July 21, 2012

Upset by a Skeptic T-shirt?

OffendedAtheists, can I safely assume that each of you has been insulted at least once in your life? I cannot be the only one who has been repeatedly threatened with hell, called awful names, and threatened with bodily harm simply because I am an atheist. It would be great if it really was just me, but I don't think this is the case. It is not much fun, is it? But as adults, we can cope with it, right? It does not need to bring us to tears or make us flee, does it? That's part of what being an adult is about, right?

Here's my question to you:
Can you imagine seeing a t-shirt so vile that it would lead you to get up and leave an atheist conference or similar event? If so, what would it have to say?
I am trying to imagine leaving a conference because someone's t-shirt and some anonymous Twitter comments upset me. I really am trying. I am picturing a customized t-shirt design that even has my name on it. It says something like, "Vjack is an evil asshole who should die" or "Atheist Revolution is the worst blog ever written."

I could imagine that I'd be mildly upset, and I'd probably avoid the person wearing that shirt. But I cannot honestly imagine leaving because of it, especially if I paid to get in or really wanted to be there.

Maybe I'm wrong or overlooking something obvious here, but I am starting to feel like I've stumbled into an alternate universe where those who advocate reason do not apply it when their own emotional reactions are involved. A Skepchick blogger reportedly left TAM early because "...the TAM twitter feed with the anonymous blogging from the event and Harriet's shirt had upset me to the point of wanting to leave..."

I'm not "jeering" at anyone, nor am I "filled with irrational rage," as Thunderf00t was accused of being on Ophelia Benson's Butterflies & Wheels blog. I'm trying to understand how this is something other than being overly sensitive. And if it is being overly sensitive, then why are we failing to label it as such?

Perhaps John Loftus (Debunking Christianity) was right when he wrote:
To criticize the skepchick types is becoming equivalent to being "a bigoted, rape enabling, misogynistic radical woman hating MRA." I oppose this cookie-cutter straight-jacketed mentality and I call on all reasonable feminists to condemn it.
Fortunately, some are beginning to do just that.

H/T to One Furious Llama