a reality check. (He’s a good egg, if I wasn’t a lesbian I might just marry him again)

    He read the email exchange and said, yep, it’s definitely sexist and aggressive. I missed it.
    I said, I’m sorry, but I still don’t see it.
    He said, Honey, you may have been working in I.T. too long…

    Apparently, I’ve developed some sort of mental callous about sexism. Can’t really apologize for something I don’t see as a problem – but will chime in with those who think Rebecca is the bomb. Rogues Rock.

  68. @ marilove – I just never equated blonde with female. I understand the posters here who have made the point that blonde jokes are mostly about women and I can see where you get that connection, but it’s just not a connection I have in my head.

    Maybe it’s because I spent years working at a desk next to a big blonde guy who would say things like, “I’m having a blond moment, where did I put my keys?” several times a day.

    Maybe it’s cause like all humans, some things I catch onto and some things I don’t.

  69. @Danarra: But it’s not just about the blonde joke, though. It’s the entire tone of all of his e-mails, and the fact that Rebecca said several times that she gets this shit ALL the time, while the men on the show don’t.

    It’d be one thing if it was only that “blonde” comment, but considering it was directd at a woman and Rebecca said she got a HUGE brunt of such emails, and the subsequent replies, I don’t know how it’s not obvious.

  70. You know, I’m hearing people say that, and these are people I love and respect, so I know that it’s just me. I’m apparently just dense on this subject.

    What I got from the first email was a guy saying, Hey! I liked the podcast! and the P.S. seemed to be a misguided attempt at joining the club. Razzing someone the way you razz your friends. The exchange after that read to me as someone confused and upset after getting hit with anger they didn’t understand and never meant to elicit.

    To put this in context, one of the guys at my last job called me a c**t occasionally and I never saw anything wrong with that, either. And most of the people around me had their hair on fire. I’m just really blind when it comes to this stuff. It’s not intentional, it’s not consciously defensive, I just don’t get it.

    Sorry.

  71. Wow! I’ve received similar sexist or sometimes racist) comments that are not so blatantly unacceptable as to be easily called out. I had a hard time breaking down even to myself why I was so bothered, sometimes for days after an incident. Reading these emails brought me right back to a few conversations, and where I stopped because I didn’t want to be accused of being “overly sensitive,” Rebecca, you continued breaking things down to get to the root of the comment. If you didn’t get through to Eddy, you did at least let me know I’m not alone, and that asking for clarification not only tells me where the other person is coming from, but can also show the other person that their words, however flippant, convey more than one message about themselves. Thank you!

  72. @amichaels:
    “[…] but I’ve never heard an actual dumb blonde joke (as in a blonde, brunette and a redhead walk into a bar and…) that wasn’t about women and stereotypes of women.

    I seem to have led a very, very sheltered life.
    I haven’t heard many of those types of jokes (which is obviously why I said that in my opinion the average dumb blonde jokes didn’t seem sexist).
    The ones I know are those like “Q: Why is there white-out all over the computer screen? A: The dumb blonde was fixing typos in her e-mail”.
    You could substitute the subject with anything, male, female or animal, without the joke changing at all.
    Which only confirms my earlier statement:
    Perhaps what marilove’s protest is all about, is that she does know people like that.
    I don’t.

  73. @exarch: Maybe it’s because you’re a man and because of your male privilege you’ve been lucky enough not to encounter sexism every day of your life? This is exactly what male privilege is: You’ve had the privilege of leading a sheltered life, away from most sexism, because you are not a woman.

    I’m trying not to be an asshole here, but it’s getting increasingly frustrating having to basically prove to men here at skepchick that sexism actually exists. Whenever the topic of sexism comes up, the same handful of male commenters come here and try to counteract it: Well I haven’t seen it! Well, to me it’s not sexist! Are you sure it’s sexists? Look, you could just change the pronouns to male*, so it’s not sexist!

    Don’t you see how frustrating this is? Rebecca clearly stated that she gets these kinds of e-mails — and much worse — on a daily basis. And yet you come in here claiming, with your male privilege, that it doesn’t seem sexist to you. Of course it doesn’t! You don’t deal with sexism every fucking day of your life.

