ActivismAfternoon InquisitionAnti-Science

AI: Sticks and Stones

Chelsea can’t come to the AI today. She is feeding ninjas strawberry cupcakes on a secluded island because (as I am sure you have noticed) the Skepchicks have been the target of some stone throwing in recent days.

You can click here if you need to be filled in on the details.

It’s quite sad really. In the absence of evidence or credible research to discuss, the people at Age of Autism have resorted to name calling and vicious behavior.

Coincidentally, I had an email conversation with the editor of Age of Autism, Kim Stagliano on June 10th, 2010. At the time they had used one of my photos of (ironically) a Free-Thinker pendant I made on their blog without my permission and I politely asked them to remove it. We ended up having a nice conversation about vampires and yes, autism and vaccines. I tried to encourage her to have an open and friendly dialog between her group and the skeptics. I offered to be a liaison between the skeptics and her group. I even offered to take her out to lunch. Seriously.

At the time she seemed receptive but apparently, she wasn’t interested. She’d much rather make fun of our blog, our avatars, photos and families and allow us to be called “Skeptics with a silent K” and the “Dorkosphere.” I won’t bother mentioning the truly vicious comments being made about Elyse on their facebook page because it’s not worth being said again. All this because our community spoke up to stop their fear mongering ad.

So why am I even bringing this up, yet again? Because I have a hard time letting go when I feel like me or my friends and family have been unjustly attacked. I tend to dwell and fester on the injustice. Eventually, I turn these feelings into art projects but it often takes me a while to get to the point where I can communicate my angst. And honestly, I’m annoyed. I offered to communicate. I’m not hiding behind a “cute avatar.” I’m not a shill for some big pharma conspiracy. You know who I am and you have my email, Kim.

So what should I do Skepchick readers? Should I go for a run? Drink champagne? Paint a portrait? Make a ceramic army of strawberry-cupcake-eating-ninja-Surlies? What do YOU do to let go?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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  1. I pop in a video game and go Marlboro Hunting. If there aren’t any around, then I will find the nearest boss and make him lick my shoes clean!

    TV occupied? Then I’ll boot up Civ 4 and conquer someone or load a game on my psp and defeat someone hard.

  2. I work. I work from as early as I get up for as long as I can stand it. I figure as long I have excess energy to dump I might as well dump it into something useful.

  3. Try to find a way to let it go. Whether it’s listening to music, running, playing a video game…Whatever works for you.

    It’s sad that, nationwide, we no longer seem to be able to have a civil discussion about something without resorting to threats, lies and distortions. What worries me is the breakdown of civility, as that’s the “grease” in the gears of a society that allows in to function.

    Elyse didn’t deserve what what done to her by AoA and I stand by my statement that she should contact an attorney. (IANAL, but I think she could use the advice. A first visit is usually free, anyway.)

  4. Oddly, this comic has had a profound effect on me. Nearly every time I start to type out a response to idiocy that has gotten under my skin that comic comes to mind and I let go of whatever was driving me nuts. Hope it helps.

  5. I save the world harder.

    And drink.

    And run…. except not today. Today it was -4 degrees. I have no interest in being over something because I’m frozen dead in a river valley.

  6. I think CaveGal has the right idea. Make some MORE art! I’ve been on an art-rampage lately and it feels SO SO good.
    And it doesn’t even have to be about what’s making you angry/sad. Just sit down and doodle. Look for cool pictures online and use them as jumping-off points/reference.
    And while you are doing that, I will do the laundry, because man alive! it’s getting bad.

  7. I like to get lost in details, so I usually cook. Treating an onion or a cut of meat with the respect it deserves is rewarding in itself, but then I’m a food geek. As both a vocation and an avocation.

    I should get “dorkosphere reject” printed on my business cards.

  8. I blog…

    The irony of “dorkosphere” is amazing. Terms like “dork” are applied to autisitics. But, hey, even though we are parents of disabled kids, let’s keep on making fun of people who are different.

  9. I’m suddenly inspired to make “dorkosphere reject” art! At the very least I HAVE to make a necklace!

    I love you guys.

  10. Your complaints bring to mind a talk recently published on the JREF web site (

    As frustrating as your situation is, by that speaker’s standards you have already won. People that are “convinced” by Stagliano’s adolescent-esque behaviour were never going to change their minds as a result of evidence backed arguments.

    What you have done is gotten them to show their true selves: That they think how people feel about something is all that matters, rather than whether it’s true or not. Flinging insults isn’t an argument, it’s a way to attack you emotionally so you’ll stop saying things that threaten them emotionally.

  11. Amy, I think that your artwork is a great way to vent about anything. And I personally would love a strawberry cupcake necklace. Let us know when you get some of those up too! And I know folks who will like the “dorkosphere reject” necklaces!

  12. I generally drink following a bout of world saving, and sometimes I hug my kiddo’s first. Cuz I like hugging immunized kiddo’s!

  13. I am wearing my Hug Me I’m Vaccinated shirt right now and that has made me much happier! Waiting for my first hug…

  14. truly frightening amounts of imaginative and complicated profanity.

