13 augustus 2007


A psychological experiment - 1


Ms Ophelia Benson maintains an interesting site - ButterfliesAndWheels - that I have recommended before, because she has some sensible ideas about post-modernism, the decline of science and scientific education, and the rise of religion.

She writes fairly well, if publicly always on stilts and not in her own voice, and seems mostly in a bad to very bad mood - aggressive, sarcastic, always ready to put people down who disagree with her - but indeed, up to a point, that can be understood from the sort of opponents she has, who are rarely polite or well-informed or intelligent.

I have mailed with her, and she with me, quite extensively, usually politely and friendly, since we agree on several things, but it turned out, for someone as committed to reason and rationality as she claims to be, very hard going wherever themes crop up - Dutch things, in connection with Ms Ali (<-- this was originally a mail to Ms Benson, of november 2005, quoted without the kind of falsifications Ms Benson is so prone to herself, and is on this site since 2005) or feminism - that one does not agree with with her. (Also, for one so often so outspoken about philosophy, she knows remarkably little of it.)

In case of disagreement, she quickly - in private mails - quotes one liberally out of context, and discusses only points she wishes to discuss, as if she is completely blind to the points one raises, and quickly grows angry, irritated, impolite, and - well - barking like a troup sergeant, as if it must be invariably those who do not agree with her kind self who must be, naturally, in the wrong, and she easily - again in private mails - takes refuge to sarcasm, of the kind that makes one out to be uninformed, blind, ignorant etc. "L'enfer, c'est les autres", in such cases, and heaven is where Ms Benson's personal commitments lie, and where her wishful thinking leads her, regardless of evidence or rationality.

And indeed, such a pose also saves her any rational argumentation, all  consideration of evidence, or the thinking of the merest possibility that a person she disagrees with just might, conceivably, be sincere, honest or have some information or knowledge she does not have herself, and that she might, conceivably, be mistaken.

This is notably so where Islam and Ms Ali/Magan are concerned: Ophelia has seen - long ago, when Ms Ali/Magan had not yet shown herself a economical refugee (and a liar about that), quite willing to help freight real political refugees, without Dutch passports, with taped mouths and calming injections, to the torture-chambers they escaped from, for Ms Ali/Magan was the friend, party-comrade, parliamentary spokeswoman and helpmeet of minister Rita Verdonk (ex-prison guard) who is very, very fond of such things - that she agrees with some that Ms Ali/Magan said about The Islam; Ophelia has lapped up all propaganda of Ms Ali/Magan (who made a great career out of opposing "Islamofascism", or whatever she calls it these days, and - as an economical refugee - obtained great amounts of money and fame, all from Dutch taxpayers, many of whom believed her false stories about her heroism in Somalia, until they were refuted), and therefore, according to the bright lights of Bensonic reasoning, Ms Ali/Magan must be right; who opposes her - especially those of the male persuasion, for Ms Ophelia, like Ms Ali, is A Woman and A Feminist - must be wrong (and very possibly - of course! - evil loonies), and that's it. End of discussion, for Ophelia.

She and I don't see eye-to-eye about Holland, where I live, wheras she lives at the other side of the globe, where she is safe from all relevant direct evidence. About Holland she knows about as much as I do of Togo (which is OK with me, since she doesn't live here, and I don't live there, but which does get somewhat problematic when she believes she has certain-sure insight in Dutch matters).

Recently, I tried again to correct or at least inform her about messrs Elllian and Jami, whom I don't like indeed and she wrote about on B&W, since they seem to me (and I live in the country they live in) political careerists rather than sincere people concerned with the problems of apostates from Islam, that indeed are genuine and serious, since some muslims (especially fanatics) believe apostates may or should be killed.

The Dutch muslims I know - I am an atheist, but quite friendly normally - some of whom are decidedly more intelligent and speak much better Dutch than Afshin Ellian, don't believe so at all, and it seems the vast majority of Dutch muslims doesn't - but then mr Ellian tells the Dutch nation that muslims are liars, who are instructed to lie to infidels, and so - the implication goes - one cannot trust any muslim (while one should trust mr Ellian, according to himself, since he grew up among muslims, and Knows. Or so he claims, and Ms Benson believes, not hindered by relevant evidence or knowledge).

