Re: Sexism is so quaint

1

Wasn't there a similar anecdote in the NYer profile of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Unfortunately it doesn't look like the entire article is available online, so I can't check.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:54 AM
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Counterpoint: After 52 years, it's probably time to let some things go.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:05 PM
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Counter-counter point: "Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge!"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:10 PM
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Reviewing restaurants for the Washington Post is the best revenge.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:13 PM
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(a) The thing that is so galling about the response is the way it completely elides the fact that the original letter wasn't advice -- it was a requirement that she write an extra essay explaining why she wouldn't be one of those education-wasting women to "aid [them] in coming to a final decision".

(b) 2 made me surprisingly angry!

(c) And yet, I fully admit, the article/response itself is pretty feeble. All these details about her actual life are kind of boring and don't do much to expand upon or illustrate the main point of interest: that the original letter was appalling.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:15 PM
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I agree with 5 on all counts.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:17 PM
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7

5c is what I've been having trouble putting my finger on. (I'd actually been sitting on this for a day or two, debating whether to post it, and then Knecht sending it in tipped me over.) I just kept glazing over and feeling like I must be missing the vitriol.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:20 PM
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The details of her life are only boring because women like her opened the door for you all to rip the heart out of the beautiful society in which I had even more completely undeserved advantages be ingrates.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:22 PM
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2 Given that the guy is standing by his original letter, no.

NB I was told by a reliable source that some of a certain prestigious university's older profs believed it was wrong not to discriminate against women when hiring because 'men have to provide for a family, while women can be supported by their husbands'. This was in the mid nineties.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:23 PM
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5, 7: One problem is that there's a bit of a double bind. If her life history were "stayed home and raised a family, but never worked again", then the added hurdle to jump to get into grad school was well deserved because they were right, she wasn't the kind of person who was going to do anything professionally impressive. As her life history was "succeeded professionally anyway", it's hard to react powerfully other than "well, it doesn't seem to have done you any harm." There's no person who can demonstrate that they would have succeeded in the absence of sexist obstacles, who didn't succeed in their presence. That doesn't mean those people didn't exist, just that they can't prove it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:27 PM
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11

My grandmother actually got her PhD in 1945 and had a semi-notable academic career, peppered with incidents like this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:28 PM
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10 is a good point. Still, I bet you would have breathed more fury into that letter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:29 PM
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10: The other problem is that it's just a dull read.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:29 PM
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2 Given that the guy is standing by his original letter, no.

This. His failure to come up with an actual apology, even a "this seemed reasonable at the time, in retrospect I'm terribly ashamed of how we acted," is maddening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:29 PM
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7: I'm glad you held off on posting until a man validated your judgment.


Posted by: William A. Doebele, Jr. | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:41 PM
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My grandmother actually got her PhD in 1945 and had a semi-notable academic career, peppered with incidents like this.

I (finally) watched How To Survive A Plague on Saturday and one of the key figures in the story is Iris Long a retired Chemist who, according to this (pdf) got her Masters in 1964 (taking classes at night while working at Sloan-Kettering), and her PHD in 1972.

Skimming that interview is fascinating; apparently she hadn't done any community work, wasn't involved in activism, and didn't know anybody with AIDS. She just got into activism because she had worked on the same class of drugs that AZT came from, and wanted to help out.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:13 PM
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3 & 5. And 8 made me laugh.
9-- I know someone who was denied 'merit' increases on this comparative basis with child-rearing colleagues--explicitly-- this decade. But my field is completely corroded with sexism.


Posted by: backwardsinheels | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:27 PM
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Shorter Unfogged comments: Not enough explosions and car chases!

Flip is particularly misguided here, both because of the absolute absence of vitriol in the linked item, and the fact that the piece was prompted not by a grudge she'd nursed for decades, but by the chance discovery of an old piece of mail.

Shorter me: You people all suck.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:35 PM
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Racist.

The woman in question isn't necessarily the only one who ought to let things go, he typed, glancing in the direction of the Internet's Dudgeon Machine.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:38 PM
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20

GO TO HELL!


