The story, and the commentary.

Discussion (145)¬

  1. me says:

    why can’t i share this to facebook?

  2. Alfie Noakes says:

    Nice work, Author. Have been following this story and the draconian requests of these enlightened speakers. Funny strip, and I’d laugh more heartily if the topic weren’t so depressing.

  3. Coel says:

    Trouble is, Author, that strips like this are supposed to satirise, yet here you are simply reporting them straight!

  4. Freethinkin Franklin says:

    I hope Hobby Lobby is listening….

  5. David B says:

    Once again this nails the situation. As does Maryam.

    The guidelines need withdrawing, pronto, and those responsible for them told in no uncertain terms that their asininity is unacceptable.

  6. David B says:

    It’s also jogged my mind into sending a small – I am not a rich man – donation to the CEMB

  7. JonK says:

    Can we have the last panel as a T-Shirt? Please? Pretty please?

  8. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Initial thoughts on this idiot:

    As the speakers demands are based on segregation of the sexes alone, I assume anybody wearing J&M t-shirts will be welcome to attend the talk?

    I don’t suppose he thought to ask for a central partition made up of trans-people just to make the male-female transition seamless.

    Where would he want cross-dressers to sit? Outside is my guess.

    Why would anybody want to listen to his bullshit anyway?

    Finally, does he realise that Britain is not under Sharia fucking law, and he has no right to even attempt to impose his antiquated, misogynistic ideas on anybody? He has the right to ask, of course, but only if he’s prepared to abide by the answer.

  9. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    JonK, my Geordie wife finds your avatar offensive. Kindly remove it. 🙂

  10. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The women’s movement requires a purpose, now
    The “status of women” has evolved into a sow
    When at a conference they bleat
    On the position of the toilet seat
    Is that all their masters will allow?

  11. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Nassar, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

  12. Not one of your better efforts, Nassar.

    To put it mildly.

  13. I am with great difficulty suppressing the urge to say something much more full of swear words.

  14. The women’s movement doesn’t “require a purpose now”; it has the purpose it’s had all along: not to be referred to as a sow or to have its political views called “bleating” for a start.

  15. Chiefy says:

    AoS, you you beat me to the transsexual question; well said. It really does all come down to that: “Why would anybody want to listen to his bullshit anyway?”

  16. Michael says:

    If having the sexes segregated is so important that the speaker won’t speak unless they are segregated, then the speaker’s message can’t be too important.

  17. smee says:

    Yes Nasser keep your filthy opinions of the womens movement to yourself; Lest you cause offence. You should be silent like progressive feminists are on the subject of FGM and islamist abuses of women! Its cultural innit!
    As for J&M Well!!!

  18. machigai says:

    We could have segregation here.
    NBH on one side and everyone else on the other.

  19. omg says:

    so, it seems that my last post get lost into the twilight zone…

  20. smee – right – well spotted. I’m a feminist/part of the women’s movement, and I never say a word about FGM and Islamist abuses of women. Thank you for pointing that out.

  21. LazyMan says:

    JonK at or around November 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm was seen to ask:

    “Can we have the last panel as a T-Shirt? Please? Pretty please?”

    http://Www.vistapint.co.uk , other sources are available from these fine linkies:
    Other search engines are also available.
    I do not work for, nor have shares in any company.

  22. LazyMan says:

    Miss Ophelia, I suspect Nasser meant “show” not female porcine. And “bleating” is how the outsiders would see the “show” not how it would appear to the ladies concerned. It’s apt in the context.
    Still, you are right, not one of his finer efforts. Line’s 4 and 5 could have read:
    “When the state of the seat
    “Is all the discussion allowed”
    Or something like that.
    Though Nasser’s version does get across the idea of women being forced into being subservient by those who are scared of you.

  23. LazyMan says:

    AOS : “Finally, does he realise that Britain is not under Sharia fucking law, ”

    One should add the word *YET*.

    And your participle is exceedingly apt.

  24. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    machigai, I think smee can join Nassar on the naughty cliff.

    Nassar, what’s up? Not been receiving enough praise for your better efforts just lately?

    omg, welcome to the Author’s Sentient Sentinel With a Cruel Sense of Humour Ate My Post’club. 😉

  25. Mary2 says:

    You know what’s really scary about this cartoon? I would not be at all surprised if, in modern Britain, the request for sexual segregation was acquised to.

  26. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Acquiesce, Mary. 😉
    And contrary to popular myth we’re quite a civilised bunch really, so if it were up to the populace then the requester would have been laughed at before the request had barely left his lips. Sadly, it appears to be up to a comittee (turns three times, spits twice, turns three times again) of lily-livered libertarians masquerading as liberals, so it wouldn’t surprise me either.

    What I’m wondering is where the fighting spirit (sic) of students has gone. In my day (easy, grandad) they’d have been making banners and planning sit-ins. OK, it’s often hard to tell if students are having sit-ins or just having a normal day nowadays (joke ; sit down at the back there :-), but where are the banners and placards?

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Whoops. Acquiesce, Mary was not an order, I’ve don’t aspire to dominate you, or anybody else for that matter; ’twas just a spelling correction.

  28. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Sod’s Law states that when correcting another, one is bound to right royally fuck up. I’ve dont..? AoS to the back of the class, and take a potwa with you.

  29. I’m going to give NBH the benefit of the doubt and assume that English is not his first language. There is a slight chance that his doggerel was aimed at hose who oppose feminists, and not at feminists. Clarity of thought and expression has never been his strong suit.
    Anybody who participates in ANYTHING with a segregated audience… well they shouldn’t. Young Just in Trudeau, the current leader of the Canadian Liberal Party, just made that mistake and it might cost him. Nobody should give any credibility to that special form of stupidity, the fear of getting women cooties. Dumb beyond belief.

  30. By the way, OT and back on my own hobby horse, I read that a woman in Israel is being fined for each days she leaves her son’s penis intact. If ever there was an argument for keeping religion out of courts and governments, this has to be it.

  31. machigai says:

    re:NBH current
    Status Of Women acronyms to SOW.
    Did we all miss a clever™ nuance®?

    Has NBH ever commented more than once per thread?

  32. machigai says:

    smee can sit with NBH.

  33. yahweh says:

    I like the quotes round the word “rights”. Nice touch, Author.

  34. David B says:

    Smee, you might have looked at what Maryam Namazie said in the link named ‘the commentary’ kindly provided by Author as well as the Butterflies and Wheels link.

    In the conservative Christian Cranmer blog where I often comment it is often said, though not I think by Cranmer himself, that liberal atheists of either sex are too accommodating of Islam, while being all too vocal about the ills of Christianity, with the implication that we don’t have to be frightened by Christians who turn the other cheek, while we are too frightened to talk about Islam.

    It is not true, of course, as I sometimes try to tell them there, sometimes pointing to J&M and the CEMB.

    For all my areas of disagreement with Cranmer, he is IMV sound on freedom of speech, and tolerant of dissenting views on his blog comment pages

  35. Suffolk Blue says:

    I always skip over NBH’s doggerel – I can’t remember when I last read one. I can’t be the only one.

  36. hotrats says:

    Two words leap out from the circumcision link; ‘Rabbinical Court’. This child must be made to realise that posession of a foreskin is a serious crime against God.

    A Promised Land with no oil, a captive people, infant mutilation, no bacon sandwiches – the God of the Jews is just rubbish. Yahweh, Schmaweh.

  37. Suffolk Blue says:

    @hotrats – I realise that a lot of what I say and think would offend god if he existed, but I’m delighted to learn that my willy does too!

  38. Michael says:

    I’ve never understood the point of male circumcision. If Yahweh is all perfect then his creations must be perfect as well. So why does he want an after-purchase modification to the body?

    Unfortunately I do understand the point of female circumcision. It’s to keep women subservient.

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Darwin, ‘I’m going to give NBH the benefit of the doubt and assume that English is not his first language. There is a slight chance that his doggerel was aimed at hose who oppose feminists, and not at feminists. Clarity of thought and expression has never been his strong suit.’

    I read Nassar’s doggerel, then shook my head and re-read it several times more to try and find something to justify giving him the benefit of the doubt before posting my initial ‘Just because you can..’ comment.
    Because he has for quite a long time now been showing some signs of understanding the religious issues we have problems with, and because despite the fact that his talent as a poet has continued to be somewhat hit-and-miss the ideas he’s tried to convey have on the whole been quite clever, I really was hoping to spot some subtle nuance that I (and everybody else, it seems) had missed on the first reading, but could see none.

    On later reflection, I have narrowed down the possible reasons for his aberration to either:
    a) that it’s possible Nassar was writing from the viewpoint of the type of speaker who would make such a demand for segregation of the sexes (which, given Nassar’s non-too auspicious beginnings here, wouldn’t require too much of a leap of imagination for the lad), effectively holding a mirror up to the ignorance and giving us an insight into that way of thinking (not that we’d need an insight, we’ve heard it for too long not to know how and why they think the way they do).
    If that is the case – that it’s simply another example of Nassar’s trademark ‘good-gag-badly-written’ style – then Nassar needs to learn how to express his intentions far more clearly. Nassar, if that was your intention you could and really should have prefixed your post with ‘As a radical Islamic or Jewish preacher might say..’ and then launched into your verse, or signed off with a fictional name; Abu dul-Wit or Sol Prattmann, for example:
    b) that we have been largely ignoring his comments of late despite the obvious improvement in his thinking, if not of the poetry itself, and he’s doing it for attention:
    c) Nassar is simply revealing his true colours, and that is how he still thinks despite the education he’s received here.

