An Open Letter to the World at Large


Dear Everyone;

Hello! Its nice to make your acquaintance. Please let me introduce myself.


I’m a lefty, intersectional feminist who has a Youtube channel (links included if you’d like to check it out). I like making videos, and have gotten somewhat better at them over time. It generally takes me a while to put videos together, mostly because of the editing and audio and all of that.

That has gotten frustrating for me as I have a lot to say about a lot of things. So it occurred to me that making a blog so that I can plug some of those opinion gaps would be…cool. I am adorably arrogant enough to believe that my opinions need sharing!

No, it’s adorable. Really.

I also have a lot of opinions on things outside of the political sphere that I never get around to, and there are many sides that I can’t show on the tubes.

And I want to get to know you-all, too. I am sure that you are just as adorably opinionated as I am, and provided you show some basic courtesy in your responses I will happily read your comments and interact as best as I can.

So thank you for reading, and I shall talk to you again very soon.

Yours with love,




An Open Letter to Atheist Podcasters and Conference Speakers, from a Rape Survivor and Youtube Feminist. We Need to Talk.

Hello, everyone. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintances.129204gamergate ecelebs

A brief introduction is in order. While this blog is quite new, I have been a feminist on Youtube for about a year and a half. At the time I started my channel, Youtube had become extraordinarily hostile to people who had an interest in progressive politics. Many people were being bullied, dogpiled and harassed to the point of shutting their channels down. I started doing content around social justice issues because Youtube is often the first place people go nowadays for information, and it was important for feminists to hold the line. I am, well… just the right kind of bitch for that sort of job.

I also thought that I could be someone who might help bring a little humanism back to YT atheist/ skeptic community. I now wonder how I could ever have been so naïve.

Most importantly for this blog, I am one of the people who were trying to warn the Mythcon organizers as to the nature of their speakers, particularly Sargon of Akkad, a fellow I have unfortunately known for some time. When it became clear that the Mythcon people were not interested, my peers and I just tried to warn as many others in the community as possible. If they want to platform people like this, at the very least we would make sure they had to own their decision, and we were not going to let them say they weren’t warned.

Let me introduce you to the Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon) that I know.


Carl came to prominence on Youtube as the most public mouthpiece of the movement called GamerGate. (If you are unfamiliar with that movement…that’s a good thing, really. It’s beyond the purview of this blog but I’ll try to include some sources about it. Incidentally, fellow conference speaker June Lapine aka Shoeonhead also came up during the GG years as a figure associated with that movement).gamergate ecelebs

Carl’s first video was regarding frequent GG target Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist critic of video games who received death and rape threats regularly. Carl made over 30 videos about her specifically and a great many others that discussed her.

When I say “discussed” that is somewhat euphemistic. Carl has referred to her over the years as a con artist (implying she either instigated or perhaps even fabricated her years of well-documented abuse), a cult leader, a bitch, an authoritarian bigot against white men, and many other interesting charges. The master of the mixed message, he would tell his followers not to harass her- as that would be ‘money in her pocket’, but also that her harassment was an inevitable consequence of her bigotry. He has stated numerous times that he and other “anti-sjw’s” are in a culture war against “regressives” and “cultural Marxists”.

(I will link a video I made about this topic, though I must apologize- it’s unfortunately not as well edited as I would like.)


So let’s just skip the “I-told-you-so’s” as given, and move on to why we were speaking up. Let’s be frank- genuine debate with progressives is something Carl has attempted a few times, to his detriment. He sucks at it. Naturally, he prefers to stick to his actual strengths: propaganda and harassment.

Let’s review some highlights:

~ After mass shooter Elliot Rogers’ deadly rampage, Carl responded to feminist Laci Green’s video on the subject by – ever so rationally- blaming the event on her in particular and the “fucking feminist SYSTEM!!” in general. This was delivered in a histrionic rant that has to be heard to be properly appreciated.

~ Carl holds a grudge against my friend, atheist Youtuber Steve Shives, for his progressivism. Carl has tried some interesting (ok, fraudulent) tactics to get Steve to debate him but has been refused. So, of course, he called upon his rationality and wit to…attack Steve’s wife. He took a two-minute video she appeared in where Steve asks her if she finds his TV show preferences sexist and she admitted she did, and from that deduced that she was a vicious harpy, forcing her feminist ideas upon poor, emotionally abused Steve. This has caused her to be attacked and maligned by many online trolls for years.

