Parochialism at Pharyngula

Today on Pharyngula, there was a heated exchange about a cartoon about creationist thinking, with two toy rabbits as the protagonists. The “creationist rabbit” was dressed in a skirt ant the speech bubbles were pink, while the rabbit that was taking a rational stance was dressed in trousers (pants to my USAsian readers) and the speech bubbles were blue.

This one cartoon strip was deemed sexist by many commenting there, with no corroborating evidence, and anyone disagreeing was subjected to abuse, much of it anti-male, and thus itself sexist!

One commenter, Paul G, was singled out especially, and eventually retorted by calling someone named happiestsadist a “presumptuous fucking cunt.”

Now, this probably wasn’t the best response Paul G could have thought of, but he was provoked. At most of the forums I post on, the direct insult would have earned a warning, and all the others that precipitated it, but not the language. At Pharyngula, direct insults seem to be encouraged, and the “bad” language is discouraged. Except in this case.

It seems that, in America, the word “cunt”, when used as an insult, is reserved for women whereas in the UK, in my experience at least, it is almost exclusively aimed at men. This explanation, given almost immediately by Paul G, along with an apology, was not enough for P Z Myers though. Some time later he issued a warning to Paul G for “abusing other people based on their gender.”

I wonder why Myers ignored the explanation, and assumed Paul G knew that happiestatheist was female (if indeed that is the case; I’m not certain even now), unless he was being parochial. That’s a shame, as the biggest benefit I’ve found with international forums is a greater understanding of regional differences.

This difference is one I will now take into account. I don’t expect P Z Myers will, since he hasn’t even acknowledged it.

The word “cunt” is not banned here, by the way, which will no doubt please one person, who has adopted it as his user name!

9 responses to “Parochialism at Pharyngula

  1. Bella Fortuna

    Great post, Dave! The more I read at Pharyngula, the more disappointed I become in PZ and his frothy-mouthed mob – especially after last night’s brouhaha.


    • Thanks Bella!
      I happen to agree that Pappa’s original comment was ill-judged, but I’ll take Robert S’s response any day, over the bloodbath that Pharyngulites seem to revel in. It doesn’t seem possible to have a conversation there, as they deal only in absolutes.


      • Oh wow, I’ve just read a few more of the comments at Pharyngula. At the same time as being upset that Pappa’s remark was public, they are also annoyed that it isn’t any more!
        The only consistency they show over there is hatred of the outsider!


  2. I went to bed with a massive headache last night. If anyone has any concern for their mental well being, they’d stay well away from that site!


  3. Bloody (Cunt) Hell! *facepalm*

    Reminds of that time when that lady in RDF threw a hissy fit over the story of a nagging priest being called “cunt” (to the point of writing “c*nt” herself because it was a bad-bad word…) — whereas she wrote unabashedly that word, “dickwad,” for no reason whatsoever…

    Seems to me like people are sexist-trigger-happy nowadays while being all the more readily anti-male sexist themselves (especially, it reminds me of the same sort of double-thinking involved in the “racist” [for lack of a better term] thinking involved in downgrading one’s nation; which is equally discriminatory of one’s nation, albeit one’s own)!


  4. Hmmm…maybe I should sign up at Pharyngula…but what could be of interest there? Would I even be allowed to wear this username proudly?


  5. You BET I have! Thanks for remembering me.

    Could we skype to chat over a graphic-art project I have in mind? I think it needs more graphic skill than I have, and more blasphemy…:)

    Get in touch if you are interested.


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