    Nassar, the ball’s in your court, and I for one would appreciate your clarification.

  40. LazyMan says:

    Michael : in a society that lives in hot, damp tents with readily available goats and non-frontal contact being preferred, sticky-stuff mixed with loose ingredients from the partner caught between folds of skin can fester and cause much nastiness. In short: hygiene.
    It does make sense in places where washing is done with sand (and I doubt *there* was ever “washed” that way) and anti-biotic soaps were not on sale in the local Safeway equivalent; well not for another millennium.
    Lose a tiny flap when you’re too young to notice or lose the whole thing when you really need and want it. I’m sure many of us would make the preventative choice.
    That it became a religious edict is yet another example of things being lost in translation, this time in the intergenerational chinese whispers that happen over centuries. Also, there would have been no other way of *ensuring* enforcement of what was essentially a public health issue.
    Prepuce lopping was a smart move, once, but, like many religiously held practices, it has outlived its usefulness in most places and cultures yet is not deleterious enough to the society at large for it to be dropped.
    As with many things, its effect on the individual is irrelevant to the cultural pressure to continue.
    We enlightened, wealthy, clean, healthy, sophisticated, water-rich super-beings of the 21st Century may sneer at the practice but it probably took many centuries for it to be recognised, accepted and codified into law as a public health practice and it’s a relatively good one. And relatively safe and essentially harmless.
    It would have been better had it not been merged into religion and had there been conditions put upon the law – like “this can stop once soaps are freely sold in Boots”- but it’s about three or four millennia too late to change that.

    AoS and DH : I suspect Nassar’s first language *is* English but that he is just not very good at it. [I have seen Nigerian scam emails. They are far less literate than our friend.] Some of your other commenters, like PhysicsRoolz and LostJohn, Miss Ophelia, Mary2 and your good selves among others, are far better at using the tongue to express your thoughts. Perhaps Nassar will get better with practice. I know I did. It takes effort, time and *lots* of mistakes but handling English is like juggling grenades, one can learn to do it well but it will never be entirely safe from risky errors that can blow up on us.
    Perhaps Nassar is just young? And I still think “sow” was a typographical error and he meant “show”.

  41. Could you please stop calling me “Miss Ophelia”? I don’t call myself that, and you do call other commenters by their actual handles, so please stop imposing that patronizing/contemptuous handle on me.

  42. “The women’s movement requires a purpose, now
    The “status of women” has evolved into a sow”

    “Show” doesn’t rhyme with “now”. “Sow” does.

  43. JohnM says:

    I’m perplexed at the high-falutin’ discussion about NbH’s limerick, which seems simple and totally innocuous to me. Pity NbH doesn’t participate in discussion further than this one post per week, but there we are.

    I read it in plain speech as follows:
    The women’s movement requires new life, now “Status of Women” merits its own acronym viz.SOW
    Complaining about the male habit of leaving the toilet seat up no longer cuts the mustard when asserting themselves and their independence from men.

    By-the-by, I propose a male whinge about women who leave the toilet cover up all the time. GDaR

  44. JohnM says:

    Might be more comprehensible if I’d written: “toilet-cover raised”

  45. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    JohnM, that was the kind of message I was hoping to find in Nassars doggerel, but it doesn’t quite work the way you propose. Nassar knows enough to capitalise an acronym, and even if it was an intended acronym – which the quote-marks around status of women does at least suggest, unless of course the intention of the quote-marks was to belittle the idea that women do have status – I also think that Nassar is well aware that it isn’t just Muslims and religious Jews that find being compared to pigs offensive, so it is entirely understandable that even those of us who are used to Nassar’s unique take on the language couldn’t help but think it was in all likelihood a deliberate slur.
    I may be wrong, you may be wrong, we may both be wrong; only Nassar can clarify the matter.
    Oh, and shouldn’t your last line be a male whinge about women who leave the toilet cover down all the time.?
    What’s GDaR? God Delivers a Rollicking?

  46. Jobrag says:

    Lazyman. An eleventh commandment, [redacted – WTF, Jobrag? That’s foul. Author]

  47. krokus says:

    It’s a matter of priorities. I’m intolerant of intolerance.

    Great work, Author!
    Greeting from Poland!

  48. hotrats says:


    Not only revolting sexism, but incest porn. Author, if this isn’t sexist, is anything?

  49. Author says:

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, hotrats.

  50. LazyMan says:

    Ophelia: limericks don’t have to rhyme. Just approximately rhyme. That’s part of the humour.
    I do take your point about your handle. Apologies for any and all offence caused. None was intended and I won’t do it again.

  51. smee says:

    Glad to share the naughty step with Nasser . The step for the po faced and censorious is far too crowded today. An unpleasant odour appears to have wafted across the pond.

  52. JohnM says:

    Do you actually know women who leave the toilet-lid down? Do tell! GDaR.

    GDaR = Grins, Ducks and Runs.

  53. Jobrag says:

    Hey the first part about using a handful of water every day to wash behind the foreskin can’t offend. An OT that allowed Lots daughters to get their dad drunk and shag him wouldn’t have had a problem with incestuous blow jobs.

  54. Jobrag says:

    What I was trying to point out is that layman’s defence of MGM on health grounds can be negated by other ways of keeping the underside of the foreskin clean.

  55. LazyMan says:

    jobrag: You should have left it at “any convenient partner” which could not possibly have been considered sexist. Though, as only one gender tends to have prepuces *any* comment on them is absolutely sexist.
    Saying the OT venerates perpetrators of abominations is not really an excuse for suggesting them. The OT is chock full of nasties. I won’t mention any as other posters have done so and have been royally basted for it but everyone knows of some and the last three centuries have been partly about freeing us from their legacy.
    Wasting the seed was always considered a bad thing in the OT. It only has one purpose and dietary supplement isn’t it.
    Lastly: equating the prophylactic procedure of prepuce lopping with Female GM is rather a stretch. It is the same type of offence done to roughly the equivalent organs but the latter is far more horrible.

  56. LazyMan says:

    JohnM: I know of at least one lady who always set down the seat cover when one was available. Once she read of the physics of splashing and how contaminated droplets could spread over yards of floor and wall, even as far as the door, she recognised the possibility of infection.
    It is one reason hospitals have such difficulty containing bacterial and viral diseases, they often don’t have lids and their methods of steam-cleaning blow the microbes everywhere. Steam does kill but some will always survive.
    Lids are important. Ask anyone using a blender.

  57. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    smee says:
    November 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm
    Glad to share the naughty step with Nasser

    How about sharing it with Nassar? But before you get comfortable, would you mind awfully making a point or two in defence of segregation? You know, just to show us po-faced censors why we’re wrong to object to it. You might also like to add your theory of why we should be talking about FGM and Islamic abuses of women in a discussion about segregation.

    JohnM, I get the ‘GDaR’ now, but am totally confused on positioning of the toilet-lid.
    I have always got grief from the females in my life whenever I forget to put it back down after going for a pee (not a problem for a Winnie*, which is taken in the sitting position) because apparently if they’re in a rush and don’t notice it’s up, they can end up folded almost double with their buttocks half-way down the bowl. So simply by dint of the fact that for them, both functions are carried out in the sitting position they have always insisted that only an inconsiderate oaf would leave the seat up. As they have always outnumbered the males in our household it’s statistically likely that the next visitor to the loo would also be female, so they leave it down, too.
    The out-numbered part no longer applies as it’s just Mrs. o’Sagan and me at home nowadays, but I’m still expected to leave it down. It’s good manners, I’m told.

    Jobrag, I fucked up like that here once, but a simple ‘Sorry, I took that too far’ worked wonders. Explaining your intentions is fine, and I’m sure you meant no ill, but an apology would be better appreciated by those who found your initial comment to be in bad taste. Nobody wants to fall out over a comment that went wrong.

    *Winnie the Pooh, of course.

  58. Lazyman, your theory about the origins of infant male circumcision may sound good to you, but I don’t buy it and there’s no way you can present any data so it’s the same as all the other evo-psych fairie tales. Particularly because the Jews were not the only desert dwellers on earth. I don’t want to derail this thread any further but the basis became, if not originated in, anti-sex and anti-masturbation perversion that had nothing at all to do with hygiene. http://www.cirp.org/library/cultural/maimonides/

  59. Lazyman. Your trivializing of the foreskin as “a tiny flap” reveals an ignorance of male anatomy that is all too common, especially among circumcised men. Please educate yourself. Here’s a nice middle aged woman who will tell you about your penis. It’s stuff you should know. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgoTRMKrJo4

  60. omg says:

    Darwin Harmless,
    That is the kind of video every parent should watch before asking for they child to be circumcised.
    As I use to say, every surgical intervention that are not needed should be avoided. You never know what could be the side effect.

