by Jim Osborne

An interesting story has developed from events transpiring at a PyCon event in Santa Clara, California. PyCon is a conference if users of the Python programming language, and was attended, in part by representatives of various technology companies.

The ruckus started with the tweet below, sent by ‘developer evangelist’, Adria Richards 1, about two PlayHaven developers behind her. PlayHaven is a company that has a mobile gaming site.

Adria turned to the two men, smiled, took their photo and tweeted. No warning, no request for them to cease. Straight to the internet. The tweet was sent to an audience of approximately 10,000 people along with their photo (not included here), and a follow up tweet informing PyCon staffers of their seat location.

Adria turned to take the photo, and she never stated that she was part of the conversation the men were engaging in. Adrias words suggest that she was eavesdropping, listening in, not part of the conversation. There is no problem with this in itself, but one cannot claim to be harassed or offended, by a conversation they were not invited to partake in.

What happened immediately after is not clear, and perhaps not relevant, but the internet storm eruption when one of the PlayHaven employees was fired.

The reaction on the internet was huge.

Almost immediately, Adria Richards was subject to immense public criticism on her twitter account and online. Most of the criticism was valid, that her reaction to an innocent to an innocent joke was out of proportion to the perceived transgression which in her mind constituted sexual harassment, that took place. It is a hell of a thing to deprive a man of his livelihood, and to do so over a joke that was told privately, that was not sexist or was not harassment, as Adria claims, is even more worrying. Some unsavoury vitriol was also directed against Adria, including death threats. SendGrid, the company which Adria works for, as a developer evangelist was also targeted, and subjected to a denial of service attack, a type of online attack where the online service provided, or the website, is inundated and no longer able to provide the service. SendGrid also started losing clients, and being a company which owns few assets, and primarily reliant on venture capital for its operation, this, along with the negative perception of Adria, resulted in her termination. Adria is seeking legal advice, and she may have a case against SendGrid.

Background

It is probably important to understand why this event blew up. There is a lot of discussion and analysis as to why, and a fair amount of it comes from the feminist left, who are ascribing the reaction to “the boys club” keeping women out. I think the reaction against Adria, sans the personal threats to her wellbeing, was warranted.

Lets look why.

Here is Adrias justification for the public shaming of the two employees

pycon (@pycon) March 17, 2013

What I will share with you here is the backstory that led to this

The guy behind me to the far left was saying he didnt find much value from the logging session that day. I agreed with him so I turned around and said so. He then went onto say that an earlier session hed been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasnt really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

That would have been fine until the guy next to him

began making sexual forking jokes

I was going to let it go. It had been a long week. A long month. Id been on the road since mid February attending and speaking at conferences. PyCon was my 5th and final conference before heading home.

I know its important to pick my battles.

I know I dont have to be a hero in every situation.

This was her response to the guy being fired.

 Hey,
Thanks for speaking up, contributing your viewpoint on HN and not attacking me.
I’m sorry to hear your employer deciding to not to work with you on this and I hope they reconsider, bring you back on and dealing with it constructively.
For context, I’m a developer evangelist.
That means I’m an advocate for developers, male and female. While I hear abou
[sic] demanding bosses with impossible deadlines for product launches, I also hear about the experiences of women working at startups.
In both cases I offer suggestions, ideas and mentoring to help the developers become problems solvers. Sometimes the answer is our API or not answering email after 7pm while other times it about being assertive and shedding impostor syndrome.
The forking joke set the stage for the dongle joke.
Yes, this time I decided I didn’t want to argue my perspective. I decided instead to accept it bothered me and took action based on the PyCon Code of Conduct. It sounds like if I’d said something about the forking you would have denied it having a sexual association. Not sure if I smiled but I’m also unsure what facial expression you would have expected.
I just got done writing my blog post you can read here: http://butyoureagirl.com/14015/forking-and-dongle-jokes-dont 2
See you next year.

This is quite telling. If she did not intent for him to get fired, only to be reprimanded within the context of the conference, why is she not sorry? Any human being with a health sense of empathy, upon realizing that there actions had a greater cost than anticipated, would at least express some remorse. Adria doesn’t, and it could be that she KNEW that this could result in them being fired. She does, after all, have ‘social media’ on her resume as one of her areas of expertise, and over 30,000 tweets to her name. She would be well aware of how social media works, and likely be aware that blasting out such comments about people to an audience of thousands, is inviting trouble.

