It was brought to my attention that the tired excuse for when one doesn’t like something that was said on the internet was trotted out by the new CEO of Center For Inquiry, Robyn Blumner. It seems defending the old-school status quo is far more important than bothering with facts.

Via source and source: “Robyn Blumner, in her interview with Hemant Mehta on his podcast says this about Richard Dawkins’ twitter feed (starts at 30:31)”:

“I think Richard Dawkins is purposefully misunderstood at times as a way to generate clicks on some bloggers’ page. It’s because his name brings page views and eyes so why not generate a lot of heat around something that is pretty tame if you really unpack it.”

Dear Ms Blumner, the fact is that Richard Dawkins’ Twitter feed has become a source of power for those who wish to silence and harass minority voices in the atheist and feminist communities and beyond. His comments on abortion and down syndrome, rape, pedophilia, islamism, feminism, people with disabilities, white privilege and social justice are not “something that is pretty tame if you unpack it.” His comments are divisive, incendiary and out-right damaging to already muffled voices hoping to to be heard and wishing to be part of a community. There are plenty of more tweets I could link to- including ones he has recently deleted, but quite franky this topic has gotten tired don’t you think? It should however be pointed out to people such as Ms Blumner, since they have found themselves in a position of power in the free-thought community that the term “SJW” was created as an insult to people, mainly activists hoping to help minorities and create more inclusivity in communities such as atheism, humanism and gaming. Yes, caring about issues that affect the less privileged in society has become a popular insult and a joke used on a regular basis by antifeminists and the likes of Mr Dawkins. But maybe it’s not for attention. Maybe it’s purely out of spite.

Bloggers on independent networks such as this are not writing about issues such as atheism and free-thought for the “clicks.” We are literally the new generation of the free press. We are the indie mags. We are the Xerox copies handed to you at a gig on the Sunset Strip. We are people who work regular jobs during the day unrelated to blogging so that we can write with total freedom. We have no advertisers or bosses or board of directors breathing down our blouses dictating what is appropriate to say and when. We add and delete as we wish. There is no holiday bonus or book deals. We speak when we choose. We share truth and our own opinions when we so desire.

And about those clicks. The most I have ever made in a month blogging from ad revenue sharing was approximately $30. I remember this because I was so excited that it was enough to buy a cheap dress. Let that sink in. $30 in a month. Compare that to your CEO salary, Ms Blumner and come back here and tell me who has more to gain or lose by telling the truth. We independent bloggers are free speech. Money has no effect on what we decide to say. If you believe what you claim, that bloggers are essentially just vultures circling the feeds of famous men, in it for clicks and eyeballs, then you are ignorant on how the internet press works and blind to the damage your partner Mr Dawkins has done to minority voices. Your associate, Mr Dawkins regardless of intent, has encouraged harassment of women (including myself and others on this blog), bigotry and he has evolved over the past few years, like an excruciatingly slow train-wreck, into a very famous troll with literally millions hanging on each of his 140 character texts. Texts that we do not need to misinterpret or unpack because they speak clearly on their own.

Doing it for the clicks is simply another way of saying doing it for the attention. So tell me Ms Blumner, why does Mr Dawkins tweet these things and why do you defend it?

Hat tip to FTB and Monette for listening to a podcast so I didn’t have to.

Amy Roth

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is the founder and president of the Los Angeles Women's Atheist and Agnostic Group: LAWAAG. She is also the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab and cohost of Mad Art Cast. Support her on Patreon. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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  1. February 9, 2016 at 1:19 pm —

    Sigh. The people discussing publicly how they think other people discussing things publicly are just trying to get attention thing ranks right up there with sustained, vehement, emotional posts about how other people shouldn’t be emotional and sensitive on my list of pointless conversations people keep wanting to have for some reason.

    • February 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm —

      Yes, they rank right up there with “Stop telling others what to do!”, a contradictory imperative if ever I’ve heard one.

