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Rebecca Watson

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    Bots are hot news these days, which interests me because I’ve spent many years talking about the role of algorithms on social networks used t […]

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    Sometimes, very lucrative jobs are extremely dangerous. For instance, you can make a lot of money on fishing boats or oil rigs, working long, […]

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    How do we convince people to accept basic facts that seem to be at odds with their belief systems? That’s a question I t […]

    • In other news, anyone in Tennessee want to help Gayle Jordan? She’s getting all kinds of hate for being an atheist while running for Congress.

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    Imagine there are state-run prisons in which prisoners get 10 squares of toilet paper a week. Single ply. If they want any […]

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    Here’s a fun lie our culture teaches us: “bad” girls are sluts who will say “yes” to “risky” sex with anyone and everyone, […]

    • That ‘object’ sample is the worm in the apple of ‘consent’ language. Safety from coercion is barely a minimum on the way to autonomy, active self-interest, and the framing and owning of personal desire and intention.

      The Right, if it even thinks about consent, will frame it as transactional, or severely compromised by coercion and peer-pressure.

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    Yesterday Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. This video is not about that address because I didn’t watch it. I h […]

    • I disagree with the implication that progressives have a monopoly on ethics and morality. Or that there are no conservatives, libertarians, or republicans in the Science community. Or that it is wrong for Bill Nye to accept an invite to the SOU by a sitting representative who may be heading-up NASA in the near future. Or that ‘500 Women Scientists’ speak for actual 500 women scientists, or for anyone outside of the board of that organization. Or that making Science, and not just the opinions of individual scientists, partisan is a good thing – it’s one thing for pushing back on political encroachment into the scientific realm (like politicians claiming there is no evidence for climate change and then forcing that view on researches), it’s another to make it seem like Science has a stance on divisive cultural or political issues – like immigration policy, or gay marriage or social spending.

      I guess I disagree with everything.

    • I agree with Bill Nye that science should be bipartisan, and I agree with Rebecca that it isn’t that way presently. I’m not convinced his actions here will do any good, but I understand what he’s trying to do, and whether he’s successful or not (I’m guessing not, at least not right now), his attempt doesn’t need to be attacked by anyone. Maybe if things are going to change regarding the perception of science, then we may need to see a lot more attempts to communicate and less to alienate.

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    Rocket Lab is a startup in New Zealand that is going to launch a project that will be a “reminder to all on Earth a […]

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    If you’ve been on Tumblr or online dating apps in the past year, you’ve probably heard the term “sapiosexual.” I have definitely seen it in m […]

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    Oh my god, on the last day of January we’re going to experience a SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON! I don’t know what that is but it sounds scary as fuc […]

    • Sorry for the nit, but since a plane can be defined by 3 points, the Earth, moon, and sun are always in the same plane.

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    Can scientists use technology to make you experience “god”? The answer is “sort of, ma […]

  • You may recall that back in 2008, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein got a sweetheart deal in which he served just 13 months in prison for raping girls as young as 13. Evidence has since emerged to suggest that he […]

    • “But on the plus side, at least he makes Lawrence Krause look positively angelic.”

      Perhaps Trivers is on Krause’s payroll as well as Epstein’s? Maybe Krause is paying Trivers to be more of a jerk than him so that he’ll look better by comparison?

      Just a thought.

    • I’m sick over this. The American Humanist Association is awarding Krauss Humanist of the Year. I became a member of that organization because I saw Rebecca Hale speak, and she convinced me that the AHA supported feminism, unlike several other secular organizations I had formerly supported and found wanting.

      I plan to write to Hale and suggest other AHA members do as well. Someone who would defend a pedophile and blatantly lie about having knowledge of the accusations is not worthy of any honor.
      http://americanhumanist.org/AHA/Contact

      • Wow. That’s about like the NAACP giving awards to Donald Sterling. I’ll definitely be contacting them.

    • I went back to reread the article from 2011 and there is DJ Grothe defending Krauss. No wonder Grothe defended Michael Shermer, he had practice excusing rapists.

      No if you’ll excuse me I need to go vomit in the shower.

      • And friends of rapists.

      • Lawrence Krauss, along with Shermer, was also accused at the time of questionable behavior.

        He then, like Shermer, apparently threatened lawsuits.

        Grothe has himself said quite a few questionable things in the past.

    • “I didn’t see it, therefore it didn’t happen.

      Wow, how scientific!

    • ““By the time they’re 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous.”

      Wow. Just because a girl might be physiologically ready, does not mean she is mentally ready for sexual relationships. In any case, it’s really not healthy for people who are 20+ years the senior of an adolescent to be trying to engage with them sexually. If they are ready for sex, there are plenty of other age-appropriate adolescents around for them to engage with.

      I would ask these men why they can’t find more age appropriate sexual partners. Is there something wrong with the women who are relatively close to the SAME AGE AS YOU to have relationships with?

      • People with severe mental disabilities, those under the influence, or those in one’s custody (eg. prison guards with prisoners) are also “physiologically ready”.

        The world record for the youngest ever mother is 5-years-old (she and her daughter are still alive today). She was obviously physiological ready.

    • “By the time they’re 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous.”

      I didn’t need a training bra or pads until I was 14.

      I want to vomit.

      • Not to get gross or anything, but I had a wet dream at 9.

        How is motherhood at 14 not just piling it on?

    • “Krauss said he would feel cowardly if he turned away from Epstein…”

      Mother fucker, cowardly is supporting an admitted child rapist because he pays your bills! If Krauss ever talks about morals again, I will absolutely lose my shit.

      Craven selfish lickspittle.

    • I thought it was disgusting when Lawrence Krauss was the keynote speaker at the Northeast Conference of Science and Skepticism in 2014. I expected some protest, but never noticed any. It’s a conference I never plan to attend, due to NECSS’ questionable judgement in selecting speakers.

      • I had totally forgotten about this (I have a great memory for utter trivia, but terrible one for important stuff.) At the time it was a large factor in my decision not to attend NECSS last year. I’ve already got my ticket for this year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. (That works, right?)

        I have a Pamela Gay “Stopping Harassment Starts Here” t-shirt from TAM 12 (right after the elevator incident, the last TAM I attended or ever will attend.) Maybe we can come up with something suitable if there are more crappy speakers. (Crappy in the POS sense, not the rambling incoherent boring sense. I’m happy with boring.)

    • There is no way to excuse a mature adult who has used an underage person for sex, whether or not money was involved. People who support those who have made a habit of doing so aren’t much better.

      That said, isn’t a pedophile someone with a strong preference for sex with prepubescent children? A young woman of 13 who “has been using menstrual pads and training bras for two years or so.” clearly isn’t prepubescent, regardless of the calendar.

      I mention this only because I’m tired of seeing “pedophile” thrown around casually and inaccurately.

      • Yes, we wouldn’t want a good word like pedophile sullied like that.