However, it goes deeper. Here, https://twitter.com/adriarichards/status/313942823986688000, she overreacts to someone saying that she was lynching the PlayHaven employees. She pulls out the “I’m Black” race card. We can start to see why she overreacted, when we look at these tweets.

Adria Richards ‏@adriarichards 18 Mar
@renejsum thank you. I did it for future generations who will attend as well

To her, this wasn’t just a couple of people sharing Benny Hill-esque style jokes, to her, the future of women in programming was at stake. A very, very long bow to draw.

From Adria,

“saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop. I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.”

and

“We need to build bridges and be aware of our actions and not discount that our words carry weight. A guy in my PyCon sprint group today shared a beautiful French proverb today: Live a good life then make room for others. Yesterday the future of programming was on the line and I made myself heard.”

Speaking of drawing bows, she also compares herself to Joan of Arc

As an advocate for digital equality, my actions today at #pycon made me feel like Joan of Arc, minus the visions” 3

We can start to see her personality come through. A tireless feminist and anti-racist. Adria says, after scolding a white man for using the term ‘lynching”, ” Sounds like you feel personally offended and are have trouble processing White male privledge [sic]” 4

“White make privilege” comes straight from ideologies of anti-white Jewish intellectuals, Time Wise or Noel Ignatiev. Adria also says “@smarx Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is by @scalzi”. 5

Her subscription to anti-white racism is evident with this alarming and disgusting statement.

This quote directed at Adria was amusing, and accurate.

Magical Girl Haiders ‏@TheMahouShoujo 31m
@adriarichards That guy you got fired had 3 kids. You’re black, Jewish AND womyn: It’s like you won the Oppression Lottery. “

and this

LeHappyMerchant ‏@uberlieferung 1h
@adriarichards Or wait, I guess I didn’t realize you’re one of the chosen. No wonder you were so quick to push the feminist angle.

This comment from a feminist, highlights the disturbing anti-male mentality that radical feminists hold.

Alicia Dixon ‏@specialLi1972 2h
@smh377 @adriarichards @avdi After #Steubenville its evident that men need to be made aware of their actions in our #rapeculture society.

 

A joke about a dongle, linked to a culture of rape?

There is more evidence of her engaging in similar behavior before, but it is not necessary to get bogged down in such details. The point is that there are people who appoint themselves as PC Police and take it upon themselves to browbeat and reprimand people (generally white males) into their ideal of a moral citizen, a moral crusade they feel is crucial for the sake of humanity, and therefore no holds are barred in fighting it. Adria Richards is behaving as such a person would.

Why the Internet exploded

The mainstream press, having picked up on this, is largely running with the “Women’s rights crusader fired for calling out sexual harassment” angle, but the media will always pick the angle which justifies encroachment of Political Correctness into our personal lives and our freedom. We could ascribe this to ‘hate’, or to a ‘boys club’ or other trite PC excuses, but if one follows the discussion, and reads the comments from the public about why they were upset with Adria, a few common themes emerge.

Firstly, and primarily, people are sick of Political Correctness. We have had to endure decades of having to be careful of what we say, lest we suffer a trial by ordeal from the PC inquisitors. We have had decades of being told that simply because we are white, or male, or both, we have to “check our privilege” and live our lives constantly questioning ourselves, critiquing ourselves and giving advantage to minorities. We have had to face, again and again, the melodramatic, theatrical moral outrage from Liberal PC prudes. We have had to tolerate, against our better judgment, giving those who claim to be ‘offended’, a moral one-up over us, as if somehow a minority claiming to be offended grants them power over us. Power to disrespect us. Power to punish us as they see fit. Power to treat our own opinions and sensibilities with contempt, as if our own knowledge, experience and judgment was somehow invalidated by their being offended. When a man can lose his livelihood, and his ability to look after his three children, simply because a PC crusader, who really has no authority, just a megaphone, decides to make a public spectacle, it causes people to become defensive. Because it could happen to any of us. Liberalism and Political Correctness have turned many people into oversensitive, childish snitches, who based morality and the resolution of disputes on authority and decree, rather than cultural customs and codes of civility. We are becoming more a nation of children, than men. We no longer combat our adversaries with honour and integrity, but see every deviation from our own ideals as an complete and utter evil which must be destroyed.

What Adria did, was the equivalent of a 8 year old eavesdropping on a dirty joke shared by some classmates, and immediately raising their hand for teacher and yelling out at the top of their voice, for all to hear, what they heard and what they though. Perhaps forgivable for children, but adults it is uncivilized. In civilized society, adults take control over their own affairs, instead of running to an ‘authority’. Adria should have turned to the two men and asked them to stop, but we can hypothesize about what she should have done, but in reality, she probably had no intention.

