When Engagement Fails…

I’ve had a few people call me nuts for the level of involvement I’ve had on the blog’s comment threads this week. It’s been a bit hectic, but the truth is, I believe in discourse. Even when someone comes forward with an argument that I vehemently disagree with, if it’s presented in a respectful way, I’m going to post it, and I’m going to respond in kind (with exception of comments that make people feel unsafe – see here).

That being said, if someone wants to try to participate in the conversation without a) reading the piece, b) reading the comments, or c) supporting their own comments in a reasonable and respectful manner, I’m probably going to mock them for it. Not because of their beliefs (even if I do believe some to be worthy of mocking), but because their comment – in perpetuating horrific ideas in the face of evidence to the contrary – makes a mockery of real dialogue.

While this may turn some people off from the conversation, the bulk of those individuals weren’t going to participate in a meaningful way to begin with. Maybe that open mockery of their statements will deter others from perpetuating rape culture in their comments. Maybe it will give victims hope that someone’s willing to pick up the fight for them. In any case, I’m not having it.

And so, obvious troll is obvious:

Shaun Wed, Mar 20, 2013
To: Lauren
Miss Nelson:First let me start off by saying that these are not athletes. Secondly, I go on the philosophy that if you get thrown out a window, you probably deserved it. You are the company you keep and surround yourself with. Some get excited with danger around the corner, invited or not. Others when they don’t get their way, play victim. We can go on for lifetimes about how drinking was involved, but are we always born yesterday?

Milk the Cow named Awareness, but you see that’s the problem.

My analogy is the Gay Culture and Marijuana Culture. The bastardizing of the movement you are wanting to prevail. I get it , you are gay , I don’t need it shoved in my face to show you respect. Just like the Cheech and Chong sub-culture that ruins it for the rest of us recreational users. Media spin, Shoving it in the Face promotion is not the way to go . Same thing with the Atheist. It seems like they want to start their own religion as well.

Warm Regards,


P.S. I in no way feel sorry for these non-athletes and they deserve punishment most upheld to the law.

Lauren Wed, Mar 20, 2013
To: Shaun
Hey there,I am SO glad you took the time to fill my inbox with hatred. There really isn’t enough of that going around these days; you’ve provided me with a fix until more people come around to the idea that bigotry is – in fact – the wave of the future.

Disregarding your complete disregard for basic facts, I truly want to thank you for being a shining beacon of rape culture. From the way you talk about victims desiring danger to the way you criticize all these drunken lying whores for inviting their attacker to assault them, your line of argument (can I call it that?) is just so intensely medieval that you’ve inspired me to really devote myself to the perpetuation of patriarchy, misogyny and slut shaming. It is simply impossible to resist the appeal of your lack of logic, warrants and basic human compassion. You have changed me at my core.

Your proposal to stop talking about all of these issues is truly visionary. The eloquent discourse of Martin Luther King Jr. provides the perfect example of how refusing to back down from the rhetorical call to arms is a death knell for any movement focused on equality.

Again, thank you so much for this life-altering exchange. You are truly a man among men.



P.S. You’re out of your league here.



    1. Of course, all women who are not pro-rape are so because they hate men. Such man-haters are naturally lesbians. It makes perfect sense in SL’s world. I commend Ms. Nelson for not even addressing what SL intended as an insult. As she says, “I just wasn’t offended by the insinuation that I was.” This is the attitude we should all adopt. “You’re gay!” is no more an insult than “You’re a breeder!” If you’re not insulted by the one, don’t be insulted by the other.

  1. Yeah… but most people aren’t well equipped to argue effectively or fairly. And in the end, people will believe what they want to believe. Challenging their ideas can make them defensive… and annoying. Facts are ineffective against emotions.
    It’s only fun to argue when 2 reasonable people are looking at the same set of facts, but drawing different conclusions… or when there’s a good possibility of learning something new from the opposing view. Arguing against someone with a huge emotional investment in their view is usually not productive. It just feels like banging your head against a wall. A wall without a sense of humour.

    1. Again, that doesn’t make their perpetuation of rape culture acceptable. If they cannot or will not engage in rational, productive dialogue, then they will be mocked for it. I’ll go for annoying with risk of progress over the email above any day of the week.

  2. You talk here about that fact there’s too much hatred and that this man lacks basic human compassion but you openly support hatred for the guys from Steubenville. Make up your mind, support hatred or don’t.

    1. It’s not about hatred of the individual – it’s hatred of the act, and the culture that encouraged it, and the culture that continues to bemoan the “tragedy” of their losses. It is not a tragedy. They made a decision. They’re facing the consequences. Difference.

  3. My Google search for “Milk the Cow named Awareness” returned zero results.

    Phew! For a minute, I was worried that was a thing people say.

  4. Lately I’ve had conversations where I’ve spoken out about something someone else said, and instead of engaging with me on the topic (disagree and why), I get “that’s why we have freedom of speech!” as if that means I can’t talk about why I think it’s wrong (or use my freedom of speech). I saw that one of the commenters on your 3/19 post did that. arrrgh…so frustrating.

    So…long way to say how much I appreciate your engagement with your readers!

  5. Thank you for your recent posts. I spent the last few hours trying to compose a post about the research I’d done over the last week about education, privilege, welfare, and such, but the readings left me feeling very discouraged and depressed. So much so, that I ended up with an unpublishable rant against the racist, misogynistic, unintelligible logic—I’m out of words to describe the villainy of it all. Then I found your post. Thank you, a million times over for being reasonable, direct, poignant and patient. I applaud your taking a stand against the haters by not allowing the comments to be hijacked by misinformation and those who wish to subvert the real conversation. You should be very proud of what you are accomplishing.

  6. All I have to say is ‘GO YOU!. Lauren as a former victim and male, it does me good to see blogs like this touch on seriousness of rape in our society. Thank you very much for giving me a new blog to read and things to think on.

  7. Hi !
    I loved your first post on Rape Culture.
    I haven’t had the time to read your latest post entirely yet. Still, I can’t quite understand why this affair – however there is an important age difference – is a rape ?
    The girl agreed, didn’t she?
    I believe we need to make the difference between such relationship and rape.

    1. It’s about ability to consent. The reason we have laws about age of consent is because until an individual is no longer a minor, they are uniquely susceptible to manipulation and abuse at the hands of a “power party.” In the eyes of the law, the student fell under these protections, and was incapable of providing consent. If the allegations are true, there is no excuse. That is abuse of position of authority, and a minor. She was 16. It is statutory rape.

  8. I like his message. Feminism, the LGBT movement, and atheism, things supporting equality for people who have not chosen to be the way they are, are the same as marijuana culture, something supporting people’s right to make a (perfectly acceptable) choice about what to put into their bodies. And, yes, attempting to get those basic rights to apply universally is “shoving my face in it.”
    Methinks the little boy dost comprehend too little.

    Still, at least he spelt “atheist” right. I’m so damned tired of having to be the most athy person in the room, just so I can live up to the “athiest” label.

  9. “I am SO glad you took the time to fill my inbox with hatred. There really isn’t enough of that going around these days”… I laughed a little too hard at this, your quick wit is only bettered by your sarcasm, keep up the good work =D

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