      • Non-pedantically, in the way that people use language, ‘kidfucker’ and ‘pedophile’ are entirely interchangeable.
        Don’t know why you’re tired of using a live language. (I hope it’s not just the word ‘pedophile’ you’re hung up on – that would be weird)
        http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-weirdest-ways-words-have-changed-meanings/

        • d506 replied 3 years ago

          A pedophile is someone with a mental illness who needs treatment. A child rapist is a child rapist regardless of their mental health. A pedophile may or may not be a child rapist, a child rapist may or may not be a pedophile. It’s not pedantic to separate the two and to use language accurately. Using pedophile when you mean child rapist stigmatizes mental illness in exactly the same way as using ‘retard’ when you mean stupid or ignorant. It prevents people who need help from asking for it, which puts the whole community in danger.

          • All I’m saying is, the vernacular changes. Good or bad, the horse is out of the barn. The same way ‘misogynist’ has come to mean the same thing as ‘chauvinist’ in my lifetime.
            It’s a losing battle, the ship has sailed, can’t put the genie back in the bottle and all that. People keep trying to change language, but prescriptive changes almost never stick.
            And people with a sexual attraction to kids are going to be viewed as dangerous. Because kids are vulnerable and the rest of us have a duty to protect them. There’s no linguistic trick to make that not so.
            Admitting to pedophilia is always going to be like admitting that you have a constant urge to commit mass murder. I don’t see any way to take the stigma out of that.

        • d506 replied 3 years ago

          Also, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people defend using words like ‘fag’ or ‘retard’ because “this how how people use language”. It’s not okay.

          • Gay people and people with disabilities are not inherently dangerous, are not moved by internal pressures to harm others.
            Describing a kidfucker as a pedophile is not the same thing. It’s a semantic quibble.

    • I’m not a fan of mob justice. It disgusts me almost as much as rape. Krauss may be an ass sometimes, and he’s not the best spokesperson for or the most eloquent of freethinkers, but hasn’t been convicted or even accused of a crime. He may be blinded by his loyalty to Epstein, but that doesn’t make him anywhere near a monster on the same level as Epstein.

      You are twisting Krauss’ words. He is correct when he says that he doesn’t know anything about the allegations. He wasn’t there and didn’t observe any indications that they were true at the time. What he’s experienced makes difficult for him to square his observations with the known facts in this case. But just like Krauss, many people discussing this issue are allowing their personal viewpoints to override their rationality. Does Krauss have misplaced devotion to his former associate? Yes, but vilifying a person by defining them by one or two short statements they’ve made seems illogical to me, and insinuating that they’re doing it for financial gain based on circumstantial evidence is libelous. These are tactics used by anti-GMO, anti-vax, and other promoters of pseudoscience, not a rational freethinker’s blog.

      Trivers’ statement is somewhat more difficult to stomach, but to say that he’s not sensible and lacks compassion is in itself an insensible and uncompassionate statement. He didn’t say what Epstein did wasn’t a heinous crime. He compared the consequences of the rape of a prepubescent child to the consequences for a teenager closer to adulthood. Insensitive? Yes. But to call him a “giant piece of shit” is ridiculous and completely uncalled for in my opinion. In fact it smacks of thoughtcrime to me. Saying it damages your credibility as a rational freethinker and it certainly doesn’t help Epstein’s victims.

      • Kidfucker apologist = giant piece of shit.
        Works for me.

      • Your opinion is duly noted, please excuse me for not sharing it.

      • What is “mob justice”? Define your terms.

        Also “It disgusts me almost as much as rape. ”

        Your priorities are FUCKED UP.

        He is an ******ADMITTED PEDOPHILE******

        Jesus. Even when we know for *sure* that someone is a terrible human being who has done terrible things to other people, we have to handle them with kid gloves.

        Yeah, rape culture totally doesn’t exist.

        Fuck that shit.

      • “These are tactics used by anti-GMO, anti-vax, and other promoters of pseudoscience, not a rational freethinker’s blog.”

        Oh for fuck’s sake, it’s not the same thing at all. You’re grasping at straws all because you want to defend a pedophile and the pedophile’s defenders. WHY?

      • “Trivers’ statement is somewhat more difficult to stomach, but to say that he’s not sensible and lacks compassion is in itself an insensible and uncompassionate statement.”
        Well, he basically decided that those children were totes not children and therefore worthy the protection children are entitled to is totes compassionate.

        “He didn’t say what Epstein did wasn’t a heinous crime. He compared the consequences of the rape of a prepubescent child to the consequences for a teenager closer to adulthood.”
        So, he’s doing this “objectively ranking rapes from worst to “stop making such a fuss”, which apparently means that raping a teenager isn’t quite so bad, therefore what he said wasn’t totally excusing the rape of teenagers.

        “Insensitive? Yes. But to call him a “giant piece of shit” is ridiculous and completely uncalled for in my opinion. ”
        PoS is a mild term for men who think that raping teenagers isn’t that bad because they have grown tits and pubic hair.

        “In fact it smacks of thoughtcrime to me.”
        Thoughtcrimes don’t actually exist. Nobody can read your thoughts. But saying horrible things is an action and being called out on it isn’t “punishing thoughts”
        Are you seriously suggesting that we should kindly refrain from judging people who think that raping teenagers isn’t quite bad?

        Rape apology, more magical than measles at Disneyworld.

      • Your ideas are intriguing to me, but I’m pretty sure if I subscribe to your newsletter, I’ll be put on some sort of list.

      • Nobody is saying Krauss is on the same level as Epstein, and you’re absolutely right he hasn’t been charged or accused of a crime – no one is saying so.

        As for “mob justice”, Krauss is hardly being lynched. He’s facing words which are criticsm of his own words. He’s free to give his opinion, and others are free to give theirs. Free speech works both ways. It doesn’t protect one from criticsm of one’s words.

    • Robert Trivers has done brilliant work in evolutionary theory, and his ideas have been very influential in shaping my thinking about natural selection and social theory (to borrow the title of one of his books). How disappointing to learn that he’s a moral weakling, willing to apply his considerable intellect not to the rational search for truth but the rationalizing defense of the pedophilia of his wealthy patron. What gross behavior from a scientist who was once cited as a positive example by the biologist Marlene Zuk when writing on how feminism can strengthen inquiry into animal behavior (“Feminism and the Study of Animal Behavior,” Zuk 1993).

      • “and social theory ”

        And now his social theory work has been tainted. He is no longer credible. Because he is a pedophile apologist and defender. He doesn’t know shit about social theory, obviously.

        • It’s a fair point, but I’ll note that “social theory” in the evolutionary sense and “social theory” in the sense of human societies are very different things. The evolution of social systems can occur by mechanisms that we would judge morally repugnant by human standards (deception, exploitation, theft, killing, etc.). The “values” of evolution are not, and should not be, the values of human society. (A point the MRAs can’t seem to wrap their heads around.) Trivers can be clueless about moral behavior and still insightful on the mechanisms of the evolution of social systems. But, his behavior does call into question his overall intellectual integrity, at least to me.

