Re: I Abstain

1

I'm disappointed this wasn't titled The Crockford Files.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:32 AM
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That's not really a recap, is it? It's someone saying that Crockford's been uninvited on inclusivity grounds, no good reason has been given, and he doesn't know the reason. And then going through some old talks of Crockford's saying that there's some kinda off language, but nothing that'd justify exclusion.

I mean, if that's all that's known, it's odd, but there's sort of not enough to discuss meaningfully.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:41 AM
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It's a recap, but a shitty one?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:44 AM
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It's Java. It's not supposed to work well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:51 AM
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As far as I'm aware, that guy has collected all the evidence that's been adduced against Crockford. Like, those are the reasons. If you don't think they're good, you're the real sexist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:51 AM
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The first two Google results for "doug crockford disinvited" are from two sites I'm not going to like, the K/ota/ku in Act/ion sub-Reddit (notorious cesspool) and Hacker News (less of a cesspool, more informative, still kinda gross). So, it seems to have pissed off the usual subjects without any clear discussion in favor of it. Almost all the Twitter discussion is from men.

So maybe this was an overreach, and maybe it wasn't. It's difficult to say from here, and I dunno if it's worth trying.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:52 AM
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4: Javascript isn't Java. It's amazing that that 1990s marketing misdirection is still having an effect.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:53 AM
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8

I don't pay attention very well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:54 AM
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Maybe I could rebrand my ignorance as a Holmesian effort to spare mental space?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:55 AM
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"not going to like" should have been "not going to link to," but I don't like them, either.

9: Only if you shout "the game's afoot!" at inopportune times.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:57 AM
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Try searching crockford nodevember. (I haven't done that yet, but you'll get more results.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 9:58 AM
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Speaking of, can anyone recommend a book/whatever about Sun Microsystems/Bechtolsheim? From what little I know it seems to have been an interesting different kind of company.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 10:01 AM
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I got a little bit more from official sources, but mostly the same crap. This guy is stepping down as an organizer over this affair. I find his use of the phrase "speakers of diversity" pretty gross.

At the same time, I'm getting the impression that this was a misstep that was entirely an overreaction to very little twitter discussion--but again, I'm only seeing discussion by dudes.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 10:07 AM
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Set them all on fire. I appreciate that a little overcorrection isn't necessarily a bad thing when it comes to correcting historical injustices, but when you have to work that hard to get offended you should reexamine your life.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 10:53 AM
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Are you talking about the handful of people who said on Twitter they were offended by the presence of Crockford whose reasons we don't fully understand, or the abundance of fragile dudes who have spilled copious words over how someone in power could have done something not well motivated that is slightly biased against people like them?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:22 AM
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I've changed my mind. I lack the desire to educate myself enough to have an informed opinion. My new stance is "avoid like the plague".


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:29 AM
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Fair enough. This is silly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:34 AM
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But what, specifically, is silly? If all it takes to get someone kicked out of a conference is three people saying he sorta kinda hurt their feelings once, and if you squint you can see how, then that seems like a problem!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:42 AM
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Whose problem? I blame society, which means "somebody else."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:43 AM
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I believe that a conference can invite whoever they want to speak, but if a speaker is disinvited, they need to make a public statement clearly indicating the offensive behavior that is the reason for the disinvitation.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:46 AM
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21

It's obviously peep's problem then.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 11:47 AM
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20: I'm not sure I agree with that. There's no intrinsic right to be a speaker (though if people were registering for the conference in part on the basis that this person would be there, that might be an issue). It could well be the case that one or more people have an issue with someone's past behavior, but don't want to make any details public. If all the principals want to handle things discretely, I'm not sure the general public is entitled to any more comment than "So and so is unable to speak at this conference; the keynote will be given by other person." (Though in general, if there is an active controversy involving someone, the program committee should decide ahead of time if they want to invite the person and generally stand by their decision thereafter.)


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:04 PM
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As far as I'm aware, that guy has collected all the evidence that's been adduced against Crockford. Like, those are the reasons. If you don't think they're good, you're the real sexist.

And you are against "fostering inclusivity" and therefore need to be excluded.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:05 PM
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If they want to handle things discretely, then the obvious solution is to arbitrarily disinvite a certain number of speakers every time. That way the ones disinvited for cause won't stand out.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:07 PM
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25

so I keep my mouth shut about these things nowadays.

Smile, baby.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:09 PM
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26

That reminds me of the technique to ask survey questions with, allegedly, less embarrassment for the respondent. You ask about two things at once, one potentially embarrassing and the other not, but relatively uncommon and occurring at a known rate. For example:

"Have you masturbated your dog to orgasm or were you born in April?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:11 PM
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What does it mean about me if my kids were born in April? Don't answer that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:15 PM
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26: Though obviously, you have to be careful about possible interactions between the neutral items you are asking:

"Have you masturbated your dog to orgasm or were you born in April?"

