Skepchick Quickies 10.3

Skepchick Quickies 10.3

On October 3, 1942, Germany launched a V-2 rocket and it became the first man made object to reach space and the progenitor of modern rockets. Unfortunately, given this period of time, it was used for bombing.

By Mary
Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

68 Comments

  1. The email wasn’t abusive and i don’t think of it as bullying.

    • And yes, i am overweight and friends, family and some coworkers make fun of that almost daily, but i don’t feel bad, it motivates me to lose weight.

      • “And yes, i am overweight and friends, family and some coworkers make fun of that almost daily, but i don’t feel bad, it motivates me to lose weight.”

        I find this very hard to believe. Even if it is true in your case, it’s very rare for others to react this way, so you should be careful about extrapolating. If shaming made people thin, there would be no fat people. Shaming fat people to make them thin is about as effective as shaming sex to make people celibate, meaning not very.

    • The basic gist of the email was “if you can’t lose weight you shouldn’t be on television”. How is that not hurtful? Do your coworkers say that your unhealthy weight means you should leave your career?

      As the anchor said, the emailer knows nothing about her or her struggles.

      • The email was sent to her in private, and had, in my opinion, a respectful tone. I don’t see it as bullying. She is also public figure, being on tv and all. I’m not saying she should lose weight (although it is a healthy decision to make). But why complain about a harmless sounding email sent to you in private?

        • The person who wrote that letter was concern-trolling at the very least. Her weight has absolutely nothing to do with her job, and her weight does not even imply whether she’s healthy. The fact that strangers feel comfortable commenting on issues like weight is disturbing.

        • A respectful tone does not negate the fact that it wad bullying. And do you think this man would have said anything to the anchor if she were a man?

          And what exactly does her weight gave to do with her job? And why is she a terrible influence just because she isn’t skinny and is on TV? And how do you or the bully know she is unhealthy? Because she id fat?

          Why do you think she needs motivation do lose weight? How do you know she is unhealthy?

          Why does she DESERVE a stranger telling her she doesn’t belong on tv and that she is a bad influence? Cuz she is fat?

          You are a bully, too. Gross.

        • And this sort of thing does not exist in a vacuum. Fat shaming needs to STOP.

          I am fat. And healthy as a horse. I work out four days a week! I am never going to be thin. The women in my family are short and stout. My thighs are massive.

          But I bet bullies like you and the letter writer would assume that I am unhealthy and deserve shaming because I am fat.

          • What is your basis for calling Blakut a bully? Seems like his only take is that he doesn’t consider an incorrect position, politely stated in a private email to constitute “bullying”? I am sure there is a solid counterargument to make, but you can make it without needing to call him a bully and then ranting about an argument that he wasn’t (or didn’t appear to be) making.

          • He agrees that it wad acceptable for the bully to fat Shane. He agrees that it is acceptable for a total stranger to police bodied. He agrees that fat equals unhealthy and if you are fat you deserve to be shamed because clearly as a fat person you NEED the motivation. Because shaming is oh so motivating.

            He agrees that someone else’s body and PERCEIVED health is his business because of some fucked up notion that fat equals unhealthy always and that fat people DESERVE to be shamed because they are fat.

            That is a bully’$ attitude. He is on the side of bullies.

            If it quacks it is a duck.

            Don’t want to be called a duck? Don’t quack.

          • Fucking auto correct.

          • I really see almost none of that in his comment. He does admit accepting ridicule from others because he is overweight and unhealthy, but outside of that person comment I don’t see support for your claims.

            Perhaps the better approach would be to ask, what is your definition of a bully? Because I don’t think the emailer in the video qualifies in my opinion, and I really don’t think that Blakut qualifies based upon his comments in this thread.

          • Fay shaming is bullying. Body policing is bullying. Attempting to fat shame someone because they don’t fit unto your ignorant beauty standards is bullying. Telling someone they are unhealthy because of your PERCEPTIONS is bullying. Telling someone they are a bad influence is because they don’t align with your ignorant beauty standards is bullying. Agreeing and encouraging bullies is bullying.

            Replace fat with gay. Or atheist. Or women. Or black. Or Mexican.

            It is bullying. Period.

          • Marilove: about the health part, i was told by a doctor to lose weight, or my liver gets it. I tend to believe her.