          • He essentially believes that teenage girls have evolved to sexually service grown men, dude.

    • Ing replied 3 years ago

      Triver’s has a reputation at his college for being a nutter and shit stirrer.
      *He was suspended for refusing to teach a class
      *Has been banned from campus several times for numerous confrontations.

      For being an expert in social theory he seems to have horrific social skills

      http://www.nj.com/education/2014/02/rutgers_suspends_top_anthropology_professor_for_allegedly_refusing_to_teach_report_says.html

    • When Trivers was at UCSC I heard people from his department describe how disappointed they were with him; they felt they’d made a terrible mistake getting him.

    • It’s all very suspicious. Just the other day Jerry Coyne (a friend of Alan Dershowitz) posted a 16-minute YouTube of Woody Allen and was slobbering over that little weirdo like he was Da Bomb. Worse, there was no kick back in the comments, just ‘Isn’t Woody a clever boy!’-type fawning. Yuck.

    • I note how, in the original post dealing with this issue, Krauss begins by using “as a scientist”, but latter, when saying he doesn’t wish to discuss the details he found out after looking into the matter further, that “I don’t think these are issues that are relevant to Jeffrey’s support of science, my scientific credentials etc.. “

    • DJ Groethe, in comments to the original post, defends the sitution somewhat, by questioning both age of consent laws and prostitution laws.

      If, however, Epstein is an opponent of such laws, there is a lot he could have done instead of simply break those laws.

      With his money, he could have launched a ballot initiative in California, and potentially change the laws regarding consent or prostitution in the largest state of the union.

      Alternatively, instead of taking a plea deal and ensuring most details remain secret, he could have taken the issue to court, allowing all the details to become public so that everyone can see the facts and know that, while he may have broken the law, he did nothing wrong and that these were unjust laws.

      He could have also appealed the case, challenging the constitutionally of laws prohibiting sex between consenting adults (or an adult and a teenager). Gay men did this first, and unsuccessfully, in Bowers v. Hardwick. In fact, the appellants in that case insisted on being prosecuted, even when the authorities wanted to drop the charges. The then did it in Lawrence v. Texas, where the defence attorney actually argues for an increase in the fine levied, so that it was above the amount which would allow an appeal.

      Epstein certainly had the money, and the celebrity, to turn his case into a cause célèbre against either prostitution laws or age of consent laws.

  • The other day, I was thrilled to spot a link someone posted on social media pointing to an article titled “The Last Acceptable Prejudice.” I was excited because for the past two decades, I’ve been a casual […]

    • We’re using a very specific definition of “acceptable” here, aren’t we?

    • There is real only one LAP; people who disagree with me.

      You don’t have to share this opinion but it might make me feel less highly about you.

    • Can I nominate “Willfully Ignorant People”? Because I’m quite willing to be prejudiced against them.

      • Is that actually a prejudice? For someone to be deemed “willfully ignorant” should mean they have a track record of not only being wrong but of ignoring arguments and facts that disprove their contentions. This behavior lowers the prior plausibility of anything they say, so automatically doubting what they say is not a form of prejudice.

        On the other hand, placing someone in the category “Willfully Ignorant People” solely due to what they say or who they are (rather than on their repeated rejection of new knowledge) and automatically dismissing them is a form of prejudice.

    • Unsuccessful people. When was the last time you heard “loser” used as mere description and not a moral judgement?

    • Is it worth reading that article to find out how “people with accents” isn’t everyone?

    • Anybody different from “me”, isn’t it?

      But I’m going with ageism because that has been around for thousands of years and was written about in classical times. Meaning it will probably take at least another couple of thousand to eliminate.

      Of course each generation creates a new bunch of protagonists, so it’s probably going to be the forever war. Also, isn’t it ironic how we all start out on one side and end up on the other?

      • This seems plausible. The war over raising children is endless, and LOTS of people think children are property, even if they don’t all phrase it that way.

    • Kammy replied 3 years ago

      Oh Rebecca. Everyone knows the LAP is Furries.

      I wish everyone would leave the furries alone.

    • The Last Acceptable Prejudice will likely be against pedophiles.

      There will always be parents scared for their children and even mental health professional have difficulty treating it like a psychiatric disorder.

    • Prejudice against cis people is so LAP that you forgot to put it on this list.

    • The LAP is for sure the meek. Final answer.

    • Doesn’t this assume all prejudices are unacceptable, that they will all eventually die out, and that there will be one last one which is acceptable? Surely there are prejudices which are acceptable, and should be? I guess it depends on how you define the word prejudice, but I do know all discrimination isn’t unacceptable, nor should it be. People use the term discrimination as if discrimination is inherently bad, but in reality, what we are opposed to is unacceptable discrimination. Acceptable discrimination – like discriminating between red and green lights at an intersection – is not only not necessarily bad, but often positively good.

    • Ask and ye shall receive…

      Ageism: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/maher-ageism-is-the-last-acceptable-prejudice-in-america/
      Sexism in Sports: http://www.sbnation.com/2013/4/24/4261288/sexism-female-sports-reporters-duncan-keith
      Anti-semisitism in football (!): http://www.eurojewcong.org/combating-anti-semitism/10608-ejc-president-says-anti-semitism-has-become-the-last-acceptable-prejudice-in-football.html
      Americans: http://kirstenalexander.com/published-works/homeless/the-last-acceptable-prejudice-hating-americans/

      I’m sorry. Sorta.

      Anyhow, I think the last acceptable prejudice should be people who think there is a last acceptable prejudice. Because those people basically seem to think that the world is fixed except for the one thing that affects them.

    • Pretty sure the LAP will be cyborgs. The 100% robots will hate the still-somewhat-human cyborgs, after they both eliminate the soft and squishy people-people.

    • The last acceptable prejudice is against people who have radishes instead of eyebrows. I’ve never heard anyone stand up for their right to be treated equally.

    • I would say nationality. (Admittedly this is pretty similar to “people with accents”.) What I mean is, it will be a long time before passports and borders vanish and people are allowed to live where they like, regardless of country of birth, language spoken etc. Even though passports are a relatively recent invention. We’re too tribal and afraid of people we don’t understand and of losing our way of life.

      But I think it will happen eventually. Discrimination based on country of birth is pretty obviously arbitrary and wrong when you think about it.

    • LAP: People who knit clothing for their pets.

      • …and hipsters, or is that redundant?

        • The great thing about hipsters as a LAP is that you can just relabel anything you don’t like as hipster, and thus fitting the model.

          • I recently heard that not being a hipster is the new hipster. That should pretty much cover everyone.

            BTW, if no one got my joke, I was referring to the featured image at the top of the page. If *everyone* got it, I apologize for bashing you with it.