    **Just because it makes sense using male pronouns doesn’t mean it’s still not sexist. The majority of dumb blonde jokes are created with women in mind. The majority of dumb blonde jokes are aimed at women.

  74. @exarch: Also, Sethmanapio got it right, for once: The problem is that the humor, the punch line, revolves around the stereotype that there is a special kind of vacant stupidity reserved for women.

    “Perhaps what marilove’s protest is all about, is that she does know people like that.”
    I don’t.

    Also, I take issue with this. It’s not that you’re “sheltered”: It’s that you have male privilege. You do know people like this, I’m sure you do, but because of your male privilege, you are “sheltered” from many forms of blatant sexism, because it’s not directed at you: It’s directed at women. Please re-read when Rebecca stated that she deals with this crap ALL the time, and this is not even the worst of it. Many women here also deal with this same crap, and have said as much. Yet we kept being told (and not just by you), that it’s not sexist to you, which reads to me as: “Are you sure it’s sexist? I don’t think it’s sexist!”

    Once again, that is what male privilege is: You have the privilege of not dealing with direct sexism because the sexism is directed at women, not men.

    That’s awesome for you, but that doesn’t mean this shit doesn’t exist, and it also doesn’t mean you don’t know people like this. It just means you haven’t noticed.

  75. *unlurk*

    marilove – you rock. it does suck that in the year 2010, we’re still having to explain sexism 101. Since we still have to spoonfeed them though, I’m glad you’re doing it and well.

    *relurk*

  76. @marilove: Yes yes, 10000% yes! To me the “oh, well I’ve never seen sexism, and I don’t think this is sexist” is even worse than the original sexist comment. It is presenting the impression that the person is so incapable of seeing that there is any perspective other than their own that well it must not exist if I don’t see it. Which at it’s core is a logical fallacy.

    It’s reasonable, if revealing of a singularly insular mode of dealing with the world, to claim to have never seen sexism in day to day life. It is quite another to not only refuse to acknowledge an act of sexism when explicitly pointed out and explained but to insist that blue is not in fact blue because you personally don’t think it is.

  77. @Endor: @revmatty: Thanks for the kudos, guys.

    As I said above, I’m really trying not to be an asshole, but it’s getting increasingly frustrating having to literally PROVE over and over again to the same handful of men in this blog that yes, sexism actually exists, and no, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not sexist. It means you have male privilege.

    Also, I agree with this: “if revealing of a singularly insular mode of dealing with the world.”

  78. I do want to say that Danarra basically had it right: While she says she is kind of oblivious to a lot of obvious sexism*, she also makes it pretty clear that it doesn’t mean sexism doesn’t exist – it’s that she just doesn’t see it. Many women don’t see sexism; that doesn’t mean sexism doesn’t actually exist. Also, women can be just as sexist as men. Sarah Palin, anyone?. (I’m not saying you’re sexist, Danarra — I’ve just been through these discussions before and I can kind of predict what people will bring up in defense of “that’s not sexist, because…”).

    *And for the record, men using a female body part as an insult is, hands down, sexist, and if you’re not sure why it is and why “dickhead” isn’t sexist, just go look at the Purity Ball post and how a woman’s sexuality (and thus her body, including her cunt) is treated: As an “other”, as something to protect, as dirty (if a woman has sex, she’s dirty! We must protect her and keep her pure!), etc.

  79. @ marilove – I think you’ve got my position just about right. I know sexism exists, I just don’t seem to catch on to it most of the time.
    And I know I can be just as sexist as anyone else. Maybe even more so, since there seems to be a blind spot there.

  80. *reunlurk*

    @revmatty – that is something I run into a LOT – even on skeptic/atheist blogs. Virtually ANY time sexism comes up it’s met with “you’re looking for something to be offended about”. Convenient, isn’t it, that it’s someone who doesn’t live with sexism who thinks he has the right to decide what we’re allowed to find objectionable.

    *rerelurk*

  81. Ugh!!

    Marilove, would you please read what I WROTE, not what you think I wrote.

    I never denied the fact that the response to rebecca from that guy was sexist, I merely said that the majority of dumb blonde jokes I’m familiar with didn’t seem sexist to me. Something which I’ve now been shown to be incorrect, as there are apparently plenty of dumb blonde jokes I haven’t heard, or didn’t mentally categorise as dumb blonde jokes at the time of posting my original response.