~ When British Member of Parliament and known sexual assault survivor Jess Phillips went public with a campaign to curb online harassment of women, you might have thought a guy like Carl- who includes his dedication to ‘rational arguments backed by evidence’ in his channel description- would immediately start constructing clear, concise and cogent arguments detailing his concerns, the better to win in the ‘free marketplace of ideas’.
Alright, you can stop snickering now. No, of course he didn’t. This was, as you might have guessed, the occasion of his infamous tweet to her, stating, “I wouldn’t even rape you, Jess Phillips”. Then his followers, who are among the most reliable of lemmings, began to all tweet the same; so that when she woke up that morning she had literally hundreds of messages from people negatively evaluating her rapeability.

~ Carl had a debate with feminist Dr. Kristi Winters (full disclosure, another friend and associate). Kristi was savvy enough to insist upon a structured and moderated format, and she trounced him. He was so clearly bested that he had to apologize to his fans.

Now, Kristi let him know that she was open to a rematch, but unsurprisingly he did not choose that approach. Instead, a couple of months later he decided to start a dogpile against her, asking her repeatedly about the ‘feminist issue’ of ‘tight Asian p-ssy’ (this was based on an article he’d seen about the objectification of Asian women that had absolutely nothing to do with Kristi whatsoever) and he and his followers spent hours tweeting and re-tweeting pervy questions and innuendoes to her on the subject. This dogpile included one follower posting a ‘joke poll’ as to whether or not people would ‘even’ rape her- which Carl liked and re-tweeted.

~ One day when Carl was out shopping, he encountered a retail worker who was wearing (gasp) a “Feminist” t-shirt. He took her picture without her permission and posted it online, along with the name of the shop and the location. After this doxing, she was so badly harassed at work and frightened for her safety the police had to be involved.

~  When it became known that Alexsandr Kolpakov from the Youtube channel “The Skeptic Feminist” had murdered one of his female channel-mates (they were in a poly-amorous relationship) Carl and some of his friends went on a ghoulish livestream where he spent two hours awkwardly laughing at jokes like “there’s a feminist that got triggered for the last time”. Keep in mind he knew the members of this channel, had had a livestream with them and in fact they were the moderators of his debate with Dr. Winters. Yet he is unable to behave with empathy and consideration for others even when it involves people he knows.


Look, I could go on for some time about this ‘brolosopher’ and his consistent pattern of horrendous anti-social behavior, but it gets tiresome after a while.  He is tiresome. At this point it’s fair to say that harassment (of many people but of women in particular) is his brand. He has no reason to actually engage in rational debate with anyone: he’s no good at it and the crap he pulls instead is working out just fine- for him, anyway. It’s a lot easier to play off his British accent and when truly challenged, smirk and point to his cheering followers as opposed to actually trying to defend the indefensible.

I did appreciate Thomas Smith’s attempt to challenge him, even as the “debate” degenerated into a bad Jerry Springer episode and he found himself the target of innuendoes and lies. We from the YT social justice community had really hoped it wouldn’t get this far- but the ‘tubes have started to be a lot less profitable for these guys so I suppose it was inevitable.

It’s funny in a way. People like Carl have made Youtube a real-life experiment in the Paradox of Tolerance, and now that they have burned this cash-cow out with their toxicity (turns out Nazi memes aren’t advertiser-friendly- who knew?) they are forced to leave their basements and bring their show on the road.sargonmeme

And that brings me to that part of the debate, when Carl’s rapey, sinister attack on Jess Phillip came up. And the crowd went wild with cheering.

I burst into tears. I couldn’t stop crying.

It took me two days to calm down so I could write this.

You see, shitlords like Carl can smirk and laugh about being “triggered”, can tell people like me that we need to learn to take a joke, but it doesn’t work that way. Believe me, I wish it did. I wish I didn’t have a button that people could push that makes my heart clench in pain and fear and leave me feeling only that much more broken and alone every time.Rape victim

That’s why it took me so long to publicly speak up about it, and it leaves me genuinely afraid. I have handed a weapon to people who will not hesitate to use it against me. There isn’t anything I can do about that. But I wasn’t thinking about that right then- I was just feeling angry and helpless and angry and sad and alone and so…angry.

