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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

The Pit

Berkeley canceled a talk by Dawkins (Schmawkins, Petrovkins, it doesn’t matter who) because of his “abusive speech on Twitter.” 

It’s shocking how fast Berkeley went from a stellar university that was respected all over the world to a place where nobody sees any problem with the argument that it’s not necessary to read a book once you’ve read a tweet. 
If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to see a link to an article describing the massive protest against this cloying and degrading talk of abusive tweets. 

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15 thoughts on “The Pit

  1. OLD and a fact checker on said:

    The radio show cancelled the program. The radio station is owned by Pacifica Radio Network. It is not located on campus nor is it controlled by the University of California. PERHAPS, MAYBE, the CITY of Berkeley had an opinion but they also did not control the decision. The reason for their opinion might have been the financial costs incurred in riot situations, but they, also, do not determine who a privately owned company invites as a guest speaker.
    You ought to have fact checked ownership of a radio station before blasting off at the University. I am very disappointed by this name calling on your part. The University gets LOTS of shade thrown on it for actions by people who are neither students nor employees of the University but professional anarchists whose actions occur in Berkeley but do not always involved University property.


    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

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    • It’s a very short post and still people aren’t managing to read it. If the university opposed this, the students and the faculty would have protested. As we all know they can do when they actually feel like it. Are there any such protests going on or planned? If not, then what is there to argue about?

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      • It’s KPFA, not UC Berkeley. It’s not the university’s radio station. And town and university, and faculty/students and rest of town, are really different entities.

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        • Who cares? If they hated it, they would have had something to say about it. I have tons of things to say about everything that happens in my entire region. If our local paper or station did something like that, does anybody doubt I’d be howling at the moon in protest? Just the other day I publicized the story about the insanity of our school district even though it isn’t owned by our campus.

          Also, the only reason the station issued this ridiculous statement is to please the Berkeley snowflakes. Let’s not pretend there is any other reason but the fear they’ll throw a tantrum.

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  2. And KPFA is a flaky station. It used to be different, but it got taken over by flakes at a certain point.

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  3. Alex the Physicist on said:

    It’s about the culture, not the official flowchart of authority.

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  4. Shakti on said:

    Unfortunately, even though Twitter is ephemeral, the effects of a tweet last longer than a year and you can’t credibly claim your RealNameTwitter is a separate persona from your other writings, especially when you use your RealNameTwitter to promote your books.


    And of course there was this stupid video

    He was correct in saying none of this happened within the last year. People tend to take attacks on extremists in their religion as an attack on their religion period, no matter what mildness and qualifiers you put in. Not that anyone accuses Dawkins of being mild.

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    • Francisco de Quevedo was a misogynistic pig and a vicious antisemite. His Twitter would be much worse than Trump’s were he living today. Yet he enriched the world literature like a batallion of good, mealy-mouthed, intersectional, PC chatterers never will.

      Original thinkers are all annoying as fuck. And good girls and boys never produce any thinking of their own.

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      • Shakti on said:

        rancisco de Quevedo was a misogynistic pig and a vicious antisemite. His Twitter would be much worse than Trump’s were he living today. Yet he enriched the world literature like a batallion of good, mealy-mouthed, intersectional, PC chatterers never will.
        Misogynistic pig and vicious antisemite seem pretty standard for the time and milieu in which he operated. I don’t know Quevedo, so I don’t know if he was considered as such for his milieu. As for his twitter, well, Quevedo is a writer by trade so of course he’d have more interesting and stinging insults than Trump.

        Dawkins is a scientist. But he’s chosen to let his beliefs overshadow his scientific work and as a result has become more well known for that than his science in some quarters. It’s not just some stray remarks, he’s actively made a second career out of it and now it’s affecting his first one. I half feel sorry and annoyed for him because he seems constantly surprised when this happens. “I had no idea that my positioning as The Public Atheist ™ is causing people to back away from my book on Pure Science ™”

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      • Dawkins hasn’t been very original for quite a while, though. His atheism is boring, there are lots of more interesting people on that. KPFA is volunteer run and things can happen in disjointed ways.

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  5. Dawkins has said a bunch of offensive stuff, not just emitted a tweet or two. A radio station (it’s Pacifica radio, community run, etc.) may or may not decide to put him, or anyone, on. The metropolitan area is large and has many radio stations, many industries, many people, etc. UC Berkeley itself is a conservative institution with some clout but that cannot and does not run the city government(s) or every business and organization in town. It doesn’t decide who an independent radio station invites to speak or not. Nor does the city, although the city is more likely to have made a comment than the university. All this hysteria about how anything that happens in the Bay Area is “UC Berkeley’s fault” is just ignorance. If you want to look at things UCB actually does, a good place to start might be its role in the military-industrial complex.

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