Re: Am I Just Mistaken About How People Behave?

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Oh boy, more rape.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:11 AM
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... I'd really like to see this assumption fade away, and mine become the norm, to the extent that it isn't already.

Even if your assumption is less realistic?

Even if there are two categories one of which is safe (in terms of assault) you have no way of knowing which category a guy like DSK (or Clinton)is in until it is too late. So you would still be wise to be wary around them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:14 AM
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I think it's fair to assume that a man capable of sexual assault is far more likely to be a serial philanderer than a non-rapist. It's the converse that's problematic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:18 AM
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Less realistic is at least partially a function of social expectations; if they change, actual behavior can change in response.

And drawing the distinction I want makes knowing who you're dealing with (by arcane methods like talking to other people about their experiences with the person in question) much easier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:19 AM
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3: What about the many men who only rape within the sanctity of marriage?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:21 AM
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It was a bit odd to hear that from Yglesias, given that he'd basically tried and convicted him from his blog less than a day after the news broke.

And indeed, the American reaction has taken me aback a bit. You have the prog-left twenty-thirty somethings stringing him up, Ben Stein blaming the maid, everyone blaming the French in general. And then when the French complain that this is all a pretty rough way to treat a suspect, and that he's innocent until proven guilty, the fucking mayor of New York City says if you don't want to be humiliated in public, don't do the crime! How do you know he did the crime?

Ugh.


Posted by: glowingquaddamage | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:24 AM
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LB, you're talking about expectations for society as a whole in the context of a discussion about a very, very small and notably exceptional subset of society, i.e., very powerful men. They are often very different than normal people. There's the whole likelihood of personality disorders thing (I mean, maybe that's just conventional wisdom from nowhere, but I think it's probs true), for one. And in general, I don't think you get to the top of the heap by being respectful or deferential to other people's desires, regardless of the morality involved. Actually, I don't think you get there by being particularly moral, either.

I do think it's likely that DSK absolutely does think of himself as promiscuous in the grand bullshitty French tradition, and not as a serial asshole, and that social expectations and traditions give him the intellectual cover he needs to rationalize his behavior to himself. But he'd find a way to do that no matter what social expectations were, because he's an asshole.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:25 AM
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To be fair to us, French people said a whole bunch of annoying shit about us over the years and made us invade Libya.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:26 AM
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8 to 6.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:26 AM
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They are two separate categories, yes, but I think the union between the two is non-trivial. I don't have any empirical evidence to back this but, but I would hypothesize that the proportion of serial-philanderers who commit sexual assault is larger than the proportion of the general public who commit sexual assault.

And when you say that the actions of serial-philanderers and sexual-assaulters are "expressions of a different character and set of desires", I don't entirely buy that either, given that it is in the character of both to violate social norms in pursuit of their desire to have sex.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:27 AM
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I'm surprised that you are surprised. Of course this is what was going to happen. We live in a fucked-up patriarchal society where (in the popular mind) men take sex and women surrender it. The enthusiasts just use a little more force than the other men.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:27 AM
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And indeed, the American reaction has taken me aback a bit. You have the prog-left twenty-thirty somethings stringing him up, Ben Stein blaming the maid, everyone blaming the French in general. And then when the French complain that this is all a pretty rough way to treat a suspect, and that he's innocent until proven guilty, the fucking mayor of New York City says if you don't want to be humiliated in public, don't do the crime! How do you know he did the crime?

What is surprising about any of that?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:28 AM
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And indeed, the American reaction has taken me aback a bit. You have the prog-left twenty-thirty somethings stringing him up, Ben Stein blaming the maid, everyone blaming the French in general.

And then I go ahead and prove your point in the very next comment! Don't ever say I'm not considerate.

Really, though. Law and Order has taught us that no one gets dragged off a plane that's about to depart (after calling his wife and telling her he's in trouble, and leaving personal effects in the hotel room he just fled) for a foreign country where we couldn't extradite his ass without being guilty.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:28 AM
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12: The reaction isn't so surprising, but I thought better of some of the people it came from. I thought Bloomberg's statement in particular was unbelievably irresponsible and ignorant, coming from a high-level public official tasked with enforcing laws.


Posted by: glowingquaddamage | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:31 AM
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I'm annoyed by how poorly the justice system treats people who have not been convicted (and who have been convicted, frankly), but I do appreciate that this level of crummy treatment extends to the powerful as well as the powerless.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:34 AM
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I thought Bloomberg's statement in particular was unbelievably irresponsible and ignorant, coming from a high-level public official tasked with enforcing laws politician

You see how that's technically still a correct statement, and yet now it's utterly unsurprising?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:36 AM
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Wow, the article Yglesias linked is way more problematic (for way different reasons) than I expected.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:37 AM
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4: I have no data to back this up, but my understanding of human nature suggests that marital rapists are more likely to philander than mean who do not rape their wives.

In my understanding it's about boundaries - men who violate one set of boundaries are more likely to violate another. I think in LB's model there is a qualitative distinction between noncoercive and coercive violations of boundaries which is the key to the whole thing. But what is needed is both boundary violating behavior and a willingness to engage in coercion. If you have evidence of the former the probability that the person is inclined to rape goes up since they've now met at least one key criterion.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:38 AM
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but I do appreciate that this level of crummy treatment extends to the powerful as well as the powerless

I think this has a LOT to do with my own personal reaction. One of the most powerful men in the world allegedly attacks a powerless immigrant maid and there are actually consequences? I'm throwing a goddamn party. The fact that he's French is, in this country, a significant bonus.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:38 AM
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Are you sure your desire that there be two categories isn't just so you can more easily rationalize voting for men like Clinton and Spitzer whose politics you like?

I don't think it is likely there are distinct categories for this kind of thing. I think it is more like a spectrum in terms of how aggressive men are towards women. Serial philanderers are likely on the aggressive end of the spectrum.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:42 AM
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19: Me too, except that I'm not doing a party because I don't want to clean the house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:42 AM
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20: I found the Spitzer thing very funny. I'm not from New York, so your milage may vary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:43 AM
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The fact that he's French is, in this country, a significant bonus.

American francophobia remains utterly mystifying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:45 AM
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23: It probably wouldn't be too hard to find an English francophobe and ask them about it. I'd think pretty much anybody over 60 would give you strong odds of finding one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:46 AM
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22: That was my reaction. Clinton is a harder case because his behavior was in some cases pretty far over the line, just based on the stuff that's well documented, not including the wilder allegations. If the allegations against Gore are true he is also well over the line, IMO.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:47 AM
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It didn't help that Spitzer had the same type of moustache as all of the coaches who complained (accurately and in nicer terms) that I sucked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:51 AM
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I once worked with a guy who refused to buy French products in supermarkets.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:51 AM
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23: At this point it's self-perpetuating, but I bet it starts with DeGaulle pulling out of NATO. Ever since then, of the major European powers France is always the least likely to go along with American foreign policy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:51 AM
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re: 24

Living right next door and having a thousand years of on-off warfare, and more recent imperial rivalries might provide a good explanation for that, that is completely lacking in the case of the US, no? Which is why I put the word 'American' in 23.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:52 AM
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What does "philanderer" mean here? Clearly there are some sleazy men whose behavior is constantly on the border of sexual assault, and some who are just promiscuous. My overall reaction is basically the same as LBs -- there is a real and obvious and clear distinction between the two, at least one that's always been obvious to me, and no this is not just self serving.

Do you know what I dislike? Misuse of the concept "presumed innocent."The legal system and a jury presumes you're innocent and gives the state a heavy burden of proof. The police don't have to presume innocence, and neither do third party observers reading news accounts. Just because someone hasn't been convicted doesn't mean everyone else in the world has to refrain from exercising their reasonable power of judgment.

I will admit in this particular case I am enjoying watching the mighty accountable by a maid.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:52 AM
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23: I like French women, if that helps. Or rather, I've genuinely liked a more than average number of the French women I've encountered. Every single French man I have ever encountered, on the other hand, has been a complete asshole, and inappropriately sexually aggressive in ways that made me alternately uncomfortable and enraged (bonus: the men I was in contact with long enough to register an objection with reacted in the most infuriatingly dismissive and deprecating way possible, the oh-you're-just-an-uptight-woman thing). Seriously, without exception. I understand that my personal experience probably shouldn't extend to generalizations, but damn it there is something wrong with them.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:52 AM
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24: but England has eight hundred years of rivalry with France to blame. The default state of English foreign policy since about 1100 has been "war with France". America actually owes its very existence as a nation to the French Navy, and about 25% of its territory to a deal with the French government. They're like your oldest, bestest friends.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:53 AM
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Holy shit, Spitzer doesn't even have a moustache. His face looks like he has one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:53 AM
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28: I think you are right. My uncle was stationed in the U.K. but sent over to help dismantle the bases. He describes being on a train while a huge crowd stood outside and yelled at them. There would have been tens or hundreds of thousands with the same experience.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:56 AM
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I bet it starts with DeGaulle pulling out of NATO

Goes back a lot longer than that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:57 AM
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"Lafayette, bugger off!"


Posted by: Charles E Stanton | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:58 AM
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Come on, 31 would be totally unacceptable if you replaced "French" with any other group.

As far as I can tell, in the past 30 years or so, "French" became synonomous with "pussy" or "gay" (in the pejorative sense) in American life, probably as a result of annoying high school French teachers or Marcel Marceau clips. American francophobia has essentially nothing to do with any contact with or knowledge of actual French people; it's kind of like anti-semitism in a place like Spain where there are few or no Jews.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:59 AM
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Spitzer had the same type of moustache

When did Spitzer have a moustache? You sure that wasn't Spitz?

completely lacking in the case of the US, no?

I have a theory that part of the issue between France and the US is that the countries are more similar than either wishes to admit and see many of their own faults reflected in the other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:59 AM
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37 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: glowingquaddamage | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:00 AM
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American francophobia has essentially nothing everything to do with lack of any contact with or knowledge of actual French people outside of specific, tourist-y situations.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:00 AM
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38 pwned by 33 while looking for the most banana-hammocky picture of Mark Spitz.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:02 AM
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No one remembers the French navy (do they still have one?) helping out during the Revolutionary War, and the people that do are also aware that they only did it to piss of England.

What people do remember is a vague disgust at perceived wartime cowardice, and a tendency for the French to seem like they enjoy whining about things without having any intention of actually doing anything. That and often they seem silly. I'm aware that the American press might have a little to do with this. Regardless of the reasons, my impression is that American dislike for the French has more to do with contempt bred of lack of respect.

In my personal case it has to do with an extended series of encounters with complete assholes, to the point where I'm forced to conclude that there must be something cultural in their approach to women. Beyond that I don't really care.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:02 AM
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I have a theory that part of the issue between France and the US is that the countries are more similar than either wishes to admit and see many of their own faults reflected in the other.

The same can be said of France and Britain.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:03 AM
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37.2: In economic policy, I've heard professors blame the French for collapsing the Bretton Woods system. Obviously, the system was unstable as the U.S. didn't have the economic strength relative to the rest of the world by that point, but the French were pretty much the only ones who insisted on driving this point home.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:04 AM
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As far as I can tell, in the past 30 years or so, "French" became synonomous with "pussy" or "gay" (in the pejorative sense) in American life, probably as a result of annoying high school French teachers or Marcel Marceau clips.

I think it's the idea that France means wine, bread, and white boatneck shirts with horizontal black stripes, which makes them at best a bicoastal elite, and at worst teh gay. There are no wranglers and workboots and commercials for truck dealerships.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:04 AM
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41: That's why I keep one as my wallpaper.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:05 AM
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42 is kind of doubling down on the mild offensivess. Le me tell you about a few lesbians I've met . . . .


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:06 AM
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What people do remember is a vague disgust at perceived wartime cowardice

Entirely _false_ perceived wartime cowardice. The French had one of the highest casualty rates of any Allied country during WWII. French total deaths were double the US, despite a population approximately one third the size.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:07 AM
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French total deaths were double the US

Sure, but they weren't as important.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:09 AM
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Come on, 31 would be totally unacceptable if you replaced "French" with any other group.

That is utter bullshit. There are huge cultural differences where treatment of women is concerned. Are you seriously going to deny this? I don't have any knowledge of French culture really beyond this, and I only object to it to the extent that it really is representative. My own experience indicates that it is, but I'm open to the idea that it isn't.

The larger point is that, in certain cultures, women are still less than. And you know what? I have no problem saying I don't like those cultures. I have absolutely no fucking problem calling a culture that views me as inherently less than in some way barbaric, just as I have no problem calling the American prison system barbaric, or calling torture barbaric: because it fucking is.

If your issue is that I draw conclusions from personal experience....um, ok. What else would you have people do? My experience of French men is that they're shitheads to women. I'm open to new and different experiences, but that's where it stands. That's the information I have at my disposal, and I'm going to draw what conclusions I can from it.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:11 AM
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Yeah, France didn't have many fighting-age men left by the time Germany started rolling toward them. But, you know, a near-complete and willful ignorance of history is a time-honored American tradition.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:13 AM
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Also. AFAICT the "French were cowards in WWII" meme was not actually common at all in America during or immediately after WWII; it's a trope used by people without personal experience of the war, and fits into the effeminate/wine and cheese/striped shirt stereotypes mentioned above.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:14 AM
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48: French military deaths were higher in terms of population than U.S. military deaths, but not nearly double. If you include civilian deaths, that doesn't necessarily refute an anti-French argument. Plus, the surrendered French troops shot at U.S. troops while fighting for the Germans in Africa.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:15 AM
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50: I don't have any particular negative experience with French men, but Jackmormon has certainly reported experiences like yours.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:16 AM
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42 is kind of doubling down on the mild offensivess. Le me tell you about a few lesbians I've met . . . .

Um, go ahead? I can assure you I have more annoying stories.

In general I think it's silly to be afraid of making any generalizations about groups of people. They are grouped together for actual reasons, it's not fucking random. The difficulty comes in making sure you don't go too far. So, you pay attention, and try to keep an open mind, and be aware that applying generalizations about groups to individual members of that group is usually a bad idea without a lot of data. Not that hard.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:17 AM
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51: They were barely outnumbered at the initial invasion. They just had a very shitty plan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:17 AM
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48: Also in WWI the French fought with great courage. They lost 4.3% of their population, most of those combat casualties.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:17 AM
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To 50, I think you are generalizing somewhat ludicrously based on your personal experience and some not very factually-grounded cultural stereotyping. Most stereotypes do have a kernel of truth, but we could do negative stereotype bingo for every group in the world, and most of us realize their limits.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:18 AM
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53: Er, Wikipedia says France had over 10x as many military deaths as the US (~1.4 million vs. ~120,000).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:18 AM
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Oh wait, different numbered war! Sorry.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:19 AM
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Was there even, at the time, a notion that the French were cowardly during WW2? I bet it's just an ex-post-facto rationalization, once "we" decided we didn't like the French, where "we" is the official opinion-makers pissed off at de Gaulle. "We" thought that Saddam Hussein was "the new Hitler" because that's what the elite told us to think.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:20 AM
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Not that hard

And yet...


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:20 AM
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57: and in Indochina after the war, for that matter; read about Dien Bien Phu or the RC4 battles or the Mang Yang Pass. They didn't necessarily fight wisely or morally, but you can't fault their courage.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:20 AM
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Maybe in WWIII, they'll do better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:20 AM
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13

Really, though. Law and Order has taught us that no one gets dragged off a plane that's about to depart (after calling his wife and telling her he's in trouble, and leaving personal effects in the hotel room he just fled) for a foreign country where we couldn't extradite his ass without being guilty.

The no extradition part is actually a point for the defense since the need to make a quick decision could have led to a hasty rush to judgement which was difficult to reverse.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:22 AM
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"expressions of a different character and set of desires", I don't entirely buy that either, given that it is in the character of both to violate social norms in pursuit of their desire to have sex.

I think this is where the comparison goes wrong. Committing sexual assault is not "violating of social norms in pursuit of one's desire to have sex." It's using sex in order to harm, degrade, hurt, and exercise power over someone. This is a huge misconception about assault, that's it's just something like "i want to fuck this person really badly, but they won't consent, so i'm just going to do it anyway." Assault is about power, humiliation and dominance.

I think it's also wrong to equate the "social norm" that you don't rape people to the social norm that you are monogamous.

Cheating is wrong because you are lying. Assault is wrong because you are purposely hurting and degrading someone. The harm that you do by breaking your trust with a romantic partner is of a wholly different character than the harm you do by assaulting a person.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:22 AM
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I thought the cowardly French thing came about because the Vichy government did collaboration with so much more style than other...collaborationists. Seriously, I can't even name any others. Were there other, like, official regimes that were like, "Oh, Germany, yes, you are the natural choice to have dominion over the known world, come take our Jews"?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:22 AM
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55 is really opening the way for someone to say something really incredibly objectionable like "all black women are terrible mothers. I think it's silly to be afraid of making any generalizations about groups of people. There are huge cultural differences where treatment of children is concerned. Are you seriously going to deny this? If your issue is that I draw conclusions from personal experience....um, ok. What else would you have people do? My experience of black women is that they're shitheads to their kids. I'm open to new and different experiences, but that's where it stands. That's the information I have at my disposal, and I'm going to draw what conclusions I can from it."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:23 AM
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This is incredibly stupid, but I think the French-cowards idea comes from the perception that they lost (not ultimately, but in the sense of not being able to keep them out of French territory) quickly to the Germans two (or three, if you hit someone who's heard of the Franco-Prussian war) times in quick succession -- that if they'd been braver, they'd have been more successful. The anti-French joke I'm thinking of is "Why are the boulevards of Paris lined with trees? To keep the German Army from getting sunburned."

Add that to a general sense of 'French' meaning 'suspiciously sophisticated in matters of literature, philosophy, fashion, and food and drink in a kind of effeminate way", and the stereotype all fits together.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:24 AM
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13,65: Yeah, whats the deal with France not extraditing rapists, anyway?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:24 AM
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Well, Norway did give the word quisling.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:25 AM
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67: well, for one, there was the Quisling regime in Norway, from which we got the word "quisling".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:25 AM
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In WWI the French lost on average 1,000 killed EVERY DAY for four years. This did affect the outlook of that and the subsequent generations somewhat. How would the US have dealt with this, we wonder.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:26 AM
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69: four, if you go back to 1815.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:27 AM
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51

Yeah, France didn't have many fighting-age men left by the time Germany started rolling toward them. But, you know, a near-complete and willful ignorance of history is a time-honored American tradition

The men lost in WWI would have been largely past fighting age in WWII. French military performance in WWII was in fact not very good.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:27 AM
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73: Nuked Germany.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:27 AM
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This is a huge misconception about assault, that's it's just something like "i want to fuck this person really badly, but they won't consent, so i'm just going to do it anyway."

I think it's overstating the case to say that sexual assault is never this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:28 AM
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I consider my pwnership of ajay a small payback for the days of my life I've lost to Mitchell and Webb thanks to him.

73: No one's saying that the attitude that LB describes isn't stupid, because it is.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:28 AM
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76. Easily done in the days before it was even possible to split the atom.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:28 AM
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Come on, 31 would be totally unacceptable if you replaced "French" with any other group.

Japanese?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:29 AM
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73: No one's saying that the attitude that LB describes isn't stupid, because it is.

Right, but it's the internet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:29 AM
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79: My point was that the only time the U.S. contemplated a military action that would have close to that level of casualties over an extended period, we said "Fuck it" and nuked them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:31 AM
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77:"just" is doing the work there


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:31 AM
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66, 77: there's comity to be found if you postulate the chain of reasoning (on the part of the aggressor) "I want to have sex with you, but you won't let me, which makes me pissed off (because I am entitled to sex with you) so I am going to punish you by having sex with you anyhow."


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:31 AM
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I think it's overstating the case to say that sexual assault is never this.

Right, but it's pretty much overstating any case to say "x is never y" when you're talking about people's motivation to do things.

But for the most part, that's not what motivates assaulters.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:32 AM
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By the way, M.!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:32 AM
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The problem I have with any explanation based on a memory of historical events is that it implies that somehow Americans, who don't remember any history of anything ever, spontaneously remember about the Franco-Prussian War and Vichy. We would have probably forgotten that we "hate the French" if the Bush administration hadn't found it useful to revive it. I mean, somehow we hate the French more than we hate the Germans despite the fact that the French made American independence possible, the US and France have never fought each other in a war while the US and Germany have fought two wars, one of which is endlessly relived on cable. This is not the outcome of a natural process.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:33 AM
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re: 53

The French lost more fighting men, in absolute terms not just per capita terms, in, what, a few months (give or take) of fighting than the US did in the entire war. Not double, no, but substantially more, despite 1/3 of the population. It was double when you factor in civilian deaths.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:33 AM
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tendency for the French to seem like they enjoy whining about things without having any intention of actually doing anything

hahahahahaha....


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:34 AM
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78: I was just about to link to the "are we the baddies" sketch again, actually.

The men lost in WWI would have been largely past fighting age in WWII.

Their sons, on the other hand, would have been of fighting age, given the 24-year gap between the outbreaks of war. And this 'lost generation' of French soldiers whose fathers died before they begot sons is an established demographic fact; it was still affecting the French army in Indochina and even in Algeria.