    Which means you’ve now backed me into a corner trying to defend words I no longer support 100%.

    Anyway, I’m definitely not denying you your right to feel offended. But please respond to what I actually wrote, and not what you so eagerly want to read into my response. You have a habit of doing that, and of pouncing on the wrong thing that way.

  82. @exarch: And read what I wrote. Several times.

    Yet we kept being told (and not just by you), that it’s not sexist to you, which reads to me as: “Are you sure it’s sexist? I don’t think it’s sexist!”

    Every time someone, generally a man, comes in here and says: “I don’t think it’s sexist!” or something similar, you are basically saying: “Are you sure it’s sexist? I don’t think it is!”

    Of course you don’t: It’s not directed at you because you are not a woman.

    I responded to exactly what you said, not what I wanted to read into. I have, several times, reiterated what you said: You don’t see the sexism, you don’t see that sexism exists. And I’ve said several times: Of course you don’t, because it’s not directed at you.

    And that’s all I’m trying to say. I’m glad you no longer 100% support the words you wrote. But don’t you see the problem of having to force the women of this blog to constantly defend the stance that yes, sexism exists? This is a recurring theme here and it’s getting tiring.

  83. Okay, I’ll play your game.

    Please point out in which post of mine exactly (not counting this on) I said: “sexism doesn’t exist“.

    If you can find the post, I’ll apologise to you and every other woman on the comments here for being an insensitive sexist bastard.

    That’s all …

  84. This: “I’ll apologise to you and every other woman on the comments here for being an insensitive sexist bastard.” is needlessly defensive and inaccurate. No one called you a sexist – the objection is to the words/”jokes” and having to explain these very simple things over and over and over again.

    Marilove is trying to reason with you; she’s repeatedly explained herself and calmly. Your hyperbole isn’t going to silence her, or anyone else. Your accusations of game-playing and the none-to-subtle “chicks are hysterical” implication also won’t silence anyone.

  85. @exarch:

    As far as dumb blonde jokes go, I don’t mind, because we’re not laughing with the fact she’s blonde, we’re laughing with the fact she’s dumb as a rock.

    How about this? You don’t mind. So? Why does it matter if you don’t mind? The sexism isn’t directed toward you! Guess what? I mind! Why? Because I’m a woman and I deal with sexism on a daily basis. Further, you are basically implying that what Eddie said wasn’t sexist, when we are clearly telling you it is. You are essentially telling Rebecca and the rest of us to “I don’t mind, it’s not really a big deal, calm down!” Yeah, sexism is kind of a big deal – especially for those of us – women – who have to deal with it every day. Not to mention how fucking offensive it is for a man to tell a woman, when she is rightfully upset over blatant sexism: “I don’t mind, I don’t find it sexist.” Again, so? The sexism isn’t directed toward you! I, and I’m sure the majority of women, really do not appreciate being told, by a man, that sexism doesn’t bother them. I mean, seriously? Thanks, buddy. Glad it doesn’t bother YOU, considering, you know, it’s not even directed at you or your entire fucking gender.

    BTW, I know a couple of women IRL who can best be summed up by the monikker “dumb blonde”. I don’t think any of them are actually blonde (not naturally anyway) …

    And how ’bout that? You basically gave your approval of the sexism right there.

    the average dumb blonde joke doesn’t even fit that category at all. The joke, as I said earlier, is about the subject being dumb as a rock, not about being blonde or a woman.

    And how ‘bout that? You basically just said, flat-out, that the average blonde joke isn’t sexist! Which, by the way, was my argument: You don’t think the average blonde joke isn’t sexist — it is. Not that sexism doesn’t exist. Sorry if I did not make that clear.

    Many dumb blonde jokes I’ve heard are actually retrofitted older jokes about the Dutch, or the French, etc… So it’s clearly not about sexism at all.

    And again! “It’s not sexism at all.” YES IT IS.

    I really can’t imagine there’s people who can’t make that distinction. Which may be what marilove’s protest is all about, because she does know people like that.