Posted by: OPINIONATED INTERNET DUDGEON MACHINE | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:42 PM
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21

#2 kind of pissed me off, too.

Just last semester I taught a Woman's Lit class here in Arkansas. The things my students told me, in class, and after class, have left me angry to this day.

Maybe the sort of thinking in this letter is no longer put in writing or stated openly (by most people, in civilized company, by the educated grown-ups, etc etc etc) but it has not gone away.

So -- you know -- letting it go (which we women do, by the way, about fifty times a *day*) that's easy to say.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:43 PM
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22

And here, this too: http://www.starshipnivan.com/blog/?p=8250


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:44 PM
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23

The flipside of course is that in the current job market, it's probably harder today for a woman to put a career on track after supporting a husband and raising kids.


Posted by: jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:58 PM
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"William A. Doebele Jr. taught at Harvard University from 1960 to 1997. He is the Frank Backus Williams professor of urban planning and design, emeritus."

And apparently still just as much of a dick as he was in 1961.

I thought her "response letter" to him was quite good, actually, especially since it really isn't a "response letter" at all -- just a reflection on her life and how she was able to grow despite this particular moment of sexist awfulness, which she happened to have the opportunity to share with the perpetrator of the sexist awfulness. It's about the fullness of her life, not about trying to prove his awfulness to him, and that's exactly the right way to do it (and what makes the point in 2 of perhaps questionable relevance).


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:31 PM
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Anyone who is the Firstname Q. Lastname Professor of Something or Other is probably a dick.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:16 PM
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||

I'm driving past Heebieville. Hi, heebie! Why yes, I am driving a jeep and listening to country music!

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Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:06 PM
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And commenting while driving, apparently.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:37 PM
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What's your problem? I wasn't even that drunk.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 5:37 AM
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letting it go (which we women do, by the way, about fifty times a *day*)

I'd say that 50 is a particularly bad day*, but yeah.

*Unless TV watching is involved.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:02 AM
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My adviser is the Firstname Lastname Professor of Something or Other but luckily Firstname Lastname had no middle name he wanted memorialized so my adviser's totally nice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:07 AM
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31

Or, you know, I may have been generalizing from a sample size of one-ish.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:19 AM
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32

Is this old enough that I can hijack a bit, especially since it's on the topic of motherhood and academics and whatnot? It looks like Lee is going to get a job offer from a local for-profit college tomorrow and I'm curious what would make various academic Mineshafters be willing to work in that sort of environment. (Hint: running out of saved mortgage funds in the foreseeable future is probably good enough rationale for me, but there's also a dream job at a 4-year school where they haven't started interviewing yet that would have to be off the table if she said yes, so etc.)

This is not one of the big multistate programs, would give significant freedom in terms of how courses are taught and what the contents are, no micromanaging, but is there something inherently icky about for-profit colleges or am I just a prude?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:44 AM
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33

I may be projecting here, but I'd say teaching (something helpful) at a for-profit institution is only about 453rd most evil on the list of evil occupations of this commentariat alone, not to mention the world at large. So if the job pays well and looks relatively pleasant, go for it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:55 AM
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34

It's more work than she wants to do (none) and pays less than she'd like, but would pay the bills and there's a decent chance Dream Job will end up being a one-year for the person who gets it and will be on the table again next year, at which point she'd be in the position of having a job while trying to get a job, which seems better. I think she's going to counter with asking for a little money and a decreased schedule one quarter of the year since she wouldn't be getting her hoped-for summers off, which is more than I'd ask probably because I negotiate in the traditional feminine way that supposedly increases the gendered salary gap.

But they're desperate and were sending huge signals about wanting her, so that's probably a plus. Or if not, then she still has the other job she's waiting on, which is in a department she's worked in before with good results and so the odds are not bad there, just not as good as these.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:59 AM
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35

but there's also a dream job at a 4-year school where they haven't started interviewing yet that would have to be off the table if she said yes, so etc.

