Re: Snicker

1

I know this is a terrible post, so you don't have to point it out.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:15 AM
horizontal rule
2

"He sheds his suit in deference to a veil" sounds like a Superman-meets-Salome kind of thing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:28 AM
horizontal rule
3

He sheds his suit in deference to a veil
And still insists he sees the honey pail.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:31 AM
horizontal rule
4

sheds his suit in deference to a veil

OMG MUSLIM KILLER BEES


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:54 AM
horizontal rule
5

He proudly beams like a proud papa. Do writers ever read this shit aloud before going to press?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:10 AM
horizontal rule
6

Proud papa iz proud.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:10 AM
horizontal rule
7

5: No, they don't. You might find this site amusing:

http://www.testycopyeditors.org


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:33 AM
horizontal rule
8

OT: Heading out for my first bike to work of the spring, after a winter of sloth. Wish me luck -- I may collapse somewhere on the Upper West Side, six miles from either home or work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:54 AM
horizontal rule
9

Good Luck LB.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:05 AM
horizontal rule
10

I was headed to work too, until I put my foot on the clutch pedal and had it to go straight to the floor with almost no resistance. Something is blown in the hydraulics or a linkage somewhere but it's too dark to see anything. Now to wait until I can get a tow and repair.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
11

Oooh, that was fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
12

8, 11: woohoo! Feels good, don't it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
13

Yep, I've got sore face muscles from all the grinning again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
14

This amused me by reminding me of the beekeeping honey connoisseur (in one chapter he declares a Black Sea honey "a curiosity, not a delicacy") Argonaut Butes in Robert Graves' The Golden Fleece, which, if one can overlook Graves' creepy proto-Marion Zimmer Bradley Mother Goddess rubbish, is a very pleasant read.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
15

after a winter of sloth

Careful, you may be in violation of 24 RCNY Health Code § 161.01 (Wild animals prohibited) b.iii
(16) All sloth and armadillo (Edentata).

Why do I know this? Because the mention of the beekkeeper buddies in Edible Manhattan details how they're hive was "rescued" after they were reported for violating the same code*. Go here to help Legalize Beekeeping in NYC!

*A hilariously specific and comprehensive list. Among the specifically prohibited: whales, walruses, zorilles, wolverines, stoats, rhinoceroses, tapirs, Tasmanian devils, gymnures, desmans, tenrecs and centipedes. Although it may just be venomous centipedes--the language is a bit unclear.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
16

15: You're not allowed to have a pet walrus in New York?! Tyranny!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
17

zorilles,

These could be anything from a particularly large kind of moth, to a land-living subspecies of hippopotamus.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
18

Are you a beekeeper, JP, or do you just hang out in beekeeper circles.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
19

?.com


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
20

18: My interest in honeybees was born a small black child.

Or maybe I'm just in favor of the exploitation of insects as one means of maximizing the biomass of human beings in the world. Because I'm an asshole humanist.

(Actually it seemed like worth supporting as a nice little addition to the NYC ecosystem, but I otherwise have no particular interest.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
21

It's just I know some beekeepers up in your neck of the woods, and so figured you might actually know some of them.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
22

desmans

IT'S MOLE!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
23

The real reason that bees are illegal in NYC. ("And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, Canaanite, the Hittite, and the New Yorker from before thee...")


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
24

if one can overlook Graves' creepy proto-Marion Zimmer Bradley Mother Goddess

But The White Goddess is so interesting! And the paperback with the oak leaf on the cover has such a beautiful cover!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
25

I can't even get worked up by that guy. Good luck with your bees, Adam and Keith.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
26

I don't care about the guy. More power to him. But the writing!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
27

Although it may just be venomous centipedes

My brother used to have a non-venemous pet millipede. It was named something oddly sweet, like Sugar Bear or something. My brother's an odd kettle of fish.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
28

Venomous fish?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
29

Venomous Fish


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
30

28: Nah. Regular, just-for-the-halibut-type fish.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
31

just-for-the-halibut-type fish.net.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
32

Any fish can be venomous if it eats enough Hag or Puss caterpillars.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
33

Lizardbreath should probably work out her grinning muscles in the off-season.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
34

Unlikely. I'm generally dour.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
35

I've heard some people even use pharmeceuticals to enhance their grins. She might consider that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
36

"Well done, hot dog bun, my sister's a nun"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
37

But The White Goddess is so interesting! And the paperback with the oak leaf on the cover has such a beautiful cover!

I found it boring, in the way that only things written by people smarter and better read than me who like to chase their own tails can be boring.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
38

I found it boring, in the way that only things written by people smarter and better read than me who like to chase their own tails can be boring.

This pretty much describes Unfogged for me--only apparently I don't find it boring at all. Must be the cock jokes.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
39

Professional angry man and political cosplayer Erick Erickson to join CNN's "best political team on television." Horseshit futures skyrocket!

"Erick's a perfect fit for John King, USA, because not only is he an agenda-setter a delusional apparatchik whose words are closely watched in Washington by shut-ins and political mastubators, but as a person who still lives in small-town America one of the largest metropolitan areas in Georgia, Erick is in touch with the very people morons John hopes to reach," Sam Feist, CNN political director and vice president of Washington-based programming, did not say."

Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
40

@ Couldn't the get a monkey who constantly scratches his balls when he doesn't fling shit? Would be cheaper for CNN and provide for more cerebral TV.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
41

the s/b they


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
42

STOP IT WITH THE @ SIGNS YOU PEOPLE


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
43

STOP IT WITH THE @ SIGNS YOU PEOPLE.com


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
44

Er. Whoah?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
45

Christ, the poor person with the address STOP_IT_WITH_THE@ SIGNS_YOU_PEOPLE.com is going to get some spam.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
46

Shit.
STOP_IT_WITH_THE@SIGNS_YOU_PEOPLE.com


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
47

Also, if I may:

||

Some of you might owe the administration of Harvard University an apology. Although if I'm remembering right, I think the premise that she might be guilty was generally accepted, so maybe not. And, you know, she still might not be guilty, so maybe not in that direction as well.

I still totally told you so.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
48

47: Wow.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
49

47: I was on your side!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
50

I still totally told you so.

Sifu you racist, she was totally singled out because she's black and poor.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
51

47: Huh. I remember the story, and for the life of me can't recall what position I was fervently arguing. I was probably wrong, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
52

Original thread.

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_9826.html


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
53

51: you were quite committed for a time to an analogy with library books.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
54

I'm just happy my cynicism was so amply rewarded.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
55

I'm not. Beware confirmation bias, copper!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
56

Well, maybe not as amply rewarded as I thought. We were talking about Chanequa Campbell, not Brittany Smith.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
57

Whoah, we were?

Hah!

Color me totally wrong. And, you know, white.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
58

Smith wasn't allowed to graduate (or walk, or whatever) either, apparently.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
59

That was some crack police investigative work. You're busted, Tweety!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
60

I think I stand by my old "whether one is allowed to graduate shouldn't have anything to do with extra-academic matters like being implicated in a crime" comments, but I don't think Sifu disagreed with those anyway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
61

If convicted, maybe she'll be expunged!

Among the punishments available to the Harvard Ad Board is "expungement", whereby all records that the individual ever attended the university are expunged. This makes great fodder for legends.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
62

61: Is that what you tell the folks who can't find your name in the records, KR?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
63

You don't believe that KR got kicked out for riding his motorcycle into Massachusetts Hall?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
64

63: Vilest calumny! I prefer the version that it was an M1 Abrams and Eliot House, during the annual Exeter-Andover soirée.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:27 PM
horizontal rule
65

I cannot think of an evening in Eliot House when I would not have welcomed the arrival of an M1 Abrams tank.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
66

This from Tony Judt seems like good Unfogged fodder. To wit:

Shortly after I took office, a second-year graduate student came by. A former professional ballerina interested in Eastern Europe, she had been encouraged to work with me. I was not teaching that semester, so could have advised her to return another time. Instead, I invited her in. After a closed-door discussion of Hungarian economic reforms, I suggested a course of independent study--beginning the following evening at a local restaurant. A few sessions later, in a fit of bravado, I invited her to the premiere of Oleanna--David Mamet's lame dramatization of sexual harassment on a college campus.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
67

I realize they're married now and everything, but IME it just feels tremendously shitty to have what you think is a terrific exchange with a prof in their office that then ends in essentially being asked on a date. You thought this nifty thing had just happened, but no it was just a boring, pandering thing.*

*Maybe it was nifty! But it's super hard not to re-evaluate the whole thing after as "They were flattering me prior to asking me out."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
68

Why is it that all essays on that topic by men of that age and general cultural background have such an easily identifiable particular awfulness? I figure it's because that's who chooses to write about it, but geez, sorry it was so puzzling for you trying to figure out which of your students you could hit on. The whole wistful, misty privilege-as-60s-apologia thing seems specifically to affect dudes who should be smart enough to do better.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
69

I thought the article was a good example of how hard it is for creepy old men to not come across as creepy old men, even when they're writing honestly and somewhat sympathetically about their experience as creepy old men.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
70

What strikes me as weird is the premise that creepy old men are specifically deserving of sympathy; it's like they think "well, I'm a pretty darn sympathetic guy, and people generally seem to understand where I'm coming from, and I'm an awfully talented writer, so maybe if I just explain really well why I'm terrifically enthused about bedding any young girl that'll have me, then people will be sympathetic on that score, too!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
71

Also, "he followed her into a supply closet and declared his feelings" cannot actually be squared with "there was no question of intimidation."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
72

I mean you'd think Lolita would have put paid to unironic exercises of the genre.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
73

Is it really a mystery why one might be terrifically enthused about bedding young girls? I myself have only chaste thoughts regarding those tendered into my educational care, but really, how much explanation is called for?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
74

73: it surely isn't. It's a mystery why anybody might think it is a sufficient condition for sympathy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
75

In any case, if what's to be explained is not the desire but injudicious action thereon (as Judt's probably was), then the rationale that one is from the 60s is entirely inadequate and is a sign that one is not explaining things very well. It is, among other things, bad faith; it might be true that at the time Judt actually thought of his being-from-the-60s in the manner of one who thereby excuses himself (he's, like, ontologically from the 60s, as another just is an asshole or gambler), which would be a textbook example of bad faith but also of superficiality in self-examintion. It would really be a better explanation simply to say "she had irresistible eyes and my intentions were … unclear". After all, that would at least acknowledge the failure of self-knowledge at the time without hurriedly covering it up right away.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
76

Ahh, you don't understand, Tweety. You're too young.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
77

I actually do find Judt (and, in the book, Humbert Humbert) sympathetic -- profoundly deluded and unaware, but sympathetic.

I also think COGs of Judt's type probably view the sexual economy of the workplace as a zero sum game in which they personally are harmed by limitations on sexual contact with suboordinates. That's not necessarily an incorrect view. I mean, as an old powerful single guy Tony Judt really would have been much better off if it had been easier for him to hit on his female students.

As Nosflow says, what's odd isn't the fact that he's pleading his case, but the lack of awareness of himself and his situation -- he seems simply not to have thought about why it might not be OK for a professor to, e.g., follow a student into a supply closet and "declare his feelings."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
78

It's a mystery why anybody might think it is a sufficient condition for sympathy.

Well, r1lly? Surely we what's going on with Democritus when we are told that, in old age, he blinded himself by looking into the sun, "so as not to suffer the sight of beautiful women he could no longer possess" (as David Markson puts it)? I mean, probably no particular older gent is particularly deserving of sympathy on that score. I mean, sure, that one can't mack on whom one pleases any longer (assuming one ever could) is not a plight for which anyone is likely to feel much sympathy, and if that's the issue, then I grant it. But that's not really related to the creepy old prof problem (being as it is something that creepy young profs/douchebags who feel put upon by the idea that they might have to be somewhat respectful of others are also likely to complain about).

Nevertheless, regarding this of Judt's: Why should I not close my office door or take a student to a play? If I hesitate, have I not internalized the worst sort of communitarian self-censorship--anticipating my own guilt long before I am accused and setting a pusillanimous example for others? surely the answer is that the reason is that the appearance of impropriety is also to be avoided, especially when the person to whom there appears to be impropriety is the selfsame person who would be damaged by actual impropriety, isn't easily able to tell what's going on (especially if one's intentions are so "unclear" that one oneself isn't easily able to tell what's going on), and can consequently be affected by the appearance as well as the reality.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
79

Amen to all of 78.2.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
80

Judt is deserving of sympathy. Aging in general is tragic and deserving of sympathy. Really, anyone who deeply desires what they can't have is deserving of sympathy. Great artists can make you feel that sympathy, even with those whose desires violate the norms of the community most intensely. Hence, "Lolita", the greatness of which depends on the ability to identify with Humbert at some level.

But Judt's essay is not very good, because he can't communicate the legitimate claims of "communitarian self-censorship" -- the legitimate ways we are asked to restrain our desires because we live in a community and must recognize the needs and desires of others. Instead, he's just sort of querolous and irritated. He can't recognize or rise to the actual conflict.

Philip Roth, Sabbath's Theatre, is my favorite dirty old man novel, even though it's not as good as Lolita. Lolita is too much of a tour de force, Nabokov starts with a character whose totally outside civilized norms just to prove he's a great enough novelist to pull it off (which he is). Mickey Sabbath is more realistic, he takes refuge in the force of his sexuality because he's old and lonely and dying and that's the only thing still connecting him to life.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
81

I feel bad for people who never meet anyone else without there being some sort of power imbalance.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
82

Aging in general is tragic and deserving of sympathy.

?

Really, anyone who deeply desires what they can't have is deserving of sympathy.

?????


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
83

Also: !


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
84

A friend of mine has a friend who teaches at our local U, and had to stop by his classroom one day. We're all of an age: solidly COG. So my friend, seeing the many young women dressed in the modern style, asks his friend how he can handle working in this environment. Answer: 'Friend, we are completely invisible to them.'

That's the basis for sympathy: to the [self-deluded] run-of-the-mill COG, the object has all the power.

Folks can go ahead and post 500 comments about COGs who know they have power and abuse it. I don't disagree. I merely postulate, ex recto, that COGs who know and use power are vastly outnumbered by COGs who feel powerless.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
85

67, 78.2: Indeed.


