Thursday, June 6, 2013

Piece of Advice #103: Don't expect others to make everything all nice for you.

I know that months have passed since the incident with Adria Richards at PyCon happened.  But it's kind of stuck with me, and it's a good excuse to give my fingers some exercise on the keyboard again.  When someone on Twitter mentioned the other day that the guy who lost his job due to Richards's public and photographic outing of him as an egregious harasser [cough, cough] had found another one, I went and looked to see whether Adria Richards had also found another position - and came up empty. 

Now since she's been lying low for the past several months and has shunned all attention, it's possible she has and it's not public knowledge.  And, for her sake, I hope she's found a way to keep the Devil from the door.  But somehow it's not surprising to me that someone who can do something tangible and valuable found a job and someone who revealed herself to be difficult and controlling seemingly has not. 

I mean, would you hire Richards?  She had a good job and lots of opportunities, but apparently things were not enough to her liking because she had to eavesdrop on people talking privately among themselves and tweet a photograph of them to the world so that she could drive home the point that women are slaves to - what? - the male libido in the form of a dongle joke

I looked up what a dongle was.  Let's just say it didn't give me the vapours.  I didn't break my pearls clutching them.  Compared to the cascade of obscenity I spend significant energy trying to keep out of my life by cordoning off TV, radio, most of the internet and the news, a "dongle" just hasn't got what it takes to shock me into outrage.

Now, the backlash against Richards wasn't pretty: the DDOS attack, the online harassment, the photo of a decapitated woman sent to Richards - that's ugly.  She unfortunately got the backlogged rage of men who are sick and tired of being controlled by legislation, by speech codes, by training seminars and Human Resources, by every petty control freak who doesn't mind chipping a nail to make someone else subject to her whims.  The sluices filled and Richards was washed away.  And this is where we have our teachable moment.

Life just isn't about making things all pleasant for everybody.  Mostly it's hard and unfair.  We used to know that.  We used to say things like, "If you can't stand the heat..." without it ending in "...have the remodelers rework the kitchen to your exact specifications."   Maybe tech isn't a friendly place for women.  Maybe it is full of sexists and jerk guys who leer lone females all day long.  If that is so, it's too bad.  I'm sorry to hear it.  But why is the solution to reprogram every guy in tech against his wishes or inclinations?  And how can anyone believe that's even possible?  Why don't women in tech create their own companies and their own amazing tech contributions and use the profits and power to mentor other women in tech?  Did Bill Gates expect his employers to roll out the red carpet for him when he was still wet behind the ears?  Did Steve Jobs?  It's probably easier for a woman now to get a small business loan or grant for a tech start-up these days.  Or they could do it the old fashioned way and code like the wind in the comfort of their parents' basements, harassment free.

Maybe, just maybe, if you aren't the head honcho, if you aren't the goose that's laying the golden eggs, if you are not the pivotal player upon with the success of your employer's business balances, you should learn your place and stay in it.  Be nice to people, blow off the slights and offenses, give people the benefit of the doubt, and don't assume that you have the authority to correct everyone around you.  Does no one think they have to put in their time anymore and make a little coffee? 

Honestly, if you can't handle a little blue language, maybe a nearly all male workplace isn't for you.  Or, heck, any workplace now.  The world has become a crass place.  But this incident wasn't about fighting crassness or inappropriateness; it was about control and demonstrating who has it and who doesn't and who is supposed to bend his neck.  There's a risk in playing that game, though, if you haven't quite got those numbers crunched correctly.  Adria Richards learned that the hard way. 

*This post was made possible with support from AEC and readers like you.


  1. Call me a sadist, but I'm a little satisfied to see the leftists getting a taste of their own medicne. They've been threatening (and committing) 'career homicide' to anyone who steps out of line, seeing it happen to one of their own is a nice change of pace.

  2. Gentlemen,
    this is John Rambo, Anti-Feminist Soldier. I am posting this on behalf of Peter-Andrew: Nolan© also now known as Joschua-Brandon: Boehm©. I am doing this because, as a young men who knows Peter well, I know he has our best interests at heart.