"Have you fucked a pig, or were you born in May?"

An answer of "Yes; Yes" might not disclose exactly which activity was engaged in, but...


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:20 PM
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We don't know the extent of what backchannel conversations there were (but we know they exist), but I'd say if other speakers are saying that they're uncomfortable with someone and they won't show that's worth considering. How many people do you need? How much evidence must they have of it? What if bringing the evidence out in the public could lead to harassment of a victim? The summary might be an accurate reflection of how much the public knows about it but it's not necessarily for us to know the entire story. Why must this decision be re-litigated in public?

I agree with 22 (and to be explicit, 2 as well). Yes, this was handled poorly but those principles sound reasonable. As for attending just for this speaker, they did say they'd give refunds for this.

The fact that this is being almost exclusively discussed by men, and the amount of umbrage over it (here, certainly), is interesting.

Rereading the thread I really didn't appreciate how trollish 5 is.

Of course, I completely agree with this.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:20 PM
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The whole point is that the person asking the question doesn't know when you were born so if you answer yes, there's a 8% chance (roughly) that you aren't horribly twisted. In theory, you can compile all the responses, subtract 8%, and learn of ogged is right or not.

In practice, I suspect that people don't actually work that way. I've never tried it or seen it tried to know for certain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:20 PM
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24: Don't worry, computer programmers are always discrete, since we don't have real computers.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:22 PM
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18: Don't worry, it was only a Java conference, it's not like it matters.

More seriously, my first impression was that the organizers figured that they needed to do something to look less racist/sexist, and decided not to worry too much about sacrificing someone described even by his defenders as a grumpy old man. If so, dumb (there are much better ways to look inclusive, and certain people defending him is predictable) but not heinous or indicative of anything all that bad.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:22 PM
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32.2: Well, I suppose they could have done worse, They could have decided they needed a woman speaker and invited Ann Coulter.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:31 PM
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34

26, 28: We (Google) use the coin-flip version of that ("Have you fucked a pig or did a coin-flip just now turn up heads?") to collect statistics from Chrome users.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:34 PM
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35

Now I don't feel so backward for having never transitioned away from Firefox.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:35 PM
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36

In the event that 32.1 isn't just trolling me, Javascript still isn't Java. Obviously Javascript is hella important, even (especially?) when talking about Node.

But as a Java programmer who actually kind of likes it, bah, Java is (more) fun now. I can pretend it's a functional language.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:35 PM
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Looking at one of the twitter threads, there's someone saying they won't appear with him not because he's sexist, but because he's an unpleasant asshole. That... seems like a perfectly reasonable, non-political, reason not to want someone to speak, but also one that doesn't bear much outside investigation. That is, it's going to come down, in the judgment of the conference organizers, to some subjective combination of whether the other people who are avoiding him are reasonable, and whether they're more desirable as participants than he is, and that's going to be hard for anyone else to check.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:36 PM
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38

Klout scores?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:40 PM
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39

I think "because he's a grumpy old man" is by far the strongest of the reasons offered.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:42 PM
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Mostly, people don't say "I won't work with this guy" because the guy is a grumpy old man. You need to be pretty dramatically awful before people are refusing to interact with you. I'm not seeing a clear claim that his brand of awful was solely diversity-related, but it doesn't seem impossible that he could have been awful enough to not want around.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:46 PM
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41

You need to be pretty dramatically awful before people are refusing to interact with you.

Fortunately.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:49 PM
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42

To put it another way: there are reasons other than offenses against political correctness/diversity to want someone gone. Is maybe what happened here that this guy was generally terrible, and also had some fairly minor offensiveness issues, but that what he got disinvited for was the general terribleness? And now everyone's getting all excited because the offensiveness was actually quite minor, but the excitement is misplaced because the offensiveness wasn't really what drove the disinvitation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:49 PM
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43

41: I work at it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:50 PM
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44

Maybe the grumpy old man will reexamine his crankiness threshold.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:52 PM
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45

I'm not working and saving my whole life so that when I get old I can be cheerful enough young people can tolerate me. If I have to be tolerable when I'm old, I may was well not save because I can be a Walmart greeter if I need money.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:57 PM
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26, 28, 34: I've read about survey designers using a variation, in the context of homelessness and related factors: not asking about stuff that's happened to you, but about stuff that's happened to you or "someone you know." I doubt it would work so well with the kind of questions you're envisioning, though.

36: Yes, 32.1 was trolling.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:57 PM
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47

Is it a case of "We need to dump this guy", or a case of "We need to add someone else, so we have to choose someone to dump. How about this guy?" In the latter case even a tiny amount of assholery is sufficient.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:57 PM
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48

42 is possible. Like I say, I think it's legitimate to say, this guy is a jerk and I won't appear with him. And being a "grumpy old man" is like a get out of jail card that's been played way too many times by too many people, and countenanced jerkiness really is an unacceptable bar to people trying to break into tech, and it should change. But the "offensiveness" reasons are such shite that it's not really surprising that they're getting all the attention.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 12:58 PM
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49

42 is consistent with Kas Perch's recent update.

