Confessions Of A Former Misogynist

NB/ there’re descriptions of violence in this, obviously – don’t read on if that’s not something you want to deal with today.

Another guest post for you, readers. This time, my friend Ben recounts his transition from misogynist to feminist. Yes I am happy to call him a feminist; I don’t think one needs to experience a form oppression to disagree with and stand against it. Men can be feminists; many are and they’re valuable allies.

I think this is an important post because it’s from a man who confesses his attitude was wrong, who noticed that, and then changed it over time. That doesn’t seem to happen too often and hopefully it might inspire some people, or at least help us to make sense of why people can harbour these common, irrational feelings of hatred.

NB/ text by Ben; I have added in headings, images and links.

What about the men?

“If I can’t have you, no one can!”

Yelled the estranged boyfriend to his ex girlfriend, while she was trapped in a blazing house fire he’d started. As a teenager watching this reported on the regional news, I felt a rush of the expected emotions – anger, sorrow and empathy, but not in the places you might expect. My first emotion wasn’t empathy for the girl who’d burned to death in the fire, but anger at what she must have done to deserve it.

Of course, women are just as capable of unhealthy jealous emotions as men, but what’s important is the thought process that got me to this conclusion. By this time I’d painted a picture in my head of a vast conspiracy of powerful, hysterical feminists, who were trying to silence and control men to suit their agenda.

I had a list of examples of how feminism had gone too far. I wasn’t allowed to have long hair at school, while girls were allowed to have long or short hair. Women were allowed to mock men for being bad in bed, but men weren’t allowed to say the same back. I said that women often lied about rape to get men locked up, and pointed to fathers’ rights and the fact that, historically, it was always men who were conscripted into the army.

The real issues

If I’m honest, I only really trotted out the examples above to justify my position; some of them even have some substance, but they didn’t make me angry. What did was, firstly, feminists challenging my point of view and, secondly, the fact that I found it really hard to get a girlfriend and, when I did, it usually ended abruptly with drama.

Getting and keeping a girlfriend was my ultimate goal, not because I genuinely loved any of the girls in question, but because I saw having a girlfriend as a status symbol. I could tell my friends that I had a girlfriend, was getting sex and that I wasn’t a failure as a man. I now realise that most of my friends wouldn’t care about my man status anyway, despite the lad banter, but this was what was going on in my head at the time. The feelings of the girls in question were irrelevant; to me girls were property that I had to cling on to and control. And if they dumped me, they deserved to be shamed in every way possible.

I would use emotional blackmail and intense pressure to get what I wanted in these relationships, and make them last as long as possible. I went out with a girl who smoked pot occasionally, and I basically told her that I would commit suicide if she kept doing it. This happened repeatedly, because she (rightly) refused to give in to me. I even hospitalised myself once – the pressure on her must have been immense.

The thought process here is difficult to explain, but I’ll give it a go. If a girl I was going out with did something I didn’t like, I’d get a big shot of adrenaline and hit a wall of irrational anger, especially if they knew I didn’t like what they were doing – I then saw her behaviour as selfishness. Once my anger button had been pressed, I lost all my powers of self-reflection and rational thinking. At that point, I’d come up with all sorts of warped explanations for my behaviour to create even more pressure and exert more control.images

I should also point out that I did (and still do) genuinely suffer from clinical depression. The difference now is that I’m self-aware enough to know how my actions affect other people, and I’ve developed ways of coping with it. Back then, however, I knew it was something I could abuse as leverage to get what I wanted. If my girlfriend talked to another man, and I got jealous, I’d sit in the corner with my head in my hands saying I was depressed. I’d say that I felt like killing myself because of the way she made me feel.


When I inevitably got dumped, I’d tell my friends horror stories about how she’d said my depression was just a form of emotional blackmail, and make up lies to try to turn her friends against her. Being dumped, especially if we hadn’t had sex, was the worst thing that could happen. I wanted sex, and only women had the power to give or take it away, and in my mind this made them more powerful than anything else. Being dumped would push the anger button, because I ultimately couldn’t face the truth of looking at who I was and what I was doing.

At this time, I was also dabbling in music recording and fancied myself as the new Roger Waters. When I was dumped by my then-girlfriend, I wrote a whole concept album about the break-up. Embarrassingly, it got a distribution deal and was produced on a decent-sized CD run, so there’s a permanent record of it that still comes back to haunt me.

The lyrics are fascinating to me now. They basically talked about my ex girlfriend as if she’d joined a cult; a cult where nobody listens to men any more, and everyone’s obsessed with “so-called rights”. In short, it says: this slut obviously couldn’t think for herself, so she got sucked into the feminazi agenda and dumped a lovely boyfriend, just because he suffered from depression. This was easier for me to handle than the truth, which was that I’d been dumped because I was an angry, obsessive, control-freak who emotionally abused his girlfriends.

Loud and proud

I remember when I first heard the word misogynist. I was talking to a friend about a girl who’d dumped me, and my feelings about feminists creating a society where nice men couldn’t get girlfriends, and he described me as “quite a misogynist”. I asked him what he meant, and he said “it’s simply hatred of women.” I instantly loved the term. I didn’t consider myself a sexist – I thought of Benny Hill as sexist – sexism was just silly but this was serious.

I very seriously thought women were irrational, mad, over-emotional and pseudo-intellectual creatures who would do anything, via new feminism, to crush weak men who suffered from depression, and I hated them. These days, I see a lot of people saying “I’m not a misogynist, but…”, because they don’t want to be called a misogynist, but not me. It was the term I’d been looking for, and I was proud to call myself a misogynist.

This was before the age of social media, but I know what I’d be doing if it was available at the time. I’d be following feminists and strong women on Twitter, combing their tweets for any kind of slip-up that I could use to ‘expose’ them. If I saw a blog or comment by a feminist that challenged my world view, my anger button would be pressed and, rather than responding rationally, I’d lash out with gendered insults, all while completely failing to empathise with them.

I’d be angrily commenting on blogs and YouTube videos about feminism, sticking up for the men who just want to get girlfriends and sex, but can’t because of this repellent radical feminism. And I would probably never change, because the large scale of social media has effectively provided a veritable support group of people who feel the same way, with the same irrational anger that prevents them from assessing their views.

Turning point

So what changed? I was in my 20s, and I’d had unprotected sex with a girl – this is another issue, actually – my need to have sex, and thus prove myself as a man, was always greater than the potential consequences – I had a complete inability to view sex and relationships from a rational and sensible perspective.

I told her that, if she got pregnant, she couldn’t have the baby, because it would put too much pressure on me to support it. When she told me that it was her choice what she did with her body, it pushed my anger button. How could she even consider doing that to me? I was irrationally angry, and my empathy was entirely skewed towards me, without ever considering how she might feel.

I told her I wanted nothing more to do with her, and she said to me:

“I’d like you to learn from this, but you won’t. You’ll just chalk me up as another “mad girl” and carry on repeating the same stupid mistakes.”

Again, that hit my anger button, and I was fuming about it for days. But a few months later, I thought about it more, and decided to start analysing why I was so angry.

The latter was key here. I’d never tried to rationalise my anger before; I’d just followed where it led. Of course, the problem with irrational anger is that you can’t analyse it while you’re irrationally angry. You need to give it a few days to cool off and then look at it.



What I found began to horrify me. I’d write down why I thought I was angry a few days ago – lists of statements such as ‘she overreacted,’ ‘she’s being arrogant, selfish and hypocritical.’ Then I looked at each one individually and asked myself what had actually happened. What was the truth? Without the shield of irrational anger, I began to realise that half of what was on the list wasn’t even true, and the stuff that was true couldn’t in anyway justify that level of anger and hatred.

Why was I so angry and hateful? Even now, I find this difficult to explain. It was probably a combination of an inability to accept criticism, insecurity and hormones, but I began to see that it was very seriously clouding my judgment. I continued to talk to people about my difficulty attracting women, sustaining relationships and my feelings about feminism, but when I got challenged, I decided to genuinely reflect on it rather than just getting angry and staying with the same views.

It didn’t work exactly like that, of course. Feminism still pushed my anger buttons, and I still argued a lot about it. But if something made me angry, I’d go home angry about it, silently rage about it while trying to sleep and then a few days later try to rationally analyse what had made me angry.