I tweeted out that I was furious at the atheist community, and I was. That I was devastated, and I was. That I couldn’t forgive.

I don’t know if that’s true yet.
The response from (non-feminist) atheists was anything but heartening. I was accused of being a Christian who was attacking them because of their lack of faith, which is laughable. I know because my husband laughed for like ten minutes straight. Darlings, I was unbelieving long before Hitchens made it cool.

I was lectured about how there is no atheist community, and I’m an idiot.

I was lectured about how I shouldn’t label the movement based on the actions of some of it members. When I mentioned maybe they ought to go tell it to the people making their community look bad instead of rape victims who get upset about the abhorrent actions of this (significant) few- after all, it wasn’t like all Catholic priests molested kids. Just enough to make it a problem, and not enough people doing the right thing about the ‘bad apples’; well then I was lectured about the immorality of virtue signaling.

I was told to shut the fuck up, c-nt. No one wanted to hear it.

And then there were one or two edgelords who were…kind. Decent. Empathetic, even.

So there is just enough hope to make it worth another shot.


Well, here we are. I can’t imagine this is where anyone wanted to be, but… we don’t always get to choose.

If there is one thing I think we would all agree on, it’s that we would like to see the atheist/ skeptic/ humanist/ whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it movement be a positive force for secular values and normalization of the non-religious.

I couldn’t embrace the movement as it is now, myself. It is far too toxic, and toxic environments lead inevitably to abuses and harm. We all need to take some hard looks at ourselves and then start to talk honestly about how it got this way. We have to find the way out. Simply abandoning the whole enterprise is not acceptable; the dangers of anti-secularist, anti-science thinking have never been more dire. Doing nothing and hoping it fixes itself somehow is also unacceptable.

That just won’t work.

But there are many reasons to be hopeful. For one thing- isn’t fighting back against bad ideas kind of what you guys do? And do not be fooled- of course this is a battle of ideas. People like Sargon would have you believe that his is amoral and non-ideological; neutral. This could not be farther from the truth. While he is a bad example overall because his actions and statements are so contradictory and confused (a ‘left-leaning liberal’ who supported Brexit, Trump, LePen, and a wide assortment of other far-right causes; an ‘anti-authoritarian’ who calls for police violence against protesters, a ‘free speech absolutist’ who has attempted to / sometimes succeeded in de-platforming feminists (including me- I did cuss him out twitter once and that is against the rules, so fair enough- he reported me and I got a 12 hour time-out.)

Then again, I have heard, on very rare occasions, that a religious person may not practice when they preach…shocking but there are rumors to that effect. I suspect you may have heard them, perhaps even encountered the phenomenon for yourselves? I think you may find this to be similar.

So my recommendations are as follows: we need to get to know each other better. The podcasters, the Youtube content creators, the conference organizers. We need to build some bridges and find a way to work together, support one another. We need to challenge bad ideas with better ones, and we need to do it carefully and thoughtfully- because as we have seen, recklessness leads to…well, Milwaukee, apparently.

In any case, thanks for reading. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Yours With Love;




An Open Letter to Anyone Who Doesn’t Get Poetry (But Would Like To)….


Hello Wanna-Be Poetry Getters, it is soooo cool to meet you! Happy Poetry Day! Come on over, don’t be shy-

Oh, ok. Too much?

I get your trepidation. The feeling like you’re about to fail an exam in Hipster 101, as if some snotty aesthete is just dying to expose you as the dumb unlettered doofus you secretly worry you are or something. I even get the urge to pre-emptively strike out with a few eye-rolls or a disclaimer.

But just relax. This is not a test. There is no secret meaning that you have to get by following confusing clues. Poetry is a different territory than prose, but it’s a cool place once you get the lay of the land. That’s what I’m going start to give you today.