          • I assume you see that you are begging the question. Saying what I don’t want you to say is bullying because it is. It is obviously a personal issue for you, and so I’ll beg off of it.

            But I would propose that it is possible to say something wrong, or even inappropriate and rude, without “bullying.” And this (the email to the reporter) seemed like a better opportunity to politely correct the writer’s inaccurate assumptions than it is to shout him or her down for being a bully. I would propose that is someone writes a seemingly polite letter that is filled with false ideas or notions or assumptions, it might be a circumstance where the person has a good intention and would be potentially open to a good faith debate. Perhaps the person could even be corrected and shown the error of their ways with a polite, but sharp response. Could be a lost opportunity.

        • Also, thin DOES NOT mean healthy. Plenty of skinny people are ‘skinny fat.’ But bullies never demand skinny people to get healthy because they assume skinny means healthy. Which is bullshit.

          Making comments on a stranger’s body because they don’t conform to your narrow, ignorant standards is BULLYING.

          Not to mention the sexist implications of a MAN telling a woman she is too fat for tv.

          Body policing is bullying.

          Someone else’s body is NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. PERIOD. THE END.

          And for Pete’s sake. An even tone does not mean it is respectfully. Commenting on another person’s body isms beyond disrespectful.

          • I think there are actually quite a few women who have shapes that naturally look “fat” because they’re so different than the image portrayed in the media (which is basically a lean/straight look).

            A personal trainer friend of mine who is incredibly skinny and fit (she works out 12 days a week) and has a hard six pack, but she always gets called fat because she’s naturally wide. But when you see her in a bathing suit, you notice she’s lean as hell, but just has a big frame.

            But you know what society thinks of that, they think “you’re a big, therefore less valuable”. And that’s what the letter is saying “you’re fat, get off TV, you’re ruining the image of perfection our children should aspire to.” And that’s fucked up. And saying it’s okay to send letters like that is basically affirming that view.

            Is he free to express his opinion, absolutely. Are we free to rip him to shreds because his opinion is fucking wrong, absolutely.

          • I have super wide shoulders and big thighs and huge calves. I am squat. And strong. And I enjoy weight lifting.

            I AM FAT. I am healthy.

            Fuck the bullies.my body is not their business!

          • marilove, i respect your feedback and i see you commenting here a lot. Why would you think i am a bully? I have never done that in my life. Why is critisicm seen as bullying? I know that in my case thinner is healthier because that’s what my doctor told me. If you enjoy weightlifting, all the more respect to you, there are few women who do this. But please tell me, if someone comes to me and tells me quit smoking, it’s bad for you! and someone comes and tells me quit eating bad food, being fat is bad for you! What’s the difference? I’ve been told this all my life!?

          • And do you think that comment is really bullying? Compare that with the emails atheists get for being atheists! Some peopple told me they wouldn’t live on the same street as me, because i am atheist. Others told me i should just die because of that. This doesn’t even compare to the hatemail Rebecca or others women on this site get!

          • Blakut, just because some email bullying is worse does not make the relatively-calm fat shaming emails better. Also, diet and exercise make you healthy, not the level of adipose tissue, so it’s still not fair to judge based on size alone.

          • I know that just because you are bullyed or threatened this doesn’t mean it’s ok for others to do it, but i still don’t see that particular email as really bullying.

          • Mary, i replied just after you replied, so i didn’t see your message. I don’t understand this fat-shaming thing as you do. The guy that wrote the email may have done that. But i still don’t understand the issue the same way you see it. I would like to know more about this, so if you can message me in any way, or leave a link here, i’d be happy to do it. I’m sorry if some of my messages were perceived as bullying, i never meant that.

          • Your perception of the email is coloredby your own experience. Just like how some people are more sensitive to street harassment while others see it at complimentary.

            I think commenting on her size was out of line and rude, that’s my opinion. I don’t know of a good link to show, but debate is good.

          • He made ASSUMPTIONS about her health based on his PERCEPTIONS based on the way she LOOKS and then felt it was his duty to send her an email telling her she shouldn’t be on TV because she’s fat, therefore she’s unhealthy, therefore she’s a “bad influence”.

            HOW is she a bad influence? Because she’s fat? Really? That’s bullying, right there, to say that someone is a bad influence based on how they look.

