Episode 2.17


Beth, Jen and Tracie discuss oneflesh.org, Daniel Tosh and more.

  • Tyler Polk

    Ya’ll Bitches are Awesome!!

    Jul 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm
  • Regina

    I tried to go to oneflesh.org and that domain does not exist. Link check?

    Jul 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm
  • Meredith

    http://www.onefleshmarriage.com is the correct link.

    Jul 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm
  • Meredith

    The correct link is http://onefleshmarriage.com

    Jul 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm
  • microbiologychick

    No, it’s 1flesh.org.

    Jul 25, 2012 at 7:25 am
  • Jarno

    I’ve listened to your show since you started it, and just wanted to thank you for the interesting perspective you bring to secular issues - I’m a pretty egalitarian man myself, but I do believe I’ve been learning new things from listening to you. And that’s refreshing! :)

    The only complaint I really have is the site you are using to host the show - it is ULTRA slow. Currently, I’m downloading this episode I’m commenting on here, and the estimate, at the moment, says 2 hours 18 minutes. It’s usually not quite that bad, but a download time of an hour is not unusual. Out of all the podcasts I listen to (and there are quite a few), GB is hosted on the slowest server by far.

    Oh well, shouldn’t complain, it’s free, and you are doing a great job.

    Jul 25, 2012 at 11:42 am
  • Keena T.

    I cannot get enough of your show. I look forward to listening to it every week while at my desk at work. Keep up the good work ladies!

    Jul 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm
  • Tax

    This is where i disagree with GB and AE, on free speech. Somethings should not be said, and those that say them should be censored It’s inflammatory and serves no purpose but to poison public discourse. It does not educate us, it does not enlighten us, or help us understand. It’s an incitement to violence, and he should be arrested.

    What was the value of the speech that it should be protected?

    Jul 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm
  • BV

    RE: Appearance on shows. celebrity - a famous or well-known person. I disagree with your opinions. Show hosts are packaging for a product being sold. Comments on appearance are commenting on a product. As a representative of the atheist product, your assumed roll is to appear normal, aesthetically pleasing, and sane while communicating the message. Comments on hair or outfits, or whatever should be taken as compliments on a job well done - “keep it up!” Unfortunately as long as people can see or hear you, they will make assumptions and sometimes fantasies about you. Sometimes those fantasies get a little unrealistic, which all celebrities deal with. Yes. You are celebrities, although minor - within your sphere of influence.

    Jul 25, 2012 at 4:36 pm
  • microbiologychick


    I toyed with the idea of just deleting your comment. After all, censorship is just fine and some things should not be said.


    Jul 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm
  • GodlessDick

    I’ve got to say, I think I have to disagree with you on the Daniel Tosh thing (at least slightly). I thought Michael Richards was a perfect example to bring up. B/c I do see a big difference between his response to the heckler and Tosh’s. Tracie said how Tosh’s response was similar to Michael Richards’ b/c they target an entire demographic. But two things: 1. I’m not sure how strongly Tosh’s comment really did that and 2. There was no way that his intentions were to do so.

    Okay, addressing the first thing: 1. Now, I started writing this before Tracie made the comparison between Tosh’s comment and the idea of telling a black man to get lynched. While I don’t think it is a perfect analogy, I do get what she’s getting at now. But I also think a lot of this does go back to the point that Jen brought up: which is that if it were a guy, he wouldn’t have said it to him. Now, this may be true; but having watched Daniel Tosh for years I certainly can’t say that for sure. If a guy actually stood up and interrupted him by saying, “rape jokes are never funny”; I truly believe there would’ve been a very good possibility that he would have said something about him getting raped. After all, when comedians are heckled b/c of something they are talking about, they will often use the subject they are talking about in their response to the heckler. However, if that scenario had happened and Tosh had said wouldn’t it be funny if his girlfriend got raped right now or something like that, I’d be a bit more on board.

