Kate Donovan, who is a real blessing to the interwebs, makes a great point about the Deep Rifts in the skepto-atheosphere, which I will then pour a teaspoon of cold water on.
. . . if we’re going to be intellectually honest, we DO need to be arguing, critiquing, and otherwise speaking up about intolerable behavior. We need to–to cherrypick from the Bible myself–cast the beams from our own eyes. Stepping out and saying that you don’t want to be involved in all that drama is equivalent to what we object to of the religious. I’m sorry it’s stressful, exhausting, and disheartening. But we’re worth it.
I completely agree, and as I wrote in my vaguely infamous post at Skepchick a while back, this movement owes it to itself to determine what it’s going to really be about, and act on it. It has to work out the “now-what?” after we all agree that God and Bigfoot are hoaxes. Go Kate, Go us.
Now the teaspoon of cold water.
There is a difference between engaging in a grand debate about what this movement should be, and drama for drama’s sake. My fear is that for a while now there’s been little in the way of arguing and critiquing, and a lot more of what looks like a drama addiction fed by self-created crises. That is what I want to opt out of.
You know where I stand on the issues at hand. The fact that there is a contingent of folks who are fighting for the right to joke about rape and perceive oppression of the white male is an abysmal state of affairs, and yeah, we need to root that shit out. But we are also, being humans, prone to indulge in a lot of back and forth that is merely gratuitous, with folks from all corners seeking out things to offend them, and then shouting from the rooftops about how righteous is their indignation. That st00pid vide0 by that guy is an example of this, a goddamn serenade by moonlight from a freaking gondola to an imagined oppression of white males. Christ. What are we even talking about??
I don’t want to have arguments with that, but just call it out for the nonsense it is. I don’t want to comb my Twitter stream for poorly-chosen words from well-meaning folks so I can express how hurt I am. I don’t want to languish in victimhood as though just being victimized were somehow a form of activism. I don’t want to waste time arguing with someone who thinks being blocked from interacting with a Twitter account is somehow equivalent to being taken to a CIA rendition site. That’s not the grand debate I signed up for.
So, to be clear, Kate is right. Let’s argue and critique and get our house in order. Let’s not for a moment shy away from stamping out the worst in us, exhausting as it all can feel. But let’s also be clear that there’s little substance in much of the noise right now, and a lot of the bickering is more preening than pious. Opting out of that crap is not avoiding the fight, it’s a sign of knowing what battles are worth fighting.