There are a few things it will help you to understand about poetry. First- poetry is a spoken word medium. In that sense (and in many other senses, really) it is a lot like stand-up comedy. There’s a person, usually alone, on a stage, and with little more than their own words in their own voice they are going to try to reach out to the audience. Comedians will try to make you laugh.

As for poets, well…let’s just say it depends and leave it at that for now.

The take home here is that when you read a poem, you should remember that it is meant to be HEARD, even if you only hear it in the confines of your head. The sound of the words, the rhythm, the metrical play of the lines- are all as important if not more so than the technical definitions of the word. The lines may break on the breath or with the rhyme if there is one.

One poem you probably read in high school was Gwendolyn Brooks. Remember “we jazz june/ we die soon”? Its rightly famous, and Brooks is a master of this aspect of poetry.

Consider the first stanza of “A Light and Diplomatic Bird”:Bird-Blossoms-Image-GraphicsFairy-734x1024

A light and diplomatic bird

Is lenient in my window tree.

A quick dilemma of the leaves

Discloses twist and tact to me.


Now you could sit there and try to figure out the meaning of this word by word and that would be as pointless and annoying as trying to figure out the meaning of a saxophone solo by mapping out the notes on paper. Don’t do that- listen to them, feel them on your tongue, hear them in your ears- enjoy them.

The poetry above is not in the ‘meaning’ but rather in the play of the words, the “l”s. “t”s and “d”s repeated and patterned together, and in the way the sounds create the visual and tactile sense of a bird on a tree limb, rustling in the wind.

And I would be remiss not to include the famous poem “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe. While the poem should be read in its entirety (and I will link all the poems here) I will just include the beautifully musical first stanza….


Hear the sledges with the bells–

Silver bells!

What a world of merriment their melody foretells!

How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

In the icy air of night!

While the stars that oversprinkle

All the heavens, seem to twinkle

With a crystalline delight;

Keeping time, time, time,

In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells

From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells–

From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Ohhhh, ‘tintinnabulation’ alone is poetry junkie crack. I’m sorry to say it but there it is.

That note of pure pleasure aside, though, both the backbeating rhythm and the lovely imagery on this poem sets us up for the decline that we start to anticipate right from the clue of the melody that “foretells” in the “icy air of night”.

Speaking of which, the next thing you should know about poets is that they use vivid imagery, and like to invoke as many senses as possible. A poet will start with a metaphor and then twist it, heighten it, make it absurd or obscene and try to bring it to life as much as possible.

When Eileen Myles writes in her poem, “Prophecy”

I’m playing with the devil’s cock

Its like a crayon

Its like a fat burnt crayon

I’m writing a poem with it


….well, that’s a spicy little sonata, aint it?

And why describe a baby in some boring cliched Hallmark card manner when you could say, as Robert Fitzgerald did, that he is “mashed and wrinkled like an old pugilist” (in “Figlio Maggore”?)

Or perhaps you have felt a bit of existential misery at the human condition, and wanted to express that but didn’t know how? Well, you could take a tip from James Wright in “A Secret Gratitude”, and say:deer paint-by-numbers-color-by-numbers

We are men.

We are capable of anything.

We could have killed every one of those deer.

The very moon of lovers tore herself with the agony of a wounded tigress

Out of our side.

We can kill anything.

We can kill our own bodies.

Those deer on the hillside have no idea what in hell

We are except murderers.

They know that much, and don’t think

They don’t.

Man’s heart is the rotten yolk of a blacksnake egg

Corroding, as it is just born, in a pile of dead

Horse dung.

I have no use for the human creature.

He subtly extracts pain awake in his own kind.

I am born one, out of an accidental hump of chemistry.

I have no use.


And that about sums it up, yes?


Well, my friends, poetry is a bit of a big topic and this letter is getting long, but I hope this was a good start for you. I may well write you again. Now I know it seems as if we didn’t get all that far- two little things to think about- but then you don’t need much to enjoy poetry. The next time you encounter a poem, start out with these two entry points: the pleasure of the sounds, and the imagery (including not just visual images, but all the senses) rather than immediately trying to divine what it ‘means’ like a fortune teller looking at pictures at cards to figure out whether or not you will be ‘going on a journey’.

You already are on a journey. We all are. Take a good book.

A book of poems, perhaps.


