Several years ago, when I first met my dear friend, he and I spent many hours discussing a great many things. Religion, literature, science, and how the status quo, the scientific consensus, has perverted the purity of science. That last was a particular interest of mine, a fascinating sociological enigma that had already begun to occupy my thoughts. How delightful it was for me to find someone with similar interests.
He introduced me to this little blog here and asked if I would like to collaborate, something I was quite honoured to do. I was already familiar with David Gorski at that time. Many years ago, when he was on Usenet, I occasionally commented on some of his articles and/or discussions. Gorski, you see, was one of the defenders of the status quo. He ridiculed any views that were in opposition to his and was unwilling to accept evidence that was in opposition to his point of view. He attacked opposing viewpoints relentlessly, with an almost religious fervor, yet refused to scrutinize or question his own orthodoxy. He would scoff and dismiss any ideas that opposed his views instead of objectively analyzing them. His views were a perversion of science, and it intrigued me that this pretentious wind-bag was given so much credence considering that he was the very definition of a pseudo-skeptic.
Then, as now, I was anonymous, and my friend and I had many discussions (some quite heated) regarding anonymity and why he should choose to be anonymous. Sadly, he learned the hard way why he should stay anonymous after an unhinged and disturbing individual began stalking and harassing him online. He has now gone into hiding, only commenting under his real name on blogs and sites that he knows he is safe to comment on (like this one).
I will remain anonymous. I do so to protect my livelihood and my reputation. Not that I’m ashamed of anything I’m doing by pointing out how unscientific Gorski is. It’s something I’m quite proud of, as a matter of fact. No, I remain anonymous to prevent narcissistic busy-bodies like the one I will mention below from contacting my place of business in an attempt to get me fired or reprimanded, like she’s done before.
Gorski wrote an article today lamenting the tendency of people to out pseudonyms. Despite Gorski’s whining and martyrdom complex regarding how this was done to him, I mostly agree. However, this is not actually what I want to talk about.
I wanted to discuss a comment on Gorski’s blog from one of the more vile, shrill, vapid, and hypocritical fuss-budgets amongst the Pseudo-skeptics, one that I’ve written about on more than one occasion.
Lilady is one of the more humourous of Gorski’s sycophants. She bemoans how mean and cruel “anti-vaxxers” are, but then turns around and is even more cruel and vicious than they could ever be. She wails about how Jake Crosby stalks people like Gorski and Offit, yet she turns around and constantly stalks him and Anne Dachel. She also has many of the classic signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For example, she expects everyone to believe she’s a retired nurse and epidemiologist (the latter began appearing in her numerous comments only in the past two years) and makes sure to mention it in nearly every comment she makes, which fits under the need to be recognized as superior. She expects constant attention, which is why she comments on Gorski’s site saying, “Look what I’m doing over here! I’m having an argument with anti-vaxxers!!” She lacks the ability to empathise with the people she argues with, and is arrogant towards them. She thinks she should be treated fairly and respected, yet she does not treat others in the same way.
Now, I know that writing this post will likely feed her narcissism, and if that’s the case, so be it. I still think it is important to point out her pseudo-skeptical behaviours and comment on the lack of critical thinking exhibited.
The below comment is the meat of my discussion today:
“Orac, I think I can speak for the RI Ladies to thank you for this excellent, sensitive post about “outing” a female blogger, by a man in a position of power. It is a vicious spiteful tactic designed to qwell any dissent and to put a younger less powerful woman in her place.
Your personal stalker who posts on his blog as “gambolputty”, has employed the same libelous tactics against me on his own blog and has used another pseudonym (“Caro”) to post nasty libelous comments at me on the Ho-Po and on Seth Mnookin’s blog:
It’s downright disconcerting and threatening for any blogger to resort to “outing”…doubly so, when the victim of the outing is a woman.”
First off, notice the utter fawning and blatant arse-kissery? Pretty disgusting, yes?
Secondly, I believe that Lilady needs to be edumacated on the definitions of stalking and libel. I personally find both of these accusations to be very serious, and therefore, I must address them accordingly.
Let’s start with the legal definition of stalking. I’ll use the definitions for cyber-stalking as opposed to physical stalking considering that most of this alleged activity is occurring online.
“Cyber harassment refers to online harassment. Cyber harassment or bullying is the use of email, instant messaging, and derogatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks. Cyber harassment can be in the form of flames, comments made in chat rooms, sending of offensive or cruel e-mail, or even harassing others by posting on blogs or social networking sites. Cyber harassment is often difficult to track as the person responsible for the acts of cyber harassment remains anonymous while threatening others online.” (1)
So, let’s look at some of her comments on Gorski’s site that fit into these criteria.
