Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ceterum Censeo Rebecca Twatson Esse Delendam

[edit at bottom]

Yes, the title is Greek to me too!

This post will not be amusing, and you're welcome for that.  It's easy to parody someone who so readily provides an endless stream of fodder. But this is a significant issue which requires--at least in my estimation--resolution.

Until recently, I have somehow or another managed to remain perfectly ignorant of the existence of one Rebecca Watson of skepchick notoriety.  Why?  I don't particularly notice talking heads of no consequence.  If I have before the last month or so happened across her, she's apparently managed to be sufficiently useless to leave with me a memory.  My specific and explicit purpose is to start a campaign to have Rebecca Twatson excluded from the selection of people who are paid to speak at our events.  Her presence is a net drain in time and money.  To make it clear:  to have her at any event speaking by invitation entails the expenditure of her speaking fee, and the reduction in my attendance fee. 
Skip to the end to see what I need from people who've long-known of Rebecca Twatson (to where the screen captures are located); the intervening text is explanation of why I consider this imperative - of course, it'll all be reduced to the fact that I'm white. And male. And hate all women. Let me be patent: I do not hate women. I am not attacking women.  I am attacking you, Rebecca Twatson, for things you say and do, not because you exist and have a vagina.

To be clear, she is unimportant. She is, after all is said and done, just an unlettered charlatan who pretends to speak on behalf of people who do important work.  Her only reason for notoriety is because of James Randi.  I suppose that, without more, is unimportant and perhaps even perfectly ok. Every group needs entertainment; were she content to play the jester for our amusement, we'd have a different situation.

But thousands of people are listening to her. I can only surmise that a substantial proportion of these people take what she says as though her thoughts on science are of the slightest importance. Further, she hijacks a noble endeavor (well, several) to advance her own particular social and political goals. Not abjectly abhorrent I suppose. But she's a tactician of the lowest caliber.

Now we are met with a high school popularity contest where emotional exploitation has replaced conversation and progress.  She is, of course, free to attend and speak in the same way anyone else is free to attend and speak: wait in line and maybe you'll get called on to ask a question to learn - you are not in a position to teach.  Whatever reason there may have once been to give her a microphone and a billed slot evaporated in an instant when she abused that position to repress a dissident opinion.  And this was in the basest fashion possible:  to label her not only wrong, but wrong because of a hatred of women.

Stef McGraw has responded not in kind; her reaction at the event is the exemplar of decorum, professionalism, courtesy and maturity.  Instead of being commended for being a thoughtful participant in a very important issue, she was labeled a woman hating cause of damage to her sisters the world over.  And Rebecca Twatson hijacked a stacked audience to send a message:  your thoughts are not welcome, and you better learn your place.  To take what's she's been dealt with the poise and dignity she's demonstrated through this whole ordeal is the kind of character we should like to point to and say, "There. Be like that."  Stef McGraw, you do credit to yourself, and though I'm happy to see people now know who you are, I'm saddened that it came about through an affront to the whole of our society.

Oppression of the free exchange of ideas is inexcusable.  Not that it would matter since Twatson makes no attempt to ameliorate the situation; whatever might have been forgiven weeks ago has past its expiry. The symptoms she displays are the unfailing signs of a diseased sense of entitlement, and a corrupted society.  It is never permissible to chill the exchange of ideas, let alone while standing in the guise of someone who's actually qualified to warrant attention as a thinker of any import.

This not a "feminist" issue.  This is a human issue.  People are being silenced because Rebecca Twatson's goal is to keep Rebecca Twatson in the spotlight; it butters her bread. Remember, her livelihood varies in direct proportion to her ability to remain publicly known and liked.

Remember, Rebecca Twatson is a communications major. This implies, presumably, she understands the methods of effectively persuading people to think exactly what she wants to them to think. Further, do not forget her job description:  public figure.  To be a public figure is no crime. To be invited to talk is similarly no crime. But to earn a seat at the table of invited speakers in an event like this is to ascend the ranks of a meritocracy.  She does not meet that burden - being a dramatic attention seeking self-promoter is simply not good enough.

