A Dose of Stupid v.66

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

The best way to stop bullying is by being a bully yourself?

When the National High School Journalism Conference invited Dan Savage to speak to students, they expected a speech about bullying. Technically they got that, although in the way they intended:

As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy assed.”

The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an anti-bullying campaign […]  was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.

According to a 17-year-old girl interviewed by CitizenLink:

“The first thing he told the audience was, ‘I hope you’re all using birth control,’” she told CitizenLink. “he said there are people using the Bible as an excuse for gay bullying, because it says in Leviticus and Romans that being gay is wrong. Right after that, he said we can ignore all the (expletive deleted) in the Bible.”

As the teenagers were walking out, Tuttle said that Savage heckled them and called them pansy-assed.

“You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” Savage said as other students hollered and cheered. “It’s funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back.”

Nicely done, Dan Savage. The Bible is a mess of contradictions, hypocrisies, and ideas that have long outlived their supposed moral value. I would hardly disagree with Savage that the Bible has it wrong on many counts or that it makes no sense to follow 2000-year-old laws created by a xenophobic community intent on keeping their ways as kingdom after kingdom conquered them.

But you do not point that out by trashing a couple of high school kids.

I know how Dan Savage feels. No one likes to be pushed around, and once you get a little power and see that your bullies cower if you stand up to them, it is oh so tempting to give them a taste of their own medicine.

But you know what that makes you? A bully.

If you want to stop bullying, you cannot do it by bullying other people. What did any of the students in the audience do to Savage? Did they beat him up? Did they call him names (before he trashed them)? Did they use Leviticus to justify anti-gay attitudes?

If your goal is to sway Christians to your side, you do not do it by calling the Bible “bullshit.” You do not do it by calling anyone offended by your comments “pansy-assed” for walking out.

All that does is make you look the fool. If you do not believe me, look at how people view feminists.

Your words have consequences, and if you lack the sense, wits, or decency to choose your words more carefully, then perhaps you ought to keep your mouth shut because you ruin your own cause every time you open it.

This is not to say that no one should call Christians on their — I think the word fits —  bullshit. By all means, do so. This is not to say no one should defend themselves from vicious attacks from the Christian right. By all means, do so. Yet there is a difference between fighting back and starting a fight. You cannot beat the bullies by becoming one yourself.

That is plain stupid, and any victim of bullying should have the sense to know that.

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14 thoughts on “A Dose of Stupid v.66

  1. All that does is make you look the fool. If you do not believe me, look at how people view feminists.
    I know what you’re trying to say but if you follow that line of logic then about a week from now Savage will be writing posts and articles about how the kids walked out on him totally unprovoked and that he didn’t do anything wrong or anything to deserve being treated that way. No its not that he said and did offensive things its just that those kids got hyped up on some “misconceptions” about him and then passed judgement on him without actually giving him a chance.

    But seriously though this is not just horrible but horribly counterproductive.

  2. Heh. I notice he had little to say about the Quran and it’s stance on homosexuality. All the bullshit of Judaism and Christianity is contained in the Quran, plus new extra bullshit piled on top. But that doesn’t warrant a mention. Probably because he knows that Muslims might actually fight back.

    He also knows very damn well that modern Christians won’t do much else besides walk out of the room in protest.

    I also notice he doesn’t acknowledge that the U.S. branch of the Episcopalian church has begun ordaining openly gay bishops, probably because it would require him to nuance his arguments somewhat.

  3. The more I learn about Dan Savage, the more I loathe him. You got it right TS, the guy is a bully. This was completely uncalled for, especially since he was talking to a bunch of kids.

    And I thought his blatant biphobia was bad.

  4. TS: All that does is make you look the fool. If you do not believe me, look at how people view feminists.

    Got a question about this statement.

    Like ’em or not, feminists have the ear of the Obama administration. For some reason, the Democratic party sees them as the voice of All Women, despite the fact that they clearly are not.

    So… how do “people” view feminists? Realistically, I mean.

    Most of people seem to see feminists as largely benign, despite the presence of a few nutty radfems.

    I know that feminists like to feed their own victim-complex by seeing themselves as a horribly-oppressed group which is mis-represented as a bunch of hairy-legged bra-burners, but the Obama administration and the Democratic Party clearly do not see them that way.

    Which “people” are you talking about?

  5. Heh. I notice he had little to say about the Quran and it’s stance on homosexuality.

    Well, the loudest anti-gay voices in the States are Christian, so it makes sense to talk about them rather than Muslims. Of course, as you stated, Muslims would be less quiet about anyone trashing their faith, and I am sure that Savage does not want that kind of heat.

    He also knows very damn well that modern Christians won’t do much else besides walk out of the room in protest.

    True, yet that would have killed his argument.

    I also notice he doesn’t acknowledge that the U.S. branch of the Episcopalian church has begun ordaining openly gay bishops, probably because it would require him to nuance his arguments somewhat.

    Or that they are not the most vocal group of Christians in the States.

    Most of people seem to see feminists as largely benign, despite the presence of a few nutty radfems.

    I think most people view them as testy, one-sided, and quick to play the gender card. There is a reason most people will not call themselves feminists, and that is hardly because they view them as benign. When feminists play the “you can’t take your own medicine” game Savage did, most people seem to roll their eyes at them.