“According to Jake…he was very *respectful*, just wanted to pose a *question* (rambling statement of *facts* as Jake’s sees the *facts*) and Dr. Offit publicly humiliated Jake.
Who knows if Jake is reporting his encounter with Dr. Offit accurately. Jake has been known to *misinterpret* and incorrectly report his many stalking capers, in his efforts to curry favor with his *keepers* at AoA and with his readership at that yellow rag.
Who should be believe then? Dr. Offit who is a world- respected scientist and physician and the director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Department of CHOP? Dr. Offit who developed a safe rotavirus vaccine and who has devoted his professional life to educating parents, physicians, nurses, and students about immunology, vaccine safety and vaccine preventable diseases?
Jake Crosby, who is clueless about Intussusception (the bowel *turns inside out*, according to Jake), who repeatedly commits libel in his writings and commits slander every time he stalks Dr. Offit and lets loose with his false accusations. Jake Crosby, who has an undying love for a disgraced former doctor, that causes him to stalk and accost Dr. Offit and other public figures. Jake who *uses* a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome to justify his atrocious anti-social behaviors that includes stalking and defamation of character.
I know Jake, his *handlers* and his readership lurk here. Just for you Jake…you are, in my opinion, a POS, you have an unnatural fixation on your hero Wakefield. And Jake, you may somehow graduate with a MPH…but you will never be an epidemiologist in the public health field.”
Anonymous? Check. Using derogatory rhetoric to harass, bully, and make personal attacks against an individual? Check. Threatening? Not really…lilady is about as harmless and inconsequential as a dung beetle. However, that last comment could certainly be taken as threatening. She constantly lurks on his site and on facebook. She digs up information about his parents, what his parents jobs are, and keeps very close tabs on Jake’s whereabouts and activities, even going so far as to speculate about his dating habits.
If that’s not stalking, I don’t know what is. Hello, hypocrisy.
Now, let’s address the libel comment. In particular, as it pertains to yours truly. Here is the legal definition of libel:
“to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others.” “Publication need only be to one person, but it must be a statement which claims to be fact, and is not clearly identified as an opinion. While it is sometimes said that the person making the libelous statement must have been intentional and malicious, actually it need only be obvious that the statement would do harm and is untrue.”(2)
Lilady has, on many occasions, made comments regarding Mr Crosby, Ms McCarthy and others that were untrue and with the intent to harm their reputations.
Here’s the thing, lilady…if I’m disagreeing with you and giving you a reason for my disagreement, that is not libel. Saying that I don’t believe that you are a retired nurse and epidemiologist is also not libel, especially since it’s a reasonable observation, and it’s clear that what I am expressing is an opinion. It also cannot harm your reputation because a) you’re doing that yourself with your angry, shrieking, hysterical posts and b) you are anonymous and therefore have no professional reputation to uphold. But to lilady, anyone who disagrees with her directly is posting nasty comments and is a “libelous slanderer” (yes, that’s actually one of her insults).
Continuing on, let’s look at the link she provided. This is where it gets hilarious. The comment she links to is not even directed at her, but she thinks that it’s libeling her. Talk about narcissism!
Lastly, I do not condone “outing” pseudonymous bloggers and writers. Oft-times, they do this for a reason, and I respect that reason. Just as I respect lilady’s anonymity. Gorski is already “out,” and it’s no secret who he is. Therefore, my use of his real name opposed to his pseudonym is irrelevant. I have never once done this to her, nor have I personally done it to anyone else. And I take great offense that she would accuse me of doing so.
I do not have the ability to comment on Gorski’s blog. He usually doesn’t like what I have to say about him, so he either moderates my comments (yes, he moderates selectively, despite his assurances of the contrary…if he doesn’t like what someone says, he will not let the comment through), or they get caught in his web filter (I use an anonymous proxy to hide my location from other bloggers…yes, a bit paranoid, I know. But considering what happened to my friend, I think it’s a reasonable precaution). So, I can’t post this over on Gorski’s blog as a rebuttal. I take accusations such as the one that lilady leveled at me very seriously. I strongly encourage her to refrain from making such accusations and educate herself on the terminology she’s using to accuse others. If she actually has real and concrete proof that I am libeling her in some way, then present that proof instead of trying to play the martyr and woe-is-me. If she cannot provide this proof, then it’s more evidence that she is a liar and that she’s full of shite.