In turn, this led to a larger sense of self awareness. I knew about self awareness before, but I mainly just saw it as being self-deprecating in order to get compliments. Actually being aware of what you think, how you appear to other people, and why, made a massive difference, not only in terms of self-reflection, but also in terms of empathy.

I soon realised that my empathy had been severely skewed for years, but I’ve found that this can be unlearned once you’re self-aware enough. I’d only ever considered myself as the subject of empathy, or other men who were in my position, I’d never considered the emotions and feelings of the women I’d been emotionally abusing.

When I realised how my behaviour must have made my girlfriends feel, I felt sick. There wasn’t a feminist conspiracy to deprive nice men from getting sex and girlfriends. The girls I’d been out with hadn’t dumped me because I was ‘too nice’ or because I was depressed, but because I was an emotionally abusive arsehole. That’s not an easy thing to admit, but it’s a lot easier to fix once you’ve done it.

What followed over the next few years was an epiphany as I started to consider sexism and misogyny in the wider world. I spent several years married to a feminist (we’ve since separated, but I still thank her for patiently opening my eyes to so much of this), who would point out areas of sexist culture to me when it arose. At this time, despite no longer being an all-out misogynist, I still subscribed to the idea that sexism was largely a problem of the past, but I now see that it isn’t.

Everyday Sexism

There are obvious examples, such as the discrepancy in salaries between men and women in the same roles and the number of women in parliament, but it’s actually all over the place. I’m reminded of the episode of Life on Mars with the black policeman in a 1970s police station, saying that you can’t just get rid of racism because it’s everywhere; it’s embedded in the culture. Once you recognise sexism you see the same pattern emerge. It’s not just stuff like men pinching women’s bottoms in the office lift; sexism is still a part of our culture in so many places.

Just off the top of my head, I regularly hear jokes about women drivers among my friends. If I go to a stand-up comedy gig, the line-up is invariably all men, and there’s nearly always a rape joke and a joke about how slapping some women in some circumstances is okay. Disturbingly, this is usually greeted with a big cheer from the stag parties in attendance, as if this is something to be celebrated.

When I read books or watch TV or films now, I’m constantly aware of how many female characters are only shoehorned into the plot to provide a love interest for a male character, or to act as eye candy. I watched District 9, thinking it was an awesome film (which it is), but it was then pointed out to me that there are no female characters in it, apart from a bit-part from a wife. That’s just one example – there are loads of others. This sort of stuff isn’t intentionally misogynist; it’s a product of a culture where we think men do the important stuff, and women are there for love interests and to have babies.

I work in technology and games journalism which, despite the hugely increasing numbers of girl gamers, still panders to lazy stereotypes. Tech and game trade shows are almost solely aimed at heterosexual men, to the point where the companies employ “booth babes” in minimal clothing to make their products look sexy to heterosexual men, and hold product launches at strip clubs. It all sends out a big message that technology and games are only for heterosexual men, and you can’t join our club.


The world looks very different when you take away irrational anger and conspiracy theories and add empathy to the equation. I’m not going to get into the issues of privilege, patriarchy and nice guys, as there’s plenty about that on the Internet already, but there are so many areas where sexism is pervasive in our culture.

You see it in the parades at Formula 1 events, the portrayal of women in computer games and the Internet comment sections full of violent threats (I don’t care if they’re sincere or not – they still contribute to a culture that makes rape seem acceptable to some people). Again, I’ve only listed a very small set of examples – there are thousands of others. Once you recognise sexism, you spot it all over the place [this is the perfect illustration – M].

It’s not always hugely problematic stuff, course. It’s easy to say: “oh, boo hoo, you got inappropriate sexual attention, get a grip – in some countries they stone women to death for adultery!” In fact, for the most part, I know a lot of women just block it out and get on with their lives, and many are preoccupied enough to not even care about most of it, and “good” for them. But it’s there, and when it’s all added up you get a culture where sexism is still very much alive, and in some industries extremely problematic. We might not be forcing women to wear burkas, but we demonstrably still have plenty of sexism in our culture.


Whenever this is brought up, the reaction from many quarters is the same kind of irrational anger and skewed empathy that made me into a monster. I’m not for a minute saying that everyone who ever disagrees with a feminist has the same mindset that I used to have, or that you can’t challenge anything a feminist ever says, but I definitely recognise a lot of the same behaviour.

I see intelligent people getting irrationally angry, painting feminists as hysterical, arrogant control-freaks, but not sitting back and asking why they’re angry, rationalising it and asking if they’re wrong. I often also see just a cursory disclaimer on forum posts, saying “I deplore sexism and misogyny, obviously, but…” and then launching into a diatribe about out-of-control, humourless feminazis and how men are the real victims.

Of course, feminists sometimes say stupid things too – they’re human beings, and we all do it. But when this happens, ask yourself what’s really made you angry – the stupid thing they said, or a conspiracy theory that you can’t debunk because it’s hidden behind a wall of irrational anger.

I haven’t written this to show off about how enlightened I am, to “save women” or to seek atonement for my former emotionally-abusive self, but to explain how my misogynist mindset worked and how I woke up to the real world. If you recognise any of the same behaviour in yourself, know that it’s possible to change, and that you’ll be a much better person for it. If you feel your irrational anger button being pushed, sit back a few days later and ask yourself why, and ask where your empathy lies. Write it down, think about it and be truthful.

You may not come to the same conclusions as me, and that’s fine – I always like to think that life is a learning experience, and I still get a lot wrong. But once you remove irrational anger from the equation and develop a sense of self-awareness and empathy, you can then start to really challenge yourself and open your eyes.

This process took decades with me, though. Debunking a feminist conspiracy in your head is a little bit like deprogramming yourself from a religion. It takes years of self-reflection and asking some really uncomfortable questions about yourself, but you do come out of it a better person.

Ben has also toured with his Skeptics in the Pub talk, Sharks don’t get cancer (The Myth) – so catch it if you can!

Links [Edit: please let us know of similar stories in the comments]

Edit 2014: Some people take hatred, resentment and entitlement to its ultimate fatal conclusion, rather than realising it’s them in the wrong. Thoughts with families.

Offended? Good.

This post is long. Edit: tl;dr = Don’t Be A Dick.

It’s a lot of stuff in a sort of web of thoughts I’ve been having and I just hope it makes some sense. Please comment to extend it further – the point of this is to be thinking and talking about it! You can skip to the end for the bottom line if you want, and some of the explanation/example-giving is in between.

I’m going to use a lot of ‘being a dick’ type phrases; I know that’s gendered in nature, but it’s my sum-up of ‘people doing/saying things I consider inappropriate/unacceptable and would rather didn’t happen’ – it’s for space and time-saving purposes. And men aren’t routinely belittled as women are, so don’t argue with me that it’s the same as ‘being a c***’ or something like that. Another post entirely.

The concept of offence and why it matters

When I am offended by something, I’d rather it hadn’t been said (or done), and I hope it won’t be said (or done) again with the same intentions and negative results. It’s not that I think you should be locked up for saying or doing it – offence can be a starting point for discourse around an issue. If your motive, however, was to claim offence then avoid all of those positive outcomes and shut people down, then yes, you’re being a dick. Religious people who are offended by things tend to do that, and I wish they wouldn’t.

Here’s a friend’s tweet that I liked:

 “Can someone please make the distinction between not acceptable and should be illegal? Anyone?”

- @writerjames

I think offence can be a great thing, spurring on discussion and change for the better. Loads of things offend me: from the worldwide oppression of women, religious privilege, including but not limited to Catholic clergy child abusers and their institutional protection, the sight of starving children when there are mountains of food waste elsewhere, conspiracy theorists telling me we never wanted to cure cancer anyway because it’s so profitable an industry, animal rights activists (or to give them their rightful title, terrorists) targeting researchers… right down to the disgusting hawking phlegm noises our next door neighbours make in the mornings.

It’s important to be offended by things because without that, the righteous indignation and drive to do something about it probably wouldn’t come forth. Apathy is like a disease.

I do not believe there is a universal human right to not-be-offended. Stephen Fry quite famously said:

And I agree that simply being offended by something does not automatically give you the right to have something done about it – lots of things happen all the time that won’t be acceptable to some people, in some situations. That doesn’t mean you can go around telling people they can’t say or do things, to avoid offending people, because in the end you’ll have to end up banning everything. That’s just impractical! And doesn’t tally with the whole free speech thing.