    Cathartic, and a fun verbal exercise!

  15. Run. It relieves tension, builds muscle, improves cardio and helps you sleep at night. Also, all good fighters have to get their roadwork in. You have to log the miles.

  16. To let things go, I like to go running in the hills until I am a quivering mass of lactic acid saturated muscle. Then I take a hot shower, and get on the motorcycle for a nice long ride, then I come home and make cocktails. If a willing partner is available, I have sex. Then I have sex again. Repeat until failure. I wake up the next day with sore muscles and a sore head and virtually nothing of what was bothering me remaining.

  17. Hit the track, or play some Rayman Raving Rabbids (the second game or the TV party game for the Wii are my recommendations). You can scream incoherently along with the bunnies, and shooting them with plungers is weirdly satisfying.

  18. You Surly Amy need to start drinking Surly Beer. MMMM….I’m not sure you can get it outside of Minnesota but if you can I highly recommend the CynicAle.

  19. I tell myself I’m amazing for leaving stupid people being wrong on the internet behind me. Then I take a deep breath and tell myself I’m amazing for leaving stupid people being wrong on the internet behind me. Then I take a deep breath and tell myself I’m amazing for leaving stupid people being wrong on the internet behind me. Repeat until calm.

  20. My cure, err treatment, good music (the 4Bs: Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Beatles), and SMS: single malt scotch.

  21. I was saddened to read about the attacks against Elyse and all you Skepchiks. I live in a pretty violent country, and right now there is a disgusting increase in xenophobia and outright racism.
    But I’m always taken aback seeing these things when dealing with stuff that has do with health issues. I’ve never been able to fathom the murders of abortion doctors, for instance.
    Then, one has to recall Weinberg’s phrase:
    “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. ”
    This really applies not just to religion, but to almost everything, if it’s treated as a belief, and therefore not subjected to reasonable arguments.
    What do I do to come out of a funk?
    I listen to nice music (Sarah Brightman, right this moment), read some book, write, reminisce, and also come to this blog, where I meet a community of bright, brave, feisty and thoughtful people — and they compel me to think and rethink and think again, instead of being contented with my current beliefs. Thank you!

  22. Play FIFA 11 with my son. Practise ninjutsu, usually San Shin no Kata. Weight train. Read blogs, like this one, that remind me there are still reasonable, logical, intelligent people out there.

  23. @Chris_H: In honor of their tactics I just totally gave myself a paycut for getting the TDaP booster and I am going to give myself a week suspension (without pay) for getting the flu shot. (Just as soon as the holiday rush is over.) I know it sounds like a slap on the wrist but I have spoken with myself about my behavior (it’s awesome) and will speak with Elyse’s employers as well. I’m hoping to get her a week suspension (for my birthday) too.

  24. @Amy: 70 likes and growing. Cool stuff!

    And I totally missed the boat on milking that flu shot for all it’s worth.

  25. I’m trying to get fired from the job I need to get back to. But for some reason the people in this house insist on having clean clothes. The nerve!

  26. What I do is usually play music, talk to friends, listen to music (never mine, I hate my music), read a book, or the usual distractions.

    What should you do? Well, my first thought is channel those creative juices. How about a series of ceramic pendants honoring the Heroes of the Anti-Vax Movement? Or maybe ceramic versions of vaccine-related illnesses to be given to your friends? Imagine the fun of creating and collecting characters like Doctor Greedius Von Autismo, Roland Dystonia, or Guillaume Barre!

    Creativity always chases the blues away.

  27. Aren’t these the same people who made that horrible little Thanksgiving picture of Dr. Novella and other anti-anti-vaxxers engaging in various acts of sexual congress aobut the turkey dinner table?

  28. @James Fox: Got my flu shot Aug 30. That evening I got loads of vax cred at my local SitP by showing off my band-aid. (BTW, the most painless shot ever. Just a tiny sting when it punctured the skin, no burning sensation as the needle went into the muscle, no soreness or anything else later, and NO FLU!)

    Got still more vax cred a month later at our skeptics book club meeting by showing off my small pox vaccine scar, which is still barely visible. We were reading a book about medical experimentation, most of the young whippersnappers had never seen a small pox vaccination and had no idea how it worked.

    So, James, to quote Max Bialystock, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”

  29. I swear at ducks. Seriously. Find a secluded duck pond (preferably one where the ducks are regularly fed so they flock to you no matter how vicious your language gets), and swear at them. It helps.

  30. @here_fishy: Ducks are mean. One day many years ago, at just about this time of year, I went for a walk at a nearby river. It had rained the day before and the first really cold night had caused a lot of small puddles to freeze. There was a flock of mallards near the path and one of them was stuck on the ice in the middle of one of the larger puddles. She kept spinning her feet but couldn’t get any traction on the ice and was going nowhere fast. All the other ducks were laughing cruelly at her. (Well, quacking, but it sounded like laughing.)

    I was about to go to her rescue, but just then she managed to push off and went sliding across the ice to the edge and escaped.

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