Thanks to another Reapsow listener, Sheldon. I was put onto this article by Phil Plait and it shocked me and some of the comments are just as face-palmingly bad.
Yes, I’m a long-standing fan of his blog and I thought he had some common sense but since the ‘don’t be a dick’ speech I had lost a little patience. This one takes the biscuit, ice cream and whole damn cake to boot. Dawkins’ comment didn’t surprise me in the least: we all know he can be blunt to the point of brutality and its more hypocritical that no one bats an eyelid when it suits our purpose or aides our cause but when he voices a view people (on ‘our side’) don’t agree with he gets lampooned by prissy commentators who have failed to live by their own mantra of ‘think critically’.
Where is this poor chap who so completely blew it with a pretty girl? There was no descriptions other than the ‘you know who you are’ toned video that began to make this non-issue into a giant snowball of a drama. If he exists outside Ms Watson’s over active sense of personal danger (if you are that insecure RW, take a self-defence class or better yet don’t ride hotel lifts 4am), I encourage you to come forward and make your case before the whole blog-sphere demonises you as a sexual deviant simply because your chat-up lines are obvious and your timing is lousy (sorry mate, but that’s the case). The chap had every right to be in that lift. It is not HIS responsibility to make sure that everyone around him is totally comfortable (or emotionally stable) and he should NOT be instantly assumed to be a sex-offender simply because he’s male and had the presumption to ask someone out. Aside from being a bit of a dork, the guy did nothing wrong.
“Put even more simply: this wasn’t a guy chewing gum at her. This was a potential sexual assault.”
Potential crimes really are the realm of Minority Report and 1984 and it disappoints me that someone like Phil made such a stupid comment yet we all put our foot in it sometimes. If we automatically think the worst of everyone we meet or stranger we have a moment’s contact with society is going to implode. It just will not work. While a healthy dose of cynicism is usually a good safeguard from being fleeced, viewing all members of any demographic as an instant real and physical threat is just deeply prejudicial and insulting. We claim to be a progressive lot but it’s hardly progressive to reinforce the stereotype of the feminine shrinking violet who must be protected from the stereotype male who can’t help but thinking with his knob and is a dangerous threat to all of us. All this is in the comment thread by the way and it alternates with comments claiming that ‘male privilege’ in society is the sole cause of this communication error. This is no more helpful than the god-lot claiming that ‘god has a plan’. I wish they would all get a grip and realise exactly patronising they are ALL being. We can never truly know or understand what other people are thinking or how they might react to any given situation, all we can do is give it a good guess based on past experiences and generally hope we’re on the right lines and not everyone even cares how much they come across to others which is why we are so often disappointed when others fail to meet our ‘standards’. We all do it and as Reap Paden has repeatedly said, everyone assumes that everyone else will react the same way they would.
What has the world come to when far from innocent until proven otherwise, otherwise decent men are treated like pariahs by the PC crowd (who sometimes even manage to point a scornful finger and shout ‘sexist’ at simple acts of courtesy)? Have to say I agree with Dawkins on this one; she was mildly creeped out by – based on what she said and what hundreds have merely taken her word for – a man who discreetly offered her ‘coffee’ and then politely accepted ‘no’ for an answer. Shock horror! I’m not saying she’s lying but I ask again, where is he? It is Ms Watson’s churlish behaviour which needs to be brought into check – not the male gender – as she has decided to milk it for all its worth on YouTube (did she not consider what the reaction to this would be? Is the assumption of good intentions only good enough for her when they’re hers?) Ms Watson, GROW UP! We as women no more have the right ‘not to be made uncomfortable‘ than the followers of the religions we criticise have the right ‘not to be offended’.