But, people do have the right to be offended by things, and say so. It’s just an emotion, really – telling people you shouldn’t take offence to things is kind of like telling them not to be happy about something if you wouldn’t be too. That doesn’t really make sense. If you want the right to say whatever you like – to have freedom of speech – then I will retain my right to disagree with it, to find it offensive, and to explain why. As I said before, offence shouldn’t be used as a means to simply shut down debate, but don’t go around saying how important it is to do and say what you want and then start telling people they should keep their offendedness to themselves. Talk about it.

Mental health

On to the first example, I’ll introduce Time to Change. They encourage everyone to “Get Talking!”, with a view to ending the stigma against sufferers of mental ill-health. They hope that conversation will increase understanding, improve lives, stop discrimination and, hopefully, prevent suicides.

With that said, a while ago a meme was prompted around some Australian “train etiquette” posters, which saw them doctored and shared for all our supposed amusement. I saw one and found it offensive:

Now, whoever made it probably thought they were being funny – because, you know, when your train is delayed/cancelled because of an “incident” or “fatality” or “person under the train”, oh my god, how annoying is that, right?? It’s just the worst thing ever. You’re trying to go about your life and some inconsiderate bastard has chosen to end theirs by hurling themselves onto the track. Why couldn’t they just go and do it somewhere quiet, so that I could proceed through my morning unhindered?

Some people will nod along vigorously to that, agreeing that it’s really annoying and selfish and “those people” should know better. Well, I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot at this point. I hear this kind of thing a lot and I’m well and truly fed up of it (I may even have said it myself in the past, to my shame).

Step back a bit here – how many people do you know who suffer from depression? Probably more than you’re aware of, given about 1 in 4 people will experience it to some degree during their lives. How many of those do you know have attempted suicide? Have contemplated it? Again, probably more than you think.

Imagine these people you know and care about getting to the point in their lives where nothing seems able to help them, when ending it would seem better because they can’t be a burden any longer, they can’t face another day. When standing on a busy platform, sometimes the thoughts take over and people succumb to the despair. It could be a snap-decision, or it could be something long-considered and enacted in a heated moment. It doesn’t really matter how or why – these people have been failed by their society, they haven’t received the care they need, to which they have a right, to live their lives. We should be ashamed of that.

Train suicides are shockingly common in Japan, for example, where the snap-decision seems to make the most sense. My point is, while I have complete sympathy for unfortunate drivers and clean-up teams who must carry their experience with them for the rest of their lives, your apparent lack of sympathy for someone who has died needlessly really offends me.

They have families and friends – do you think their first thought is for all the inconvenienced commuters? How about next time there’s a “human damage incident” you just e-mail in to work to apologise that you’ll be late, spare a thought for the poor soul who came to a gruesome end because of their unseen illness, and be thankful your fate is not the same.

Oh, and if you do have experience of all of the above, yet still insist it’s funny, then I will ask you why – do you want things to stay the way they are, or would you rather it got better for everyone? If it’s the latter, then maybe stop and think if you’re really helping here. If you don’t want to help, then maybe you’re not as caring as you thought you were. If that doesn’t bother you… why are we friends again?

Mental illness is no laughing matter, and pointing the finger at sufferers who end their lives and inconvenience you is really dickish.


On to comedy then, as no doubt that last comment has people up in arms saying “you can joke about anything! That’s an important aspect of free speech! Don’t limit comics!” and all of that. Sure. I love comedy, I love live gigs and comics making me laugh ’til I cry or cringe while I suppress a giggle. Comedy can be a huge force for good, challenging things other media wouldn’t go near and aiding advances in civilised society.

However, there’s a way to do it well, and there’re ways to end up being a dick about it.

Here’s a comedy flowchart that pretty much explains. Essentially, you can (as I said above) be doing one of two things: helping shift attitudes to create a better society and life experience for all of us, or perpetuating harmful ideas and norms. Which one of those your comedy ends up doing depends on a number of factors that include you and your place in said society, the content of the joke itself and who or what the punchline/subject is – whether it’s funny or not doesn’t really come into it, because humour is a very subjective thing and it’s only important here in that a comic’s ability to make people laugh might pay their rent.

Funny doesn’t necessarily equal good, and comedy does not have to be edgy for the sake of it. People will vote with their wallets, but we should also talk about (and hopefully understand) what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Again, not illegal, I’m not advocating arresting people for making bad jokes.

Rape jokes

As a specific example of an edgy subject, one that some might say “shouldn’t be joked about” (whether that’s even a valid idea is part of a wider discussion), let’s consider rape jokes.

There have been some high-profile cases of this recently, such as Daniel ToshJezebel covered this very well, with an explanation of why rape jokes can be ok, and why so many are not. [Edit: topically, the Edinburgh festival is coming under fire for similar.] Where your joke is directed and where it’s coming from are such important factors, as per the aforementioned flow chart.

This leads into some news from May 2013 as Facebook agrees to tighten its policies. I’m still thinking about these issues together, and welcome comments.


On a related note, I’ve often held a deadpan expression during yet another boring “You know what I hate/love about women?” type routine. Friends and comics alike, it’s so common we tend not to notice it, or make a big deal of it.

The Olympics are on at the moment. That means all the tellies are showing images of ridiculously toned, gorgeous and talented people – men and women alike. But as is often the case, women are treated in a certain way; people wonder why it’s different if men are treated similarly. Again, balance of power, context and history, intent and reality. Sure, if you wander around in a bubble avoiding thinking of all those things, everything must be quite simple for you, but it’s not necessarily so.

“Sure, I’m all for free speech so I’m not going to have you arrested for making comments on Twitter, but free speech means I can call you a wanker, doesn’t it?”

One of my favourite blogs, the Vagenda, have picked up on the objectification of female athletes (and more widely) and calmly explained the problem. Edit: Some wonderfully articulate female athletes have taken on the trolls themselves, too. Sadly this stuff is all over the TV, too.

It’s similar to why it’s very different to have a man do a striptease for a room full of giggling ladies, compared to a woman sliding semi/entirely naked up and down a pole in a divey bar. They hit the nail on the head; so many of these problems relate to a lack of empathy. Plenty of lesser and more atrocious things stem from this, too, I believe. It’s so important to be able (or at least try) to  put yourself in someone (or something) else’s place. Actually that’s why I’m bad at horror films, I do it a bit too much.


When people have an epic failure in their empathy circuits, have accidentally or deliberately ignored the important factors of context, history, privilege, targets and realities, various things can happen.


Lots of people get ragey when the people they offended have dared to criticise in return. They’ll vehemently defend their actions/words, deny any wrongdoing and refuse to change their ways or in any way take it all back.

Sometimes that’s alright – it’s good to be passionate about things you believe in and stand up for yourself and your views, but more often than not this reaction happens when it really shouldn’t. It’s not coming from people defending an ideology and a belief that what they’re doing is the right thing, but from people who don’t want to be proven wrong. They don’t want to be a victim of stupidity, of error, of ignorance – they’ll refuse to accept the possibility. That’s not alright.

A shining example of someone who did the opposite: listened to criticism, worked to understand the issue and apologised like a decent, clever bloke is Jason Alexander, after he referred to cricket as a “gay” sport.

my building a joke upon the premise I did added to the pejorative stereotype that they are forced to deal with everyday… And with my well-intentioned comedy bit, I played right into those hurtful assumptions and diminishments. And the worst part is – I should know better

It’s all good, I recommend reading all of it, but that’s my pull-out. Further to the privilege/bullying/throwaway comments point, here’s Rhys on being respectful and not calling people “trannies”. I’ve written a bit on transgender issues, courtesy of Juliet Jacques’ fantastic SitP talk.


Exploring how causing offence can be a very bad thing is this Guardian article by Gary Younge, on online racism.

The caveat is that the right to offend is not the same as an obligation to be offensive or a duty to disparage… Why, generally, don’t we? Because to do so would be antisocial, diminish us in the eyes of others (including those we don’t know) and eventually leave us isolated.

The internet is often held up as an example of what happens when people don’t have to take responsibility for their actions; a strange sense of duty to be as rude as possible tends to crop up often. Sure, we’re allowed, but when and why is it a real problem? Trolling is another topic for another time, mind.