    And there it is again! You are forcing me to prove to you that yes, people like that exist, and since you’ve never met someone like that, you don’t think blonde jokes are sexist, and are we sure it’s sexist, and are we sure people like that exist? Besides that, you are a regular commenter here at Skepchick. If you honestly believe that people like that don’t exist, you are naive, blind, and have ignored every single previous post and comment about sexism. I very much doubt you are an ignoramus, so I think your: “Well…I don’t know anyone like that!” is just an attempt to backpedal.

  86. @Endor: Thank you.

    “I don’t think it’s sexist.”

    “I don’t mind, I don’t find it sexist.”

    “I don’t think most blonde jokes are sexist.”

    Etc.

    Are all basically: “Why are you so concerned? I don’t think it’s sexist. Calm down!”

    I mean come the fuck on, dude.

    Also, how can one be a skeptic, and clearly educated and progressive in their views, and yet honestly say that you don’t think people like that exist. I mean what?

  87. @marilove:

    You failed to make a case. The question was, Please point out in which post of mine exactly (not counting this one) I said: “sexism doesn’t exist“.

    You didn’t do that. You talked about the original perp and blonde jokes, but nothing about this actual question.

    Your vehement assertions aside, whether a particular joke is sexist or not is a matter of opinion and perception. There can be intelligent disagreement on this point.

    How’s this for a non-sexist blonde joke:

    “A blonde walks into a bar. You’d think even a blonde would notice a building that size.”

    What’s the gender of the blonde?

  88. @davew: Please read what I wrote, thanks!

    Which, by the way, was my argument: You don’t think the average blonde joke is** sexist — it is. Not that sexism doesn’t exist. Sorry if I did not make that clear.

    I also take huge issue with a man using the following language to a woman who is complaining about sexism:

    “I don’t think it’s sexist.”

    “It doesn’t bother me.”

    Oh joy! A man doesn’t find it sexist! Oh joy! A man isn’t bothered by the sexism!

    It comes dangerously cclose to: “I’m a man, I don’t think Eddie was being sexist, because I don’t find blonde jokes sexist, so why are you complaining? Calm down!”

    Which I’ve said 9375835 times, and it keeps getting ignored.

    The gender of the blonde in the joke? Female.

    Blonde = female.

    Blond = male.

    That said, as I’ve said several times, the majority of blonde jokes are made with women in mind, and when people say a blonde joke, they generally have women in mind. That’s why the are called Blonde Jokes.

    The jokes are very rarely used to describe men, and they are very rarely created with men in mind.

    Question: Why is it that whenever the subject of sexism here comes up, and the women are in agreement that sexism exists (either generally or, as in this case, for something specific), there are always the same handful of men that say, “I don’t think it’s sexist!” or “It doesn’t bother me!” or “Are you sure it’s sexist? It doesn’t seem so to me!”

    Why do you guys not see this as problematic? Especially saying: “It doesn’t bother me!”

    Well, gee, thanks, it’s nice to know that the sexism I have to deal with every day, and which you never have to deal with, doesn’t bother you. Awesome.

    **I wrote “isn’t” on accident, but I’m pretty sure my point was clear.

  89. It’s also interesting to me that the handful of men here who insist on arguing with women on sexism really don’t have any knowledge whatsoever about sexism or feminism, nor have any knowledge of what it feels like to have to deal with this shit every day. And yet they find it appropriate to come and argue with women about sexism/feminism, and further still find it appropriate to tell women that it doesn’t bother them.

    It’d be one thing if the same handful of men had a goddamned clue about sexism and feminism, but it’s quite clear to met hey don’t. I’ve even been told straight-up several times that they don’t really know anything about feminism or sexism. And yet … the same handful of men come in here and second-guess those of us (women) who deal with this shit EVERY DAY.

    Perhaps it’s time to do some actual reading on the history of sexism and feminism and how women are affected by it every day of our lives before barging in here and acting like a fucking expert on the subject.

    How can someone call themselves a skeptic, and yet argue against or about something they know nothing about?

  90. Okay, here’s the deal.

    Men aren’t going to ever fully get sexism.

    Much like the young don’t ever fully get ageism.

    Much like white people in the USA don’t ever fully get racism.

    Much like how heterosexuals will never understand prejudice based on sexuality.