      • Is this the same as the DIY crowd and pinteresters? Are their sub-categories for this LAP thing. This might take some time to sort out.

        • I don’t know about pinterest, but my Tivo is full of woodworking shows, so yes.

    • drken replied 3 years ago

      I vote for sexism. You can get away with saying things about women that would get you in huge trouble if said about pretty much any other marginalized group.

    • Wait….can you explain to me the difference between Hillbillies and Southerners?

      • Southerners is a general term, while hillbillies is usually derogatory and refers to a specific demographic of (often) scots irish people who live in the Ozark or Appalachian mountains.

    • Testing (sorry for the intrusion, folks, Ms. Watson asked me to get a screenshot of an error message).

    • What about ginger cats in knitted wear?

    • Little persons. They still get treated abominably.

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    Sort-of transcript follows:

    Dr. Sherry Tenpenny is an osteopath who spends most of her time these days preaching against safe and effective vaccines, encouraging […]

    • Help, help, I’m being repressed!

      • Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
        (Oh, wait…)

    • Rebecca, thanks for giving this story wider circulation as it seems to have gone off the front page here.

      I was interested to learn that osteopathy is dignified in the US by inclusion in the medical profession, whilst everywhere else it is relegated to the alternative margins.

      It is not surprising that antivax and anti fluoridation get greatest traction in Queensland. Not for nothing do we call it the Deep North – as you say, Hippies! Libertarians!
      (Also a lot of really great friendly people and a beautiful place to visit, but the dental caries figures are informative)

    • Ms Tenpenny is being very disingenuous:

      1. She originally said she was coming to Australia for a holiday and was then asked to give some talks. Then why has she now cancelled the trip given the talks have talks have been cancelled?

      2. The threats are being made by the anti-vaccine supporters (ie her supporters); they threatened the person that started a change.org petition and bomb threats were made against a venue if they cancelled and another was threatened to be burnt down if they cancelled. There are plenty of screen shots of these threats to show that they were from her supporters. There is even a statement from the police that they were from the anti-vaccinate side. Ms Tenpenny knows this and is deliberately misleading people.

      3. She preaches free speech, but anyone posting a pro-vaccine comment or the screenshots of the threats to prove who they are from on her Facebook page, gets them deleted. Is that not the antipathy of free speech that she preaches?

      • “She preaches free speech, but anyone posting a pro-vaccine comment or the screenshots of the threats to prove who they are from on her Facebook page, gets them deleted. Is that not the antipathy of free speech that she preaches?”

        No, it’s not. Editing the content of people who post in one’s own space is just that. She’s not disparaging anyone’s right to free speech, nor is she required to host anyone elses free speech.

        Kudos on the 1st 2 points, but you need to have more integrity than the troll/gamergate crowd who try to shame people with a bunch of “free speech” fallacies.

        • Yep, you have every right to tell someone, “You may have free speech, but not on my lawn.” This, however, does not absolve you of the **responsibility**, nor does it suggest a strong sense of either ethics, or morals, if your method of handling someone who does show up to speak is to not merely tell them to leave, but to erase the existence of what they have said (and, as is often the case, leaving behind the remnants of supposed replies, where those replies amplify your own position, or distort that of the person whose words you erased). Denying that someone, in essence, even had a point, or attempted to make one, is not integrity either, its megalomania.

          Because of this, I have never been comfortable with any place that opted to delete someone else’s words, regardless of what those words are. If they are fools, their own words and actions prove it. If the only means by which you can defend your own is by deleting theirs…. its just possible that your own argument is unsupportable, and impossible to defend.

          • In Australia, the situation is somewhat interesting. There are no rights to free speech enshrined anywhere; but there is a ‘freedom of expression’ that is somewhere in the law. But that ‘freedom of expression’ does not extend to issues of public order and public health.

            I not that familiar with the laws etc, but from what I understand no one has tested the law …. apparently, she could have had her ‘freedom to expression’ curtailed as what she was saying would endanger public health …. interesting permutations if this was pursued!

          • Sorry, but that position is total, privileged horseshit. If I have a space dedicated to what I believe/practice/etc. I am in no way responsible for holding up your entitled interpretation of what free speech means to you (namely that you have the right to blather about whatever you want wherever you darn well feel like).

            Suggesting that one’s desire to disallow you to post whatever you feel like to their forum makes them immoral, unethical, or, bizarrely, megalomaniacal follows absolutely no logical line of thought. It’s like you’re just ranting; nothing about the act of deleting someone’s posts on one’s own forum implies or allows a rational person to infer a lack of ethics.

            Be bitter and angry about it, sure, but it’s not immoral for cracker’s sake. I personally have never been comfortable posting in forums that allow any yahoo to post whatever they like. I prefer a gentle but consistent moderator to make reading the forum worth my time such as This Forum You Are Posting To Right Now, oh Uncomfortable One.

            • Wow… See, I have no problem with banning someone who is persistently ranting, or posting irrelevant things, or disruptive, etc., as long as the “reason” they get banned is still there. My *problem*, and the reason I find a blanket deletion, or denial, of a person’s posts abhorent is that, yes, I am in the rather privileged position of actually having a clue, most of the time, about what the F I am talking about, instead of being an anti-vax nut, or someone promoting homeopathy, or claiming that god is all about love, or that UFOs are real, or that there really is a Big Foot, or ten thousand other insanities – damn near every single member of which seem to think that *their* opinion on the subject does not simply allow them to express their own opinions on the subject, in the safety of a nice little box, in which no one seems to refute them, but that they can structure this silly little box of theirs in such a manner that they don’t just deny alternative views, but lie about, distort, and even flat deny the existence of, different views, one tool of which they use is – deleting anything that seems to contradict them.

              You are not going to find a whole hell of a lot of people who take knowledge, and facts, instead of pure opinion and self obsession, who agree with the idea that the best defense of *our* position is to shut someone else up, or down, then lie about why, or even that we did it. That is the “ethics” I speak of.

            • Case in point, The Food Babe.

              Dare to disagree and your post will disappear but the “refutation” of your point will not. While technically not a violation of your freedom of speech it is most definitely unethical and cowardly cowardly to boot.

            • Yes, that’s double cowardly.

              Don’t know how that happened but I’m on my phone so…

            • Kagehi: “I am in the rather privileged position of actually having a clue, most of the time,”

              I’m sure you do, but so do most people who feel entitled to speak wherever and whenever they feel. I’m sure you and the crazy Jesus guys on Union Square (sf) can go back and forth all day over who actually is more entitled to spread the Clue, but all it makes is noise. Further, it’s been empirically shown to further entrench incorrect notions, so there’s neither a Freedom Of Speech argument, nor a rationalist argument for your attempt to force other people to consider your opinion.

              It’s also no less ethical to delete people’s posts who responded to you in good faith than it is to delete a post that, in all likelihood, had no business being posted to that forum in the first place.