Posted by: mtl | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
86

Actually, I don't even care about the numbers. (I've learned from Megan not to make any up!) I don't extend sympathy to powerless or powerful COGs, I hasten to add.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
87

Who cares if they feel powerless, Charley? They're not. They have the power to give As or Fs. They have the power to grant or deny tenure. They have the power to shape a university or tear it down. Really, just because they can't fuck their students doesn't mean they don't have power any more than the fact that many of their students see right through them means they're actually invisible.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
88

Aw, you aren't a creep, Charley.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
89

Ari, (a) you're young, and maybe not invisible, and (b) you have this power. Do you use it? You do not. If you desire, you do so in silent agony.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
90

Sorry, I was responding to the part of your earlier comment in which you talked about a "basis for sympathy".


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:40 PM
horizontal rule
91

84: That they are deluded or ignorant of their abuse of power is hardly cause for sympathy. Such delusion or ignorance is, imho, willful and a function of self-absorption.


Posted by: mtl | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:40 PM
horizontal rule
92

Ari is more of a Sophocles than a Democritus.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
93

88 -- The extent to which invisibility saves virtue is unknowable.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
94

89: I'm over forty, getting fatter and balder every day, and certainly am invisible to the overwhelming majority of my students, who, by the way, more and more seem like children to me -- and not in a hott way. And yet, yes, I know that I have lots of power. In fact, as noted above, I have almost all of the power in my interactions with my students. Which makes it very hard for me to muster very much sympathy at all for my peers who are pining after forbidden fruit and even less than that for those peers who bemoan their inability to sample that fruit without falling from departmental or societal grace.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
95

91 -- Well, I'm really talking about people who aren't abusing power. Should they get some kind of prize for that? Not really.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
96

No, COProfs mooning are not in the least invisible. They're really obvious, actually. And quite possibly making some people very uncomfortable.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
97

getting fatter … every day

If your bikes weighed more than ten ounces you might reap more benefit from riding them.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
98

This is interesting.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:53 PM
horizontal rule
99

Wow, that Judt article is terrible. "Especially" all the "quotation marks" around "newfangled" things. Having come of age in the 60's is not an eternally good reason for never learning. Some people know how to learn.

Also, he doesn't say whether that ex-professional ballerina ever got her degree. (I was recently speaking to an Eastern European ex-pro ballerina whose career was threatened by a similar old NYC prof who demanded she go out with him if she wanted his advice, with different results.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
100

97: If you read your own blog, you'd know that I sold all but the heaviest of my bikes. Though, in fairness to your rather cruel point, the one I've kept is still pretty damn light. Perhaps I'll ask one of my lovelier students if she'd like to ride on my handlebars as I tool around town. For the purposes of improving my cardiovascular fitness only, of course.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
101

if she'd like to ride on my handlebars as I tool around town

Ari's growing a moustache.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
102

|| Someone just sent me this. On that cheery note, I'm calling it a day. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:03 PM
horizontal rule
103

On that cheery note, if you haven't read Under a Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown, you really should. Fantastic read.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:58 PM
horizontal rule
104

8,11: LB's morning with soundtrack, via streetsblog.


Posted by: E | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
105

Really, anyone who deeply desires what they can't have is deserving of sympathy.

This is just clearly false, right? What if I deeply desire to feast on the flesh of the innocent? Clearly I would not be deserving of sympathy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:06 PM
horizontal rule
106

Sure you would. You don't think pedophiles who are uninterested in adults are deserving of sympathy?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
107

My longing for a MacArthur often leaves me breathless and unable to work, making it even less likely that I'll win one in the future. Mine is a truly piteous state.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:12 PM
horizontal rule
108

Having just looked at this year's MacArthur winners, I find that I know two people on the list. Oh, the yearning!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:13 PM
horizontal rule
109

105: a thousand vampire movies say you would be.

Separate the judgement from the fellow feeling. Another's pain gives rise to sympathy. I suppose you could say that using the word "deserving" implies an element of moral judgement, which I didn't mean to do.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
110

I deny that my remark was cruel.

What if I deeply desire to feast on the flesh of the innocent? Clearly I would not be deserving of sympathy.

IS IT SO CLEAR? Such illicit desires render their possessors all the more pathetic. How your soul must be wracked and ruined, &c.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
111

Ari is not deserving of sympathy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:17 PM
horizontal rule
112

My longing for a MacArthur often leaves me breathless and unable to work, making it even less likely that I'll win one in the future. Mine is a truly piteous state.

While you presumably intend this facetiously, if it were really true that you get so worked up by the thought of a MacArthur that you can't do your own work, I think that would be pretty pitiable.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
113

OT: does anyone have a rough estimate for how many words/pages a 45 minute talk would come out to be, if you were scripting it?

(Leave aside the problem with reading from such a script during the talk. As discussed previously, I usually don't work from word-level notes, but this isn't an individual talk.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
114

104 - That short makes no sense whatsoever. If I had just ridden that hard to win that race, a warm car would be stifling hot.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
115

Longer 110: Twilight


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:23 PM
horizontal rule
116

damnit, 109 deserves the Twilight credit.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:23 PM
horizontal rule
117

I know in my heart that I had the idea before you, but I had already posted 106 and had to wait.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
118

113: A little less than 100 words per minute was the rule of thumb I heard.

I bet you can google the answer.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
119

117: I sympathize with your desparate need to pwn others.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
120

102: Everyone loves an argument from entomology.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:34 PM
horizontal rule
121

Speaking rates appear to be 100-125 wpm. Unfortunately, this doesn't account for reading from a script rate, which I suspect my partners, and possibly even me at times, to do. Anyway, that makes me less worried than I was about how much we plan to cover.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:37 PM
horizontal rule
122

Okay, Judt is exactly right though, innit, about the harassment policing in American culture having crossed certain boundaries of absurdities. Ages-of-consent are supposed to be a guideline to that whole bidness, right? In any situation outside of criminal charges territory or trading favors for grades, it seems fairly evident it shouldn't be an issue. Or am I wrong for the first time ever?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:39 AM
horizontal rule
123

Aging in general is tragic and deserving of sympathy.

Fuck that noise. Life's a bitch and then you die. People who whine about this are an embarrassment to their species. Aging is neutral: aging into constant pain and immobility, or into dementia is arguably tragic; aging into an old fool is contemptible.

I'd agree with DS about harassment policing if I hadn't seen egregious examples where a prof (late forties) caused considerable distress to a student (late teens, but certainly over the age of consent) in situations where there was no question of criminal charges or trading grades. The same would apply to a boss hitting on a woman of thirty at work. The question is whether she's able to go away.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:19 AM
horizontal rule
124

Third time by my count. But I don't know what sort of wacked out shit you used to say when you were a toddler, like "Daddy, I'm an airplane! That's a dinosaur! Roar!"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:25 AM
horizontal rule
125

This seems interesting but quite swpl.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:06 AM
horizontal rule
126

Governance is swpl.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:36 AM
horizontal rule
127

122: This seems nuts to me (or, rather, hyperbolically overstated to the point where I can't easily translate it into something sensible). I mean, this:

In any situation outside of criminal charges territory or trading favors for grades, it seems fairly evident it shouldn't be an issue.

sounds as if you can't picture any conduct short of criminally punishable sexual assault that should be regarded as workplace misconduct when directed from a professor to a student, unless it's a straightforward quid pro quo deal. It seems unlikely you really mean that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
128

Yeah, I have no sympathy for Judt and others of his ilk. In the course of virtually everyone's life, they are going to be attracted to people who, for one reason or another, it is inappropriate to pursue. Tough. Life isn't fair. Stop acting like a 2 year old.

And trying to resurrect the "PC" canard at this late date is truly ridiculous. If straight guys really feel so terribly hemmed in and undermined by basic standards of decency, MAYBE THEY SHOULD WORK TO CHANGE THE CULTURE AND PREVENT RAPE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE! I see very little evidence that the average straight guy has the slightest concern for organizing within his community to counter sexual violence. And, in fact, most of the time when the subject comes up, the authorized speakers for straight guys are Judt-esque whiners.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
129

127: not to pick on DS (ok, who am I kidding...) Or to paint "men" with one broad brush. But I think it can be challenging for men to really understand the actual impact of that kind of behavior on actual women. Hell, it can be hard for women who haven't been there (or near there) to comprehend. I've heard enough guys protest (sincerely!) along the lines of "I'd love having women leer at/hit on/proposition/objectify me." What I think gets forgotten is that sexual objectification generally adds to a man's professional status (he's powerful *and* a big stud) whereas it generally diminishes a woman's status (she's hot, so that's probably the real reason she got promoted). Or, what oudemia said, supra about rendering that nifty moment null.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
130

||

Good ol' Dennis Kucinich. In addition to respecting his unjustly maligned tenure as mayor of Cleveland, I've always had high regard for his efforts to turn around the Democrats.

I was worried for awhile that I was going to have to write him off, but he came through on healthcare.

|


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
131

I've had both male and female students get all flirty with me, especially when they aren't doing very well in the class. In situations that make them feel insecure, they want to reassert their value in the way they've been told they have value--as sexually attractive people. The problem with responding to that, in addition to everything else, is that one is just verifying their suspicions--that they aren't smart enough to be interesting, and that they have to trade on their looks to have value.

The caveat, as DK says, is that the gender difference may make it hard for men to see that it's not, like, their own completely awesome sexiness at work. As a woman who gets it from both sides, I'd say that, yeah, women students flirting with me makes me feel like I must be really hot and awesome, because that's how female flirtation works. When I've gotten it from male students, it ranges from a weird condescension (I can't impress prof with my mind, but she'll be grateful if I bat my eyes at her) to competition about dominance, and a lack of comfort with female authority. But I think they both come from the same source, which is cynicism about how they are valued.

I don't think I've seen any situations in which sexual harassment policies went too far and intervened in a normal student-teacher interaction. I've seen a lot of profs get involved with students, but never anyone being accused of anything for it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
132

I will say that students can be hypersensitive about discussing sexuality, race, and religion, and no, no one is taking your God away if we talk about sex in the classroom. Generally, admin has had profs' backs on this, even at Religious School where I teach. I blame the fact that you can't talk about any of these things in any serious way in high school, and then we get them and it's all we talk about. High schools would be able to serve students a lot better if teachers were not muzzled.

Sometimes I'll be teaching a book that is pretty much nothing but sex, race, and God stuff, and a student will say, "We read this in high school!" Of course it turns out their discussions were about the meaning of the color green or something. Completely useless.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
133

and no, no one is taking your God away if we talk about sex in the classroom.

Liberals would understand conservatives better if liberals understood that this is often false.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
134

133. ??????


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
135

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When you talk about condoms for hours?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
136

133, 134: Makes sense to me -- kid from sheltered religious background goes to college, takes classes exposing her/him to sex and other forbidden thoughts, loses religion is a familiar story. You don't think it happens for real?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
137

130: Yay, Dennis!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
138

Liberals would understand conservatives better if liberals understood that this is often false.

Exactly.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
139

Well if their 'faith' is that frail, is it even real in the first place?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
140

134: For a significant chunk of American evangelicals, talking about sex without wrapping it in moralizing patriarchal gender essentialist crap is a direct assault on fundamental values. It's impossible to understand the mindset of the religious right's authoritarian followers without taking as given that simple discussion of certain topics without the correct framework of judgmental moralizing is a direct attack on core values. You really are either with them or against them.

139: Faith requires constant support against the ever present threat of subversion by the forces of Satan.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
141

140 gets it right.

The anti-Christian forces take many forms. Atheism, Islam, "relativism", etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
142

I don't think telling them that they never had real faith in the first place would be a comfort.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
143

139: It's only frail in the sense that it doesn't stand up well to intellectual scrutiny. If there's one lesson I've gotten from the last decade or two of U.S. politics, it's that a lot of powerful things don't stand up well to intellectual scrutiny.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
144

Faith requires constant support against the ever present threat of subversion by the forces of Satan.

Back in the day when I entertained the existence of things like God and Satan, I was taught that God was stronger than Satan. This made sense, since God was, like, God, and Satan was merely an angel, created by God. If you believe that Satan has the drop on God, seems to me you've got a pretty low opinion of God.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
145

130: I called his office and live in his district, so I can take a small fraction of the credit.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
146

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the link in 102 is that there is a scientist named Diana Six, which is just way too Cylon-y sounding.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
147

I don't think telling them that they never had real faith in the first place would be a comfort.

"You never had real faith in the first place" is what you get told when you leave.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
148

Strong work, helpy-chalk. A grateful nation thanks you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
149

"You are Diana Six."

"I am not a number, I am a free woman."

(Probably only intelligible to Brits over 40.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
150

"You never had real faith in the first place" is what you get told when you leave.

And then you start talking about all the awesome, God-free sex you're having and they get really pissed off.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
151

their discussions were about the meaning of the color green or something. Completely useless.

Sigh. If I've said once, I've said it a thousand times...


Posted by: kermit the frog | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
152

If you believe that Satan has the drop on God, seems to me you've got a pretty low opinion of God.

I don't know why you would say that. In all manichæan systems, good and evil are pretty evenly matched, right?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
153

It's only frail in the sense that it doesn't stand up well to intellectual scrutiny.

Plenty of religious-minded intellectuals find that their faith stands up just fine to intellectual scrutiny. The attitude that faith is anti-intellectual is much stronger support for the fear that "liberals" are trying to take away students' God. Discussing sex in a classroom? Well, geez, God hardly failed to anticipate (I assume, I mean we haven't discussed it directly... ) that young believers will be exposed to other young believers and non-believers alike with different attitudes about sex. Yeah, kiddo, you are going to have to deal with it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
154

If you believe that Satan has the drop on God

You may believe that we live in a fallen world. This is a pretty bizarre way to look at things, but it's not rare. I think Flannery O'Connor had a worldview not too far from this-- she was both faithful and quite pessimistic about the world.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
155

Christianity isn't supposed to be Manichaean. See Augustine, passim.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
156

"You never had real faith in the first place" is what you get told when you leave.

"Nobody does. Some people just take longer to understand this than others. Call me if you ever realize it."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
157

OK, I do agree that literature can be harmful and dangerous. It's still my job to teach it. I happily accept moral objections to what we read; they still have to read and understand it. But I find it curious that my Religious School students, who have all gone to private religious schools all their lives or been homeschooled, are far more confident and able to handle immoral/anti-religious content than my public school students. Part of that, I think, is that my RS students actually know scripture and can talk about it. My public school students have been treated like babies in high school, have never had the need to talk about their religious/moral objections to the content, and often don't really know anything about theology or scripture, which they would need to mount any serious defense of religious principles.