French military performance in WWII was in fact not very good.

French generalship in 1940 was in fact not very good. But anyone who went up against the German army in those days tended not to do very well unless they had a 20-mile water obstacle to retreat behind (Britain), a 1500-mile roadless glacis to retreat behind (Russia) or the ability to avoid fighting the Germans properly until late 1943 or so (US).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:34 AM
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Actually, re: 88, I'm finding multiple sources for French military deaths, some of which put them at about 75% of the US. Much higher per capita, but not higher absolutely. Other sources had them higher [I've looked this up before in another Unfogged discussion].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:35 AM
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Do we know what motivates people who commit sexual assault?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:35 AM
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66: This is a huge misconception about assault, that's it's just something like "i want to fuck this person really badly, but they won't consent, so i'm just going to do it anyway." Assault is about power, humiliation and dominance.

I've heard this before, but I'm not at all convinced its true. Yes, assault is about power, humiliation, and dominance, but isn't "wanting to fuck" a huge proportion of the motivation as well?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:35 AM
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83-85: fair enough, and I endorse 86.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:36 AM
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70

Yeah, whats the deal with France not extraditing rapists, anyway?

As I understand it they are reluctant to extradite their own citizens for any crime. They did eventually extradite Einhorn but I don't think he was a citizen.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:36 AM
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But for the most part, that's not what motivates assaulters.

Let's ask the assaulters.

Look, I don't know, and would be willing to accept a middle ground, but if lust or desire can never, or very rarely, edge into violence destruction/self-destruction as itself, it would be unique among the deadly sins.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:36 AM
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68 is a bullshit analogy (aren't those banned for this reason?). "Black mothers" is a group based on two characteristics, neither of which is cultural. If you were to say something like, "black mothers are black and have or have had children" that would be more accurate. But neither of the identifiers you listed has anything to do with behavior or cultural norms. If you were to use identifiers that did, maybe you'd have a case. Even then, my point was that to the extent that you can identify cultural behavioral norms, you can fucking talk about them. It's silly to pretend they're not there just because someone may, at some point, make a mistake.

And Halford, when you've been a woman in France, or Italy, or (so I've heard) the Middle East, then maybe you can tell me where the limits are here. Until then, I'm probably more likely to believe that there's a lot of bullshit you're not aware of because it's not directed at you. It is kind of weird that you're so easily willing to say I've crossed some sort of line (what, I'm not exactly sure of) without having any personal experience yourself.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:37 AM
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88: I am using the figures from wikipedia. They have 217,600 military deaths for the French out of 41.7 million and 416,800 from the U.S. out of a population of 131 million. In other words, French losses were higher out in terms of population, not absolute numbers. In absolute numbers, they are only higher if you include non-military deaths.

I'll be happy to consider that these figures are wrong if you have a different citation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:38 AM
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Black people don't get to have cultural norms?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:39 AM
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Someone I know who speaks fluent French and has spent a few years living in France thinks French men are great, very direct, very respectful when shot down, much less awkward than Americans in general.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:39 AM
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"black mothers are black and have or have had children" that would be more accurate

Also tautological.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:40 AM
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97: "Black mothers" is a group based on two characteristics, neither of which is cultural

I'm pretty sure there is such a thing as "African-American culture", you know.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:40 AM
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re: 90

ajay, do you remember there was a couple of BBC documentaries a couple of years back detailing the huge defence-in-depth system the British started putting in place early in WWII? This conversation reminded me, because now that I know about them I keep seeing it. On my commute into Oxford I pass a couple of fields with whacking great pillboxes sitting in them.

re: 98

The figures from WWII death count have French military losses at 340K, and US at roughly 500. Based on similar population numbers. As per 89, I had earlier sources that had the French losses at slightly higher than the US in absolute terms, but Wiki and WWII death count both have them lower.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:40 AM
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90: My daughter dressed up as a pirate for a costume party. All I could think was "I'm not saying we're not fun, but pirates are generally considered the bad guys."

97: Analogies are banned because Ogged (pbuh) thought they were a lazy way to argue, and that arguments were clearer if you just stated what you meant, rather than try to stack the deck with an analogy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:41 AM
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100: no. It is impossible that cultural misunderstandings could be at some level responsible for dona's bad impression. It is a statistical judgment born of objective fact.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:41 AM
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I don't think the 'sexual assault is about aggression, not about sex' line works all that well in that form (for one thing, that use of the word 'about' is generally going to be difficult to pin down), but if you alter it to 'sexual assault is almost always going to be largely about aggression and power, whatever the sexual component of the motivation', I think it makes a great deal of sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:42 AM
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I'm not a woman, but I have lived in France for extended periods of time, and have had many friends who are both French and American women, so please, spare me that particular line of attack. There are plenty of differences between the two cultures.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:43 AM
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Hey now. Some of my best cousins are French, and the man is a good one.

I see a different good reason to draw the distinction LB mentions, which is that I want promiscuous but not violent men to get the appreciation they deserve. As a single woman who likes sex and despairs at weddings where no one hits on anyone else because we are so friendly and egalitarian, I find that slutty men are the heroes. They're the only ones willing to do the hard work that society depends on, of walking across the damn room and saying "hi" with intention. They're my best hope of getting some, and the good ones aren't violent or boundary-pushers. So I don't like the two lumped together.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:44 AM
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I mean maybe bank robbers rob banks for the thrills, but nevertheless, there is the money. Rape, to me, is a violent form of sex, like revolution and war, Hannah Arendt be damned, is the violent form of politics.
...
But I want to cast my vote here for generalities and group prejudice, which a) create tribal solidarity (can't have an us without a them), and b) can inspire the members of the enemy group to work on the behavior of the rest.

"Republican's are liars and thieves" might have a positive effect on a few decent Republicans, like Bruce Bartlett and John Cole.

And we aren't like them, and we will not be bigoted about black mothers. C'mon, give yourself and your tribe a break.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:44 AM
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108.2: I think the phrase you are looking for is "thank you for your service". IYKWIM.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:46 AM
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Ogged (pbuh) thought they were a lazy way to argue

And that argument-by-analogy almost always ended up sidetracking the argument into all the reasons why the analogy wasn't perfectly parallel (since no analogy ever can be) rather than shining any light on the original argument.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:46 AM
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I'm pretty sure there is such a thing as "African-American culture", you know.

I'm not. Maybe ten AA cultures, but who should be counting, other than sociologists.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:46 AM
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FWIW, French men in French sex clubs are less aggressive than American men in American sex clubs.

As a formerly slutty man, I appreciate 108.2. Finally, people recognize all the good work we do!


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:47 AM
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111: "Sidetracking" is a railroad analogy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:47 AM
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slutty men are the heroes

Word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:49 AM
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103.1: missed those, I'm afraid.

Those fields near Oxford may well be old army training areas; there are a lot of pillboxes around the English and Scottish countryside that have no apparent tactical function at all, and the answer generally is that they were built so that soldiers could practise attacking pillboxes.

There are still a lot of tank obstacles around the place; great lines of them on the coast of East Lothian, I remember in particular.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:49 AM
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102: Yeah, you said "black," not "African-American." And there are many African-American cultures, as far as I'm aware, that vary significantly by region (just like white American culture!).

There is the added difficulty that child rearing is a somewhat culturally-dependent thing -- what's appropriate in one culture isn't in another, because you expect those kids to function within the culture they're raised in. So criticism of child rearing techniques is often an implicit criticism of the culture, and if that's what you're going for, just make the cultural criticism explicit. But even then there are lines that can be drawn. (I'm thinking, Toddlers in Tiaras, or the FLDS.)

Still a bullshit analogy that didn't actually address the points I was making.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:51 AM
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Thank you for your service, General Grant. And Apo.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:51 AM
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One would be tempted to surmise that a young woman traveling overseas with limited language skills is a highly tempting target for sexually aggressive assholes in all cultures, especially those with a somewhat impenetrable-to-outsiders set of mores as regards physical familiarity.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:51 AM
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||

Last night I dreamt that the Troll of Sorrow was listening in on my household conversations and berating my family over our clock radio.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:52 AM
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there are a lot of pillboxes around the English and Scottish countryside that have no apparent tactical function at all

No apparent function yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:52 AM
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116: During my England years, I frequently took long walks out into the countryside, and I always wondered what the hell that stuff was doing out there.


Posted by: glowingquaddamage | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:52 AM
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re: 116

I'm guessing these are part of the GHQ line, between Reading and south Oxfordshire. Since posting 103 I've been googling, and they are in the right place. So I'm assuming that's what they are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GHQ_Line
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_hardened_field_defences_of_World_War_II


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:52 AM
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there are many African-American cultures, as far as I'm aware, that vary significantly by region

French people, on the other hand, are utterly culturally uniform. A Parisian enarque, a Marseillais engineer, a beur teenager from the banlieu... all pretty much the same. Good grief, stop digging!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:53 AM
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re: 122

Basically the British built a fortified line across the entire country [and other smaller lines in other places to section the country].

Some of the stuff is pretty cunning; they cut demolition chambers into all the major bridges so they could be blown up, and hid fortifications inside boathouses, regular buildings, etc as well as in pill boxes and heavy fortifications.

e.g.

http://s134542708.websitehome.co.uk/pillboxes/html/oxon_0.html


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:54 AM
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123: hmm, that makes sense. Didn't realise the GHQ line went that far north.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:55 AM
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It is impossible that cultural misunderstandings could be at some level responsible for dona's bad impression. It is a statistical judgment born of objective fact.

You know that's not what I said, Sifu. If you're going to unnecessarily be an asshole, at least be accurate about it.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:55 AM
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Since "what you are actually trying to say" is "French men are bastards" it's not too surprising that people aren't giving you points for nuanced cross-cultural analysis.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:00 AM
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Rape, to me, is a violent form of sex, like revolution and war, Hannah Arendt be damned, is the violent form of politics.

Every one of these propositions is incorrect and offensive.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:01 AM
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127: I should have warned you that sometimes I rephrase things to make a point.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:03 AM
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124, 127: For the sake of comity, or at least of more accurately communicative argument, can we tease this apart into two separate issues?

(1) Saying anything negative about French men generally, culturally or not, is too broad to possibly be meaningfully accurate, and you shouldn't talk like that. [My reaction, yeah, generally true, but I'm less worried by sloppy generalizations about Western European/Anglosphere national groups than pretty much any other group of people. Ogged, pbuh, of course, was unworried by sloppy generalizations about any group of people.]

(2) French men in the circles dona was traveling in (I'm guessing that describing them as urban/middle class/college educated is fair, but I could be wrong) are significantly more likely to behave offensively/dismissively/sexual assaultively toward women than Americans. [My reaction, I dunno, I haven't spent a lot of time with French people, but it's not the sort of thing that's necessarily false -- cultural differences of that sort can exist -- and I've heard similar from other women with direct experience].

Separating the two lines of argument should simplify this a little, I think.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:04 AM
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It's the same as the 'girls suck at math' effect; ie you see a man get a sum wrong, it's 'you suck at math'. If you see a woman get a sum wrong, it's 'girls suck at math'. So every time a French man behaved badly towards dona, it got filed as 'more evidence that all French men are horrible', and every time one behaved acceptably it got forgotten.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:12 AM
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French people, on the other hand, are utterly culturally uniform. A Parisian enarque, a Marseillais engineer, a beur teenager from the banlieu... all pretty much the same. Good grief, stop digging!

Fair point, and perhaps all the French assholes I encountered were from the same French subculture. I did not card them, or ask for demographic info. It seemed unlikely that, by chance, they'd all be from the same small town, or something, and I happened to encounter them in different parts of France and New York.

But their style of assholeness was pretty uniform.

And you are still being disingenuous. What I've said so far is not very complicated, and I stand by it: 1. There are such things as cultures, and cultural norms, and patterns of behavior that result. 2. If they exist, we should be able to talk about them, with the understanding that they're generalizations and all that that implies. 3. It's not inherently wrong to say you don't like a culture because of a particular cultural norm. It can be, sure, and that's where the difficulty comes in. But I'm gonna stand by my "cultures that view women as less than men, or think it's ok to play fast and loose with consent because fuck women, that's why, are shitty" view. I'm pretty confident with that one. 4. We develop our perceptions of cultures and cultural norms on the basis of personal experience, because that's what we got. I didn't think French men were often assholes to women after the first French guy was an asshole; I just thought it was one asshole. Ditto after the second. After many, many, many assholes, I formed an opinion. And my opinion isn't "all French men are assholes."* It's "my experience leads me to believe that French men are more likely than my reference culture (NYC liberal) to be assholes to women in a very specific way, so this probably reflects a cultural norm that I am not a huge fan of, and I am likely to experience it again in the future with some or most French men."
*I did say "I don't like French men" or something to that effect (it may have been exactly that). That has certainly been my experience in the past, but wrt the future, it would have been more accurate to say "it is likely that I will not like many French men because they will exhibit this behavior that I find objectionable," but that's kind of long winded. Still, regrettable.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:12 AM
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But their style of assholeness was pretty uniform.

The French get enough fiber.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:13 AM
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...of walking across the damn room and saying "hi" with intention.

Doesn't this depend on the guy, and on how he says "hi", and a bunch of other qualifiers?

My own attitude, is that in this patriarchal rape-culture society, outside of a secure relationship or ritualistic circumstances, men should almost never initiate contact with the opposite sex, let alone attempt to seduce or cajole women into bed. I mean it.

Megan might try choosing and crossing the room.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:14 AM
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I have no reason to believe that anything dona has said is necessarily false. I also don't have any particular reason to believe it is true. It just seems to me that when you make broad generalizations about other cultures, and then conclude (based on personal, anecdotal experience) that those broad generalizations lead to specific behavior, without acknowledging any of the many evident possible confounding factors, you risk being taken for a fool or a bigot. Reacting with shocked anger when that's exactly what happens seems a bit naive.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:14 AM
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136 to 131.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:14 AM
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97: Prejudices often begin with generalization from the limited samples of personal experience; it presents itself as "common sense" to the person making the generalization, but is often not. When chewing over anecdotes for a bit of fun or listening to a stand-up routine, we often let this habit of thinking slide... but it stops being funny or innocuous when presented as a serious argument. And there's nobody to whom it can't happen.

So instead of trying to defend this as sociology:

Every single French man I have ever encountered, on the other hand, has been a complete asshole, and inappropriately sexually aggressive in ways that made me alternately uncomfortable and enraged . . . Seriously, without exception.

... it might be more useful if you could describe some examples of what "complete asshole" means and what the inappropriate aggression has been? Maybe find out where this fits in the picture with what other people know of French culture? Might be a bit more rewarding, anyway....


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:15 AM
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So every time a French man behaved badly towards dona, it got filed as 'more evidence that all French men are horrible', and every time one behaved acceptably it got forgotten.

Again, bullshit. They were all assholes in the same way. That's weird. That's weird enough to make you think there's some fucking reason for it. If I see all the girls making the same type of error on a math test, I think it's significant, and I start wondering about how they're being taught or what they're being fed at lunch or if there's radioactive waste being stored in the girl's bathroom.

And it's good to know that you've been over my shoulder and watching out for me on my travels through France and New York. I feel safer knowing that you're there, watching, recording my experiences, even if I can't see you.

130: Replace "rephrase" with "distort" and then we're fine.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:19 AM
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130: Replace "rephrase" with "distort" and then we're fine.

Why would I?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:21 AM
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The Frunch: I always thought that creepy hypermasculinity/open street harassment/madonna-&-whore thing was more of a generalized Mediterranean thing (as alluded to above). Certainly the experiences of friends who've gone to Israel would bear that out.

Rape vs. promiscuity: What I've seen, time and time again, is that the sort of fellow who is constantly hitting on women, whether they seem interested or not, and by dint of trying so much, often has a fair degree of success, is likely to verge over into more and more serious forms of harassment over time. I think there is a functional difference (though NOT a moral or ethical one) between stranger rape and acquaintance rape. I doubt very much that the average promiscuous man, even the most dishonest one, is more likely on average to be a jump-out-of-the-bushes type rapist. I would be very surprised, however, if he were not more likely to have committed a date rape or two over the course of his life.

Surrender monkeys: I think we are giving the racist right in the US way too much credit in thinking that they are even aware of World War I, the Franco-Prussian War, or Napoleon. The vast majority of them are probably very unclear about French colonialism being a factor in the Vietnam War, which just ended the other day, for chrissakes. This is all about Hitler Channel propaganda about WWII, and the idea that if the US was instrumental in liberating France from Hitler (also, how many US racist rightwingers could give even a basic outline of the history of Vichy France vs. Nazi-occupied France? 10%? If that?) then they should be eternally grateful to the US and always support US neo-colonial adventurism.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:21 AM
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139: Again, instead of defensive screeds, let's try some specifics: how were they all assholes? In what same way? How many men are we talking about here?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:22 AM
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I mean shit, when I am out on the streets of linear parks, I don't even look at women until they stare at me with a smile.

My impression is that they usually appreciate this, feel safer and less like objects, and I get my share of smiles and conversations. The ones who want to be left alone are fucking left alone.

All the guys who think that woman is just dying to have to them come onto her, but is too shy...aww, just the hell with it.

Rape culture all the way down.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:25 AM
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Look, I have no idea what DQ's experience was. IME, if I had to generalize, there's some low-level workplace conduct in France that to French people (including, genuinely, French women) reads as OK flirtation but that comes across as crossing a line by US standards, and that there is also more of an expectation of difference between the sexes in the workplace, as opposed to a unisex model. Some of that has positive aspects, some negative. I'd certainly say that personal boundries are different; very easy to get confused about what is or isn't an intimate gesture.

But the notion that somehow it's an essential kernel of French culture to treat women "like shit" in a way that's not true in the US is just false, lazy stereotyping. I never saw anything in France similar to the kind of bro-sexism I've seen in parts of the American workplace and ordinary life, and I'd actually characterize the overall treatment of women I saw as a college student as more respectful than in the US. I also want to point out that there are lots of French feminists, there are many, many French women who thrive professionally, etc., and France is in general strongly committed to providing things like day care and family leave and health care and other things that actually make womens


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:28 AM
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In defense of Dona, wasn't someone here saying, just the other day, that it was well-known and acknowledged by all that there were massively different standards in France for what constituted implied consent to begin sexual maneuvering? Something along the lines of "if a woman invites a man up to her apartment in France, everyone knows that means she is assenting to sex with him?" And yet that assertion, while just as broad, and significantly overlapping with Dona's, got none of this vitriol directed at it or its maker.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:28 AM
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other things that actually make womens

Sugar and spice and everything nice, I'm told.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:29 AM
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+lives better. I'd also say that there's probably more tolerance for genuinely skeevy workplace behavior -- or, more precisely, less willingness to talk about it (the French are in many ways more reserved and private than Americans, and IME less confessional).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:31 AM
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138: Agree completely, that's why it's hard.

Style of assholeness: As already stated, an extremely aggressive sexual advance coupled with a dismissive attitude towards refusal. So, ranging from way to aggressive advances that just do not stop no matter how many times you tell them you're not interested (or, eventually, that you're gay), to hey what the fuck are you doing touching me again, to are you seriously grabbing my ass in front of your boss who you know I need as a client so that I won't make a scene, etc. etc., with reactions to "no" ranging from just straight up ignoring the "no" as if it didn't happen (having to yell at a cab driver to pull over for that one was fun), to laughing derisively and trying to get you to drink, to eventually accepting refusal as a sign of your bitchiness and telling everyone they encounter that you're a tease or a bitch or a cunt or whatever.

I don't know if this specificity really helps. The thing they had in common was a clear expectation that they didn't have to take refusal seriously, and a pretty clear lack of respect for personal boundaries. Like it was all part of a game. That's really the thing that creeped me out, and that was distinctive from other cultures where I've felt under sexualized attack, and is the thing that in my mind I identify as specifically "French". The reason I group this in with a discussion of cultural norms is that these are attitudes that mesh pretty clearly with other fun misogynistic cultural norms, and it's stupid to say we can't identify and talk about them just because they are negative. We can only talk about cultural norms when they're positive? That's dumb, and useless.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:33 AM
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I'm pretty sympathetic to dona here. It's impossible to discuss cultural characteristics with all the qualifiers and nuances without cluttering up your sentences with such enormous piles of qualifiers as to make them unreadable unless your audience is willing to accept that the generalizations are just that: not applicable to every single member of the culture in all cases, but broad trends. Once the audience decides to play bigotry gotcha the conversation is over.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:34 AM
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145: I'd say there is a fairly significant difference between "some of the tacitly understood rules of behaviour between men and women are different in France" and "it is part of French culture to treat women like shit".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:35 AM
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What I've seen, time and time again, is that the sort of fellow who is constantly hitting on women, whether they seem interested or not, and by dint of trying so much, often has a fair degree of success, is likely to verge over into more and more serious forms of harassment over time.

The thing is, and part of where the post was going, is that IME there really are distinct personality types. I've met promiscuous guys who were pushy about it in a way that I could completely see turning into assault or rape -- there was a guy in college, who other than this facet of his personality I liked fine, who slept his way through my co-op and hit on me repeatedly in a way that was only not scary because under the circumstances I could summon chaperonage at will. (Not that I ever had to, but I had a couple of occasions where I was mentally checking who was within range of a raised voice.) I don't know that he ever assaulted anyone, and never heard anything even suggesting that he did, but it wouldn't have surprised me at all.