            You are saying it’s perfectly okay for a stranger to make assumptions about someone else based on how they look. You are saying it’s perfectly okay to judge someone based on perceptions that may or may not be correct. You are saying it’s perfectly okay to tell someone they shouldn’t be on TV because they are fat. You are saying it’s PERFECTLY OKAY to body shame someone.

            And you keep continuing to make the assumption that “fat = unhealthy” which is WRONG.

            Why does this guy assume she is unhealthy? Because she’s fat. He doesn’t even know her!

            According to you, even though I am perfectly healthy and get plenty of exercise, it would be totally okay for a stranger to come up to me and tell me I’m unhealthy because I’m fat, and a terrible influence.

            Should fat teachers not be allowed to teach because they are a bad influence?

            Should fat doctors be fired?

            You do realize we have a few fat female skeptics, right, that appear for talks, and they may even appear on TV! Would it be acceptable for someone to send them an e-mail telling them they are obviously unhealthy and a terrible influence because they are fat?

            And you do realize that this sort of bullying is related to the bullying that Rebecca, et al, receive, right?? What, do you think we fat women don’t hear how awful we are because of our weight every fucking day or something?!

            Why are you not okay with some forms of bullying, but okay with body policing fat shaming? Do you think the fat female skeptics haven’t received similar statements from other “concerned” people??

            And regarding your stupid smoking analogy — you can’t compare the two. First of all, smoking is something that people decide to do. But even still, yes, it’s fucking RUDE to go up to a stranger and tell them what they are doing is unhealthy. What, do you think they don’t know? Besides, addiction is a MEDICAL problem and shaming isn’t going to help someone quit.

            Not only are you making the assumption that fat = unhealthy (and therefore it’s perfectly acceptable for a stranger to tell a fat person they are unhealthy and a terrible influence and they need to get their fat ass off the tv), but you are making the assumption that shaming is motivating.

            You have yet to provide any evidence for either of these extraordinary (and totally false) claims.

            Lack of critical thinking, much? And you call yourself a skeptic?

            I was bullied HEAVILY as a child, and much of that bullying had to do with the fact that I’ve never been thin. Even though I played soccer and softball, I was still chubby. AND I WAS BULLIED because of that. AND IT WAS AWFUL.

            Maybe you and your family have a different family culture than most of us, but I would NOT appreciate someone teasing me or making fun of me for my weight. I am not you.

            If you don’t want to be associated with bullies, THEN STOP SIDING WITH BULLIES.

            Someone else’s body is none of your fucking business. PERIOD.

            It is NOT your job to tell someone they are unhealthy. That is between them and their doctors. IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

          • “and someone comes and tells me quit eating bad food, being fat is bad for you! What’s the difference?”

            If you see someone you are close with doing destructive behavior, it may be appropriate to talk to them. Context is key. It depends on your relationship.

            But if you see a stranger eating a hamburger, would you walk up to them and tell them, “You’re eating unhealthy crap! Stop it! You’re going to die!”

            NO. You wouldn’t. Or at least, I hope you wouldn’t. Because you SHOULD NOT make assumptions about someone because you happen to see them eating a hamburger. How do you know they otherwise eat fantastically, and they are having their one cheat meal of the week? You don’t know. And to assume you know is to be a jackass. And if you confront them with your assumptions, then you are being a bully.

            Seriously. I don’t see how you can find the bullying that Rebecca, et al, go through as terrible and unacceptable, yet see t his as totally fine. THEY ARE THE SAME FUCKING THING.

            And do you think this guy would have sent the same note to a man? OH PLEASE.

          • And, hey, imagine this:

            Portland researchers find slightly overweight people live longer than normal-weight people — And apparently, underweight people die soonest.

            And this is relevent:

            http://chibimissy.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/the-different-degrees-of-body-shaming/

          • marilove: you are right, the same guy probably woulnd’t send the same note to a guy. I am sorry if some of my comments may have been perceived as bullying, i was just speaking my mind, and for that i am not sorry. But yeah… i get what you mean. I come from a different culture/place, but i see what you mean.

          • My wording was clumsy. I do not think Rebecca is fat (far from it). That said, she’s received PLENTY of body shaming abuse, as have several other prominent skeptics.