    Much like some Christians don’t fully get why it’s not a “War on Christmas”, as opposed to respecting that lots of religions have holidays based on the winter solstice. (Or how some non-Christians don’t get that when someone tells them “Merry Christmas”, usually it really means “Happy Whatever Your Holiday Is, and We’d Say That Except We Don’t Know What That Is Because You Have No Visible Signs of Your Religion On Your Person Right Now.”)

    These things will not be eradicated in our lifetime. Why? There will always be enclaves of homogenous populations that will be against mainstream society. Unfortunately, many of them have guns and blunt implements, so going in and kicking their respective assi? Not advisable.

    The one thing I learned over the years as a woman in male-dominated industries? Pick your battles. Otherwise if you blow up at every incidence of sexism, no one listens to you when you are *really* harassed or *truly* discriminated against.

    In the meantime? Practice a withering glare. I mean the type that makes men cover their groin with their hands because they’re not sure you aren’t about to do something violent to their person. Sure, you can get the “bitch” rep, but only amongst those who actually find intelligent, strong women scary. Personally, that makes me smile. Which scares them more.

  91. @Chasmosaur:

    Otherwise if you blow up at every incidence of sexism, no one listens to you when you are *really* harassed or *truly* discriminated against.

    I really don’t like this. *really* harrased or *truly* discriminated against? What is the determining factor of this? Sexism is sexism is sexism, in my opinion. To say that someone isn’t “really” harrased or “truly” discriminated against is brushing their experiences off and basically telling them to “calm down” which, as I’ve said, is problematic. It may not be worth the fight for you, but everyone is different and I don’t think it’s up to you to decide for someone else what is worth the fight and what isn’t worth the fight – and even if it’s not worth the fight to them, it doesn’t mean the person wasn’t really harassed or truly discriminated against.

    I am not always this confrontational in “real life” and I do pick my battles when appropriate, mostly because I think some men (and some women) are just hopeless, and there is no point in arguing with them.

    But I don’t think the men here are hopeless. They are skeptics. They are intelligent. They know how to think critically. They are certainly not hopeless, sexist jerks.

    The problem is that the same handful of men come here and try to argue on the subject of sexism and feminism without having a fucking CLUE about either subject – they are going off their own experiences, as men, and further aren’t even doing any real research or reading on the history of sexism and feminism, and how both affect women today.

    At the very least they can try to understand that their opinions and feelings toward sexism are very much colored by their male privilege. At this point in time, I don’t think they are even trying to do that, no matter how often I repeat it to them (and this is NOT the first time we’ve discussed male privilege here). They aren’t even considering the fact that they truly will never understand because they are men.

    It would also help a little if they made an effort to do some research on their own, but they don’t. They just continue to argue based on their own experiences as men, yet don’t seem to see why that’s a problem, no matter how often I try to explain it.

    I think it’s even more frustrating having to explain this shit over and over again to people who are basically on the same side as I am: They aren’t stupid. They aren’t close-minded. And yet they don’t even try.

  92. @davew: I answered your question. Stop being obtuse.

    AND AGAIN, since clearly you can’t fucking read:

    Which, by the way, was my argument: You don’t think the average blonde joke is sexist — it is. Not that sexism doesn’t exist. Sorry if I did not make that clear.

    AND AGAIN: Why is it appropriate, as a man, to argue against or about a subject that you clearly will never fully understand or “get”, when you’ve never even done the basics of research on the subject?

    I don’t know how many times we’ve talked about sexism or feminism here, only to have one of the men say: “Well, I don’t know much about the subject, but I feel…”

    Well, I’ve not only done the research but I have experienced sexism myself! Nearly daily!

    Why is it that my experiences and knowledge are constantly questioned by men who 1)will never fully understand the subject and 2)haven’t even done any basic research on the subject? Why isn’t this seen as a problem?

  93. @marilove:

    I don’t see how anything you wrote is a response to:

    Please point out in which post of mine exactly (not counting this one) I said: “sexism doesn’t exist.”

    For extra credit, since you said “blonde jokes are sexist”, explain how this joke is sexist:

    “A blonde walks into a bar. You’d think even a blonde would notice a building that size.”