            • mrmisconception: “Case in point, The Food Babe.”

              Another case in point: Anita Sarkeesian. Amanda Marcotte. These are women who for a variety of reasons moderate or disallow any discussion in their spaces because of the outrageous behavior of the posters who feel entitled to say whatever they want however they want. They’re also called unethical by the trolls that threaten and bully them.

              It’s not cowardly to delete posts by people who are determined to shut you up or who threaten your life, is it? Where do you get to draw the line then? Why do you get to decide if you crossed the line, rather than the person who set up the forum for their own purposes.

              I know you don’t like being sidelined, but it’s not unethical, and it’s only cowardly if you think locking your door against strangers who want to steal your stuff is cowardly too.

            • So, would it be ethical to remove poor reviews from your website? How about removing only reviews that would poorly affect your product or products that you like but not for those of competitors or those that you don’t like? Would it matter how big your website is? And if so where does the file drawer effect lie?

              Just trying to figure out where that bright line lies, or maybe black and white thinking isn’t realistic.

            • There is a huge difference between disallowing those who are attacking your person and those who disagree with you and I think you know that.

            • mrmisconception

              Making a Manichean argument then accusing your opponent of thinking in black and white is not going to get you the ‘Good Faith’ award for argument.

              You are either for the arbitrary imposition of speech into whatever space the speaker feels the need to speak in or you’re not. Since you are arguing for the former I’d call you a hypocrite if I thought you were actually taking the time to think these things out.

              At any rate, that’s just you changing the subject. It’s not your place to tell anyone else what kind of discussion they must host in their space. Nor is it your place to determine what is and isn’t attacking. I’ve venture, based on their own accounts, that most #gg trolls don’t think that they’re attacking female gamers–rather they are discussing ethics, like you are.

            • Interesting, you have just called me a hypocrite for making an argument I didn’t make and then said that I accused my opponents (believing that to be you perhaps?) of thinking in black and white. I actual said that things aren’t black and white so I’m really not sure what you’re on about with that.

              Could you please show where I said that site owners do not have the right to remove comments? I did say that removing opposing viewpoints while leaving their refutations is unethical and cowardly which is an opinion, and one I will reiterate here. I did not however say they weren’t within their rights.

              If you wish to hold a tight bubble over what subjects are allowed to be discussed on your site you should approve comments, at least on a first comment or two basis, but if your viewpoint is so fragile that it can’t stand up to discussion then you should shut down the discussion before it starts rather than allow only one side to be aired.

              And I never once said that removing threats or disruptions was cowardly so the Anita Sarkeesian and Amanda Marcotte examples are complete non sequiturs, apples and oranges my friend, apples and oranges.

              You are allowed to remove or keep from posting any comments you wish as a site owner, absolutely. However allowing comments that disagree with your viewpoint and removing them only after they are refuted while leaving those refutations is cowardly and you are not going to make me believe that it isn’t.

              • mrmisconception: “Could you please show where I said that site owners do not have the right to remove comments?”

                Could you please show me where I said that you said that? Don’t put words in my mouth and don’t build straw men to topple because you can’t defend your own arguments. If you can’t be bothered to check to see if what you are writing jives with what I have written to you I can’t be arsed to interpret the numerous ways you are manipulating this argument to get Win Points rather than trying to elucidate a point, which at least the other guy in this tangent of the thread is trying to do.

            • Snort.. Yeah, real convenient for you – you have no F-ing clue, at all, what I know, or may have expertise on, where, or what I have ever posted, what sort of comments I normally make, or even if, other than in this one case, I would be in total agreement of you, but.. because I disagree with your absurd assertion that post deletions, especially when they are done to “intentionally” mislead people about what took place, or was otherwise said said, *have a non-neutral, and therefor deleterious effect on knowledge and understanding of the situation*, while you seem to think its some sort of wonderous positive for the person doing it, and the other members of their echo chamber, or something.. I get tagged as being the same as the crazy Jesus dude on a soup box…

              Either we are talking past each other, which your later comment on removal of **disruptive posts, which contain no useful content** would seem to imply, or you are a bloody moron. I am not sure I should, at this point, give you any benefit of the doubt.

              • “you have no F-ing clue, at all, what I know, or may have expertise on…”

                Irrelevant. I didn’t even insinuate that you’re not the smartest person in the room, rather I inferred and wrote that you do, in fact, have a clue. What I suggested was that you’re asking for a world where you can shove your opinions on everybody, just like the Jesus guy. It doesn’t matter how intelligent your opinions are, the fact is that I have a Right to not have to listen to them and you have Zero right to force me to host them.

                If you’re too thick to understand that then perhaps you are the crazy Jesus guy on the sidewalk, you certainly don’t listen any better than he does.

            • variable – Wow, so you’ve called me a hypocrite (or the more passive/aggressive “I’d call you a hypocrite if I thought you were actually taking the time to think these things out”), said I put words in your mouth, and threw out the “I wins the internet” trump card of straw man; you are projecting big time here.

              I made a comment about how I feel it is cowardly to remove posts that disagree with you while leaving the refutation of said posts (an opinion, once again) and that turned into me saying that women (in particular Anita Sarkeesian and Amanda Marcotte) aren’t allowed to remove threats from their blogs. And yes you said that by pointing to them as counterpoints to my original example of The Food Babe and then going on about how they have to be able to defend themselves. I even pointed out that I agreed with that, but somehow this has become some kind of debate club of the internet and I’m trying to get Win Points.

              I didn’t make a straw man because I didn’t restate your opinion, I have only clarified my own. Feel free to disagree with it but don’t make this into some sort of pissing contest about whether I’m “for the arbitrary imposition of speech into whatever space the speaker feels the need to speak in or you’re not”. I have reiterated that I am a firm believer in people being able to control their own spaces on the internet and that removing content does not violate free speech. But someone can be wrong and cowardly and unethical all at the same time, this is a complex universe.

              You are refusing to acknowledge my viewpoint and instead imposing upon me the point you believe I am trying to make. I would say that it sounds like you’re putting words in my mouth and building a straw man of my actual opinion, but then this isn’t debate club and I wouldn’t want to look like a hypocrite who is out to get Win Points.

              tl;dr
              Removing posts that disagree is cowardly but well within your rights. Nothing more, nothing less.

            • Irrelevant. I didn’t even insinuate that you’re not the smartest person in the room, rather I inferred and wrote that you do, in fact, have a clue. What I suggested was that you’re asking for a world where you can shove your opinions on everybody, just like the Jesus guy.