I want to be able to talk about sexual practices in the classroom, but to be able to do that with religious students, I need to have students who actually know what they believe. Literature is a lot more "dangerous" to the ignorant.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
158

"The world is not divided between Christ and the devil; it is completely the world of Christ, whether it recognizes this or not," wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
159

I called his office and live in his district, so I can take a small fraction of the credit.

I read this as part of the God discussion and thought, damn, I'd really better be nicer to rob.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
160

130: I called his office and live in his district, so I can take a small fraction of the credit.

Been working on our guy, Altmire--who unlike Kucinich brings nothing positive to the table other than being able to beat worse Republicans.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
161

(Probably only intelligible to Brits over 40.)

No, it's pretty recognizable. There was even a recent Sci-Fi Channel (Syfy Channel?) remake.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
162

"Remake" being used loosely.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
163

Well if their 'faith' is that frail, is it even real in the first place?

What kind of immune system did you really have, if you succumb to a cold?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
164

... and it was AMC, not Syfy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
165

149: I thought that very thing! Plus some Battlestar Galactica stuff. What a great name.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
166

There was even a recent Sci-Fi Channel (Syfy Channel?) remake.

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
167

Okay, I have to know which books this describes:

Sometimes I'll be teaching a book that is pretty much nothing but sex, race, and God stuff, and a student will say, "We read this in high school!" Of course it turns out their discussions were about the meaning of the color green or something.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
168

166: It is dreadful. But filled with terrific actors. Well, mostly Ian McKellen.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
169

But the nice thing is that there's streaming video of the original.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
170

167: Oh, something like Gulliver's Travels or Wuthering Heights.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
171

Plenty of religious-minded intellectuals find that their faith stands up just fine to intellectual scrutiny.

True. It's really only the folks who have both a very simple worldview irreconcilable with modern science, and who live in constant fear that they are not among the elect, that have to fear self examination. I've known plenty of religious people who are actively questioning everything all the time. I have to believe that a God worthy of the name would find that good, or at least adorably cute in much the same way we find kids' theorizing about the world cute.

I'm banking on there being no God, but I bet that if I'm wrong she will at least think I'm cute.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
172

God hardly failed to anticipate (I assume, I mean we haven't discussed it directly... ) that young believers will be exposed to other young believers and non-believers alike with different attitudes about sex

Well right in the Bible he turns them to salt or has the Israelites kill them all. Most religious conservatives don't really believe in the New Testament hippie Jesus as far as I can tell.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
173

|| I am pretty amused that the FB status of my high-school acquaintances frequently run to "Saw Bruce at the gym this morning. He is looking my-t fine" and "Behind Bruce this morning at [coffee place]. That ass!" |>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
174

Most religious conservatives don't really believe in the New Testament hippie Jesus as far as I can tell.

Too much forgiveness. I understand.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
175

173: He does seem to be losing weight.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
176

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the link in 102 is that there is a scientist named Diana Six

Maybe she was sent to replace Gary Seven.

(Apropos COG-ism, I was just a little shocked to learn from Sontag's journals that she was a 17 year old undergraduate when she married one of her instructors. Philip Rieff was only in his late twenties at the time, so he wasn't old, exactly, but, still, the notion of marrying a 17 year old student is almost Ruskinian.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
177

It's really only the folks who have both a very simple worldview irreconcilable with modern science, and who live in constant fear that they are not among the elect, that have to fear self examination.

So you figure, what? Only 40% of the U.S. population?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
178

that simple discussion of certain topics without the correct framework of judgmental moralizing is a direct attack on core values

This is true of a wide variety of ideological movements, including on the left. (Let's talk about racial differences in IQ scores now...I'm just looking for a calm discussion on the facts). It's in some ways a reasonable response to the way views really do get legitimized in the discourse process, and the way that facts don't speak for themselves. In other ways it sucks.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
179

"I have to believe that a God worthy of the name would find that good"

Of course, this begs the question. Frankly I think that if any God did exist, the chances are extremely high it would be a complete dick. Funnily enough, the big religions that posit a God also make him out to be a complete dick, not that they realise it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
180

Actually, having said that, I get the sense that some branches of Judaism realise God's a dick.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
181

180: "Well, to begin with, she's a cunt."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
182

I've known plenty of religious people who are actively questioning everything all the time.

My father says that this -- or perhaps, I think, resisting the temptation to lean on authority in the face of one's own doubts -- was one of the most difficult aspects of life in the ministry.

In tangentially related news, he is planning to attend a clergy-only retreat this summer with an organization that used to hold its retreats (when my grandfather attended) on this private island in Maine. I pointed that island out to a Mainer friend of mine who noted that the Unitarian minister who originally built the place must have had his fingers in many a collection plate.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
183

127: Drat, my first mistake ever. Yes, obviously there are cases of misconduct that aren't strictly-speaking criminal.

However, Judt's description of the hyper-judgmental and hypersensitive atmosphere prevailing in North American culture seems (pace AWB) to be borne out admirably in the comments section of that post, much of which consists of outraged harangues about the irresponsibility and insensitivity with which Judt met his current wife, harangues which presume (as DK's 129 presumes) that defending consensual dating and flirtation in that setting must ipso facto mean you're ignorant of and uncaring about open leering, creepy advances or outright sexual assault.

In that environment, well... maybe AWB's 131.3 is right and Judt is on about nothing. But I find it sort of hard to believe that. I recollect Scott Kaufman's hilarious-in-retrospect scare when he walked in on a pair of students having sex in his office... then received cryptic communications from the University that seemed to intimate that he might wind up being accused of misconduct. In that case it turned out to be a case of crossed wires... but the scenario he feared wasn't implausible. The culture of North American academe is capable of something that ridiculous.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
184

Mmmmaybe. But I don't actually know any of the ridiculous stories, just people worrying about them.

There's one in the Judt article, where he talks about the poor professor who followed a student into a supply closet to profess his love, and was subsequently admonished/disciplined/something by the college. And then no women would take his classes, and his career ended. And on that one, I find the causal link between the censure and no women taking his classes implausible unless there was an awful lot more to it.

Do you feel the same way about doctors/therapists, clergy, and other professionals dating clients -- dating is unobjectionable everywhere? Or do you think that while there are some professional relationships where the necessary trust issues make romance ethically questionable, that college teacher/student just isn't one of them?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
185

The culture of North American academe is capable of something that ridiculous

Really?

Also, I have nothing against "consensual dating and flirtation" (for other people, anyway). What I was trying to get at is the idea that what is or isn't "consensual" looks different from different sides of the gender and/or power divide. If my boss flirts with me and I flirt back, am I genuinely consenting, or am I playing along because I am afraid to make waves? In a litigation context, or even an internal HR complaint, I'm willing to bet that the benefit of the doubt goes to "consensual." But from the perspective of the objectified subordinate, it can still be a pretty squicky situation.

I have no experience in academia, but from what I see in the professional world I have to say 131.last gets it right. I have *never* seen a consensual dating or flirtation situation stomped down by any hyper-judgmental or hyper-sensitive culture.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
186

176: I was disappointed when I learned that JK Galbraith married a former student.

Though, looking it up on Wikipedia, I see that she was only 4 years (and change) younger than him. Perhaps I can stop feeling disappointed.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
187

186: There's a generational exemption for people who really had no idea there was a problem with that kind of thing, isn't there? People entitled to it are really old now, but I don't think you have to be mad at Galbraith about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
188

Sort of OT, but I think I just really offended a colleague of mine. She's really into self-empowerment sort of books, and was having her students write statements about their desire for success. She was reading them aloud, clearly so proud of them for being so confident and stuff. But to me they sounded like Nazi propaganda--totally purple and overblown metaphors about how nothing will stop them from grasping everything they desire in life, because they are eagles flying so high in the sky, etc. I was clearly a bit taken aback, even alarmed by it. I am trying to think of a way to apologize for having said it sounded like this young woman was well on her way to a global dictatorship, but I think it would sound insincere.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
189

I have *never* seen

It's anecdata, but I have once seen a false accusation of sexual harrassment. It didn't go anywhere - in fact, I'm not even sure the accused ever found out about it.

On the other hand, I've been in work environments where straightforward old-fashioned sexual harassment - sex bewteen managers and subordinates, with professional perks thrown in - was pretty common. Heck, in one instance, it even led to a marriage after the manager was fired for unrelated reasons (and after his divorce).

The subsequent marriage really doesn't do much to mitigate the original breach of ethics, in my opinion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
190

186: Pshheeew. For a minute there I thought I was going to have to jump in on you in my capacity as self-appointed and reflexive defender of JK Galbraith.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
191

It's anecdata, but I have once seen a false accusation of sexual harrassment.

But this is really something different than the idea that hyper-vigilance is standing in the way of true love.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
192

I've seen a false accusation of sexual harassment myself. But as Di says, it wasn't about overvigilant interpretation of innocent dating behavior, but about false statements of fact by the accuser. (She identified me and other teachers at the school as witnesses to her having been nonconsensually groped; none of us saw what she said happened in our present. I don't actually think she was lying -- she was in pretty weak contact with reality in a bunch of ways, and if she'd been lying it would have been easy to do a better job.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
193

in my capacity as self-appointed and reflexive defender of JK Galbraith.

Oh, trust me, he's a hero of mine.

In fact that's the only reason it bugged me because I worried if it made it inappropriate to maintain my level of adoration for the man.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
194

Galbraith was an ignorant son-of-a-bitch who knew nothing about economics. His most famous idea was just repackaged Veblen. The entire thesis of the "New Industrial State" was completely falsified by events.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
195

184: The supply closet thing seems enough to me. A man clueless enough not to understand that making a pass at a subordinate while she's cornered in a confined space is unlikely to come off as romantic is certainly clueless enough to be worth avoiding. Unless it was a supply closet far larger than any I've ever seen on campus (if it was large enough for a desk and bookshelf it would have been an office for junior faculty) following her in puts him right between her and the door, with no way out but to brush up against him, pretty much the last thing she wants.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
196

I have seen a . . . well, it wasn't a false accusation of sexual harassment, nor was it exactly an accusation of harassment at all. More like the refs were called in to rule on a play. A certain prof spent one quarter a year at my institution, and was affiliated with, but not (primarily) in my department. A married guy around 50. Apparently he had called a grad student in our department (age 40) a couple of times for a date. She said no. She was about to graduate, no longer taking classes, not going to have any intersection with this person at all really, but I guess she felt uncomfortable telling him "Not just no, for now. Never ever. Please don't call me." So she told the administration this and they told him that she didn't want him to call. He didn't get in trouble or anything, nor was there any notion that he ought to. I'm guessing this perhaps could have hurt him if he had been young and untenured, but who knows?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
197

195: Exactly. It was really troubling that Judt didn't seem to get how deeply un-ok that was.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
198

186: Is marrying former students deprecated? As long as nothing untoward took place while the professor was actually supervizing or evaluating the student it seems just fine to me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
199

196: I've had to do that myself. I had a bad situation in which I was being harassed and threatened by a prof (not in my dept, but affiliated) who said if I didn't spend time with him, he would be calling my department to tell them what he thought of me. I pre-empted this by telling the department myself. It was uncomfortable.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
200

184: Where you have clear conflicts of interest, you have a breach of ethics. But take Judt's dating the former ballerina: she's a grad student who's been advised to work with him, but the work is purely elective. It's not necessary to her career or her intellectual growth, just potentially useful. I find it hard to see the breach of ethics there.

And much as I love Nick, I don't get sentiments like 186.

191: really something different than the idea that hyper-vigilance is standing in the way of true love.

It's sort of a bad sign that you feel the need to caricature Judt's point, innit.

I have *never* seen a consensual dating or flirtation situation stomped down by any hyper-judgmental or hyper-sensitive culture.

I have never seen consensual dating or flirtation in the workplace, period, since relatively few people would be suicidal enough to go there after (for instance) stories of people getting fired for quoting the "Mulva" episode from Seinfeld. (Yes, that happened. An interesting collection of articles there, BTW.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
201

196: That sounds vaguely like my understanding about how sexual harassments policies are supposed to work, actually. The propositioned party has to communicate that the attention is unwanted. (This can be done one-on-one, but if there is a concern about retaliation, that's not tactically the way to go... ) The complaint, investigation, and outcome are kept confidential by the powers that be. Basically, 196 sounds like, sigh-of-relief, everything got resolved amicably and no one wound up getting hurt.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
202

191: Quite right. That's what I was trying to convey.

192: In my narrative, I could have accurately substituted "crazy" for false.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
203

194: Go Walt!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
204

194: You wanna take this outside, buddy?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
205

203: I'll take you both on. Somebody hold my coat.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
206

people getting fired for quoting the "Mulva" episode from Seinfeld.

Man, the guy who got fired got a $26 million payout for wrongful termination? I wonder how they racked the damages up that high.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
207

And again, this:

I have never seen consensual dating or flirtation in the workplace, period,

has got to be hyperbole, unless lawyers are just more oversexed than those in your profession. People in my workplaces don't flirt like on Mad Men, but there's flirting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
208

It's sort of a bad sign that you feel the need to caricature Judt's point, innit

Oh right, as *if* I read the linked piece on Judt. I was characterizing your position in 183. Judt is safe from me!

I have never seen consensual dating or flirtation in the workplace, period, since relatively few people would be suicidal enough to go there

Drop by my workplace sometime. I know plenty of them. There's the partner who had the affair (and briefly moved in) with his secretary; the one who's had a string of affairs with new associates, including one to whom he was the assigned mentor; the one who had the affair with the woman in marketing; the one who is now married to the subordinate he had the affair with. These are just the ones I have been apprised of through their heartfelt confessions to me. Further rumor abounds! Including the possibly apocryphal legends explaining Why the Offices Now Have Glass Doors.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
209

The entire thesis of the "New Industrial State" was completely falsified by events.

This is true in much the same way it is true of Marx and Capital. The original ideas in it are bimodally distributed between ones that subsequently proved so indisputably correct that they are part of the common stock, their authorship forgotten; and those that turned out to be grossly off target.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
210

unless lawyers are just more oversexed than those in your profession

Based on 208 I am going to say yes, yes they are.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
211

I have never seen consensual dating or flirtation in the workplace, period, since relatively few people would be suicidal enough to go there

Interesting anecdata: When I worked among the sexual harassers, I was married to a co-worker, and there were a number of married couples on staff. Likewise, there were a number of intra-office romances.

