At least not any living ones. They tend to let you down by revealing their faults and shortcomings.
A few weeks back Rebecca Watson had some perfectly sensible advice for men about hitting on women…
And this of course was heard by over-sensitive male egos as an hysterical scream of RAAAAAAPE at the idea of a man talking to a woman in any circumstance. This would all be pretty typical of internet reactions and youtube commenters in particular, if it weren’t for the fact that Richard Dawkins himself then weighed in with some terrible sarcasm, utterly failing to accept the obvious point that it is really uncool to hit on a woman you’ve never even spoken to while standing alone in an elevator with her.
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and … yawn … don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so …
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
In follow-up comments he went on to compare Rebecca’s experience (alone and being hit on by a stranger at 4AM) to him having to tolerate someone chewing gum (full comments here).
Rather than relating the full shit-storm that this grew into here, I recommend reading about the follow-ups and fallout here on Rebecca’s blog, with a bigger focus on the gender politics here by Greta Christina.
Dawkins is human, and therefore fallible, and so at some point he is bound to say something stupid from time to time. Problem is he continued to feign ignorance of his mistake, even when it was explained to him fifty gazillion times by fifty gazillion people. If you read the science blogs you will no doubt be all too familiar with the whole debacle, since pretty much every science blogger I follow came out and explained just how dumb this otherwise incredibly smart guy was being. While many pleaded that he not be judged too harshly over this single incident, since he is generally an awfully decent guy who strives against religious oppression, no one actually agreed with his position. They could all see that in this particular instance he was being a dick.
I never want to be this guy. The guy who is so used to being right that he can’t take a step back and recognize when he’s being a dick. It could be argued that this whole incident got blown waaaay out of proportion, but then sometimes it’s people’s reactions to trivial things that give the most insight into their character. That’s when their guard is down, when they aren’t concerned with filtering themselves because hey, it’s no big deal, right?