    • February 12, 2016 at 1:08 am —

      It deserves it’s own fallacy. Anyone accusing someone else of trying to get attention is themselves trying to get attention. Also when people complain about other people being offended without even considering that they themselves are offended.

  2. February 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm —

    Thanks for this Amy. I share your thoughts but could never have expressed them so cleanly.

  3. February 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm —

    “We are literally the new generation of the free press. We are the indie mags.”

    So true – and I love your work Amy, I always have, so screw them!

  4. February 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm —

    One correction. The term ‘SJW’ began as a way among minority communities to make fun of white people who…you really wish would stop helping you, if you catch my drift. (Think Suey Park’s followers sending death threats to prominent indigenous activists because Stephen Colbert.) It’s just that racists hijacked it to mean normal people.

    Also, you misspelled pedophilia.

    That aside, yeah, I think it demonstrates an ignorance of how blogging works. It’s not even a typical clickbait headline. Clickbait tends to be more “You won’t believe it!” or “Shocking!” or “The heartbreaking true story” or…Usually list formats are used too. Or sometimes a forced meme like the “Be like Bob!” going around Facebook right now.

    • February 9, 2016 at 5:33 pm —

      Thanks for the note on the typo. I fixed it! It’s definitely reassuring that other people are more familiar with pedophilia than I am.

      • February 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm —

        I should know about them. My first sexual experience was with one.

        • February 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm —

          But seriously, I became obsessed with trying to figure out why pedophiles do what they do after being molested. Being told by the MSM that child molesters were molested as kids…didn’t reassure me.

  5. February 9, 2016 at 5:09 pm —

    Well said Amy.
    One thing that gets me-these people who claim that bloggers are “doing it for the clicks” are supposed to be skeptics no? And yet they don’t appear to have questioned the premise upon which their very argument rests. Where is the evidence that any blogger has written about a public figure for blog hits? Why do these folks just assume that premise is true?

  6. February 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm —

    Maybe these people believe clicks works like cookie-stuffing and you can make millions, MILLIONS I tell you!

  7. February 9, 2016 at 7:24 pm —

    The notion that we write about Dawkins because we are “doing it for clicks” is empirically untenable. We track site stats! Taking a look at the “all-time” stats, and excluding the first 3 entries because they are all variations of the landing page and not actual blog posts, we find the top 10 posts are:
    1. “Planned Parenthood is not selling baby parts, you fucking idiots” (823k views – no mention of Dawkins)
    2. “What pregnant women won’t tell you. Ever.” (476k views – no mention of Dawkins)
    3. “Reddit makes me hate atheists” (346k views, only mention of Dawkins is in one person’s comment)
    4. “Buy ShamWows! Now!” (342k views, no mention of Dawkins)
    5. “Want to go into labor? Try these tricks!” (253k views, no mention of Dawkins)
    6. “Surfer Mick Fanning was NOT attacked by a Shark” (214k views, no mention of Dawkins)
    7. “Why ‘Twilight’ Is Huring America” (210k views, no mention of Dawkins)
    8. “The Privilege Delusion” (207k views, Rebecca’s response to Dawkin’s “Dear Muslima” comment. It’s barely even in the top-10 posts on Skepchick)
    9. “Pop Sci to Pop Sigh: I Fucking Love Science Ex-Admins Speak Out” (191k views, no Dawkins)
    10. “13 Myths and Misconceptions About Trans Women: Part One” (171k views, no Dawkins)

    So in the top 10 posts on Skepchick, exactly one is about Dawkins, and it’s not even close to being the most-clicked article on Skepchick.

    The next article that directly mentions Dawkins in its content is “Mom, Don’t Read This” with 51k views, followed by “My Time with Richard Dawkins (Or, Why You SHould Never Meet Your Idols)” with 44k views.

    Given this, why would any of us post about Dawkins if we wanted clicks? We’d post about Planned Parenthood, fake shark attacks, and pregnancy tips and tricks.


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