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PZ Myers & Robin Williams

August 19, 2014

As anybody who has a functioning internet connection (or a TV set) knows, legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams died last week. He had committed suicide by hanging himself. Given Williams’ status in the entertainment industry, there was extensive media coverage of this event – Williams’ battles with depression and alcoholism were given particular treatment – and a much loved icon seemed to be universally missed.

Seemed to be. Enter the ‘Fuhrer of Pharyngula’, PZ Myers. I won’t quote anything from Myers’ crude attack on Williams, you can read it for yourself if you need to. Suffice to say, any credibility that this humanoid had left has been eviscerated – it only seems a matter of time before the allies he has left in the mainstream secular community decide his sanctimonious fanaticism is too much and he disappears into the obscurity where he deservedly belongs.

*On a more important issue than PZ Myers(!), anyone reading this who is dealing with the same (or similar) issues that Robin Williams dealt with should get in touch with a trained professional. Or, if things aren’t at breaking point yet, just talk to someone you know. Just some friendly advice from someone who’s “been there”.

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One Comment
  1. I liked the way you created the ‘universally missed’ Judy from whole cloth and then cast PZ as Punch. I particularly enjoyed the way you extolled Williams’ virtues via the proxy of the media coverage he received over the years. That Williams is a “much-loved icon” who will be missed (although “universally missed” is stretching it way too far: there are enormous numbers of people who have never heard of him) is not in doubt.

    Regardless of how much and universally Williams is missed, criticisms of him are perfectly acceptable. But PZ didn’t criticise Williams as anyone (other than you) who read his post can plainly see. PZ was criticizing some of the media coverage of Williams’ death, saying that it was relatively unimportant (other than to his friends and family) compared to other bad things that were happening. He was criticising the media’s fixation on the tragic death and – in some ways – life of Williams compared to things he = PZ – regarded as more important and urgent.

    PZ wasn’t attacking Williams in any way. He was attacking the cult of celebrity as extolled by the media. That is perfectly clear from PZ’s post, which – I suspect – is why you didn’t link to that post.

    Enter the ‘Fuhrer of Pharyngula’, PZ Myers. I won’t quote anything from Myers’ crude attack on Williams, you can read it for yourself if you need to.

    Really? The “Fuhrer of Pharyngula”? I can’t make any sense of this statement. Are you saying it’s wrong that PZ has the audacity to decide what he posts on his own blog? Or what comments are acceptable according to his published comment policy? Or that he somehow governs what people say elsewhere? It’s wise to be clear when you play the nazi card.

    But that’s a side issue. The main issue is your refusal to quote or link. Or for that matter, even explain what you think PZ said that was wrong or why it was wrong.

    You do none of these things. You just assert that he made a “crude attack” on Williams without saying what that attack was. You invite readers to judge for themselves without pointing them to the post in question.

    Suffice to say, any credibility that this humanoid had left has been eviscerated – it only seems a matter of time before the allies he has left in the mainstream secular community decide his sanctimonious fanaticism is too much and he disappears into the obscurity where he deservedly belongs.

    Suffice to say? Hardly. First, you need to explain what PZ said and why that results in the loss of credibility you have arbitrarily ascribed to him and why. Second, you need to show – rather than assert – that PZ’s allies are soon to abandon him. Is there evidence that this is happening or is it just wishful thinking?

    What *will* suffice is an explanation of what PZ said that was wrong, with contextual links to what he said and careful arguments against it. What *will* suffice is that you actually read and understand PZ’s post. What *will* suffice is *keeping to the argument* rather than flighty departures to insult people on a personal level. The only reason I’m not accusing you of ad hom is that you refuse to even describe the arguments of the people you insult.

    It’s rather pathetic.

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