The general principles explored in the article apply to all the problems discussed above and more; when free speech is used as a defence for bigotry, the alienated individuals and communities are driven further away. People don’t take responsibility for their actions and the problem is widely felt but often its very existence is denied.


This is what a lot of it comes down to. Different people in different situations hold certain amounts of power – whether they’re aware of it or not. Privilege. It’s a commonly used word in the feminist and general anti-bigotry circles, but it’s an important one. People can say and do what ever they like, but some have more ability to get away with it and cause harm. With great power comes great responsibility, no?

Context is so important. When you’re ignorant of context and history, you might not understand why something is offensive to some people. But that doesn’t then give you the right to try to shut them up if they complain. Maybe they’ve got good reason to. Maybe they haven’t, but if you don’t listen, you’ll never know and nothing will change. That’s kind of the problem with privileged groups – it’s difficult to accept change if you think that change will undermine your position of power. Like the MRAs. People are also likely to avoid thinking of themselves as a victim because victimhood is perceived to be a relatively powerless situation – au contraire, if you accept an injustice, you can fight it from an informed perspective.

The bottom line

You’re free to be offensive. Sometimes it can be a really effective way of starting important conversations. I like to think of myself as a basically decent person – I’m always trying to assimilate new ideas to allow me to live my life better, help people out (including myself) and find nice people to be friends with. I do believe my friends are also decent, responsible, caring folks – that’s why they’re my friends! I also expect my friends to educate me when I fail to live up to my own standards.

But if you’re just being offensive for the sake of it, because you think it’s funny or really important that you exercise your right to be a dick to people for no particular reason – expect me to be offended and express that, because I am free to, and if you don’t want to think about it any further, I’ll probably stop being your friend.

If you don’t care about that – well, it’s win all ’round, isn’t it.

More Links

  • “The Supposed Virtue of Not Being Offended” – Brute Reason
  • 2011: Steve Coogan lays it out more succinctly, in the context of the Top Gear lads‘ attempted humour.
  • 2014: “Robin Williams’s death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish” – Dean Burnett

IgNobel Awards 2011

Sorry for the silence of late! I’ve been in Florida for the AACR conference in Orlando, plus some R&R in Miami. Resuming semi-normal service…

Before that I attended the IgNobel Awards tour show (and the pre-event, Improbable Research After Dark, which was excellent) and would like to share some of it with you because it was entertaining and educational; the top two aspects we nerdy types hope for from events, of course.

Marc Abrahams (centre of the photo, left) hosted the evening, which consisted of some background on the IgNobel prizes, some selected highlights from the actual awards shows and talks from some of last year’s winners.

To keep talks to time, 4 ‘volunteers’ would quack after each minute, culminating with non-stop quacking when the speaker ran out of time. This will make more sense later.

The Annals of Improbable Research is a bi-monthly publication. It includes original research such as the somewhat hilarious ‘Kansas is flatter than a pancake‘ study.

Firstly, a selection of the main prizes awarded in 2010:

1. Engineering - Whale snot-sampling helicopter

2. Medicine - treating asthma with rollercoaster rides (my Welsh colleague would love this, he went on so many while we were away!)

3. Transportation Planning – Japan/UK; slime mold planning rail systems

4. Physics - wearing socks outside shoes causes fewer slips and falls on ice in Winter. It’ll catch on, wait and see.

5. Peace - Swearing relieves pain! I knew it!!

6. Public Health – experimentally determining that bacteria stick to beardy scientists! From 1967, this study set the basic standard for microbiological lab safety methods.

7. Economics - to the companies who got us where we are today.

8. Chemistry - disproving “oil and water don’t mix”

9. Management - random promotion would increase organisations’ efficiency! Dubbed the ‘Peter principle’

10. Biology - a study of  fellatio among fruit bats. Yes.

6 days after the 2010 awards (also the 20th ceremony), in Stockholm, the Nobel prize for Physics was awarded to Andre Geim for graphene; 10 years previously he received an IgNobel for levitating a frog with magnets!

During the ceremony itself, one can traditionally win a date with a Nobel prize winner! A happy 91 year-old indeed…

We were treated to a selection of old winners (there are approximately 200 in total now)

- 2000: dog vs. cat fleas’ jumping ability (dogs fleas win)

- 2007: the emergency bra – more on this later!

- 1965: a very scary patent for a rotating birthing table.

- 2003: homosexual mallard necrophilia. A love of duck sex-related stories is an ongoing joke amongst such eminent science writers as Mark Henderson, Ed Yong (parental advisory warning for that post!!) and others… So the quacking-timer setup had particular comedy relevance when Mark read out some of the original study at the Improbable Research After Dark event. I’m sure you can imagine.

- 2000: Australian patent office awards someone an innovation patent for… the wheel.

The IgNobel institution has even been converted into a Manga story! Called ‘Geniuses without the glory': Marc Abrahams points out that perhaps it should be the other way around?

Included is the inventor of karaeoke, who was awarded the Peace Prize for inventing ‘a new way for people to learn to tolerate each other’ – he didn’t patent it and has made no money from it!

Left: the infamous slime mold. Right: karaeoke action (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) and the creator overwhelmed with emotion!

In 1995 there was a British IgNobel winner, and according to Marc:

Britain is the finest natural producer of IgNobel prize winners in the world

Research from Norwich on how cereal flakes get soggy in milk achieved the honour and the authors sent a video acceptance.

The Chief Scientific advisor to the government at the time telephoned Marc telling him not to give the award; he thought perhaps it was an ‘example of the famous subtle British humour’. Lots of other scientists cited a reputation for him being a nice guy. So Marc, assuming it was a joke, wrote him a letter.

This included (valid) points such as the fact that IgNobels can help get the public interested in and curious about science; plus scientists enjoy it!

The advisor wrote back angrily, telling him to stop giving the awards!! Even if the scientists do want them!

Marc then started talking to people, including Nature, The Times, Guardian, Reuters… stories started cropping up everywhere. A government official’s reaction like this could perhaps go some way to explaining public discomfort with science? It turned out to be a good controversy!

Now his ire is immortalised in Manga. He’s probably not too happy about that either.

The Speakers

1. Dan Bebber – slime molds and the Japanese rail system

Can we make use of biological networks to improve our network design? Is the simple combination of Mold, Agar and Oats better/more efficient than engineering companies?

Slime molds have been honed through evolution to make efficient networks. So the short answer is yes, they are at least as good at planning sensible routes from A to Z and all stops along the way.

2. Elena Bodnar – on the super-innovative bra-mask, for which the UK is apparently a top customer! And the new male counterpart device, the emergency shirt.

We were even treated to a demonstration, in which one volunteer pleaded

If any of my students are here, don’t take photos!

When she was asked “Who would you save?” she considered it, made her choice and said “well, he is my boss”.

Sid donated his shirt for a demonstration of the Emergency Shirt (the actual specimen having mysteriously disappeared). He even wore the bra to preserve his modesty. For a while…

So far it’s available only in red and for cups B-D on – it’s just idea for now, but should expand to all sizes and more designs eventually!

3. Matija Strlic and his chemical analysis of old book smell.

There’s also a ‘New Book Smell’ airfreshener for kindle! More than 200 chemicals (some toxic!) form these odours, as determined by Headspace analysis of 80 books.

Particularly due to volatile organic compounds that together produce a smell of vanilla ice and caramel! The actual use of this kind of research is in development of an artificial nose to assess and predict the rate of paper decay.

He passed around some ‘old book smell’ in a Duran bottle (sturdy branded lab glass)! It was surprisingly spot on.

4. John Hoyland at New Scientist (who edits the Feedback feature)

Frootloopery is a favourite subject at NS; including ridiculous medical claims such as trinfinity8 that ‘transmits algorithms into body to combat ageing!’ for a mere $8,000.

Also the Denon AKDL1 cable, allegedly marketed at some point for $9,999.

Winner of the Amazon most-sarcastic-reviews! Highly recommend a read, very amusing.

Apparently it generated such comments as:

I put it in a glass of water, that started to turn a dark sort of colour.., my friend and I agreed it was the best red we’d ever tasted

Questionable marketing is also covered, including the use of ‘free’ (e.g. FREE TEXTS when you top up £10/month!),internet speed claims (Up to 8Mb/s! = 3 if you’re lucky), amusing signs (“simulated Virtual Reality” – eh?) and so on.