  61. Micky says:

    I love reading these debates and it’s not often I feel I have something important to contribute to such weighty matters, but as a father to 3 small boys I think I can safely say that no member of our household wants the toilet seat leaving down, especially their mother who invariably has to clean it (because she wants to use it, not because it’s her assigned gender role before anybody starts on me!).

  62. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mickey, you might earn yourself some brownie points if you can get your boys to lift the seat before peeing and put it back down when they’re done. That’s what my mother, then my covenwife and daughters beat into managed to train me to do. 😉
    And don’t feel you have to wait until you have something important to add; we appreciate the trivial along with the meatier stuff.

  63. smee – so you’re not content with just calling me po-faced and censorious, you’re also saying I smell bad.


  64. And what Acolyte said. “Leave the seat down” doesn’t mean leave it down and pee all over it. It means put it back down after you pee.

  65. John M says:

    There seems to be confusion rife about toilet seat and toilet lid/cover. The lid/cover is the bit women perpetually leave up, and Lazyman has graphically explained why these errant females are putting our lives at risk. GDaR yet again.

  66. sosusk says:

    Ignoring the ongoing debate, I think the last panel would have worked better without Mo’s last words. The banners speak for themselves.

  67. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thanks, Ophelia. For a while there I thought it was just me who saw the obvious.

    sosusk, I thought Mo’s parting shot was a perfect example of the behaviour of the more vocal believers; they’re not content with merely crossing the line, they just keep on going.

    John M & Lazyman, I’ve just thought of the answer (or maybe flashed-back to a long-forgotten Tomorrows World, the programme presented by liars. Where are all the flying cars and robotic housekeepers they promised we’d all have by the end of the 20th Century?) to your latrinal frustrations – the pedal toilet. It works exactly the same as a pedal bin, and the pedal will be in such a position that one has to step onto it to use the toilet.
    Or, more in line with the 21st Century, it could operate on an infra-red sensor, so as one approaches the porcelain the beam is broken and the lid automatically rises and stays up for as long as the beam is blocked.
    Problem solved. 🙂

  68. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    However, one problem solved leads to another needing a solution; why are there no self-changing toilet-roll holders? I’m sure my entire family thought the loo-roll fairy did it, along with the laundry fairy, the housework fairy, the dinner fairy, the dirty pots fairy.
    I’ve just realised; I’m a massive fairy!

  69. LazyMan says:

    JohnM: http://www.amazon.com/Fuloon-LavNav-Sensor-Activated-Battery-Operated/dp/B00BS5HTQ4 one of many solutions to this most urgent issue?

    This one is even more useful: http://www.glow.co.uk/glow-in-the-dark-toilet.html

    But this has to be the one everyone will want for Christmas: http://www.inax-usa.com/innovation/integrated-toilet/ and for my selection of music Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Nice and relaxing at weird o’clock.

    DH: Thank you. It’s always nice to learn things.

  70. Lazyman, you’re very welcome. 🙂

  71. David B says:

    I emailed the Universities site as suggested in Maryam’s piece.

    They sent back a link to a blog post made by the chief exec of Universities UK, which also contained the comments to the blog post, which with, IIRC, one exception agreed with Maryam, Ophelia and the bulk of us commenting here. In fact, I noticed Ophelia’s name among the commenters – it is a name easy to jump to my mind, since I have often read Butterflies and Wheels.

    It had no further posts from the Chief Executive defending herself from the points made in the comments.


  72. Mary2 says:

    I come back to J&M after a few days away from the site and see 50-odd comments since I was last here. I go into a panic thinking you are all having a deep philosphical discussion which I have missed being a part of. I read the comments and discover that this week’s big topic is … toilet lids! 😉

    I’ve never really got the whole ‘naughty men leaving the seat up’ thing. I figure it takes just as much effort for ‘those who stand’ to lift it as it does for me to lower it. Although I must say that, having lived in an all female household for eons, I am still recovering from the shock of walking into the bathroom and having to lower the seat after a particular male guest departed. (I swear I didn’t kick him out for leaving it up!)

    DH, ” Here’s a nice middle aged woman who will tell you about your penis.” I haven’t watched the link but that line of yours is fabulous!

    Micky, If I waited until I had something important to contribute to the discussion you would never know I existed. (On second thoughts, several people may not think that was a bad thing …)

  73. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mary, you should know by now that we alway discuss the important things in life. Next week’s topic is David Gest’s face; fact or fantasy?

    Micky, If I waited until I had something important to contribute to the discussion you would never know I existed. (On second thoughts, several people may not think that was a bad thing …)
    …and many more would think it a tragedy. Or, maybe you really don’t exist and we’ve invented you, our very own Antipodean stunt-goddess 🙂

    after a particular male guest departed. There’s nothing worse than particular guests.

  74. John M says:

    Sorry about a discussion of latrinal mechanics obscuring the real reason we all read J&M. Mea culpa.

  75. John Moriarty says:

    @Darwin Harmless: that video was excellently informative, I learned stuff I was only dimly aware of before. thx a mill.

  76. John Moriarty says:

    @Darwin Harmless: that video was excellently informative, I learned stuff I was only dimly aware of before. thx a mill.

  77. John Moriarty says:

    sorrysorry doubledouble postpost

  78. smee says:

    Ophelia and AoS The atmosphere here is normally good humoured and Nassar’s little contribution is tolerated and most welcome.
    It is unfortunate that his little poem has this time attracted the bullies and potty mouths from the cesspits that are the freethought blogs comment pages! I don’t agree with segregation but I do like to stick up for the underdog!

  79. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Smee, be a love and point me to an example of the potty-mouthed bullying of Nassar, please.

  80. Chiefy says:

    LazyMan, I followed your toilet links, and I am certainly impressed with the integrated toilet. I can’t figure out, however, how it knows the difference between the genders. Or maybe the gents still have to lift the ring. Seems sexist.
    How did you circumvent the one-link limit? Has that been changed?

  81. smee you fucking dickwad jerkoff, who are you calling a potty mouth, you shit head. Just fuck right off to the slime pit and keep your bullshit out of the Cock and Bull. I agree completely with segregation if it keeps assholes like you out of our local. Bouncer! We”ve got a hassle here! Could you deal with this prick?

  82. LazyMan says:

    Chiefy asked: “How did you circumvent the one-link limit? Has that been changed?”
    It hasn’t been changed so far as I can tell. All I did was elide the “h–p://” protocol indicator from all the linkies.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ is what a copy-and-paste dumps into the posting but that refused to fly when I did it with more than one linkie so I deleted the “h–p://” to give “www.gutenberg.org” and the nice folks at NearlyFreeSpeech.NET supplied software that both validated my linkies and added the protocol thingy for us.
    Just to see if it was a fluke:
    should all work.
    I am not a spammer but I do like books and Cassini images of Saturn.

  83. Oh crap. Did I say that out loud?

  84. LazyMan says:

    DH: I suspect you did, but maybe only I saw it… and I forgive you.

  85. John Moriarty and omg, glad you appreciated the video. It’s the best I’ve found to give to people who don’t know a lot about circumcision and have always bought the party line. Marilyn Milos explained things about my sexuality that had previously been a total mystery, and she does it in such an nonthreatening and matter of fact way. If we can get proponents and supporters of infant male circumcision to watch that video, we will change minds.

    Mary2, thanks for the appreciation. But watch the video. I know you are on the right side of this issue, but you will still learn something interesting. It’s the best.

  86. Mary2 says:

    AOS and JohnM, The trivial is never really trivial. I think it’s important to dig to the bottom of cultural assumptions, turn over and sift through what you find (if you’ll forgive this phrase in conjunction with toiletry habits). John M, this is the real reason I read J&M!

    AOS, of course I exist. You can see the photo if you look to the left of this post.

    Smee, “the bullies and potty mouths from the cesspits that are the freethought blogs comment pages”. WTF??? I tend to agree with you that the comments pages on a particular blog over at FTB are mightily unpleasant; where any (even minor) dissent is met with howls of faux-offense and having the figurative bejesus beaten out of the offender; but what on Earth has this website to do with Freethought Blogs? Sticking up for the underdog is a great value in principle but not when the underdog is a rabid pit-bull who needs to be put down.

    P.S. If my American friends will forgive me: I hate the phrase ‘potty mouth’. It so sounds like the kind of words you teach a kindergarten kid to describe genitalia. How about ‘swearing’, ‘cursing’, ‘cussing’, ‘foul-mouthed’, ‘filth’, ‘gutter language’, ‘toilet language’ or even ‘French’?

    DH, Love your potty mouth! OK, I will watch the video – never really needed to know much about penises/penii or whatever the correct plural is but that information is bound to come in useful at the next pub quizz.

  87. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Darwin Harmless says:
    November 30, 2013 at 11:17 pm
    smee you fucking dickwad jerkoff, who are you calling a potty mouth, you shit head. Just fuck right off to the slime pit and keep your bullshit out of the Cock and Bull. I agree completely with segregation if it keeps assholes like you out of our local.

