“Against logic there is no armour like ignorance.” -Laurence J. Peter
I wrote a post a few weeks ago, explaining that simply because someone is in an establishment that serves alcohol, doesn’t give anyone license to hit on them. PZ Myers tweeted it and a bunch of crazies came out of the woodwork to tell me just how wrong I was. I responded to some of the comments at first, then I realized that poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick would be a more productive use of my time.
I did notice a trend in the responses.
ZOMG FREE SPEECH
I’m guessing that most of these people are voting for Ron Paul. I heard a lot of “Telling me I can’t hit on someone is violating my right to free speech! I can say whatever I please!”
Sure, as an American, you have the right to free speech. It says it right there in the Bill of Rights “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech….” However, it would seem that these people have mistaken me for a sovereign entity. Just to clarify, I’m not Congress. I don’t represent any branch of the American government. I don’t represent any other government. Ergo, me telling you to shut the fuck up doesn’t violate your right to free speech. Glad we’ve cleared that up.
Societal norms govern a whole host of human interactions without requiring government intervention. For example, I bet you don’t go to a movie on opening night, wait until just before the movie starts, and stand up and shout the ending. I bet you don’t walk up to a couple on a date and starting flirting with one of them. I bet during a job interview you don’t say “fuck” repeatedly. The government isn’t the reason for this. What I am advocating is you, taking a look at your expectations and behavior, and saying “I’m not going to behave like an asshole.”
It’s a bar, get over it.
A bar, by definition, is a place which serves alcohol. Brothels are a place which serve sex. If you go into an establishment and the menu has a list of beers with prices, you’re probably in a bar. If you go into an establishment and the menu has a list of sex activities with prices, you’re probably in a brothel.
If you’re going to make the argument that “bars are meat markets,” as one of my commenters did, then you should also believe in Zeus. Because you are a shitty skeptic. The entire point of being a skeptic is to be skeptical about all of the myths society throws at us.
Forms in triplicate
I’ve heard this argument repeated over and over and I’m still at a loss for how people conjure up this idea of requiring extensive paperwork for social interaction. This entire discussion got started because some people suggested that having an anti-harassment policy at conferences was a good thing. Somehow, from that, people have created a fantasy world in which bureaucrats wander around social events, requesting you to sign here and initial there before you can have a conversation with someone. If you think anyone is advocating this or that this would be the logical conclusion of a sexual harassment policy, you are delusional.
Consent does not require paperwork. If you think it does, I will direct you to this great website and book called Yes Means Yes. You should read them, then continue reading extensively about consent, then perhaps meditate on that information for awhile before you interact with other human beings again. If you stick out your hand to shake mine and I also stick out my hand to shake yours, congratulations, you have asked for consent and received it! No forms necessary!
Furthermore, if you continue to make this argument, you sound like the sort of person who cares more about ensuring that your sexual objectives are met, rather than preventing harassment. This makes you an asshole.
*I said “man” and “woman” because I was directly responding to a remark made by a man who was discussing hitting on women. It applies to all genders.