Well I haven’t written here in a while and I don’t think I will any time soon. I’ve moved onto other skeptical projects outside of this blog and unfortunately I find that I no longer have time to post here.
Other than the time factor, though, I also find that I no longer have any desire to participate in recent online slagfests and bust-ups. I could have said a lot of things about the strange vitriol Rebecca Watson has been receiving after she politely suggested that men not corner women in an elevator alone, at night, in a foreign country because it’s creepy (particularly the latest inexplicable heap on the Skepticblog post about the 24 hour SGU episode calling for her resignation) or about any number of bickering incidents that seems to happen now on a regular basis (particularly when either involving women or women’s issues) mostly instigated by a singular loud group with an apparently limitless amount of free time, but why would I bother? What would it add?
Commenters might show up to either agree (and though that feels good, no offense, but so what?) or vehemently disagree while calling me a femenazi, accusing me of having a secret feminist agenda, or some otherwise depressing bullshit keeping me from wanting to even bother with this anymore. People tend to come out of these things even more entrenched in their view than they were at the start and there are hundreds of other places they can go to do that. My commenting on the issue wouldn’t resolve anything and might even make it worse by providing yet another target for the loudest and most obnoxious assholes out there.
Also (this will seem like an aside, but I have a point, I promise) weirding me out a bit was that I blog under a different name elsewhere where a commenter, who also comments here, apparently despised everything I ever wrote on that blog at the same time as praising me on this blog. I am the same person with the same opinions and essentially the same writing style. Surreal.
But I realize this commenter did show me how easy it is for people to get a fixed view of bloggers or other skeptical personalities and then squeeze everything they do into their predetermined narrative. I think that is what is happening to people like Rebecca. Some skeptics are apparently incapable of considering a person as a sum of their actions and expressions, agreeing with some things they do and not other things (for example, though I thought Rebecca’s reaction to Dawkins non sequitur was appropriate, saying she was done buying his books etc just exemplified the thing I’m currently complaining about!). I am guilty of this, too. I met a certain someone at TAM7 who seemed like a complete douche, later confirmed by other issues, and have not been able to listen to their podcast since. Though lately I have been better able to disagree with certain people on some key issues yet support them on others (for example Rebecca and Dawkins) and that’s fine for me, mostly due to becoming aware of the issue in the first place, for some reason I can’t seem to get past my emotional aversion to this particular person. So I’m not trying to be all superior here, I just think that the skeptic propensity to act like a 4chan message board while at the same time acting we’re above such things doesn’t contribute to meaningful discussion.
So though I’m done here, I will continue to participate in the skeptical movement in my other projects and from now on I have no opinion about the latest childish nonsense that’s got everyone in a snit and I have no interest in people who are going to reduce me to my vagina. Those people I just feel sorry for. And while I’m sure at least one person reading this (if he does read it, and because I’ve seen him do this elsewhere) will admonish me for not sticking around and trying to educate, particularly on feminist issues, I shouldn’t have to point out that it isn’t my job to make sure that supposedly critical-thinking grown adults in the year 2011 are not racist, sexist, or any other bigotous -ist. Either they won’t listen or, like I said, there are hundreds of other places where they can find that out.
This all maybe came out sounding a big high and mighty, which was not my intent so with this last bit I will hopefully clarify. I am moving from a level of discourse, in which I feel I was participating in unproductive way, to one that is more skeptically active in the real world, in my professional life, and in my government. I hope that we can, as a movement for those who choose to call it that, move from this distasteful adolescence of useless bickering online and try to give each other the common courtesy of assuming that everyone here is a human being deserving of understanding and patience rather than vitriol and, in rare but highly publicized cases, what basically amounts to hateful propaganda. Yes, I have opinions, but that doesn’t mean have to publish every one of them online, inviting assholes to come piss me off. I just don’t have room for it in my life anymore.
I didn’t intend to leave on such a negative note, but the positive is that I will have more time to participate in real-life activism — without the bother of anonymously being called a whore, bitch, or other asshole nonsense — and I will be happier doing it.
Thank you for reading and commenting to every genuine contributor to adult, sane discourse in the comments. I will see you elsewhere on Twitter, Facebook, etc.