    Ah, so that’s where smee crawled out from. I should have realised when I saw ‘bullies’ and ‘FTB’ in the same sentence, along with the overt baiting of Ophelia. In fact, that ‘unpleasant odour’ remark makes me think I know who it is, or at least of whom he’s a sycophantic follower.
    I’ll bet Ophelia has a good idea, too.

    Much respect for your excellent expletive explosion, by the way. A similar tactic to one my late mother used to use when we were kids (so before she was late, obviously). If any of us was being whiny just for the sake of it she’d say, If you really want something to cry about I’ll happily give you a reason.

    Bouncer! We”ve got a hassle here! Could you deal with this prick?

    My pleasure.
    smee, it’s time to go. You’re not barred – that’s not my call – but I doubt that mein host will tolerate any more of your snide and malicious remarks, and it is he who decides who’s welcome here – or not. So, if you want to play, you must learn to play nicely; If you do decide to return, I strongly suggest you start with an apology or two: you know to whom they need directing.

    See, not all bouncers are simply thugs in monkey suits.
    Still, he’s lucky this was a ‘virtual’ kicking-out; he really wouldn’t have enjoyed the experience had this have occured in real-life in one of the pubs that I used to cover. Because he spouts the sort of smarmy vitriol that saps my patience very quickly – and I am generally a very patient person – and as he’s the sort who doesn’t tend to respond to polite requests to tone it down, he likely wouldn’t have got the above talk, just a headache. Why a headache? Because it wasn’t unknown for me to save a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted in pointless further negotiation by taking such special, deserving cases directly to the non-too subtle but very effective method of’showing (or something that rhymes with showing) them through the doors at high velocity and head-first. I just always seemed to forget that the doors only opened inwards. Whoops!)

    smee was using the exact same tactic the slimers use at FTB; they slip in and start antagonising people, ignore any attempt at reasonable dialogue, then as soon as they’re told to sling their hooks they run away back to the pit telling tales about the nasty bullies that made them cry ‘for – sniff – no – sniff, snuffle – reason – bwaaAAAGGGHHH’.
    Don’t be too surprised if ‘#FTBullies’ is soon joined by ‘#Cock&Bullies* in their lexicon of pettiness.

    *You’re welcome, slimers. You can have that one one me, call it an early Christmas present. I’m probably too nice for my own good, but I know none of you has the wit to think of such a sophisticated pun (just as you didn’t think up ‘FTBullies’ for yourself – it was used on FTB to mock you lot for your cowardly tactics for a long time before one of your genii thought to put a hash in front of it to utilise it for your utterly banal and pointless ‘twitter wars’), and I’m feeling charitable tonight.

  88. Mary2 says:

    AOS, Wow. You need a cuppa tea, a Bex (aspirin equivalent?) and a good lie down as they used to say in Aust in the Dark Ages.

  89. Chiefy says:

    If you get tired of the dickwads, you can always read quotes from fake Deepak Chopra: http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/
    Sure got the new age crowd agitated when I posted it to Facebook.

  90. Chiefly, that is delightful. I never knew that being profound could be so easy. Or so random.

    Acolyte, right on. I’m rather proud of being ahead of you in noticing the smell slime. No flies on this potty mouthed regular of the Cock and Bull.

  91. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mary, you might be right, but as soon as Darwin mentioned the slimepit I made the connection and my blood boiled. smee is almost certainly one of the pack who delight in dreaming up the vilest, most misogynistic insults – not even clever stuff, just nasty shit, hence my final dig – to throw at Ophelia, Maryam, PZ (who is apparently a woman-by-proxy so ‘deserves’ it) and anybody else within the sceptical ‘community’ who don’t share their views on gender equality.
    For anybody not aware of them, the slimers’ views on women are roughly on a par with those of the Taliban, and they have a particularly obsessive fixation on Ophelia for her triple ‘crimes’ of feminism, being over thirty-five, and not looking like Barbie, which they think justifies the constant stream of hatred and insults that she gets – and it’s all done in the name of free speech – but only theirs, of course (which brings us swerving back towards the subject of this cartoon for a moment or two); any request for them to stop is a violation of their human rights and bullying of the most serious kind. What is most pathetic about them is that they see themselves as MRA warriors with every foray into enemy territory earning them the slimepit badge-of-honour ‘#bravehero’ – because it’s ever-so brave to post rape threats and tell somebody that their genitals smell like a grave, or to photoshop a face onto a porn scene to post on-line, only to act all violated and hurt when told to fuck off.
    They are relentless bullies, and I fucking hate bullies.

  92. Acolyte, I think I love you. 🙂

  93. hotrats says:

    DH, Love your potty mouth! OK, I will watch the video – never really needed to know much about penises/penii or whatever the correct plural is but that information is bound to come in useful at the next pub quizz.

    ‘penises’ is correct both in English and Latin. The ‘-ii’ ending is only found in the plural of words ending ‘-ius’ – and there are only a handful in common use (denarius, denarii; radius, radii; genius, genii; trapezius, trapezii).

    It isn’t a pronunciation (or a spelling) that feels linguistically natural; it is the only repeated vowel sound (and is it eye-eye or eeh-eeh?), and the only spelling where ‘i’ is duplicated. As the Japanese say, it is the nail that sticks out that gets hammered down, so it is gradually fading from usage; most people are already more comfortable saying ‘geniuses’ and ‘radiuses’.

    Hope that comes in useful at your next pub quizz (you Aussies are so extravagant – the rest of us have to make do with just the one ‘z’) – but I suspect it will fall into the much larger category of things that will come in useless.

  94. hotrats says:

    ‘The Cock and Bullies’ – now there’s an idea for J&M teeshirt.

  95. Acolyte, I’m digging a rather large fish pond in my back yard, working an hour or two every morning for the exercise, and this give me time to contemplate things.

    When I had my potty mouth explosion at smee, I was really rifting on his unjust and silly accusation and having fun. But I start to get uncomfortable with the tone we are developing here. I see a danger of becoming what they will say we are, the Cock and Bullies. So i think I shall revert to my usual polite persona, and if smee is still lingering on the fringes here, I shall do my best to engage him in a civil and civilized manner.

    It’s much more fun being politely nasty anyway. I’m sure this erudite crowd is familiar with the letter from Samuel Johnson to Lord Chesterfield, but it’s always good to revisit it. I shall try to use it as a model henceforth. http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Readings/chesterfield.html

  96. smee says:

    Whoa! what you say about me says more about you than it does about me.
    None of your accusations are true whatsoever;the’re Just what you’d like to believe to justify your extreme unpleasantness. Your ganging up on Nassar is bullying in my view. If the author wishes to ban people. Perhaps he would like to ban those contributors who’ve been making offensive, racist, and patronising, poor old johnny foreigner stuggling with his eengleesh type comments about Nassar?

    Darwin Harmless: Civil and civilised, would you like me to explain what those terms mean?

  97. “Darwin Harmless: Civil and civilised, would you like me to explain what those terms mean?” – smee

    Such a typical and pointless attempt to annoy me. Digging deep into your bag of cliches today, aren’t you.

    Nassar is a valued and respected regular here. When we speak of his problems with English, it is to excuse his social faux pas, not to ridicule him. We make no such allowances for you, since English seems to be your first language.

    smee, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are a rather common form of troll. You are not interested in partaking of the good fellowship which we have established here in our local. You are only interested in getting some attention. I think this is the last attention I will give you.

  98. hotrats says:

    Am I the only one to be reminded of Red Dwarf’s Kryten trying to say ‘smeghead’? And not only because of the name? Do please take your petulant misanthropy elsewhere, it stinks the place up.

  99. LazyMan says:

    Lazyman, earlier : “Perhaps Nassar is just young? And I still think “sow” was a typographical error and he meant “show”.”

    smee: ” those contributors who’ve been making offensive, racist, and patronising, poor old johnny foreigner stuggling with his eengleesh type comments about Nassar? ”

    I must admit I fail to see how *anything* I have ever typed is racist. [Technically, even were Nassar of Arabic extraction I would not be racist in insulting him, were I to insult him, which I never have. It’s like mocking the French. No “race” involved. And even were there, you can’t tell whether I’m the same “race” as either Nassar or – horrible thought – the French.] Patronising, perhaps but I am so frankly magnificent that I tend to patronise everyone else without effort. “I would almost say you’re a genius but *I* am in the room.” type of thing. And frankly, smee old son, I’ve known far more Englishmen born and raised in England with names like Nassar than I have foreigners. In short, I think I agree with Acolyte. You aint young, you are just a prat.
    Oh, and both “civil” and “civilised” come from “of the behaviour that one would expect in Cities”, as opposed to “villain” which is the kind of uncouth, rowdy out of towner who doesn’t know how to behave properly. City-culture is supposed to be a huge step up from villainy, the rough and ready selfishness of the country-born villagers. The very lowest class of country-born, that is, not the landed gentry, who are naturally more civil than even the civilised.
    In the English manner of writing, incidentally and just to help your future prospects as an author of great English Literature, when using phrases inside a sentence like “poor Johnny foreigner” it is customary to segregate them out with quotation marks so we know they are not part of the sentence itself. [It helps to capitalise the name, too so we know you are not using “johnny” as a noun, a euphemism.] This saves us from trying to parse them which can often render the entire sentence unreadable. Had Acolyte done this with his quotation of “acquiesce” he would not have needed to elucidate his intent in a later message. I know the habit of using punctuation properly, especially around titles of books, recordings and filmed photoplays – movies – has declined but I blame the Arts graduates of the BBC for this. I also blame them for the lazy habit of dropping the periods in abbreviations and other slovenliness.
    Still, one *can* defy the BBC and use English to its full potential. Once done, it is a fearsome and potent weapon and a tool of great beauty and flexibility.
    Are you happy now that we all speak English?