Yours with love,


PS- As promised, here are some links:

An Open Letter to Free Speech Warriors: Please Stop Treating Speech as a White Male Entitlement- Its Making Freedom Look Bad.


Hey guys.

In the past couple of years, while I’ve been on Youtube, you’ve been coming to my channel, proudly and fervently announcing your ‘free speech absolutism’. You have denounced polite requests to avoid certain words, and then turned my comment section into the internet version of a port-a-potty on a hot festival day- just to make sure I got the message.  You have explained to me on numerous occasions how critiques of video games are a short, slippery slope away from Orwellian dictatorship, as conceived by Hitler and executed by Stalin.

Okay, that last description is slightly hyperbolic but not really by much- I hope you can admit you tend to be dramatic at times. However, I’ll say at least one of the basic points that you are getting at- that freedom of speech is a uniquely important freedom that requires protecting- is absolutely correct.

That’s why you really have to stop only bringing it up when Nazis and misogynists are the ones with the microphones. No one wants to protect a freedom that only seems to apply to the worst and most disgusting people society can produce, while skipping right over the ones we would ostensibly be protecting it FOR. That’s the argument, right? You protect the bad ones because- well once you give censorship power to someone, it’s an invitation to abuse, and the next thing you know, the nice people can’t talk either?

That sort of breaks down when you root for the bad guys exclusively and ignore everyone else….and also when you are selective about your bad guys. Let’s take a couple of illustrative examples.

James Damore and Colin Kaepernick 


You know, I have been a supervisor a few times at different jobs, and because I worked in Health and Human Services field there tended to be more women than men. Now I was good at what I did, but let me tell you right now- if I had decided to publish a long-form memo about how men were never going to come work with us because dudes were lazy, and only ever wanted one thing- but I am NOT SEXIST btw I am just trying to HELP I PROMISE- but maybe we needed to re-think the way we reached out to male employees in terms of their selfishness and sex drive and whatnot….


They would have fired me within an hour, and rightly so. But when James Damore did that in reverse at his own job at Google, and was shortly thereafter fired, it caused outrage.


This idea that you have unfettered free speech at work is bananas to me. It’s less about political correctness and more about professionalism, the fact that you are there to get something done with other people, not to indulge your personal interests. So, no, you can’t tell the boss what a doofus they are, you can’t confess your darkest sexual desires to coworkers at meetings, and you can’t sit in your cubicle yodeling all day as you work. I mean- you CAN- but you won’t have a very long tenure at your position.


That’s why the Damore thing just blows my mind. I mean, I have a friend who is afraid to tell her manager that the mold from the leaky ceiling in the backroom is making her sick, and this guy thinks publishing manifestos of sexist biotrufs to his whole company is a swell idea. I guess that’s privilege for you.


But ok, let’s say for the moment that this is a legitimate ‘free speech’ concern. This is a whole lot of ground to give, really- if we’re going to start the idea that you can say anything you want at work…. that’s a major change in how we structure employment in our society, but ok- for the sake of argument let’s say it.


But then- how come there isn’t the same outrage around Colin Kaepernick suffering professional consequences for his speech? I mean, from you guys specifically. Where are the videos, the outrage, the pearl-clutching comparisons to Stalinist Russia?


In fact- and this is the crux of the problem- how often do you rush to the defense of people who aren’t either 1. white men or 2. people who speak to the interests of white men? How often do you come riding to the rescue of the persecuted speakers who speak either for their own interests (which you don’t share) or even, heaven forbid, against you? And I don’t mean after you’ve been hounded about it- I mean how often do you actually abide by the principle you demand others respect- that you fully and unequivocally endorse the rights of speech that could actually hurt you?


Because that is what you are asking others to do, you realize. Not to ‘fight to the death’ for speech we don’t like, (though truly we don’t), but to stand by speech that is harmful to our interests. You are asking hard-working, professional women to accept it when some dude in their office writes about how they are maybe just inherently not suited for their chosen careers- never mind that this may lead to a (more) hostile work environment and harm their own prospects. You want trans people, who are the victims of violent crimes at extremely high rates, to tolerate speakers who have a history of doxing them and calling them sexual predators. In the light of mass shootings at churches and mosques, you want PoC to accept neo-nazis spreading their messages of hate openly and publicly in the communities where they live and work.