            But hey! According to you, that’s toootally okay.

            I guess next time I see a fat person on the bus, it is perfectly within my right — no, it’s my *duty* — to explain to them how terrible of an influence they are, and how unhealthy they are, and how awful they are, and how they must lose weight.

            Because that’s what you’re saying. You’re saying that’s okay. And that’s disturbing.

            I also still can’t see how you seem to be appalled by the abuse Rebecca gets, but you’re totally okay with this. WTF?

            Here, relevant:

            http://tigerbeatdown.com/2012/03/05/guess-what-shaming-people-for-being-fat-doesnt-magically-make-them-thin/

          • Blakut, your family and close friends may tease you, but that’s different from a STRANGER making comments based on assumptions based on perceptions.

            But would you send this sort of e-mail? Would you, personally, send a letter like this? If you wouldn’t, WHY? Think about it. Think about what would make you write this sort of letter in the first place. About a TOTAL stranger. A woman.

            And imagine this:

            What if you were on TV. Maybe you ended up on a talk show, to discuss something awesome you did.

            How would you feel if someone sent you this sort of e-mail and told you that you were a BAD INFLUENCE?

            And note the tone of the letter. The letter writer was NOT concerned with the woman. AT ALL.

            Oh, he mentions her health, but do you see any actual concern for her? He gives not one shit about her.

            Clearly, he’s trying to shame her because he finds fat women offensive.

            And that’s pretty disturbing.

            You’re a fat man, right?

            You don’t really live in the same world as fat women.

            My fat world is totally different from your fat world.

          • I agree with you marilove. Stop now… please?! :D I see some mistakes on my part, i was ok with all that because i saw no problem of people telling me i developed my own gravity field (i do astrophysics, so being called a supergiand is well… less than fun), so i didn’t understand why others may feel so bad about it. I have to lose weight because of health reasons, so i thought this was the case for everybody.

          • Well, if you are honestly interested in understanding this topic, then what I said was important, I promise — particularly the links, which I wanted you to see. I also wanted to leave those questions (“Put yourself into my shoes”) for you as well as OTHER PEOPLE who may have felt similarly to the way you did.

            This isn’t just for your benefit, after all. :)

            BUT, I am glad I helped you to think and consider. If you have any more questions (after you read the links and maybe do a bit of googling :D), then ask.

            Also, I really hate this tiny box. I’m terrible. Plus I’m also now off my stupid cell phone and using a real keyboard so I got a little excited.

          • I will look through the links today, but i find it hard to believe that being overweight does not cause health problems. Ok, sometimes being overweight is the result of some health problems. Obesity is a problem, we as modern human beings eat a lot of processed food, which contains a lot of fat, salt and other stuff. We don’t get the exercise we need by sitting in our offices. It’s not ok to make fun of someone because they are fat, but i look at myself: i got fat because i ate a lot during exams and stopped exercising. Now it’s really difficult to lose that weight (and it’s been a couple of years). So i agree with you that bullying and fat-shaming is wrong, but i still think obesity is a health problem for most people who have it. I can surely agree if this a life choice, i am a smoker for example. But i don’t tell people it’s ok to smoke. Man this is a difficult subject… had no idea.

          • Once you are fat for a while, your body changes. Quite drastically. Also, if you’ve always been fat, getting thin is near impossible.

            There are studied but they are bookmarked at home. Let me know and I will share. Or just google.

            Also, genetics. Fat people with fat parents are generally never going to be thin.

            And, plenty of skinny people eat terribly, smoke, drink too much, and get no exercise, yet they LOOK healthy do everyone assumes they are.

            You seem to be saying that fat must be unhealthy. Which means you seem to feel that thin means probably healthy.

            but you can’t assume that.

            Plenty of fat people are healthy.

            AND STOP COMPARING SMOKING TO FAT PEOPLE LIKE IT IS RELEVANT. It is offensive.

        • Then listen to YOUR doctor. But YOUR doctor has nothing to do with anyone else. O.o Why do you keep making assumptions about total strangers based on your life? Makes no sense.

          Also, once again, making assumptions about a stranger’s body and telling them they are a terrible influence because of your baseless assumptions is bullying.

          It SHOCKS me how people can read something so awful yet be fine with it all because the bully had an even tone. Tone isn’t the fucking point.