              So.. You intentionally interpreted what I said in the worst possible way you could, so as to make it seem as though I was saying something radically outside the purview of what I intended, because you what… thought it was a convenient foil to show how strongly you support people’s right to deny reality, even to the point of denying that someone had attempted to correct them, and there is no ethical, or moral, component to, basically, doing the same thing on their blog as a history revisionist might do in a text book, to distort the facts of what took place? Glad we got that cleared up…

              • You’ve gone from my objection to this: “I have never been comfortable with any place that opted to delete someone else’s words, regardless of what those words are,” to saying I “intentionally interpreted what I said in the worst possible way you could,” even though every example I gave falls explicitly under the umbrella of your statement.

                Perhaps if you focused on making a consistent argument you’d see the point of my statements.

            • I didn’t change my stance at all. You, right from the start, misinterpreted my meaning.

              • Kagehi, Feb 1: “Because of this, I have never been comfortable with any place that opted to delete someone else’s words,”

                Kahegi Feb 7: “I am not “uncomfortable” with people doing such a thing,”

                You bring considerable heft to an intellectual discussion Comrade Kagehi.

            • In fact, you still don’t get my meaning. I am not “uncomfortable” with people doing such a thing, I think its morally repugnant that they do so.

            • Well, gosh, I changed my statement from “uncomfortable” to “morally repulsed by”.. I am so sorry for failing to be clear about it… What was you point again, because… it seemed to be accusing me of wanted to force feed others opinion, when my objection was that some people deny, with every method at their disposal, the existence of anyone with a different opinion.

              But, maybe you just haven’t seen some of those cess pools. Here is a hint – they erase the posts challenging their views, then claim that the people who made said post, when acknowledging them at all, believe, or said, or did, things that reflect the lies, hate, and intentional distortions which they just deleted the refutation of. Or, if that is too confusing, then.. how about this – on such a site you could expect, for example, a women to show up at some misogynists site, write a clear statement of how she doesn’t hate men, she isn’t out to rob them, doesn’t want to deny them their kids, or any of a thousand other absurdities. Two minutes later, her post would be gone, and the only mention of her would be a long rant, and a mass of hate mail, claiming she was a radical feminist, who wanted to cut men’s balls off, rob their bank accounts, and send every man who stood up for himself to a concentration camp. All sign, suspicion, or tiniest iota of evidence to the contrary, or what she really posted, or meant, or said, or thinks, would be gone. All that remained in place would be the ranting, hate filled, spewings of the trolls, in their private little cave. And.. this is the “morally reprehensible” part – they would show this off as evidence of the truth of what this woman, and perhaps women in general, think, to anyone stupid enough to listen to them, and clueless enough to not bother checking the facts.

              We are lucky that, for the most part, this sort of vile stuff is not in the top google searches. But.. what is, can be just as bad. Fad medicines, millions of “top” searches that lie about what science says about certain subjects, etc. Turns out.. when you have spiders, hunting the net for “information”, what you get isn’t what is right, what is sane, or even what is good for the public, instead of hurtful, and stupid. What you get is what is “popular”. And, if tomorrow it became popular to shoot celebrities, or puppies, or scream obscenities at people wearing hats – that is all that would rise to the surface. The other side would be lost in the noise, because the “popular search results” will be those which link to gibberish, and the promoters of gibberish **despise** have people challenge their perspectives. Its gibberish after all, it can only defend itself by hiding from, burying, deleting, derailing, or denigrating information that apposes it. And.. the best, simplest, easiest, and most direct means to do this is the morally repugnant method of a) deleting the rebuttal, b) burying anything that suggest support for it, c) derailing the discussion into something else, which happens to, usually, be d) the debasement and denigration of either the opposing idea, or those who presented it, while given them no means, or right, to defend against the assault.

              To me, the assertion, quite correct, that people have the “right” to do this… yep, they certainly do, but applying that right, in such a context, has the same “moral” result as shooting a child who comes on your property, or killing someone who is already dying, then claiming you where “defending yourself”. Its not enough, sometimes, to have a right – you have to also **be right**, or, at the very bloody least, comprehend social responsibility, other people’s basic humanity, or just plain compassion, and that some lines should not be crossed, lest you become one of the monsters. Except.. how many of the people that do this, really.. comprehend that they are the monsters?

              I repeat – deleting posts, for the wrong reasons, its morally reprehensible. F what “rights” they may have to do so, and their choice to misuse them.

      • 3. I don’t think either of you have a strong hold on what free speech is, to be perfectly honest. That’s not really the point here, anyway.

    • Never underestimate the capacity to rationalize away negative evidence. Anti-vaxx nuts already claim that ‘polio’ isn’t really the same illness. According to Peter Bowditch, in Australia, ALL of Tenpenny’s venues cancelled her appearances when they learned of her reputation.

      And Bowditch fails to grasp that, in the US, Osteopaths are recognized as legitimate physicians, despite their link to a loony like Andrew Taylor Still. When I was forced onto public assistance, the first two Drs I was referred to as Primary Care Physicians were both…Osteopaths.

    • You know.. I can’t see the value of a “zombie” plague to cure people of this sort of stupidity, but… if anything like it was possible, I could sure go for like someone accidentally releasing Lyc-V, then these idiots deciding that “their kid would never possibly be turned into a werewolf from a bite, so I don’t need to vaccinate them for that, since vaccines don’t work anyway!” lol But.. stuff that causes real, long term, problems, or even death, and no one comes out the other end “better” than they started out… just isn’t funny at all…

  • ThumbnailBrooklyn 99 is one of the best shows on American TV right now, and in addition to being fucking hilarious, it’s also incredibly diverse. Women get as much screen time as men, the boss is a gay black man (married […]

    • I posted this in a comment on another post here at Skepchick, but this is probably an even more appropriate venue. Here’s a fantastic interview with Terry Crews by Elamin Abdelmahmoud about feminism, the damage that machismo does to men, and rape culture.

    • This is awesome.

      I hope Terry Tate, Office Linebacker, is a crusader for LGBT rights too.

    • drken replied 3 years ago

      While it’s great that Terry Crews is enthusiastic about increased opportunity for women in his industry, I disagree with the idea that there is such a thing as a reboot that “needs” to happen. While sexists have been far too mad about this project (which has been entertaining to watch), everybody else seems far too happy. Good people are involved and it should be funny, but at no point in the last 30 years have I ever thought we needed another Ghostbusters movie.

      • I’m not sure how that’s any different from any other movie that’s ever been made, though.

        I’m not sure why some people are like WHAT A REBOOT?! NOOOO!

        There is a reason reboots happen: Because they are successful.

        And why shouldn’t there be an all-female cast of a really popular sci-fi comedy? How is that not a good thing? I don’t see the bad in this at all.

        I mean, YOU don’t have to watch it. That’s pretty easy. So why are you trying to bring everyone down based on your own personal opinion?

        Not sure there’s much of a difference between you or “the sexists” tbh.

        Did you get this upset over the Batman reboots? I doubt it.

      • Can you explain why this isn’t a good thing and why it doesn’t need to happen? People say this all the time but no one ever says why. I don’t get it, honestly. I don’t care if a movie is a reboot, as long as it’s done well.