Chronic Woman Disease got the most lols. The fire extinguisher thing is probably an inflammatory translation phenomenon of some sort.

Also there is a Private Eye Colemanballs-style section for silly things people have said, such as one commentator’s gem:

time seemed to stop for 3/4 of a second

5. Gareth Jones – fruit bat fellatio!

This article climbed to the 2nd most-viewed video on the PLOSone video site. They found that every 1 second of fellatio led to an extra 7 seconds’ copulation time! Also in some species, in terms of size, testicles > brain!

Science and Nature covered it as well (but didn’t publish it, he not-at-all bitterly pointed out).

Good point well made in the HuffPo

Question: What was the first most-viewed paper? Answer: a PLOS Medicine article about “why most scientific research is false” – fair enough then.

Finally we were ‘treated’ to McGonagalls’s Tay Bridge Disaster poem, again, having read it at  Improbable Research After Dark as well.

The poem has probably ended up ranking as, a greater tragedy than the bridge incident itself.

Billy Connolly reads:


The founder of the Irish skeptics explores the importance of the IgNobels in science communication in the Irish Times.

SDWFD: Episodes 3-6!

Hello from Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo!

You can listen to Episode 3 in which we read Chapter 1 of Jim Humble’s book, and Episode 4 covering Chapter 2 (guest hosted by Hayley Stevens of Righteous Indignation, because I was away! Thanks for filling in, Hayley).

Also check out Rhys on the One Show! Bringing ‘bleachgate’ to the masses.

In Episode 5 (also on iTunes!) we’re taking a break from Jim’s book (back to Chapter 3 in Episode 6!) to look at some other woo;

  • Cosmetic Acupuncture
  • Annie Cap (therapist/telesales extraordinaire)
  • Colloidal Silver
  • Live blood imaging (guest report from @JoBrodie)
  • Pumpkin Pie for pudding


Cosmetic Acupuncture

Rhys reads from the leaflet he picked up in one of the two Health with Herbs stores in Cardiff, shown below [when he’s scanned & sent it to me!].

I had a look at this website cosmetic acupuncture and their ‘About’ section (I have italicised for emphasis):

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and although relatively new to the west the Chinese have been using points on the face to combat the signs of ageing and to help with various skin conditions for many years. It was in use as early as the Sung Dynasty (960AD – 1070AD) when the Empress and Emperor’s concubines received cosmetic acupuncture.

A cosmetic acupuncture treatment will obviously concentrate on points and muscles of the face in order to improve elasticity of the skin and general overall appearance. During the treatment the practitioner will also needle constitutional points on the patient’s legs, arms and body, these are the points that will help to balance and harmonise the patient’s inner elements.

Studies published in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture in 1996 showed that of 300 people who received Facial Acupuncture, 90% demonstrated marked results after only their first treatment. [I can’t find this study; if anyone can, please send to!]

Over the course of treatments the patient can not only expect to be looking more radiant and their skin revitalised, but they will also start to feel more at balance and happy in themselves. The Irish Times recently acclaimed* this treatment as:

“…a viable alternative to cosmetic surgery and the effects can run much deeper than simply improving appearances.”

When the patient feels more in control of their body, mind and spirit they can then start to address other issues in their lives. These may be things to do with exercise or lifestyle, or maybe they would like to stop smoking, or loose [sic] some weight. These are all things that we can achieve when we are in balance and feeling good about ourselves, once you start to feel like this, you will be surprised how much your self image improves. This can be achieved by cosmetic acupuncture bringing a person’s natural beauty to the surface.

* Here they fail to mention the closing line of said ‘acclaim’, which is:

“As I turned in that night, I looked expectantly in the mirror again, only to conclude that a brisk walk or even a swim would have left more of a glow on my face.”

Annie Cap

There is a street in my home town that has a very high turnover of shops; the rent is high, few succeed enough to stay there very long. One of the latest editions caught my eye with this window sign:

I picked up some leaflets from outside and went on with my day. Annie Cap has her own website which is worth a look, and her leaflet is [will be!] below.

Colloidal Silver

This is the wiki article we were looking at for a bit of background on colloidal silver. The link to argyria is well worth a look.

The main worry with this ‘therapy’ is its ability to interfere with the absorption of several drugs; so people on medication may be seriously harming themselves if they choose this alternative therapy at the same time.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie for Pudding

As a happy thanksgiving to our American friends & listeners, he’s a tasty pie recipe that apparently is super-healthy too!!


How to make the creme…

In a small work bowl of a food processor, place:

Cashew nuts (truly raw-unheated, hand-shelled) = 3-3/4-ounces (refer to notes)

Blend cashews into a nut butter.
Add to food processor:

Water = 6-tablespoons (refer to notes)

Maple syrup (pure, grade B) = 3-tablespoons

Vanilla (pure extract) = 1-teaspoon or equal amount vanilla bean powdered (the vanilla bean powdered is preferred)

Puree ingredients.
Add to food processor:

Psyllium husks powder (plantago ovata) = 2-teaspoons

Press psyllium into mixture. Puree and let creme stand for 10-15 minutes. After creme has thickened, puree again. Place creme atop the pie. Level out the creme. Voila! Cut pie into 8 large pieces or 16 small pieces.

Optional Garniture:

Pumpkin seeds (heirloom, unheated and organic) = 1-cup

Maple syrup (pure, grade B) = 2-tablespoons

Salt, cinnamon and ginger (dried, powdered) = 1/4-teaspoon of each

Place salt, cinnamon and ginger into a bowl and mix. Stir in maple syrup. Stir in pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle up to 1/2-cup spiced, sweet pumpkin seeds over crust then add filling. Top pie with creme. Over top of creme, sprinkle up to 1/2-cup spiced, sweet pumpkin seeds. This garniture adds more pumpkin sapor and a crunchy texture to pie. For festive color, surround each piece of pie with fresh cranberries.


*1 Many cashew nuts sold as raw are heat processed to remove their shell. The definition of “raw” for the cashew industry means “not roasted”. In this scheme of things, cashews-in-shell are either boiled in oil or scorched in fire in order to condition the shell (prior to cracking) and speed the process. During this heating process, the cashew nut degrades significantly. Seek out organic, truly raw (unheated) cashew nuts that are hand shelled.

*2 Bottled spring water from the marketplace is not recommended. Fresh water from one of earth’s natural springs is highly recommended.

*3 Best flavor and best nutrition comes from food that is heirloom and grown organically, sustainably or biodynamically.

Article References
Maple Syrup…
Cashew Nuts…
Vanilla Bean…

About the author

This recipe creation is by Dianne Wawrzyniak-Marshall. Via YouTube video, Dianne brings you alive healthful recipes that she and Paul enjoy time and time again. Catch Dianne and Paul in food-prep recipe-demoing action ToLiveWellNow.
Dianne Wawrzyniak-Marshall has a passion to share her many extremely challenging experiences and the grand lessons she has learned. If you could pick up a blue-eyed blonde-haired little girl of 5 and spare her so very many years of forthcoming pain of the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental, would you? Dianne was this little girl. Born in 1963, Dianne desires to share information that comes from deep suffering in order to help parental figures understand how to give children an abundant life(as well as themselves). Dianne wants to help people ToLiveWell!

[I really don’t get that last paragraph!! Intriguing.]

SDWFD: Episode 2!

Have a listen here, and you can now find us on iTunes!

woo top phlog! :D

[Intro by Dr*T]

R: Today we’re going to be reading some more from Jim Humble’s book, The Miracle Mineral Solution for the 21st Century.

M: Also, because we didn’t last time, we’d like to give more of an introduction to MMS and Jim Humble [JH for short!] himself, in case anyone hasn’t been keeping up with the exciting news.

R: I was one of the people to discover MMS; I found it on a Crohn’s Disease support forum and I recorded a video about it. I also adapted the video into a blogpost. I discovered it being introduced as possibly a treatment for Crohn’s disease, I noticed people who were saying it had done wonders for them. Then I did more research into it and found it was being claimed that it could cure absolutely everything. The site claims it can cure:

AIDS, hepatitis A, B and C, malaria, herpes, TB, most cancer

But in a recent interview with Righteous Indignation, Humble said it could cure everything but broken bones. Powerful stuff.

M: Asthma, burns, what else?

R: Oh yeah, because as we now know the pain from burns is caused by acids and toxins.