That's the tricky bit. If she needs a job that's not taking the piss, then she should take the one that's on offer with a clear conscience. But if she then has to spend the next ten years wondering what if, it's a shame. How strong a candidate would she be for the dream job?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 11:02 AM
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36

35 before I saw 34. Take it, it's a no brainer in that context. If she can negotiate up a little, fine, but take it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 11:05 AM
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37

36 is basically my view and I think also hers. I think she'd be a strong contender for the dream job, but it's going to be a much bigger pool of applicants. This job had apparently closed when they got her submission and they called her that day (yesterday) and interviewed her and have given every indication that she's exactly the person they want. The head of the division had previously worked at the school that fired her, and sort of laughed knowingly when she said she said the department there hadn't been a good fit for her. The division head shares her ethnic background and they have some friends in common and so she feels she can trust that she's getting an honest look at things. She's be in more of a chair-like role, though they title their jobs differently, so it would be both teaching and administrative. Money not amazing, but better than she gets as unemployment even if she can't negotiate up. (Though, as she points out, the hours are better for unemployment.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 11:13 AM
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38

I'd say take the job. I had a friend that taught Sociology for University of Phoenix, and the actual teaching was real, although hamstrung by circumstances.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 12:17 PM
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39

33: I'd say teaching (something helpful) at a for-profit institution is only about 453rd most evil on the list of evil occupations of this commentariat alone

As someone who is actively involved in creating the next generation of Justin Biebers, I can endorse this sentiment heartily.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 12:34 PM
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40

You are now choreographing Canadian boy bands? Don't speak, just let it be true.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 12:38 PM
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41

Since this is the academia thread: my employer has sent me a letter telling me that in consideration of my "teaching, scholarship, and service", they are increasing my salary in the next year by... what amounts to about one percent. Is it wrong for me to feel a little insulted by this?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:00 PM
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teaching (something helpful) at a for-profit institution is only about 453rd most evil on the list of evil occupations of this commentariat alone

Presumably it's less evil than teaching where I teach. Sounds like Lee should take advantage of the opportunity, regardless of the "for-profit" bit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:02 PM
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43

That's what I've been averaging, but I don't teach or do service.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:02 PM
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44

43 to 41.
39 is obviously live-blogging sex.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:03 PM
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45

Ho ho ho, raises?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:08 PM
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39 just confirms what so many of us have long believed, that Castock is in fact Usher.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:11 PM
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42: She is not happy about the prospect of teaching all year. It didn't take long to get used to that term off. As the partner who works and works year-round, I'm not as sympathetic as I perhaps could be. But I'm the one who suggested countering with some sort of partial time off (working a 3-day week?) in the summer to see if they'll bite.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:11 PM
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45: Okay, I guess it is wrong for me to feel insulted. Still can't help wondering how much some of my senior colleagues get for all their "work".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:18 PM
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49

I thought Lord Castock was an award-winning poet.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:19 PM
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We've established that Castock is Canadian, and that there are only seven Canadians, so I'm pretty sure he's Margaret Atwood.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:21 PM
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51

Was it a Grammy award?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:22 PM
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No, most of the songs dont even rhyme!!


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:22 PM
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I ask you, have Usher and Margaret Atwood ever been seen in the same room together? Think about it...


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:23 PM
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47: Do they do a normal schedule in the summer? It seems like a lot of schools have summer courses that are weird compressed two- or three-week intensive things and then end.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:23 PM
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54: Apparently a lot of the small vocational(ish) for-profits go year-round because it's easier for the students to not lose momentum that way and to finish quickly. Here, all the classes (at least in her area) meet in giant chunks of time once a week for a quarter, so someone taking a full course load would only have to be on campus a day or two a week and could work around that. There's a week of downtime between terms and then the whole thing starts back up again, but faculty are given regular vacation days they can use when they need to. This is actually similar to how her former school ran things when she started there.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:29 PM
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It didn't take long to get used to that term off.

