And Another Article on FDR–Starring the Elusive Tom!

These are coming in too fast for me to handle! I wanted to moan and complain about my missing wallet and the scam perpetrated by Reservations Rewards upon our household (and enabled by Husband and fully refunded last night), about the doughnuts we had tonight at an actual functioning bakery that we weren’t looking for, about the laundry pile, about the in-home composter, and about, well, those lines you get on your neck as you age, and whether or not they are worse than crows’ feet around your eyes. There was a mediocre recipe I tried online, some interesting books I got at the library, and a rewatch of the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries, too, but that Tenacious B can’t keep her story out of the media!

But, oh! Felix Gaeta looks so young and whole! And Billy! And Helo! I had forgotten how beautiful Dee is, or how Sol steals every scene he’s in. Between Sol Tigh and Benjamin Linus both coming back on the air the same week, I don’t think my brain can handle it.

So anyway… The latest manifestation of the Freedomain Radio Debacle is at the Times Online (in the UK). It’s from Tom Whipple, a reporter I’m sure I’ve read before, because I look up a lot of newspaper articles for my work. I’ll have to go back through my tables of contents and see where his name appears. It’s kind of eerie, and kind of making feel like I’m part of the in crowd on this one–which I am not–but here’s my little write up before bed:

The article appears in the “Women” section of the newspaper, which is a subcategory of “Life and Style,” so it’s an interest piece and not actually news. The Woman in this case is the Tenacious Barbara Weed, a mother who was torn apart from her son by a Web cult that destroys families. It’s definitely an interesting piece, especially in the context of how Stefan Molyneux and the FDR crowd are reacting to it, and especially after the two radio interviews that sounded like all the other radio interviews. Deviations from the script are always welcome. (Except at FDR itself, but that is a tired rant that has begun to bore even me.)

Purportedly–and you can read Molyneux’s official statement on his website–the now-famous Tom only agreed to be interviewed by Whipple if it was in the presence of Molyneux, so they were both on the phone call. Furthermore, Molyneux purportedly only agreed to do the interview if the full interview was linked to on the page of the article. Well, it wasn’t. I’m not surprised. It’s not likely that a publication would provide it, and I really can’t believe that the journalist–he and I go way back, remember–would just balls-out lie. I like to think there was a mix-up, or wishful thinking, or hearing what you want to hear behind this. Regardless, you can hear the phone call interview in its entirety at the FDR website. I don’t feel like listening to it (I already made that foolish promise to type up transcripts of those radio interviews, after all), but 1) it’s going to be up for a while if you decide later to listen and 2) the FDR members who have listened found it generally favorable. They are talking about that interview in this thread, “Article on Freedomain Radio from The Times,” which was started by Molyneux after it showed up online.

Tom speaks! It’s strange to see subject become object so suddenly. He appears in print as quite firm in his decision, and I’m sure his decision to abandon his entire family was not one he came to lightly. I’m sure, too, that he does not in any way feel like he was led to that decision. I remember being 18. I made all sorts of decisions completely on my own with no taint of peer pressure or pressure to perform or manipulation. All sorts! Whoever thought such a thing! The thing is, teenagers are perfectly clear in their mind who is in charge. Or who seems to be in charge. Teenagers are also worse at interpreting emotional cues than pre-teens and college kids. I’m not saying Tom is stupid, and I’ve already said he sounds like a cad, but I am saying that he made decisions without good data. You have to. The adolescent brain is screwy that way. Time fixes it, but stories also fix in our minds. It is very easy to invent memories. I’ve done that, too.

How is, you may ask, that I know so much about adolescents? Well, I was one. Also, I used to be a high school teacher, so I worked with a good 180 different adolescents a year for three years. Also, I edited a book about how the teenage brain differs from both child brains and adult brains. So of course, I am eminently qualified to comment on Tom, and the adolescent process, too!

Another welcome guest in the article was Tom’s father, The Devil. Turns out The Devil has a name–John. John denies the accusation that he was violent. We also learn that there are two sisters Tom has left behind; before we only knew about his brothers. Tom says at the end of the article that until his entire family enters therapy, he sees no point in talking to him. That’s a moving the goal post fallacy waiting to happen!

Molyneux pulls out his tired line about abused wives, too:

“When feminists first began to speak about abuse within marriage, every abusive husband started screaming ‘feminazi’,” he said. “If I advised a wife to leave an abusive husband, there would not be articles about how I am a cult leader.”

So I don’t know if Godwin’s Law counts as a fallacy, but there’s a Nazi reference! And I don’t know the name of this fallacy–maybe incorrect analogy or something?–but comparing adult wives to underage adolescents is wrong. This is not the same group of people. And Molyneux isn’t telling absued women to leave their husbands anyway. Red herring, right? Am I right? Maybe I’m wrong–but only about naming that fallacy. I’ve already said that I can never remember which ones they all are. I always know where they are.

I’m not sure how long I can pretend to even nominally present both sides of this debacle. Are the FDR people really so clueless? Or are they purposefully being completely nonreflective and uncurious, as they like to say? Because I come across crap like this on their discussion board…

The MSM Coverage of FDR and Anarchism/Atheism

…and have hit my tolerance level for how delusional/stubborn they are. (warning: offensive language)

No, you dipshits! The mainstream media isn’t deliberately supressing FDR’s anarchist and atheist bent to play up the cult stuff! They are leaving the anarchist and atheist stuff out of their articles because they are writing articles about the cult stuff! This hoopla has absolutely nothing to do with your political ideas. None. They don’t care what religion you aren’t. Not in the slightest. Do you have any idea how many anarchist and atheist organizations manage to exist without getting the cult accusation? Many, many atheists and anarchists manage to be friends with people who are neither atheists nor anarchists. It is possible to rally for the abolition of the state and eat dinner at Catholic Grandma’s house. It’s the psychology/family crap that makes you all look crazy. You’re all crazy. That you all profess atheism and anarchy too is utterly irrelevant. Your political talk is irrelevant. That’s why the news isn’t reporting it.

