On Heroes and Disappointment May 28, 2013Posted by ubi dubium in Events, Rants, Responses.
Tags: atheism, CFI, disappointment, feminism, misogyny, Richard Dawkins, Ron Lindsay, Skepticism, Women in Secularism
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. At WIS2, I listened with jaw-dropping disbelief as Ron Lindsay used his welcome speech to deliver a patronizing sermon to the conference participants about tone. Much has been said about this topic (links can be found here, if you have not heard about this incident), and I’ll just say that Ron was unprofessional in the timing of that speech, and doubly unprofessional in his responses to criticism of it. When he was confronted with the fact that his remarks were inappropriate for the time and place he gave them, he doubled down and increased the problem, instead of apologizing.
And I recently found out (through channels that I will not specify) that a beloved community leader from my town has been arrested for molesting a 9-year-old child. I have been expecting it to be in the news, and the first mentions of it just hit the newspapers about an hour before I wrote this. This was someone I had known, not really as a friend, but perhaps as a “dear acquaintance”. Someone whose work and enthusiasm I respected, that I would have said that I looked up to, at least until a week ago. Crap.
I’d really like there to be people in the world that I could really consider role models. People that I can look up to, that I can aspire to be like. It’s not that I’d expect them to be perfect, but that their faults would not be deal-breakers. For instance, I used to love watching The Frugal Gourmet on TV - his creativity and energy were great, and I tried lots of new foods because of him. OK, so he didn’t like desserts, but I could forgive that. He was wonderful, until the child-molestation charges came up. Crap.
Or, another example, I’ve learned an enormous amount from reading books on biology by Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion is good, but it’s not even close to The Selfish Gene for influencing the way I think about the world. I was close to being a Dawkins fangirl, until a couple of “dear Muslima” comments at Pharyngula a couple of years ago took care of that. I was really hoping at the time that maybe it was a troll using Dawkins’s name, trying to make him look bad. It wasn’t. Crap.
Robert Bakker is religious. ThunderfOOt turned out to be a mysogynist. Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer. There so many people I wish I could admire for the good work they do, but there are some things I just can’t get past.
Of course, the fact that I want something to be true has no bearing on whether it is actually true. But this kind of thing really makes it hard to me to feel confident that I can look up to anybody as an example. I’ve got a sour taste in my brain about humanity right now and I think I need for somebody I currently dislike to really exceed my expectations of them, to make me feel better. (Like maybe Ken Ham could deconvert, or something.) I’m not holding my breath.