  6. But seriously though this is not just horrible but horribly counterproductive.

    True, yet it plays well with people who think like Savage, and I think that was who it was done for. Listen to audience as he speaks. Many of them cheered him on. To be honest, I do not think people like Savage want to change things so much as they want to get back at those who hurt them.

  7. TS: Or that they are not the most vocal group of Christians in the States.

    If by ‘vocal’ you mean ‘loudmouthed.’

    Is it that the moderate Christians aren’t ‘vocal’ enough or is it that they simply don’t manage to attract much attention? Really, moderate Christians don’t make the news. Christians who find Pat Robertson to be a moronic windbag don’t get noticed.

    See, we continually see all this heat about how rotten it is to stereotype and how rotten it is to generalize about entire groups, but to put ‘Christians’ together as if they’re all on the same team hardly seems fair. Especially considering that no one has the stones to go-after Muslims with the same level vehemence. What did Bertrand Russel criticize Jesus for? Being less-than-perfect? For causing a fig tree to die? Well, you can’t criticize Jesus for being less-than-perfect but give Mohammed a pass for ordering assassinations, persecuting Jews, attacking caravans like a bandit and conjuring-up suras which conveniently allowed him to steal other people’s wives. Whatever Jesus’ flaws, any honest appraisal of Mohammed would reveal him (at best) as an extremely dodgy, spiteful individual.

    By the way, opposition to gay marriage runs pretty high in the black community but I don’t expect Savage to take-on that flavor of ‘bigotry’ anytime soon. That might look racist.

  8. there’s an old quote, “Be careful when fighting monsters. less you become one yourself”

    I’m ashamed to admit this, I’ve gotten very upset especaily when David Futrelle misquoted me, I purposely misspelled his name as “Fatrelle.” I did that only to strike back because I perceive him as a bully and it dug up old sores of things I went through growing up.

    The gendersphere can be a hateful place.

  9. Is it that the moderate Christians aren’t ‘vocal’ enough or is it that they simply don’t manage to attract much attention?

    I think it is that moderate Christians, like many moderates of different sorts, do not care enough about these issues or agree with them enough not to want to rock the boat.

    By the way, opposition to gay marriage runs pretty high in the black community but I don’t expect Savage to take-on that flavor of ‘bigotry’ anytime soon. That might look racist.

    Yet much of that is rooted in Christianity, particularly Baptist teachings, so technically Savage’s comments address the black community. However, I think you are right that he might avoid going after the community as directly as he did in his speech.

  10. SWB:
    there’s an old quote, “Be careful when fighting monsters. less you become one yourself”

    I’m ashamed to admit this, I’ve gotten very upset especaily when David Futrelle misquoted me, I purposely misspelled his name as “Fatrelle.” I did that only to strike back because I perceive him as a bully and it dug up old sores of things I went through growing up.

    The gendersphere can be a hateful place.
    Too true. I’ve done things like that. Striking out at people that struck at me first. Frankly I’m fine with it as long as its limited to people that actually deserve it (And knowing Futrelle he probably does deserve some hatred in his direction considering that most of the folks over there drink his cool aid without a second thought, but I guess that’s the joy of focusing on a group that is so badly hated that your fans don’t even care if you mischaracterize, misquote, or even straight up lie about them.). Problem is its very difficult to control hatred that way. It tends to fire every which way. But please tell me you weren’t do that “Fatrelle” as a nod to “fat” in some way?

  11. “But please tell me you weren’t do that “Fatrelle” as a nod to “fat” in some way?”

    um, yup, that’s why I said that to him…

    it was just like high school again, got picked on viciously by someone who was overweight in h.s….

    I fired back by insulting his weight. I kind of thought I was “over” certain things. I am not. He wounded me and I had to fire back….

    http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2012/04/19/more-on-the-%E2%80%98women-and-children-first%E2%80%99-era-rp/

    I still wouldn’t apologize to him, he doesn’t deserve it…

  12. I still wouldn’t apologize to him, he doesn’t deserve it…

    Whether he deserves it or not, apologizing would make you the better man.

  13. I fired back by insulting his weight. I kind of thought I was “over” certain things. I am not. He wounded me and I had to fire back….
    I can understand that. The desire to hurt someone that has hurt you so you reach for the first weapon that comes to mind.

    But I agree with TS apologizing would make you the better man. And do you by chance ID as an MRA? Because if you do then such an apology could go in the pile of good and reasonable things that MRAs do and as we know Futrelle and his crows love ignoring anything from an MRA that isn’t anti-woman or anit-feminist venom. Well when the pile gets so big that even he can’t ignore it for the sake of impressing that audience of his that thinks he can say or do no wrong…

  14. Danny,

    I don’t identify as an MRA although I think “men’s rights” are necessary…

    To expand on that, I don’t feel allot of “brotherhood” towards Paul Elam or Bernard Chapin. I actually feel that I am ideologically as far away from them as I am from Amanda Marcotte and Hugo Schwyzer….

    however I see your bigger point….

    there need to be more rational and reasonable people talking about gender until people like Futrelle cannot dismiss concepts like male disposability and the glass cellar….

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