But I've also met promiscuous guys who weren't like that at all -- that boundary-disregarding trait isn't a necessary part of promiscuity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:35 AM
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We can only talk about cultural norms when they're positive? That's dumb, and useless.

I absolutely agree. And don't get on a crowded bus or train in Japan if you're female. And New Yorkers talk too fast.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:36 AM
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I mean shit, when I am out on the streets of linear parks, I don't even look at women until they stare at me with a smile.

Poisson parks might work, except he was a French guy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:37 AM
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Ah, here we go, Jackmormon in the Decades Later thread:

The standard of enthusiastic consent doesn't really play out in a lot of cultures, both in the US and abroad. In France, for example, a woman is presumed to have consented at a MUCH earlier stage of proceeding than in the US. Going up to a man's apartment is presumed consent. Hell, chatting in a public place is a presumed invitation. I am seriously not suggesting that these other cultural principles are moral or justified, but they do help to make sense of the degree of assholery the men are guilty of.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:40 AM
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How strong is the correlation between how men in a culture behave toward women on a personal level and other measures of gender equality, such as women in positions of power and size of the pay gap?

I was googling around for rankings of countries by gender equality, but I couldn't find quite what I wanted. I know typically the Nordic countries do great in those rankings, but I wasn't sure where France came.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:40 AM
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But I've also met promiscuous guys who weren't like that at all -- that boundary-disregarding trait isn't a necessary part of promiscuity.

I think it is, or not part of promiscuity so much as part of the aggressive assertive confidant sex-initiator. The really good seducers get turned down a lot, but are slick enough to make the woman feel like an asshole when she does it.

"What did I do that made him think I was available?"

A male sexual aggressor is an aggressor. You like the "nice and purty" ones?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:41 AM
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145 is interesting.

the kind of bro-sexism I've seen in parts of the American workplace and ordinary life

I'm not a particular fan of this, either. I have negative expectations of American fratbros similar to those that I have for French men, but it hasn't stopped me from becoming close with the ones who turned out not to be assholes a majority of the time. I'm sure if I was in France for long periods of time, I'd become close to some French men, too. It wouldn't stop me from expecting to encounter bullshit most of the time.*

*Unless I stopped encountering bullshit most of the time. See? Open to experience.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:41 AM
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I wasn't sure where France came.

That would be the butt, Bob Jacques.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:41 AM
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The really good seducers get turned down a lot, but are slick enough to make the woman feel like an asshole when she does it the cheerful and respectful ones are perfectly happy to move on to the next activity anyway because although they would like to have sex with you, they also just like being around women doing anything.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:45 AM
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Here we go US is 19, France is 46.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:46 AM
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The existing "boundaries" are part of the fucking patriarchy, and y'all know it. Way too many women buy into the patriarchy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:46 AM
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150: It depends on where you're standing, doesn't it? There's that story "The Women Men Don't See", there's also the phenomenon of "the sexual harassment men don't see." I have absolutely no problem believing that the attitude Jackmormon describes (which, again, not a single person contradicted) trends into the experiences Dona describes pretty easily. If you're a French guy, and you're out looking for sexual partners, and you have a standard set of expectations around where consent and boundaries are, is it so unlikely that you're going to adhere to those expectations, to the point of what people in the Anglosphere would consider blatant sexual harassment? I'm sure there are Frenchmen who are better at contextualizing their behavior than the ones Dona describes, but that doesn't invalidate her experiences or her basic contention.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:47 AM
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Well, so far, 148 sounds like a description of immature dickheadedness and would not be out of place as a description of large numbers of North American frat boys. So I don't see what's distinctively French about it.

This looks like a potentially interesting bit of context:

hey what the fuck are you doing touching me again, to are you seriously grabbing my ass in front of your boss who you know I need as a client so that I won't make a scene

What line of business was this?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:48 AM
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To be a slutty man, you have to be "aggressive" the way a salesperson is aggressive. You have to be self-confident, and not so invested in each interaction that you feel wounded to your quick if someone turns you down. There's not necessarily a continuum with violent aggression. It's not like the really aggressive salespeople pull a gun if you don't buy the car.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:48 AM
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160: We beat Canada by a nose. Because Canada let in too many French people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:48 AM
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150: but not significantly different from "there are things about French culture that make it much easier or more acceptable to treat women like shit."

I don't really care if French women have figured out ways to negotiate this weird game playing thing, or are generally ok with and understand that agreeing to go to a man's apartment is consent to sex. I still think it's shitty.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:48 AM
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153: How do you park a fish, Moby?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:49 AM
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167: It was a math joke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:49 AM
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159:So, sitting alone or with friends in a bar or restaurant, you are ok with being approached by just any male who wants you? Without an invitational signal?

This is not ok, mostly, for a group of males or a family dining. This "boundary" is weaker because you are a woman, and is part of the patriarchy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:51 AM
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re: 155

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-related_Development_Index

France appears to be 7th on their list, with the UK on 10th and the US 16th. Based on the data on page 98/326 of this:

http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_20072008_EN_Indicator_tables.pdf


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:51 AM
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How do you park a fish, Moby?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:52 AM
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163: I am very, very familiar with American fratbro culture, and the specific game playing was distinct from that, and is something I've only really encountered with French men, which is why I identify it as French. I reread my comment, and I don't think I do a great job of describing it. There's a smarminess to it...I'd have to think about it a lot more to be able to describe it better, and I don't have a lot of time for that right now.

Email me about the other thing.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:53 AM
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re: 166

All cross gender interaction (or hell, all social interaction) is a "weird game playing thing." Every culture has a set of implicit understands that govern how certain behaviors are interpreted.

I'm open to the idea that there is something essentially "assholish" about the behavioral norms of french men. However, in my experience, when people of one culture thing people of another culture are acting like assholes, the majority of the time it is because there are crossed signals going both directions...


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:54 AM
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re: 160

That's interesting, because the HDR report linked in 170 has completely different rankings. So I'm assuming their methodologies are completely different.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:54 AM
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150: I think it's worth trying to maintain the kind of global perspective that lets you say "some of the tacitly understood rules of behaviour between men and women are different in France" but it's also unreasonable to demand that people pretend they are not creatures of their own culture in which context "it is part of French culture to treat women like shit" may be perfectly true. I don't really know what the solution to this is, but I am convinced that any policy proposal or ethical code that demands people adopt a meta perspective on their own culture is utterly doomed. At the same time I strongly believe there are universal moral laws (essentially the golden rule in some appropriately abstract form) which are incompatible with some elements of some cultures. This is why I drink.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:55 AM
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159:and 159 narrows it down to "its ok for the ones to approach me that are the ones I would like to approach me"

Guys should not read minds. Luckily, there is signaling in social situations.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:55 AM
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So there is set A of men who go for serial consensual extramarital sex, and set B of men who go for serial nonconsensual sexual assault.

Probably a significant portion of the perceived intersection (A&B) is cases of type B events with sufficient ambiguity to third parties that they interpret it as A. So plenty of type B men appear ro have lots of type A encounters, followed by something that's so obvious that everyone can see it's B. But really it's type B all along.

IOW I suspect that many nonconsensual sexual encounters have been interpreted as "seductions" after the fact, by third parties and often by the participants as well (especially the aggressor).

Which unfortunately means that while LB is probably right as a matter of fact, *observing *serial "seductions" should be a warning flag.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:57 AM
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173: "No." Exactly how does one have to say it for the signals not to be "crossed"? This is part of my point: if a culture allows for a clear* "no" to be interpreted as "yes" or just ignored, then there is a problem with the culture.
*No batting eyelashes, no flirtation. Just "no." I can't believe I had to write that.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:57 AM
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To be a slutty man, you have to be "aggressive" the way a salesperson is aggressive....It's not like the really aggressive salespeople pull a gun if you don't buy the car.

No, but I'm not sure some of them wouldn't if that's how they thought they could get what they wanted. This salesperson analogy needs exactly the same distinctions drawn that we're drawing in the promiscuity scenario. Some salespeople are successful because, as you say, they're "self-confident, and not so invested in each interaction that [they] feel wounded to [the] quick if someone turns [them] down". Others are successful because they're deceptive, pushy, and don't mind taking advantage of other people. And there's not necessarily an overlap between the two, as I think everyone has agreed. But--just as with promiscuous men--I'd bet the percentage of successful salespeople who are willing to take advantage of someone in order to make a sale is higher than in the general population.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:59 AM
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The ones I don't want to sleep with can approach me too, so long as they take no for an answer pleasantly. Look, people who want sex both have to do their share, by approaching, by saying yes or no, by responding pleasantly and appropriately. There's work to do all around, and people should all do their part.

The alternative is that I go home with my virtue intact and no one wants that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:01 AM
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178:And I think it impolite and unkind to force a person, especially a stranger, into a position where a "no" is ever necessary.

Good manners is hard.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:02 AM
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So plenty of type B men appear ro have lots of type A encounters, followed by something that's so obvious that everyone can see it's B. But really it's type B all along.

Part of what I'm lobbying here is a strong conceptual separation between type A and type B on the part of the audience. DSK appears to have had a strong, long-term reputation of being a man that a woman should be afraid of being alone with because of the risk that he would sexually pressure or assault (including any non-consensual sexual touching as assault) her.

But because most of the incidents were individually minor and none of them appear to have been prosecuted, they were treated as promiscuity/evidence of a high sex drive rather than repeated assault. If people had made a habit of asking themselves, when they heard a salacious story about someone, whether it included an element of non-consensuality or not, they would have ID'd DSK as a ticking-time-bomb/potential rapist rather than as merely slutty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:04 AM
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I go home with my virtue intact and no one wants that.

Oh. So now I'm nobody?


Posted by: Megan's mom | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:07 AM
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182: I think we are agreeing here 100%.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:09 AM
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Comity!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:13 AM
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I agree with 182, as long as I can still insult France when the spirit moves me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:14 AM
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178: Exactly how does one have to say it for the signals not to be "crossed"?

But this obviously varies by different cultural norms. The ways you say it in one culture are not the same ways you say it in another culture.

if a culture allows for a clear* "no" to be interpreted as "yes" or just ignored, then there is a problem with the culture.

But, if I'm understanding things correctly, you're using one culture's "clear no" in the context of another culture. That's not the same thing as there being no way to clearly say no in French norms, it's just (potentially) a matter of the norms not being the same as American ones.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:20 AM
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172: See, what I'm sort of suspecting is part of the picture is that the French Dickhead's specific flavor of dickheadedness would be shaped by the attempt to live up to this stereotype or something similar. The substance of the dickheadedness would be similar cross-culturally, but the style of its delivery would be inflected in particular ways.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:23 AM
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Every single French man I have ever encountered, on the other hand, has been a complete asshole, and inappropriately sexually aggressive in ways that made me alternately uncomfortable and enraged

How many French men was this?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:23 AM
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189: Does Pepé Le Pew count?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:26 AM
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178: Yeah, this is where the defenses of French cultural specificity would lose me. If you're talking about misreading signals or how close one person should stand to another, that's one thing. But if you're talking about feeling someone up after they've told you to go away, that's just a species of dickheadedness. To reify it as merely "part of French culture" implies that French women would routinely put up with that kind of behavior, which strikes me as highly unlikely.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:29 AM
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One would be tempted to surmise that a young woman traveling overseas with limited language skills is a highly tempting target for sexually aggressive assholes in all cultures

And yet I didn't have this experience in Germany, or Holland, or the Czech Republic. (France is not the only country where I've experienced serial male sexually aggressive assholeness, but as I've already said, the French variety seemed to have it's own flavor.)

I'm actually really amazed at the willingness of people to be completely dismissive of the experiences I've described, as though there's just some obvious thing I've overlooked that is clear to them after thinking about it for maybe 30 seconds. Really? That doesn't seem arrogant? And a willingness to be completely dismissive about experiences of men being completely dismissive is...something. Especially considering the differing response to Jackmormon's observation not too long ago.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:35 AM
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re: 191

I'm sometimes surprised by what people will seemingly accept as normal: groping, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:35 AM
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Heh. That's not what my Mom would say. She's cool like that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:37 AM
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This is incredibly stupid, but I think the French-cowards idea comes from the perception that they lost (not ultimately, but in the sense of not being able to keep them out of French territory) quickly to the Germans two (or three, if you hit someone who's heard of the Franco-Prussian war) times in quick succession -- that if they'd been braver, they'd have been more successful. The anti-French joke I'm thinking of is "Why are the boulevards of Paris lined with trees? To keep the German Army from getting sunburned."

In addition to what the various Brits said, lets remember that the French Army performed better for most of WWI than the British one. And in WWII the thorough fuck ups that led to the collapse were partially shared by the British forces. 1870 was a purely French disaster, on the other hand in the previous war the Prussians had first been crushed and only managed to defeat the French after recruiting pretty much every other European country to help them.

dq, I'm wondering, you're saying that _all_ French guys behaved this way? I'm quite ready to believe that they're on average more likely to do so, but that seems like it would require incredibly bad luck.

On the OP, christ yes there's a distinction, but in some subcultures and among some men it seems blurred. Unfortunately for some men, date rape is about sex, and not just power. The little comedy sketch I posted last night indicates both that it was known that DSK fell on the wrong side of the line, and that at least some French people were aware that that is not ok.

glowingquadmage - I'm strongly tending towards the idea that he is guilty. I'm also very, very strongly for a presumption of innocence, and not assuming he will be found guilty in court. The information released so far is damning, but it also comes from the cops and AG's office, who have been known to be a bit selective in leaking stuff to make their cases seem stronger than they actually are. But my standards for thinking someone is guilty are lower than the ones I believe should be in place for putting someone in jail for ten or twenty years. FWIW I'm both very much a francophile and I'm pretty familiar with the country.

Finally, my experience as an occasionally jealous observer squares with Megan's on which guys are most successful at getting casual sex. The only way in which they are 'deceiving' women is if the woman thinks hooking up with a guy means they're suddenly in a serious closed relationship in spite of no indications by the guy that that is the case. And that's on her.

Procedural question, better to do this kind of post, or to split them up?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:37 AM
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193: Well, I'm not surprised by people accepting groping as normal. (Depends on the groping. I've seen the spontaneous double-handed lunge for the breasts attempted in a public setting, and it didn't end well.) I would be surprised by people accepting groping as normal after the person has told the groper to piss off.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:40 AM
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193: You can run into confusion about how, exactly, to usefully escalate the situation. AWB had a story a while (probably years) back about a member of her social circle who was being gropy/sexually threatening at parties. And she'd told him to stop, and at one point smacked him, and he kept doing it. At which point you (1) start screaming when he approaches? (2) call the police despite not actually being afraid of imminent serious violence? (3) Begin punching him repeatedly and don't stop? (4) Leave any social event at which he's present?

It's not that there's no possible response to intransigence of that sort, but it can get tricky in a way that can leave a reasonable person seeming to accept bad behavior as normal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:42 AM
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I've been on dates with super-aggressive men who responded to boundaries well. I went out with a guy a few years ago who kept kissing me really intensely, but then backing off and I'd say, "No, still, I'm sorry, I'm not interested." He'd try again, but not in a "I'm not taking 'no' for an answer" way. Written out like this, it sounds rapey, but it didn't feel rapey at all. I felt completely in control of what would happen, and I liked that we were both clear with each other.

OTOH, I've ended up doing things way past my own boundaries with super-passive guys who were weirdly manipulative, and wondering the next day, how the hell did that happen?

I'm not saying that there is grey area. There's not, for me. But it's not all about whether someone is physically sexually aggressive. It's about whether they're paying attention to what you want.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:42 AM
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AG's office

DA's office. Different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:43 AM
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I have no idea what you're all talking about.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:44 AM
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198: Hey, there you are. You should probably check the story of yours I retold and tell me if I got it way wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:44 AM
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192- It seemed to me that the dismissiveness was to the "french guys are like THIS and it's bad" strain of your arguments, not (I hope) to your particular experiences.

I think it's completely legitimate to say "here's a thing a bunch of French guys did" and maybe "here's an aspect of French culture and I don't like it". For me the problem comes when you move from that to "I hate French men because they're all jerks". Which you've sort of backed away from, so, never mind I guess!

Anyway I think the previous discussion, with the invitations up to the apartment etc, was framed in a more descriptive way (this is a difference between French norms and American norms), which is why it didn't get much pushback. I agree with Natilo that it's easy to see a connection between the two things (the cultural norms being different, and more French guys acting like jerks to American women) but I, like others, know some French men who are very dear to me and are not jerks, so "I hate French dudes" got a stronger response.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:45 AM
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but that seems like it would require incredibly bad luck

EXACTLY. This is why I think there's something cultural going on.

(Yes, all that I've had occasion to have more than passing interaction with. I've been trying to come up with an exception, but I can't. It doesn't mean there isn't one, but it does mean that the numbers are pretty skewed, enough that I'd still consider it significant. Unless you're going to assume that I'm a completely unreliable observer (as ajay does above), but in that case you probably wouldn't bother to ask.)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:46 AM
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196:I would be surprised by people accepting groping as normal after the person has told the groper to piss off.

Jesus fuck, I can't imagine rules that say grabbing a tit or ass is ok as long as you stop when they say no. What the holy fuck.

I am outa here. I just don't understand you people.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:46 AM
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re: 197

Someone we knew in our social circle in Glasgow was revealed to be a bit like that. He got caught groping/feeling up a friend's sister when she was asleep at a party, and when that came out someone else revealed a similar story with more overt aggression on his part. He got the shit kicked out of him* and no-one ever spoke to him again. Informal justice was meted out.

* nothing to do with me, I only heard about it a week after.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:47 AM
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I've had both experiences that AWB describes, too. The passive-manipulative thing is totally icky, whereas the dominant-with-clear-boundaries is flattering and fun.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:48 AM
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204: I hate to see you go, Bob, but I love to watch you leave. *unpleasant leer*


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:48 AM
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197: Oh wow, I'd forgotten about that. If it's the guy I'm thinking of, it's a shame, too, because he was ridiculously attractive. He was just batshit crazy. What ended up happening is that most people in our social circle, including myself, just stopped hanging out with him. He threw a pity party for himself, and briefly tried to make it about fear of black male sexuality or whatever. But I couldn't figure out how to communicate that, no, everyone thought he was smart and cute and dorky and great until he'd get drunk and start pawing at people in this really intense, needy, you-are-not-going-to-say-no-to-me way while ranting about how people don't give him enough attention. It was weird, and sad. I kept wanting to tell him to start taking his fucking meds and call me.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:48 AM
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I kept wanting to tell him to start taking his fucking meds and call me.

You need to work on your bedside manner, doctor.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:53 AM
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203: I suspect it is more likely something subcultural going on. Certain professions can often select for disproportionate numbers of certain personality types, for instance, is one thought. (Like E. Messily says, many other people of both genders know many French men they have not seen acting like borderline rapists. So what we're doing now is trying to figure out what factors would account for the divergence of experiences.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:55 AM
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...and I think it was also made worse by academic anxiety. He was an MA student applying to my PhD program, and he kept trying to find out who was on the admissions committee and what he could do to sway their minds and stuff. Grad school is hell on the ego.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:56 AM
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209: He did literally have meds he wasn't taking.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:58 AM
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202: I think they were being dismissive of my perception of my experiences, which is just as bad. Worse? Possibly worse.

And the "I don't like French men" comment -- as togolosh observed, it becomes difficult to discuss cultures and cultural norms without a million qualifiers in every sentence. That was my shorthand, however ill-advised. I'd say the same thing about American fratbros -- I really don't like them, for a lot of the same reasons I don't like French men (intended in the same way). Doesn't stop me from recognizing that not all fratbros are awful. Even the ones who are quite dear to me -- I don't like the extent to which they participate in a culture of assholeness.

In other words -- and again I think it was togolosh, or Natilo, who commented on this above -- I'm making generalizations about people who share a culture based on that culture with the understanding that generalizations don't necessarily apply to all individuals*, and thinking that they do is wrong and bad, and I did so above with the assumption that this would be understood. That assumption was wrong.

*And yet making assumptions about individuals based on the groups they belong to is one of the fundamental ways people relate to each other. Confounding! I alluded to this above, but this is not a problem, so long as you're open to correcting those assumptions. And some assumptions are obviously bad, so you have to constantly re-evaluate and be vigilant and rigorous about it. Tricky, really, being a person.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:01 AM
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I think the problem with statements like "French men have been assholes to ME" does not provide evidence that "French men are women" even if the speaker is a woman with considerable experience of French men. in order to get accurate data, the speaker needs herself to be a correspondingly large sample--but she can only be one woman (cue postmodern objections here). it doesn't matter how many men she meets, they are all meeting her: as individuals our social anecdotes never add up to data.


Posted by: (dammit Jim I'm a) lurker | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:02 AM
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Yes, all that I've had occasion to have more than passing interaction with.

Is this 2 people, 20 people, 200 people, 2,000 people?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:03 AM
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210: These experiences didn't just happen in a professional context, or even while I was in that profession.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:04 AM
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"French men are women"

That's exactly what we've been saying!