In my current job, where I am unaware of anything resembling sexual harassment, I am also unaware of any marriages, or even relationships, among my colleagues.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
212

unless lawyers are just more oversexed than those in your profession

Heh. I had the same thought before posting 208 -- "or maybe lawyers are just unusually sleazy."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
213

208: Drop by my workplace sometime. [long account of sexual hijinks therein]

I... guess I just might have to do that. Where is it that you work again?

Anyway, since apparently there's still lots of fucking going on in the American workplace, I guess there's nothing to disagree about. All that's left is to see how we Canadians can better learn from that example.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
214

Except for one family-owned business with fewer than 5 employees, I have never worked in any environment that wasn't positively filled with flirting, up to and including people getting divorced over extramarital affairs with cow-orkers. Perhaps Canada is a very different sort of place, or maybe DS just doesn't even see race flirting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
215

Yeah, I think you've been confusing the chilling effects of sexual harassment law with the chilling effects of being Canadian.

(Sally recently had to do a report on Canada in Spanish, allowing me to get serious good-mother credit by remembering that the Spanish for beaver, which she didn't know, is 'el castor'. She mocked me for my accent, of course.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
216

unless lawyers are just more oversexed than those in your profession

They probably spend more time in the office . . .

Is marrying former students deprecated?

I would say that marrying former students isn't, in any way, inherently wrong, but it falls into the category of "potentially suspicious, should try to find out the details if you are inclined to care."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
217

205: λάβετέ μεο ταἰμάτια, κόψω Βουπάλωι τὸν ὀφθαλμόν.
ἀμφιδέξιος γάρ εἰμι κοὐκ ἁμαρτάνω κόπτων.

Hold my coat while I belt Boupalos in the eye.
I'm ambidextrous and never miss a punch.
--Hipponax, Fr. 120-21. (Late 6th cent., BCE)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
218

And much as I love Nick, I don't get sentiments like 186.

Do you not get why I would find marrying a former student suspicious, or do you not get why I would care that a famous person who's public behavior I respect engages in potentially suspicious private behavior?

If your objection falls into the latter category I can't really offer a rational reason for my discomfort.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
219

the Spanish for beaver, which she didn't know, is 'el castor'

Wait. Those awful street urchins who taught me it was la concha were lying? Bastardos.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
220

ὀφθαλμόν

Puzzling through this and getting the beginning of opthamologist makes me very happy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
221

I wonder what percentage of the women here would say that, as students or employees, they received unwanted sexualized attention from superiors that felt threatening or unpleasant, at least to the point that they stopped speaking to this person as much, avoided him/her, or otherwise changed behaviors that could have been productive for scholastic/professional reasons.

Then I wonder what percentage of men here would say they've experienced the same--not whether someone flirted with you, specifically, but whether you curtailed your own behavior significantly to avoid the sexual advances of a superior.

I'm not saying men have no idea what this feels like; I'm sure there are some men who have felt their careers or student performance threatened by superiors. But for women, my guess is that it's so common as to be practically banal. Most of us don't go around "reporting" people for sexual harassment because that would be even more harmful to us as students and professionals than a pretty constant low-level habit of dressing inconspicuously, not talking to certain people, not hanging out after work, etc.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
222

I wonder how they racked the damages up that high.

Yeah, was wondering the same thing, enough to look up the case. Turns out he didn't get anything for wrongful termination, he lost that claim at summary judgment. His award was for an unrelated claim of intentional misrepresentation as an inducement to continued employment (something about promising him he would not be affected by a reorg that downgraded his position). And very high punitives.

Not much in the opinion I glanced at on the original sexual harassment claim, but for what it's worth the guy had at least two previous harassment complaints filed against him, so I wouldn't leap to the conclusion that he was fired just on the basis of the "Mulva" incident. (The company's ground for termination was "exercising poor judgment", which I figure translates as "we're sick of having this jackass around", but IANALaborL, so who knows.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
223

but for what it's worth the guy had at least two previous harassment complaints filed against him

This is unsurprising. I can just imagine the sort of dude who wants to show you dictionary entries for "clitoris" at work.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
224

206 -- It's actually a pretty interesting story. And it's far from clear that he got a 26 million payout, since the appeals court threw out the jury verdict, and that was affirmed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (I don't know if there's something subsequent, or if the above cited accounts of this is just fear-mongering).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
225

And further to 221.1, not that such a poll could easily be designed, but I'd also be curious how many of the superiors in question would be shocked to hear that their advances were unwanted.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
226

223: OMG yes, please see my current coworker who just doesn't get why I'm such a bitch that I don't love his non sequiturs about hilarious incidents of violence against women. Because the thing is, I seem like such a fun and easygoing person!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
227

225: SurveyMonkey.com is really easy to set up.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
228

221 I've never known of any guy who had to deal with anything remotely resembling sexual harassment from a woman in a superior position in the workplace/academy. From people at or below their level on the other hand, yes.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
229

I wonder what percentage of men here would say they've experienced the same--not whether someone flirted with you, specifically, but whether you curtailed your own behavior significantly to avoid the sexual advances of a superior.

What percentage of men have ever worked under a female superior?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
230

226: Bingo. The (CO)UPS guy who delivered to my old company thought I was a zippy, fun gal. I am! But to him that meant that, when I remarked "Oooh. I'm fast" having typed my name very quickly into his digital clipboard thingy, he ought to reply, "Fast, but not easy -- right?" with a leer. Etc., etc., etc.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
231

And, the award was for a different claim altogether: His theory supporting the intentional misrepresentation torts against Smith and Miller was that Miller had a duty to disclose after the 1987 reorganization that his position had been grandfathered and that Smith misrepresented to Mackenzie that he would not be affected by the reorganization.

The jury awarded $6,501,500 in compensatory damages and $18,000,000 in punitive damages against Miller on the intentional misrepresentation claim.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
232

228: I've known men who've felt sexually threatened by other men in the workplace, whether that's gay or straight, and I think that definitely counts, in a slightly different way. If you avoid your boss at work because he's always wanting to pull your ear about all the nasty pussy he's getting, that's sexual harassment, and I think fairly common. Now imagine that happening to you all the time and you have a pussy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
233

229: As professors, surely?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
234

231: You know what I'm stuck on with that claim? Even if you recognize the tort, how'd the jury get to $6 million dollars in damages for it? The company lied to him, and if they hadn't lied he would have quit long before he was fired, and not having quit led to $6M in economic damages... how?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
235

he's always wanting to pull your ear

Given the context I was expecting that to go in a different direction.

Isn't "bend your ear" the more typical expression?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
236

227: Great! Okay, everyone email me the name and email address for the supervisor(s) who have subjected you to unwelcome sexualized attention -- or I guess I could just have you send them to the Survey Monkey thing yourselves.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
237

I remember when the red light/green light discussions hit the work place.

It seemed that off-color remarks were ok for women, but really dangerous for men.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
238

229: the fruit, it hangs low...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
239

I've worked at only one place where there was a noticeable amount of flirting - a science museum, and the majority of flirting there was between staff and volunteers. Everywhere else was either a sausage party or... OK, I've worked in one job that was fairly gender balanced, and there was a lot of flirting.

I should have been a lawyer.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
240

238:

Stop harassing KR. At his age, there isnt much that can be done for that low hanging fruit.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
241

If you avoid your boss at work because he's always wanting to pull your ear about all the nasty pussy he's getting, that's sexual harassment, and I think fairly common.

Actually, I think this might well be an uphill battle for a male plaintiff, especially depending on what "always" really means here. It's not clear to me that it's a hostile work environment claim, where the hostility isn't due to the plaintiffs membership in a protected class.

Maybe in NY it's different.

Many years ago, non-Jewish co-workers at my wife's German employer complained about their boss' anti-Semitic remarks. SJ for defendant, iirc.

There's a lot of urban legendry in this field, helped along by the kind of people who sow fear of that $26 million payout.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
242

It seemed that off-color remarks were ok for women, but really dangerous for men.

I'm guessing this is premised on the assumption that men are not made uncomfortable or otherwise harmed by such remarks and women are. Not always true, of course (see, eg., 232).


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
243

234 -- I don't know, but if Wisconsin is a 'benefit of the bargain' state, and the stock options that he would have gotten if the statement had been true had really taken off, then maybe you can get somewhere.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
244

I'm not necessarily talking about anything that's legally actionable. I guess I mean that it often happens in subtle ways that cause an employee or student not to take full professional/academic advantage of a position. I'm not going to bring a claim against my boss or professor who does this, but I'm not going to work closely with him or seek out his mentorship.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
245

221: The closest I've come to that situation was being propositioned by my male psychiatrist. Of course, I could easily leave that situation (and did).


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
246

There's a lot of urban legendry in this field, helped along by the kind of people who sow fear of that $26 million payout.

Yeah, just from DS's original description the whole thing fairly reeked of "PC gone amok!" tall tale.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
247

Thinking more about 228, I'm wondering what the options are for a prof being sexually harassed by a student. I knew a girl in college who was in lust with a prof of hers. She hit on him and he rejected her saying he doesn't date students, nor does he date people half his age. She decided that could mean that he wouldn't have a relationship but would be open to lost of hot NSA sex, and started slipping letters under his door filled with explicitly detailed fantasies about what she'd like to do with him. Relative power means that it's certainly not the same as a reverse scenario, but I imagine that kind of thing could get a bit disturbing.

On the more conventional scenario, it's also important that power relationships mean that breaking up with a superior can be problematic. One of my best friends in college had that issue with a prof. Started an affair with him very willingly, then his wife found out and got pissed, she decided she didn't need the hassle and was beginning to feel guilty about cheating on her bf. Prof didn't want to end the affair and things became ugly - she was Ph.D bound, he was her key recommendation and started making noises about how he would have difficulty writing a letter all upset over getting dumped.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
248

242: Add to it that if men are more frequently the ones in power, then the gender split may also be about who has the threat to make. It's pretty rare for professors to bring harassment charges against flirty students. I and several of my female friends have even been threatened with rape by angry male students, but we're not calling the police about it. If one of my profs did the same thing, it would be a no-brainer.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
249

I wonder whether lawyers are any more prone (yes, fruit, low-hanging) to have affairs than other professions, much as they are, apparently, rather inclined to abuse alcohol and drugs. I work have worked at a law firm that is quite humane, as large Manhattan firms go, but I have heard what I think is a pretty ordinary amount of gossip about partners and secretaries, partners and associates, etc. Nothing like the other firm, where partners said "You aren't really a [firm] lawyer until you've sacrificed at least one marriage to the firm" and at least one of the European partners maintained two separate families, old-school style. That firm exploded, but over money, of course, not sex.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
250

228: It happened to a friend of mine. If I'm not mistaken he was later fired from that job for replying to "Interface with Bob on this" with "I'm a human, not a computer. Why don't I just talk to him?"


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
251

243: Still tough -- as I understand the facts from the opinion, he got the stock options up until he was downgraded, and then they didn't take them away, he just didn't get more. So by the time he was actually suffering damages from the downgrading, he was no longer deceived about it. I'd love to know the whole story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
252

248 posted before seeing 247. Yeah, if it were constant and stalkery, something should be done. But as a prof, I'm a lot less concerned about what the consequences of that pressure might be than I am as a student who is vulnerable.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
253

Unusual for a man practicing law since 1991, I have been working for a female boss my entire career. She is about 15 years older than I am. When I started here she was in mid-divorce and seemed to enjoy flirting at me, including one time when we were traveling on business and working past midnight in her hotel room. I was not at all interested, and tried to respond in a way that made it clear I was also not interested in alienating the boss at a good job. My general feeling was "this is uncomfortable, but if I were a woman and she were a man it would be scary." Size differences and all. She eventually picked up on my disinterest after a while and didn't fire me, and we're still working together. It was not all comparable to the more common order of sexual harassment.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
254

249: Long hours, stressy work, given that we're lawyers we're all assholes... makes sense that there'd be more of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
255

247: CA had a student who drew a series of adorable (and chaste) comics about him (and our doggie!). They're well done and super cute and it is really obvious she had a great big crush on him. He would accept them and smile, no big deal. I was thinking that -- even positing that the comics were equally chaste and adorable -- I would be vaguely concerned if a male student had done the same for me. I mean, there were Yay! Let's all have a pillow fight in our pjs! scenes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
256

Sorry, AWB. When I hear 'sexual harassment' I think of the legal context.

246 -- YMMV, but IMO, the harassment training/consulting industry is a bigger culprit here than the PC-gone-amok faction.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
257

given that we're lawyers we're all assholes

That's like being all ears, but less receptive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
258

harassment training/consulting industry

Yeah, I think there's a tendency to train for "If you never make eyecontact or speak to a member of the human species, no one can accuse you of harassment. Be safe!" and then that turns into "OMG, if you make eyecontact, that's sexual harassment!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
259

257: but less receptive.

That's not what you said on our last date, Apo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
260

See, that's sexual harassment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
261

234, 243, 251: It does look like a jury just went nuts, thanks in part to playing up the Seinfeld stuff (at least so the intermediate appellate opinion seems to me to insinuate). Apparently the only damages evidence he presented was of losses attributable to his termination. But I guess the jury was determined to let Miller Brewing know it couldn't get away with firing guys for being guys or something.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
262

Long hours, stressy work, given that we're lawyers we're all assholes... makes sense that there'd be more of it.

...and yet, it seems not to be so much the case with investment bankers, who work even longer hours and are bigger assholes. Perhaps because the gender ratio with bankers is so much more lopsided, or because the Wall Street crowd has merely to cross the street after work to find a bevy of Ford models angling for them.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
263

Perhaps because the gender ratio with bankers is so much more lopsided,

That'd be my impression.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
264

I've noticed literally zero flirting, sex, or sexual rumors at either of the law firms I've worked at. Anything visible would be totally unacceptable. These are non-behemoth firms where people know each other pretty well, which probably makes a difference, but I'm a little bit surprised at 208, 249, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
265

Perhaps because the gender ratio with bankers is so much more lopsided, or because the Wall Street crowd has merely to cross the street after work to find a bevy of Ford models angling for them.

Otherwise stated as "no one but a lawyer would find a lawyer attractive."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
266

Wouldn't consultants hook up more than almost any other profession? All that being trapped for 3 months in a corporate rental apartment in Des Moines, etc.?