  And she is a relentless self promoter:
Further, she is not an advocate of equality for women or anyone else. She is an advocate for her views; dissenters are unwelcome:
Rebecca Twatson, I know you blocked me on twitter, and I appreciate that you're so very open and honest about the extent to which you're willing to molest the ideas of the enlightenment, of which we are all trustees for our progeny.

I am currently working on researching everything she's written and publicly said. This is a long process, so anyone who has long-known of her who might have some recommendations for good reading to help tear her asunder, please e-mail me.

I'm in the process of trying to verify her history on the JREF message boards, and the alleged fact that she was therefrom banned for, again, an abuse of power with respect to silencing people. I do not know this for certain, and I am not stating it as a fact; I am trying to determine its veracity. If you have information on that, please contact me.

In particular, consider her recitation of elevator guy who spoke to her, which was a no-no.  Then consider this post from the JREF message board (if it is indeed her):
Compare this in relation to a man touching her on a train with his leg. She is demanding here a respect for her bubble (not touching, and she was in an enclosed space there too, cornered between him and the train's window).  So, in that case, he was free to chat her up while she was cornered so long as he didn't touch her. Now, in the elevator incident, the gentleman did not touch her, did not corner her, and stayed out her bubble.  And she doesn't seem generally opposed to being chatted up if this is anything to go by.

Now, if this was indeed her as I have some reason to think it is (but I'm not positive; the research isn't fully finished) I am absolutely convinced that Rebecca Twatson is trolling for attention since, apparently, this isn't a case of *a* man not knowing how to approach a woman in various situations.  This is a situation of *a* man never knowing how to even approach Rebecca Twatson since she talks out of both sides of her ass as to what she demands in terms of being "propositioned".

Rebecca Twatson:  you're a two bit ersatz charlatan; your fifteen minutes have expired and your hubris will shred you asunder like the cheap piñata you are.

You like kicking around from your bully pulpit. Well, howdy there; let's see how well you do kicking me around.

Rebecca Twatson delenda est!

[Edit: research continues. But I'm loving that she posed semi-nude in a calendar she created, refers to herself as the sexy skeptic and has no problem sexualizing and objectifying men]

[Edit 2: for an analysis of the actual event, please see this post which is related to this comment which in turn has a picture of the men in the bar. So, Rebecca Twatson, if you can manage, can either exculpate or inculpate which, if any, among these gentlemen is/was your attacker?


Sven said...

"I am currently working on researching everything she's written and publicly said."

Why not get a life instead?

Justicar said...

Well, thank you for the comment, Sven!

Because I have an aversion to people who abuse power to punish those who dare question. I have issues with people who chill the free exchange of ideas by bullying. I have issues with people who aren't honest. I have an issue with charlatans.

One notes that having a life and doing research are not mutually exclusive states of affairs.

Thanks for playing though!

The Armchair Skeptic said...

Rebecca pulled a similar stunt (and PZ weighed in on that one, too) a couple of months ago with Lawrence Krauss.

My wife did a complete analysis of the story (which took weeks) and posted it on Skepticism and Ethics. I took the satirical approach and published a parody. We were both glad to see Dawkins take a swipe at her... she's doing women, and skeptics, a disservice.

Don't know if they'll help you with your mission, but enjoy.

Sam said...

"I demand you stop objectifying women! Now please buy my calendar featuring me semi-nude! I'm the sexy skeptic!" -Rebecca Watson

Steve Thoms said...

"Rebecca Twatson"

You lose.

Justicar said...

I lose?

Anonymous said...

I think your research is important, looking to see your progress on it. That Sven in the first comment is an idiot, the road of finding truth and exposing charlatans who abuse power is the moral one.

Anonymous said...

The first poster Sven is a "Sitzpinkel"

I've been a listener to the SGU podcast for a long time and it's been very noticeable recently that Rebecca Watson is trying to hijack it away from science based discussion into a feminist "me me me" rant peice.

She's nothing but a media whore and being propositioned by Dawkins is the highlight of her "career".

Astrokid.Nj said...

