Ok, so you may have heard that Scott Adams of Dilbert fame opened up his big old mouth, and slipped a foot into it. Essentially he said that arguing with women was like arguing with children or the mentally handicapped, but he TOTALLY isn’t comparing those groups, he just thinks you should treat them the same. Then he went over to a post on it at Feministe and informed everyone… Well, I’ll let his words stand for themselves:
“Is this an entire website dedicated to poor reading comprehension? I don’t think one of you understood the writing. You’re all hopping mad about your own misinterpretations.
“That’s the reason the original blog was pulled down. All writing is designed for specific readers. This piece was designed for regular readers of The Scott Adams blog. That group has an unusually high reading comprehension level.”
Yeah, apparently no one informed him that, “Nuh-uh! YOU’RE dumb!” is neither an award winning debate tactic, nor any way to win friends and influence people. And let us just set aside that the majority of his “specific readers” were the ones calling him on his bullshit in the first place, which is why he pulled the damn post down. Say what you will about the Penny Arcade guys, but at least they have the courage to let what they say stand, instead of trying to erase it.
So I was discussing this with a friend last night over drinks. I love her dearly, but I still think she’s wrong, but as we’d started drinking on empty stomachs I decided it was best to let it lie until I could figure out why I thought she was wrong. And then we got distracted by old Almost Live* clips on Youtube and “The Engineer’s Guide to Cats” and the “Ballad of GI Joe” among other things, and never revisited it. But it’s been bugging me and I think I’ve solidified it.
My friend said, “He just doesn’t get why that’s wrong.”
I call bullshit.
I really doubt it is possible to exist in society without knowing that equating other adults with children (we’ll leave aside the able-ism of his mentally handicapped comment) is ignorant, wrong and fucking rude, regardless of whether the adults you’re equating with children are of another gender or another race. And don’t give me, “He said he wasn’t comparing them!” No, he said that you should just treat them like children. Treat adult women like children.
Because that’s not regressive, obnoxious and fucking awful or anything. Or screamingly sexist.
Remember we’ve got the GGR Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook page.
*Almost Live is hilarious if you’re from or live in Seattle. Comedy Central tried to syndicate it, but the majority of the humor is far too local knowledge driven, like the Ballad Driving Academy or COPS in Redmond. When I first moved here I had no idea why people thought it was funny, but after about two years, I understood the jokes and laughed myself sick.
6 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #160 – I Call Bullshit.”
So, reading his original blog post… Uhm… How can we do anything abut the fact that men have a lower life expectancy?
I maintain that if its possible for people to escape punishment from the law for not being able to understand what they’ve done (insanity defense or mental retardation, too young, etc.), we can show a teensy (not a lot, mind you) bit of slack for nerd boys who may have been promoted to head of the geeks because he’s funny and not for his massive interpersonal skills.
I don’t think that a reason excuses the behavior, though. I just can’t think of a way to communicate to him that he’s wrong in a way that a) he’d understand and b) be able to comprehend, given the Interwebs are our only available medium. I don’t think this means he’s evil, but I do think it borders on serious stupid, and can do a lot of damage.
Does that bridge the gap between viewpoints here? “He should know better” just doesn’t seem an appropriate epithet when it’s so very obvious (and sad) that he doesn’t.
Some people in the world are worth the time and effort to straighten out, if only for the fact that their new heading could guide other people safely to sane arguments and because they CAN be guided (at least under some circumstances). I’m just not sure how the blogosphere can really handle the ego of someone saying something publicly idiotic AND help them understand why it’s idiotic AND help them change their minds. It’s more of a medium to express opinion, outrage, and the occasional good thing in the world, but from my reading, not so much on the changing-people’s-minds-who-are-already-made-up front nor managing the embarrassment of admitting you are wrong, nor on the forgiveness when you try to get it right. If you’ve ever had an argument with a friend, you need a gentler touch to make the world a better place between you two and on the topic at hand. I’d love to see you (or other bloggers) explore how to implement that.
Also, totally ok with you thinking I’m wrong–sometimes I am. Which sucks, but I’ll get over it. 🙂
Ok, I maintain that if there is any way, shape or form in which you have developed and maintained the view that you should treat other legally competent adults (as a large group) as children, then you have done so as an act of willful ignorance.
How long have adult women had the same legal status as adult men in this country (roughly, what, nearly a hundred years)? And somehow this has escaped his notice?
And just because there are other similarly damaged human beings up and sucking air does not make it ok, just as it doesn’t make it ok for white people to be racist or straight people to be homophobic.
There really isn’t any excuse for this. He isn’t claiming mental disease or defect, and nor is anyone accusing him of this. He’s claiming we’re just not smart enough to understand him, and we’re claiming that he said some incredibly sexist shit, and by extension, if he believes these things (and he indicates he does) that he is sexist.
There is absolutely no fucking excuse for believing women are inferior people. None. It’s not like he’s just rolling in from Bumfuck, Utah or something. (just for the record I wouldn’t excuse it if he was from there, either)
I fully believe in cutting slack where slack is due, and freely do give it from time to time, honestly. But this? Nope.
It’s not like he’s some 14 year old kid with a redneck dad. He’s an adult. He’s at LEAST our age. Plenty old enough to have met, interacted with, and come to respect women.
That he hasn’t says REAMS about him. Like I said, it’s a lot of work to remain so ignorant in the world.
I object to equating legal insanity to his massive glaring ‘blind spot’. His actions are deliberate. It would have been one thing if he had read the comments/objections from his long time readers and said, y’know? You’re right, I didn’t intend for this to be taken that way but you have a point, I apologize and then posted a response to the effect. But instead he pulled his post and called those with reasonable complaints ‘stupid’ in a fancy pants way to make himself feel better. His post was massively insulting, regressive, and has made him look awful. I won’t be reading or supporting his work anymore.
I read that initially on a tumblr post of a friend of mine’s, and it was as BS then as it ever was. Heck, even in the post itself he went on about how he wasn’t comparing women to children and the mentally handicapped, but that’s how you should treat them… because apparently life is an American sitcom and women are just SOOO irrational and hard to deal with.
He cannot get away with the 'defence' of saying it was for his readers. He cannot say anything of the like because it's utter BS and I don't believe at all that he should be treated with kids' gloves and taught how to behave. He either should be old enough to know better, or else he's as willfully ignorant as most republicans. I have one of his books and now I feel bad for ever giving him any money.
Not to mention that he's a coward on top of it for taking down the post to try and avoid any responsibility for it. Not going to happen, buddy! This is the Internet, where people bashing the little girl shot by the misogynistic A-hole at that democrat meet and greet on Facebook were kept alive and Sarah Palin's "Gun Down Those Who Oppose You!" postings were saved. NOTHING disappears.