    Darwin: I did watch you nice lady attempting to explain all about the tool. She didn’t tell me anything I wasn’t already aware of but I did see that even educated ladies have a great deal of difficulty in discussing the issue and that there were many clumsy edits in the video. Is there any chance of seeing the full work, uncut, uncensored and with all the mistakes? That might be educational.
    That aside, I still contend that losing what you never know you had is better by far than suffering later. That it reduces the sensitivity is *obvious*, removing a hand reduces the sensitivity of an arm by rather more than the sensitivity of the hand itself – feedback through the wrist is also gone.
    And the population of the areas that practice penile mutilation as a rule would tend to give the lie to the idea that it makes procreation difficult. As procreation, not recreation is the only deity-derived use for the organ that makes the operation innocuous. Far more so than the barbarities performed on women.
    And I am repulsed by both and would never support either.

    hotrats: I had assumed “smee” was taken from the Mister of the same name, one Bartholomew Quigley Smeethington who operated as James’s assistant, general factotum and executive officer. But perhaps not.

    Above all the above, as a Nassar-bullying, patronising racist, I must say I found the tone of the conversation in the “C&B” quite amusing at times and often educational but I’ve seen the effect the “smees” of this world have in USENet, WebTV and other places and have tired of it. It is yet another tragedy of The Commons and it repels me.
    Exeunt right. [Had to be “right”, I’m *always* …]
    [As my wife jested wickedly, “When I married Mr. Right I didn’t know his first name was ‘Always’.”]

  100. LazyMan says:

    LazyMan : “Darwin: I did watch you nice lady”.
    *Your*. *Your*. I really *hate* making idiotic typographical mistakes like that. No, I’m not back, I’m just miffed that I missed it and wanted to point out that it was an error in typing, not my lack of understanding of English.
    I’m usually a better proof-reader of what I trype.
    That one was intentional.
    Merry Christmas, and have a lovely New Year.

  101. Mary2 says:

    Hotrats, Thanks for the grammar lesson. I knew one of you would set me straight. Oops, I then misspelt quiz – and I thought I was being so clever using the Brit ‘pub quiz’ instead of the Australian ‘trivia night’ to aid international comprehension. Oh well …

    Smee, talk to us! Don’t just yell and run. You might find that the topic of Nassar and his (assumably ‘his’) real persona including underlying views and grasp, or lack of, English has been a topic of discussion on this site for several years. If you’d asked we could have told you that no malice was intended; he is our resident man of mystery. His first posts were very different to his behaviour of the last few seasons so we are naturally curious. We love robust discussion on this site and most of us are happy to be corrected when we are wrong. You are welcome to join in and put forth you views but please stop with the fake offense and hit and run tactics. It’s funny for all of three seconds and quickly becomes boring. Besides, you’re not very good at the subtle ‘n sharp slap: “Darwin Harmless: Civil and civilised, would you like me to explain what those terms mean?”. About as much burn as water from the tepid tap.

  102. Undeluded says:

    For the life of me, I cannot understand what caused all this furor against smee. I re-read all his postings above, and though I find his language somewhat obscure – somewhere down there, there’s a misunderstanding. Possibly, like me, others did not get the gist of what smee was trying to say. More likely, smee misunderstood what Nassar was trying to say (by now I am convinced that Nassar is ‘one of us,’ though some of his literary efforts leave me wondering).

    Hotrats – there are very many words with a double i in them. Here are a few: skiing, obiism, shiitake, piing, safariing, taxiing – not to mention a host of chemical, biological and zoological terms.

  103. Mary2 says:

    Having just read LazyMan’s most recent offerings I need to add an addendum to my previous:

    “most of us are happy to be corrected when we are wrong” – except LazyMan who, obviously to anyone who has been honoured enough to be in his virtual company, is never wrong.

  104. Mary2 says:

    Undeluded, I have just reread the entire comments list and I am also somewhat confused about the whole furore. I too think that several misunderstandings have blown out of all proportion. I’m not sure how the discussion about the meaning of Nassar’s poem became interpreted as racist and denegrating and I’m hoping Smee’s initial defence of Nassar was meant to be more light-hearted than it was taken.

    Smee, if I have misinterpreted your meanings I apologise. Please come back and explain so Undeluded and I can be edified and, well, undeluded.

  105. Aw, LazyMan, just when I was starting to like you.

  106. What triggered it for me was first of all smee taking swipes at the regulars here, most unjustly, and then his crack about FTB and progressive feminists. His comment about us being potty mouthed was truly strange, almost as if he had wondered in from some other site still holding impressions from that source. ALl of this brought up associations with the slime pit and that’s all it took. If smee is not a slime pit regular, I will be very surprised.

    How anybody could misinterpret my statement about NBH and giving him the benefit of the doubt … well, it betrays a lack of reading comprehension. Giving somebody the benefit of the doubt because they might have a language problem, thus might not be communicating their true feelings, is hardly ridicule. I certainly do not put anybody down because their first language is not English. That’s just luck of the draw.

    I’m still convinced that smee is just a rather dull garden variety troll. Look at his comments. He pretends he is white knighting NBH, but really he’s just been sniping at random targets and trying to get a rise out of us.

  107. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Undeluded, the reaction to smee, particulary from Ophelia, Darwin, and myself, may seem to have been out of all proportion to what he wrote, but there is a back-story to this that you may not be aware of.
    Ophelia blogs out of the U.S.A. at http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels and has for a long time been one of the primary victims of a sustained campaign of on-line harassment from a group of vile misogynists masquerading as sceptics. I haven’t got a spare week to list the abuse she’s received from this group but if you take a look through the recent archives at her blog you’ll get a pretty good idea.

    The harassers brag about their exploits at an on-line hang-out called the Slimepit and across twitter; those who actively participate in the harassment are ‘worshipped’ by the rest as #braveheroes, but when Ophelia has the sheer audacity to point out that what they are doing is wrong then irrespective of how polite she may have been, the slimepitters instantly start shouting about violations of their right to free speech and accuse Ophelia of bullying them; their #braveheroes did nothing wrong and are being #FTBullied for no reason whatever. They will swear black is white in trying to claim that they were being jumped on for no reason, and despite this being the internet, where anything published is there forever for anybody to see, they will adamantly declare that they were innocent in all of this, whilst simultaneously complaining about things that were never said and insults that were never made (maybe accusing somebody of being racist for telling somebody with an Asian name that his poem was lousy, or for using a ‘racist slur’ such as they’d swear black is white). It’s like a mass-persecution complex. They then use their self-manufactured grievances as an excuse to further escalate the harassment.
    They play the victim so well one could almost believe that they were the persecuted minority, the under-dogs in the war (a war that they declared and that nobody else wants, or indeed participates in. It’s a really one-way thing, but the way they talk you’d think they were beseiged by the feminazi army, led of course by Ophelia) to save the world’s atheists and sceptics – or at least that septic part of the sceptic community they claim to represent – from the ‘pitters” natural enemy: women with opinions and intelligence.
    If Ophelia even disagrees with a commentor on her own site, you can be sure the ‘pitters’ will be tweeting the news of yet another example of her vicious bullying nature.

    Not content with the personal abuses about Ophelia’s age and looks, or with the threats and pictures that I mentioned in an earlier post, they also hunt out her posts on feminist issues that don’t specifically mention FGM or Islamic abuse of women and use them as ‘proof’ that she doesn’t care about those issues, and that she has ‘no right’ to call herself a progressive feminist – and this despite the fact that Ophelia regularly posts articles on those very themes.

    Now, with that in mind, look again at smee’s first post, coming as it did just ninety minutes after both Ophelia and I had expressed genuinely mild disapproval of Nassar’s post, and had at that stage been the only ones to address Nassar:

    smee says:
    November 27, 2013 at 7:25 pm
    Yes Nasser keep your filthy opinions of the womens movement to yourself; Lest you cause offence. You should be silent like progressive feminists are on the subject of FGM and islamist abuses of women! Its cultural innit!


    Now, the ‘pitters’ have a running ‘joke’ that because Ophelia is ancient, she must carry an offensive odour: only a few days ago, in response to an article she had posted on her blog, Ophelia recieved a message telling her that her cunt smells like a grave. Nice, huh?

    smee says:
    November 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm
    […..]The step for the po faced and censorious is far too crowded today. An unpleasant odour appears to have wafted across the pond

    But I’m sure that wasn’t aimed specifically at Ophelia. He might not even be aware that Ophelia has a blog, much less that she is on the receiving end of non-stop harassment. I mean, if he did know of B&W and #ftbullies and such-like, he would have to be an incredibly insensitive sort to post what he did. So do we give him the benefit of the doubt? Do we assume he has no prior knowledge of Ophelia or FTB or the #ftbullying and that his remarks were just a terrible but accidental coincidence?
    It would be nice to think so.
    Oh, just a minute…..

    smee says:
    November 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm
    Ophelia and AoS The atmosphere here is normally good humoured and Nassar’s little contribution is tolerated and most welcome.
    It is unfortunate that his little poem has this time attracted the bullies and potty mouths from the cesspits that are the freethought blogs comment pages! I don’t agree with segregation but I do like to stick up for the underdog!