          He thinks fat people are bad influences because they are fat and that a fat women should not be on tv. He found her fatness so offensive he wrote a perfect stranger to tell her that her fatness is offensive to the world. He made assumptions about her based only on the fact that she is not skinny. And he didn’t keep that shit in his head.

          He was so PERSONALLY offended by her fatness that he had to send a STRANGER a letter to voice it.

          And NOT ONCE did he voice concern about her or health. Nor once!

          Anyone defending this sexist bully is on his side and is part of the fucking problem.

          BODY SHAMING AND BODY POLICING IS ALWAYS BULLYING.

          And if you disagree, then you are siding with the bullies. How noble.

  2. I want to have Timothy Olyphant’s babies.

    • I’ll leave the baby-making to you, but I also just jumped here to say, yet another reason to love Timothy Olyphant.

      • I suppose I should come clean and confess that I can’t actually have babies.

        • Come on now, no need to be hard on yourself.

        • You should still demand the right to have babies…

        • Well, didn’t they do a uterus implant at some point within the last couple years? I was paying attention to the news at the gym for once (closed caption) and they were talking about how another woman is getting an implant, and they are also going to try to get her pregnant (the other woman never became pregnant). I need to google this shit…

          Anyway, MAYBE SOME DAY, is what I’m sayin’!

          • You give me hope… :)

  3. Re: torture. I have zero data to backup what I’m saying but I hear a surprising number of people support blatant erosion of civil liberties or human rights abuses just so long as it’s in support of their own issues or passed by their political party.

    I’m talking about the left and right sides of the spectrum.

    And that is fucked up that we as citizens encourage that.

  4. I was excited about the allergy-free milk until I read that they had one cow with a genetic defect that unnaturally produced milk.

    Was it still a calf when it started lactating? Do calves need the BLG protein from cows milk to thrive? I understand why genetic modification is important, but it still weirds me out a bit because I start thinking about environmental impact and ethics and other aspects that I just don’t know enough about to answer.

  5. Mary,

    Is there even any real evidence that the Bush era torture policies worked? People should not base their beliefs on what they read in novels or see in a fictional television series. According to the Center For Investigative Reporting article you linked to,

    “So what explains this phenomenon? In an interview with the Center for Investigative Reporting, Zegart said it was popular culture – particularly spy-themed television shows and films – that seemed in part to influence the degree to which Americans supported techniques of varying severity, such as torture. After all, some Twitter users thanked the fictional character Jack Bauer from Fox’s “24” after Osama bin Laden was killed.”

    Talk about a lack of critical thinking!

  6. Mary,

    Not surprised religious right bigots are out in force already trying to overturn the law banning “conversion therapy,” for minors. Unfortunately, We should expect homophobes to never give up trying to get rid of that law, until the day we die.

  7. Mary,

    I only saw part of that anti contraception video you linked to, over at Jezebel, and already I can see, it deserves this.

    Epic Facepalm Compilation ULTIMATE EDITION

  8. There was another Jezebel article about Bill Clinton arranging a deal to provide generic Norplant for third world women at reduced cost, which went one to list some of the downsides of Norplant. Please enlighten me: Is the copper-based IUD out-of-patent (i.e., generic)? Is it cheaper to make than Norplant? Why not use that instead?

  9. And I thought I couldn’t be more in lust Timothy Olyphant! That was just a fantastic takedown of psychics.

  10. Blakut, my comments are for the benefit of others as well, but I’m glad you learned something! I encourage you to look at my links and explore further.

    Also, fat shaming sucks, and I don’t know if I find your friends and family finding it okay to fat shame you as AWESOME. It’s fine that you are okay with it and I’m not telling you how to feel, nor am I telling you to do anything about it — but that still doesn’t make it OKAY.

    • I <3 Marilove.

    • Your comments on fat shaming were excellent.
      I wish more people would come around to such views.

      I’ve experienced it myself, quite often.

      It’s good to know there are those like you that educate people on the subject.

      • Thanks for the love, guys. :)

        I still don’t see how making comments about a stranger’s body ISN’T bullying. Or sexist in this case. But clearly people still seem to believe body policing fat people is okay. Ugh.

        And comparing smoking to fat people. Icky.