So, I suppose the real aim of this podcast is to help you make up your own mind as to whether JH is a quack or something else

M: Crazy, deluded or just somewhere on that scale? I think when I started researching about JH – was it before you got banned from the forum or shortly afterwards? Near the beginning of everything – I found a video of him, maybe from 2008, which is an hour long but I sat through all of it because it started getting scary. I assumed that he was your typical, swindling, evil, quack/monster sort of thing…

R: Typical snake-oil salesman M: Yes one of those, but we’re not sure; we’re not a100%! So join us as we try to make up our minds. R: Especially after the RI interview M: Yes, it’s a must-listen!

[Rhys reads a spam email because it’s vaguely amusing – thanks Mabu!]

M: I have an email from our friend @writerjames, who says:

A very promising first show. During the reading of Humble’s extract I was thinking “NEEDS MOAR SARCASM” at times, but you got around to some sensible response.

Sorry about that, James, we will do our very best to fulfil this request.

The pacing was impressive, you could sort of tell that you were both pretty comfortable with chattering away to each other in this format.

Yes we are!

My only suggestion would be that, if reading out any extracts in future that get much longer than today’s, you break it up every so often with some mockery and commentary as you work through it, rather than ploughing through the pseudoscientific crap in one unpalatable block and leaving all the editorialising to the end.

That is exactly what we were thinking and therefore we’ll do that in this episode!

R: I think James might be a psychic!

M: Yes, I think he might be – maybe he can do a guest report for us and we can test that.

That’s just a thought for further shows, and one that you may well have been planning on anyway.

More evidence!

Certainly wasn’t a problem with the inaugural episode. I look forward to seeing what future adventures your capes take you on!

All the best,


P.S. Yes, I’m totally fishing for my first ever mention on a podcast. That’s okay so long as it’s couched in obsequious flattery, right?

Yes! James is fantastic and you should totally read his blog, Cubik’s Rube. [Sorry about all the American-style ‘totally’!]

R: OK, today we’re reading:

About this Book

{I hope you do not think this book is just another account of a very interesting supplement that can help some people after they take it for several months. It is not. This book presents the Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), which works in just a few hours. In the world today, the leading killer of mankind is malaria, a disease that is usually overcome by this solution in only 4 hours.}

I think that’s a very big claim to make, don’t you?

M: It is a huge claim and it’s one he makes in the video I was talking about – it says how he came across MMS, that he was in Africa, some people were feeling very sick and so:

I asked them if they would like to try to my water purification drops that I had brought along with me. And in four hours they were up, laughing about how bad they were feeling just a little while before.

{This has been proven through clinical trials in Malawi, a country in eastern Africa. In these trials, MMS has never failed to kill the malaria parasite in an infected human. More than 75,000 malaria victims have taken the Miracle Mineral Solution and are now back to work and living
productive lives.}

M: There’s that 75,000 again R: He does love his round numbers doesn’t he.

Also these clinical trials, where are theys? They’re not published in any peer-reviewed medical journal that I know of.

M: It’s the usual double-standard; ‘look we have studies to show that our stuff works because there are studies!’ well actually the studies don’t show that, they say that it’s crap ‘but your science isn’t evidence!’

R: Except that here it isn’t us saying ‘your evidence is rubbish’, it’s that there is no evidence! Well apart from

M: {After taking the Miracle Mineral Solution, AIDS patients are often disease free in several weeks, and other diseases and conditions simply disappear. If patients in hospitals around the world were treated with this Miracle Mineral Solution, over 50% of them would be back home within a week.}

So, there’s the old cures HIV/AIDS claim again. Apparently if we rolled it out in the world, more than 50% of them would be back home within a week; what about the other 50%? Have they died? Probably.

R: A 100% cure rate for those who don’t die! This paragraph sums up exactly what MMS is:

{For more than 100 years, clinics and hospitals have used the active ingredients in this solution to sterilize hospital floors, tables, equipment, and other items. Now, this same powerful germ killer can be harnessed by the immune system to safely kill pathogens in the human body.}

I don’t quite know what to say about that! M: It’s difficult to find the words. R: Well the fact he thinks that it can kill bugs outside the body means it can kill bugs inside the body… M: Mm, and it can also kill you or at least do you some serious damage!

There’s been some confusion over the ‘bleachgate’ (I’m loathe to call it that as I hate this addition of -gate to the end of words to describe an incident but it’s a catchy, quick Twitter tag #bleachgate) because while activated MMS is a bleach, it’s not your average household bleach , it’s not the same thing, but it is a bleach.

R: It’s a type of bleach used for water purification, stripping textiles, other nasty things M: Things you don’t want to be doing inside yourself basically! R: While it’s not household bleach it’s still not very pleasant at all.

{Amazing as it might seem, when used correctly, the immune system can use this killer to attack only those germs, bacteria, and viruses that are harmful to the body. It does not affect the friendly bacteria in the body or any healthy cells.}

M: Obviously that’s absolute rubbish. If you spread a sterilising agent on something, it’s going to kill whatever’s there, it doesn’t care whether it’s got smiley faces or not.

R: Do you remember that homeopathy study where they used alcohol as the control and the alcohol killed as much as the homeopathic things did? It killed about 80% of the cells; so by Jim’s definition, alcohol should be perfect to use for killing cancer cells! M: Yeah, kind of the opposite! [Here I’m referring to the fact that drinking alcohol can lead to liver cancer; it won’t act like a chemotherapy drug!]

{In this book, I have, to the best of my ability, stuck to the facts of exactly what has happened regarding the Miracle Mineral Solution. This book is the story of the discovery and development of the most amazing enhancement for the immune system yet discovered. Thus, it is the greatest solution to the diseases and ills now known to mankind; it is not a drug.]

M: Well there’s that classical thing that alt med people tend to do, which is try to distance themselves from the idea of big pharma drugs; they don’t understand what a drug is, a drug is anything you put inside your body (of exogenous origin) R: Anything that has some sort of effect in the body isn’t it M: Yes, a physiological effect, not manufactured within the body. So  of course it’s a drug. R: He seems to like the term supplement M: It’s a bit more benign-sounding isn’t it R: Yes, because when you say supplement it sounds like the body is meant to have it but is missing it M: Yes it’s clever wordplay to get people on your side.

{I believe if you follow my efforts to develop the data presented in this book and to make it available to the public, the story will help make it real to you and convince you to give it a try.}

R: It hasn’t! M: Not yet. We’ll see, maybe by the end of the book , we’ll all be taking MMS! R: Maybe we’ll find out that Jim’s book was actually published in the Lancet or something!

{To that purpose, I have provided complete details on how to make the solution in your kitchen, and to buy most of the ingredients off the shelf. It is entirely possible that one day you will use this solution to save someone’s life, perhaps your own}

R: Very humble, Jim, very humble.

{Because the Miracle Mineral Solution functions as a supercharger to the immune system, it is not meant for treatment of any particular disease, rather it is meant to improve the immune system to the point of overcoming many diseases, frequently in less than 24 hours.}

M: One wonders how a bleach would possibly do that.

R: It also contradicts his claim of ‘if patients were treated with MMS, over 50% would be home within a week’ – why is he saying that there and then..

M: Well obviosly if you’re in hospital, you want to stay there for at least a week! R: Well, yes, hospital’s quite a nice place, I gather M: The food’s good.

{My purpose for writing this book is that this information is far too important to allow any one person, group, or even several groups to have control of it. It is information that the world should have. After 5 years of seeing practically nothing done by a group that could have done a great deal, I finally realized that the information simply had to be distributed to as many people as possible or someone would always be out of the loop of receiving this life-saving data.}

M: This is his aim – to tell everyone about this fantastic discovery, to save all the lives!

R: Possibly a bit of a messiah complex?

M: {It regularly occurs that there is a great deal of important medical information withheld from the public that could save lives. It is my intention to prevent this from happening with this information.}

M: I’m not sure where these people get the idea that important medical information isn’t given to them. I mean, it’s all there. Sure, sometimes you have to pay to get a journal article, but then there’s a free review somewhere, or, ask your doctor..

R: If you really want to get hold of a medical paper, there are ways of getting it so that you can make an informed choice about your own health instead of relying on hear-say.

More about Jim

It’s quite odd how he refers to conspiracy theories.