    Oh, he was aware of it after-all. Nice that he sticks up for the underdog, though! And have you noticed that he has so far failed to provide the examples of ‘potty-mouthed bullying’ that he’s so brave(hero?)ly standing up to?

    Still, at least he didn’t try to play the victim when he realised his cover was blown, or accuse us of saying things we clearly haven’t said; after all, only a genuine ‘pitter’ would invent a dialogue and then use that invented dialogue to ‘prove’ he’s the poor, mis-understood underdog in all of this, and that the people who didn’t say what his invented dialogue says they said are the real villains of the piece.
    And he hasn’t done that…..

    smee says:
    December 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    Whoa! what you say about me says more about you than it does about me.
    None of your accusations are true whatsoever;the’re Just what you’d like to believe to justify your extreme unpleasantness. Your ganging up on Nassar is bullying in my view. If the author wishes to ban people. Perhaps he would like to ban those contributors who’ve been making offensive, racist, and patronising, poor old johnny foreigner stuggling with his eengleesh type comments about Nassar?

    Sorry for the length of the post, but I felt it important to let everybody know the background to the story, and to clarify (I hope) that neither Ophelia, Darwin, myself, or any of our merry band of miscreants are either FTBullies, Cock & Bullies, or indeed bullies of any flavour.
    And, of course, to show that smee is a fucking liar.

    Darwin: aw, shucks, I’ve been blushing since I read your declaration. The feeling is mutual. 🙂

  108. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    That took a while to compose, Mary’s last comment and Darwin’s two weren’t there when I began.
    With the back-story in mind, smee’s comments look a lot less like a mis-understanding on our part, and his targeting starts to look less-random. I’m sure there is a regular at FTB who uses the same avatar as yours, Darwin, and I’ll often contribute to discussions over there, quite often on B&W.

  109. Acolyte, well said. Seeing all of smee’s statements in a row like that makes it pretty obvious what we are dealing with. I really do enjoy the company here, and find I am always learning something from the regulars. Smee is not contributing anything but groundless accusations and ‘pitter memes. I think we’ve got his number.

    I have been known to comment on FTB, but rarely. I don’t particularly like the crowd of regulars on Pharyngula and don’t feel at home there.

    PZ himself is incredible. He blows me away with his productivity and knowledge, and I love the way he eviscerates the usual idiots. Major fan.

    And of course the feminist bloggers on FTB are fantastic. You forgot to mention that Blaghag was driven to take a break from blogging by the slimepit crowd, who even stalked and attacked her father.

    All this to say, nice recap of the history. I hope the bystanders can understand where we come from now.

  110. Mary2 says:

    AOS, Thanks for that. I was aware of some of the backstory, being an irregular visitor to the odd U.S. blog myself (and yes, I keep looking at that use of the same picture as DH and waving ‘hello’ just in case) but was unaware of the links with Ophelia’s blog and was trying to give everyone the benefit of the doubt as I would really, really, really hate to see the same sort of shit go on here as it does over there. I don’t think I added enough ‘really’s there.

    I find that kind of ‘little boy just hitting puberty and thinking he is so extremely clever to be able to raise an erection that he must get together with all his mates and gloat about it’ type of male bonding shown by the cretins who thinks stomping on those who fail to recognise their sheer magnificence to be extremely unappetising and cowardly (wouldn’t have the guts to say that stuff to a feminist’s face). I don’t even think they are misogynists I just think women are a convenient target because they like to think themselves awesomely irresistible Casanovas but their fragile egos can’t cope with the fact that not all women are desperate for them so they resort to the insults of 4 year olds; ‘You’re smelly’ but with post-pubescent language. By all the gods, I hope we are wrong and they haven’t escaped and moved over here.

    “They play the victim so well one could almost believe that they were the persecuted minority” ‘they’ ARE the persecuted minority – it’s not politically correct to make fun of the intellectually disabled. (See Smee, THAT’s how you do the backhanded compliment!)

  111. Mary2 says:

    DH, (sorry to cross posts but like AOS said, sometimes one has to proof-read and proof-read). I feel the same way about Pharyngula. I dislike the gang mentality and aggressiveness towards even minor dissent by the ‘good guys’ let alone the ‘baddies’ but am a major reader of some of the other blogs.

  112. Chiefy says:

    AoS, thanks for the information. I had gathered pieces of what the story was, but it’s nice to have a more complete picture. I have run into guys like that before. I agree with Mary2 that it would be more than just sad to lose the unique character of this forum. I’m sure the gods of J&M will keep that from happening. I have visited other locales, but most can’t hold a candle to the Cock n Bull.

  113. David B says:

    @Darwin Harmless

    “I have been known to comment on FTB, but rarely. I don’t particularly like the crowd of regulars on Pharyngula and don’t feel at home there.
    PZ himself is incredible. He blows me away with his productivity and knowledge, and I love the way he eviscerates the usual idiots. Major fan.”

    I feel much the same, but the way some of the idiots on the comments pages put the boot into any discussion they don’t like, whether reasonable or not, has led to me not returning there for a few days and then….I sort of got out of the habit. Perhaps I should have another look.


  114. Undeluded says:

    AoS – thank you for making your elaborate case for the prosecution.

    J&M is the only discussion group I read and in which, sometimes, I take part – so I am, admittedly, unfamiliar with other blogs. Furthermore, I have no intention of visiting other blogs that are sprinkled with hate postings. Indeed, I trust Author moderates what we read here and filters out ‘racist, sexist and homophobic’ comments – and I’m sure there are plenty of those in his trash can!

    Nevertheless, even if I accept all your claims as gospel truth (now there’s an oxymoron if there ever was one), I find it difficult to swallow the type of flaming smee has been exposed to here.

    As far as I’m concerned, the evidence you have shown is circumstantial. You seem quite sure you’re attacking one of those sick hate-mailers; I think there’s some room for doubt here.

    And I never accept anything as ‘gospel truth’ when it reflects high-strung emotions and uses abusive language.

    Be that as it may, and even if smee is a hate-filled pubescent-type (which is not indicated by his language or content) – our own reaction to him should not justify others in making the very same claims about us (thanks, Mary2)! So, yes, I think it has been blown out of all proportion (your admission), and that those levels of proportions should be toned down, if not downright excluded – especially when giving the ‘victim’ the benefit of the doubt.

    Perhaps Author will check up on your background of smee and take action in accordance with his own judgment. Either he was as unaware of it as I was, or else he deemed it fitting for our delicate eyes.

    Whatever the result, I think we should adhere to a minimum of civility and mutual respect in all cases. If anyone is considered by anyone else as being offensive, she can state this politely alongside with her reasons. This is one of the reasons I became a participant of J&M (after a very long period of lurking) – the high quality not only of the subject matter (even when wildly off topic), but also of the dialog style!

  115. Macha says:

    I’m a regular reader her (Wednesday is the highlight of the week) and a rare commenter.

    What most concerned me about this thread was the undercurrent of misogynistic thinking – especially the thinly veiled and childish jibes aimed at the crime of being old (I’m 70 – male – and would still give someone an earful if they dared to target me with such crap).

    From memory, having attended an all-boys school, many of the female-baiters were actually frightened of the opposite sex and whilst quite happy to treat them, in abstract, as aids to masturbation, would shrivel into incoherence if they met one in person.

    The other aspect of misogyny is that it makes us as bad as the bloody religionists.

  116. Undeluded, I think you are echoing my fish pond digging contemplations. I turned potty mouth on smee for the fun of it, and in reaction to his accusation that we were potty mouthed, but I certainly don’t want that to become my style.

    I think this is a very tolerant crowd. We may argue, but we usually don’t go for ad hominems. I may have crossed that line once or twice when our friend FreeFox really got my goat, but even NBH is treated here with affection.

    This is the one forum where I feel at home, like it is my local. Perhaps that’s one reason why I came down so hard on smee. But if he’d like to come in and make comments that don’t offend or insult, he’s welcome to join. The Cock and Bull has very elastic walls. We just have a very low tolerance for those who snipe at “progressive feminists.” I’m a progressive feminist myself.

    So yes, let’s keep our style civil and welcoming. Doesn’t mean we have to suffer fools gladly.

  117. JoJo says:

    I’m sure it’s obvious, but don’t our universities understand that the right to express one’s view in public does not extend to imposing that view on the audience? Isn’t the point of a University to provide a place where ideas can be exchanged freely and fearlessly while mixing with people who do not agree with your own views and may wish to challenge them.? No one is preventing a speaker from saying the world would be a better place if his audience was segregated, nor should they prevent someone from pointing out that that is bullshit. But you don’t physically impose your view in order to make your point. Perhaps the Vice Chancellors were a bit high on the whiff of all the Middle Eastern money that seems to find its way in to our otherwise publicly funded education system…?