I couldlnt remember where, but someone mentioned how she talked about "two hot college girls on a panel.." I spent like half an hour trying to locate that comment but couldnt. Went back to and bingo.. searchlocates itin seconds. But I see she's updated it of late..and threw in an apology claiming she's grown up now.

Anonymous said...

Justicar, you lose because Steve Thoms is a major Watson sycophant and a major believer in not only comment moderating but outright comment deleting after-the-fact and comment rewriting and censoring.

John Greg

Justicar said...

John Greg:
Damn, I just got pwned huh?!

Now I'm going to have to find out who Steve Thoms is. Or maybe there's a reason his name doesn't ring a bell.

Ok. I figured out. Let's take a look at his profile here on blogger:
Gender: Male
Industry: Arts
Occupation: Music Teacher

It's the same reason I was until recently not aware of Rebecca Twatson: they are equally unimportant in any field I care about. =^_^=

Anonymous said...

Steve Thoms put together a sometimes interesting Canadian skeptic's blog called Skeptic North. The last year or so Skeptic North's primary concern has been battling the woo of homeopathy and the woo woo peddlars claiming wireless-caused brain damage.

It has potential, but some of its resident posters are youngish and in their excitement suffer absolutely no disagreement. I was banned (or was it just censored -- I cannot remember) at one point for pointing out, perhaps with undue vehemence, that one of the resident posters insisted, blatantly and angrily insisted on inventing her own definitions for words she had misused in a couple of her posts.

I also stirred those murky waters by pointing out on more than one occasion when another of the resident posters (a university student, no less) kept using the phrase "do diligence" rather than "due diligence". As I say, they're kind of young.

John Greg

Justicar said...

I see. I have no reason to begrudge people of any education to be skeptical. But, if you're going to claim it, you have to do it. Not only when it's convenient.

At first, I hated reading Abbie's blog because of her aversion to the apostrophe. But her ideas are sufficiently good to offset that though. 10 years ago? I'd have simply not read her because of the orthography.

But somewhere along the way I realize that most bloggers aren't professional writers getting paid to do it. They're just people who have something to say - it's kind of like note-passing.

I also used to write very differently than I do now. I think I'm turning into a Feynman in regards getting rid of diction. It's fine in the literature, but it does little to help spread knowledge to be stilted in casual conversation.

Also, I'm not trying to impress anyone with a vocabulary contest, so I pretty much use the same repertoire of words, like one would over coffee.

If one doesn't engage my apparent lack of an expansive vocable lexicon, they can suck right out of my nose during flu season. I guess I'm old enough now that it no longer seems important.

I'm having some PhD candidate take me to ask over my daring to suggest that there's a difference between knowing something about something than from using buzzwords.

But do diligence? If I had an error in my writing where I'd selected the entirely wrong word (malapropism for you learners out there), I would definitely want to know about it.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Twatson: Don't clean your twat (0:06:02)

Anonymous said...

Well, it's good to know at least that you have no bias but credentialism. It's a shame that your reaction to people spouting bullshit is to say that the guilds haven't granted them membership. As though the correlation between credential and work and intelligence in a field were even close to 1.

Justicar said...

Valerie, that makes no sense to me. I have no bias towards credentials, or against them. There's nothing about having credentials that makes one competent in the same way that it's not necessary lacking them makes one incompetent.

I have no idea what the membership bit is.

Anonymous said...

I know it's kind of late, but: first of all, Rebecca didn't create the calender. The first one was made in 1999 by a man who used very nice pictures of scientists and little girls and called it a Skepchick calender as a rebuttal to the "Studmuffins of Science"
The idea for another calender might well still be on the JREF, where a woman named Girl6 organized the calender for a couple years from about 2004-2005 (or thereabouts) before it was taken over by Rebecca.

Yup, the link is there:

I admit I was once friends with her, of a sort, but we had a falling out.
One of the things I never did talk about was the fact that I am not bi or lesbian but she saw fit to grab my face one day and shove her lips against mine.
Having been molested by my sister when I was a child, I didn't find it pleasant.

Jhfsdglahdsf said...

The funny thing about that insult Sven is that it almost always reflects worse on the hurler than the recipient. ;)

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AvengeSaraMayhew said...

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pass it on.