You want a lot of people to pay a very high price for this ‘free’ speech, which has in many cases served to perpetuate their own oppression.


This is a tall order, and as much as you may call me racist for noticing that you are mostly white dudes going to the mat for mostly pro-white-dude speech- but, well, there it is. And it always gives me a chuckle how you love to threaten us with- someday they will come for you! Oh, will they, someday? Sorry to break it to you- but we never had the kind of access you have had in the first place. That’s why we fight for things like ‘representation’ so often- and I’ve noticed it doesn’t really go over well. Hey, maybe you could try supporting those efforts, if only so that warning us about their loss might make some difference. Just a thought.


The “Free Speech Rally”


This rally, and some of your reactions to it, really highlights my pointfree speech rally and was key to my decision to write this to you.


Look, let’s be clear. White nationalists can call their little ‘hate-togethers’ Free Speech Rallies or whatever they want, but they don’t actually care about anyone’s speech but their own. They just need something that sounds better than ‘The We Hate Black People and Jews Rally’, and the principle of freedom of speech is literally the only reason anyone puts up with them at all.

I would have expected this to be obvious to everyone, but oddly many people seem under the impression that the people protesting these “Speech Rallies” were… actually protesting freedom of speech?




When you combine this with…say, young white men going on TV to talk about how appearing in Nazi marches holding tiki torches has impacted their social standing (oh, cry us all a river…)- but where are the local interviews with people of color talking about how white supremacists have impacted their lives- and they never asked for that nonsense? Did I just miss them- or did no one even consider doing them in the first place?


All this hysteria flies in the face of the reality that freedom to speak and be heard is healthier than ever, thanks to the globe-busting power of the internet. You want a channel devoted to your own self-made content made available all over the world? A blog where you can say pretty much anything you like, on an easily shareable platform? You can have it, and for FREE, for the first time in all of history you can share your every thought and idea with nothing more than a couple of mouse clicks. Of course, so can Nazis, so can misogynists, so can every brand of hater or bigot the world has to offer. You will have to forgive me if it aint keeping me up nights that the biggest problem most of these bigots have is not what they can or can’t say- but only that there may be SOME spaces where they can’t deliver their message, in person, the minute it crosses their minds.


But this unprecedented access, combined with anonymity, is giving us a whole new set of problems that we have not begun to reckon with- problems of easy radicalization by extremists, the spread of misinformation, increased opportunities for abuse, people wandering into information bubbles of their preferred ideologies without adequate challenge… and then there is the issue I started out with.


What if- and it may not happen, but what if- you guys convince people that freedom of speech IS a white male entitlement, an instrument of privilege and by extension a stick used only to beat everyone else- either in theory or practice? What if you manage to convince people that they have to make the choice between terrorist radicalization of their neighbors, people bullying their children… and a basic freedom? It may seem far-fetched, but in this environment where so many seem more concerned about whether holocaust deniers can spread misinformation at the local university, than whether or not tax-payer funded scientists can inform the citizenry of the truth about climate change…. let’s just say that arguing for freedom of speech as a public good would be much easier if it got used that way.

So, you may be wondering, as the single-minded warrior of this all-important freedom that must be defended even unto the death, what can you do?


Well, that’s the good news. You don’t need to take up arms or even leave your house- in fact, you don’t need to do anything that you aren’t already doing- you just need to do it a bit more fairly. Put a little of your own skin in this game for once, instead of demanding it of everyone else. Look for opportunities to defend and enable the speech of people whose speech goes beyond the level of ‘don’t like’ for you. More than just something you are against intellectually, but the sort of thing you are against at the level of the gut, something that causes you real discomfort. Make an effort- for every ‘rah-rah white dudes’ cheerleader you stump for, find someone who definitely isn’t that …and stump for them too. Stop finding excuses that this isn’t ‘the same’- anyone can do that. It’s called rationalization. Start finding opportunities to make this freedom work for the kind of people it has so often worked against.


If this is really about speech, it should not be difficult at all, and then we can all protect this great freedom for another generation. Together.



Yours with love,