  118. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I’ve been away, busy. But glancing occasionally through the windows of the C&B. I took time to step in this morning and wondered if I’d still be around to contribute.

    For my penny worth I think NBH was misunderstood somewhat – but he does not help his case with his insistence on one visit wonders. ‘Sow’ was indubitably wrong, where ‘show’ might have been astute. Only NBH could clarify just as only se refuses so to do.
    As for the reactions and what followed; nothing particularly alarming until DH”s OTT outburst that really made me laugh out loud. If smee wants to play the victim, much maligned for brave-heroing for voiceless others, rather than join us with good cheer and mutual respect, then he can then take both barrels and just fuck right off.

    This is my local too.
    Everyone is welcome – to enter and to express, to convive and to confront, to teach and to learn and if all of that is not good enough, or if they can’t see what is so precious about that that they can’t behave appropriately then AoS can show them the door in his own special way.

    Btw. I also think that Mo’s last comment was superfluous. Brilliant strip.

  119. hotrats says:

    Hotrats – there are very many words with a double i in them. Here are a few: skiing, obiism, shiitake, piing, safariing, taxiing – not to mention a host of chemical, biological and zoological terms.

    Quite right about the spelling, I originally only meant the uniqueness to apply to pronunciation, where it holds true for your list, and then I over-edited them together. As for the host of scientific terms – and obiism is pretty damn academic – I did restrict my comment to words in common use.

  120. John M says:

    Following AoS’s dissection of the ‘smee’ interloper/troll/misunderstood-fall-guy/add-your-own-variant, I have an observation that may be – probably is – totally irrelevant. Could his pseudonym be an indication of self-loathing. It is, after all, the initial part of Kriton’s attempts to call Rimmer a smeghead, despite eons of coaching by Lister to suppress and overcome K’s inbuilt deference to human crew on the “Red Dwarf”. It always came out as “smeeeeee heeeeee”

  121. John M says:

    Oops. Looking back through the thread, I see Hotrats already noted this. He also managed to spelled Kryten correctly, which is more than I did, so I guess I have to buy him a pint if I wish to keep frequenting this pub. N.B In writing “He” and “him” I’m assuming no self-respecting female would choose Hotrats for a nym, or would that be inadvertent sexism on my part..

  122. John M says:

    Bloody hell, John M. Read it twice before you post. It’s “…managed to spell …” of course.

  123. smee says:

    I come here to view the authors latest offering and have done so for some considerable time; Thank you!.

    More lies and word twisting I see. Aos and Darwin’s reasoning skills appear to be on a par with the crowd who want to burn the witch in Monty Pythons Holy Grail film.

    As Undeluded appears to be the only one here with a brain and a sense of proportion. I’m going to ignore their unpleasantness and return to my pint and newspaper. Flame away dullards Flame away.

  124. hotrats says:

    John M
    I’m assuming no self-respecting female would choose Hotrats for a nym

    Actually it’s hotrats – no capital ‘H’ because, sad English-teacher joke, it’s not a Proper Noun.

    Your comment reminds me of Jimmy Carr’s classic:
    “When I was a teenager I used to have a mate called ‘Shagger’. We all thought that was a really cool nickname to have, but for some reason, she didn’t like it.”

  125. John M says:

    @smee Perhaps enlightenment about what your (seemingly unwelcome) words meant would’ve been more helpful than knee-jerk ad hominem. Anyway, do enjoy your pint of Watney’s Red Barrel and your read of the Daily Sport.

  126. hotrats says:

    John M:
    No penalties for bad spelling here (the Firesign Theatre, 1971: ‘Poor Spemming as a Guide to Metal Demangement’), but if it’s your round, I’ll have a large Calvados, the Barmaid knows how I like it – stop sniggering at the back, smee – and thanks.

  127. omg says:

    WARNING ===> Off topic.
    So it seems that no irony meter can survive the task:

    Just the title is funny.

  128. two cents' worth says:

    I clicked on the link to the story, and read, “Universities can segregate students during debates as long as the women are not forced to sit behind the men, university leaders have said.” (I added the italics.) When universities arrange for “[s]egregation at the behest of a controversial speaker,” will the seating area have a wall, or a group of empty seats, or an aisle between the women’s side and the men’s side? Or will some women be seated next to men where the women’s section meets the men’s section? If the latter, is the audience still segregated?

    What if speakers from ultraorthodox religious groups are not satisfied with the segregation scheme described above, and insist that the women sit on the “unclean” side?

    I know that, in some Jewish and Islamic sects, the sexes are seated separately in their houses of worship during religious services—and the women may be hidden behind screens—but I don’t understand why a speaker from an ultraorthodox religious group would insist on having the audience segregated by sex when speaking in a University setting. How does mixed seating in the audience prevent members of a religious group from “having a debate in accordance with [their] belief system?”

    Are the speakers that are demanding sex-segregation worried that, if there is mixed seating in the audience, the members of the audience will experience such “uncontrollable lust” that they will not listen to what the speakers are saying and may even engage in Public Displays of Affection* (despite the fact that, if one were to rank sexual turn-offs, it’s hard to beat a speech about ultraorthodox religion)? If the speakers are worried about this, would they tolerate a mixed audience if the women wore burqas? And then, would the university leaders require the men in the audience to wear burqas to temper the speakers’ discrimination against the women? Or would they not do that lest the speakers be offended by the cross-dressing?

    *If I were in the audience, would the speakers begrudge me the comfort of squeezing my partner’s fingers when the pain got to be too much, lest I give in to the impulse to scream aloud? (When we were attending a Russian Orthodox wedding, my partner, who was seated to my right, held his left hand at his side with the first two fingers extended, and murmured my dentist’s line, “squeeze if it hurts.” It was because I took him up on his offer that I was able to otherwise keep my composure during the sexist parts of the liturgy. And feeling returned to his fingers, eventually 😉 .)

    If the speakers are worried about their own “uncontrollable lust,” I’m surprised that they are allowing women in the audience, period. Or do the university leaders plan to place a screen between the speakers and the women’s seating area? Or to put the speakers, the female members of the audience, and the male members of the audience in three separate rooms and have them communicate via Skype or the like?

    If their presentation includes a question-and-answer session, what if the speakers insist that women not be allowed to speak? If the speakers are participating in a debate, what if they refuse to debate with a woman?

    If you have not already done so, click on the link to the commentary. Maryam Namazie argues against sex-segregated audiences much more eloquently and effectively than I.

  129. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    smee, here’s the problem as I see it. From the first to the last your posts have followed the standard tactics employed whenever the ‘pitters’ want to increase the misery of, and the hatred thrown at, people they don’t like. I’ve seen it used many times, and it always goes something like this:

    Find the target, leave a general post complaining about behaviour on the site; don’t mention the target by name but include a reference that will just seem odd to most people on the site, but that will certainly resonate badly with the target.

    If the target responds with a rebuke, go into ‘I’m-being-censored’ mode: don’t address the target: don’t forget to include another oblique-to-all-but-one reference.

    If the target responds again, and/or others defend the target, go into ‘victim’ mode: include claims of bullying and any ‘-ism you can imply. For added impact, play the ‘White Knight’ role; there’s more mileage to be gained by giving the impression of being bullied for having the courage to stand up for the underdog. Now is the time to include your target’s name and those of the target’s defenders so others can look back and see that not only was the target not named, but the comments that are being objected to so vociferously don’t really look like insults at all.

    If all goes to plan, the result will be that anybody looking back to see what all the fuss was about will see one apparently paranoid commentor making a lot of fuss over the most trivial of remarks, and maybe some others appearing to be defending the target’s apparently unreasonable actions.
    With luck the site will degenerate into a mass row with lines being drawn and sides taken
    (but watch developments carefully; if the row starts to abate too early, or if the target is swaying the argument, intervene with fresh allegations as neccesary): chaos will ensue – friendships will be strained or lost; many will leave a site they love because they hate what it’s become, many more because they feel betrayed by former friends, most of them never to return; a lot of people will be hurt before the dust settles.

    And they will happily do all of this, smee, for the ‘pleasure’ of being able to blame the target; for the ‘pleasure’ of getting others believing it; for the pleasure of destroying sites that either don’t support their agenda, or actively resist it; and for the ‘honour’ of earning the ‘#bravehero’ badge of (dis)honour.

    Yet despite the eerie similarities in your posts to the SOP of the ‘pitters’, I could, at a stretch, have been made to believe that the resemblances were unintentional; a horrible but innocent coincidence.
    Could have, that is, if you hadn’t got a little sloppy at the end and dropped the reference to FTB and bullying, because your awareness of the issue totally negates the ‘coincidence’ approach. So what options does that leave to explain your motives? Not many, as far as I can tell.

    So, smee, in light of what I’ve just written, can you see why your posts aroused such a reaction from those of us who knew the context to your ‘FGM/bad smell/bullies/censorship’ references followed by the wide-eyed innocence and invented reasons to complain?