    The second thing: 2. His intentions certainly were not to target all rape victims. After all, this is a guy who has repeatedly attacked accused rapists (see his multiple bits attacking Kobe Bryant and his fans). But let’s look at this incident: The guy was on a stage alone performing a show and he was interrupted by someone saying he should never say what he said, and he responded off the top of his head trying to attack her back. That’s a tough spot to be in. You could say well he should have just had security come over and escort her out; and while that is a possibility, comedians are expected to respond to hecklers else they risk losing their entire audience. And, sure, as Jen said, he could have responded with a better comeback. But he didn’t. Let’s not overly demonize the guy. He has apologized. And to call him a douchebag b/c of something he said on the spot as a response to a heckler is a bit of a strong overreaction IMO.

    Jul 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm
  • Tax

    What value does Tosh’s speech have? Do we lose something of value by revoking the ability of people to say “it would be funny if you got raped.” Assuming that we are losing something that is of value, is the value of that thing really higher than that of the damage done to the public by making the statement? I don’t understand what good is served by allowing such bile to be spewed.

    Jul 26, 2012 at 12:53 am
  • SodPen

    With all due respect Tax, I humbly submit that censorship and free speech are, with specific regards to the Constitutional application of the terms, wholly separate from arbitrary things like personal taste and interpretation of humor value as a form of satirical expression.

    The First Amendment doesn’t use wording like “freedom of speech as long as most people would find it in good taste to the cultural norms of the time period or find themselves in agreement with the ideological conceptual implications of the statement or would not find it offensive personally.” Wording in that vein is often found in Standards & Practice policies of organizations or in the morality clauses of contracts. In the broader picture of US Federal law, the only regulation of speech or actions deemed to be of demonstrative statement occurs in specific regard to public safety.

    In short, Tosh is free to be a practitioner of douchebaggery until the cows come home as long as he’s not calling for violent revolt, shouting “fire!” in theater, or doing anything else that would endanger others. In many regards, his brand of comedy is not completely different than the style of Don Rickles or Bill Hicks. That any of them were funny or not is irrelevant, as is if any of their jokes had perceived value.

    He’s a public figure and his career will live and die by the general public’s acceptance of his material and personality. It’s his bed, and he’s the one that has to sleep in it.

    Do we lose something by revoking the ability of people to say “it would be funny if you got raped?” Yes, we lose two very big things. First, we take a step on the slippery slope of saying that it’s okay sometimes to ignore the Constitution just because we don’t agree with something and it might be more convenient and easier if we just looked the other way for a moment. Secondly, we’d lose an oh-so-awesome way to easily determine who’s a douchenozzle. Although, in Tosh’s case, I personally think he’s been finding clever ways of highlighting himself in that regard for years.

    Jul 26, 2012 at 3:34 am
  • Agemaki

    In regards to dating atheists, I grew up in a fairly conservative and rural area and I haven’t had that much trouble finding atheists to date. Finding atheists that I like might be more difficult, but my friends–both platonic and otherwise–have been of the less religious sort. Granted, we were a minority, especially in high school, but in ways that also made us more visible to each other. I have tended to talk about atheism with my SOs a lot, sometimes in ways that could vary easily be offensive. I can’t imagine a relationship with someone wherein I had to constantly censor myself. I think there is something to be said for finding someone who is a near clone of yourself, especially when in many ways you tend to be an outlier.

    Jul 26, 2012 at 7:15 am
  • Trewornan

    When you talked about saying “nice blouse” to a stranger it caught my attention because I often do a similar thing.

    The nature of my job means I visit a lot of workplaces and constantly meet people who I will almost certainly only be in contact with for only a few days or weeks. One thing I commonly do when meeting women in these circumstances is complement them on their shoes. Just something offhand like:

    “I like your shoes” or “Those are smart shoes” and so on.

    It may sound stupid but to the best of my knowledge I’ve never met a woman who felt offended by this.

    It does almost always seem to help the interaction begin in a positive way - I regard it as a peculiarity of female psychology.

    Saying “nice blouse” doesn’t seem very different so I’m curious, would you find this offensive? Has anybody ever done something similar when meeting you?

    Jul 26, 2012 at 10:38 am
  • Sarah

    Thanks for another great podcast! Your discussion on inappropriate emails raised a lot of interesting issues and made me think a lot about something discussed on the Geologic Podcast a few months ago (sorry, I can’t remember which one). George was talking about how some emails he gets seem overly personal (he was discussing a critical email he’d received which had seemed over-familiar). He made an interesting point which I think is applicable here.