I can imagine. It sounds like a fantastic luxury (not that academic jobs are necessarily luxurious but in that specific aspect . . .)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:31 PM
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I know in general it's wrong to accept a job and then back out later, but if it's a *for profit college* is it still wrong? Can't she just take the job, and still go for the dream one and then screw over the for profit college? At-will employment and all...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:31 PM
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At-will employment and all

Totes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:35 PM
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59

I think you're entitled to feel a little insulted, private universities should be giving yearly raises above inflation. (Unless that 1% is on top of a COLA, in which case, nah, no right to complain.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:37 PM
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private universities should be giving yearly raises above inflation

:(


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:38 PM
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57: I wouldn't be totally surprised if she tried that. But the for-profit job would start probably the week before interviews even begin (like, um, two weeks from now? Yeesh!) and so it would definitely be deliberately screwing them over. I guess she'd know after a few weeks whether she cares. I am trying not to intervene too heavily in what she does, though I am strongly on Team Get a Dang Job Already.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:39 PM
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Sometimes I forget that the concept of a "raise" used to mean a raise beyond the level of inflation, and a COLA was the default instead of "The same salary year after year" being the default.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:39 PM
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Or at least this is an argument that private universities use in recruitment against public competitors. It's born out by the statistics where public universities have higher salaries for brand new hires, but private ones quickly outpace them the more years in you are.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:39 PM
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No COLA. I assume my rent is going to increase by more than my salary did. It's not a big deal, except for contributing to my general sense that no one of any importance thinks anything I do is significant.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:52 PM
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|| Confidential to Heebie: This will both delight you and convincingly demonstrate that you were either right or wrong about fashion. |>


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:56 PM
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66

Sorry for spying, but that is just great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 2:10 PM
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God, I'm so right. What a great site.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 2:27 PM
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The very existence of that site proves me right about everything, fashion-related or not.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:14 PM
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I can't remember what you were arguing and I can't tell which side that site supports.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:15 PM
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69 to 67.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:16 PM
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You're a busy man, Moby. You don't need to worry about the small details. You just need to remember the big picture -- heebie was wrong, and I was right.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:20 PM
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It's pleasingly ambiguous. Does it demonstrate that fashion has not, in fact, changed that radically since the early 1990s, thus fatally contradicting Heebie's "constant rate of cultural change" thesis? Or does it paradoxically support it, since the very existence of the site is premised on the notion that we are to find the clothing of "Jackie" inherently funny?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:20 PM
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"hipsters"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:30 PM
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The (wrong) claim is that 90s fashion looks indistinguishable from today's fashion. My (right) claim is that while there is a (wrong) cultural narrative that the 70s and 80s had uniquely bizarre fashion, it is actually the case that every era has some unbelievably outrageous choices, some awesome clothes, and a whole lotta innocuous clothes. Jackie, presumably, does not represent the Indistinguishable 90s, and so therefore Modern Hipsters are also distinguishable from the Indistinguishable 90s. I win.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:33 PM
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The last time you conceded that the 70s had uniquely bizarre fashion. Your entire argument required you to cut out the 70s as some weird exception to the normal rate of change of fashion, and that the 90s was more typical.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:37 PM
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The explanation is too long to type with my thumbs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:43 PM
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You don't need to use the space bar?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 3:52 PM
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I need a more-space bar.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 4:11 PM
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I thought everything was bigger in Texas.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 4:25 PM
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Bigger exemptions for shooting alleged prostitutes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 4:50 PM
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74 -- I thought the argument was about the rate of change. Fast 1965-1982, slower thereafter. So slow by 95 and after, in fact, that stupid inattentive people might think it wasn't even happening.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 5:26 PM
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||
Not a propos of anything, just funny: Bitchy Resting Face. We'll face it together.
|>


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 5:55 PM
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81: That's obviously true. My diet has changed more since 1995 than my clothing. In 1995, I wouldn't have even tried hummus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 6:52 PM
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That is an excellent overview of Bitchy Resting Face!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 7:14 PM
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Why is it "Bitchy Resting Face" but "Resting Asshole Face"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 7:15 PM
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86

Come on over here and I'll show you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 7:28 PM
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An asshole at rest remains an asshole.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 7:29 PM
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88

Castock!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 7:36 PM
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89

I know a couple of the people in 82 from the improv scene here. It's been fun to watch that circulate well beyond that circle.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 10:17 PM
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