Look, I get it. Y’all are skeptics, whatever the fuck that means. You think that when someone like rebecca watson starts talking stupid on the internet, there’s some logical, respectful way to rebut them. The problem is, you’re playing the wrong game. You’re playing by rules they don’t give a fuck about, and you’re going to lose over and over. Like today. Fucking watson says on her twitter feed:
If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape.
Okay, so now, if you’re me, you see that this is basically a “when did you stop beating your wife”-level troll. Because it’s so fucking vague, there’s no sane way to respond. She doesn’t define “drunk”. It’s an awesome trick, because it means later, after the well-meaning schmendricks on the internet have all gone “WELL, THAT, THAT’S NOT CORRECT”, she can come back with:
O, you know, just a bunch of people SO MAD bc they’re not allowed to have sex w/ someone who’s blotto.
Did you hear that sound? It was a fucking trap closing around your feet. Again. Look, I get what y’all are trying to do, but given that she, and others, keep manipulating the fuck out of you, maybe you should stop beating your heads against a fucking wall? Because you’re going to permanently damage yourselves, and I like some of you, so that would be a shame.
First, stop taking her and the rest of the FTBwats seriously. They are New Media Douchebags. I’ve been dealing with these fuckers long before Watson even started Skepchick. She is not new, she is not particularly original, but she is very good at leading you down the garden path. When she starts trolling you, don’t actually ignore it. We don’t want her to own the conversation, but for fuck’s sake, stop acting like she’s going to debate you at all much less in good faith.
So when she comes up with some stupid fucking statement like that first one, don’t play into her hands. Honestly, if I took the stupid bint more seriously than the tick I pulled off my dog this morning, I’d have responded with:
Hey, way to make a vague statement with no definite meaning as to “drunk”. I see what you did there.
I don’t give a fuck about the rape part, that’s not the important bit. The important bit is “drunk”. Or conversely:
Well, given how every talk you’ve given since 2005 requires us to know just how drunk you were last night, I acknowledge your expertise in the field.
Of course it’s mean. It’s ridiculing her on a number of levels, because that’s how you handle NMDs. Look, here’s the deal: if she can’t draw attention to herself, she isn’t valuable as a speaker. If she’s not valuable as a speaker, she has to go back to the work her communications degree will get her: copywriting for an ad agency. Becky don’t wanna go back to working for the man, so her primary, primary agenda is to create attention for herself, and then monetize that attention.
Y’all were so shocked her evo psych talk was vague and pointless, and that when Ed Clint took it apart, even MORE surprised that her defenders created some new talk that no one had actually seen, but that was the one she totes gave.
Did you seriously think she wanted to spend the time to make a serious point about anything other than DIG ME, I’M REBECCA FUCKING WATSON??? Shake your damned heads. It’s not just her. Myers, Benson, Greta Christina, they all do the same fucking thing. Get you riled up by saying shit that is just vague enough that after you’ve committed, they can use an entirely plausible specific aspect of that initial vague statement and hang you up to fucking dry with it. They do it over. and over. and over again. It sucks, it’s infuriating, it is astoundingly cynical, and the only differences between it and what I deal with in my world are:
- They are some thin-skinned motherfuckers. Well, an assload of skeptics are. Seriously, how the fuck do some of you leave the house?
- They are driving a Kenworth with a double trailer through the skeptic communities biggest blind spot: the idea that you fuckers are actually smarter than anyone else. You may want to start dealing with real con men at some point. Talk to Penn Jillette some, he’s smart about such things.
If you’re going to take them down, and I think you should, don’t get sucked into endless gish gallops that you are going to lose. You’re going to lose because you think the horse will eventually stop, except it’s a goat, you’re on mars, and martian goats can run for years.
Don’t get sucked into what you think their point is. Assume they’re always trolling you, and go from there. Hold them up for ridicule by ridiculing them. Don’t yell at them on their twitter accounts, that just gives them OMG BULLIES ammo. Don’t even @-message them. Trust me, all them fuckers have a wide array of Google ego searches running. ANY mention of them by name will get their attention. Just mock the fuck out of what they say. Here, a free sample:
“TWITTER USERS SAD TO HEAR THEY MAY BE RAPISTS”
SKEPCHICKS SAD TO HEAR THEY MAY BE FULL OF SHIT. STORY AT 11
Trigger warning for talk of rape! Obviously.
Has rebecca ever talked about something NOT blindingly obvious? Since I’m currently quite glad I can touch-type, the answer is “no”
Well, I’m back from several weeks of travel in Australia and New Zealand, which followed months of weekly conference travel all over the US.
“The executive bonuses at 17 separate distilleries will be awesome thanks to my ability to drink canada and ANZUS dry”
Normally I’d take a break after something like that: relax, pet the cats, catch up on Walking Dead.
“Get another liver transplant, buy more hair dye at the Wal-mart bargain bin, cry that Warby Parker hasn’t released the 2013 line yet…”
But instead I decided to Tweet something super controversial to satisfy my feminazi need to make men cry:
“My hitcounts were down, and the speaking money can’t possibly keep ME in booze…”
Minds were blown! Up is down! Left is right! Cats and dogs, sleeping together! These two Tweets only raised more questions, and clearly I was the only person on the Internet who could answer them. I was flooded with responses like:
“I am the queen of all internet trolls”
“What if you are also drunk? Did they rape you as well?”