Posted by: The Anti-French American Right | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:05 AM
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does not provide evidence that "French men are women"

Indeed. It's the beauty products that provide that evidence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:06 AM
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213: I think it's fair to say that while not every person in a culture has the same sexual ethics or approach, it is possible to be skeezed by experiences in a culture that takes different sexual approaches for granted. I had a Francophile friend who moved to Paris and went on and on about how fantastic it was, but it freaked her out that she'd be standing somewhere, waiting for her boyfriend to meet her, and suddenly feel a hand slide up her thigh from behind. Thinking it was her BF being playful, she waited a second before turning around and whoops no it's one of those irrepressible French men who think they're just going to do what they want and it's your job to say no to having a stranger's hand in your cunt.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:08 AM
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213: I apologize if it seemed like I was being dismissive of your perceptions or your experiences- that was not my intention at all. For what it's worth, it really didn't read to me like other people were trying to do that either, but I wasn't in their heads so I can't say for sure.

I was being dismissive of the conclusion you came to based on those experiences, because of various reasons discussed at length by various people in this thread. I don't think I agree with you about the inherent value in making assumptions about individuals based on the groups they belong to, and even if I were to grant the premise I think "French men" is too large a group to be usefully treated suchly.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:08 AM
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213: I think they were being dismissive of my perception of my experiences

I think their perception of their experiences is that their experiences do not match your perception of your experiences, and that something will be needed to account for this, and that "they were French" is simply not good enough since the various sets of incompatible experiences are all referring to "the French."

216: The more apposite question is, what proportion of them were. 215 is also a good question.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:09 AM
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215: You're looking for an order of magnitude? 20? Maybe more? Less than 100, probably significantly. Is this really a reasonable question? Do you have an excel sheet somewhere keeping track of all the personal interactions that you have? Like somehow pointing out that this is NOT A SCIENTIFIC SAMPLE invalidates the experiences, when I never claimed to be a sociologist, and am only evaluating my experiences with one group relative to my experiences in general?

Again, wtf, people. Everyone seems to acknowledge that cultural differences in these areas exist. yet pointing this out in a specific instance -- French men! -- is somehow crossing a line? Wtf logic is this?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:10 AM
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wow, classic--I should post even less often!
take 2:

statements like "French men have been assholes to ME" do not provide evidence that "French men are assholes to women" even if the speaker is a woman with considerable experience of French men. in order to get accurate data, the speaker needs herself to be a correspondingly large sample--but she can only be one woman (cue postmodern objections here). it doesn't matter how many men she meets, they are all meeting her: as individuals our social anecdotes never add up to data.


Posted by: (dammit Jim I'm a) lurker | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:10 AM
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Unless you're going to assume that I'm a completely unreliable observer (as ajay does above)

Well, there are basically four options here:
1) all French men are shits;
2) some are shits, and dq has met lots of French men and just been incredibly unlucky that they have all been shits;
3) some are shits, and dq is preferentially remembering the ones she's met that are shits and forgetting the ones she's met that aren't shits;
4) some are shits, and dq has met so few that it's not very improbable for all the ones she met to have been shits.

Now 1) isn't true, see lots of other comments above. And you say that 4) isn't true because you've met lots and lots of French men in different settings. So it's either 2) or 3) and since 2) is by definition very improbable, I'm going to go with 3).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:15 AM
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Y'all are taking a personal claim to be some kind of statistical sociological sample. I think the main issue is that there is a culture of blurring the lines of seduction and rape in France. I've heard it from many friends who live there, that you really have to recalibrate what you expect to have to do to communicate that you don't want sex to happen. Even if a majority of actual French men don't go around trying to "grey rape" everyone they see, I think it can be said that there is a different attitude in France toward what is an appropriate seduction scenario.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:16 AM
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222: Geez, you don't have to get so hysterical lady. From your previous comments, it wasn't really clear that this happened to you more than once. I personally find it hard to believe that you met 15 French men and every single one of them was an asshole who tried to grope you. As far as why everyone doesn't immediately fall in line and think that you've made a good stab at generalizing about French men, one reason may be that not everyone here thinks of French people as weird furriners.

And I still think "a tendency for the French to seem like they enjoy whining about things without having any intention of actually doing anything" is pretty funny.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:18 AM
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221: Right, but implying that I'm just bigoted or delusional or hysterical or something is more reasonable than that maybe they don't have those experiences because they are, in fact, men? (I'm thinking of Halford and Sifu.) That is bullshit.

I didn't think you were being dismissive, E. Sorry that's what came across.

And I'm not saying there's inherent value to making assumptions, I'm saying that's what people do -- we make assumptions so that we can interact socially. The set of assumptions we allow ourselves to make matters, as does what we do after we've actually interacted with a given individual.

And it's inconsistent and fucking weird that people would acknowledge that there are cultural differences wrt how women are treated on the one hand, and on the other lose their shit when I suggest that I have formed opinion about just such a cultural difference based on personal observation and experience.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:19 AM
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Like if I say I've had certain kinds of experiences dating NYC men, and everyone yells, HAVE YOU DATED EVERY SINGLE MAN IN THE CITY THEN? MAYBE YOU'RE JUST TOTALLY UNLUCKY it seems weirdly defensive to me. Of course I've only dated a handful of people, and all of them are from a pretty narrow band of society. But I think I can tell from certain behaviors what they seem to take for granted is normal sexual behavior. Now maybe they're all crazy in exactly the same way, or maybe they represent some tiny subculture of people who find me attractive, but I'm trying to figure out what they think is normal so I can communicate with them more clearly.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:21 AM
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Again, wtf, people. Everyone seems to acknowledge that cultural differences in these areas exist. yet pointing this out in a specific instance -- French men! -- is somehow crossing a line?

BIGOT! WHO WILL SAVE THE FRENCH FROM DQ?

I'm actually also surprised by the amount of pushback you got in this thread. Let's take it in a new direction with a poll. Which style of groping is better, aggressive French in the street style or sneaky Japanese on the subway? Relatedly, is the sneak method by the Japanese a reflection of their Ninja heritage?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:21 AM
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225- I definitely think that's true. I don't think that the fact that French men follow French norms, in France, makes French men bad people.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:22 AM
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I am with dq, and I have never met a French man. Met somebody from Quebec once. I just trust her perceptions about men.

And I also have known women who like to dance the boundaries, want to be dominated without giving explicit permission, enjoy saying no that means try again harder differently. I run like hell.

I am not going all Antioch, but gently asking and getting permissions aren't that much of a mood killer. I simply don't excited by overcoming resistance, or playing guessing games.

Obviously it takes more than men to perpetuate the patriarchy and rape culture.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:23 AM
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220 gets it completely right, I think.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:24 AM
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227: Welcome to my world here, DQ. If you ever talk about having had a negative experience with a man and don't say that every other man in the world is perfect, there was just this one completely bizarre outlier, you have poked the hornet's nest of male defensiveness. All men are fantastic listeners, generous to the point of pain, wonderful lovers, good-hearted, kind, affectionate, optimistic, and joyful, except the psychos you seem to want, you hysterical bitch.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:25 AM
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don't say that every other man in the world is perfect, there was just this one completely bizarre outlier

I feel like there might be some middle ground between this and the "all French men are assholes" line. Maybe. If we work hard.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:28 AM
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There are meds for being desperately needy? I need to talk to my psychiatrist.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:28 AM
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234: Agreed. But "hysterical"? Really?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:30 AM
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And I still think "a tendency for the French to seem like they enjoy whining about things without having any intention of actually doing anything" is pretty funny.

Um...good? You know I was describing what I thought was the general American perception of the French, not my personal beliefs, right? Because I said that. In that comment.

Geez, you don't have to get so hysterical lady.

Now this is funny.

I personally find it hard to believe...

Well, it's important to have personal beliefs to hold on to.

...that you met 15 French men and every single one of them was an asshole who tried to grope you

That's ok, I guess, considering that's not what I said. What I did say (conflating together several comments here) is that without exception that I can remember (hi ajay!) French men have been inappropriately sexually aggressive and dismissive of refusal and personal boundaries in a distinctive way, and that this often included transgression of physical boundaries, and that this indicated to me -- based on my perception of these numerous experiences relative to all my other experiences -- that the numbers were so skewed that there must be something cultural going on, as that seemed more likely than "I just happened to meet a whole bunch of assholes who were assholes in just the same way." I came to this conclusion after a large number of experiences, not after the first one, whatever that does for ajay's contention of confirmation bias. (Which, btw, still sweet of you, esp considering other women in this thread have said, no, there really are differences.)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:30 AM
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227.1: Actually Halford, for one, was not disagreeing with you merely out of his personal experience as a dude, and said so very clearly.

222: Again, wtf, people. Everyone seems to acknowledge that cultural differences in these areas exist.

What's at issue is what the cultural differences are, not "that they exist." What you are describing is out-and-out molestation and harrassment. If what you describe is a general French cultural problem -- effectively the default condition of a significant majority of French males -- then France should be having epic and visible problems with molestation and harrassment of large numbers of women and girls. It is possible for countries to have such problems: Japan does, albeit exacerbated by overcrowding, with (unsuprisingly) particular targeting of schoolgirls. Does France have a problem on this scale? If so, that's very interesting information. But it's not information that can be generalized from one person's experience of a few dozen people.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:32 AM
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236: also agreed.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:32 AM
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What you did say (I have a photographic memory):

Every single French man I have ever encountered, on the other hand, has been a complete asshole, and inappropriately sexually aggressive in ways that made me alternately uncomfortable and enraged


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:33 AM
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229 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:33 AM
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224: I'm going with modified (1) from your list: Some actions that are acceptable by French standards of behavior as measured through the lens of someone of DQ's cultural background read as shitty.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:34 AM
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229: Goddammit, gswift ninja'd me on the Japanese.

Or something.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:35 AM
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242: the actions DQ describes are objectively shitty. (3) seems right to me.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:36 AM
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But it's not information that can be generalized from one person's experience of a few dozen people.

I don't have firsthand knowledge here, but I've heard the same sort of thing (lots of random groping and sexual aggression in France) often enough that, whatever the problems with how she's saying it, something along the lines of Dona's experience is not unique to her.

Like, if she were saying this about Slovenians, it would be an entirely new idea to me, and I'd be thinking, "Huh, I wonder if it's like that or if she had really weird luck." About France, I've heard it before.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:37 AM
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It's like no one here has ever seen an Eric Rohmer movie.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:37 AM
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246: I haven't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:38 AM
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Relatedly, is the sneak method by the Japanese a reflection of their Ninja heritage?

Calumny! The Japanese have a more dominant tradition of "berserker" unconscious emotional intuitive anti-rational action, and even have a word for it, which I forget.

The Japanese will tell you it is the Chinese that are sneaky.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:38 AM
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There's that story "The Women Men Don't See"

Thanks for mentioning that, Natilo. I had never heard of it, and now I've found it online and read it. It reminds me a wee bit of Christa Wolf's "Self-Experiment," which I love. (For those with JSTOR access, it's available in translation here.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:38 AM
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242. 244: I think it's possible for behavior to be both common and culturally sanctioned where it takes place and genuinely (not sure about objectively) shitty. Beating your children hard enough to cause bruising and other injuries has been common in lots of cultures.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:39 AM
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246:Me neither


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:39 AM
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)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:39 AM
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but I do appreciate that this level of crummy treatment extends to the powerful as well as the powerless

I always felt that this kind of argument validates the crumminess. Injustice applied across the board is still injustice.

French military performance in WWII was in fact not very good.

French military performance when up against the initial German blitzkrieg in 1940-41 was just as good as British and Russian performance...it's just that the French didn't have the English Channel or the Russian steppes to give them strategic depth and a couple of years to get their act together. The Brits got crushed early but in a masterstroke of PR spin turned Dunkirk into a heroic victory.



Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:39 AM
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253 was me.

To be a slutty man, you have to be "aggressive" the way a salesperson is aggressive. You have to be self-confident, and not so invested in each interaction that you feel wounded to your quick if someone turns you down. There's not necessarily a continuum with violent aggression.

But you also generally have to initiate first physical contact -- the kiss, the touch, whatever, which a salesman does not have to do. If you do that a lot you gradually learn that there are sexual rewards to taking womens' compliance for granted and being confident/aggressive about initiation. Depending on one's personality and experiences I could see a potential continuum with aggression.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:41 AM
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240: I also said "without exception", and later acknowledged that, by necessity, I would have to qualify this to "that I can remember", in the same way that you have to qualify any statement in that way. Which is really not a standard that people seem to subject others to, on other topics. Interesting!

And, again, I said there appears to be something in French culture which makes this sort of treatment ok. DS, you think this is not true if French women aren't experiencing an epidemic of groping? Um, no. Sometimes it's just foreigners who get this treatment. I've heard this most wrt the Middle East, specifically that western women (particularly blondes?) are assumed to be prostitutes, but I've also been told that "Americans girls are easy, everyone knows that." So, you know, there are a number of possibilities.

And my objection isn't that Halford was dismissing my experiences on the basis of his experience as a man (I don't actually know how that would make sense?), it's that to a certain degree men simply cannot know what they're talking about here, bc they're not subjected to this sort of behavior. It's the same way I'm never going to know what it's like to be black (I'm white), and there's always going to be forms of racism and discrimination that I don't see because of it. But you know what? I don't go around telling black people that they're wrong.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:43 AM
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But I did watch, and this is like so ontopic, Godard's Bande a Parte (?) recently, and the second lead male, apparent unscripted, does grab Anna Karina's tit, and she looks at him with shock. I'm betting Godard was playing a joke on his wife, or being nasty to his recent ex-wife.

The French are inscrutable.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:44 AM
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238: But with sexual harassment, doesn't it seem obvious that the degree to which behavior is considered acceptable might be reflected in the fact that people don't report sexual assault? The fact that Japan has higher statistics of reported sexual assault tells me that victims feel justified in complaining to authorities about it. It doesn't necessarily mean that French men aren't sexually aggressive; it could also mean that French women don't consider it assault, or don't feel comfortable reporting it as assault. It could be (and this is what I get from watching Eric Rohmer movies, rather than from experience) that what DQ finds assholish, French women find flattering.

My Eastern European roommate and I are constantly having conversations with our South American roommate about matters such as these--not about sexual aggression but about his attraction to women who are in a perpetual state of crisis and insecurity who need to be rescued with compliments. He thinks that's what all women want, and takes for granted that she and I must really hate ourselves that we don't go out and find boyfriends who will tell us we're pretty and pat our heads when we're sad.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:45 AM
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I don't go around telling black people that they're wrong.

Maybe you'd get groped less if you did.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:46 AM
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258 also made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:47 AM
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255.3:Exactly So dead on it's amazing.

The patriarchy reeks in this thread, dismissing, as always, the experiences of women. It's terrible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:47 AM
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The patriarchy reeks in this thread

That's actually Axe Body Spray.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:48 AM
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The main reason why I found the 'without exception' so strange, is that while based on what I've heard, French men who hit on strangers or random acquaintances are very often creepily aggressive, there are also many French men who won't be doing it at all, whether because they're shy, or happily monogamous, or gay.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:49 AM
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So dead on it's amazing.

The way you patronize women in this thread reeks, bob. It's terrible.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:50 AM
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257: Or the women are afraid of inviting French male cops into their apartment.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:53 AM
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Rohmer* movies are pretty short on action. I mean, during that nuit chez Maude (my boyfriend) Trintignant doesn't any grabbing or tackling.

*One of my very very favorites.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:54 AM
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I don't think I would have bothered to write anything if you had said something like, "I've been to foreign countries X, Y, Z, and W, and I was fine in X Y Z but was treated shittily with remarkable frequency in W." That isn't what you wrote though, so I carried out my duties as Partriarchy, Silencer of Authentic Women's Experiences instead. Sorry.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:54 AM
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Oh, for fucks sake. We can't reject your egregiously stupid and overbroad cultural stereotyping (with which, by the way, most French women would disagree -- that is, they simply have a different perspective than you do) because you're a woman? Come on. No one is denying you experienced what you experienced; it's the conclusions you're drawing that are bullshit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:55 AM
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That was me.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:56 AM
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263:Oh, only half-joking, or half-ironic.

I thought it was common knowledge that I don't like men very much (including gay men), and so logically also have more empathy toward women who don't like men very much.

And, as a matter of stone fact, I hang around a lot, well all, women who don't hang around men. Although, by mutual choice, I'm kinda on their margins.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:58 AM
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255: DS, you think this is not true if French women aren't experiencing an epidemic of groping? Um, no. Sometimes it's just foreigners who get this treatment.

That's perfectly plausible. It would also dovetail with the pervasive stereotype that American women are expected to swoon at French sophistication at the drop of a hat.

And my objection isn't that Halford was dismissing my experiences on the basis of his experience as a man (I don't actually know how that would make sense?)

Well, if he were saying "I've lived in France and you're wrong," that's different from saying "I've lived in France and know many women of both French and American extraction who would disagree with you," right? He doesn't need to be claiming to understand the experience of harassment at some profound and personal level to have access to arguments and opinions that do not issue from his own gender. Therefore telling him he doesn't understand what it is to be a woman, while true as far as it goes, is not necessarily going to persuade him that your specific opinion is correct, nor should it.

I don't go around telling black people that they're wrong.

And you know, I really hate this "hiding behind the black people" trick. Yes, there's a history of devaluaing the experiences of black people; however, some black people are sometimes wrong, and it can be quite okay to tell them so. It is not okay to use "black people" as a proxy for asserting that subjective opinions about subjective experiences are inviolable and cannot be contradicted. That's just really lazy.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:01 AM
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Of course, the women who really really like men will tell you I am not much of a man.

That is so ok with me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:02 AM
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I don't think I would have bothered to write anything if you had said something like, "I've been to foreign countries X, Y, Z, and W, and I was fine in X Y Z but was treated shittily with remarkable frequency in W."

I actually did say something remarkably similar to this above. (X, Y, and Z in this case were Germany, Holland, and the Czech Republic.) I'm assuming your memory didn't photograph it.

Oh, for fucks sake. We can't reject your egregiously stupid and overbroad cultural stereotyping (with which, by the way, most French women would disagree -- that is, they simply have a different perspective than you do) because you're a woman?

How about we agree that I can generalize about French men just as much as you can generalize about French women and call it even? Also, more seriously, my conclusions are not materially very different from things that other women have said in this thread, or from what Jackmormon said in that earlier thread, even if I have said it in a more blunt, likely to offend manner (at least initially). So what makes my conclusions stupid, while theirs aren't?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:04 AM
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Has butt grabbing at Unfogged DCon II been mentioned? Bc I think the cultural norm at the flophouse was for butts to be grabbed.

There are pictures for proof.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:05 AM
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That's just really lazy.

Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:05 AM
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This impression of French men is something I've heard consistently from women who have spent time in France.

Furthermore, European cultures are genuinely different from each other. Germans think mothers shouldn't work and so don't provide adequate child care, while in France mothers do work and the universities provide health care. Dutch people really do all speak perfect English and dislike Germans. Danish people drink way too much. Stereotyping like this is wrong if you assume that every single person fits the stereotype, or if you apply it to people who aren't actually part of that culture (2nd generation americans, say), but cultural differences are real and meaningful.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:05 AM
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270 was me.

257: It could be (and this is what I get from watching Eric Rohmer movies, rather than from experience) that what DQ finds assholish, French women find flattering.

What DQ describes is men persisting in groping her after being told to go away. I'm not familiar with the films of Rohmer myself, but I've never seen anything in any context that would hint to me that this is behavior French women would find flattering. DQ's explanation that it's likelier for foreign women to be targeted by this behavior strikes me as being a lot more likely.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:05 AM
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For the record, I've spent a fair amount of time in France and don't share dq's opinion. In fact, the one time I was in any outlandish way groped (pretty aggressively!) in Paris, the bartender, seeing what happened, fairly leapt over the bar to (pretty aggressively!) grab the offender and throw his ass out. After which there were many apologies and gratis glasses of champagne.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:08 AM
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273: I was kinda tipsy, but I don't remember anybody grabbing my butt, will. :(


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:09 AM
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I actually did say something remarkably similar to this above. (X, Y, and Z in this case were Germany, Holland, and the Czech Republic.)

Right, and you may notice I didn't critique it because it represents your experience and it's pretty ridiculous to deny someone's experiences.

On the other hand, did you also notice that you wrote a lot of other nonsense on this thread and people were mainly critiquing that?

So what makes my conclusions stupid, while theirs aren't?

Probably sexism and partiarchy, right? Wait, no, that doesn't explain it at all. I wonder what it could be.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:09 AM
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And you know, I really hate this "hiding behind the black people" trick.

It's not a trick so much as it's the closest, easiest example of why it's pretty shitty to tell someone what it's like to be them when you in fact have no way of knowing. I guess I could have used "Palestinian" or "stevedore" or something, but I thought referencing black people would have been clearer, since that's a conversation that gets had a lot more frequently.

And yeah, of course Palestinians, stevedores, black people, and women can all be wrong. But saying they're wrong when they're reporting their own experience of which you yourself can have no direct knowledge is just plain arrogant, and usually pretty invalid.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:09 AM
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Apo:

I held you while BR grabbed your butt. It was one of her favorite moments.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:10 AM
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278: You've forgotten? Now I'm hurt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:10 AM
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After which there were many apologies and gratis glasses of champagne.

