Sorry I forgot to post on this earlier, but last week I was asked to appear on a thing called BLoggingheads, where two people record themselves discussing a topic and then video of them each staring at their computers goes online to accompany the audio. In a way I enjoyed it, and in another way it was extremely exhausting, which is probably the reason I’ve put off posting about it.
My discussion partner was Ann Althouse, a law professor and frequent contributor to Bloggingheads. The higher-ups at Bloggingheads wanted me on because of the to-do surrounding the Dawkins affair, but Ann told me that our segment would be airing as part of the site’s “Science Saturday,” so we would need to touch on some sciencey stuff. That sounded great to me, because honestly there’s only so much time I can spend on why it’s important for our community to not be openly hostile to women.
Things didn’t go as I planned, though. While Althouse agreed with me that Dawkins was out of line and my sentiments were fair, she kept saying things that required me to unpack a lot of stuff before moving on. For instance, she agreed that Dawkins was smug, but aren’t all atheists smug and that’s kind of the problem? So I had to back up and explain that no, atheists are not all smug just because they think they know the truth. Religious people, I tried to explain, think they know the truth and further many think that others who don’t know the truth are going to burn in Hell when they die. I would have gone on to explain how these same people believe this entire Universe was created especially for them, and what’s more smug than that, but Althouse kept interrupting me. Fair enough – I suspect that I’m becoming well-known for my ability to take 30 minutes to fully answer a question while taking numerous asides to add some color and explanation. But I felt that many times I was interrupted before I had even begun to flesh out my point, which got to be quite frustrating by the end of our hour-long chat.
The other notable frustrating time came near the end, when Althouse continually pressed me for dating advice for the poor awkward guys who just want to show up at a conference and get laid. This was the inspiration for my YouTube post on Friday – I had trouble understanding why a clearly intelligent person like Althouse would first of all assume that a man who invites a stranger to his hotel room at 4am is somehow shy and awkward as opposed to bold and confident (as the man actually was), and second that she would shift the focus from making the community more welcoming to women to making it easier for men in the community to have sex. Like I said, frustrating.
So, here’s the video in full. I’ll leave it to you guys to debate how I played the hand I was dealt.