It's worth keeping in mind that women in the tech community deal with a lot of shit. If multiple women are calling someone's behavior out even without giving detailed, specific enumerations of what bothered them, it probably means at least a history of micro-agressions unusually bad against the baseline of the tech community. Knowing us, that's probably pretty awful.

If the only way that can be made relatable to you is to reframe it as general assholeness, so be it, but keep in mine that assholeness from a privileged person directed towards non-privileged people probably does not instantiate in the same way it does when directed towards privileged people.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:00 PM
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so we have to choose someone to dump. How about this guy?

Crockford, along with Eich, is the biggest name in Javascript. You can't dump him on the sly and no one notice.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:00 PM
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48: I'll agree that the "slut-shaming the audience" thing sounds like nothing much given the summary. Maybe some people experience the word "promiscuous" as a micro-aggression, and that's unfortunate as it's a useful word. Beyond that, though, we're using the summary as an docket. This is just the public behavior that one person who was not offended compiled, and not necessarily what actually bothered the people involved.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:04 PM
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But the "offensiveness" reasons are such shite that it's not really surprising that they're getting all the attention.

Were there more reasons given than "to help make the conference a comfortable environment for all"? Because if that's all the conference said about it, they didn't attribute their decision to anything specific whatsoever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:13 PM
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This is their statement. Of course they're going to be vague. But that's also a problem. You can, but shouldn't, shun someone without giving them a chance to answer the charges against them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:24 PM
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Crockford wrote the book that made JavaScript respectable. NodeJS has been just barely hanging on to respectability. I can't see why they would do this without a really good reason, but whatever that reason is sure isn't clear to me. The way its been handled doesn't seem like its doing the cause of inclusiveness any favors.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:30 PM
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So, this is the stated reason: we became aware that based on private feedback - not simply the dialogue on Twitter - that his presence would make some speakers uncomfortable to the point where they refused to attend or speak.

I could see that maybe the conference is behaving badly. But it seems really unfounded to assume that the problem is that feminists or diversity advocates or whatever were offended by the minorly offensive things he said publicly.

Obviously, he pissed people off, and obviously, the conference organizers decided that between Crockford and the people he pissed off, they were going with the people he pissed off. But there's basically no information about what it was he did or said that pissed them off, and assuming that it's limited to publicly searchable stuff seems nuts to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:33 PM
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What was he expected to do at this conference anyway? Based on scientific conferences in my field, there would be two possibilities:

a) Introduce some new innovation he's been working on. In this case, it could be troubling to see him banned just because he and some people in the audience don't like each other.

b) Give a wide-ranging talk about his life experiences and opinions of the field, probably while being presented with a token award. In that case it actually makes more sense to cancel the talk if a lot of people don't want to honor him or bask in the glow of his presence.

Conclusion: the more prominent someone is, the less evidence you need to cancel his talk, because it's less likely his talk will actually contain any useful information.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:45 PM
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57

This rings to me more like "we've been told privately by a dozen different women he's a serial harasser", or something at that level that they can't give out.

You can, but shouldn't, shun someone without giving them a chance to answer the charges against them.

That chance, if given, would not necessarily be public either though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:50 PM
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58

In which case "I have no idea," or whatever is disingenuous.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:53 PM
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59

And he could be a serial sexual harasser of women, or he could be interpersonally horrible in a non-sexual way to men and women alike. There's nothing public I can see that makes his offenses necessarily limited to anything gendered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:56 PM
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I mean, sexual harasser is a real possibility. But people getting upset about this because it's diversity or political correctness or whatever gone mad are doing sort of the same thing they're upset about: overreading from very limited information.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:58 PM
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he could be a serial sexual harasser of women

Not if he's a quitter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 1:59 PM
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60's a better way of phasing what I was trying for in 15.

The javascript reddit thread on this is as awful as you might expect.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 2:11 PM
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63

Honestly, I don't have any expectations about javascript reddit threads.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 2:32 PM
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64

Wait but are you guys not ok with hair-trigger banning old men who talk publicly about dog balls from everything? Because I'm ok with that.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:01 PM
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64 is not even much of an exaggeration. I am at the very tail end of the generation of women that mostly just put up with shit, and am kind of gleefully watching as my former tormenters (individual and insitutional) are taken down by (always touchy and often deranged!) 24 year-olds, whether it makes sense or not. For one million percent sure they'll come for me eventually and Con/or Frieder/sdorf will be able to say "I told you so" from the next cell over in microaggression supermax, but until then...