    The point was that the ‘relationship’ between podcasters and listeners (or in the case of TAE hosts and viewers) is one-sided. Each week we listen to you, hear your views on a multitude of subjects, and generally feel we get to know you. You, on the other hand, have no knowledge of us until we contact you in some way. By the time we’ve got the point of wanting to contact a feeling of familiarity has sometimes grown to a point where overly familiar terms are used and compliments, comments or criticisms are given as if you were a friend, even though the listeners are complete strangers to you.

    This may not always, or even often, be the case but I suspect that some of the comments, particularly the ‘well-meaning’ ones are from people who feel they do know you and have forgotten that actually they don’t. I’m in no way trying to excuse the dickish emails that seem to be doing nothing than objectifying you, those don’t deserve excusing. But the ones being concerned about your health, while misplaced, could well be coming from people who feel they know you, and care about you, and forget that you don’t know them.

    I could be completely wrong, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

    Jul 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm
  • tracieh

    Sarah, please don’t apologize. You’re dead on. Someone over at the TAE blog recommended I look up something called “parasocial interaction.” It’s the professional description of what you just described: Some people don’t realize they are in a one-sided relationship in these cases. They treat an image (or voice) that they are experiencing as though they were interacting with another live, human being. This can be done with cartoon characters, even, apparently. But in most cases it’s done with a public figure that someone becomes familiar with and subsequently attached to.

    The phenomena has been identified as correlating with something called “preoccupied attachment,” which is also interesting and explains another issue I have noticed and complained about on occasion. In attachment theory as it applies to parasocial settings, there are four dynamics:

    Like myself / Like others Like myself / Don’t like others Don’t like myself / Like others Don’t like myself / Don’t like others

    Preoccupied attachment is tied to the third one above—“don’t like myself/like others.” And it is connected to actually undervaluing oneself; but not just that, it also involves overvaluing others. So, they have a tendency to inflate other people, and also, according to the literature, gain validation from acceptance from (those over-inflated) others. I’ve noticed that among the same small percentage of people who contact us, there is a handful who perceive us as a lot more “famous” and “celebrity” than we are. In fact, while we work in public outreach, that’s more “high profile” than “fame.” Many people volunteer in this capacity and are involved in tv appearances, magazine interviews, and all sorts of public outreach and promotional work, but nobody considers them “famous” people or “celebrities.” Most often, if you’re not already familiar with their area of work, you wouldn’t recognize their faces and names, despite the fact they may have been featured in magazine and tv programs you’re familiar with.

    So, I see a pattern of this over-inflation that comes in about the same small dose as the weird “I can’t tell the difference between your work in atheism and you personally” contacts we get.

    I’m still reading up on it, but it’s really interesting material. And the viewer who suggested I look into has done me a great favor as far as I’m concerned. I think your description is spot on, and supported by research in this area. I hope these people eventually realize that their hero worship (a term identified as well in the literature) and delusional perspectives of a two-way interaction (with a persona/image) that isn’t real, is not healthy and get some help, or just think it through and get better. I don’t really wish them ill, even though they can be annoying. I care. I just can’t be their therapy or their sock-puppet “other” in a fantasy relationship.

    Jul 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm
  • tracieh

    That list of attachment types did not come through clearly. Here it is more cleanly rendered:

    1. Like myself / Like others 2. Like myself / Don’t like others 3. Don’t like myself / Like others 4. Don’t like myself / Don’t like others

    Jul 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm
  • David

    Bitch why have you repeated the intro/outro. Have you run out of femusic. I do like this one though. I bought it on tape when it came out.

    Jul 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm
  • CareBear

    @Jarno - Try one of the podcasts on the Android Market or the iTunes store. I have “BeyondPod” on my Android device and get all the GB, TAE and Non-Prophet shows with no problems. =)

    Jul 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm
  • Cheeks.B.Rosie

    Great show! I was playing catch up and listened all day at work today. I really am thankful that you do all the hard work that you do. Keep up the great work and keep the shows coming.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm
  • sharkjack

    @Tax: I think there should be a distinction between things that should be legal and things that are moral. The reason you don’t want laws against this sort of thing is because it is far too much of a grey area that leaves free speech extremely vulnerable. Now that doesn’t condone what he said. I think both his joke and his heckling comment trivialised rape and enforced rape culture and as such hurt women. But he did not incite violence. Remember it was a quick unscripted response to a heckler. It was intended to hurt her for sure, but through words only. That does not excuse the thing he said, but it’s not realistic to say he incited people to rape her. Now a proper response to what Tosh said might be to start boycotting him for what he said, to share the fact that he made a joke like this and encourage others not to go to him online and stuff like that.