My favorite lesson from a sexual harassment presentation was the availability of the "equal opportunity asshole" defense. Basically, the message was that if you act like a total jerk to everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, you'll be fine.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
267

My general feeling was "this is uncomfortable, but if I were a woman and she were a man it would be scary." Size differences and all.
Having gotten myself thinking about disturbing sexual stuff I heard in college and not so consensual sex I was wondering about what a friend of mine told me. Is it the extremely rare case of a woman raping a guy, or just really fucked up behaviour but not quite rape?

The summer after graduation a group of high school friends goes to a summer house for one last group party before heading off to college. This includes my friend, her longtime college bf who she's planning on dumping since she doesn't want a long distance relationship, and the guy she's lusted after for most of high school. Her bf guts drunk and passes out early on. She hangs out dancing, flirting, and then strongly coming on to the lust object. He rejects her, saying he's friends with her bf and this would be wrong. Later on that evening everybody's gone to bed, she's horny but her bf is completely passed out. She goes to the lo's room, finds him passed out and naked, starts going down on him. He wakes up and drunkenly tells her again he's not interested. When she doesn't stop he pushes her away. She responds by beginning to fuck him, he stops protesting and things go their normal way. Next day he acts very pissed off at her (the conversation started with her saying guys can be such assholes the morning after).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
268

264: My prior law job, in a non-firm setting, was like that (unless I was just oblivious -- always a possibility!). In comparison, the firm often feels like a regression to junior high.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
269

267: Well, if I switched the sexes, I'd have an easy time calling it rape based on the facts exactly as you gave them. Which suggests to me, yeah, probably rape.

OTOH, you could probably make me change my mind by slightly changing the facts as given in the next to last sentence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
270

267 sounds like rape to me. The only pause is at "things go their normal way."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
271

Heh. Lawyer mindmeld.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
272

267 sounds like rape to this lawyer, too. That's shitty, shitty behavior. Criminal, even.

Just sounds like he stopped actively resisting, not that he actually consented.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
273

As usual, though, you beat me to it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
274

See, that's sexual harassment.

That was some terribly disappointing sexual harassment, LB. Feels like your heart isn't really in it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
275

269, 270 On the one hand it's pretty common for women to stop protesting or resisting in that sort of rape scenario. On the other, that's due in large part to physical strength disparities - a woman will generally be unable to physically push a guy off her if he doesn't want to be moved. On the third hand, this guy was pretty drunk and had just been woken up.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
276

275: Well, I don't know that it's always size disparities that keep a woman from shoving someone off her. It's not that she can't but that sometimes you really just want someone to leave you alone, and making a big deal out of it is a pain in the ass because they'll be up in your grill forever.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
277

275, 276: Yeah, I'd call it rape if the victim wasn't terrified or overpowered, just too drunk and confused to protest effectively. Which (from the way you described it), is what happened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
278

If it's rape right up until "things go their normal way" it's rape. There's no retroactive de-rapifying act. Whether the law would make that distinction I have no idea.

One problem with a lot of discussion of rape is the assumption that it has to be devastatingly traumatic for the victim. I've known people who were thrown off course for the rest of their lives after a rape, and others who were pretty much able to treat it as just a particularly bad day. If things go their normal way after she rapes him into compliance that suggests he's not all that badly traumatized, but it doesn't mean she didn't rape him.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
279

investment bankers

Meet Ping Jiang:
http://dealbreaker.com/2009/12/ping-jiang-stickler-for-the-bj-rules/

Trader's environments are mostly male, right?

Law firms I'm familiar with second hand have one case of partner-secretary affair leading to divorce and remarriage, midsize city in the midwest, out of anecdotal knowledge of dozens of attorney life trajectories. Some tension punctuated with consensual sex, but no other case of deep power imbalance.

Two remarks for why men are so often stupid and defensive about this:
A lot of what bothers women (usually justifiably) is invisible outside male imposer and female imposee.
Men have a hard time understanding situations where the best you can do is to avoid conflict and keep your head down even if you don't like something; these seem like aberrations in environments where people are either on the same team or where they fight, and the loser leaves. Simmering long-term resentment is harder to think about.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
280

Sounds like rape to me, too. Coercing someone into having sex after they've been clear that they don't want to. Not violent rape, but there's clearly an implication that she'll cause a big stinking scene if he really argues forcefully to stop.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
281

It's rape.

261 -- Man, the Court of Appeals is dismissive on the damages issue. They clearly think very little of the plaintiff's presentation, or the judge for letting it get to the jury.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
282

I'd call it rape if the victim wasn't terrified or overpowered, just too drunk and confused to protest effectively consent.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
283

'normal way' was my flippant way of describing her response to me suggesting that this was maybe not quite consensual. She said that he didn't say anything once she started fucking him and that he enjoyed it, she knows because he came.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
284

Men have a hard time understanding situations where the best you can do is to avoid conflict and keep your head down even if you don't like something; these seem like aberrations in environments where people are either on the same team or where they fight, and the loser leaves. Simmering long-term resentment is harder to think about.

I don't understand how gender fits into this. You're saying men never avoid conflict or have simmering long-term resentment?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
285

279!!!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
286

282: Agreed.

283: Jesus. I wonder if she's yet figured out she did anything wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
287

Add a count of forcible sodomy in there too.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
288

I take the lack of response to mean that lw is avoiding conflict.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
289

246: the whole thing fairly reeked of "PC gone amok!" tall tale.

Waitasec. While "tall tales" do happen, I was making a reference to a specific case which AFAICT is on the level. No "tall tales" for me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
290

289: If we're still talking about the Mulva case, it's a bit of a tall tale insofar as the implication is that the only complaint was that he mentioned a sitcom episode. This was the third complaint of harassment against the same guy, after all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
291

Recently I've known people involved in two cases where (different) women lied about 1) being raped in the first case, and 2) the father molesting his daughter in the second case.

It makes me furious that they are weakening other people's very real cases about being raped or molestation. It made me slightly more aware that such things really do happen, and I now don't know how common these things are.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
292

I feel the same way about spurious stories of transwomen harassing and being rapey toward ciswomen. No one seems to literally know the names of anyone this has happened to, but good gosh there are so many "I once heard about..."s going around. Try replacing "transwoman" in any of those stories with some other minority, for fun.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
293

Try replacing "transwoman" in any of those stories with some other minority, for fun.

Quadriplegics.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
294

Things I've seen/heard of that I wish I hadn't:

Lesbian HS student violently raped lesbian HS student while they were dating.
Two different cases where women in their late-20s/early-30s in the bohemian/radical scene were conducting affairs with 15 year old boys (in one case at least, quite openly.)
Mother filing false claims of sexual abuse and child pron against father (as a prelude to a divorce action).
Queer woman ostracized by other queer women because she hooked up with a transman who used to date someone else in the scene.
Straight white guy fired from a corporate job because he wouldn't sleep with straight female supervisor.
...plus innumerable cases of fairly standard sexual assault and harassment by straight, cisgendered men against women.

It's a creepy, unpleasant world. People are capable of all sorts of depravity and things that go against their stated values. But those anecdotes don't change the fact (and in fact tend to reinforce the argument) that we live in a patriarchal society where capitalism and misogyny pervert healthy sexualities into rape and harassment and general fucked-upedness. The point is not to simply blame old, straight white guys like Judt, regardless of how much they deserve it. Rather, it is to organize and challenge patriarchy as a root cause of these problems.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
295

Not saying never, but men tend to miss the middle ground between open conflict and cooperation. Actually maybe this is a consequence of privilege. On the other hand, especially managers or lawyers understand how to be professional frenemies, so maybe I'm simply wrong.com, and there is no gender bias in conflict amplitude distribution.

Dunno-- I was thinking about why men often lack the experience of just avoiding someone where things aren't right interpersonally that Di and AWB mentioned.

It's true that I'm not that interested in taking up arguments/disagreements here.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
296

294: Rather, it is to organize and challenge patriarchy as a root cause of these problems.

So you're saying that clearly Judt's problem is that his academic community hasn't tried hard enough to win him over? I'm not blaming Judt for the whole ball of wax, but I am saying that he is part of one of the most progressive communities there is as far as gender stuff goes, and at some point, people are responsible for learning and not laying back on the old "well i'm from the 60's" excuse.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
297

What makes the tale tall is the assertion that the company got hit for 26 mil because of the Mulva thing. It (a) didn't get hit in the end and (b) the big reversed judgment wasn't about Mulva.

On the actual Mulva claim, the jury gave the guy no compensatory damages, and tagged the woman with 1.5 mil in punitives, which got thrown out in the trial court (with the evident approval of both appellate courts).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:29 PM
horizontal rule
298

Which result is, I suppose, scary in a society that is scared of the underpants bomber.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
299

290: Strikes me as hairsplitting. The complaint that got him fired was based on the sitcom episode, whatever his prior history. Surely the thing to do, if he was doing actionably obnoxious things, would be to fire him for one of those.

Granted, quoting Seinfeld is in itself a profound evil. People in this day and age should be quoting Curb Your Enthusiasm instead. But still.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
300

Judt and his ilk always seem to have in mind some specific, empirical example of a workplace in which sexual flirtation, innuendo, and hook-ups are allowed to run free, yet there is no harmful power imbalance, no disgruntled female (or male) employees, and no loss of professionalism. They seem to think this workplace really exists, maybe in France or somewhere on the lost continent of the 1960s.

My question is: Has this workplace ever existed? Was there some magical time between, say, 1966 and 1973 when it flourished? Is there some office in Paris that looks like Judt's utopia? Because if there isn't, and I don't think there ever was, Judt's claim looks particularly embarrassing, particularly for a historian.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
301

The corollary to Judt's utopian 60's is the older woman professor's dystopia of the 60's. For all the wonderful free excellent love that happened during those times, it seems odd that every single woman who was in academia during that same period describes it as the worst imaginable hell of discrimination, sexism, rape jokes, rape, and intimidation. I've talked to some people who say that things could not honestly have been as bad as that, even back then, but I'd love to hear how Judt's age-peer female colleagues remember those heady old days.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
302

My last sentence was weird -- obviously Judt's whole piece is embarrassing. I just meant how ironic it is that a well known (and very good! Postwar is a great book!) historian would just completely turn a blind eye to the actual reality of any existing office environment, whether in "the 1960s" or today.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
303

Strikes me as hairsplitting. The complaint that got him fired was based on the sitcom episode, whatever his prior history. Surely the thing to do, if he was doing actionably obnoxious things, would be to fire him for one of those.

He was fired for "exercising poor judgment" or "poor management judgment", after repeated incidents of jackassery, and (according to his supervisor) being warned after the previous incident that next time he'd be fired. How is that hairsplitting? You can't fire people for behavior that's cumulatively intolerable, if an individual incident doesn't measure up?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
304

I mean, bully for him that he got some tail out of his little grad-student date, but my question still stands--did she finish her PhD? Did she have friends who finished theirs? How do those who did finish feel about those who dropped out to marry Professor?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
305

304: I actually went to his wiki page to see if it listed his wife's name, so I could check. No dice.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
306

"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell's despair."

So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:

"Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven's despite."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
307

This NY Mag piece on Judt is pretty interesting.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
308

303: The individual incident would have to actually be part of the alleged pattern. It's like supposedly firing a man for persistent absenteeism because he knocks over a coffee cup.

As Charley indicates, there's more to the MacKenzie vs. Miller case than just the Mulva incident -- the damages were awarded him because of an unrelated bit of alleged deception by the company. The summary I linked to misleadingly implies the damages were directly related to the Mulva incident. But there's no "tall tale" in the fact that the dude was, proximately speaking, fired for quoting a Seinfeld episode, and there's really no way to make that look like a smart or ethical HR decision.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
309

OK, five minutes on Google suggests that this is the wife, who both got a Ph.D. and looks like she has had a fairly distinguished career. So, good on that.

Also, my googling reveals that Judt has crippling Lou Gehrig's disease, and is apparently not long for the world, which I suppose is provoking the memoir. This makes him more sympathetic, in my book, although I'm not really sure why it should.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
310

301: Judt's utopian 60's

Did you read the Judt essay? Could you point me to the "utopian" 60's mentioned therein?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
311

310: Oh I forgot. He complains about that, too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
312

Oh wow, just to clarify, 311 was definitely to 310 and not 309.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
313

304: I actually went to his wiki page to see if it listed his wife's name, so I could check. No dice.

Google tells me it's Jennifer Homans, and that she has a Ph.D. in Modern European History and works on the cultural history of ballet. So it seems she didn't drop out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
314

I am so pwned.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
315

312: Groovy, but 311 still doesn't make any sense.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
316

lawyers understand how to be professional frenemies

Assumes facts not in evidence.

The complaint that got him fired was based on the sitcom episode, whatever his prior history...
Granted, quoting Seinfeld is in itself a profound evil.

The problem wasn't discussing a sitcom at work. The problem is subjecting a colleague/subordinate to unwanted discussion of clitorises in the workplace.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
317

316: The problem is subjecting a colleague/subordinate to unwanted discussion of clitorises in the workplace.

That's rationalization of excessive prudishness.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
318

Who pronounces "clitoris" to rhyme with "Dolores", anyway?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
319

317: No. It's not. Shocking though it apparently is to you, not all women enjoy discussion of their genitalia in the place where they work. There are, of course, professions in which discussion of the clitoris is germane and appropriate. This was not one.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:05 PM
horizontal rule
320

Who pronounces "clitoris" to rhyme with "Dolores", anyway?

Surprisingly many people.

The odds that they're acting under the influence of the pronunciation of "clitorides" are unfortunately low.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
321

DS, do you have a specific workplace in mind that permits cheery sexual innuendo/hookups while avoiding intimidation, discrimination, or loss of respect for the female employees? Because this seems like something that has never existed, ever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
322

Or, at least, is vanishingly rare.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
323

Also, my googling reveals that Judt has crippling Lou Gehrig's disease, and is apparently not long for the world, which I suppose is provoking the memoir.

Yes, he apparently wrote an early post for the NYRB about his symptoms which would chill your bones.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
324

319: No, it really is. Here's the thing: if a joke that is anodyne enough to get into a network sitcom is too bawdy to be recounted in your presence, what that is called is prudishness. If the guy had been actually discussing his coworker's clitoris at work, that would have been different. "My ears are too delicate to hear that Seinfeld reference" is an objection in league with black people suing white peopl (or other black people) for using the word "niggardly," or fundies petitioning to have greeting signs changed to read "heaveno" because the customary greeting contains the word "hell." These are not things that can be defended as serious, responsible objections to actually objectionable behavior.