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:13 PM
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66

Could you use that in a sentence? I'm confused.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:18 PM
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67

Or do you mean ball licking? That one I've heard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:19 PM
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It would be nice if some deranged, crazy 24 year old girls would take out some of my enemies. I've even designed a uniform for them to wear and have plans for the dormitory/armory.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:21 PM
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Dog balls: "So, that little pair of parens is really easy to overlook, but it turns out it's really critical to understanding this. So, just leaving it hanging out there like a pair of dog balls, I don't think is useful to the reader." Dog balls.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:22 PM
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One way to be a feminist is to arm a super hot Praetorian guard with weapons of kinds as a personal miliia. Literally empowering women.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:23 PM
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One way to oppress women is to literally burden them with too much clothing. So that goes.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:28 PM
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I guess I've spent too much time around decent people and castrated dogs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:30 PM
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68 you up like that and you'll get banned from something, eventually! Maybe even from your own Praetoriette dormary in a final ironic twist. Banning comes for us all, and we are all equal in its embrace.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:30 PM
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My faaaaavorite though was an older colleague explaining to me that actually he would have to worry about gender discrimination LESS with the youngs because they're all post-gender.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:32 PM
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His wife don't understand him, but the 24 year old does.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:35 PM
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Now that I think about it, empty parens do kind of look like dog balls. ()


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:38 PM
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I did have a boss/client who said shit like 69 (or rather multiple, but one really bad one) . I attributed it to his age at the time, but I think it's that moderately old people tend to be in positions of authority and feel free to be uninhibited/awful to the young and weak.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:46 PM
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If you read the last part of that quote as a sudden burst of self-awareness it underscores what an idiot remark it really is. I.e. "So, that little pair of parens is really easy to overlook, but it turns out it's really critical to understanding this. So, just leaving it hanging out there like a pair of dog balls... I don't think [this] is useful to the reader." Ban ban ban ban ban ban ban.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 4:51 PM
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As far as I can parse it, I think the first sentence is contradicted by the second. Is that right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:02 PM
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Has everyone not encountered infinity middle-aged-to-old dog-ball-joking men? I know lawyers are awful but are they that much worse? I can think of... eight of these guys in the time it took me to write that ellipsis. I adore one of them but am totally fine with sacrificing him (sorry, Bill!) in order to ban the others from whatever at whim


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:02 PM
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So, "dog balls" = 1/"tits on a bull".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:12 PM
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Or maybe -1*(tits on a bull)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:15 PM
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Is dog balls meant literally? I don't think I've ever heard a dog ball reference at work, but maybe this is like the "I've never been cat called" thing.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:17 PM
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I've never been called by a cat, but I have been dialed by a friend's toddler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:21 PM
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"amount of umbrage over it (here, certainly), is interesting."

20-odd comments (mainly wtfing) is huge amounts of umbrage now?


Posted by: chris s | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:32 PM
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I've never heard the term "dog balls" but I've heard plenty of vaguely disgusting things from middle aged men. I could easily imagine that being said.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:39 PM
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Dog balls is not meant literally except insofar as that's literally what the guy in the linked article said. I've definitely heard "you gotta walk in there [to a very low-stakes deposition that you are *defending*] like you're swinging a big ol' donkey dick," and animal genetalia nonsense was prevalent. Don't recall hearing dog balls specifically but if you told me I had, I'd believe you.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 5:46 PM
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The donkey-dick comment was from the guy I got on great with, btw, though he regularly upset people with shit like that and mostly they weren't wrong to be upset. If someone were like, uh I don't want to be on a panel with the donkey dick guy, I wouldn't blame them. While I would agree he should be given the chance to defend himself from complaints in this hypothetical situation, I can't actually imagine him having any response other than blank incomprehension.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:06 PM
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That's pretty bad depo defense advice if taken literally. My favorite weird lawyer line of the year encountered in real life (not from a colleague) was "I would eat a plate of horse cock for Paw Patrol money." OK then!


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:10 PM
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"Of the year"=of this year, 2016 AD? That kind of borderline-nonsense dick talk is so familiar though, as is having to politely but firmly say things like "thanks for your unprompted thoughts on horse cock; next item."

Also honestly 87 is bad depo defense advice taken figuratively as well.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:18 PM
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There's a judge up here who recently got censured for these sorts of remarks. I suspect this is particularly common among lawyers but I wouldn't be surprised if it were particularly common among programmers too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:30 PM
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89 also just that's not even a way you could ever get that money! No one would offer you that deal!