        • I agree with the other commenters. Nicely done! I’m usually at work when I get these comments so I’m not able to keep up, but I was really shocked when the first comment I got was saying the fat shaming email wasn’t offensive.

          • I think I mostly got through to Blakut and that’s awesome.

            But there is still another commententor who clearly doesn’t get it. Apparently, making assumptions about a stranger’s body and health and then commenting on that stranger’s body is perfectly okay. And a woman no less, which just adds an extra layer of icky-ness.

            Bleh.

            How this is not obviously bullying and wrong is beyond me.

          • I got your point Marilove, making comments about someone’s body is wrong. I was never upset when people called me fat or told me i gained a lot of weight. I understand that some people can be fat and healthy, but it is not my case: i’m overweight (not very, but still) however a lot of fat goes to my liver, and that’s why i have to lose weight. I assumed that this is the general case, and it might not be so.

          • “But there is still another commententor who clearly doesn’t get it. Apparently, making assumptions about a stranger’s body and health and then commenting on that stranger’s body is perfectly okay. And a woman no less, which just adds an extra layer of icky-ness.”

            I suppose this is aimed at me. I would point out that you are creating a false dichotomy and strawman. “Either the letter writer was a bully, or else what he did was ‘perfectly okay.’” Again, I believe the letter writer was factually wrong in several ways, and I would agree that his letter was unnecessary and rude in context. But it was still a polite email on its face that invited a polite, reasoned response (if it wasn’t just ignored). I think our goal as skeptics is to guide people out of the world of false assumptions into the world of reasoned, science-and-fact-based reasoning. When a person presents to you with a wrong, even an offensive opinion, in a polite, good faith manner, that seems like the perfect time to respond with a direct, but polite correction. Whether this guy was a bully or not (and I don’t think the letter constitutes bullying, fwiw), there was probably a more productive approach to correcting him than public humiliation and labeling him a bully.

            But in any event, my comments were mainly about your decision to call Blakut a bully (twice) for the sole offense of saying that he didn’t think the original letter writer was a bully. He has demonstrated very clearly that he is not a bully, and that he was interested in a good faith discussion on the topic. And while you are patting yourself on the back for convincing him to change his opinion based upon evidence and well-reasoned arguments, it seems clear to me that those arguments and evidence would never have been presented if he hadn’t ignored your name calling in your first posts and continued to approach this thread in a calm, good faith manner. Why not start with those ending comments, and if he ignores your evidence or escalates into name-calling, then be more attack-minded?

            So how am I not “getting it?” How did your first posts better serve your goal of convincing people not to engage in body policing or promoting skepticism in general? I honestly don’t see it.

            Bullying is a real problem, and it is problem we need to address with both kids and adults. I don’t mean to dismiss it. But we must also avoid the easy out of labeling people bullys so that we can yell at them and feel better about ourselves, instead of taking advantage of reasonable opportunities to politely correct their wrong and misinformed opinions. Quite frankly, I think this thread is evidence more in favor of my approach than yours. Blakut isn’t a bully, you were wrong to label him as such, and when you treated him like a polite, but wrong individual, your goals were accomplished.

          • You are hopeless. I give up. You lack serious critical thinking skills if you think the letter writer was being in any way reasonable.

            Thee news woman was NOT responding to her bully. She was talking to other bully victims, particularly young women.

            Bullies DO NOT RESPOND TO REASON.

            And telling victims to be nice to their abusers is WRONG.

          • Here are the words I used to describe the letter writer:
            (1) factually wrong; (2) unnecessary; (3) rude; and (4) wrong, even offensive opinion. Not included in that list: “reasonable.” You are obviously smart and capable of reading comprehension well beyond what I have written, so I am sort of at a loss as to how to deal with your complete disinterest in actually reading my words and responding to what I’ve written rather than what you want to pretend I have said.

            In any event, you have one again (4 or 5 times by now) avoided the real issue. How is Blakut a bully? This is the real issue. Please respond to this one time.

            And if “bullies do not respond to reason” [all caps omitted], then why did Blakut come around in the end? You called him a bully twice, and he still responded to reason. You literally have the very evidence this your claim is wrong right in front of you and it is of your own creation. Still you make this extremely broad, unskeptical, dismissive, and pessimistic comment?