    If nothing else, smee, at least clear up a couple of things for me:
    I have just re-read every comment from Nassar’s post to the third one you left, the one claiming that he was being bullied by ‘potty mouths’, but I still cannot see the comments you were referring to. In my post immediately after that one of yours I asked you to point me to the offensive comments that you’d seen, but got no reply. If you’re going to make accusations like that you have to at least provide some evidence for them if they’re to be taken with any semblance of credibility, because without the evidence it seems as though you are either incapable of recognising the difference between valid criticism and bullying, or seeing what you want to see, or what it suits your agenda to see.
    Believe me, show me those potty-mouthed, bullying posts and I will be the first person to apologise.

    Your first post (the only post explicitly telling Nassar to shut up, by the way) also led me to ask you a question, which again you didn’t answer. If you think you’re being misunderstood then it might help to clarify the meaning of whatever is causing the confusion, so I’ll ask you again; when the topic at hand was segregation, please tell me why you brought up the absurd notion that progressive feminists are silent on the issues of FGM and the Islamic abuses of women if it wasn’t to bait Ophelia, who, as you’ll no doubt know given your obvious familiarity with FTB, is both very vocal on those issues and is regularly accused of ignoring them.


  130. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ouch, blockquote fail. But the italics show where the break is.

  131. Acolyte, old friend, I think smee has had quite enough of the attention he craves. Just leave him smirking and glowering in the corner there and please stop trying to engage his brain. Let’s just grant him the roll of the local nutter who shows up now and then, makes unpleasant noise at the regulars, then retires to solitude, imagining himself to be the focus of everybody’s concern and attention. He is not one of us. Eventually he’ll finish his pint and wander off again.

    You’ll notice that his last comment was more of his usual, saying nothing substantive, nothing that could be argued or questioned.

    “More lies and word twisting I see.” (Really? But what lies? What words were twisted? He’s not going to tell us, because if he did we might be able to correct our misapprehensions, or his.) “Aos and Darwin’s reasoning skills appear to be on a par with the crowd who want to burn the witch in Monty Pythons Holy Grail film.” (Just a tepid insult, not something we could address. Just an opinion not supported by examples or arguments.)

    I called troll on this one. Do we really want to continue the feeding thereof?

  132. I think Mo’s last comment is essential to this strip’s meaning. It reminds me of the Christian attitude – it’s not discrimination if it’s against gays or atheists. A Christian can say the most hateful things about both these groups without even seeing it as hateful. No doubt extremist Islamists do not see discrimination against women as discrimination. They just see it as the natural order of things.

    My problem with Mo’s last line is not his meaning, it’s his use of the word “chicks”. For some reason that seems out of character to me. Too contemporary? Too slang?

    Think about this for a second, folks. There is a country in this world, on this planet, where women are not allowed to drive a car. Just let that sink in for a moment. Can that really be true? No. That’s impossible. Not on this planet, surely. (mind boggles).

  133. Mary2 says:

    DH, ” It reminds me of the Christian attitude – it’s not discrimination if it’s against gays or atheists”. I quite agree with you and have always been bemused by this double standard. Just recently I was involved in what I thought was a polite discussion with differing opinions relating to policy surrounding the treatment of people seeking asylum. Two sides formed in the discussion which were passionately but respectfully discussed. The issue of race and race discrimination was raised and, again, discussed without causing offense. Then one person on the minority side started screaming (not exagerating) about how we were disagreeing with her because she was a Christian (first mention of religion) and how it did not make her a bad person to be opposed to homosexuality (first mention of sexuality). She went on and on proclaiming her support for the biblical statements regarding homosexuality while accusing everyone else of persecuting her for her beliefs. Bear in mind this was a discussion on refugees and neither religion nor sexual orientation had been raised. I was quite gobsmacked by the hypocrisy of this person crying victim whilst simultaneously implying that it was perfectly moral to condemn gays to death by stoning and then to eternal torture (while she assured us that some of her best friends were gay). This was the most extreme version I have encountered but it is certainly a common phenomenon that the same people who would be outraged at hate-speech against ethnic groups feel the same sentiments against gay/atheist people is somehow not offensive, hurtful or discriminatory.

    Good point about Islamists not seeing discrimination against women although I believe it holds true for certain brands of Christians as well. I have had several discussions with people who justify the bible endorsement of ‘man as the head of the household’ and ‘woman’s master is man as man’s master is God’ as being, in fact, the opposite of discriminatory against women. They tell me about all the extra responsbility the man must suffer under and how it is not devaluing women at all to curtail them to activities within the house because it is ‘separate but equal’ gender roles etc. etc.

  134. Mary2 says:

    two cents’ worth, after thinking about DH’s post about the differing standards of acceptable/not discrimination it makes me even sadder that we would even contemplate aquiescing (spelling OK AOS?) to gender segregation. If a speaker approached a university and told them that s/he would not speak unless the Black people were on a separate side of the room to the Whites no one would pause for a second before telling this speaker to go away. But women are expected to quietly take one for the team.

  135. Mike N says:

    I haven’t had time to go through all the comments thoroughly, so please forgive me if this has already been posted. There is a petiton on the problem calling for UK Universities to recall their advise. You can reach it through Maryam’s blog, but, hopefully, here it is:

  136. Undeluded says:

    AoS and DH – could we tone this down a notch, please? (I am referring to possible posts in future strips of J&M).

    I find that your attitude to smee is not “please explain yourself” (despite the fact that these words do appear sometimes), but “Defend Yourself!” (capitals and exclamation mark intentional). Something like “here is the [very circumstantial] case against you – how do you plead?”

    I have no idea why smee chose to say what he said – for all I know he is everything you charge him to be. His choice of words in his initial post (‘filthy’) was, indeed, unfortunate, as it was addressed at a “regular” at the C&B. Poor netiquette. Then what might have been a tongue-in-cheek reference to feminists’ silence on FGM etc., became a definite tongue-in-cheek response from Ophelia – and all hell broke loose, with misinterpretations all over the place! Distasteful, to say the least.

    Many references to bullying and its demerits were made. Please go over your attacks (yes, that’s what they were) again, and see if they, too, don’t qualify for this title.

    And DH – being potty-mouthed for fun… ummm, no. 🙁 Glad to know it’s not your style. But when it did appear, I did not see the fun in it – in fact, my first reaction was to urge you to wash your mouth (or keyboard) with soap!

    Our “adversaries” on this blog are not (believe it or not) the believers! We can handle them adequately (and very enjoyably) in civilized discourse. We are challenged by blog abusers – mainly educated ranters and idiots (Nassar is neither, and I think smee has not proved to be one). Seeing the dearth of such postings, I conclude that Author is doing a good job of filtering them off.

    However, one or two may just happen to slip through. I would suggest that after the initial “Huh?!?!” response, to just ignore them. They’ll either come back with a more sensible and palatable message, or be blocked off by Author (despite his claim of not monitoring anyone who has passed the initial posting). Please – if you must – try foaming at the mouth gracefully. 😉

  137. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    There are none so blind as they that will not see.
    If resisting their tactics – even when one knows those tactics well and can recognise them blindfolded – is bullying, then fuck it, I give up.
    Let the haters win. Yay for the haters.

  138. hotrats says:

    As Undeluded appears to be the only one here with a brain and a sense of proportion… (smee)

    I was tempted to suggest that Undeluded had succumbed to bare-faced flattery, but to be fair his response is a model of disinterest. I would only suggest that having already offered the ‘explain yourself’ route, AoS and DH were simply responding to the fact that he had been unable/unwilling to do so.

    After reading all the background I have to agree that it seems that if smee could offer a rational account of his posts, he would already have done so, so he is now not so much being attacked as, as it were, being ‘asked for his papers’ – what is the purpose of your visit to this site? – which any reasonable person should be able to answer without innuendo or hyperbole.

    I haven’t added much to the discussion myself, not only because responding to trolls just feeds their egos, but because nobody who uses the expression ‘potty mouth’ in public should expect to be taken seriously.

  139. Undeluded says:

    There is nothing worse in civilized discourse than jumping to unwarranted conclusions! AoS – the fact that you see a pattern could lead you to suspicion of its source, but not to a blatant accusation. Furthermore, lack of denial may strengthen your case but it does not constitute proof.

    Yes, I agree that we all would like to see smee explain himself. His silence may be for exactly the reasons some of you claim. I would also love to see some of Nassar’s conversational prose – but lack of it does not prove he cannot do so.

    Therefore, until I see concrete evidence to the contrary, such as like a hate-filled message from smee denouncing women or atheists or scientists or whirling dervishes (or such as a “Hi, fellas” from Nassar) – he has the benefit of my doubt.

    hotrats – You have succumbed to the temptation re the flattery thing; you posted it! Please note that my approach regarding smee began long before his reference to me, and was steadfast consistently. And disinterest? Pray, how?

  140. smee says:

    Yet more flames. Along with more sense and proportion from undeluded. Aos ,DH, do you really expect an answer to “When did I stop beating my wife?” Oh please.

  141. smee says:

    Aos “I think smee can join Nassar on the naughty cliff”

    “SPOING “

  142. Author says:

    Enough now.

    Sign this petition, if you haven’t already.