No platform for old men

by | January 28, 2016

This morning I received some sad news….
Richard Dawkins re-tweeted something.
Oh boy.

Nothing to see here… please move along…

Wait, you didn’t know Dawkins was on the twitter?
(You’re in for a treat then)

Apparently the people at NECSS know, and they do not approve.

I’ve been to NECSS and it’s a great place for science and skepticism goodness, even if it’s a bit vanilla and well… somewhat… uh… pale-ish?.

Regardless, NYC is always fun, and if you get a chance, you should check it out, although given the nosedive the Canadian dollar has taken of late, you might want to save up a little extra for the trip.

Oh yeah, you might be wondering about that re-tweet?
Apparently it was a link to this:

Dawkins qualified it with something along the lines of #notallfeminists #imafeministtoobut, but I guess that didn’t soften it up enough for some.

Some context for the video. There has been some criticism floating around of the left-wing-progressives with regards to their response to the Cologne attacks. Migrant/refugee/minority rapists are problematic for the left, or that is the accusation. But who can really tell who the trolls are any more. Did the SJWs go soft on the issue because they can’t decide which is worse, rape or Islamophobia? Or is this just more right wing spin? Round and round.

Dawkins has since deleted the re-tweet, but not due to it being ‘offensive’ to feminists/islamists, rather, he wasn’t aware that Big Red is an actual person, and that she was doxxed and received threats… So not wanting to perpetuate that sort of thing, he deleted his re tweet.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 15h15 hours ago
Having learned that the woman in the joke song is a real person who has been disgracefully threatened with violence, I’m deleting my tweets.
@RichardDawkins Ridicule and death threats are 2 different things.You weren’t endorsing the trolls, just mocking her childish behaviour.

This should have promoted an interesting discussion about boundaries between criticism and harassment…

The Internet can be a vengeful god.

Doxxing, for those not aware, is when you publish someone’s personal/contact info, with the intent along the lines of… Hey, this is a really horrible person, and oh hey, this is where you can find them…
So it’s an implied call for vigilante justice.

Cowardly and reckless, but a common enough tactic on the internetz. I should note. I don’t support threatening anyone on the internet, even buffoons like Big Red, or The Donald, for that matter. Satire and criticism should be fair game though. And the song in question makes no threats, it is pure…. and arguably puerile… mockery.

For more details on Big Red, and why she is so reviled, do a search on:
Her infamy is well earned.

Do I think NECSS should have dis-invited Dawkins?
No. I mean really, if you don’t know by now that Dawkins can be an insensitive jerk on occasion… Really?
Do they have the right to dis-invite him?
Does that song promote rape/murder/threats/harassment?
Only if you’re already a nutter sliding down a slippery slope.

Unfortunately, some seem more concerned about the Feminist/Muslim satire angle, rather than the doxxing issue. I have to give Dawkins credit for recognizing a serious concern, and attempting to address it, by erring on the side of caution. No everyone is so thoughtful. But the song doesn’t doxx her. The tweet didn’t either.

Feminism can survive a re-tweet or two.
Trying to punish someone for something stupid they said… or tweeted… is petty. Welcome to the world.
Sticks and stones.

Long live the Dawk.

4 thoughts on “No platform for old men

  1. Randy

    “But who can really tell who the trolls are any more”

    It’s true. The convergence has happened.

  2. Randy

    Also, I’m not aware that Big Red ever discussed Islam, at least publicly. However Big Red, as used in the song, isn’t a person but the representation of a movement.

    1. Joe Post author

      As far as I am aware she is still a vocal activist… On tumblr. Ugh.
      As such, a certain amount of criticism and mockery from those who disagree with her is perfectly acceptable in my view. The idea that, she was harassed and therefore should never ever be criticized again, seems a bit ridiculous.


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