    The ones who shouldn’t allow the horrible stuff to be spewed should be the general public, through distancing themselves from people who say that sort of stuff and not supporting them as comedians and making it known what they’ve said.

    It shouldn’t be the law that forbids this. Slander and incitement to violence need to be specific so that people don’t get dragged into lawsuits because they said stuff that might be interpreted as a possible indirect threat.

    For religious people having people say the world would be better off without religions can sound very threatening as it sounds like you want to get rid of them. Also in their perspective the statement is (absolutely) untrue and nothing of value is lost by not saying it. Remember that the law tends to be carried out by majorities and not minorities, so this type of law could be turned around to hurt the very people you’d want it to protect. A convicted rapist can be shielded from being exposed because zhe’s already undergone punishment so what value is there in exposing hir? It would just harm hir and hir family, so now the victim of the rape is silenced. This was already attempted in the case of Savannah Dietrich not too long ago but fortunately since the laws were missaplied it wasn’t legal. Just imagine what would happen if it was legal.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm
  • fenchurch

    How tragic to hear that Tracie will not be delivering a wine-soaked rant today. That kind of “radio verite” makes you feel like you’re sitting around that table too.

    Jul 31, 2012 at 9:52 am
  • Erik Mack-Davis

    Hi birches! I love your show, however after your last show,I was compelled to write. You actually spent like 20 minuits complaining that people find you attractive! I have never seen you and personlly don’t care how you look, however you are a television personality! It’s not like any other job and whether you like it or not when your job or hobby or whatever this is to you, puts you on t.v. All the time then you are using the public and your popularity to get your message out! This is a two way street, all celebrities have to deal with this one way or another, you have a right to be on television and people have a right to make whatever comments they like, no matter how stupid. I know it must be annoying to get inane emails but why subject your audience to your personal complaints about your life. Do you realize how you sound when you say that your upset that you get emails saying you ate good looking. Your relatively low level of fame is still fame and you don’t get to choose what the publics reaction to you is, you keep saying ” I don’t volunteer to be a target of people’s assessments of me” but that is part of what you do when you have a public conversation as opposed to a private one. I love when you talk about issues, I don’t want to listen to you whine about how much fan mail you get. That is something you should complain about off air. I am a chef sometimes my customers annoy me, I may make a comment to my co-workers in the kitchen but I would never go out in the dinning room and tell the patron what I think. people say stupid things, You don’t have a right to not be offended. That is a religeous Idea! You do not have to be on television or the radio! You could have as many private conversations on any topic you like, looking however you like and nobody would have any right to make any comment. The second you enter a public arena you ARE in fact asking for ANY response you get. You are basically saying that you want to be in the public space, but you only want to get feedback from the public that dosnt annoy you! I would also like to never be offended, but that is not how life works. Whatever it is that you gain from being a public figure( you keep saying you are not a celebrity how many people listen to G.B. or A.E each week?) is paid for by being a public figure. This is an age old compact and you don’t get to complain about it! If you don’t want attention don’t go on t.v. That being said I certainly hope you stay on both shows because your great ( is that okay to say?) at what yo do, and the show topics are usually fascinating and relavent. Thank you for your time -Erik

    Jul 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm
  • LykeX


    >But he did not incite violence.

    True, but he sure was walking right up to the line and sticking his big toe across it, taunting, “I’m not touching the ground. It doesn’t count.”

    I’ll cut him a little slack, since it was said during a stand-up performance (”slack” as in “he shouldn’t be jailed”, not as in “I agree with what he said”), but in any other context, I would interpret his statement as a threat of immediate violence. If it had been said in a more conventional social situation, like at a bar, I think a swift, pre-emptive kick to the groin, followed by an arm-lock would have been quite justifiable. Let him explain how he didn’t really mean if AFTER he’s on the ground.