M: Yes I think that’s what surprised me about the video, again – I was expecting the guy to talk about his crazy bleach solution but he brings up all kinds of conspiracy theories. There’s a fantastic one at the beginning where JH decides to tell us about all the other stuff he’s done in his life, he says:

I did things like set up A-bomb tests.

I’m not sure why that’s something to be proud of.

I worked on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. I was able to wire the first computer-controlled machine in the United States at Hughes Aircraft Company… they called me in and had me repair the Lunar Vehicle.

Really?! A gold-prospector from the deep south, OK then. R: Bit odd. Why choose him? M: It’s not as if he’s qualified!

And so, did they go to the Moon or didn’t they?

So he’s not even buying into the moon landing! Fantastic. R: Didn’t he even reference the moon base conspiracy theory? M: he has:

I don’t know whether they took it to the Moon or they took it out to the mountains in the desert… He was going through the files one time and he come upon this photograph, 8 x 10 photograph, that showed a space station on the back side of the Moon.

You must, you absolutely must, visit this site about the Secret Nazi Moonbase. It’s absolutely hilariousbeyond parody.

What were the other things that JH claims to have achieved in his life?

R: At, Jim also claims to have:

worked on secret radio control electronics, set up experiments in electrical generation by magneto hydro dynamics… Jim’s immediate goal is to return to Africa to eliminate all of the malaria in a single African nation in order to prove to the world that it is possible.

M: An admirable goal, but perhaps slightly unrealistic. R: Slightly? Given that he hasn’t even produced any evidence that MMS works, it’s pretty unlikely. He also claims to have intented, and I think is by far his biggest and best invention:

the first automatic garage door opener.

M: Wow! R: I am in awe of this man M: I like his hat. R: Not only does he plan to cure Africa of malaria, he’s also invented a garage door opener. M: Brilliant. R: Brilliant man.

M: What else has Jim been up to in his amazing life? R: I don’t know, it is hard to find information about Jim, othe rthan stuff fairly recently  M: considering he’ must be late 60s if not into his 70s by now.

Suspect Shopping

R: I don’t quite get why he has these photos on his website that appear to be photoshopped. M: Yes they’re obviously shopped and there are a few around R: The website MMS Debunked has a few…

M: Almost as if they’re hyper-sharpened and images of different resolutions… badly shopped but not really sure to what end.

R: This one is very obviously photoshopped M: Yes he looks like a card-board cutout there! R: Again the white glow and it’s so different the resolution, colouring, everything.

M: Highly suspect.

Seminars in the DR

Jim does seem to be quite difficult to get hold of; possibly because at the moment he seems to be living in the Dominican Republic.

R: When I geolocated the IP address from the comment he left on my blog, it did go back to the DR! M: So he may be telling the truth there! But it seems he has been fined for distributing MMS illegally

R: Didn’t they claim it was a herbal remedy in Africa to cure AIDS? M: Yes so he is wanted in lots of places including the US. Canada has already banned MMS obviously so he’d not be welcome there either.

In the DR he has been running some training courses so you can come and learn about MMS! In a newsletter from this year, Jim gives some details of the course:

There will be a week of theory where I cover the details on what MMS is, how it works, the basic chemistry for anyone coming off the street, how it is made, labeled and bottled,  how to treat Cancer, Hep C, HIV, colds, H1N1 flu, and dozens of other diseases. I try to tell you everything I know.

Surely that wouldn’t take long!

When people leave here they really know how to use MMS for all things, skin diseases of all kinds, colon problems, how to regenerate the liver, how to treat brain cancers, how to treat babies and pregnant women, and how to treat animals from mice to elephants.

You can treat your pet elephant! R: Pet elephant?? M: Yeah why not. Stampy.

For 5: Bag, see below...

You will be personally taking MMS while here, spraying your skin with powerful solutions of MMS (but won’t hurt you), spraying others’ skin and hair. You will learn to use sprays, baths, IV solutions, MMS gas, soak the feet, and most importantly, the new protocols that in the country of Malawi have cured more than 800 people of HIV plus 40 cancer cases, 50 of feet and leg numbness, 3 heart disease cases, 13 diabetes cases, and many other diseases and problems.

It just does everything, it’s amazing. R: Yes and he’s now discovering other ways to use MMS!


And there’s also the hilarious picture of him stuck in a black sack. M: Yes that is wonderful, from Phaelosopher’s blog; the pictures of JH on these training courses are generally quite amusing – he’s usually standing in front of one of those flip-charts that he’s been scribbling on barely legibly, trying to draw atoms and things…

R: Wait! Chlorine dioxide is an ion remember? That’s what Jim Claims…

M: Now you’re just being picky. You and your science! So yes there’s the picture of him sitting in a giant bin sack and I really don’t understand what he’s doing. Maybe it’s one of these MMS gas protocols or something.

So, you can attend the first week of these courses for the little sum of $750 USD! And if you want to stay for the second week it’s $250. But remember, he’s not making any money from MMS! R: No, of course not, that money all goes into running more courses.

And, we have some more information on what he actually does teach in the training course:

Jim is teaching the latest protocols and  here are some of the other topics Jim teaches:

The Fundamentals of MMS: the discovery and evolution of the usage of the world’s most important broad spectrum non-toxic anti-microbial agent including these topics:

  • Chemistry of 28% Chlorine Dioxide solution
  • Sourcing of MMS chemicals
  • Home manufacture
  • Basic first aid and diagnosis
  • How to make money selling MMS

but remember, Jim isn’t making money from this!

  • Running an MMS help desk—or not
  • Working in remote areas: strategies for communication and protection
  • Training in remote areas
  • Legal and FDA considerations
  • Problems with foreign health departments and permissions

So that’s going to be almost every country in the world now! M: Jim’ll teach you how to escape the man.

  • How MMS attacks different pathogens in the body
  • The evolution of MMS protocols
  • Successful stories with different diseases

So you can sit around the campfire and listen to Jim telling stories about how he cured cancer AIDS, Hep.. M: Yay, anecdotes!

  • Practical applications of MMS for water purification

Actually teaching something possibly of worth there!

  • Health ministers training

Yes you can become a minister in his church. M: We’ll cover the church stuff later…

  • MMS2
  • New protocols
  • Question and answers

I doubt anyone will be asking something like ‘do you have evidence this works?’ M: He’ll say “yes! Here are some phone numbers of people I’ve cured. They have phones. Call them! I’ll pay the phone bill@. R: Yeah, I’ve not bothered to call back on them yet but you can, you can do my work for me! M: I’m so busy helping people cure their elephants of asthma. R: Poor pet Stampy.

On the genesis II website he later refers to it as a ‘life changing, world changing seminar’! M: Sold it to me! R: I want to go. In the second week you can either help people in the Dominican Republic, or you can get to go over to Haiti! Let’s go and help all the people in Haiti who are still recovering from the earthquake. Because that’s not got any moral or ethical implications has it? M: He’s saving the world!

R: OK, I think that sums up Jim’s course pretty well.

M: We hope you have a better idea of why it is we’re talking about MMS and Jim Humble; we hope you will tune in with us every week to help us decide what kind of guy Jim is.

R: e-mail feedback to superwooduo at gmail dot com or you can follow us on twitter @Superwooduo

M: For more information on MMS you can follow #bleachgate and do drop in to my blog [here you are!]

[Rhys pimps his blog again and reckons I had twice already *lovers’ tiff*]

M: We need to pimp the wonderful new podcast from our friends Martin Robbins and Michael Marshall called Strange Quarks, which you should definitely listen to every week.

R: It was sort of the inspiration for this podcast wasn’t it? M: Yes, but they’re professional R: And we’re just ramblers. We aimed to infiltrate our show but made our own instead! M: We’re going to take it over but don’t tell them…

Justin Satov 05 November 22:14
I quite liked it being longer. It was the soundtrack to my morning as I readied myself for work.

SDWFD Episode 1

Here’s the transcript of Episode 1 for those who like it typed out with links! R: = Rhys and M: = me, if that’s not obvious. Emphasis in book extracts, denoted by { stuffaboutwoo }, is mine.

[Annoyingly-catchy jingle from Dr*T # welshboyo and noodlemaaaaz]

R: Hello and welcome to Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (M: with capes!) – I’m Rhys! M: I’m Marianne!