With the right partner, this could be a great con for supporting one's champagne habit.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:12 AM
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Also even with Black americans there's a big difference between racist stereotypes and genuine cultural differences. Black americans are all lazy is a racist stereotype, Black american parents are more likely than white (northern? non-ethnic?) americans to expect children to treat their elders with a large degree of formal respect ("sir" and whatnot) is a real cultural difference.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:12 AM
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Les Valseuses is a film that some people think of as a wonderful classic where the main characters go around creating mischief, while others would describe their behavior crossing the range from sleazy to outright sexual assault.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:12 AM
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the bartender, seeing what happened, fairly leapt over the bar to (pretty aggressively!) grab the offender and throw his ass out.

I find this hard to believe. Was the bartender an American? I have it on pretty good authority that French culture doesn't see what is wrong with groping, but the people there do like to wear berets and eat frogs.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:12 AM
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Also, speaking of DSK, television reporters are such bottom feeders. This week they found out that the victim's brother works around the corner and so there were TV vans around all afternoon/evening until the cops sent them home.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:14 AM
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286: I'm sorry, but your disbelief is unconvincing to me. Do you have any examples of any one else experiencing it?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:15 AM
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Which reminds me of a "scam" a friend and I used to try to pull, mostly unsuccessfully. We'd go into a bar, and when the first round arrived, one of us would exclaim "Happy Birthday!" to the other, hopefully just loud enough for the bartender to overhear. The thought was that this would score us a free round, but it almost never worked.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:16 AM
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13: Speaking of Law&Order, I first heard about the DSK allegations at the news teaser at the end of a L&O: SVU episode, and the little snippet of the news left on the end of the recording of the episode included the phrase "Manhattan's special victim's unit." I didn't know that they were real!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:17 AM
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280: It's not a trick so much as it's the closest, easiest example of why it's pretty shitty to tell someone what it's like to be them when you in fact have no way of knowing.

Since nobody on this thread has told you "what it's like to be you" -- but plenty of people have disagreed with whether your experience is relevant as a cultural critique -- this line of objection is not valid. It would be if someone had, mind you, and that would have been shitty behavior.

As it stands, here's what it's like to be me: as a black person, I find it shitty to see the plight of blackness used as a shield for sloppy pseudo-sociological argument from personal anecdote. I hereby withdraw the imprimatur of The Black People for such behavior, and as the duly-deputized representative of The Black People must hereby request that you cease and desist from all further citations of The Black People.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:17 AM
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Not compelling anyone to shut up, but I think the "what dona said about the French" facet of the conversation has run off the road into the ditch -- I don't think anyone involved is successfully conveying anything to anyone who doesn't agree with them already.

Unless you, and by you I mean everyone here, have some new insight that'll move the discussion on to someplace more productive, this is probably a good moment to agree to disagree and move on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:17 AM
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Probably sexism and partiarchy, right? Wait, no, that doesn't explain it at all. I wonder what it could be.

Loyalty? Ego? (as in I'm not an enabler)

Incidentally, is staring at a women's ass so much better than groping it that we can say "boys will be boys?"

I have never met a woman who wasn't abused by men as their cultural prerogative, physically, verbally, or emotionally. Not one.

Now everyone say:"I'm the different kind of man" or "My men are not that way."

Fine. I am an abuser, maybe recovering. It helps a ton to keep away from other men who support attitudes of privilege, and hang around women who are in a safe space to call your bullshit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:18 AM
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(291 was me again, sorry.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:18 AM
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292: That trick NEVER works!


Posted by: Rocket T. Squirrel | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:18 AM
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On the other hand, did you also notice that you wrote a lot of other nonsense on this thread and people were mainly critiquing that?

More citations please!

More seriously (and less snottily, since we've both become pretty snotty), I've answered and argued pretty much all of these things directly. I don't think you've done the same. Cultural differences are real, I reported on what I concluded to be a cultural difference based on my own experiences, other people have agreed that this is a real thing, yet my conclusions are still...stupid? This doesn't make a lot of sense.

And your determination to dismiss my observations and call them stupid -- particularly in light of other people confirming them -- does seem weird. Is it sexism? I dunno. There have been a few red flags in the way you've expressed yourself, things that, in my experience, have very often later tracked with Confirmed Sexism. That doesn't mean you're a sexist, but non-sexists can say sexist things.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:19 AM
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You don't seem to understand the difference between talking about specific features of a culture and making overbroad, stereotypical generalizations.

I tried to set out some of my view of the real differences between French and US culture, to the extent generalizations are possible, on this point above. The cultures are different. There are plenty of things that the French view as -- really, genuinely -- flirtatious and "game playing," particularly in an office setting, that would not be acceptable in the US. Perhaps this will change, perhaps not, but it hasn't prevented the emergence of professionally powerful French women or a specifically French feminism. The French often view the US as cold, emotionally detached, and alternating wildly between prudishness and wildly excessive sexuality, and I've heard both French women and French men lament their perceived state of sex relations in the US (fwiw, I think this stereotype plays into how French people treat American women specifically, just as French womens reputation as exotic sex kittens plays into how they are treated in the US by American men). To think that French women are routinely sexually assaulted after telling men to stop is dead wrong.

I beleieve American men


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:25 AM
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DS, I take some one who says, "I've never seen X behave that way towards women, you must be mistaken!" to be telling me what it's like to be me.

I didn't see 292 until after I posted 296.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:26 AM
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297: To think that French women are routinely sexually assaulted after telling men to stop is dead wrong.

In fairness, it has now emerged that DQ is not saying this, or at any rate no longer saying/implying it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:28 AM
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I wasn't actually expecting anyone to listen to 292. Although I do think it would be a good idea if you all would -- maybe think about stuff and bring it up again some other time, but this conversation has gone past into the ditch, and is now more of the off a cliff variety of conversation.

On the other hand, sometimes things get better after getting rocky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:28 AM
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You don't seem to understand the difference between talking about specific features of a culture and making overbroad, stereotypical generalizations.

I think maybe, yeah. I'm having some real difficulty figuring out what it is you object to, particularly in light of

fwiw, I think this stereotype plays into how French people treat American women specifically, just as French womens reputation as exotic sex kittens plays into how they are treated in the US by American men.

And, over LB's objections, I'm genuinely interested in hearing what line you think I crossed, and how I did so. If you don't want to continue the thread but care to let me know in an email, that's ok with me, too. And I also get it if you don't, since it's been all afternoon on this now.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:31 AM
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The key to patriarchal rape-cultures is not really the actual assault, which can be and usually is restrained by the structures of the patriarchy itself, but by the attitude of men that women are, or should be, universally available unless protected by the patriarchy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:32 AM
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And, you know, I've really been trying to not make this about my experience because I don't think my experience means all that much, but when I lived in Paris my housemate, who was a banker and annoying for many reasons, though basically a decent guy, threw a party. One of the other French bankers got drunk and tried to feel up a woman. She slapped him, asked for assistance, and the dude was thrown out of the party and beaten up a bit by his colleagues, followed by profuse apologies and "are you all rights" and so forth and so on. But obviously that doesn't mean that there's no sexual assault in France or that everyone would behave that way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:33 AM
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298: And that makes no sense. Someone who says "you must be mistaken about your generalization" is not telling you "what it's like to be you." If they were out-and-out saying "I think you must be delusional" that's a different thing. (Looking back, one person was guilty of that, and to be sure ajay will face the wrath of The Black People as a result. But it hasn't been a common thing on this thread.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:34 AM
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I totally have a blog crush on DS, but everyone knows that.

Carry on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:35 AM
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Apologies to the woman, not to the guy thrown out; that was a little unclear.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:35 AM
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to be sure ajay will face the wrath of The Black People as a result

Just checking -- are you authorized to call down the wrath of The Black People generally, or is it restricted to The Black Canadian People? Because wrath-wise, the latter is quite a different kettle of fish.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:36 AM
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301 -- thanks for asking, the short answer is some combination oF tone and generalization; it's a bit like the difference between "black parenting style tends to be x" and "black people suck because they are bad parents.". I'd give a direct quote but I'm on the Iphone.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:39 AM
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307: Indeed it is. The Black Canadian People were raised battling polar bears for meat on the frozen tundra and are far more terrifying as a result.

But actually I just meant Arthur and Susan Black, who live two doors down from me. They're CPAs, but like, really vicious ones.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:39 AM
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Someone who says "you must be mistaken about your generalization" is not telling you "what it's like to be you."

Sure, but there wasn't/isn't a lot of clarity there. It still seems to me that they were telling me I was mistaken about my own perceptions of my experience, which, as you've acknowledged, is really fucking annoying, especially if that's the default assumption.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:40 AM
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Things always get better after getting rocky road ice cream. In a sugar cone.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:43 AM
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303:How chivalrous. How saddening. See 302.

She probably appreciated it, and went home with one of her protectors.

Woulda preferred a story with a butterknife and a coverup.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:45 AM
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311: Always is hard standard to meet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:46 AM
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But actually I just meant Arthur and Susan Black, who live two doors down from me.

Baaarely resisting 30 Rock joke.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:51 AM
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I'm a little behind in the thread, but I assume that by now we're all agreed that we must invade France and liberate her women. DQ will be our general, but I volunteer to be grand vizier or whatever it is the #2 position in an army is called.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:53 AM
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315: It's France, so, actually, just the two of us should be sufficient, Walt. You bring the smores.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:54 AM
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I guess come to think of it, if I encountered, say, 20 people from a foreign country, and every single one, without a single fucking exception, sexually harassed me, I would feel completely comfortable drawing broad conclusions about the country they're from.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:55 AM
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310: I take it you're thinking of ajay's comments, e.g. 224.

I saw some merit in asking whether, really, every single French man you met in France groped you. The boss at the office where the other guy grabbed your butt? Did he also grope you? If there were other males in the office, did they also grope you? Did you encounter salesmen, merchants, storekeepers, who also all, each and every one, attempted to grope you or otherwise behave in a sleazy manner? The staff at the airport, they too? It seems worth asking whether those who didn't engage in this behavior dropped off your radar.

You've already backed off the more generalized claim that all French men suck (at least I think you have), but one can acknowledge your personal experience of a certain class of French men -- those prone to sleazy behavior -- while perhaps thinking that it describes exactly that: a certain type of French man.

I'm not saying much more than several other people have said already.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:57 AM
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318: What's wrong, parsimon? Worried that you missed a chance to fight?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 11:59 AM
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To go back to the OP, how do people here feel about Ted Kennedy? On the one hand, pretty great as a public servant, on the other hand just like DSK in his dealing with women, at least before he hit his sixties when he seems to have changed his behaviour and minus a formal rape indictment. I think that like in the DSK case, a combination of admiration for him as a public figure, ugly patriarchal mores, and the fact that his charm and charisma got him plenty of thoroughly consensual nookie led people to try to ignore his uglier side. Or I guess what I'm saying is that when we throw stones at the French left's support for DSK, we should be careful about the shards of glass raining down on us.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:05 PM
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315,316:I don't want to risk you two getting tangled in your parachutes.

Just nuke it. What have got nukes for, anyway?

(and what else should a misanthrope's answer to any question be?)

319:I'm always available. Let's see...

Rick Perry is teh gay!

That got me a fight at Yggles.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:07 PM
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318, um peep...?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:07 PM
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THat was meant to be 319


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:07 PM
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310: It still seems to me that they were telling me I was mistaken about my own perceptions of my experience

Since I can only identify one person who actually said anything like this, then I have no idea what "they" this is a reference to. You started out with a reckless generalization, AFAICT the most relevant "they" were disagreeing with your perception about your generalization being valid. Which is fair game.

319: What's wrong, parsimon? Worried that you missed a chance to fight?

How silly of her not to realize the thread is now in "snide, pointless sniping" mode.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:08 PM
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To go back to the OP, how do people here feel about Ted Kennedy?

I think Teddy is really hott, more then ten years ago, since his love handles have gotten even more squeezy and soft.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:09 PM
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320: Poor Teddy. Such a good senator, and such a bad person otherwise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:10 PM
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297: The French often view the US as ... alternating wildly between prudishness and wildly excessive sexuality...

For all their many and grotesque flaws as a people in this they are completely correct.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:10 PM
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314: Auggghhh, you're killing me. I love Alec Baldwin and I never ever get to watch that show.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:11 PM
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317: I'm not really sure what you think this comment has accomplished. I'm going to assume you were being sarcastic or mocking or whatever, because that's been the case so far, but I'm sincerely sorry if I'm in error.

Would it help if I said France wasn't the only country where I had shitty experiences with men? France was actually the worst, and by far the most consistent* (and it's also only been French men who I've encountered in the states who have upped the ante), but that might have to do with my personal reaction to the French style of harrassment. Other women may find Argentina worse, or Italy. Or hell, even parts of Staten Island, or the Jersey Shore -- other places where machismo seems to be out of control.

And you know what? I've made conclusions about the cultures of both Argentina and Italy and wrt how women are treated on the basis of those observations, too. (Hint: I don't like them, either!) I recognize that these are broad generalizations, but they're still there. These behaviors are considered normal enough that they happen in public and no one objects.

*This is where the without exception thing comes in. I wasn't approached, that I can remember, by French men except to be hit on (leading to bullshit). They either ignored me, or it was whoa what the fuck super aggressive. In the other countries I mention here, I had interactions that were not sexualized, but there was still a whole lotta bullshit.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:13 PM
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And in the 'patriarchy can be fucked up for men as well' category, I bring you the always reliable James Taranto of the WSJ:

There has been no suggestion that Mr. Daniels behaved wrongfully in private, much less in public. Mrs. Daniels's actions back then are reminiscent of Meryl Streep's character Joanna Kramer, the villain in "Kramer vs. Kramer." But since the Indiana first lady is a private citizen who appears to have no political ambitions of her own, her past indiscretions are none of anyone's business.

Yet there's a curiosity around this story, which we suppose comes down to the question: What does it tell us about the character of a prospective president? Or, to put it more pointedly: If a man would take back a woman after such a betrayal, is he tough enough to lead the country?

via Jon Chait


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:18 PM
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The boss at the office where the other guy grabbed your butt? Did he also grope you? If there were other males in the office, did they also grope you? Did you encounter salesmen, merchants, storekeepers, who also all, each and every one, attempted to grope you or otherwise behave in a sleazy manner? The staff at the airport, they too?

His boss wasn't French, and we weren't in an office. I've also already said that the characterization applied to men I encountered in a more than passing interaction. If you insist on jumping in on a thread and re-igniting a nasty fight, even though you're "not saying much more than several other people have said already," please try to be accurate about it.

Ever consider cross-examining victims of sexual assault on the stand? You know, if you need a career change. I hear they like to get women to do it so the jury doesn't get offended.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:21 PM
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330: Hmmm, I wonder if it would help if it got leaked out that he was cheating on her first, and that's why she left him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:24 PM
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317: I'm not really sure what you think this comment has accomplished. I'm going to assume you were being sarcastic or mocking or whatever, because that's been the case so far, but I'm sincerely sorry if I'm in error.

It's possible that I'm being overly generous but I read 317 as sincere and as somewhat of an apology. I interpreted the meaning as, "I don't agree with everything you've said on this thread but, upon reflection, I think you were warranted in drawing the conclusions that you did, and I could have been more respectful of that fact."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:32 PM
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333: It's a close call, but the bolding on "without a single fucking exception" makes me read it as sarcasm rather than apology.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:35 PM
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But actually I just meant Arthur and Susan Black, who live two doors down from me. They're CPAs, but like, really vicious ones.

aka Trump's friends



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:36 PM
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I wouldn't call it an apology, but yes, if something happened over and over to me in a foreign country, I would feel quite comfortable drawing fairly broad conclusions.

Now on the other hand I think that these particular conclusions are incorrect (and I'm basing this off of what I've been told by other women, not my own personal experience of not being harassed).


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:36 PM
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332: I think it probably would help. I'm imagining that campaign meeting now. "We need some bimbos. I don't know, just get me some bimbos! Not a Debbie, you dumbass. Get me a Gennifer with a 'G'!"

333: Oh. Um. If that's the case, ok, I'm sorry I assumed otherwise.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:41 PM
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And yes, the bold was also meant to indicate sarcasm, but not meant to dismiss DQ's experiences. What a complex nuanced position I am taking.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:41 PM
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and I'm sorry I assumed otherwise.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:42 PM
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Get me a Gennifer with a 'G'!

All we have is a Cheyenne, a Misty, and a Rielle, Mr. Governor.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:42 PM
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I've only read half the thread so far, but I just wanted to point out that perhaps the overlap between promiscuous and boundary-disrespecting aggressiveness increases with age. The cute guy who hits on Megan is (right now) perhaps successful, but entering into his, I don't know, late thirties? Forties? Will encounter more and more rejections, and if he's not self-aware enough, won't figure out that, duh, now that he's got a belly and a bald patch, his lines won't work so well. Not that I excuse that, but I think it could be a factor. And even more so with Powerful Men, because they can perhaps squeeze a few more years due to prestige/power/money/whatever.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:46 PM
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Aaaaamd apology retracted.

Apo, did you pop out to the highway strip club and poll for names? "Rielle" is pretty good.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:48 PM
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I wonder if "Renesemee" will be popular in, say, 15-20 years.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:49 PM
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331: If you insist on jumping in on a thread and re-igniting a nasty fight

Apologies; I hadn't paid attention to time-stamps and didn't realize it was over.

331.2: Ever consider cross-examining victims of sexual assault on the stand? You know, if you need a career change.

This is just obnoxious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:50 PM
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"Rielle" is pretty good.

That was the name of John Edwards' ladyfriend.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:51 PM
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ladyfriend

And that word doesn't make you seem 80 years old in the least.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:53 PM
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341: Huh. It's not that it sounds inherently implausible in the abstract, but it doesn't ring true with my experience.

What does ring truer, to me, is the idea that (assuming everything that's been said about DSK is true, and my apologies if it is) a rapey kind of guy like DSK might start out as a younger man being somewhat aggressive and assaultive, but concerned enough about repercussions to be restrained about prosecutable, and might start feeling immune as he got older and more powerful, leading to more serious levels of assault.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:53 PM
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344.2: I would put it about on par with that lovely paragraph of yours that I quoted. And not an inaccurate comparison, actually. You nailed the style.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:53 PM
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and might start feeling immune as he got older and more powerful, leading to more serious levels of assault

And also as he continued to do progressively more rapey things and never got in trouble for it.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:55 PM
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347: I should learn not to rewrite comments. This is hash, but I think what I meant is comprehensible if you give it a moment to sink in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:56 PM
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a rapey kind of guy

I don't like this phrase at all. Partly because it's too cutesy, and partly because I don't know what the fuck it's supposed to mean. You mean "a rapist", or something broader?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 12:59 PM
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I agree with donaquixote. It is silly to have to deny personal experiences. Different people in different cultures act differently. I have heard about that thing about french men before.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:02 PM
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348: Now you're just annoying. If you can't tell the difference between a series of questions designed to elicit an answer to the question whether all the French men you met groped/harassed you, and a court proceeding designed to determine whether a particular man engaged in sexually abusive behavior toward a particular woman, I pass.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:05 PM
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I'm pretty surprised at the resistance to LB's formulation in the original post. I've felt all my life that there's a pretty clear distinction between male slut (stop looking over here) and sexually assaultive asshole, and I've known both and the distinction is pretty obvious. I agree that sexually assaultive assholes are likely to also be promiscuous, but still. I'd think that the rejected, aging, unattractive male slut (what ARE you looking at? Get out of here) is a pathetic figure, but does not automatically turn into an assaultive asshole.

[Trying to avoid getting sucked back into the other nonsense]


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:05 PM
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351: I agree. How about Halford's SAA "sexually assaultive asshole") instead?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:10 PM
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|| I pause and play because I don't really want to talk about it/read the whole thread, but:

I was harsher than particularly necessary earlier; 50 and the couple of comments following it annoyed me because I felt like they were waving away some real problems with some ways of seeing the world, but earlier comments in the same vein were fairly evidently aware of that context, which I lost track of.

|>


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:11 PM
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351: I can see not liking it because it's inappropriately cutesy, but I'm surprised you didn't understand it -- aside from talking about the French, the rest of the thread has been about sexually aggressive guys who either commit or skirt the edges of sexual assault. When you say you don't know what the fuck it's supposed to mean, do you mean that you're really completely confused, that you know what I mean but contest that it applies to any identifiable class of men, or that while you sort of know what I mean think that the edges of that class are too indistinct to make the term useful at all?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:12 PM
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357.cont: Somehow I missed your last sentence. If I'd meant just 'rapist', I would have said it -- the point of using the term is that I can see someone moving from less to more serious forms of sexual assault as he got older, more powerful, and more accustomed to getting away with shit. Obviously, at any point in that career before he commits his first rape, he's not a rapist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:14 PM
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So "a rapey kind of guy" means rapists and "sexually aggressive guys who either commit or skirt the edges of sexual assault"?