  94. There is a difference – there is always context.

    I worked in Southern Virginia as a geologist for a time. As such, you tend to run into old Southern men, usually farmers. Who inevitably fell back on their local patois, and called any young woman “sweetheart”, “honey”, “darlin’ “, etc. This was usually, though, after we had progressed from “Miss” (I was too young in their eyes to be a Ma’am).

    Whenever I encountered men like that, I smiled, and either called them “sir” or “darlin’ ” (the latter would make them smile). Because it was nothing more than a language pattern and a term of affection – frequently the opposite of misogyny. When you visit someone’s property at least once a month to clear out a groundwater well, you get to know these men, and see how actually respectful they are to the women around them. And they certainly treated me with utter respect for my person, skills, position and intellect – other than an introductory handshake, they never ever laid a hand on me, and wouldn’t let their staff be disrespectful.

    There was no point to being OUTRAGED at was a cultural hangover, when they were otherwise decent men. They weren’t belittling me in the slightest.

    There’s a difference between intentional, deliberate misogyny, and a culture gap. The guys who snapped my bra, pinned me against walls, or were deliberate, provocative bastards? I reported their asses in a heartbeat (if I didn’t just kick them myself), because it *was* deliberate and would not be tolerated.

    There are assholes who need to be cut down to size, and then there are people who just aren’t with the times, or simply have a different frame of reference. To not concede that is to miss out on some really cool people with human foibles and/or frailties.

    Besides, I disarmed crowds of construction workers and truck drivers (I used to be responsible for tracking transportation and disposal of contaminated soil), by always calling them “sir” individually and “gentlemen” as a group. And you know what? They treated me with respect because I didn’t treat them as if they were evil, lecherous, sexist bastards (even though some of them were). I know there were some filthy jokes told, and I’m pretty sure things were said about me behind my back (inevitable, I was a hottie in my 20’s), but they wouldn’t have dared be anything but polite and respectful in front of me. If they weren’t, I would verbally bitch-slap them and use my height (I’m tall) and job position (I was a consultant and supervisor) while doing so. It didn’t happen more than twice. But mostly, I was just nice to them, which takes much less energy than being outraged.

    Whole golden rule thing. Treat others as you want to be treated. Works about 90% of the time, really. If you can’t let the little things go and set boundaries, you just get that whole “she’s a testy bitch” vibe…and then they try and antagonize you for the fun of it. It’s a cycle.

    Whereas the construction workers called me “T-Rex” …because of the dinosaur stickers I’d slapped on my hard hat, my big smile, and the fact you had to respect me or I’d bite your head off…and they didn’t mean the one on your shoulders.

  95. @marilove:

    Honestly, Marilove, from close reading of at least 50 of your comments, it’s my opinion that you let your own biases (toward what is in my opinion the correct stance on many LGBT and sexist issues) color your perception of people’s comments. This is text. On the internet. You have no idea what Eddy’s intent was.

    I submit to you that blonde jokes (or any other racial, sexual, whatever jokes) are not required to be disrespectful, degrading, or sexist any more than a jab at Richard Dawkins’ bad teeth is in any way racist, or saying “history” or “craftsmen” is sexist. It all comes down to the intent of the speaker, and their own views. Rebecca Watson is not sexist (I don’t think), and thus when she makes a joke about penises (which has occured many times on SGU), I think it’s totally appropriate and I don’t feel insulted by this as a man. It is possible to use humor to point out societal flaws, and may in fact help your cause by providing a humorous way to bring up socially awkward topics (comedians do this all the time). My friends poke fun at the utter insane stupidity that is the way our culture treats homosexuals with jokes, like blond jokes, that expose racial and sexual stereotypes for what they are: utter nonsense. Do you think Eddy actually thinks blond-haired women are dumber? I don’t.

    @marilove:

    I don’t know how many times we’ve talked about sexism or feminism here, only to have one of the men say: “Well, I don’t know much about the subject, but I feel…”

    I respectfully disagree with your sentiments that men are coopting these discussions, or that a man cannot say “I don’t find that sexist” even if you do. In this particular example, all I’m really arguing against is this weird idea that you seem to be suggesting that blond jokes are inherently sexist.

    I agree that Rebecca is almost certainly the target of undue criticism as a SGU panel member because of her gender. What else is there to discuss on that matter?