R: This podcast is going to be all about Jim Humble‘s book, or at least this episode will. In future episodes, we aim to ramble on about quacky, wooey things M: General ridicule, bit of comedy, but there’ll be some serious stuff as well.

R: Yes. One person we aim to ridicule is Phaelosopher, for example!

M: Yes, I’d really like to see why he spelled it that way. R: Yeah! Why not spell it ‘Filosopher’ or something like that, why choose to spell it ‘Phaelosopher’ when that’s so easily exploitable?

M: It’s asking for trouble! R: Indeed it is. Anyway, I think we should get on with reading the editor’s note from Jim Humble’s book: Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century. M: Let’s.

MMS Part 1: Editor’s Note

R: {Editor’s Note Dated October, 2009
First published in 2006 this book ranks among the most read books in the world. Over 3 million downloads have gone out from thousands of web sites. Over 4,000 web site owners are “friends of MMS” and they provide free copies to anyone who asks for it. The original copyright statement remains unchanged. As of June, 2009, Jim Humble became a perpetual traveler and his work continues in Africa and other countries as described in his updated web site

The links within the original book version gradually became obsolete or broken. Therefore a table has been placed at the end of the book which lists Internet

resources – recent educational materials that have been written mostly by Jim since June 2009. They are updated frequently and are listed at the end of this book.}

M: {The world-wide Flu Pandemic announced by the World Health Organization has caused numerous health web sites in the U.S. to be brought off-line. This is based on U. S. Congress openly supporting arrests and fines against persons and organizations that promote alternative remedies for flu and Influenza other than those approved by the World Health Organization. Vaccinations and Tamiflu or other approved antibiotics are said to be the only legitimate means of reducing flu symptoms. At the time of writing, most web sites located in non-US countries still provide MMS information as listed at the end of volume one.

Viewed as a classic work this book stands as the authentic history of how ClO2 came to the front as the most potent and powerful germicidal agent on the planet. Jim explains how activated MMS cannot harm normal living body cells. His contribution was that he found the best way to package MMS as a safe affordable product, and to test it for five years to prove reliable outcomes. His discovery is now used daily by more than a million people around the world, not including dogs, cats, horses, and other animals. All this since 2006 when MMS was introduced along with this book.}

R: {MMS suppliers are no longer listed or identified because search engines provide that information quite effectively.

Disinformation on the Internet states that MMS (and the ClO2 that it generates) is the same as chlorine and therefore it is dangerous. That is not true. Chlorine dioxide has been well known in industry for 70 years. Chlorine Dioxide is even an approved food additive at food-packaging time because it destroys salmonella, ecoli, and every other known germ – eventually converting into molecules of water as it disappears.}

M: {MMS was developed and tested by Jim between 2001 and 2006, involving over 75,000 volunteers in five different countries. This is the story of those years and the events that led to standardization of the current MMS product.

New protocols and methods for using MMS have evolved in the years since the release of this book. The latest discoveries and innovations are described in the links at the end of the book. Disregard links within the book – they are now obsolete. The Editor – October, 2009}


R: Mmm, a very interesting start. M: Indeed. So, this book apparently ranks among ‘the most-read books in the World’! R: Big claim! M: Not sure where they got their data on that. It is a big claim. And indeed, living up to his surname, it’s apparently viewed as ‘a classic work’.

R: Mm, think I’d disagree with that. M: think I would as well.

R: Maybe classic as in classically hilarious? M: Yes, I was going to say, it is a bit of a classic!

R: One thing that stood out to me was the ‘Tamiflu and other approved antibiotics” – I don’t think many doctors would recommend Tamiflu for .. M: bacterial infections, seeing as it’s not an antibiotic! R: But I also don’t think they’d recommend antibiotics for flu! M: Indeed, well they shouldn’t R: Yes, that would be rather silly and dangerous. I find it funny, you know, most doctors wouldn’t recommend Tamiflu for just your average flu; they only started giving it out for the swine flu pandemic.

M: More amusing perhaps is his clear separation between the millions human users and the “dogs, cats, horses and other animals” that have been happily taking MMS apparently! R: Yes, because everyone knows that they like to take ClO2, hehe!

M: Wasn’t there someone who was giving it to their cat recently, but the cat unfortunately died? I seem to remember hearing about that. R: Yes, that was on Facebook on the MMS/Jim Humble UK group. Which is now shut down! M: Ah it is, fantastic! That was a scary, scary place. R: Yes and there were some scary people on that M: Yes, asking how best to treat their infants with it.

R: I remember hearing as well about the child who was having activated MMS dripped into their eye, and they were saying how the eye was burning M: That was very distressing. R: but then Jim Humble told them that was a sign it was working! M: it’s the standard thing; however bad you feel, it just means it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. R: Rather concerning.

R: The final thing : straw man argument of saying “Disinformation on the Internet states that MMS (and the ClO2 that it generates) is the same as chlorine and therefore it is dangerous. That is not true” – I don’t see anyone on the internet claiming that MMS is chlorine, or that it’s the same as chlorine. M: no, certainly not, quite the opposite. Everyone seems to be pointing out that just because a particular element is in a compound, doesn’t mean the compound is going to behave as the element does – that’s pretty much never true – and anyone with basic chemistry knowledge knows that. R: Yes but Jim doesn’t seem to have basic chemistry knowledge M: of coures not!

R: I think finally the thing I wanted to point out was “MMS was developed and tested by Jim between 2001 and 2006, involving over 75,000 volunteers in five different countries” – if that took place in a double-blind trial, I would really like to see the results. M: Certainly, 75,000 is an impressive cohort! R: Yes, yes – something tells me though that he didn’t actually get 75,000, but if he did – if he did – if he didn’t do it in the setting of a clinical trial, well I’m sorry they’re just 75,000 anecdotes and no matter how positive they are, they’re all useless, medically.

M: Indeed, it seems he’s very fond of his round numbers, generally to the 5,000’s.  It’s a bit suspicious. [PS: sorry, suspect! I hate that!!] R: He is very fond of anecdotes as well – one that we’ll be coming on to later is how someone had given MMS to their young daughter, around the time of puberty, they gave them the MMS and they reported that their daughter had grown breasts because of MMS! M: Yes, it’s a revolutionary discovery! R: and I think it was all in the space of about a week! M: We’ll certainly come back to that one

M: So next week we’d like to do a bit more of a fuller episode so we’ll go into the Jim Humble’s first chapter in his book, also in later episodes we’ll be having some guest reports from people and we’ll be looking at some interesting leaflets from various CAM-type shops that are, irritating, let’s say!

R: I’ll just give you a little spoiler, one of them is going to be on ‘cosmetic acupuncture‘! M: and I have here something that was really annoying me at home, from a new ‘complimentary health therapy’ shop with a ‘qualified homeopath’ in residence R: Damn those homeopaths! M: Or ‘holistic therapist’ as her calling card says. R: I think you know when you see the word holistic, you’re talking about a CAMster.

R: OK, well thank you for joining us on this week’s Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo M: with capes!

R: You can find me on Twitter: @rhysmorgan M: and you can find me: @noodlemaz.

R: You can email us at – we’d appreciate any and all feedback, positive and negative – even if you’re a homeopath or even Jim Humble, if you are Jim Humble, please get back to us and we will read your comments. I think that’s a good place to end! Goobye. M: Bye!

PS. Thank you to Dr*T for this week’s intro!

PS: we forgot to ridicule “Africa and other countries” – because everyone knows Africa r country in Asia!!1!

Phew, that’s better.

In other news: new mic acquired and next time we’ll break up the reading with discussion instead of leaving it all to the end (thanks to @writerjames for emailing the suggestion, we’d already decided it was a good idea!).

Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo!

… with capes!

Yeah, lego. Most superman/woman stuff is disturbingly pornographic.

To save the world from the Evil Woo-mongers, Rhys and I have teamed up in spectacularly stylish fashion to produce this new podcast!!

No, the market is definitely not saturated.

Yes, I’m getting a new microphone (sorry about my laptop fan buzz!) – did not have time to prepare as this went from a joke to reality in the space of 24hrs!

You can find us here on ipadio and on iTunes. We hope to bring you some woo-fighting action approximately once a week.

Do join our Facebook group and follow us on the Twitter!

Fortuitously, our first episode is also 10:23 long (ipadio’s added about 0.4s). It’s a sign.

Oh, wait…

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