One thing potchkeh was right about: Miller was looking for a pretext to fire MacKenzie. The Mulva incident just wasn't a plausible pretext. The company did not attempt to defend that particular aspect of its behavior from quite early on in the litigation AFAICT.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
325

324: Maybe this guy can't tell a joke.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
326

mcmc is right, you know; there's what the joke says and what you're doing in saying it (and how you're saying it, for that matter).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
327

321: DS, do you have a specific workplace in mind that permits cheery sexual innuendo/hookups

Di's workplace, apparently. I'm hoping that offer to visit still stands.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
328

327: Despite Di's insistence that it's a toxic environment that often makes her unhappy due to sexual intimidation?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
329

326: If he'd executed something vile enough in the telling to justify the firing, that would presumably have figured in the litigation, but it didn't.

I'm not actually sure how you'd go about making the Seinfeld joke genuinely dirty. Maybe by appending an explanation -- "Get it? It's funny because one of the names he guesses couldn't be a real name, and both are references to parts of the female reproductive organ" -- and then whipping out a porno mag to illustrate.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
330

You don't need to make the joke itself dirty.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
331

It's pronounced clitorideez, right? Whenever I see the word on the page, I think -ides, like peptides or nucleotides. So no wonder people can't find them easily; they're molecular.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
332

325: Apparently that is the case:

In the episode, Jerry Seinfeld knew only that his date's name rhymed with a female body part; he remembers her name in the final scene, yelling "Dolores!" To explain the punch line, Mackenzie showed coworker Patricia Best a dictionary definition of the word clitoris. Best was offended and reported Mackenzie's conduct, and the company concluded that his behavior violated its sexual harassment policy.

He insists on explaining the joke! And showing her dictionary entries! Get it? Get it? See?!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
333

328 does not mean to put words in Ms. Kotimy's mouth, but it does seem like she has made several comments that suggest that her attitude toward her workplace is not that it's so fun and wonderful to be surrounded by people who act this way.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
334

Likewise, the fact that two words are actually unrelated doesn't mean you can't get some of the same effect of the one with the other, and deliberately at that.

I am reminded of the scene in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes where some American and Japanese military personnel are hashing something out in a conference room. At one point the Americans take their leave, the Head American noting with discomfort that "it's a little nippy in here".

Of course, "nippy" simply means "chilly".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
335

It's pronounced clitorideez, right?

Yep. Rhymes with "laydeez".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
336

One thing potchkeh was right about: Miller was looking for a pretext to fire MacKenzie.

I didn't mean to suggest that. This is America: you don't need a pretext to fire someone. I don't know what the point of coming up with a pretext like this would be if they just had it in for MacKenzie. They could have fired him any time.

The company did not attempt to defend that particular aspect of its behavior from quite early on in the litigation AFAICT.

Well, they won suimmary judgment on the wrongful termination claim, so I think they probably did.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
337

328: What you are missing, AWB, is that it is indeed a happy, intimidation-free environment from the perspective of a substantial percentage of my ecolleagues and my offense mere excessive prudishness.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
338

Are ecolleagues:

a) people you work with, but interact with exclusively online;

b) ecologically minded co-workers;

c) coworkers who are like a deadly bacteria


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
339

I thought the Clitorides were Revolutionary holidays, like the Sansculottides.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:05 PM
horizontal rule
340

337: I have similar feelings about my current work environment. Everyone else seems so delighted by my doofy coworker's weird pointless offensive rants that I feel bad for calling him out on them, and it seems to make other people think I'm just mean. Most of the time, the rants themselves aren't offensive, but they're so... ugh. He stands really close to me, pokes me in the chest while talking to me, stands over my desk or leans over it on his elbows, makes jokes about my sexual preferences, lectures me about things I already know about, recounts harrowing tales of violence and rape from the news, threatens that he will get me fired, etc. To everyone else, it's so apparent how much he loves having me around; he just can't get enough of our little chats. People come in to hang out with us all afternoon because they enjoy the environment we create together.

So I'm really clear. I need more space please. I have work to do. I don't like hearing about violence, thanks. All of these comments provoke hours of discussion of what happened to me to make me so very sensitive and fragile. He cares, you see.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:06 PM
horizontal rule
341

Beware the Clitorides of March.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
342

Everyone else seems so delighted by my doofy coworker's weird pointless offensive rants that I feel bad for calling him out on them, and it seems to make other people think I'm just mean.

This is how I feel about the terrible books we keep reading in book club.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
343

Yeah, ha ha ha, oh those two are just such a hoot! Uh huh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
344

343 to 340


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:26 PM
horizontal rule
345

341: Rather, we should celebrate the Clitorides.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
346

108-112: How do people win MacArthurs anyway? The ones I've paid the most attention to --Kay Jamison and Elyn Saks are good to very good academics who then wrote memoirs, one excellent, the other, solid but very brave.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
347

340 describes something pretty godawful. It begins to sound from the general tenor of this thread that that sort of thing is par for the course; in which case I count myself lucky as hell.

Originally at 185 upthread: I have *never* seen a consensual dating or flirtation situation stomped down by any hyper-judgmental or hyper-sensitive culture.

This surprises me. I've not only seen it, I've been party to it. People have referred here before to the unwisdom of flirting anywhere remotely near the workplace: I've certainly damped down or quashed an emerging flirtation with someone (by mutual agreement) because it might look inappropriate, might cause people to talk.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
348

I have *never* seen a consensual dating or flirtation situation stomped down by any hyper-judgmental or hyper-sensitive culture.

At the risk of revealing too much about my risk tolerance and/or respect for the inchoate authority of right-thinking social norms, evading, deceiving and defying the hyperjudgmental, hypersensitive culture is almost the best part.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
349

340, once again, has me convinced that AWB knows way more than her share of assholes. The offensive asshole you describe is a rare but believable character, but the other people to think you're overly sensitive for taking offense? How do you encounter so many people like that? It's like SEK with weird, sometimes awful, but kind of amusing blogworthy events; as if the universe decides to heap enough of it for ten thousand people on just one person, for the hell of it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
350

evading, deceiving and defying the hyperjudgmental, hypersensitive culture is almost the best part

Shhh.

True, it might be the best part for some, and at some times, but in general it's just necessary.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
351

to s/b who


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
352

347: I think the claim was that consensual flirting didn't get reprimanded or punished, not that the flirters never toned it down in the interests of staying appropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
353

349 has me convinced, once again, that the rest of you encounter a disproportionately small share of assholes.

deceiving and defying the hyperjudgmental, hypersensitive culture is almost the best part can be equally true of the consensual and nonconsensual stuff. Who am I to say, but I feel confident that a good many of the types who make colleagues uncomfortable behavior are getting off on the boundaries they are defying.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
354

352: Don't those amount to same thing? The flirters have toned it down in anticipation of the fact that if they don't do so, they may be reprimanded or punished.

I'm not sure I'm yet willing to say that there's anything wrong with this way of going about things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:27 PM
horizontal rule
355

Consensual flirtations are deprecated insofar as they distract employees, both participants and witnesses, from their work, and give rise to the appearance of favoritism.


Posted by: HR | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
356

353.last is completely true, of course.

I don't mean to be conflating the sort of case AWB describes with the case of consensual flirting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
357

the rest of you encounter a disproportionately small share of assholes.

Monogamy has its pluses and its minuses.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
358

355: I didn't even know Unfogged had an HR department! That's so great. I have some suggestions about benefits that'd I'd love to meet with someone about.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:44 PM
horizontal rule
359

We'd all like to have someone we can meet with regarding benefits, NP, but I'm afraid our human resources department is not the place to go for the fulfillment of such needs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:46 PM
horizontal rule
360

328: No, actually, it was just a flip answer to a ludicrously loaded question.

332: Cripes. He explained the joke. Well, that may not be firing-worthy but it does make him a tool.

There's... I dunno. There's just a point after which I can't get on board with the notion that the Offended Party in any given scenario should be effectively presumed inerrant, which is the direction in which these conversations tend to go. I start to get stubborn when someone tells me that, say, firing someone over a badly-delivered sitcom reference is a reasonable and okay thing to do, because I find that self-evidently crazy in ways that have nothing to do with larger opinions on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is in fact directly comparable to lawsuits over the word "niggardly", which are by-and-large ridiculous and not okay. They're symptomatic of a meme that essentially tells people that the world exists to validate their feelings, to the point where actually questioning and evaluating their own reactions or the contexts of their interaction with others becomes impermissible.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
361

Take a number, Mr. Paennim.


Posted by: HR | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
362

Lawsuits over the word "niggardly.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
363

When I supervised some people at a large, semi-professional student newspaper, a couple of them hooked up. Not usually a big deal, it was college, everybody was boinking like it was going out of style. However, the female boinker was being promoted into the male boinker's position (it was at the end of the school year, and the promotion had been my decision), so upper management felt that there was going to be an appearance of favoritism if their affair became public. Frankly, I thought that was a bit of an over-reaction, given the late hour and the fact that everybody else was constantly schtupping each other. But I had to go and talk to them anyway. Which was hella uncomfortable, not least because the fellow involved was a pretty close friend at that time, and had rapidly gained a considerable reputation for his many, many sexual escapades (mostly not with cow orkers).

It was even more irritating to find out later that there had been a much less publicized affair going on earlier that year between my nemesis, the managing editor, and the photo editor, which produced an epiphany given that my relationship with the photo editor had been very solid, and then had suddenly soured for no apparent reason, making it very hard to do my job.

So yeah, even when it is all consensual and "free", there's problems inherent in getting your sugar where you make your bread.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:52 PM
horizontal rule
364

349 has me convinced, once again, that the rest of you encounter a disproportionately small share of assholes.

Really? You think most people could tell someone about a coworker who makes jokes about your sexual preferences or threatens to get you fired and get responses like "you're just too sensitive" or "but he loves having you around"? I think a more typical response would be "wow, what an asshole!".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
365

They're symptomatic of a meme that essentially tells people that the world exists to validate their feelings.

Hey, that's brand new. Before PC came along, nobody ever assumed that other people had a natural duty to be agreeable to them.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
366

365: Now have a whack at responding to what I actually said instead of what you'd prefer me to have said.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
367

Sweetie, I copied and pasted from your comment.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
368

DS is just doing his thing that he always does.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
369

360: The problem that I have with this is that rarely is sexual harassment solely about the content of the words. Two people can tell the same dirty joke and get two vastly different reactions, and whether or not it creeps you out comes down to all sorts of things - past interactions, their stance, how close they are to you, their tone of voice, where there eyes are, etc. I get the feeling that you want to qualify all of this as just bad delivery of a joke, but I think this ignores that the man had a habit of making women profoundly uncomfortable, and I'm guessing it wasn't just because the woman couldn't stand hearing the word clitoris. Firing was probably the wrong action to take in the Mulva case, but I would hope that if I was in a situation like this that someone would step in and give the guy a re-education (if I didn't feel it was possible to do it myself, for whatever reason).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
370

363.last: there's problems inherent in getting your sugar where you make your bread.

Not saying there aren't. However, life is complicated and does involve these things, and banishing the boinking to the outer realms seems odd too. Overkill, you might say. People who work closely together do sometimes become attracted to one another on more than just a physical basis, and that kind of connection isn't necessarily something I'd want to see smashed to a bloody pulp as though it must never be done! Never never!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
371

So one shouldn't get sweets at a bakery? Is that it?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
372

over a badly-delivered sitcom reference

Yeah, see, your persistence in characterizing it thus strikes me as telling. If showing a colleague, who is made uncomfortable thereby, a dictionary entry on "clitoris" were really no big deal, you wouldn't need to keep minimizing that this is what it was. Sexual references are to be made in the workplace with great caution -- that people are offended by that should hardly come as a surprise and the fact that you feel they shouldn't be is neither here nor there. Making the reference knowing that some people will be made uncomfortable is dick behavior.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
373

367: And then proceeded to argue against a point completely unrelated to it, kitten. Care to try again, darling?

369: Again, if there had been something defensible in Miller's approach to MacKenzie from the sexual harassment angle, I find it implausible that none of their lawyers in the subsequent years of litigation noticed this. The heart of what they chose to dispute with him was an allegation that they had lied to him over an extended period of time about his job status, it was not about The Mulva Incident.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
374

They're symptomatic of a meme that essentially tells people that the world exists to validate their feelings, to the point where actually questioning and evaluating their own reactions or the contexts of their interaction with others becomes impermissible.

Stepping aside from the issue of sexual harassment, boy oh boy do I wish that many college-age students didn't seem to embrace this mode of thinking. But I don't know how much of that is the larger culture and how much of it is age.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
375

373.2: If you note, I said I didn't think he should have been fired; that means I agree that it wasn't legally actionable sexual harassment. I think he DID need to be disciplined in some way. Being a jerk to your co-workers - and teasing the prudish is being a jerk - isn't ok.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
376

I think that what DS is trying to convey is that those PC faggots are being retarded, possibly because they are pussies.

But I'm not sure, because apparently attempting to decipher precisely what DS is arguing is only permissible if you already agree with his basic premise, and, given that I believe I do not agree, ergo I am not authorized to try to understand what he means.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
377

The heart of what they chose to dispute with him was an allegation that they had lied to him over an extended period of time about his job status, it was not about The Mulva Incident

Umm, if I understood potchkeh's summary, they chose to litigate the allegations about lying to him rather than the Mulva bit because, early on, they won summary judgment on the Mulva bit. Which means the court found that Mr. Funny couldn't prove any case that he was wrongfully terminated. So, see, they noticed what was defensible about terminating him, told the court, and the court agreed.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
378

373: Aw sugar, so grumpy! Smile! It will validate my feelings, or in other words, be agreeable to me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
379

: If you note, I said I didn't think he should have been fired; that means I agree that it wasn't legally actionable sexual harassment

Just to clarify, "legally actionable" and "acceptable grounds for firing" are not the same thing. It is perfectly acceptable, common, and to be encouraged that a company's sexual harassment policy can provide greater protection against unwanted conduct than the law allows you to sue for. Being a dick to colleagues doesn't have to be against the law to be a good reason for firing. If you are fucking up the collegiality of the workplace, even if it's because you are Captain Awesome surrounded by a bunch of sniveling hypersensitive prudes, it's perfectly within your employer's right to fire you if the employer finds that the company as a whole is more productive without you there stirring the shit in Prudeville. When being a bawdy jokester becomes a protected class, we can have a different discussion. But as it stands, there's no constitutionally protected right to be bawdy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
380

Oh, man. Paren -- the tone there, so not directed at you. I should go to sleep. I'm cranky.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
381

379: Thanks, Di. I like using the pretty big lawyer words but I have no actual knowledge of the law. Um, beyond the things that I'm pretty sure I can't do and not be arrested.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
382

381 before I saw 380. I think I missed the tone completely, and I rather enjoy being lectured. Go right ahead. (I also like the word pretty, apparently.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
383

When being a bawdy jokester becomes a protected class

If only.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
384

The heart of what they chose to dispute with him was an allegation that they had lied to him over an extended period of time about his job status, it was not about The Mulva Incident.