    Walking the line is the job of the comedian, but usually what this means is that you’re supposed to make people think, make them view a subject from a different perspective, point out the flaws in common cultural tropes, not make them fear for their safety. He screwed up royally. I hope he learned something from this.


    >You don’t have a right to not be offended.

    Nor do you have the right for me not to be offended by what you do. People often forget that part. I don’t remember the Bitches asking for the guy to be hunted down and locked up. They expressed their opinions on the matter. If he has the right to say it, surely they have the right to respond.

    >Whatever it is that you gain from being a public figure is paid for by being a public figure.

    And here I was, thinking we might just treat each other nicely, not look for loopholes that will allow us to treat other people like shit and say “you asked for it”.

    Aug 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm
  • LykeX

    Wow, there’s just SO MUCH wrong with this post, so let’s do it right.

    >You actually spent like 20 minuits complaining that people find you attractive!

    No. Tracie complained that people found the need to TELL HER about how they find her attractive. I doubt she cares whether you find her attractive or not. That’s why she doesn’t want to be told about it.

    >you have a right to be on television and people have a right to make whatever comments they like, no matter how stupid.

    But she doesn’t have the right to respond to those comments? If she does, what’s the problem?

    >why subject your audience to your personal complaints about your life

    The audience includes the people sending those comments. Some of them might go, “Oops, I hadn’t thought of that. I’d better not send that email, then.” Beyond that, it’s an editorial decision. If you don’t like it, stop listening.

    >Do you realize how you sound when you say that your upset that you get emails saying you ate good looking

    You don’t like, you stop listen.

    >I don’t want to listen to you whine about how much fan mail you get

    Then DON’T LISTEN! Most applications for listening to podcasts have a fast forward button.

    >You don’t have a right to not be offended

    You don’t have the right for the podcast to conform to your every wish. Nor do you have the right to have them accept whatever you say without offense. It goes both ways.

    >That is a religeous Idea!

    No, it’s not. It’s an idea often supported by the religious, but it’s not religious in nature, You can’t even get that right.

    >You do not have to be on television or the radio!

    You do not have to listen to the podcast!

    >You could have as many private conversations on any topic you like, looking however you like and nobody would have any right to make any comment

    Really? You think it should be illegal to comment on the appearance of strangers unless engaged in a conversation first? What should the punishment be? Is there some specific length of time your have to talk before you can make comments about a person’s appearance? Did I break the law when I told that girl I liked her hair?

    Your thinking strikes me as dogmatic. It sounds like you’ve exchanged religious dogma for some variant of secular dogma with not much thought going into it. It’s borderline incoherent.

    >The second you enter a public arena you ARE in fact asking for ANY response you get

    Since you’ve posted on a public website, you asked to be told that you’re a sick, disgusting, pathetic excuse for a human being and your sexual partners have all been faking it to spare your feelings. And you smell funny.

    >You are basically saying that you want to be in the public space, but you only want to get feedback from the public that dosnt annoy you!

    Are you saying she doesn’t have the right to express her preferences for how the fans interact with her? She doesn’t get to say anything about it?

    >…and you don’t get to complain about it!

    I guess that was what you meant. Wow. Are you on any kind of medication?

    Saying that people have the right to comment on the show as they please is one thing. Saying that the hosts are not allowed to respond to that is just plain crazy.

    The really weird thing is that you’re doing what you’re accusing the Bitches of doing. You’re acting as if you have the right to dictate how others relate to you and restrict their free speech to suit your preferences. On top of that, your accusation against the Bitches is completely out of touch with reality. It’s not like they’re calling for the incarceration of offending commenters. They’re not gathering a pitch-fork wielding mob. They’re just saying what they think. You know, free speech and all.

    Aug 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm
  • sharkjack

    @LykeX 24, then it seems we’re pretty much in complete agreement. @LykeX 25, I was going to write pretty much this but then life got in the way.

    1 thing to add though is that if you don’t like an aspect of something and think the whole can improve by changing it, then constructive criticism is the way to go.

