Who the hell is @Becky_Garrison?

And how can a blogging network have so little regard for the truth? Stephanie Zvan cyber-stalks and bizarrely documents every encounter with the creature from the black lagoon and the slymepit. Apparently Becky was deeply offended by being placed on a block list for having covered a story concerning PZ and Michael Shermer with journalistic integrity. Unfortunately, PZ has taken to declaring Becky a part of a conspiracy theory that PZ controls minions who control twitter and blogging and other stuff. If only PZ understood psychology and the law then this might not be a problem.

What really happened

I don’t really have enough time in my life to rebut whenever PZ attacks someone (that’s what Michael Shermer’s lawyers are for) but I feel obligated to speak out on behalf of Becky Garrison again. She’s not a blogger, not an atheist, not a theist, not a freethought bully, nor involved with either side of this story. The problem is that according to one side you must pick sides (their side) or you are on the other side. It’s a place where a journalist can’t go. Unless of course we are the American Cable News Media.

So Becky was covering the story via twitter about the controversy surrounding PZ and Shermer when she was demanded by another twitter-er to denounce Shermer, pick PZ’s side, and fall in line with Team PZ or else be an enemy of feminism forever. A little hyperbolic about the enemy of feminism…but you get the drift. I interjected at a certain point in the defense of this woman of character. I jumped directly to insults, as I’m just over the debate about feminism these days…another issue I’ll probably never cover again – but I digress. It cause me no end of trouble as I waded down a deep and dipshitty rabbit-hole.

Nonetheless, this is about Becky. She was placed on the block bot at the request of someone who had nothing to do with the block bot (but is friends with people who run the damn thing – hmmmm). She was told that she was an enemy of A+ and that she was essentially a rape apologist. Later Oolon redacted the placement of Becky on the block bot, which I suppose was a good thing, although it still does not lend credibility to the thing itself…whatever the block bot is.

So why did PZ write about Becky so long after the incident? Oh yes! Because Becky has compared the mentality of all the A+, FTB, Rad-Fem drama yo-yo’s as that of the same hive-mind that has destroyed and derailed other movements. I believe I read that somewhere else recently…

I’ve had many conversations recently with Becky about the future of the atheist movement, secular movement (yes they are separate things), progressive Christian movement, and the fundamentalist movement. My ultimate concern is what is left of the tattered shreds of our Constitution. It’s been sorely eroded and I’d like to ensure that whatever is left of it is kept intact, as much as is possible. And all of these groups play a major role in that. These side-issues about A+, and progressive Christianity, and whatever else are just that – SIDE ISSUES. But they are important because they set the tone for the backdrop of that Constitutional conversation in the political playing field. And who covers that? Who keeps us informed of that? Who is involved with these issues from every single group?

Well it’s certainly not Peezus or Zvan. They are stuck with tunnel-vision attacking anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their “Sith Lord Agenda“.

But Becky, who I admire and respect, has been covering this since long before the blogosphere was a place for anyone with a minute amount of literary skill to gain a following. Becky is a class act and anyone should be honored to work with her if she ever reaches out to them to cover any religious piece. She treats people fairly, gives an accurate representation of both sides of any given story, and usually is given the same courtesy by the people she interviews even if they do not see eye to eye….unless you’re Stephanie Zvan – who publishes those questions and interviews on her own blog without any regard for the journalist. Wait – what?!?! Yeah, Becky reached out to Stephanie a while back and asked questions to make a fair and accurate piece about some of the goings-on within the freethought community only to see her questions answered in a published blog a few hours later.

The parallels between the atheist movement and the Republican Party are pretty staggering. That’s the future if the leaders don’t grab some intestinal fortitude and shut out the crazies to the sidelines. I’ll just keep doing what I do.

Oh YEAH! The question –

Who the hell is @Becky_Garrison?

Becky Garrison contributes to a range of outlets including The Washington Post‘s On Faith column,The GuardianReligion DispatchesFree InquiryThe HumanistBelieve Out Loud, and American Atheist. Her seven books include Roger Williams’ Little Book of Virtues, and Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review). From 1994 to 2008, she wrote for the now defunct Wittenburg Door, the nation’s oldest, largest and only religious satire magazine where she rose to the rank of Senior Contributing Editor. 


I’ll now go back to my regularly scheduled duties of military stuffness. Carry on!

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  • Fred Bailey

    This was a long and tedious read. I am so very glad I do not give a damn about ‘conferences,’ and wouldn’t attend one, even for money. Ideologues irk me if I haven’t gotten enough sleep. If I’m in good form, they just bore me.

    The point of speaking on the ‘net about these things is to affect the world and make rockier the road the theocrats must travel. I am out of patience with these huge structures of dogma about issues that are irrelevant to that end. I don’t want to argue Trotskyite versus Maoist, I don’t want to belabor dictionaries about definitions of the word atheist, and I don’t want to count angels on pins about feminism. None of these things help any.

    We have an urgent, serious threat from theocrats in this society; could we please give some thought to that?