    It is well known that five years ago, April 2008, I spent a month suicidal as I went through the process of disowning my former children. When I came out of that rather unpleasant experience I contacted other men who had been similarly affected. I realized that many men were killing themselves because of the criminal abuse of the family law courts all across the western English speaking world.

    As a direct result of this experience, and my compassion for my fellow men, I made a vow in June 2008 to re-introduce the rule of law into Australia and Ireland. Naturally, at the time I made the vow I had no idea how that might be done. We call it “throw your hat over the wall”. You make the vow and “figure it out later”.

    Along the way I have talked to many tens of thousands of men, perhaps as many as 100,000 men have seen at least one comment by me one way or another. What I heard from men in 2008 was that they were DESPERATE for a remedy for the crimes being committed against them in the family courts. They were DESPERATE to find a way to end the criminal effects of feminism on their lives. Because so many men told me the same thing I mistook this to mean they actually WANTED to solve the problems of the family courts and feminism. As I said. My mistake.

    Through very extensive research and labour, and collaborating with the best and brightest, the remedy for both the family courts and feminism was proven on 2009-11-26. A mere 18 months after I was suicidal. The court meeting that I did on 2009-11-26 I regard as one of the finest achievements of my life. Regardless? The very men I risked my life to create a remedy for have ignored that remedy, preferring to whine, bitch, moan and complain because that is far more rewarding to them than actually solving their problems. If they solved their problems they would have nothing to whine, bitch, moan and complain about.

    The remedy has now been available 2.5 times as long as it took to develop and has proved uniquely unpopular. I am hated for even talking about it. The blood of every man who kills himself due to criminal abuse in the family courts is on the hands of those perhaps 100,000+ men who have heard from me and done nothing. I did all I could. They did not. It is actually very simple.

    The mechanism for men to free themselves now is the Mens Business Association. The MBA provides individual based services to get men out of the control grid. Such services may well save the mans life from suicide. Going forward? It is necessary to create second economy outside the control of any government entity. Why criminals in governments can dominate and control men via the economy they will continue to do so. There is no reason for them to stop. The MBA is the proposal of a second economy outside the control of the government. This is a NECESSARY ingredient for men to live in freedom.

    Only a small percentage of men will want to live in freedom. Those men who want to live in freedom? You are invited to watch a short update on how we are going in our efforts to get the second economy going. Naturally? The second economy will grow just as quickly or slowly as men join in and contribute to it. Those who want to “stick with the government run economies”? You are welcome to do so. I wish you luck with that because you are going to need it.

    best regards

    your brother peter

  3. Welcome back Grerp!

  4. Grerp! Long time no see!

    Great post~ :-)

  5. So glad you are back, Grerp.

  6. Thin-Skinned Masta-BetaJune 7, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    We love our dear grerp...!

    I agree that deploying the PC Cops for every perceived offense is mostly a power play by those who can't get attention for their competence or achievements.

    Nevertheless it can't hurt to remind people about the only two rules you need to get along: respect and patience.

    Respect everyone regardless of "identity politics." It's just good manners.

    And if somebody is ever out of bounds (which the dongle joke hardly was), have the backbone and patience to deal directly and diplomatically with the issue rather than calling in the PC grievance cavalry.

    Both reactions showed neither respect nor restraint.

    Perhaps it's just too late for too many to learn any manners. I wish we could secede and found a new republic for only polite and respectful people. Diversity and difference of opinion aren't so terrible if people can be decent about it.

  7. Welcome back!

    When I read Richards' remarks about feeling like Joan of Arc, I thought, "Doesn't she know how *that* ended"?

    If you're an employer, you're going to think twice about hiring someone who wants to lead a crusade, especially if it's potentially directed at your workforce and customers.

  8. If two women joked that the men in there room were dweebs and virgins, the tweet would have went viral.

    Some people go through life on the look out for who they can shit on. It's primitive way to inch up in the social hierarchy. She saw(heard) an opportunity and pounced. The problem is she ended up looking way more mean-spirited than the men.