If so, then yes, I was completely confused, and yes, I contest that it applies to any identifiable class of men, and yes, I think that the edges of that class are too indistinct to make the term useful at all.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:18 PM
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I mean, the difference between male slut and sexually assaultive asshole is simple: am I treating the other person like a human being, or an object of violence? This doesn't seem that hard to distinguish in practice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:19 PM
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Obviously, at any point in that career before he commits his first rape, he's not a rapist.

He's not a rapist, he's just "rapey"?



Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:19 PM
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354 seems completely right.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:20 PM
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361: Spell out your objection a bit?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:21 PM
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I don't think it's funny.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:28 PM
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I didn't mean it to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:29 PM
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353: Reacting to something I didn't do is...odd. Comparing two things doesn't mean I say they're the same or don't see any differences btwn them, it only means I do see similarities. And I do think it's the same style, which is why I made the comparison in the first place, and used in the same way: as a bullying tactic. Asking questions over and over again that I've already answered in an aggressive, disbelieving way designed to uncover inconsequential inconsistencies to "discredit" me? 'Cause that's what it looked like. And hey! That's what defense attorneys supposedly do to rape victims. You see where the comparison came in.

It's probably fair to recognize that at this point I've just lost patience with you, generally, and so my response to this carries with it other experiences; in short, you've only ever interacted with me in order to insult or denigrate me, and this appeared to be another useless, tired example of that. I don't want to pull the "lurkers side with me" thing too hard, but I have gotten unsolicited emails from people telling me not to take your weird passive aggressive bullying too seriously, or at least too personally, bc it's not just me. But you know what? Fuck that. I'm gonna call you on it when you do it to me.

So parsimon, if you don't like me, then don't fucking talk to me, and I won't talk to you. But don't think you can pull shit on me either.

356: This makes sense. Thanks. I wouldn't want to jump back into this shitshow either.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:29 PM
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360:Absolutely right, trivial to answer. The aggressor, or first mover, is always taking the "Master" position, and objectifying the "Other."

The "male slut" on the other hand, is taking the "Slave" position, objectifying himself, and letting the woman be the "Master" or "Subject," thus allowing the possibility of a relationship based on trust, by trusting at the start.

Glad to help.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:29 PM
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365: that's my objection.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:30 PM
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368: That something I didn't mean as humor wasn't funny is your objection?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:31 PM
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The first clause in 359 should have some explanatory power here.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:32 PM
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erm, the first clause in 359.2, that is.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:33 PM
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You may ask, can't the aggressor/first move be the one who trusts? No. Extending the hand of friendship is an act in a play, a move with expectations, or with "intent" as Megan said above, and is always an objectifying move, a projection of our fantasies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:34 PM
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I give up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:34 PM
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Does that mean I win?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:35 PM
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369: because I am not insane, I will not speak for urple, but I wonder if he means that the use of the -y suffix in this form gives your comment an air of light-heartedness (evoking as it does the Simpson's line about getting "stabby") that seems inaproppriate to the claim that some men who have not committed rape are so sexually aggressive that they're usefully considered as rapists in all but deed.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:35 PM
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It is the difference between "doing" and "being." Doing always objectifies.


Posted by: Jean Paul's Beaver Puppet | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:35 PM
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"rapey" is an odd word. check out the definitions:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=rapey

They are all over the place.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:37 PM
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375: If that's it -- sort of "I know what you mean, but I find the term you use inappropriately/offensively cutesy, and would prefer a different term for the same concept", fair enough.

374: I'm not sure you won, but I know I didn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:38 PM
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If that's it -- sort of "I know what you mean, but I find the term you use inappropriately/offensively cutesy, and would prefer a different term for the same concept", fair enough.

Isnt' that what I said?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:38 PM
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377: I thought they were pretty consonant until definition seven, and then whatthehellkidsthesedays.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:39 PM
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379: Not actually, no, you didn't. But if it's what you meant, as I said to Tweety, fair enough, and substitute in 'sexually assaultive' if it makes you happier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:40 PM
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Definitions 10 and 12 are both... interesting.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:41 PM
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a) Rape isn't necessarily about violence, but is about sex
b) because rape is always, and almost only, about the patriarchy
c) and the patriarchy is always about sex, and about violence

d) Once you realize that the patriarchy is about makin sex violent, and violence sexy...

e) Then "rape" is actually about making all the other forms of oppression acceptable. War is the health of the state, and rape is the health of the patriarchy.

f) like "groping strangers is ok, if you stop when they ask you to"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:45 PM
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Whoa. What the hell do you even blame that on?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:45 PM
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377: "buy rapey mugs, tshirts and magnets"

Um... no.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:48 PM
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Definition 1 is someone who " You don't think he would do it but definitely gives off that vibe."
Definition 2 is a rapist.
Definition 3 includes a person who looks like a rapist.
Definition 4 is a leerer (and eventual rapist)
Definition 5 is a creepy hugger
Definition 6 is someone with creepy sexual intentions
Definition 7 is a feeling that occurs, when you see or hear something that gets you hot.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:49 PM
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If so, then yes, I was completely confused, and yes, I contest that it applies to any identifiable class of men, and yes, I think that the edges of that class are too indistinct to make the term useful at all.

Putting aside whether or not the -y suffix is too jokey, I think the term makes sense. There are men who's behavior is routinely creepily "boundary testing" and slides up to the line separating uncomfortably aggressive from full blown assault. It's a safe bet that most men who habitually act like this eventually go all the way over the line, but at some point in their careers they haven't yet actually raped anyone, even if all the indications are bad.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:56 PM
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Of course, another way to phrase "War is the health of the state" is Weber's "monopoly on the legitimate use of violence", i.e., the coercive security state, no matter it's source of legitimacy.

Now "rape is the health of the patriarchy" is not even an analogy, because the state with permission for violence is the patriarchal state, and the permission for violence is granted socially, as in Halford's chevaliers above, protecting their womenfolk.

The answer to both problems is the same, because you can expect neither the state or the patriarchy to willingly give up its monopoly on legitimate violence and coercion.

You have to prove that the legitimacy is nothing but an illusion, and that there is no monopoly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 1:58 PM
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People in this thread are chippy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:01 PM
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Chippy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:02 PM
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What, like they've chipped? Or they're going to chip? Not funny, urple. Not funny.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:02 PM
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If anyone bothers to read the link in 390, be sure not to stop at page 1.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:03 PM
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391: I meant they're being touchy. In an unwanted way.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:04 PM
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The thread's all about unwanted touching.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:09 PM
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Rapey, you might even say.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:09 PM
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Thanks for making that explicit.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:09 PM
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396 to 394 and 395.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:10 PM
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396 to 395?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:10 PM
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396 to 397, I guess.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:11 PM
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Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I haven't used any soap in a few days.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:11 PM
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Speaking of Daley, KOBE!


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:11 PM
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1 to 395.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:11 PM
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That would have been way better if 1. It was comment 400 and 2. I wasn't on an iPad.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:12 PM
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397 to 398.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:12 PM
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Ha, Ha.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:12 PM
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This makes me think I should be watching Tim and Eric.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:13 PM
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405 to 373.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:15 PM
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403: Nope.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:15 PM
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Men who preach non-violence are benefiting from suspended violence. Women who preach non-violence are victims of internalized and repressed violence.

Now we don't necessarily need violence from women directed toward men, yet, but we sure as hell could use a lot more subjectivity from women, as in not seeing themselves as objects. This, I believe, mandates an extraordinary effort toward self-objectification (critique), passivity, and submission on the part of men. And great care taken that we do not fall back into "Master" positions by contact with aggressive men and self-objectifying women.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:16 PM
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400 to 394?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:21 PM
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406: Celery Man cracks me up very reliably. I also need a printout of Oyster smiling.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:31 PM
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405 to the Wilshire Blvd. E. exit


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:31 PM
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A to the motherfucking K, homeboy.


Posted by: Cypress Hill | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:33 PM
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Contra Megan, "Opinionated Cypress Hill" would have been funnier.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:41 PM
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Ack, I should have weighed in before this, but work required me.

I knew a lot of very lovely, wonderful French men. Some of them were courteous and gentle, some were passive and shy, some were Star Wars geeks who drew for comic books, some were married and off the market for good, others...

The real thing that bugged me was that even the lovely kind guys tended to dismiss outright my complaints about the CONSTANT street harassment. It had become so normalized that nobody really perceived it as a form of aggression. The women had learned all these crazy defense mechanisms (t wear no lipstick when you're out by yourself unless you want to fend them off, don't even look at someone unless you want to fend them off, and of course, dry your tears and move on). I'll never forget what the father of the family I sublet from said to me: "If you're interested, go with him. If not, tell him to fuck off." And that was his answer to a 19 year-old foreigner who was getting picked up on, harassed, sometimes followed, all the damn time.

The harassment died down a bit when I started wearing men's clothing and listening to violent techno on my headphones, resolved to fucking CLOCK the next guy who so much as looked at me. But then I got lonely.

I'm not at all sure that I would have the same experience if I went back today. I'm older (and saggier) now, and more prone to taking a taxi if it's late. By the time I left France I was hanging out pretty much only with friends and family (and had a bicycle!) and so didn't have the kind of encounters that I'd had in the bars and clubs and parties or on the street.

Being a woman alone in Paris always felt much more dangerous than it ever has in New York, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:45 PM
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And I'd still read only up to comment 200 or so when I posted, and now I have to go again.

Sorry about all that.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:46 PM
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ONLY IF IT WERE IN ALL CAPS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED MEGAN | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 2:48 PM
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Street harrassment is unusually common in France, but saying "I don't like French/Italians/Argentinians" still isn't really kosher. Comity?


Posted by: David The Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 3:32 PM
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OPINIONATED MEGAN, "Contra Megan" would have been funnier.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 3:46 PM
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366 seems over the top and laden with all sorts of hyperbole. Suffice it to say that I'll stay away from your comments, dona.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 3:48 PM
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+Contra


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 3:48 PM
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PAY TO THE MOTHERFUCKING TRUSTAY, HOMEBOY


Posted by: OPINIONATED CY PRES HILL | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 3:49 PM
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406: I recommend their video for Ben Folds and Regina Spektor.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 3:59 PM
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335: Oh, that must be the "Donny" they're always referring to. Now it all makes sense!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:03 PM
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Street harrassment is unusually common in France
isn't really disagreeing with
In my personal case it has to do with an extended series of encounters with complete assholes, to the point where I'm forced to conclude that there must be something cultural in their approach to women.

But David's probably fucking Irish and not to be trusted.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:13 PM
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This is bugging me enough now that I went back and reread my comments from the first 150, which seemed to be what drew all the ire, and WOW did I never say "I don't like X group of people."

The closest I came was "every single French man I have encountered has been a complete asshole" -- something that remains true no matter who it offends! And immediately after that: "I understand that my personal experience probably shouldn't extend to generalizations, but damn it there is something wrong with them." Perhaps people want to take offense at the assertion that there's something wrong with them, and that's fine, though I thought (and think) it was an obvious rhetorical flourish. But that's a long way from saying "THE FRENCH ARE EVIL TO THEIR CORE."

Of course, I followed it up very closely with, "In my personal case it has to do with an extended series of encounters with complete assholes, to the point where I'm forced to conclude that there must be something cultural in their approach to women. Beyond that I don't really care."

The worst thing I said boils down to "my experience suggests that there is something about French culture that leads French men to behave like assholes to women." This doesn't even sum up the entirety of my view of France or French culture or even French men, and yet many people seem to agree that it's an accurate assessment, as far as it goes.

Get the fainting couch! Where are the smelling salts? Everybody panic!


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:14 PM
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We just can't handle your well reasoned, insightful, hard-hitting truth. What about "My experience of French men is that they're shitheads to women. I'm open to new and different experiences, but that's where it stands. That's the information I have at my disposal, and I'm going to draw what conclusions I can from it," which certainly sounds like you are coming up with a generalized conclusion that French men are shitheads to women based on your negative experiences. Which is what everyone was arguing with you about. Also, I don't think we're the ones who freaked the fuck out.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:22 PM
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Eh, that was probably too negative, but fuck it. I'm sorry you had some shitty encounters.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:24 PM
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Dona, if you keep picking at that thing it's just going to scar.

But fine: from 133: my opinion isn't "all French men are assholes." It's "my experience leads me to believe that French men are more likely than my reference culture (NYC liberal) to be assholes to women in a very specific way, so this probably reflects a cultural norm that I am not a huge fan of, and I am likely to experience it again in the future with some or most French men."

This is an elaborately worded version of saying "all French men aren't assholes, just probably most of them." People reacted to it as such, and properly so.

My own response, in between posts, was to vault heroically over the fainting couch, take a manly draught of smelling salts, crashing through my living room window and somersault over the edge of my balcony shouting at the top of my lungs: "The world is coming to an end! Donaquixote doesn't like French men! And that may not even be her real name!" in Japanese. And I don't even speak Japanese. So that may not have been what I said at all.

Anyway, thus begins the story of how I saved the world. But it's a tale for another day.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:27 PM
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To me, DSK fits beautifully into a stereotypical French male type and one that bothered the crap out of me: rich, smart, and very elite. Haute bourgeoisie. I met a few guys like this under very strange circumstances in which I would have played the role of "disposable woman." Most of the time, I left, no big deal (but a yucky feeling of being objectified and yet also somehow having been left out); occasionally I saw friends get emotionally hurt or pressured into sex acts they didn't want.

The assholes on the street were just ignorant dickheads--dangerous, maybe, but also objects of pity. The rich seducers were cultured and smooth and profoundly unsettling. I really did end up seeing a kind of continuum between the street harassment and the aggressive pick-ups. At the very least, the latter seemed to enable the former.

It's really possible that I inhabited a different tranche of the world when I lived in France: more of the party scene than ever I've done in the states. Still.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:31 PM
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Perhaps this conversation has moved to a different, more interpersonal topic.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:33 PM
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Once the audience decides to play bigotry gotcha the conversation is over.


togolosh


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:34 PM
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This is bugging me enough now that I went back and reread my comments from the first 150, which seemed to be what drew all the ire, and WOW did I never say "I don't like X group of people."

I don't want to pile on (234 captures my position reasonably well), but the line that caught my attention at the time was (emphasis mine):

I understand that my personal experience probably shouldn't extend to generalizations, but damn it there is something wrong with them.

obviously I didn't feel moved to object, but it didn't surprise me that somebody would.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:42 PM
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At the risk of keeping the possibly unproductive conversation going, I'm wondering if dq's rapey French guys were all strangers or semi-strangers; guys who she didn't know who approached her on the street or in bars. I'm pretty sure that in any country you'll get a much larger quotient of creeps among those who do the real life version of 'hey baby, wanna fuck' on a routine basis. Add in cultural issues and it might explain things. Is that the case? Also, part of the shock here may come from the fact that many of us have known many, many French people, most of whom seemed to be quite decent, and some wonderful. We're reading it in the same way we would if it were applied to Americans (or Brits, or Canadians). DQ, apologies if this is annoying.

JM Was there any difference by region in the level of harassment? I'm obviously going to be far less aware of it then you would be, but I don't remember it being worse in the area around Geneva than it is in the US, nor did any female friends suggest it was.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 4:57 PM
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I didn't freak out. I got called stupid, it was implied that I was bigoted, that I couldn't be trusted to perceive my own experiences, and I was told I was hysterical. You are damn right that I'm going to defend myself against each and every one of those accusations, particularly given what I did and did not say. And yeah, I'd say that got pretty personal, but I'm not the one who moved the conversation in that direction.

This is an elaborately worded version of saying "all French men aren't assholes, just probably most of them."

No, it's not. It was very specifically about behavior directed at women. You can debate the merits of saying this about certain cultures, but I haven't heard anyone assert that there aren't any cultures at all where it's normal to treat women as lesser creatures or that it's wrong to say so. Either those cultures exist or they don't, and if they do it's fair to talk about which ones they are.

I mean, no one seems to be debating that these experiences happen (anymore!), and happen to many women with enough regularity that women talk about it amongst themselves, but somehow we're not supposed to say it openly because that's offensive? What the fuck kind of bullshit is that? Harassment and borderline assault are accepted in a given culture, and yet the offense is talking about it out loud? What? That is fucking crazy town right there.

I understand that my personal experience probably shouldn't extend to generalizations, but damn it there is something wrong with them.
obviously I didn't feel moved to object, but it didn't surprise me that somebody would.

Apparently the rhetorical flourish wasn't as obvious as I thought.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:01 PM
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I'm wondering if dq's rapey French guys were all strangers or semi-strangers; guys who she didn't know who approached her on the street or in bars.

Not all, but a lot, I would say a large majority. Some were in a professional context, some were men I met socially who were in town temporarily, none were men who were likely to have to come into frequent close contact with me for the long term. (Though I can think of one who would have been daily contact.)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:07 PM
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I'm not doing anything but adding additional anecodotes at this point, but a French woman I know* always claimed that French men generally were "very sexually pushy", I think was her phrasing, which I understood to imply basically everything described in this thread.

I've never been to France, much less been a woman in France, so I can't much say myself.

*"Knew"? We're not in touch anymore, but she's not dead. "Knew" feels like it implies death, unless tied more specifically to some previous circumstance (knew in law school, knew in kindergarten, knew in Tokyo, knew Biblically),


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:10 PM
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but somehow we're not supposed to say it openly because that's offensive?

I don't think that's what is in contention. It's a long thread, so I may have missed something, but I don't think anyone said that.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:17 PM
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No, it's not. It was very specifically about behavior directed at women.

Sorry. "Assholes to women" and "most instead of all." So yes, that's what you were saying and what others reacted to.

I mean, no one seems to be debating that these experiences happen (anymore!), and happen to many women with enough regularity that women talk about it amongst themselves, but somehow we're not supposed to say it openly because that's offensive? What the fuck kind of bullshit is that?

Bullshit you're making up and attributing to other people, since I don't recollect anyone saying you should never talk about harassment. I do recollect many of them saying that broad-brushing ethnicities is a different ballgame, and I still think those latter people are correct, and your demand for the right to freely do so anyway is not that impressive.

If you want to broad-brush ethnicities based on personal anecdote, that's up to you, but don't act all shocked when people call this behavior foolish or potentially bigoted. Neither conclusion is out of bounds when looking at that habit of thought, no matter what has precipitated it, as it seems evident to me from some of your prior comments that you're informed enough to know full well.

I personally thought you reached a much more interesting place later on in the thread when discussion veered more into specifics, and I thought your far more specific point about this being potentially behavior directed largely at foreign women sounded a lot more defensible. (It was this that seems to me to be resonant with similar stories alluded to by LB and others.) If you now feel the need to declare your claims on this thread inerrant and pretend everyone else has just been persecuting you... well, let's just say I wouldn't agree.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:18 PM
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439.1 makes no sense. What it should say is ' Adjust my quote to read "all French men aren't assholes to women, just probably most of them." '


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:20 PM
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438: No, part of the issue I have with this is that no one's said that explicitly, but that seems to be how they're reacting.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:20 PM
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441: Maybe they're reacting to what they actually told you they're reacting to. I don't understand why you feel the need to read ulterior persecuting motives into it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:21 PM
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438: That's not to say it's the only reaction, or that I didn't say anything offensive. But this is a part of this whole thread that I find really distressing (on top of the stuff I listed in 435.1).


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:23 PM
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Bullshit you're making up and attributing to other people, since I don't recollect anyone saying you should never talk about harassment. I do recollect many of them saying that broad-brushing ethnicities is a different ballgame, and I still think those latter people are correct, and your demand for the right to freely do so anyway is not that impressive.

Noooooo.

First, I was referring -- always -- specifically to a culture, not an ethnicity, as far as ethnicity has connotations about heritage and all sorts of other stuff that I don't read about. This is probably a thorny area?

Second, you haven't actually addressed the point. Do you not agree that there are cultures in which women are regarded as lesser creatures? That there are cultures in which it's acceptable to treat women as objects, where harassment and borderline assault are acceptable and normal? If you agree that these cultures exist, I don't really understand where the rest of your objections come from. Surely if they exist we can talk about it? We can talk about experiences that indicate that this might be happening? I mean, at what point does a person make that determination? Obviously it's necessary to do so, at least from a personal safety standpoint. I mean, I am not traveling to Uganda any time soon for obvious reasons. Is that "painting an ethnicity with overly broad strokes"? That seems ridiculous to me.

Culture is as culture does. You can call many cultures on their shittiness to various groups -- American culture is pretty shitty to anyone who isn't white, and this is probably the first example that springs to mind, but that's because I live here. And, as I've mentioned before, I've been told that many Middle Eastern cultures suck for women. All I said was my experience is that French men are also shitty to women in a common way, and that makes me think it's cultural. If this is not an acceptable assessment, you would seem to question all such assessments, and that seems like a nonsensical result. You can debate the conclusion, sure, but asserting that making a conclusion at all is offensive seems silly.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:38 PM
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DS gets it all right. Frankly, I think the conversation would be a lot more interesting, DQ, if you would stick to specifics and actually talk about your experiences; I'd be interested in hearing you actually talk about that instead of offhandedly referring to them on the way to (what seem to me to be) lazy, broadly stated national stereotypes. For someone who seems interested in culture, I think you probably would get that.