    • Paul Loebe

      That’s the only thing I care about, anymore. I’m done with social justice. I’m done with atheism vs theism. I’m done with all the dumb shit. If it’s not involving fighting the theocrats in Congress I really don’t give a shit.

      • I think there is some merit in flying the atheist banner simply to remind the world that we are here, that theism is not the only option, and that we are not going to allow continued violations of our rights. But I too am finding that I’m more interested in church-state separation than attempting to push political correctness on other atheists, which appears to be what passes for social justice in some circles.

  • Fred Bailey

    For clarity, the long read resulted from my following the links to the crazy long discussion of the doxxing of this woman. Charge and countercharge about incivility and ideological tactics– every time I go have a look at the FtB thing I see the same inanities. This thing is consuming our attention unduly, he said, understating it a bit.

    I am sixty years old. I cut my teeth in movement politics when the New Left was transforming politics in 1968. I saw much fruitless discussion of socialist doctrine, communist doctrine, anarchist doctrine, nonviolence doctrine, and so on, while everyone picked a position and so splintered themselves into mini-factions– factionettes, if you will, each with its own creed. Between that shit and the drugs, the whole thing ate itself. I do not recommend that the freethought/humanist/secularist movement follow that abysmal example.

    • Paul Loebe

      Atheism: we eat more than just babies. We eat our own.

  • EllenBeth Wachs

    Please take whatever you read on Zvan’s blog with a grain of salt. She cherry picks tweets and screenshots to frame her narrative without giving the entire story. It is incredibly disingenuous.

    She posted a tweet of mine with a screenshot “proving” that Sarah Jones had only asked for Becky to be put on the Block Bot in contrast to what Becky had claimed -that Sarah had asked for a number of people to be placed on there. Becky didn’t name the other people but I happen to know she was correct as do you, Paul, don’t you? You were one of them along with Cat Burns. Sarah just did it at a different time than the tweet that Zvan used to try to prove Becky was lying.

    • Paul Loebe

      That’s correct. This was the same time I was placed on the block bot for calling Sarah and Oolon “fuckbags”

    • bismarket 1

      There’s a very few Bloggers on *THAT network that i’m increasingly frustrated about the fact they haven’t jumped ship yet. I can understand loyalty but by staying some may see them as acquiescing to the behaviour of some others. I know it may seem unfair but i’m reminded of that quote about the Nazi’s that ends with “When they came for me, there was no-one left to speak out”. It would be better IMO if they left them TOTALLY irrelevant & easier for the mainstream to ignore. Then again, i could be asking for way too much & being very unreasonable, any thoughts?

  • bismarket 1

    So she’s never had a job teaching at a place called South Park Colorado then? If there is a *Bright side* to this, the members & supporters of the extreme elements on the sidelines of our community prove themselves to be as irrelevant as most of us know they are. The handful of decent bloggers at FtB should (IMO) leave the network, as they give the majority some gravitas (from association) they are far from deserving.

    • bexgee

      Never taught at South Park. Was never a man. Don’t have a hand puppet as my alter ego. And I definitely never ever have had wild sex with Mr. Dawkins – nor do I want to do so – I leave married guys alone. 🙂

      I chose not to name names during this last exchange because anyone with a pulse knows how much crap went down starting on Aug 19th when I posted a link to the MShermer fund asking for evidence of rape – not an endorsement. I didn’t want the people EllenBeth referenced below to get harassed again nor did I want to tip off this crew that I was bitching, whining about them. When pressed, I finally cited a few people affiliated with FtB crew but then after Ophelia jumped on my feed, I chose not to name anyone else.

      Bottom line – and I said this when the emergent church boys kept doing likewise (seriously I can show you of their threads that are just as bad as this FtB BS) – don’t pay to play in their playgrounds anymore. It might take a few conferences tanking for those running these shows to get the hint that inviting these people to speak will hit them in the pocketbook. Also, don’t buy their books, etc.

      • bismarket 1

        Thanx for the reply. I couldn’t agree more re; Conferences/conventions, i just hope the organisations don’t take too long over it.

  • UWIR

    It would be a bit nice to have more details for the less knowledgeable of us, such as what block list this is, and from what the members of the list are being blocked. Also a bit of a grammatical nitpick on this sentence:

    “So Becky was covering the story via twitter about the controversy surrounding PZ and Shermer when she was demanded by another twitter-er to denounce Shermer, pick PZ’s side, and fall in line with Team PZ or else be an enemy of feminism forever.”

    This is meant as a passive voice version of this:

    “… another twitter-er demanded that she denounce Shermer, pick PZ’s side, and fall in line with Team PZ or else be an enemy of feminism forever.

    In passive voice, the object of a verb is made the subject of the copula followed by the original verb. However, the object of “demanded” is not “Becky”, but the entire phrase “Becky denounce…”. So it should be “Becky’s denouncing of Shermer was demanded”, not “Becky was demanded”. Or you could just keep it in active voice, and avoid the complications entirely. Also, a simpler term, rather than “twitter-er”, would be “tweeter”.