      • Here is a really good outline of why so many women are excited about this. In a way that men have been able to get excited about stuff since, well, the dawn of movies, but we haven’t:

        https://medium.com/@JennyPoore/the-all-woman-ghostbusters-movie-a-reparation-payment-to-every-girl-who-grew-up-in-the-80s-17523f6f7ba8

        • drken replied 3 years ago

          Thanks for the link. It’s nice to have something I just really don’t get explained to me by someone with the same tastes in ’80s movies I do. So, I understand why some people are pretty excited about this movie, I’m just not a big fan of remakes. I was skeptical about the Batman reboot (I thought Shumacher pretty much destroyed the franchise, so we should have moved on), but so were a lot of people and there wasn’t this much push-back to those of us who turned out to be wrong (Nolan did a great job, besides not seeming to know what to do with Selina Kyle). It seems like I have to like this project or be branded a sexist, which kind of rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s just my contrarian streak speaking. But, I’ll probably go see this movie anyway.

          Also, take every character from Ghostbusters and replace it with a woman. It’s pretty much the same movie, only without a love-interest and Venkman trying to seduce undergrads, which lifts right out and is easily replaced with a different type of scam, respectively. So, it doesn’t seem to be telling a new story. This does make a great statement about how men are viewed as default and how female characters only exist so the star can “get the girl”, but that’s about it. So, if some ’80s comedy is to be gender-swapped, I pick Animal House.

          Also, I don’t remember there being a big movement to remake Ghostbusters, at least not the way people want a Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel movie. So, the “Oh my god, this is wonderful” reaction seems a bit odd to me.

    • I have a theory about why women and others minorities cab be precoded as smarter inside done field. It’s simply that the bar is so much higher for then that the one that achieve are indeed smarter.

      Of course you have to be open minded to actually notice that those women or minorities are indeed smarter or dedicated then the masses, otherwise your preconception will block your vision and make you notice only the fumbles no matter how small.

      • Some serious researchers have proposed exactly that model as a test for whether bias exists in a field. If the average performance of minority or woman employees is much higher than the average performance of the majority in the field, then there is a selection process going on where only the best of the minorities, women, or whatever underrepresented group are getting hired.

        It’s a statistical test of the notion that the unprivileged have to run twice as fast just to stay where they are.

        I’m pretty sure I read about it here on Skepchick, but I can’t remember enough of the context to find a reference, despite my strenuous 5 minutes with Google. Can anyone else provide more information?

        BTW, as I recall, the original research examined competence. If the hiring bias didn’t select for super competent minorities, but instead for some other attribute, such as looks or docility or social connections (religion, nepotism, golfing ability, whatever), the bias might not show up in this test, but other tests might reveal it.

  • The brilliant and hilarious comic writer Lindy West did a piece for This American Life last week, which you can listen to here. In the story, West talks about online trolls, and how she decided to “feed” the worst […]

    • I miss the old generation of trolls, the ones who would just say Jesse McCartney was related to Paul. This generation of trolls goes far beyond mere trolling. As evidenced by their sheer fanaticism.

    • Dan replied 3 years ago

      The vocal fry segment drove me nuts as they waited until nearly the end to acknowledge that Ira Glass is basically the living embodiment of vocal fry (which has always seemed to me a part of the NPR aesthetic, like the unnecessary 5 second music clips between sections).

      And they could have made a little more of the fact that no one has complained about him, athough part of the issue (which they don’t mention) is that vocal fry is more obvious when someone’s speaking pitch is higher, since it’s more of a contrast.

    • I loved her piece. Lindy is a treasure.

      Dan: I have always found Ira Glass’ voice incredibly grating, and this might be part of why. I wonder if that’s also the problem I have with Garrison Keillor’s tales from Lake Wobegon (I can listen to him as characters all day, but Tales from Lake Wobegon make me physically uncomfortable when I listen.)

    • I can’t seem to be able to listen to it… :(

    • The best part was when the troll admitted, “Yeah, I really was a dick, wasn’t I?” I say hooray for him and for Lindy that they got to have this all-too-rare experience. Even though I was disgusted by what he did to her, I felt his transformation was somewhat heroic.

  • Good news, everyone! Quiz-o-Tron is coming to Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles on Friday, February 13! Special guests will include Jennifer Ouellete, Joseph Scrimshaw, Hal Lublin, and many […]

  • Support more videos like this at patreon.com/rebecca!

    Sort of transcript:

    In an interview with Redbook this month, actress Kaley Cuoco, star of Big Bang Theory on CBS, was asked if she’s a feminist.

    “Is […]

    • Rebecca Watson,

      I’m surprised. I thought you called yourself a feminist long before elevatorgate.

      • I assumed that was a simplified narrative for rhetorical and comedic effect. I’m pretty sure I remember reading feminist writings by Rebecca and hearing her express feminist viewpoints on the SGU before “elevatorgate.”

        • Also (apologies for putting words in Rebecca’s mouth here) if I recall correctly she got pushed towards outright feminism in a big way after getting smashed with bs following the founding of Skepchick and ‘whorish’ activities like making the calender. So the story is basically the same but it’s easier just to refer to the elevator apocalypse.

    • Rebecca Watson,

      Come to think of it, maybe we should still be a bit thankful, at least Kaley Cuoco didn’t come out as a “Men’s Rights Activist.”

    • I’ve had trouble loading Skepchick for the last couple days.

      I think one of the difficulties is that most people don’t understand what feminism is. The prevalence of the strawman version in the media is a big part of it.

    • I’m glad you said that reporters need to stop asking this randomly, because that really is the point.

      Policing other people’s feminism seems to be a little out of character for you truthfully. I mean it’s not like she said a whole bunch of anti-feminist crap, she simply shied away from a word that anti-feminists have tried their best to misconstrue. As you pointed out it is best to not give an opinion if you are unaware but that’s hard to do when you are questioned about it point blank.

    • I feel anyone whose career is heavily dependent on their public image should be given a pass for dodging questions about their politics or ideology, feigning ignorance of an issue or giving a non-apology that resolves nothing. Unless they are in a particular niche market (e.g., Hip-Hop singers, ideological comedy, etc.), such a declaration is unlikely to win them more than a few new fans and is much more likely to alienate more existing fans.

      If an entertainer wants to stand for what she believes in, that is fine. But do not blame her for trying to protect her image. Her image is part of the service she sells. The Dixie Chicks can explain this to you.

    • It’s basically the triumph — so far — of a lot of people who’ve managed to get the perception of “feminist” as meaning “someone who hates men”. I’m sure Kaley Cuoco doesn’t hate men, so therefore she thinks she’s not a feminist. I’m also sure that she doesn’t think that women shouldn’t be allowed to, oh I don’t know, become a talented junior tennis player (#54 in Girl’s 14 singles in 1998), make a living as an actor (several series, commercials, and movies for over 20 years now), make as much as her male co-stars, and be “furious” (her word) when her pro-tennis player husband wins a game against her.

