Friday, July 15, 2011

Elevatorgate: Dawkins strikes back

In a a cruel twist of irony, Rebecca Watson, the leading opponent of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, has been turned into a meme.

Taking on a “rich privileged white” man like Richard Dawkins is one thing, and if Rebecca had left it at that she might have remained on safe ground.
But, alas, a crucial error was made.

The fatal decision was to extend the fight to tackle the greatest problem remaining in modern skepticism – socially awkward male nerds.

“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak - Sun Tzu “

The skepchick army, marshalling their forces, decided to attack the nerds their presumed weakest point – on the internet.

Unfortunately, and apparently a surprise for some, the internet is the perfect natural environment of the socially awkward nerd. While he can be completely incapacitated by the act of being spoken to (or even being looked at) by a real live female, he is immune to any statement directed to him on the internet from someone claiming to be a female. As every male nerd knows, any internet “female” showing a genuine interest in them will, despite having a screen name of nerdygrrl7’ or ‘skeptifemichick3’, invariably turn out to be a 40 year old fat, hairy bloke named “Brian” who lives in his parents basement.

Hence, demands for the nerds to “get it” didn’t have quite the impact intended.

skeptifemichick3: I demand the right not to be chatted up by you!
Socially awkward nerd: Errrm, I have no intention of chatting you up.
Skeptifemichick3: You are not getting it!
Socially awkward nerd: I don’t want it. Now can we change the subject?
Skeptifemichick3: Misogynist!
Socially awkward nerd: You are starting to creep me out, Brian.

And so on, for the past week and a half.

Eventually, however, one can even test the patience of those who think nothing of spending months building up their ‘mage’ powers just to defeat the Dark Wizard of Throth on level 17, and they struck back in the cruelest way possible, turning Rebecca Watson into a meme.

Defined as ideas, behaviors or styles that spread from person to person within a culture, memes are said to transmit ideas and belief information. The concept and term ‘meme’ originated with Dawkins' 1976 celebrated (and recently banned) book, The Selfish Gene.

While Dawkins is reported to have denied creating the term 'meme' in 1976 as a way of making a silly internet joke about Rebecca Watson, he has been unable to prove that this was not its intended purpose.

"I know he says that Rebecca was born in 1980 and that the internet wasn't even invented until the 1990s but, quite frankly, that is just arrogant privileged 'mansplainin' " explained Macer Marcotte.

Famous at last

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