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:31 PM
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93

Note to people making animal dick metaphors: Elephants have prehensile penises. That is all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:34 PM
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92: I've heard maybe Tijuana.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:35 PM
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93 there is a judge in another large landmass state who has, not jokingly, told female (attorney) friends of mine to smile and then sincerely threatened contempt charges when they didn't. I think hierarchy is NY state legistature worse than programmers who are worse than lawyers but I'm not committed to that ranking.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:36 PM
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State legislators are definitely the worst. Not just for this but for everything.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:38 PM
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85: I should have said "here included", but yes, the FPP and 5 were bullshit umbrage. If that is insufficient umbrage to suffice as a high amount for you, I recommend checking, oh, say, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

89/92: I mean, I would totally do some weird eat-something-gross for Paw Patrol money. Hell, even Octonauts money. I guess someone would have to film it, probably? Let's get my people talking to your people.

91: Yeah, it's pretty common--the vulgarity and unexpected sexualization in general anyway, not specific animal genitalia references. See also the occasional "program like you're a porn star/like you're going to fuck a bunch of porn stars" conference presentation. We have all the issues you get from poor social skills in SFF fandom combined with inflated egos due to being based around a craft. And of course poor gender ratios in the workplace. It's probably getting a little better, but I dunno.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:41 PM
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The judge in our high school mock trial event (who was an actual judge) marked down my teammate for not wearing a dress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:41 PM
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We have all the issues you get from poor social skills in SFF fandom combined with inflated egos due to being based around a craft.

I presume being a field that currently has a lot of money and status associated with it plays a role too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:44 PM
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WHAT does program like you're going to fuck a bunch of porn stars mean???? Quickly, so you can get to the porn stars? For all the problems with donkey dick you can sort of see where that was going even if it was going somewhere wrong.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:44 PM
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Animals with a cloaca have a huge advantage on that front.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:46 PM
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99: Yes, certainly. I do find myself wondering how much all the extra money in tech is allowing sexist hiring practices, etc. to persist.

100: I may have extrapolated unfairly; I've definitely see "program like you're a porn star"; I've also seen slide decks peppered with sexy lady pictures with a "this can all be yours" vibe to it. So I guess, uh, with gusto, suaveness, and $cool_technique_or_technology_im_going_to_tell_you_about?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:48 PM
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I mean even "like you're a porn star" implies "with detached professionalism" to me. Which seems like a fine way to program, so hey.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:50 PM
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Be a detached professional. Every breath measured, no heartbeat misplaced. The slightest movement a graceful dance. Waiting careful for your moment to go all in. Program like a porn star sniper assassin.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 6:56 PM
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This refers to what I was thinking of, but it only has the title slide; the rest have been taken down.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 7:03 PM
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dalriata, you seem to use "microagression" without irony, so we might not find much common ground, but what, exactly, was bullshit? People really did claim that Crockford "slut-shamed" by talking about the early web as "promiscuous." That's some combination of pathological, malicious, and, stupid.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 7:30 PM
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My bubble of the tech world, or at least the part I've carved out for myself, seems a little alien - not to the problems themselves, but more to the environments that they show up in.

So much of this seems to revolve around conferences: attendees, presentations, invited speakers, etc. I don't think I've been to a technical conference since about 2003, but they seem to be a N-times-a-year event for a certain population.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 7:34 PM
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I feel like 83; I very rarely hear this sort of talk. Assuming it's common, I ought to at least overhear more than I do. I seem to lead a sheltered life.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 7:40 PM
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I suspect there's a strong correlation between attending lots of professional conferences and both saying this sort of stuff and being offended by it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 7:42 PM
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See also the occasional "program like you're a porn star/like you're going to fuck a bunch of porn stars" conference presentation.

This stuff wouldn't be coming from the late middle age guys though, right?

I presume being a field that currently has a lot of money and status associated with it plays a role too.

This programming culture I hear about sounds 100 times more similar to Wall Street finance culture than to any scientific field where people do not make lots of money.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 8:02 PM
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My experience with this nonsense doesn't come from SV, bro type people but rather management/ownership types. I've been spared the broes. Maybe it's inapplicable to the situation with Crocker, but as far as I can tell no one is telling what that is exactly. He could've been killing hookers for all we know. Pass it on.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 8:16 PM
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NMM to Phyllis Schlafly.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 10:49 PM
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NMM to Phyllis Schlafly.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 10:49 PM
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I mean really guys, stop it now.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 7-16 10:50 PM
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I can't help hearing dalriata's comments in the voice of Maud Lebowski. "Whereas male programmers will regularly refer to their 'rod' or their 'dick' or their 'johnson'."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:18 AM
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There's a judge up here who recently got censured for these sorts of remarks.

Whereas over here, we had a judge call someone she was sending down "a bit of a cunt" and she was called a role model.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:41 AM
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Enlightened! Topless! But European no more!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:06 AM
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I remember from one of the old Private Eye "Dear Bill" columns the line
"Plain as the balls on a dog, the man's an A1 bumsucker" and I have secretly hankered to describe something -- anything -- as "plain as the balls on a dog" since reading that, but somehow the opportunity has never arisen.