      I’ll also bet she got a pre-nup, which sounds like an awfully feminist (ie., sensible) thing to do in her circumstances.

      • Reminds me of all those “agnostics” out there who fear the term atheist, despite that being definitionally what they are.

      • Yeah, it’s something I just don’t get. Has Rush Limbaugh had that much influence in reshaping the perception of the word feminism? I had a female friend in grad school working on here PhD. She was smart, tough, and outperformed most of the guys (maybe all?) in the department. One day she told me she hated feminism and I think I actually sputtered out loud. “b..b…b…but you….I don’t……how can…..” and then my head exploded.

        • I don’t think you can really blame people like Rush Limbaugh for this. Fact of it is that there are many ‘feminists’ screaming that all heterosexual sex is rape, that trans women aren’t ‘real’ women, that women who freely choose to be stay at home mothers are slaves who can’t see the shackles, and many other deplorable things. It isn’t like there’s unanimous agreement on what feminism means. It’s easy to understand why feminism can seem offensive to those without a lot of exposure to it.

          • Maybe “many” in terms of absolute numbers, like “more than a hundred”–but radical feminists are a small proportion of the total.

          • It’s particularly easy to see why people are offended by feminism when other people keep repeating the same lies and myths about feminism like:

            “…there are many ‘feminists’ screaming that all heterosexual sex is rape, that trans women aren’t ‘real’ women, that women who freely choose to be stay at home mothers are slaves who can’t see the shackles…”

            I’ve never seen a feminist say any of those things but I’ve seen a lot of ill-informed people or people hostile to feminism continue those myths.

        • This long predates Rush Limbaugh; he’s a follower. In fact the attempt to redefine feminism as man-hating (and ugly, etc.) began at least as far back as suffragettes began to agitate for women being able to vote. It was the theme of an article I saw in an old magazine (I believe it was The Atlantic from the twenties or thirties) titled “The Death of Feminism”. In more recent decades it was pushed by people like Phyllis Schlafly. The inconsistency of someone like her, having gone through law school and making a living as a public speaker, saying women should not do what she herself did, shows the emptiness of the redefinition, but nevertheless it has been pretty effective.

          Luckily we have people like Taylor Swift who, after being schooled on the subject after making a similar mistake as Cuoco did, listened, reasoned, and changed her mind. And people like Beyonce proudly standing as a feminist, while her songs certainly state she sure doesn’t hate men.

    • I didn’t much care for that whole Emma Watson thing.

      There are so many people out there who can speak on such topics. The only reason she was asked to speak at the United Nations was becasue she pretended to be a wizard on film.

      • Or because she is a smart, well spoken young actress who appeals to the audience that the UN was hoping to reach. Whether that audience is the one they should be trying to reach is another question altogether but that is not Ms. Watson’s fault.

      • What was the UN thinking? Getting a successful, intelligent, well-spoken, famous and successful woman to front their new campaign?

        Some people have no ethics.

  • “I am tasting the stars” is my new catch phrase. Thank you!

  • Support more videos like this at Patreon.com/Rebecca!

    Here’s a sort-of transcript:

    Here’s a fun trivia question: which contiguous US state is the most seismically active? If you said California, […]

    • “Reject the capitalist imperative”
      Yes indeed, music to my ears.

    • Fracking has another side: Hiring sex offenders, since the oil fields are far enough away from schools. And a lot of those oil fields are near reservations. They actually hire sex offenders before locals, for some reason.

  • Gunmen in Paris have murdered 12 people today in a pointless, hopeless quest to squelch criticism of Islam. The murders occurred at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly paper that has not shied […]

    • It’s not a satirical publication. It’s a plain racist publication. Racist against Jews, Arabs, and black people, as I could ascertain with about thirty seconds of research. This doesn’t excuse twelve murders. On the other hand, being murdered doesn’t erase their past racism. It just means that people are unlikely to do even thirty seconds of research into whether they were assholes, instead calling them “satirical” and “champions of free speech”.

      • Who’s to say that the terms are mutually exclusive? Larry Flynt for example was “satirical” and a “champion of free speech” while also being an A-number-one asshole, doesn’t make his right to free speech any less important.

        Whether you liked Charlie Hebdo or not does not make what happened any less of a tragedy, after all dying for your art (or rather for other’s opinion of you art) shouldn’t matter whether you created the Mona Lisa or Mad Magazine.

        • Some of the most disgusting and offensive people in society serve to advance the cause of free speech eg. marching Illinois Nazis

      • Freedom of speech really isn’t about whether it’s speech you like. That’s pretty much the point.

      • This can’t stand without challenge. Charlie Hebdo was not a racist publication. They were an anti-racist, pro-immigration publication that was so left-wing most Americans wouldn’t even be able to see them on the spectrum.

        They were opposed to all right-wing, fundamentalism – including Islamic fundamentalism.

        There is no “racist” past to erase.

        • Sam, unfortunately some see any disregard for religious sensibilities as hate instead of as a lack of respect for something that has earned no respect. They are wrong, plain and simple.

          • This is where we are. A couple years ago, I was doing an ethnography of the next generation of activists. One thing I discovered was how many of them like to use an artfully-disguised equivalent of “I don’t like your tone.” Because, for them, activism is a competition, see who can be the most inclusive. While at the same time, they’ve been raised on self-esteem, so you have faux-leftists who can’t distance themselves from years of Ayn Rand indoctrination.

            dhasenan seems to be engaging in such.

        • But dhasenan did thirty seconds of research! Did you do the thirty seconds of research it takes to fully understand an issue as complex as a satirical left-wing publication’s views and history on racial politics? I think if you want to seriously engage in this discussion you have to do at least thirty seconds of research. Preferably no more than thirty seconds, because no one’s got time for that.

    • I spent a good deal more than 30 minutes to follow up this one and it’s still a work in progress.

      The issue is quite complex as you can see for instance by wading through the 500 or so comments in this article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-13/wilson-calls-for-discrimination-law-changes/6013946

      Some argue that cartoons by their very nature use stereotypes as code and this is not racist because the barb is directed towards the ideology and not the race. Also, Charlie Habdo pokes fun at everybody whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim.

      Others argue that the Left is actually indulging in victim blaming if we suggest that the cartoons are racist as if this somehow explains, validates or even justifies the violence of the terrorists.

      It is doubtful whether some of the cartoons would be legal to publish in Australia due to section 18c of our racial vilification law. Personally I find the cartoons crass and unfunny (not to mention homophobic, anybody else agree?) and I would find it hard to say “Je Suis Charlie”.

      Most people seem to feel that solidarity with the victims and against the terrorists trumps any of these considerations. But damn the terrorists for inspiring a new conservative push to overturn 18c.

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