You keep saying this, but it's just not true. Miller defended its firing of MacKenzie in the trial court, won on summary judgment on the wrongful termination claim, and MacKenzie chose not to appeal it. The jury did award him a shit-ton of cash putatively for the misrepresentations about his job status, which is why Miller "chose" to dispute that with him at the appellate level.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
385

But as it stands, there's no constitutionally protected right to be bawdy.

When I found my own country, there's going to be a constitutional obligation to be bawdy.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
386

377: AFAICS, what the court did was set aside punitive damages because it couldn't be proved the complainant had ill will toward the plaintiff.

378: Grumpy, pumpkin? Not a bit of it, honey-bunny. But being cutesy won't make your original comment relevant to what it was purporting to respond to. If you're okay with that, then cool.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
387

384: Well, could be I'm wrong about that. IANAL and just fucking around with what I can find on Google in between bouts of my actual work, so I'll take yr word for it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
388

(As a matter of fact, I see the sexual harassment complaint was part of MacKenzie's subsequent appeals on "tortious interference." So as far as the details of the case go, would have to dig a lot deeper to be able to say anything more.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
389

387: And yet... You're going to take mcmc to task for responding to something other than what you said/meant? Meanwhile, your entire argument is based on getting the facts completely wrong.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
390

389: So if I admit error on any point, other parties are consequently relieved of debating in good faith? That's a neat trick.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
391

(FWIW, "my entire argument" is about a general social phenomenon. I was taking Mister Mulva Incident as an example of it, but if he proves not to be an accurate example that's okay. It's not like "my entire argument" was premised on him alone and stands or falls with his integrity.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
392

So if I admit error on any point, other parties are consequently relieved of debating in good faith? That's a neat trick.

More like, if after being corrected half a dozen times for the same error, you finally concede that you were just bullshitting, the eventual concession doesn't retroactively vest you with good faith.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
393

Sure, whatever you say.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
394

Will you recap your entire argument for me, DS? I'm too lazy to read back in the thread. Sorry, it's been a long day.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
395

Oh, having read enough to see that people are getting short-tempered, I think I retract my request for a recap.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
396

Better a nightcap than a recap.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
397

394: The short version is that DS thinks more men should randomly bring up clitorides to their female coworkers. You should try it and let us know how it goes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
398

I love Snickers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
399

It seems to me that DS's 360.last is well-spoken, but I haven't read about the particular case -- the Mulva case -- beyond what's been said here, so who knows whether it serves his point. Apparently not. Particulars do matter, but it's not clear that nothing of 360.last has merit or bears consideration if the Mulva case itself is murky.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
400

No more masturbating to Alex Chilton.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
401

399: Really? I thought it was a silly strawman. Nobody has ever suggested that the Offended Party is inerrant and I think there's a broad consensus that frivolous lawsuits are, well, frivolous.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
402

395: 360 is basically my argument, or rather my position. Apparently it translates to all sorts of surprising things, like being opposed to politeness and thinking the PC retards are faggots and/or pussies. The English language is sometimes a wondrous mystery.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
403

Wow, I'm glad I was on the phone for the past two hours.

Essear, imagine my situation from someone else's perspective: I really like my work environment. There's this crazy guy who's always late for work and sort of a goof-off, but he's kinda cool, listens to good music. Sometimes he'll declare an impromptu dance party in the middle of the day, or make you a cup of coffee. He's really affectionate when you need a hug and makes everyone feel special, really paying attention to you when you talk and sitting close. He's always got some weird story to tell, and is interested in who you are! Then this uptight bitch started working here. I don't know what her deal is, but she's really opinionated and is all "I don't want to hear about that right now" and "I'm trying to work" and "Can you turn the music down?" It was ten minutes we were dancing! Sometimes she seems cool, when she's relaxed, but that's like hardly ever.

See why people might be tempted to needle me?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
404

360 is of course a completely reasonable position to hold.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
405

403: Maybe I misunderstood your earlier comment. I was under the impression that your coworkers were aware of some or all of these things:

He stands really close to me, pokes me in the chest while talking to me, stands over my desk or leans over it on his elbows, makes jokes about my sexual preferences, lectures me about things I already know about, recounts harrowing tales of violence and rape from the news, threatens that he will get me fired, etc.

If they are aware of that stuff, and they're nonetheless tempted to needle you about your attitude toward the doofy coworker, then yes, I think they're all complete assholes. If they're unaware of that stuff, and have only had harmless encounters with the guy themselves, it's a different story, but I don't see why you wouldn't tell them that he's been way sketchy toward you. People like that should be shunned.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
406

They're symptomatic of a meme that essentially tells people that the world exists to validate their feelings, to the point where actually questioning and evaluating their own reactions or the contexts of their interaction with others becomes impermissible.

I've run out of endearments, so i'll just say that I'm not interested in responding to your point, and as far as I know, it's not a requirement for participation. I was just struck by the fact that this sentence in particular sounds exactly like a mashup of two major second-wave feminist themes--you know, "men think women exist to fulfill their wishes, validate their feelings, etc.", and how the hegemonic patriarchal culture silences women by marginalizing their experience, making it literally unspeakable. And since I know how you love to troll the feminists, I found that rather funny.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
407

getting your sugar where you make your bread.

Ooh, I'm stealing this. The much more inelegant version I'd heard (from a former female boss, actually) is "don't shit where you eat".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
408

I love Snickers in my butthole, co-workers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
409

408: You can take the Snickers out of the butthole, but you can't take the butthole out of the Snickers.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
410

408: See, look here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
411

405: They are there when he says all those things, but he has a jokey tone of voice. Like, nudge nudge, sounds bisexual to me! Don't let the Dean find out you left five minutes early, or its [neck-slash gesture]! I was readin' the craziest story in the newspaper yesterday! And whatnot.

I don't like the way he talks to other people who work there either. One young woman we work with has been the object of a lot of really humiliating comments from him, and when I ask her about it, she smiles really big and waves her hand, saying, "It's a job, you know." She obviously hates it, but what's she going to do?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
412

408, 409: I'm so reading these to a co-worker tomorrow--and I'll have Urban Dictionary up if I need to explain.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
413

Oh, and recently, I think I rather harshly interrupted him when, at the beginning of a meeting with about 10 people there, he couldn't wait to tell me a story about a kitten being murdered in some gruesome way. I just held up my hand and said, "I really cannot handle a gruesome non sequitur right now." No one seemed to be bothered by it until I said something, and then the woman next to me backed me up; we didn't want to hear about that.

But I'm sort of getting the vibe that he's very used to working with a lot of women who put up with this shit, and a lot of men he gets to pull into his cubicle for some private whisper whisper hee hee point laugh stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:30 PM
horizontal rule
414

406: Yeah, it's almost like I've actually read something here and there about questions of identity politics, subalternity et cetera, and my disagreements with -- sorry, "trolling of" -- feminists might actually be informed or something. But that can't be right.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
415

(Oh, BTW: I'm not interested in responding to your point, and as far as I know, it's not a requirement for participation. No, it's just that if you want to quote me and then act as if you're responding to me, I'm likelier to take your response seriously if it actually is one, and not a riff on some unrelated point. Pointing this out must count as "trolling" you, I'm sure, but there it is.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
416

I see from the review of his new book in today's Times that, because of the effects of his ALS, Tony Judt has to dictate all his writing to an assistant. Who knows the assistant's age, gender, circumstances, but it's certainly possible that a female student from the university sat with him to take dictation and transcribe this essay, in which case I would envision an additional level of COGness.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
417

However, life is complicated and does involve these things, and banishing the boinking to the outer realms seems odd too.

I agree with this, and not just to excuse myself for having sex with a cow orker at the bookstore where we orked. But holy crap, do stories like AWB's make me grateful for working alone.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
418

You people who are having all this sex with people make me sick.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
419

No more masturbating to Alex Chilton.

Don't Stroke It, Noel?
Very sad.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
420

having all this sex with people

nosflow believes in mixing it up more than that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
421

DS loves to troll the feminists? I forgot that. I would demand to know which ones -- which feminists, since there are different kinds of them, or us, whatever -- but I think that might start a fight.

DS trolls infinite feminists!

heh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
422

413 when, at the beginning of a meeting with about 10 people there, he couldn't wait to tell me a story about a kitten being murdered in some gruesome way. I just held up my hand and said, "I really cannot handle a gruesome non sequitur right now." No one seemed to be bothered by it until I said something

So weird. I can't imagine anyone trying to tell a gruesome kitten murder story without everyone in the room exchanging squicked-out looks and someone saying "Dude. What the fuck?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
423

421: DS loves to troll the feminists? I forgot that. I would demand to know which ones

The Real Ones, of course!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
424

They're symptomatic of a meme that essentially tells people that the world exists to validate their feelings, to the point where actually questioning and evaluating their own reactions or the contexts of their interaction with others becomes impermissible.

There may be such a meme, and in fact, that's what I don't like about the town of Santa Cruz. It hasn't gotten real strong there.

But that's not the workplace standard. The workplace standard is to be, at the least, neutral about known creepy stuff. No one is asking this dude to validate anyone's feelings. They're telling him to stop actually offending people. He could fulfill that duty by shutting up and doing nothing more.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
425

I mean, that behavior has gotten too strong in SC.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:52 PM
horizontal rule
426

Consensual sex between office peers? Go nuts. The breakup can get messy when you have to see each other every day. But breakups are usually messy.

Consensual sex between a subordinate and superior. Problematic.

Unsolicited sexual attention from a superior to a subordinate? Really problematic.
It's not that complicated.


Posted by: b | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:52 PM
horizontal rule
427

Uh, 426 was me. Don't know how that name change happened.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:56 PM
horizontal rule
428

Uh, 426 was me. Don't know how that name change happened.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
429

Wow, I suck.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
430

Allow me to be the first to say that 426 was Di Kotimy, and that I don't know how the name change happened.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
431

Wow, I suck.

Dot com.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:04 PM
horizontal rule
432

423: The Real Ones, of course!

I don't even understand this language. but I think it's a thing, these Real Feminists. I think. I'm second wave, I guess, so I'm rather out of the loop, I expect. The old-fashioned kind. I know what's involved in trolling me; I've seen it here, but not from Doctor Slack.

This is not to say that mcmc's 406 was hogwash.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
433

421: Please don't think I'm accusing DS of being all troll, all the time, but I seem to recall some 1000+ comment threads on feminism that after the first hundred or so comments consisted mainly of trolling and countertrolling, and you know, I could have sworn DS was in there with the best of us. I'm far too frivolous to bother looking them up, though.

And now I'm afraid I'll just have to live with the pain of not being taken seriously.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:17 PM
horizontal rule
434

A quick, semi-relevant* survey (answer 1 of 3 questions). Since it is the free version there is no way to let others see the results directly so I will summarize after some interval of time (And for those familiar with the tool, IP addresses are set to *not* be captured and stored with the results.)

I invite the Bloggy Gods to remove this if they feel it violates the spirit of the blog.

*About the workiness of where folks met their current SO.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 10:34 PM
horizontal rule
435

433: No, see my last comment, 432.last. I see what you're saying in 406. I'd read DS in a number of different ways, but your reading is one available one, and I see your point.

You're right that DS -- okay if we talk about you in front of your back like this, right, Slack? -- has been party to numerous feminism-related threads (I doubt I've read them all), and often played devil's advocate, insisted on challenging the narrative. Maybe he was a jerk at times, I haven't read all those threads, but I don't think I ever got the sense that he actually wishes women to play a subordinate role, or to be stripped of agency (viewed as mere objects) in these our collective lives together. On the contrary. What he's after in 360 doesn't strike me as a reflection of his views on women. I sort of assume that you got that it was part of a broader query.

And now I think I've defended enough.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 11:02 PM
horizontal rule
436

You should all know that Stormcrow's survey in 434 is either brilliant or terrible. I was forced to make shit up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 11:17 PM
horizontal rule
437

I've actually just read the Judt piece, and don't find it at all outrageous.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
438
I would envision an additional level of COGness.

I keep reading this (as well as the other appearances of the acronym) as "codgy old geezerness ". I don't know why.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:29 AM
horizontal rule
439

I keep reading it as "Council of Governments."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:31 AM
horizontal rule
440

getting your sugar where you make your bread

The variant I am familiar with goes "Don't get your honey where you get your money."

In my five-minute orientation to my first job, my boss told me that the most important thing to remember was "DFC, DFS". I was trying to puzzle out if this had something to do with discounted cash flow when he elaborated, "Don't f*** clients, don't f*** staff."

("Staff" in that context denoted administrative staff, so professional peers were presumably fair game.)


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 4:15 AM
horizontal rule
441

Di--I was at a diversity training yesterday where the trainer (who was 62) told a story about when she was teaching a class on teen sexuality which her mother attended. Her mother's comment was, "Do you really need to use the actual names of the body parts?"


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 5:15 AM
horizontal rule
442

437: nto so much outrageous as annoying, as he whinges from a position of priviledge how awful it is that people like him have to take into consideration rules about sexual harassament and how sad it was that he didn't get to fully share in that mythological period in the sixties when women were liberated enough to give blowjobs, but not liberated enough to mind giving them to their bosses.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 5:46 AM
horizontal rule
443

441: Context! See, if in teaching a class on sexuality, the trainer used the word "clitoris" or directed the class to a definition or diagram, hurrah! At a job unrelated to sex ed? To someone you supervised? When you've had a history of harrassment complaints and been warned that a third strike will be your last? So different.