  96. @marilove: “Maybe it’s because you’re a man and because of your male privilege you’ve been lucky enough not to encounter sexism every day of your life? This is exactly what male privilege is: You’ve had the privilege of leading a sheltered life, away from most sexism, because you are not a woman.”

    Honestly, this is the problem I have with your attitude. It’s so single-minded, so divisive and “us vs them.” By denying that men can understand or know anything about sexism is, in my opinion, alienating, sexist, and being a jackass.

    Those with XX chromosomes are not the only people who experience sexism, and you’re really hurting your cause by not seeing that. Surely you must know how much gay men are hurt by being subjected to regular male sexist stereotypes. Personally, I think you can find common ground when a man says something like, ” Yeah, men are expected to be macho and move furniture.” Use this as an opportunity to relate, rather than say, “Are you suggesting men have it as bad as women? Women are more sexually targeted therefore your opinions don’t matter! Stop coopting the argument!”

  97. @sporefrog: ‘You have no idea what Eddy’s intent was.”

    Um, really? Did you read his e-mail to Rebecca?! His intent was clear.

    You cannot be serious on that one. At all.

    I’m done with this conversation, because it is clear to me that several men of this blog will never get it and will never even attempt to get it.

  98. @revmatty: davew is mostly a troll who gets his kicks from deliberately missing the point and making people angry. He does on occasion engage in real discussions, but it’s rare.

    This is absolutely unfair and untrue. I have never represented an opinion here that I don’t hold.

    I don’t see how anything @marilove said in her response to me answered the question. If you can find it please point it out.

    She said two things which I think are demonstrably false:

    – @Exarch said that sexism doesn’t exist.

    – Blond jokes are sexist.

    As to the first @exarch certainly said many things that people took issue with but none came close to a blanket denial of sexism.

    As to the second I would admit that most blonde jokes are sexist, but I don’t think they all are. I picked the example I did because I hoped it would spark a conversation on a distinction between the perception of sexism and a more objective standard of sexism and how people’s perceptions, even different women’s perceptions, can vary. Swearing and name calling are not what I was after.

  99. @davew I think it may be that you’re interested in talking about the nuances of language while others are talking about the emotional impact of discrimination and bigotry.

    Just because a blond(e) joke might be technically gender neutral there is a well established dominance of female-targeted intent there. And in the case of this thread, there is no question about the “Eddy’s” intent.

    I think @Frisby said it best. Great example.

  100. In my opinion, I think you over reacted. Upon reading the intro, I expected a much more inflammatory email. He made a dumb joke, but that is all it was: a dumb joke. After your reply made clear that you didn’t find it funny, he quickly turned around and tried (in a roundabout fashion) to apologize.
    That being said:
    – I’m female
    – I just learned about the show so have never heard it
    – I love the Skepchick blog and am a long time lurker, first time commenter.

    This was just my initial reaction to reading the post (my humble opinion).

    I love the blog, the posts are always great! :)

  101. @davew: For extra credit, since you said “blonde jokes are sexist”, explain how this joke is sexist:

    “A blonde walks into a bar. You’d think even a blonde would notice a building that size.”

    ————

    For extra-extra credit, DaveW, explain why this joke isn’t anti-you:

    “DaveW walks into a bar. You’d think even a smug hippie would notice a building that size.”

    I mean, I could substitute anything there, right? So it isn’t “blah-ist” where blah is the subject, right? Let’s try it this way (I apologize for using shock value here):

    “A Nigger walks into a bar. You’d think even a nigger would notice a building that size.”

    Hmmm… I guess that joke isn’t racist, right? Because I could substitute any other word, and the joke would be the same, right?

    Wrong. The reason that that’s a racist joke is because the punchline relies on or generates a stereotype about the subject.

    “A republican walks into a bar. You’d think even a republican would notice a building that size.”

    Now the joke isn’t sexist, racist, or smuggist… it’s political. It still generates an “us” (the joke teller and audience) and a “them” (the subject) and creates a laugh at the expense of the subject. When the subject is a group of some kind, the joke is group-ist.

    So the answer to your question, Dave, is that the joke is sexist because it is about a female subject (the blonde) and the punchline revolves around the expectation that women with blond hair are dumb as rocks.