Those are my thoughts, Greg.

My other thoughts are that I did not get an A on my master’s thesis, but that’s because I didn’t write one. I ended up taking an eight-hour exam, in which I used up three blue books writing this kick-ass essay on William Faulkner’s “The Bear,” comparing it to T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. The essay, written against a prompt that I did not see until I arrived at the test site, received  a “superior” mark, which is a very rare mark to be given at that program. Most people just pass. So I have an MA too, which makes me perfectly qualified to perform close readings and analyses of texts. Tom Whipple might as well hire me right now. My insight, wit, and eloquence would enhance any publication.

I could, of course, just stick with my own blog. I’ll enable my comments section! Hey! This will be a free domain you all can post in! Except you can never, ever forget that I’m Queen Bee.

I don’t have crows’ feet.

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  • Stefan Molyneux, MA  On January 10, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for writing about this important issue Karen, I’m sure that you will appreciate it if I provide some of the important facts not revealed in the media (you might want to listen to the full interview):

    – This young man was under the care and guidance of a professional therapist before, during and after his decision to take a break.
    – With the support and guidance of his therapist, he tried to work things out with his family for some time after we talked, but his overtures were rejected.
    – His therapist completely supported his decision to take a break from his family.
    – I did not charge this young man a penny for any of my feedback, or books, or podcasts, or anything else.
    – I did not have any contact with this young man after our brief conversation.

  • Karen  On January 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve heard something like that. In fact, I linked to that exact statement already in this post. In fact, I see the same exact thing posted all over FDR members’ blogs–without variation. What I would really like to hear about is the exact wording of the exchange between Molyneux and Whipple regarding the inclusion of the interview on the article website. Was it in an email? Was it in a phone conversation? Post-hoc PR spin isn’t usually very enlightening.

  • Stefan Molyneux, MA  On January 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Sure, quite reasonable. I updated the page with the full interview to include two excerpts from the emails in question:

  • Barbara Weed  On January 11, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Tom Whipple asked me to pass on this message which I have posted on Liberating Minds:

    Stef was initially unwilling to give an interview, because he was concerned that what he said would be taken out of context. As a consequence, he insisted that we post a link to the full interview online – so that people could judge if he and Tom were being misrepresented. I agreed to this.

    Unfortunately, because of the nature of the interview, our lawyers judged, minutes from publication, that it would be defamatory to post a link, and could leave us open to being sued. I’m not a lawyer, but I understand that if abiding by an agreement itself causes you to break the law, the agreement is invalid. Consequently, we had no choice but to remove the link.

  • Karen  On January 14, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Oh, I’m sure that the deFOOers have anarchy and their families linked in their minds, but there is nothing in “anarchy” that requires that kind of psychology or behavior. For some people–dare I say most anarchists even–anarchy is just another (non)political system for (non)organizing people’s social and economic behavior. It is neutral.

    Remember Heaven’s Gate? They were a group of people–a cult–that believed a spaceship was in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet and that eating poisoned applesauce was the only way they could board it. The newspapers played up the cult angle when reporting that story. They did not generally mention Roswell or the various ideas about alien visitation, or the perfectly normal people who claim to have seen UFOs. Does that mean that the journalists gave a biased view of the Heaven’s Gate members? No. It means they were writing stories about cults, not about UFOs.

    Writing about anarchy in these FDR stories isn’t really the point.

    You know what else? This is a new thought I have. The FDR members hate that the stories aren’t actually about anarchy (which is because no one really cares about anarchy who isn’t an anarchist), and are always saying that people are afraid of anarchists as bomb-tossing terrorist types. I don’t think that’s true. I think people are adverse to anarchy because they doubt its ability to meet social goals and maintain standards of living. FDR members put up a strawman argument to comfort themselves. “People are afraid of anarchy because they have a false impression of it.” That makes them carriers of Truth. But people are really done with anarchy because they just think it is unreliable. It’s not very nice to think that you’ve given up so much personally for a flawed system of social management.

    It’s no surprise that they aren’t more, well, curious about what everyone else actually thinks.

  • Nick Bell  On October 18, 2010 at 9:45 am

    ‘With the support and guidance of his therapist, he tried to work things out with his family for some time after we talked, but his overtures were rejected.’

    This is not an ‘important fact not revealed in the media’
    He didn’t even speak to me about ‘working things out’. Don’t think my other brother, Dad, or Mother were subject to overtures. Even if they were, they definitely wouldn’t have been ignored. As Karen says, it’s easy to make up memories. There’s apparently some massively traumatic childhood that I missed in the 18 years living with Tom. And a couple of apparently abusive and violent parents.
    They can’t have been mine and Tom’s, my dad is one of the least violent people I know. He teaches Drama students, I can give you a whole list of references for his peaceful and cheery personality if you like.

    ‘I did not charge this young man a penny for any of my feedback, or books, or podcasts, or anything else.’

    This is one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve read of yours. You really think that reading masses of stuff you produce (with little academic authority), watching your blabbering, endless archive of podcasts (full of footage of you and your shiny head) and having friendly and intimately personal conversations with you over the internet don’t make any impression on how someone thinks or acts?

    Sorry if this is a bit old hat, but you still sicken me, Stefan

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