There was also a dreadful phase about 20 years ago when "the dog's bollocks" was the approved expression of approval among the tech journalists I knew. But I can't see what the man under discussion did wrong at all.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 3:25 AM
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116: But he started it! Which is not usually exculpatory IMparentalO but does seem to be here.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 4:08 AM
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It sounds like what the organizers wanted to say was "We disinvited this person because the rest of the speakers think he's an asshole", but couldn't figure out how to say that without sounding unprofessional, and so fell back on vague "inclusion"-esque language instead.

The "the old web encouraged promiscuity" = "slut shaming" thing is weapons grade stupid and certainly deserves whatever mockery it gets.

In recent years I've noticed that there are not only entire professions, but entire social scenes that seem to consist of a never ending circuit of conferences and conventions. Is this new? Conferences and conventions have always been around, but I don't recall them being quite so ubiquitous.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 4:45 AM
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119: I never said it needed exculpating.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 4:51 AM
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120.3: In medical research, it seems to be very common. Three or four a year (at three or four days each) for an active researcher. By the time something is in a journal, it's usually dated. The conference abstracts are how you know what is going on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:20 AM
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122: Maybe the conference scene gets more intense the closer you get to clinical work? I'm in basic research, and while there are plenty of meetings in my general field, attending one or two a year seems more normal. Of course there are some big shots that seems to spend all their time on the road while their serfs postdocs do the actual work, but that's not the standard.

From browsing the interwebs, I get the impression that programming/tech industry in particular is conference crazy.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:28 AM
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I don't know, but I'm starting to wonder if my field isn't so predominantly female because programmers and tech people are assholes. I've never really programmed, but the technical skills don't seem that different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:35 AM
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How are the per diems? For all the frustrations of this place I get insane per diems here. I'll take every conference I can get.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:45 AM
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We get $60/day to eat. But nobody ever sends me anywhere.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:49 AM
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Which is probably not oil-wealth money, but still nicer than when I've flown for other universities that make you submit receipts for everything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:51 AM
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Addendum to last night's ranting but there was absolutely no overlap between these mouthy old men and the supervisors who actually made a move on me and/or hated me for having a baby. And only a small fraction of those who did make a move retaliated after being rejected! I'd ban the latter first but why stop the banning there. It's banning all the way down. Still when working with junior folks, if/when it comes up I try to say yes, hold the feet of the bombastic horse-cock-plate-eaters to every fire, they're an institutional problem but they're not who you, personally, most urgently need to watch out for.

And also on further thought the ACTUAL worst, or possibly second worst after state legislatures, are professional musicians.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:58 AM
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I get the kids back tomorrow; have to get every single thought I've ever had out before then so I can perform screen-time virtue.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:59 AM
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Otherwise you'll be walking around the house muttering "Don't say 'horse cock.'"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:10 AM
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130 assumes a lot about how I normally walk around the house.

ALSO as a discourse expert, I say with confidence that The Discourse would be greatly improved if "manners" or "no manners" as applicable were substituted for 99.9% of the uses terms inclusivity, microaggression, etc.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:16 AM
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128: I like this banning idea but what are your thoughts on MANOCIDE?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:16 AM
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132 that sign went up or at least went viral the very day I passed through the Portland ME area; fear of the Vagenda of Manocide follows in my wake.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:18 AM
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133 is both amazing and entirely unsurprising.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:32 AM
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I get the impression that programming/tech industry in particular is conference crazy.

There's definitely a hip programmer scene, and part of the scene is going to / speaking at conferences. These are people who are typically also working on/with the latest hotness in programming tools. In contrast, I don't think anyone at my job goes to conferences; it's a corporate environment and our tech is--horrors--a few years old.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:33 AM
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By performance of private vice Stabby will further public virtue; and therefore is obliged to keep commenting, however pitiful the cries of her offspring.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:37 AM
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SAS hasn't changed much since I first started using it in 1997 or so. It keeps coming with the features, but mostly I try to undo all those so it looks as much like 6.whatever it was when I started.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:40 AM
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106: You said that this is "all the evidence" and "the reasons". No, we still don't know that. I thought that was jumping to conclusions and hence why I called it bullshit. The framing of using the evidence list as exactly what went through everyone's head is bizarre and unfair. Yes, someone went back and found a year old thing somebody said negative about Crockford, and it was both feministy and wasn't well argued. So what? We don't know to what agree that affected anything. It's bizarre to pull it out for mockery as if it's all that's going on, especially since--in the medium post--it isn't even defended but just mentioned in passing. The way you took offense at its existence--"if you don't think they're good, you're the real sexist"--is strawman SJW-bashing and barely related.