    I could think of a few, like suggesting a tighter timeframe for the discussions, or writing down the starting and end points of major discussions in the post that contains the podcast, which lets people know where to skip to if they find the current topic boring. I don’t happen to agree with any of this as I listen to this show very passively,simultaniously writing my own stuff or playing games, so I don’t require a denser format and like how it drifts more from one topic to the next, but you could make points for these changes or other things.

    What Erik posted was not constructive criticism. At all.

    This is all really simple. If someone wants to complement on the bitches in a way that has a positive effect on them, they should listen to them to find out how you do that. If you don’t then why are you even emailing them an email that complements on their appearance?

    It’s telling people how you’d like to be treated so that those who care know how to do so. That’s it. But appearantly there is a lot of backlash against this idea because there were some really stupid replies on the atheist experience blog when this same thing was posted there, which is why I think this 20 minute ‘complaint’ was completely justified. But even if it wasn’t justified in my opinion, the bitches DO have the rights to do whatever they want with THEIR podcast. Just like you have the right to post a complaint about it and I have the right to post a critique of that (LykeX also has this right appearantly) This whole conversation was never about rights, don’t try to make it about rights.

    >Do you realize how you sound when you say that your upset that you get emails saying you ate good looking

    Someone who works hard at and values what they’re doing and would like for people to value that more than their looks? That’s what it sounds like to me. But maybe I’m just weird that way.

    Aug 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm
  • LykeX

    >writing down the starting and end points of major discussions in the post that contains the podcast, which lets people know where to skip to if they find the current topic boring

    Ooh, this, very much. It would also make it so much easier to find a certain part of a podcast later. Is this feasible?

    Aug 2, 2012 at 5:06 am
  • Helene

    Tracie - nooooo! Don’t go off the bottle! I thought you were fantastic that episode. To be fair, discussing the rights over one’s own body is a very antagonizing topic, who wouldn’t be a little bit surly at the idea that your womb isn’t your domain?

    You guys are great.

    Aug 8, 2012 at 10:28 am
  • anonomous

    1:13:00 Hit-ons and obsessions are definitely worse than mere compliments - but even if you decide that even compliments are in appropriate, I don’t quite get the sheer bafflement expressed by Tracie Harris here.

    The way it works is really very simple - you see a person (activist, public speaker, actor, doesn’t matter) on TV, find them likeable and charismatic (which, no, isn’t done away with by their current occupation), perceive them as persons rather than “cogs in a machine”, and… blurt out a compliment.

    It’s really this simple. It doesn’t matter that you’re “on duty” - some people don’t mind some casual personal friendliness while “on duty”, it’s not like when they’re at work, they completely turn into robots with nothing but their current “mission” on their mind. If someone does, great for them, but it’s not something that always happens, and the person writing the compliment letter may have that in mind.

    It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to “make serious dents” here - some people will watch this to just kind of broaden their horizon and basically for entertainment more or less, so if they happen to find some involved personality charismatic and then just decide to express it, then that’s what happens.

    And it also doesn’t mean that they think it’s “entirely about you”, or “entirely about them” - the delusional freaks excluded as always, I suppose most of them realize that the activist they’re writing is doing something serious, and probably gets a lot of discussion on that level, but they don’t mind to have a few casual personal exchanges, and assume that you don’t mind either.

    It doesn’t mean that they “don’t understand the purpose of the show” - they probably do, but what matters to them more at the moment is that they’re watching some charismatic person… which they are. If I were doing something like this, and were somewhat of an egophile maybe, would I like the idea that while I’m doing this “imporant work”, I also get to shine my personality into the camera, and if people out there notice, great? It’d be said if that’s ALL they were noticing… but a little bit on the side, why not. So it’s possible to project that kind of attitude even if it doesn’t apply to the particular person on the other side of the line.

    All based on the very simple idea that someone who’s currently at work… still remains a person.

    Having that said, if you think making that assumption and cluttering up people’s inboxes (who SOMETIMES *may* not mind it, but it’s better to assume that they do) is inappropriate - great. If you think sexism plays a role here, because men don’t get nearly as many compliments, and have their work taken more seriously (but obviously, that happens a lot as well - not because the women writing them are misandrists, but because they just see a hot guy and that’s most important to them at the moment - which is understandable I believe) - right on.