“Silly man. When am I NOT drunk. You think high-quality slurring like this comes from occasional sobriety?”
“@rebeccawatson That’s a very binary statement for an undefined condition. At what BAC% is consent impossible? Should we breathalyse before?”
“I feel like a cat with a freshly crippled canary!”
I’m a crazy lunatic who has been raped hundreds, or maybe BILLIONS of times depending upon whether you’re going with the “Rebecca is a sad virgin” or “Rebecca is a filthy slut” line of argument.
How about “Rebecca is a blatant troll with delusions of adequacy and color sense”? I haven’t seen that one yet, I do hope it’s new!
I just blocked most, if not all, of these people because as one follower noted, if you have to debate this fact with your followers, it’s time to get better followers.
“But if I actually had better followers, I’d have no followers. Luckily, the really stupid ones are my fans…but perhaps I’ve said too much.”
But I wanted to post about this because I think the psychology of this reaction is very interesting. I think for most of us (Skepchick writers/readers/commenters), this concept is not in any way astonishing. I’m guessing that like me, many of you have had sex. And like me, many of you have had sex while drinking and/or while your partners have been drinking, and it’s not a big deal because you value communication and enthusiastic consent and participation. There’s no stigma against questions like “Would you like it if we . . . ?” and “Is this what you want?” and “Was that okay?”, even (especially!) when those questions are asked in the cold, sober light of day.
I bet you elebenty samolians that Rebecca Watson cannot go a day without saying something about the last time she was drunk. Which, evidently, is constantly.
And I’m also guessing that like me, if you meet a sexy stranger who is drunk (and I’m going by thecommon definition here, of someone whose faculties are impaired, e.g., slurred speech, stumbling, etc.), you will not have sex with them, even if they say they’d like to. This isn’t because it’s the law (even though it is, as @simonknowz aptly points out: “Whoever . . . knowingly . . . engages in a sexual act with another person if that other person is . . . (A) incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct . . .”), but because it is the right thing to do. Because you are not so hard up for sex that you need to have sex with someone who may feel regret or revulsion or worse in the morning. Because you don’t assume your partner (yes, even one you’re married to) is in a constant state of consent. Because you don’t get off on the power you can have over someone who doesn’t have full control of their own faculties (or if you do get off on that, you have long, sober conversations with your partner before exploring that as a fantasy).
“See how I redefined a term that covers everything from a single drink (legally drunk in many states) to comatose to mean only what I want it to? I bet all you fuckers who yelled at me before I did this are feeling pretty fucking assraped right now. But when I do it, it’s called “fighting for social justice”. Ohhhhh, i’m the biggest serpent in the sea, sea, sea…”
But not all people are like us, and so, there are the Tweeters who flooded me with their concerns, none of which were for people who have been raped while they were drunk. No, their concerns are for themselves, that they might one day be accused of being rapists because they didn’t give someone a breathalyzer before having sex with them. Here’s a thought: if you’re about to have sex with someone and you feel like they might have drunk too much to consent but you don’t have a breathalyzer handy, then why not err on the side of not being a rapist and not have sex with them?
“If you nit-wits were any easier to manipulate, you’d have strings.”
And they’re comparing drunk sex to drunk driving as though drunk driving is something that is done to the drunk driver. Here’s the non-fallacious analogy: insisting on getting in a car and driving while drunk and no one can stop you is equivalent to insisting on having sex while drunk with a person who is unable to stop you. And yes, in both of those cases you, drunky, are liable.
I’m smart, see how I used “non-fallacious” there?
And elsewhere on the Internet, people like Ed Clint are crowing about how they’re rapists (update: it appears that Ed Clint has removed that post now, so here’s a screenshot of the entire thing just before it disappeared):
“Bet that fucker never DARES to criticize a fucking thing I ever say again. Also, facebook privacy, HAH!”
And still elsewhere, people are slamming Franchesca Ramsey for being brave enough to speak out about the rape of drunk people and others who are blamed for their rape. In particular, she discusses how she was shamed when she was raped:
“EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT AGREE WITH ME IS A RAPIST! See how easy you make it for me? I don’t even have to try anymore. Now where’s that fucking sterno? Goddamned Sunday liquor store closings…”
Obviously, there were also plenty of amazing responses to Franchesca, and to me as well. But we have a long way to go in combating the psychological effects of living in a rape culture.
“Compared to me, Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon were AMATEURS!!!! Wait, they had to work to be heard. I don’t. YAY INTERNET!”
That is how you respond to manipulative fucksticks like Watson. You don’t take them seriously, you don’t try to debate them in a serious manner, because they are never, ever, going to even try to not demonize and manipulate their opponents into giving them quote fodder. Just show, with as much sarcasm as you can muster, how astoundingly cynical, manipulative, and well, stupid, the shit she and the FTBwats says is. Trust me, a continued response of mockery is the only response non-serious nincompoops like this understand. Don’t hassle them directly, again, that plays into their hands. Just mock the fuck out of them on your own sites, and make sure you let folks know when you do. Over time, it works, and well.