The Liberal mindset doesn’t allow for discussion. Our experience at Nationalist Alternative with our ideological opponents has taught us that our opponents don’t want dialogue, nor to pit ideas head to head in the arena of public debate. To them, we are not to be argued with, but destroyed. Our existence is the problem.

The comments written about this event, now known as “donglegate” seem to show that people are realizing this, but are yet unable to put their suspicions and thoughts down coherently yet. The reaction seems to many to be overblown, but it is a reaction to the Liberal war waged against Western civilisation, and those it believes are holding onto it at the detriment to others. Adria may very well have chosen to go straight to twitter, not because it was the best way to handle the situation, but because she was firing a salvo against white males. In short, Liberalism is at war with what it perceives to be the legacy of the West, and it could be that many are realizing that when someone does something, like try to publicly shame someone for nothing of significance, that it really isn’t about justice, fairness, equality or empathy, but rather about belligerence, an ideological war which is fought by destroying and attacking the people who hold these ideologies (or simply by virtue of being white or male) have it inherently within them.

Adria deserved to get fired. As a public representative of SendGrid, her job is to portray a positive image of the company. Pursuing a political agenda, by making an example of another professional, which then, through the firing of the said examples, drawing a Denial of Service attack on the company, causing clients to drop important and in general tarnishing the company through association is reasonable enough grounds for dismissal. She thought she could use the internet to make an example of someone she had condemned as sexist, without trial or due diligence, but didn’t realize that the sword of internet activism cuts both ways, and brought upon her a backlash, which forced SendGrid to dismiss her.

As for the men who’s firing by PlayHaven started this, it is hard to, by any stretch of the imagination, to see dismissal for such a banal joke as being proportionate to the crime. More likely, PlayHaven dismissed the employee in order to avoid being seen as sponsoring harassment. They very well may have thought that not dismissing the employee would have brought the army of diversity advocates and diversity lawyers upon them. In times when Political Correctness went unchallenged, this would have been a smart rule. But PlayHaven misjudged the population. They caused more harm to their own image, because they thought the cost of not firing the employee would have been greater. Times have changed though, and it seems that PlayHaven caused more ire among the IT industry against them than they would have, had they kept the employee. Unfortunately, the response to PlayHavens dismissal, resulted in Adria getting fired as well.

It is all an all a rather sordid tale. In better times, nothing like this would have happened from a simple joke, shared privately at a programming language conference in the general crowd. But in times when a hot ideological war is waged, the social conditions exist for such an event to flare up and intensify the war, and this is perhaps what this was all about.

4 Responses to Donglegate: How society has grown tired of Political Correctness.

  1. Tlaloc says:

    Great article I am keeping as a reference for my research work on the social media. For this issue, the first hits on google regarding ‘donglegate’ are dominated mostly by Richard’s feminists supporters. It seems that feminists ideologues still have the upper hand on traditional media but this trends starts to become challenged. This kind of social terrorists attacks from self-appointed PC inquisitors are starting to trigger the survival instinct in men. When an animal is cornered it will fight fiercely till the end; this is an indication that men are starting to fight back. How can this be otherwise? When you and your family are denied the food they eat just because some social media terrorist wanted to make a target out of you it makes perfect sense. What kind of ‘civilized’ society allows an individual to spy on other’s people conversations and mob lynching him without proof or authority?

  2. Adam says:

    I particularly like the bit where you point out that she would be well aware of how social media works. We can speculate about her motives, but we can also argue that she *should* have known what results of her actions might bring. Should such a trigger-happy finger have access to such a powerful button?

    She threw these guys under a truck, and then got hit by it herself.
    http://fascinatingtales.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/adria-richards-dongles-and-burqas/

  3. Sharon says:

    Not sure how I discovered this article but well said Jim. I am a 45 yr old professional female sick to high heaven of the precious princesses we are forced to accomodate in our every day lives! I dont mind a sexist joke, because Ill give it right back and have a mutual laugh. There is a peaceful internal strength in not feeling compelled to make a statement about everything. There is weakness & malice in Adrias actions…..Not Nice!

  4. ML says:

    Adria Richards is a piece of sh*t. I’m not sure how I got to this blog either, but reading this story made me angry; her actions and words make me angry. She’s a nasty woman indeed.

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