    After all, why would you enjoy getting a flood compliments and invitations from random, creepy dudes that watch your show… apparently a bit too much, if there is such a thing?

    All more than justified, and I’m not particularly defending people like that - but the way Harris acts so baffled by this behavior, like “I don’t get it, I’m doing work here and people somehow think about compliments or write me more personal letters? like it’s all about me somehow, when i’m this cog in a wheel?? does not compute”, I just found… confusing.

    I mean, there were enough times when I watched someone, let’s just stay close to the topic and name Hitchens or Sam Harris or whoever, and just kind of enjoyed their stage presence, wit and charisma - like one would do with lots of other people. I would pay attention to their points later, or maybe earlier already - and that because I was interested in the topics enough to do that, if I weren’t I’d just be like “ah these cool dudes talking about a topic that marginally interests me, great, now posting some superficial youtube comment and moving on”.

    Seems perfectly normal and human to me. But obviously I didn’t write them any letters :)

    Nov 15, 2012 at 9:25 am
  • anonomous

    Then she says “we don’t matter, we could be replaced at any time” - again, that’s almost being naive about basic human nature, and that now even ignoring all the creepy compliment letters.

    Yea, that’s the premise, you’re activists doing something serious… but when people are gonna watch you, especially “having a good time while at it”, a large portion of their mind is going to perceive the PERSON sitting there, especially if they’re charismatic in some way, and in a way they’ll start caring about you personally - not in a creepy way, but just in a normal way, like “damn Matt was cool in that, a pity he’s gone now”.

    You may act baffled about it, like “omg but we’re just anonymous faces spouting arguments in order to make a change” - but you know that’s not how it works, right?

    The “we’re not entertaining you here” I found equally confusing - first of all, that implies that actual entertainers, such as actors, deserve to get more personal compliment letters, which is kind of dark (and I doubt you actually meant that).

    Secondly, again, WHILE you’re doing these shows, you obviously do… create… a form of entertainment… as a side effect. If there’s something entertaining in your show, it’s gonna be partially entertainment, and people are going to notice.

    Maybe if you were doing it in a dull voice, reading from papers and articles in a monotone expression, it would cease to be entertainment, and a great percentage of the audience (and their brains) would focus on the actual issues. But if what you’re doing… is entertaining… then that’s a part of what your show emanates, and when people watch something, they take away from it what they want.

    Tracie Harris has said elsewhere that she doesn’t mind atheists who don’t care about this “atheism plus” thing and their social issues - so what’s wrong with atheists (or even non-atheists) who only care enough about the topic to watch TAE for some entertaining horizon expansion, if that’s what it gives to them?

    When actors visit Letterman, they’re there to talk about their issues and promote their current projects (as a part of a deal even), but that doesn’t mean I can watch those clips merely to look at their sparkling personalities.

    The question whether one should actually go as far as expressing those impulses in a personal letter… while making erotic compliments and actually HITTING ON the receiver… well, is quite a different one from that, and I’d say the general answer is, no, you shouldnt. ;)

    Nov 15, 2012 at 9:40 am
  • anonomous

    Oh crap, quite a bit of mistakes up there… even forgot some negations in sentences… but hopefully it’s all clear in the context.

    Nov 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm
  • anonomous

    Ah, just saw this from “tracieh”…

    “Sarah, please don’t apologize. You’re dead on. Someone over at the TAE blog recommended I look up something called “parasocial interaction.” …”

    Yea, that description there sounds quite fitting! While I wouldn’t say it’s always a one-way road there - sometimes the “worshipped heroes” in question do like to chatter and respond even way off-topic from their main occupation… although flirting is probably where the line is mostly drawn - people definitely have the tendency to largely overestimate the “other direction”, or assume it’s there when it’s actually not.

    In case of these people behind TAE and related projects, I think it’s been made sufficiently clear at LEAST by now, that it really is very much of a one-way road here, and personal chatter is not something they’re into.

    It’s *generally* not as absurd and baffling as it’s been made to sound in this podcast (although again, adjusted for weirdness and creep factor obviously), precisely because of that psychological process - which I think is healthy within a reasonable degree - but it’d be pretty confusing and baffling if “fans” continued doing this even after hearing it’s not that welcome. :)

    Nov 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm

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