            Finally, I’m not telling victims to be nice to their abusers. I am asking skeptics not to write off every person offering an incorrect opinion as being an unchangeable bully. Can you please respond to my words and stop making up strawmen?

          • The letter writer is a bully. Blakut was originally siding with the bully and agreeing with the bully, which to victims, is not really any different. He felt it was proper to encourage the bullies’ tactics. He has since seen why and where he was wrong. That is awesome. I thank him. And have thanked him and told him directly that I am glad he took the time to listen. He has clearly moved on. I have clearly moved on. So why are you repeating yourself? This has been resolved.

            The letter writer bullied the news anchor. And the response from her and my responses are not aimed at him. You do know that, right?

            Please explain how being nice to bullies is helpful. Also explain how I have made anything worse. Especially considering I have already have several people agree with me. Including victims of bullying.

            The letter writer is a bully. Why do you keep insisting he isn’t?

            Also, you seem to expect the abused to respond reasonably to abuse. Why?

          • Blakut didn’t encourage bully tactics. And the only reason I keep addressing it is because you continue to represent that I “don’t get it.” And besides defending myself, I specifically explained why I think this is important: “Bullying is a real problem, and it is problem we need to address with both kids and adults. I don’t mean to dismiss it. But we must also avoid the easy out of labeling people bullys so that we can yell at them and feel better about ourselves, instead of taking advantage of reasonable opportunities to politely correct their wrong and misinformed opinions. Quite frankly, I think this thread is evidence more in favor of my approach than yours. Blakut isn’t a bully, you were wrong to label him as such, and when you treated him like a polite, but wrong individual, your goals were accomplished.”

            I get that the newsanchor was not responding to the letter writer. But what’s the title of the link in this thread? Newsanchor “destroys” bully. While I am all for public ridicule of bullies, see my comment above for making real sure that we identify “bullies” who aren’t just misinformed people in need of polite correction.

            I am not insisting much of anything about the original writer. I am insisting that it is very reasonable for someone to think that he doesn’t meet the definition of a bully (“A person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.”). That definition can be improved, but you haven’t tried to do so in this thread. Doesn’t look like it to me. When Blakut said that, and only that, you called him a bully for saying as much.

            I don’t expect the abused to respond to their abusers, either, as I have written. Again, I wrote: “Finally, I’m not telling victims to be nice to their abusers. I am asking skeptics not to write off every person offering an incorrect opinion as being an unchangeable bully. Can you please respond to my words and stop making up strawmen?” In other words, (1) be careful about who you label a bully or abuser; and (2) if you respond to anyone (wrong, rude, bully or abuser), think first if you can respond in a way to help them realize their mistake and to deescalate the situation.

            You continue to work from the premise that anyone who offers a wrong or misinformed public statement on an issue is a bully or an abuser.

            I realize it doesn’t seem like it, but we agree on a number of relevant points. Your first 2 (or so) posts raised my ire for the reasons described above, and whether I’ve made my point well, I’ve made it. So I’ll save any further comments for other threads.

  11. Milk that doesn’t contain the allergens from cows … that would be goats milk then.

    • Actually, the protein in goat’s milk and cow’s milk is similar enough that if you are allergic to cow’s milk you should avoid goat milk and goat milk products as well.

      • Thank you, you took the words out of my mouth. Also, I appreciate your serious answer to a glib remark. :)

  12. Good for that fat newslady! When the religious right manages to push through legislation to legitimize bullying based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” we need as much push back against bullies on ever issue.

    On the GM cow thing. I think it is a great idea. A lot of the opposition to GM comes because of Monsanto’s crimes with GM crops — trying to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GM seed, putting pesticide generating genes into corn (making it arguably toxic to other animals, birds, and maybe even humans), etc. But that does not mean that the idea of GM food is inherently a bad one. It is just speeding up what has been done since the dawn of agriculture with selective breeding and has great potential to benefit us and the environment. It just needs to be appropriately regulated.

    • Thanks for that great comment, that is exactly the point I was trying to make by sending the GM cow link.

      On the one hand, a GMO designed to help mankind by directly targeting a specific health problem.

      On the other, a GMO designed to help a multinational sell more product.

      The contrast between what could be and what is could not be more stark.

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