But let's look at that promiscuity thing and try to figure out what the hell was going on, since I'm also having trouble understanding it and it's attracted so much interest. The medium post is useless for understanding. Trying to go through the twitter threads there's a little bit more going on; it still feels overwrought to me, but the complaint seems to be at the old:new::promiscuous:committed analogy, which comes up in a slide before he says anything about it. As if it's a lifestyle that go through in a phase towards committed relationships that could leave you "shocked and embarrassed." It's still a weak argument, but I think the way he was juxtaposing promiscuity against "committed relationships" was an unwise analogy to human relationships that yeah, I could see offensive to people who have had their lifestyle berated.

But I dunno. It's folly to try to dissect old, telegraphic twitter discussions that have undetermined relevance to what we're talking about. Which is my point.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:40 AM
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It's worth keeping in mind that there are a lot more programmers than people in most of the other fields we're talking about, so it can support many more conferences. That being said, I work mostly with older tech so I don't go very often--maybe every other year. I work with other people who are more committed to conferences and go once a year or more. If you're working on open source software, it's probably even more attractive since you get to actually talk to both who you're working with and who uses your software.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:44 AM
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I may also be super chatty today, though my mood may be too dire to sustain it. Not sure yet.

And Ginger Yellow, I didn't mean you were worried about whether it would be exculpatory, just that I'd thought I had 100% "I don't care if s/he did it first!" policies but it turns out I don't quite.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:46 AM
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I would like to go to more conferences, but nobody will pay for it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:47 AM
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Regarding conferences, I was also thinking of what I noticed back when I still read the blogs of some of the "skeptic"/atheist types that sort of overlapped with the science blogosphere for a while. They seemed to have created this whole little alternate universe of atheist or skeptic conventions that they seemed to attend every other month. It just struck me as an odd way to construct your social life, but then again what do I know about the exotic ways of the crazy Kids These Days.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:52 AM
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Maybe you should update your SAS.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:52 AM
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112-114 I probably should have been less cryptic.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:57 AM
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I realize I'm being a bit testy*; sorry. Operating on not much sleep. I should probably go reread the crankiness thread.

* Oh, I slay myself.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:02 AM
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126 It's substantially more than 10 times that. But we have to pay for our own accommodation. And I go as reasonably cheap as I can get.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:03 AM
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We can make every thread a crankiness thread if we try, dalriata.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:05 AM
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Only some of us had the foresight to sharpen our pseuds in the design phase.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:13 AM
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On the question of kids these days, with their conferences and conventions: it seems likely to me that it's an artifact of internet culture. I mean, we do it -- you've got a social/professional life that involves talking a lot with people who aren't local to you, so it's a natural thing to do to create occasions to meet them in real life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:26 AM
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I thought the natural thing was to be very glad that the guy you just pissed off is safely on a different continent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:31 AM
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142: It's like Mensa, without the aspirations to intellectual accomplishment!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:36 AM
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That was the part I always hated about Mensa.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:38 AM
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aspirations pretensions to intellectual accomplishment
FTFY.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:46 AM
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Maybe I should offer a consulting service where I accompany grumpy olds to conferences/meetings/whatever and kick them under the table when they veer into indefensibility. I've certainly been performing that service pro bono for so long.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:59 AM
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They seemed to have created this whole little alternate universe of atheist or skeptic conventions that they seemed to attend every other month. It just struck me as an odd way to construct your social life

Counterpoint: it's not exactly unknown for religious people to organise much of their social life around church events...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:15 AM
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Conferences and conventions have always been around, but I don't recall them being quite so ubiquitous.

I think it's being driven by some weird late-stage capitalism nonsense, where we have to put on big showy weddings for all our rich friends, but to really make it as fancy as possible, you need to get an industry to pay for it and have it attended by your industry friends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:16 AM
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Kicking-as-a-Service, Stabby!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:17 AM
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149 and there seems to be a growing expectation by some youngs that such events and their informal sequelae will be totally desexualized, which is possibly unrealistic and unreasonable but also a great idea. Is random sexualisation (of e.g., parentheses for fucks sake) always exlusionary? No, I guess, but also I don't care, ban, ban, ban. Your due process was all of history, jerk.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:18 AM
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I of course say 158 as someone who has never, not once, flirted at a work event or made out with her paralegal.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:20 AM
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Do you need to redo the on-line course?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:21 AM
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156, cont'd: but obviously it's just the trappings of wealth, done on the cheap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:22 AM
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Also, taking my own advice, 158 should read "is random sexualisation (of e.g., parentheses for fucks sake) always [bad manners]?" There, the answer is an only slightly equivocal "yes."


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:24 AM
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Fake it till you make it, Heebie.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:25 AM
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On the spectrum of punctuation marks, parentheses don't seem to need to be on the unsexy side.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:27 AM
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162: Would, say,

Queen Clytaemnestra drove her blade over and over into his broad gleaming chest, their gasping breaths rising and mingling as one, until at last mighty Agamemnon subsided, spent, in the rose-red bathwater
pass muster?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:33 AM
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158: I'm not sure if the expectation is that all informal gatherings associated with a convention be desexualized; there the concern is probably more about consent, respect, and acknowledging boundaries, not completely stamping it out. But in a professional context itself unnecessary sexualization is unprofessional. This should be self-evident.