To JM, where in Paris, specifically, were you? I remember being more freaked out in parts of north Paris than I've ever been in NY or south central LA, part of which was language and part of which was just a feeling that there were lots of scary seeming dudes around (and, let's be honest, some of this is my own racism since a lot of these folks were Algerian). I also lived in Geneva where inwas friends with a bunch of early 1990s-style superfeminists, and I can't recall complaints about street harrassment (I do remember stories about creepy guys in discos, but nothing worse than what you'd hear in a big city here).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:43 PM
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more specific point about this being potentially behavior directed largely at foreign women sounded a lot more defensible

It's difficult to know where to draw the line, though, isn't it? There's a "all women" on the one hand, and then there's "just me, because of some weird chemical I excrete that reacts only with the endocrine system of men raised in a specific region of Europe." There appears to be a large amount of middle ground. I assumed it was more likely to be closer to "all women," since when I asked French women about this they didn't look at me like I was crazy, just naive.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:45 PM
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Ah, I see. Your view is that criticizing someone for talking about culture in an overgeneralized, borderline bigoted way is the same as saying that you can't talk about cultural differences at all, and that rejecting your offhand generalizations about a culture is the same thing as denying your lived experience. Culture is actually a pretty complex thing; calling someone out on what's basically "it ain't easy being white/it ain't easy being brown/so much pressure to be bright/I've got children all over town" is not the same thing as saying there's no point in talking about real differences.

Ok, I just wanted to work in that reference.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:51 PM
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I've lost track as to which of you doesn't care about black puppets.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:52 PM
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Frankly, I think the conversation would be a lot more interesting, DQ, if you would stick to specifics and actually talk about your experience

Ok, honestly, I did get pretty specific above. What exactly do you people want? Play by play fucking narration of the asshole who stuck his hand down my pants in the back of a cab? Fuck you. If it hasn't been clear by now, none of these were pleasant experiences. And there's at least one lovely set that I really shouldn't talk about because it deals with a former employer who can still sue me. (I had a shitty lawyer.)

But again, Fuck. You. Why is it necessary for me to recount awful experiences in humiliating detail for your satisfaction in order for any of this to be justified? In order for you to take it seriously? For it to be "interesting?" Really?

Really?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:53 PM
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offhand generalizations

At what point did you get the impression that ANY of this was offhand?

Seriously, fuck you.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:54 PM
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This thread feels like it needs more caps lock.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:59 PM
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Of course it's bullshit, dq, and grotesquely offensive bullshit.

If I were to say "white southern republicans have racist cultural attitudes" nobody would jump up to defend Haley Barbour.

You have apparently touched a very sensitive gender or sexist nerve here, and you should feel confidant and just, like De Sade, scrape that nerve with a knife.

Honestly, I myself don't quite understand why this crowd wants to deny the existence of sexual predatory cultures. Maybe it is too horrible for even me to look at.
Not the cultures, the reality of this crowd.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:59 PM
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444.2: Distinction without a difference, really, AFAICS.

444.3: I think I have addressed that point, actually. Whether "there are cultures in which women are regarded as lesser creatures," which in a rough way one could stipulate and which I did implicitly stipulate in bringing up Japan (though gender relations can't really be reduced to quite this simple a formulation in most cases), that is not relevant to whether this is true of the French "culture" based on your observations.

Basically, you're apparently chagrined that some people have called you on making a hasty and insulting generalization -- which again, it should never come as a surprise that when you take it on yourself to start talking about Those People, whoever Those People are might have friends and family members "in the room" who might be prepared to dispute you -- and have seemed throughout to want to turn this into a specious argument on their part about how "no cultural differences exist" (with a side order of their secretly and nefariously wanting to silence any mention of harassment). But nobody has said "cultural differences do not exist," that's something else you've had to make up and attribute to them. That your specious generalization about culture is inadvisable does not mean "cultural differences do not exist." It just means you said something inadvisable, for various reasons that have been pointed out to you by multiple parties.

And you know, that happens. It's okay. It is not the end of the world.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 5:59 PM
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I mean, some of you are clearly shouting. That's what caps lock is for, goddamit.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:00 PM
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I should stop, but no one is asking you to narrate anything personal or that you found offensive. The point of the request for specifics was that you immediately seem to want to move to the broadest possible level of generalization, and seem to take it very personally when people object to those generalizations.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:01 PM
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453: Again,

NOOOOOOOOOO.
(Hi urple.)

If these cultures exist, DS, how do you go about determining which ones they are except by personal experience? Seriously? How is you making that statement about that Japanese any less offensive than anything I said about French men? Again, you can disagree with the conclusion, but saying that making it is fucking hypocritical.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:03 PM
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Perhaps part of it is the essential liberal assumption that it is trivially easy to transcend one's initial culture, so of course, even if country x has a sexist culture, there must be oh, 90% of the inhabitants that have abjured and escaped it.

Because people are of course free, educable, and essentially good.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:04 PM
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sorry, that making it is offensive is fucking hypocritical.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:05 PM
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Not to interrupt the shouting, but has anyone linked to this? It's all over the place on the causal questions, but looks to be addressing a real issue in France.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:05 PM
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but no one is asking you to narrate anything personal or that you found offensive

Um, yes you are. Either you want specifics about my experiences or you don't.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:06 PM
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459: Christ.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:08 PM
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456.3: Research? Dialogue? Finding out about others' perspectives, comparing them with your own experiences, thinking through where your specific experience might fit in the larger scheme of things?

I sort of take all of those things to be a good prelude to making conclusions about cultures. So no, I don't think skipping past all of that to reify your personal anecdotes is impressive, I don't think defending that practice to the death is impressive, I don't think disagreeing with it is "fucking hypocritical," and I think at this point you're being deliberately obtuse.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:09 PM
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459:OK, since DS is so quick to condemn the Japanese, could it be because the French are white?

Work with me here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:09 PM
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I mean, parts of that read as sensationalist. But the topic is sort of sensationalist. The Guardian is usually pretty good....Christ.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:11 PM
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There is clearly no possible way to talk about cultural differences other than to recount personal anecdotes, and no way to describe cultural differences specifically or precisely aside from recounting extremely personal anecdotes in detail. You've got me.

Back in the real world, and just to make clear that I don't think France is some kind of feminist utopia, 459 is a real problem. I've heard French bigots blame it on Arabs and Arab immigration, but there is clearly a deep problem there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:13 PM
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"The larger point is that, in certain cultures, women are still less than. And you know what? I have no problem saying I don't like those cultures. I have absolutely no fucking problem calling a culture that views me as inherently less than in some way barbaric, just as I have no problem calling the American prison system barbaric, or calling torture barbaric: because it fucking is."

Well, I really don't think it's OK to say that Afghan culture or Somali culture is barbaric.


Posted by: David The Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:14 PM
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Research? Dialogue? Finding out about others' perspectives, comparing them with your own experiences, thinking through where your specific experience might fit in the larger scheme of things?

What on earth makes you think I didn't do those things? I alluded to some of them (explicitly asking French women about the behavior of French men, for example), but you just assume that I didn't? And if I'd done all of those things, as you so clearly did with the Japanese, it would have been ok? Of course since you obviously know, I assume by telepathy, that I didn't do these things, my generalizations were borderline bigoted, while yours were the result of careful, educated deliberation, and thus acceptable?

Yup. Still think you're being hypocritical.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:16 PM
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464, 465: Yeah, tournantes were to early-oughties France what "wilding" was to inner-city America in the Nineties, AFAICT: both a real and horrible and an opportunistically sensationalized phenomenon.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:16 PM
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I must enthusiastically third Megan and Halford in saying that men can be promiscuous without being manipulative, let alone coercive, hurrah. Once that's the norm, women will make the first move because it's safe to do so and the only-men-ask matching algorithm is provably women - pessimal.

Jackmormon is describing creepier behavior than dona ever did.

There's something telling in the anecdotes about Frenchmen acting against creepy gropers. Both invoke a male protector; the woman can't obviously enforce her no herself. That's sometimes invisible to people with the norm, men or women.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:18 PM
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467: What on earth makes you think I didn't do those things?

Uhhh, the fact that you've been energetically defending the opposite of doing those things for most of this thread, and in fact trying over and over again to imply that those who disagreed with you were being offensive about your "perception" of your "appearances" or "hypocritical" or closet-misogynistic or or or...

So, yeah. After all that, repeating the word "hypocritical" at me is not going to impress me, sorry. And I sort of feel like my time is being wasted at this point, so now I'm going. You can yell "hypocrite" to your heart's content at my digital back, how's that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:21 PM
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466: What about calling a part of a culture barbaric? I should have been more specific. There is no culture that I'm going to call uniformly barbaric, because I think that's stupid. Again, I don't have a problem with calling barbaric practices barbaric, and if they are accepted cultural mores, well that part of the culture: yup, barbaric. But every culture is big, and has many facets to it. I'm still - I'm going to guess - more comfortable than most people here saying that on balance a culture is shitty to women or whatever, but sometimes those are easy calls. I don't usually make them when they're not. Again, the harshest thing I said about French culture is that there appears, based on my experience (which includes all that careful deliberation, DS), to be something about it which leads French men to think it's ok to treat women badly.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:21 PM
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469: I tried earlier to find Maria Farrell's CT post about street harassment. D2 mentioned in comments he constantly got involved in fistfights.


Posted by: David The Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:23 PM
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What, I get back from a public meeting and find out some of y'all have been taking my name in vain? And mocking my very serious complaints about procedure around here?

Hey Miss Mess... go look at the Facebook page of the person we know in common and then look at Molly's page and then tell me you think I wore a cute dress to the wedding last weekend.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:28 PM
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Uhhh, the fact that you've been energetically defending the opposite of doing those things for most of this thread

I really didn't do this at all. I was pretty careful. I cited my experience. That includes direct experience with assholes (which I, apparently foolishly, assumed would be the most relevant) as well as talking to other people about this (which you better believe I did, bc wow was it fucking unexpected and weird). You seem to somehow assume that whatever it is you mean by experience and investigation is materially different from what I mean by it, with no evidence to back that up, besides wanting to be right.

And I didn't imply anything. When I thought some one was being dismissive (that's the actual word I used) or whatever, I said so.

You still haven't described how you arrived at your carefully deliberated judgment about the Japanese. So, yeah. Hypocrite. (Look, now I've gotten personal!) Running away doesn't really strengthen your argument, or lack thereof.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:30 PM
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Part of it might be that some here feel closer to the French educated elite than they do to the Japanese educated elite. As I feel closer to the Japanese cosmopolitan elite, who are reasonably feminist. But of course each elite is in no way really representative of their broader cultures, almost by the definition of cosmopolitan. And of course, DSK raises the question of how much any male elite is just giving lip service to feminism in order to be accepted at cocktail parties...

...and if DSK and the French elite can be revealed as hidden misogynists and rapists, well, gee, who could be next?

469:pwnd by me multiple times, but don't worry about it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:33 PM
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469.3 -- I wondered that my anecdote would convey that impression; Bob picked up on that, too. But while there was definitely a certain amount of male chivalry that was going on,the woman involved was clearly both expert at saying no and shocked that it hadn't worked (I'm saying that based not on a conversation with her, but with another French friend about the incident). And everyone seemed tonfeel that this was really unusual and were shaken up about it. So, to the extent that it's evidence of anything, I'm not sure that the incident was evidence of failure of a generally effective female "no"; my guess, and I'm not a French woman, is that, in general, French women would consider themselves very expert (tellingly, too expert?) at effectively saying "no" and controlling similar encounters.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:34 PM
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473: IT LOOKS PRETTY CUTE TO ME.


Posted by: OPINIONATED E. MESSILY | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:39 PM
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Part of it might be that some here feel closer to the French educated elite than they do to the Japanese educated elite.

This actually makes sense to me. A few times people have cited that there are French men they are close to as the source of their offense or outrage at my comments. Personalization inevitability intensifies, I guess.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:40 PM
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No, shucks, you're just saying that. Really? How cute?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:42 PM
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What about calling a part of a culture barbaric?...Again, the harshest thing I said about French culture . . .

Let me try again to be reasonable, and see if I can do better than last time.

DonaQ: personally, I think much of the shit that you've been taking in this thread is unjustified, and I can understand why you would just be pissed off at this point.

At the same time I'd say two things about your comments. (1) You go back and forth between making sweeping rhetorical flourishes and making specific comments about your own experience. That's fine, but it confuses me that your position seems to be, "I've never made sweeping generalizations" rather than, "I made generalizations for rhetorical purposes and have tried to clarify in my later comments." (2) Speaking of generalizations, there isn't a generic "they" that's been arguing with you. There are specific people, making different comments. Halford, for example, has generally been making an effort to be reasonable in his comments and the fact that other people arguing against you have been jerks doesn't automatically make Halford (again, for example) a jerk.

Which is just to say that I do believe that you have made statements in this thread which reasonable could (and to a debatable extent did) reasonably disagree with. This doesn't mean that every disagreement was justified, reasonable, or polite (to be specific, the "hysterical" comment was obviously obnoxious).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:42 PM
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Yggles ...forgive if pwnd

a survey (PDF) shows that 57 percent of all French people and 70 percent of French Socialists think former IMF chief Dominque Strauss-Kahn is the victim of a setup

Interesting


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:42 PM
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There's a historical cultural model - well, model is not the right word exactly, but it's sort of a like a schematic outline of norms - of gender relations that goes something along the lines of:

1. There are gentleman and there are ladies
2. There are people who don't fit into the categories in 1 - often, but not exclusively, members of lower classes
3. Ladies are to be protected
4. Women who do not meet the standards by which a lady should act (dress, etc.) are pretty much fair game for men, especially when alone - (ladies shouldn't travel alone)
5. However, gentlemen should restrain themselves and assume a protective role towards both ladies and non-ladies (this protection can take different forms, ranging from immediate physical protection to sponsoring programs for education and uplift)

This model, as far as I remember, is based on the 19th century US urban life. The combination of norms led to both stories of open harassment on the streets and violent defenses of a lady's honor.

I know analogies are banned, so I'm not making one, and there are lots of holes in whatever analogy someone might make, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:42 PM
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And here I thought DS was the reasonable one, and I was being more of a jerk.

I would call out the same overgeneralizations about Japan, too, except that I don't know anything about Japan. I do know of some French feminists who think that women are more "less than" in the United States than they are in France.

I should go back to France; haven't been in 11 years (!) and have lost touch with most everyone there who I knew. I don't think that FA's schema works for contemporary France really is a more modern country than that. Now, the overprivileged types that JM referred to above . . . really are overprivileged.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 6:55 PM
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And here I thought DS was the reasonable one, and I was being more of a jerk.

Fair enough.

I was re-reading the beginning of the thread to see how the brouhaha started, and you seamed reasonable there, but if you think you were being a jerk later in the thread I'll concede that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:00 PM
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I think the argument, which I'm not going to make aside from mention here, would be that there are vestiges of that sort of culture in modern cultures (that have that sort of history).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:01 PM
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And fwiw, in a spirit of self-critique, I am examining my feelings about the Jasper cheerleader story compared my attitude toward the DSK case.

Now I think I will concentrate on the greatest sustained performance by any team in NBA playoff history.

OKC is a plucky and talented squad. Too bad.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:01 PM
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OKC is a plucky and talented squad. Too bad.

I really, really enjoy both of these teams. I haven't been able to watch that much of the playoffs, but when I have Nowitzki is just a joy to watch, he's so locked in, and OKC is awfully likeable (and I was a Sonics fan).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:05 PM
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480: Yeah, these are good points. In my defense, it's a big topic. What I have to go on is my experience, as broad or as limited as that may be, but a point I've been trying to make (pretty unsuccessfully?) is that that's all anyone has to go on, and we all, at some point -- but especially women, and especially minority groups in a given locale -- have to make judgments based on what's available to us, if, at a minimum, for the sake of personal safety. So I make generalizations based on the data available to me, and try to keep in mind that it's a limited data set.

And yes, there have been specific people. Halford has gone back and forth with reasonableness, as I myself have done, but I think in general -- and Halford, I don't mean to talk about you as if you're not here, in the ether, or whatever, I'm just not sure how else to do it -- he makes a genuine effort to engage in honest conversation. Like, he (you!) isn't engaged in winning points, or whatever, but in communicating ideas and coming to an understanding (or not), comity, etc. etc.

Where I lost it with Halford was with the demand for specifics (and that it came directly on the heels of DS doing the same didn't help). I'm open to the idea that this is a communication issue, but when we've been talking about incidents of harassment and assault, it's...look, it's at best insensitive. I was already pretty specific. The demand for more specificity seemed like the sort of thing that wouldn't be demanded of someone who was describing their experiences of, say, being taken advantage of as a tourist in wherever. I dunno, it's late, my brain isn't working as well wrt examples etc. But it's a demand that was made in the context of others explicitly denying the veracity of these experiences, above, the knowledge that all of this was sexual and transgressive in nature, and with no real clear idea as to how it would add to the discussion.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:05 PM
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I do know of some French feminists who think that women are more "less than" in the United States than they are in France.

I would almost definitely agree with this in certain contexts. It didn't really come up, but in my opinion there are big chunks of American culture that suck balls in this regard.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:10 PM
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I said this already, but I really wasn't trying to ask you for specific details of painful personal encounters, or even describe any personal encounter at all -- just to describe with a little more specificity what you though the relevant cultural differences are. But let's just agree to drop it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:10 PM
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490: Ok.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:13 PM
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Also, 479 itself is pretty cute.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:15 PM
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I am on dq's side here.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:40 PM
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In case anyone cares the "hysterical" comment was just hostile trolling (I threw the "lady" in there to indicate self-awareness). I got hostile because I have French family and friends and DQ's comments about the French cast them as inexplicable Others. I was not impressed by her Steve Sailer-esque justifications for stereotypes (check out the crime stats by race amirite). Given how willing she was to generalize it did not seem unreasonable to ask her about some specifics of her experience -- if someone tells me that all Albanians are dirty thieves, it seems helpful to try to shift the conversation to see what they really mean.

Or in other words, I am part of the Patriarchy, a conspiracy to endlessly persecute innocent people and prevent the truth from coming to light.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:42 PM
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You tell 'em, James.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:42 PM
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494: if someone tells me that all Albanians are dirty thieves

THEY OWN PROPERTY, DON'T THEY?


Posted by: OPINIONATED COMMUNIST | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:45 PM
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DAMMIT, THAT'S MY IDEOLOGY.


Posted by: OPINIONATED ANARCHIST | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:46 PM
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IT BELONGS TO YOU, DOES IT? HYPOCRITE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED COMMUNIST | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:47 PM
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YOU MEAN "DAMMIT, THAT'S THE IDEOLOGY I STOLE," DON'T YOU?


Posted by: OPINIONATED SLIGHTLY MORE POLITICALLY CORRECT ANARCHIST | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 7:47 PM
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DQ's comments about the French cast them as inexplicable Others

Sigh.

No, they didn't. I was pretty specific. I didn't find it inexplicable, just different from what I am used to, and what I expect as person with rights that shouldn't be violated. My comments were actually limited in scope compared to the vitriolic reaction they inspired, mostly from you, DB. I don't know who Steve Sailer is, and I don't particularly care. If you have actual claims to make about things I said, use citations. Otherwise, kindly go back to trolling, or shut the hell up. Given the things you have said thus far, the arguments you've made or have failed to address, your credibility is dropped to preeeetty close to zero in my estimation. Of course, that can change. But I'm not optimistic.

The fact that my experiences appear to have been shared or echoed by a number of other women in this thread, reflecting a cultural difference in the treatment of women, continues to go unacknowledged, as though it were some how irrelevant to the conversation. It's really, really relevant.

I'm sorry that you think I insulted your family and friends, DB, but, you know, I didn't. I wouldn't be insulted if you'd made similarly negative and yet probably or even possibly true claims about Americans, or New Yorkers, or lesbians, or women. And I certainly wouldn't engage in personal attacks the way you did.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:02 PM
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Cite on the personal attack? I'm so touched by your passive aggressiveness.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:09 PM
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Anyway I would just like to say that I am a polite champion of truth and social justice who makes clear, cogent arguments with strong supporting evidence, and I find myself in an argument with a hostile party prone to making wild unsupported overgeneralizations while ducking my incredibly incisive points that everyone else obviously agrees with. Comity or continued jackassery?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:17 PM
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&c.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:24 PM
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What about it was passive, exactly?

And as you bring up passive aggression, and I've now had occasion to look through the thread at your various comments, you are a passive aggressive little shit, aren't you? Chiefly using sarcasm and mockery rather than actually just stating an opinion, or engaging in substantive discussion - or even refutation. That's pretty cowardly.

IF we're including attempts to make me seem prejudicial and ridiculous by conflating my comments with obviously ridiculous and prejudicial shit, we could start with 286, but pretty much all of your comments after the first few fall into this category.

Again, not exactly honest attempts to engage in conversation. Just excuses to be nasty. You're kind of an asshole.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:25 PM
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Just to clarify, 504 could be construed as a personal attack, and I'm fine with that. I see it as a valid conclusion born of personal experience.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:27 PM
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(Also, for the record, I'd consider calling me hysterical to be a personal attack. I also consider it a personal attack when you declare that my perceptions of my own experiences are probably not valid, as you did when you voted for ajay's (3), as the implication is pretty clear. God, I didn't realize what an asshole you were until you gave me a reason to read all your comments in succession. Really, just a massive, gaping sore.)