Also, oh mom!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:08 AM
horizontal rule
444

Don't dip you pen in the company ink, is how I learned it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:14 AM
horizontal rule
445

Your pen


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:15 AM
horizontal rule
446

443: I was going to make the comment about the context, btu then I thought that you'd know that it was implicit. I just thought that her elderly mother's comment was funny, given that it was entirely appropriate to the context.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:28 AM
horizontal rule
447

Judt is not treating us to a wistful remembrance of a might-have-been romance that was sadly made impossible by political correctness. Nor is he telling us that he was persecuted because of his affair. His point is that he is offended at having had to think about the propriety of the situation.

Too bad.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:42 AM
horizontal rule
448

So far (not many data points), I am the only one who met their current spouse as a co-worker.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
449

447: On the veldt, supply closets were for make grunting with wives not yet paid for.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
450

I met the between-marriages CrazyBlonde™ at work, which certainly drove home the don't shit where you eat maxim.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
451

I'll eat maxim wherever I damn well please!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
452

448: Just saw this. I met my spouse as a co-worker too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
453

451: As well you should! Maxim is fiberriffic. Just shit somewhere else.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
454

I've been reading it as Cranky Occupation Government.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
455

446: Yeah, sorry about that, BG. I knew the context part was implied. I just had a little excess snippiness left over from last night and felt compelled to make it explicit. Not directed at you! But I ban myself until I learn to behave.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
456

Trying to bring teh rigidly humorless PC feminist consensus into harmony with the point that DS is making in 360:

A world where one employee could legally compel their employer to fire another employee for telling an occasional sexual joke, particularly one mild enough to be delivered on network TV, or suffer legal penalties for sexual discrimination would suck. To the extent that's the point being made in 360, I'm all for it -- the odd bit of lewd conversation shouldn't be a per se hanging offense.

The Mulva thing, though, was a bad example. First, in the US your employer is allowed to fire you for being difficult and disruptive (or, of course, because they don't like your face, so long as it's not about your membership in a protected class). And having coworkers repeatedly complain about your making them uncomfortable is enough to make you a difficult, disruptive employee, regardless of whether what you actually said on any individual occasion was per se sexual harassment. So whether it was legally permissible (and reasonable) to fire Mr Mackenzie is a completely separate issue from whether Ms Smith could have sued her employer for sexual harassment and won if he hadn't been fired.

And of course, nosflow's point way up above about "It's a little nippy in here" is an excellent one. The key word in sexual harassment isn't 'sexual', in the sense of 'related to sexuality', it's 'harassment'. You can harass someone without saying anything that's outrageously dirty -- if you know what bothers them, and you needle them until they're miserable (and you're doing it because of their membership in a protected class), that's actionable harassment regardless of whether any individual incident is grotesquely unreasonable in itself. (There's no evidence of that sort of sustained hostile environment in the Mulva case, but of course that's because no one in the Mulva case was suing for hostile environment sexual harassment.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
457

To the extent that's the point being made in 360...

I think the point made in 360 was 456.2 plus a generous dollop of threatened privilege hysteria. The "Mulva" incident wasn't as summarized in the comment, and as far as I can tell nobody's been sued for using the word "niggardly."

In a world in which the most PC wing of the feminist movement was actually writing the law the concern would be fully justified, but that's not the one we live in. In the real world, every major overreaction by a feminist is blown up into a huge incident in the media and used to slam feminists in general and gin up hysteria about normal behavior being criminalized. The reality is that for every man needlessly inconvenienced by PC bullshit hundreds of women are put through pointless misery by harassers guaranteed impunity.

In this, as in pretty much everything, the ideal will never be attained. The issue is balancing the distribution of imperfection between silent complicity with harassers and actively inconveniencing innocent men. As it stands we are clearly out of balance in favor of the harassers, and the perception fed by the media and the anxious masculinity crowd is the exact opposite. Overblown sexual harassment claims get press with the larger public to an extent that even gross harassment only receives within the feminist community.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
458

a generous dollop of threatened privilege hysteria.

Eh. I'd have the same reaction if 360 had come from someone else, but I've been reading Slack for long enough to have a certain amount of faith in his fundamental good faith. For 'threatened privilege hysteria', I'd instead guess that he's coming from a place where he encounters overly tense anti-harassment enforcers more often than harassers, and is overgeneralizing.

But other than wanting to let Slack, specifically, off the hook, I think you're dead right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
459

The Mulva thing, though, was a bad example.

I have never seen consensual dating or flirtation in the workplace, period, since relatively few people would be suicidal enough to go there after (for instance) stories of people getting fired for quoting the "Mulva" episode from Seinfeld.

It's also a terrible example for what DS was trying to argue in that wouldn't few companies be suicidal enough to have the hysterically prudish anti-harassment policies which he seems to believe are rampant after stories of companies getting hit with $26 million judgments for firing harassers?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
460

Well, right. A better example would be of a harassment victim getting a huge verdict for someone having once told her a dirty joke. That'd be evidence that harassment law was out of control.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
461

For 'threatened privilege hysteria', I'd instead guess that he's coming from a place where he encounters overly tense anti-harassment enforcers more often than harassers, and is overgeneralizing.

Well, right. Excise the fraught word "hysteria," if need be. But being more conscious of "overly tense anti-harassment enforcers" than of harassers is a function of privilege. Slack and I could quite easily work in the same law firm and perceive how the balance shakes out. The salient point in my mind, as someone noted eloquently above, is what the costs are of erring in one direction or the other in achieving balance. If the big cost of "overly-zealous anti-harassment enforcement" is that a few guys have to think twice about whether their conduct would be appropriate, well that's rather a bit less of a big deal than the cost of overly lax enforcement.

(Which on preview is pretty much exactly what you said. Minus the wanting to let Slack off the hook part.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
462

If the big cost of "overly-zealous anti-harassment enforcement" is that a few guys have to think twice about whether their conduct would be appropriate, well that's rather a bit less of a big deal than the cost of overly lax enforcement.

I don't think this actually happens, but I think the big cost Slack was fearing was hairtrigger firing of anyone who says anything smutty ever. Which would be significant, and bad, I just don't think there's any evidence that we're anywhere close to that happening.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
463

Sorry, that was me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
464

462: Well, fine, but in a world of at-will employment, even that is sort of too-fucking-bad territory. Some workplaces are very loose, some quite formal. I mean, if an employer could fire me for wearing tennis shoes to work, why is it so much more godawful that an employer could fire Slack for telling dirty jokes? If an employer wants an environment in which smutty jokes are considered inappropriate, why is that "significant and bad"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
465

If an employer wants an environment in which smutty jokes are considered inappropriate, why is that "significant and bad"?

464: As long as they don't forbid posting cock jokes to online forums, I'm okay with such a policy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
466

Well, I'm way over the line into ventriloquizing opinions I don't hold worrying about events that I don't think are likely to come to pass. But the significant bad thing would be sexual harassment law that allowed employees to whimsically impose huge costs on employers for allowing smuttiness in the workplace at all, requiring all employers to fire any employee who commits smuttiness, on pain of big verdicts.

If it were just about letting employers set the tone they want in the workplace, that'd be harmless, certainly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
467

466.1 is, I think, a concern correctly dismissed as threatened privilege hysteria.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
468

Threatened Privilege Hysteria--band name.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
469

467: Yeah, as I phrased it, anyone afraid of exactly that would be being distinctly overly tense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
470

Thanks to LB, parsi and others for their interpretive generosity. To those who still don't know what the heck I was on about in this thread:

I started out defending Judt's point about the sexual insecurities of the academic environment as both non-crazy and non-evil. I haven't changed that opinion, BTW, and find the shrill caricatures of his piece offered up by many in this thread to be inaccurate and unfair. (The insecurities of the academic environment, and the ideology of personal-validation-above-all-else, are familiar things to me.)

At some point this segued into a broader discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace more generally. This was unwise and didn't go so well, the whole digression about the Mulva Incident in particular. I'm not, and do not pretend to be, an authority on the frequency of frivolous harassment lawsuits. I have seen examples of such that look like the familiar personal-validation trope in action, but more detailed familiarity may well problematize that picture in many cases, as is apparently the case with Miller versus MacKenzie. How many cases I don't know. I've used controversies over the word "niggardly*" as parallel examples of the kind of misappropriation of progressive-sounding cause and language that I'd object to; maybe there are no sexual harassment cases that support that parallel, though I rather doubt it. The broader point, though, is that making it into a debate over litigation obscures the broader atmosphere of censoriousness that was the original subject of contention.

(* Technically not lawsuits, true. But they've led to at least one person being forced to resign that I know of, which is no less ridiculous than a situation involving litigation IMO. He was more conciliatory in the aftermath than was really warranted.)

I'm amused but not especially impressed by attempts to pretend that objecting to over-the-top deployment of accusations like harassment or racism must amount to unthinkingly endorsing those evils. I think most of the Unfoggedtarians who attempted that particular substitution in this thread are smart enough, most of the time, to know better.

That's it, that's all.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 11:28 PM
horizontal rule
471

(The insecurities of the academic environment, and the ideology of personal-validation-above-all-else, are familiar things to me.)

I should clarify, BTW, that I'm not claiming to have personally suffered as the result of either of these things. I haven't. They're just irritations, though I have had occasion to see them become more than that in the lives of others.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
472

I think DS is right and his critics are right. I'm not sure how much of a contradiction there is.

One truth is that all environments where men and women work closely together -- work and school definitely included -- are romantically charged and everything from flirtation to romance happen naturally there. This is not necessarily unhealthy, it's potentially a positive thing even if there is a "power imbalance" (I don't think power is always so easily defined or single-dimensional).

Another truth is that women in particular are constantly bombarded with unwanted sexual attention that ranges from misplaced romantic overtures to hostile attempts to undermine them professionally, that it's hard to get how disruptive that can be unless you've been exposed to it, and it's pretty necessary to create at least informal norms and possibly formal rules to handle that.

Balancing those two things off is the trick.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 12:42 AM
horizontal rule
473

I'm amused but not especially impressed by attempts to pretend that objecting to over-the-top deployment of accusations like harassment or racism must amount to unthinkingly endorsing those evils.

I don't actually think the issue was whether objecting to over-the-top deployment of accusations is appropriate, it was over how pervasive over-the-top accusations are, and what that should mean policy-wise.

My impression is that you think such over-the-top accusations are quite pervasive. Others, including me, think that what's more pervasive, and more damaging, than anything Judt complains about is casual dismissal of real claims of harassment.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 6:23 AM
horizontal rule
474

470, 473: I'm mostly with M/tch on this. Slack, while I get your concerns, they seem like the sort of thing that makes sense to save for specific instances where the problem arises -- workplaces with oppressive or unfair propriety rules, or individuals victimized by rules or policies punishing objectively reasonable conduct. I'm sure there are such instances, but on balance, it doesn't seem, IME, to be all that big a problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:25 AM
horizontal rule
475

Right. The issue was whether it makes sense to object to non-existent over-the-top deployment of anti-harassment policies. It just seems odd to me to defend the Judt piece by decrying a personal-validation-above-all-else ideology -- the only party in that piece that I saw demanding personal-validation-at-all-costs was Judt himself. And the reliance on the Mulva story -- even reading the facts as DS understood them -- seems to put validation of Mr. Funny's inalienable right to bawdy humor above all else, including the employer's right to foster the type of environment it believes most conducive to productivity.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:39 AM
horizontal rule
476

I think DS is wrong and his critics are wrong. Who's right? Jesus.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
477

I thought I was right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
478

heebie-geebie is Jesus?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
479

heebie-geebie is Jesus.cake.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
480

Jesus is me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
481

M/tch M/lls is crazy.cake.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
482

Now I didn't put a ".cake" in my last comment, but M/tch will see it. He sees them everywhere. He'll go about his life, seemingly normal, seeing .cakes but not saying anything, until one day, he'll crack on the witness stand, screaming "I see cake everywhere! It's there! It's there! For God sake, can't you see the cake looming over your heads!" And on that day, heebie will go free after a string of cake-related murders.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
483

And I think the hysteria is being stoked by people making money from it.

This thread is not technically a lawsuit, and so if DS were to claim to have been sued for complaining about oversensitivity, well, that would look a little hysterical now wouldn't it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
484

482: Aw, shut your cake.hole.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
485

And I think the hysteria is being stoked by people making money from it.

I knew there had to be a reason DS was arguing so strenuosly.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
486

480 -- The next segment of that wonderful cooking show will feature winemaking? Start with a pot of stone, and 2 or 3 firkins of water . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
487

486: At first I found this confusing, but I now see that 1 firkin = half a kilderkin. Clarity!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
488

How many pipkins in a kilderkin?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
489

485: Really? I'm willing to stoke hysteria for money. How do I get a cake.cut?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
490

489: What you really want is a slice.pie, batterhead.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
491

I think hysteria is not an especially useful word. The downside of workplace enforcement is appalling videos and hectoring blocks of email for most people. In less charged examples, the implementation of rules governing say professional travel or permitted interview questions are also bad videos and hectoring email. Maybe these are administered not by HR, but by some organization that peddles "training"; before long, sensitivity training is part of an ISO9000-like industry.

Attach yourself to this industry to get a cut. What I see of it is that "training" budgets are subject to cronyism, and rarely serve to actually train people in new ways of thinking or to warn them about problems with old ways of thinking.

The stupid unchalleangeable industry dynamics and the sense that maybe all of life will be swallowed the way flirting has apparently been swallowed, these are a problem.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
492

488 -- From John 2:6, it seems to me that the proper question is how many firkins does it take to purify a Jew.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
493

Wycliffe gives a different recipe, suggests a "stonun canne . . . holdynge ech tweyne ether thre metretis."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
494

475: seems to put validation of Mr. Funny's inalienable right to bawdy humor above all else

BTW, even granting that the Mulva Incident was an unhelpful example, I'll point out that saying MacKenzie likely shouldn't have been fired over the comments is not even remotely the same thing as pronouncing an "inalienable right to bawdy humor above all else." You know that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
495

Why shouldn't he have been fired? Why is that any less justifiable a reason for termination than any of a thousand other "unprofessional" acts?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
496

"Niggardly Clitorides" seems like it would be a good pseud or band name or Pynchon character or something.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 1:26 PM
horizontal rule