    I hope that clears things up.

  102. Parliamentary government’s are crazy. Doesn’t the science minister actually have an administrative role as well as legislative? Anyways…

    Thanks for posting the exchange, it’s always good to see people get called out for being an ass on the Internet. You see the part where Eddy thinks its odd that a ‘famous’ person like Rebecca would be offended. It’s basically a combination of sexism and a variation of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory:
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/
    I think some people just don’t really understand that there are real people on the Internet, so most of the social norms from ‘real life’ still apply. And they usually don’t get the response that Rebecca gave, so they never learn.

  103. I feel I’ve given this enough time to cool down. I’ll weigh in with some final thoughts.

    As @sporefrog commented as well, this was my main issue with Marilove’s responses. I don’t mind having my ass handed to me on a silver platter during a discussion for getting my facts wrong. I do mind being accused of prejudices by someone whose own arguments are so heavily discoloured by their own that they don’t even realise why I’m asking, no, PLEADING with them to read my actual comments, not the ones already reshaped and perverted by their own imagined injustice towards [insert appropriate group here].

    I take even more offense at the idea that I’m not allowed to speak my mind on ANY SUBJECT I WANT (particularly with the qualifier “in my opinion …” to emphasize I’m not stating fact but rather my best guess) for the simple reason that I’m not part of the “group“. Perhaps Elyse can get away with crap like that because, in a sense, she actually does own the place here along with the other skepchicks, but I feel like no subject should be off limits because I don’t know it inside and out. Particularly if I’ve stated up front that my knowledge/experience on the subject might be limited and subjective (something that may not have been clear from the start in this case).

    The right way to respond: #90 @sethmanapio
    The wrong way to respond: #92 @marilove

    I realise I was wrong to allow myself to get so damn defensive so quickly, but that’s a characterflaw I can’t help. If someone comes out swinging, biting and kicking right off the bat, I’ll rather defend my words to the death than give my detractors the satisfaction of an apology.

    As for my words, I still have no intention of dropping them altogether.

    So, while the original e-mail from “Eddy” was rather insulting (which I’m not denying) and sexist (which I’m not denying either), we will never know what his intention was, since “Eddy” isn’t here to explain himself further.
    The knowledge that primarily Rebecca seems to be singled out for these kinds of comments has no bearing whatsoever on Eddy’s comment.

    As for me, I AM here to defend myself, and have tried, to no avail, to add some much needed nuance to my statements. The mere association of what I said to Eddy’s blonde quip has earned me the priviledge of sitting in the shitbox alongside him.

    *oink, oink*

  104. @Endor:
    This: “I’ll apologise to you and every other woman on the comments here for being an insensitive sexist bastard.” is needlessly defensive and inaccurate. No one called you a sexist – […]

    Marilove is trying to reason with you; she’s repeatedly explained herself and calmly.

    Which blog post have you been reading?
    She’s been yelling at me angrily right from the word go. If you disagree with that assesment, re-read the very first sentence of her first reply to me and tell me if I’m wrong to feel a bit attacked.

    Further more, I find it rather ironic, that when a person with a Y-chromosome suggests something doesn’t seem sexist to them, this is translated as saying “you wimminfolk are overly sensitive and hysterical and need to lighten up”, yet when someone calls me a sexist, I’m being “needlessly defensive” and should just relax already, she’s clearly just being polite and explaining things calmly. Can’t I see that?

    And then people say that being a white heterosexual male means you couldn’t possibly have any concept of what discrimination or a double standard is …

    […] – the objection is to the words/”jokes” and having to explain these very simple things over and over and over again.

    I understand the objections, and I can grasp the concept of sexism so there is no need to repeat this ad nauseum. I hope you on the other hand, will understand my clarifications as to why I wrote what I did and how it possibly might not say what you think it did. It might help you understand why your clarification of these “simple things” seemed to fall on deaf ears.

    Your hyperbole isn’t going to silence her, or anyone else. Your accusations of game-playing and the none-to-subtle “chicks are hysterical” implication also won’t silence anyone.

    I am not out to silence anyone. I am merely out to be understood correctly. Your response only shows that I haven’t managed to pull that off so far. I probably never will, but I’ll keep trying.

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