Ms Benson - and the mails I wrote in this context are polite, as usual, if not friendly about what Ms Bensons appears to see as her Dutch friends, and co-Freedom Fighters (the words of Ms Ali/Magan) agains the Evil of Islamofascism (or whatever twist she gives to it, presently furthering her career under the aegis of Dick Cheney's AEI, and living in Washington), and I myself can read all my relevant mails to Ms Benson on the subject in under 15 seconds.

These mails concerned Ms Ali/Magan's notions that Elllian and Jami (both well off thanks to Dutch politics and their own big mouths, but not because of their own talents, that are small or non-existent) are "Freedom Fighters" or "Heroes of the Resistance" - which is a completely ridiculous melodramatic piece of empty rhetorics, about these two Dutch men (one a professor, the other a labour politician, both protected by private guards paid from Dutch tax-money).

Indeed, if Mr Ellian and Mr Jami are sincerely concerned with the real plight of Dutch apostates of Islam, they have taken the least useful course to help them, for Mr Jami told the world - in his guise as Freedom Fighter, in Ms Ali/Magan's words - that the prophet Mohammed was "a criminal" and "a very sick man".

Now in present-day Holland that is a choice of words that are guaranteed to lead to instantaneous fame or infamy; it makes one immediately a Prominent Dutchman; and it will help one's career a lot, for Prominent Dutchmen are endlessly interviewed on TV (in which context it is a bit sad for Mr Jami that he has no apparent talent for rational discussion whatsoever, as even his friends including Mr Ellian publicly agreed). And I think that their own fame and fortunes, and not the sad plight of muslim apostates, was and is their real end (but then I am an elderly cynic and skeptic, and also Dutch).

This I wrote to Ms Benson, privately (who long ago has read from me that my mails are private and not for publication), who - of course - just **Knows** (by deep feminist intuition, one supposes) that I must be mistaken, as seen from her side of the globe.

After another brief mail of mine (polite, but not minching words about messrs Ellian and Jami), I got this of Ms Benson (who cannot have spend much more than 30 seconds on reading all relevant mails collectively, even if she is a very slow reader) - and it should be noted that I had kindly proposed, IF she wanted it, to discuss matters on my site. But no, she doesn't want to, and I am, or my mails are, and I quote Ms Benson:

rude, bullying, aggressive, tedious, relentless, and just plain unpleasant.

Now I also happen to be a psychologist (as she knows) and I have been wondering repeatedly before, over the years of our acquaintance, why such a one as Ms Benson seemed to me regularly of the - fairly human - type that deeply enjoys (really savours, just for the kicks it gives - and yes there are such people, even women, if you would believe it) to jump with boots with nails on the balls of someone who is already on the ground. (She also once admitted, on B&W, of her deep desire to hit someone whom she disagreed with. I also mailed kindly and politely and privately about that, and she agreed it was not good public relations. But then she has these urges, you know...)

So - being myself pissed off, for I don't want irrational discussion with people posing as if they are Sweet Reason herself, while barking like a troup sergeant at me - I decided to perform a little psychological experiment, on the supposition that her real motives for writing as she does so often may come from her own inner dark depths, and that what she really likes is to indulge is her own passion for punishing others.

Therefore I wrote a spoof, and sent it, on the hypothesis that this - unlike my normal rational logical self - is the sort of prose that appeals deeply, darkly, emotionally, to her.


It now is on B&W (of Aug 13 2007), where you may admire it, and read 35 or so comments by her admirers and readers, and her proud self.

Well... Ophelia, it seems I am right, doesn't it? 

P.S. Personally, I don't much care. If Ms Benson belongs to a kind I can label psychologically with remarkable conciseness, that's not my problem. What is a pity is that someone with a fair brain has so little self-control, and seems to be motivated not so much by reason but by - well, think for yourself. It can be found in the relevant handbooks, symptoms, labels, and prospects included.

Undoubtedly, she will insist - she did, publicly - that I am a "loon". Certainly I am, my dear. Whoever disagrees with you must be, in your opinion. Naturally! Of course, m'dear! Thank you, dear! Whatsoever you say, sweetie!

I merely tested you as a psychologist, and there you are.
I drink to your health, miss, since you badly need it. Bye!

- continued (documentary evidence)

Maarten Maartensz


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