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:40 PM
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||


Shit


|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:45 PM
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?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:50 PM
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508 basketball


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:50 PM
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AH. Carry on.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 8:53 PM
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Ahh, the advantages of not having a team you care deeply about in the playoffs. You get to enjoy the game more, though there is less joy in the triumphs. FTR I'm rooting for Dallas, but it's not a big deal. Is it too early to remind you of our Tue. night exchange on the likelihood of a Dallas sweep. I believe I said that Westbrook would be better, and Dirk not as good. Reversion to the mean. Doesn't always happen (Pau says hi), but it's a good rule of thumb that good players will bounce back from horrible games and that even great players aren't going to consistently have unbelievably amazing ones. (Again, 48 points on 15 shots, I still can't believe that line)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:02 PM
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Dirk can be slowed offensively, and that isn't a big deal. OKC fronted him, and ran a second defender at him, and Dirk passed off pretty well most of the time. Usually that is to Kidd, and then Kidd passes to a corner. OKC isn't LA, they have some very young legs, and Brooks went with the shorter quicker lineup.

The book on OKC:a) Westbrook goes out of control. Brooks benched him b) they are a bad 4th quarter team, not this series, and c) they are a great defensive team, and you have to make the big men run on defense and not get set. In and out.

Dallas did some of this feeding it to Chandler and Marion, but Marion couldn't seem to make a layup.

OKC found a weakness in Dallas's game. They took Jason Terry's game away, and Terry is an emotional guy, so it affected Terry's defense on Harden.

Great teams adjust. A seven game series is a chess match. Dallas is an insane road team, and will win at least one in OKC. We have us a basketball series here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:19 PM
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I wasn't there at the start, but I remember them drafting Mark Aguirre in 1981. The great 80s teams, the three J's, Nowitzki and Nash.

Thirty years of mostly very good teams and no rings gets to hurting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 9:54 PM
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I regret being so in-and-out on this thread because donaquixote's experience seems to mirror mine---until I met a lovely man who I was with for many years. At that point, with an escort but also with a reason to stick around and make real connections, I started to meet normal people who wanted to hang out and watch movies or have picnics.

Teraz and Halford asked upthread about regions. Geneva is Swiss. Different world entirely. I was younger when I was there, but I never had a glimpse of a problem. I'm not really sure about the rest of France: I travelled a bit, but after living in Paris for a while. I never had any trouble whatsoever.

In Paris, I was pretty much all over the place. I lived in Montparnasse, Montmarte, Bonne-Nouvelle, and the Marais. My best friends lived in the Bastille area (where one of them was nearly raped at knifepoint). My boyfriend lived initially in Asnieres, a tough neighborhood north of Paris (where, ironically, I had no troubles, but then we didn't venture out in the neighborhood much and never at night) and then in the 10th (where I lived with him when I could). His studio was in Montreuil, in which I spent a lot of time at the flea market even before I met him. I went to schools in the 5th, 6th, and 7th. A party I knew was going to cast me as disposable was on a luxury houseboat moored in the 16th. I will say that I got very little shit in the 13th, Paris's Chinatown.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:20 PM
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379

Isnt' that what I said

No. What you actually said in 359 was

If so, then yes, I was completely confused, and yes, I contest that it applies to any identifiable class of men, and yes, I think that the edges of that class are too indistinct to make the term useful at all.

I think the concept is clear enough. Guys differ in how sexually aggressive they are, in how hard you have to resist to get them to stop. This is a continuum and sexual assault and rape are at one end. The edges of lots of descriptive terms like tall or old or shy are indistinct, this doesn't mean the terms are useless.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-11 10:25 PM
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Okily-dokily. I have returned from killing and eating my dinner on the howling tundra, and I'm going to persist in one last kick at this particular conversational can. (And I will refrain from mocking the Black Knight "Runnin' away, eh?" gambit employed to unintentionally hilarious effect in 474.last. After this, that is. Starting... now.)

474: I really didn't do this at all. I was pretty careful. I cited my experience. That includes direct experience with assholes (which I, apparently foolishly, assumed would be the most relevant)

See, from where I was sitting then and the entirely alternate but similarly-configured chair in which I'm sitting now, I know you think you did this. But the evidence is sort of lacking, because it still seems to me -- your various reinventions of the thread notwithstanding -- that you imagined it would be sufficient (not just "relevant") and are disagreeably surprised that this wasn't the case.

Or, in a way it is, because there seem to be two rather different personae posting under your name. One of them is reasonable and non-dogmatic and capable of admitting flaw and error, and has interesting things to say, some of which I can support. The other, however, seems committed to defending Anecdote Hill to the last pixel of rhetoric, and also to imputing nasty, pernicious motives to everyone saying "maybe anecdote isn't enough" while in virtually the same breath lambasting them for their lack of interpretive charity, and demanding that they read between the lines of posts that only appear to the untrained eye to be defending generalization from personal anecdote, seeking instead the deep, nuanced learning that they should obviously have detected underneath.

Now, in between bouts of tacitly accusing me of supporting "personal" attacks on her, this second persona tells me I'm unfairly making assumptions about her and assures me that whatever definition of "deliberation" I can come up with, they've done it, so fuck the hell off. Well, if you tell me that's the case, I'm willing to accept that... but in my defense, the "evidence" I had to go on was your posts in this thread, and it might have been more useful and saved us all a lot of time to show this deliberation at some point.

For example, the first word in 462 is "research." It is the primary word there, as probably I did not make sufficiently clear. It is the thing that goes beyond anecdote or conversations with friends, and that gives us all something more solid to talk about. It is why I am able to state with confidence that Japan, especially in overcrowded settings, has a well-documented and severe problem with gropers or "chikan." There are multiple source available to me to demonstrate this if someone asks me to, and importantly, none of them involve my complaining about how they are trampling on my "interpretations" of my "experience" by asking the question. Extending some latitude to people describing their experience is polite and decent, but it does not mean their experience alone proves anything in a larger sense, and it does not mean that pretending this is so gets you anywhere.

This is likewise true for "minorities," by the way (and The Black People -- I'm not talking about the CPAs two doors down from me now -- hereby register ab objection to your slyly reintroducing "minorities" as a shield). Personal anecdote is a starting point. Essential in its own way, but is not the argument and does not make the argument for you. And playing fast and loose with that rule is fine while having non-serious shoot-the-shit conversation, but if you want to call out the characteristics of cultures -- as I said way back now and I stand by it -- you had better be prepared for things to get more serious. If I were to talk about the black experience of racism in Canada, I of course have personal anecdotes that would ground and motivate what I was saying, but they would not, I guarantee you, be all that I have to say. Not by a long shot. Because that shouldn't be all I have to say. I object to the implication that "minorities" can be adduced as silent partners to this kind of lazy thinking.

So, you may have meant to be careful. You may have thought you were. You did not come across that way, at least not about half of the time, and you have repeatedly circled around to defending variously-worded versions of a pretty maximal position that was and is not careful (nor particularly supported by the opinions of a few other parties that you persistently keep adducing in favor of it). This thread is the result. And while I'm frankly inclined to sympathize with you about the dickishness of certain parties (apparently I'm going to have to send the killer Blacks after Disingenuous Bastard after they're through with ajay, and I'm fine with that), my sympathy is also rather blunted by stuff like this:

488: Where I lost it with Halford was with the demand for specifics (and that it came directly on the heels of DS doing the same didn't help). I'm open to the idea that this is a communication issue, but when we've been talking about incidents of harassment and assault, it's...look, it's at best insensitive.

You know, this would be okay if I or someone else had said "Describe what you were wearing" and followed it with requests for "No, really, where was his hand? Take it slow," but that isn't the case. Not even of ajay and DB. And I'm really, really not okay with someone loudly demanding my interpretive charity and accusing me in virtually the same breath of essentially wanting to fap to their description of their sexual assault. 490 should not have had to be said, let alone twice, and Halford was way gracious about it.

And that's all I've got say about this.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 12:10 AM
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There's a strand of French feminism that argues that France has created a distinct kind of culture in which sexual difference is celebrated and daily life is partially eroticized (not violently or pornographically so, but with something like an erotically charged game between the sexes forming part of daily life). This is contrasted, favorably, with a more unisex American model that (supposedly) confines sexuality to the private realm, so you get public prudery and private pornography in the US, instead of what's idealized as a kind of cooperative dance between the sexes in France. It's also contrasted favorably with societies like Islamic ones that affirmatively try to hide women from view or treat them as unequal.

Now, that may all be bullshit. I'm personally skeptical that French culture is in fact powerfully unique in its preservation of courtesy and gallantry, and it may well be that this kind of thinking is just an elaborate rationalization for harassment. But it's worth noting that there are a good number of French women, including thoughtful, conscious, even affirmatively feminist ones, who buy into something like that view and are affirmatively proud of what they see as a greater degree of eroticization of public space.

None of this is responding to anyone's personal experience, just trying to keep the cultural difference conversation going, since if we're going to have it we might as well really try to discuss it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 1:07 AM
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I didn't reference minoritiy groups to use racial minorities as some sort of shield. I was thinking primarily of gay and trans people when I wrote that, bc that's what I'm more familiar with, and those are definitely people who have to make judgments about how they're likely to be treated for their personal safety. I wrote "minority" instead of lgbt in acknowledgment of the fact that I'm not familiar with all such groups who would have to be conscious of that, but that were likely to be minorities in whatever locale they were in, including but not limited to racial minorities. I know "minorities" is frequently used as a coded shorthand, but not exclusively, and what other word would you have me use? It doesn't belong only to racial minorities, sorry. Im not demanding yiur interpretaive charity. I am also not going to travel thru france handing out surveys on sexual mores and attitudes to interaction, nor am i going to buy subscriptions to social science journals in the hopes that someone else has thoroughly researched it for me, and i dont think this is a standard that is commonly applied, bc it is ridiculous. I tried to be clear about what i said, and i stand by it. I hate commenting on the iPad, and am going to be done with this now.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 5:27 AM
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I'm sorry that you think I insulted your family and friends, DB, but, you know, I didn't. I wouldn't be insulted if you'd made similarly negative and yet probably or even possibly true claims about Americans, or New Yorkers, or lesbians, or women.

"Dear God, if I'm such a sweet angel who only makes sensible claims supported by both evidence and logic that everyone already agrees with, and if I'm slow to anger and very understanding of different points of view, then why the fuck is this comment 519? Is it because I'm precious? Or is it because I'm super-precious?"


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 6:11 AM
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Many years ago, in a newgroup far far away, there was a fannish Black woman who expressed some discomfort about being amongst majority white people and her experiences with pretty overt racism. As in, not just getting the N-word slung against her, but physical attacks.

She was called out on it in the way only borderline Aspergers suffering (and proud of it) nerds can do, with several people expressing disbelief at her experiences because they themselves had never seen such things happening or heard about such things. The incidents she remembered were dissected and of course some went so far as to accuse her of reverse racism, for extrapolating some unfortunate incidents into a supposed general dislike of white men. Some of the people doing this considered themselves pretty liberal and aware of the systemic racism still present in American life, none considered themselves racist or belittling others' experience with racism.

And still...

The moral of the story is that it's fairly easy to dismiss or disbelieve people's experiences with sexism, racism and so on without letting yourself know you're doing so, by attempting to put "incidents in context", be rational, demand scientific levels of proof to personal experiences and such, in short use all sorts of debate club tricks to dismiss your opponent's personal experiences. While of course profusely explaining that you're not doing that.

Any application to people participating in this thread is left to their own conscience.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 6:47 AM
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Geneva is Swiss. Different world entirely

But culturally quite French in many ways. And it's surrounded by France with the border just a ten - fifteen minute drive from the center if there's no traffic, so you end up being in France quite often (grocery shopping, visiting friends who live in the suburbs, going skiing, hanging out in a nearby French city, etc.). But I'm glad to know that it wasn't just obliviousness on my part. I'd be a bit disturbed if I weren't aware that levels of harassment and what is basically straightforward sexual assault were significantly higher than in the US.

Martin, there's some of this going on (db being pretty egregious here), but the appropriate analogy would be a French black woman who hasn't spent much time in the US having the conversation with white and black French people who have and with the black French people saying that yes, things are worse in the US, but not to the degree she says.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 7:48 AM
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If we're going to do analogies, the uglier parts of this debate remind me of what sometimes happens in conversations on Polish anti-semitism between Western Jews and liberal Poles or Westerners very familiar with Poland. One such led to a TA inviting us over for drinks, lots of drinks, on the following Friday to calm things down.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:07 AM
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Ahh, the advantages of not having a team you care deeply about in the playoffs.

I grew up in Cleveland, and my only rooting interest in these playoffs is that I wish to cease having a rooting interest in these playoffs. So far, no luck, but I'm still hopeful about Chicago taking care of this for me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:08 AM
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520: Any application to people participating in this thread is left to their own conscience.

And your sloppy, disingenuous reading of it and subsequent passive-aggressive horseshit is left to yours.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:22 AM
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You know what was really smart in this thread? 292. Just saying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:23 AM
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Look, I've openly admitted to being a dick in this thread, and in the grand scheme of things being sexually harassed is a million times worse than thinking that an internet comment sounds stupid and not quite balanced, so there's some putting things in context for you. And yes, I skated very close to and probably crossed the line in terms of expressing doubt about someone's experience getting sexually harassed, although anyone pretending that the only possible reason I had for doing so is that I'm a misogynistic autistic nerd who can't believe that anyone could possibly get sexually harassed in France is, quite frankly, a disingenuous moron.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:29 AM
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||

Hey, did you guys know that "rapture" originally meant (and is etymologically closely related to), basically, "rape"? Huh!

|>


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:30 AM
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527: That shouldn't have been marked off-topic. DSK is probably going to be incorporating that concept into his defense.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:35 AM
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So that prophet dude was only off by a few days!


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:36 AM
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527: Rapio means -- ahem -- "snatch" basically.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:36 AM
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It's more like rape originally meant rapture, right?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:38 AM
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531: not in English, no.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:40 AM
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Yep. Like "The Rape of the Lock."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:42 AM
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What about me, guys?


Posted by: OPINIONATED RAPTOR | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:42 AM
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Shows what I know.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:46 AM
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If I've got this straight, all of the above words originally meant something like "violent, sudden taking" or "carrying off". The sexual violence sense of 'rape' is a later addition, as is the ecstatic sense of 'rapture'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:48 AM
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Or exactly what oudemia said in 530. Honestly, I just don't read sometimes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:49 AM
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536: well, yeah, but the sexual violence sense (in english) vastly predates the ecstatic sense.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:50 AM
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So tomorrow Jesus is going to rape a bunch of Christians?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:52 AM
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513 is the wrongest thing that bob has ever said. I say this as a Philadelphia Eagles fan -- an extended period of excellence with no rings means no right to complain whatsoever. The only sports fans that get to complain are the inexplicable fans of teams that suck year after year. My opinion on this may be colored by the fact that Eagles fans are whiny little babies who complained that Donavan McNabb must suck because the best the Eagles could manage in his career was five trips to the NFC championship game.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:54 AM
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re: 538

What makes you think that? Curious, because that's not what I'm getting from the OED.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:55 AM
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539: Nor ever chaste except you ravish me.

(For Donne, ravish meant rape. Rape meant abduct. Abduct meant poop.*)

*One of these statements is a lie.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:56 AM
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Language Log has a long post about this.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3151#more-3151


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:58 AM
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541: the language log post I linked.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:58 AM
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Oh. And by "linked" I meant "intended to link".


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 8:58 AM
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But, the LL post includes

Somewhat to my surprise, it appears that the sense glossed by the OED as "A state, condition, or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm" is a couple of centuries older than the sense glossed as "the transport of believers to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ".

I haven't traced through the many dictionary entries quoted in the piece, but isn't this the opposite of 538?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:02 AM
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When are cultural generalizations useful and/or permissible? Someday when everybody's pulse has slowed down a bit, that topic would make a good thread to get everybody all riled up again.

I was fascinated by this Crooked Timber post which included a link (now dead) to the Wikileaks cable included in this blog post describing the chief American diplomat's view of Iran in 1979.

I'd argue that a discussion of difference in the gendered behaviors of American and French men is potentially interesting. But Laingen's effort to generalize about Iranian negotiators is inherently fucked, and you can know this from evidence internal to the cable itself.

But what's the difference?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:04 AM
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Yeah, I didn't get a clear sense of the earliest date of rapture meaning ecstasy, just that rapture=ecstasy was older than rapture=Second Coming.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:04 AM
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The LL post is super long on quoted things and short on explication. Also I don't read Greek. Also I'm trying to print out everything I need to renew my vehicle inspection. I can't tell if I actually understand what its point is or not.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:06 AM
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Well, but rape=sexual violence is much older than rapture=ecstasy, is all. Which is a... okay, I'm confused, sure. Yes. I take your point.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:09 AM
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Re the lighthearted erotic dance of the day-to-day... it sounds really good, Halford, but there's a similar strain in US feminism and I don't find them very convincing. They're weak on the asymmetric power in the game & on how a game you can't opt out of isn't a game.

For that matter, it was a view of female power common in my mother's and grandmother's day, when casual assault and worse things were quotidian but rarely mentioned.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:13 AM
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I think the point is that rape and rapture got borrowed into English at different times, rape first, but that they had very different meanings from the beginning, and that rapture, while (possibly?) borrowed specifically for Biblical purposes, quickly gained the "ecstasy" sense which was more prominent than the apocalyptic one.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:18 AM
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that rapture, while (possibly?) borrowed specifically for Biblical purposes, quickly gained the "ecstasy" sense which was more prominent than the apocalyptic one.

I thought it was vice versa -- rapture was borrowed for 'ecstasy', and got picked up for apocalypse because English is short on words for 'carried away'. But other than that switch, yeah, what you said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:21 AM
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My favorite sentence, however, is unrelated to ἁρπαγησόμεθα (if that is the apposite Greek word here):

All we have is harpy, which is not all helpful in this context.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:21 AM
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Hm. You are right, I think. And on a second look, it seems that my sentence is related, too! Anyway, I'm off to the DMV.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:23 AM
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Harpies so rarely are helpful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:27 AM
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The people who use apocalypse - rapture seriously are expecting ecstasy - carried away - rapture, too.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:29 AM
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I'm off to the DMV.

Always a rapturous experience.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:33 AM
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Ecstasy always meaning pleasure is quite recent too. You don't have to go back very far to find people talking about "an ecstasy of rage" - i.e. being beside yourself with anger.
A pharmacologist friend of mine once pointed out that this makes "ecstasy" a very bad name for a drug which just makes you a bit happy and hyper; ketamine, which actually does produce a sort of out-of-body effect, would be a better fit.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:40 AM
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Oh, good. I was going to bring up ἀρπάζω/ἀρπάλεος. That's one of my favorite bits of Greek etymology.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 9:53 AM
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I have no idea what I expected the ngram of "rapture, ecstasy" to look like, but would not have predicted this amount of change. "rapture" is ~8:1 over "ecstasy" in 1800 steady decline while "ecstasy" grows, they cross about 1900, "ecstasy" peaks after the 1920s and maintains a 2-3:1 advantage thereon out. Note that ngrams are case sensitive, when they are capitalized both show significant upswing towards the end of the 20th century.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 10:07 AM
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Man, I liked ketamine. Everything was shiny! My toes fascinated me! I slid around on the floor! And then it was over, with no curling into a ball and hating.

The best thing was that we never could figure out who brought it. A little packet showed up on the counter, someone with worldly knowledge identified it, and we all had some. Come back, Ketamine Fairy!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 10:10 AM
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563

559: I believe Shulgin originally favored "Empathy", which is much more apt, but it didn't catch on.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 10:42 AM
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564

Man, I liked ketamine.

Word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 10:47 AM
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565

They gave my son ketamine as an anesthetic when he was 9 months old. It's really creepy to trip-sit for a baby.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 10:51 AM
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566

The DMV inspection station was (other than being impossible to drive to such that I get lost every time I do it and waste a half hour at least) a surprisingly fine experience. People there like my truck, which flatters me, and also I just had to get the emissions sticker thing so it was easy. There was no line and no money involved and now I never have to go back ever again.

also: my truck is an '87 with close to 200,000 miles on it and it has passed every inspection the first time. It cost less than my computer, and I think I've put ~$500 into it in repairs over the last 5 years. Oh, I love it so.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 11:47 AM
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567

I found French men fine when I was a teenager. It was the Italian men (summer of 1996) who were terrible.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 1:10 PM
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568

I like to use the word "ecstasy" to describe a kind or degree of pain, but I am having a bit of trouble finding specific qualities I can use to distinguish "ecstasy" from "agony" But ecstasy is about losing the boundary between self and world, and the world can be pleasure or the world can be pain.

I have also had moments when the world became fear, accompanied by consisting of visual and auditory hallucinations. I don't remember them well enough.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 2:11 PM
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569

518: I didn't reference minoritiy groups to use racial minorities as some sort of shield.

Though this thread is thankfully dead, for the record: that was a cruel and unjustified accusation on my part, and I apologize.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-20-11 11:59 PM
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570

566: That's a really fab art truck.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05-21-11 8:58 AM
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