Over the years I have annoyed many, many people with the way I think and many of them have responded in ways that aren't very polite (or legal...) The other day when listening to Trystan (my RI co-host) at his talk in Swindon telling the audience about ways in which he had been threatened in the past it made me think of the things people have said to me in the past.
I honestly think it's quite sad when, in an argument you have to resort to name calling and threats of violence because your argument is so weak. It says a lot for the position you are arguing from and it really does you no good in the long run because you don't make your point - even if what you say makes you feel better, or makes you feel big and clever. You don't achieve anything by acting like a playground bully.
I've had it pretty good compared to many skeptics out there, I've only been threatened with violence two or three times that I can recall, and the name calling has been pretty lame. As my mum says, I have thick skin so it sort of bounces off and I do find it quite amusing that by pointing out facts I can wind people up that much. I don't want to wind people up but it just seems to be an effect I have. Sucks to be them...
I was inspired to add my 'ad-hom & threat list' to the menu bar of my blog (to the right of the page) by Jack of Kent and Crispian Jago who both have testimonials on their blogs in a similar position. Though, instead of testimonials mine is purely the 'best' ad-homs and threats I have recieved over the years. They include:
“You’re the Tracey Beaker of paranormal research!”
This one was delivered by a local paranormal researcher whose ideas I didn't agree with. Apparently, like Tracey Beaker (who is a fictional childrens book/tv character) I am a stroppy teenager. It couldn't be that someone who is a lot younger than them actually knows better than they do. Oh no. Perish that thought...
“I’m going to come around to your house and kick your door in to get an apology!”
This threat was recieved from an ex-member of my paranormal research team after I asked him/her to leave the team due to misconduct. Needless to say, my door didn't get kicked in and no apology has ever been issued from me or them.
[To my employer] “Hayley is a spy who films you all with hidden cameras”
This one was phoned through to my place of work at the time by the same person who called me 'Tracey Beaker' and all sorts of other rude names I cannot remember. At the time I was working for Sainsbury's who had just undergone a Watchdog exposure of one of their stores that had been secretly filmed due to the poor food safety standards. I could have lost my job for suspicion of working for the BBC if my boss hadn't been able to spot bullshit a mile off. Oh, and the fact that the person who took the phone call was my best friend who instantly phoned me at home to work out what was going on. Needless to say, the police were called about this harrassment and it all stopped.
“You silly, little girl.” -- Andrew Ward, Bradford-On-Avon based homeopath
“Child!” -- Various people
“You’re a hateful b**ch who needs to grow up!”
To be honest, most of my hatemail centres on my age. I'm twenty-two which is quite young to some people I guess, but people just can't get their head around the fact that my age isn't an issue in the argument or debate. Or at least, it isn't to me. It just makes them come across as slightly ageist and smug.
“Grow some respect atheist scum”
“You’re a deluded god bully.”
*snigger & giggle*
“If you don’t take it back, I’ll f***ing sort you out!”
Sometimes I wonder if these people are serious about their threats and I wonder if 'bring it on' would be a good response or not? It would be funny if they did come to 'sort me out' as I'm the geek who has a zombie invasion & defence plan. I'm a little bit paranoid about zombie invasion, and werewolf attack. If someone were to come around to 'sort me out' then they'd see a geek in action and they might get a bit shocked. I'm not hard and I'm not claiming to be, I just have the ability to see weapons in every day household objects such as a tea coaster and a mouse mat.
Oh god... now I sound like a lunatic (but at least I will survive zombie invasion/werewolf attack, bitches!)
“I'm going to look out for her in the future and corner her after a talk! Another skeptic to add to the hitlist”
This last one was said by somebody on the UFO magazine forums in response to my talk at Weird '09 that someone on those forums took objection to. Although 'add to the hitlist' and 'corner her after the talk' sound quite scary, in reality I would LOVE for someone to corner me at a talk when they think they can outsmart me. I can go from calm and collected to bat shit insane in ten seconds flat. Bring it on.
In conclusion I don't really care if people hate me, I don't care if they have mean or nasty things to say about me. It shows their argument as weak and normally in that sort of situation I feel smug because I realise that maybe my points are right. What does annoy me the most though is when people bring my age into the equation. It's just not relevent.