Wait, desexualized and sexualisation? Who are you?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:41 AM
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We hold these truths to be self-evident. Laydeez.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:43 AM
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On the spectrum of punctuation marks, parentheses don't seem to need to be on the unsexy side.


The punctuation marks on my keyboard, ranked in descending order of sexiness:

!
}
{
^
?
~
.
)
/
=
#
£
"
*
&

|
(
]
@
[
%
-
+
'
,


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:02 AM
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And, right at the bottom, _.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:03 AM
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I got no dog in this fight - ban away, if you like - but I'm really having trouble seeing the reference to its balls as sexualising rather than just a lame attempt at seeming hard-bitten. No more than saying "fuck" in polite company* would be.

*which Unfogged isn't, of course.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:06 AM
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151: When The whole skeptic/New Atheist scene first cropped up I was skeptical (heh) right from the start in part exactly because they reminded me of Mensa.

it's not exactly unknown for religious people to organise much of their social life around church events...

It's funny how perfectly they seem to recapitulate the habits and traits of the religions they're so against. I've stopped paying much attention, but last I checked they'd gone through multiple schisms. I mean, I know that a lot of it is driven by social media encouraging everyone to act like seventh graders, but they seemed more prone to it than most.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:11 AM
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166: Lady Whiteadder was well ahead of the game, clearly.

Edmund: Which reminds me, Auntie...
Lady Whiteadder: Don't call me "Auntie"! Aunt is a relative, and relatives are evidence of sex. Which is hardly a fitting conversation for the dinner table.
Blackadder: ...Or, indeed, any table.
Lord Percy: Except perhaps a table in a brothel!
(Blackadder kicks him savagely beneath the table)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:12 AM
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It's funny how perfectly they seem to recapitulate the habits and traits of the religions they're so against

Except the institutionalised child abuse, money laundering and mass beheadings. But the "let's gather together and socialise with people who share our interests" thing, they've got that. BURN.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:14 AM
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Shit, this blog was founded on cock jokes.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:15 AM
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174: We Built this City on Cock and Troll


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:17 AM
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Except the institutionalised child abuse, money laundering and mass beheadings

They've only been around for a few years, give them some time to catch up.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:17 AM
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||

Shiny new job! Same office, but moving over to the environmental part of it.

!>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:17 AM
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173: Yes, you don't get that sort of things from leaders driven by atheist principles such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, French revolutionaries, etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:18 AM
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WHEREVER YOU ARE, YOU HAVE AN ENVIRONMENT...


Posted by: OPINIONATED TV NATURALIST | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:21 AM
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You know who else got a new job and beheaded people?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:24 AM
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Pol Pot, Stalin and Carrier, of course, all educated in religious institutions.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:24 AM
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Well, I think they overreacted.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:27 AM
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So, some communist massacres, but on the other hand the invention of the air conditioner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:28 AM
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Same office, but moving over to the environmental part of it.

Congratulations. Does this mean you're going to be enforcing regulations/going after polluters on behalf of the city, or protecting the city when environmentalists go after it for polluting.

In other words, are you good or evil? Or am I completely misunderstanding what the job involves?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:29 AM
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177: I'm picturing an office -- one side looks like a perfectly normal office -- that's where LB used to work. The other side of the office is a rain forest - this is where LB works now.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:29 AM
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166 "[T] the expectation is that all informal gatherings associated with a convention be desexualized" is at best the position of a slight minority of 24-year-olds and at worst (and in reality) a willfull misrepresentation of those 24-year-olds' position on my part. But hey, my immediate supervisor once earnestly, expectantly, took out his dick on in the doorway of my hotel room because he had misread some signals and had literally no sense, so my position is now desexualize everything, every baby an in-vitro baby. (This is obviously not actually my position, am I trolling? Is this what trolling feels like?)

170 I agree that in the context of the linked post "dog balls" is, as you describe, not sexualizing. Though it's rather more esoteric and graphic than "fuck," so it's more evidently childish "LOOK at my insouciance!" than "fuck" would be--i.e., it's worse manners. However I can easily imagine 24 year olds of my acquaintance arguing that it was inappropriately sexualizing and me thinking "that's insane, but let's ban him for kicks anyway."


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:33 AM
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expectantly, took out his dick on in the doorway of my hotel room because he had misread some signals

Since I'm desexualizing everything, I'm assuming that he mistook the door knob for a urinal.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:36 AM
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184: I'm state, not city. But to the substantive part of your question, I am both good and evil -- some affirmative work, going after polluters, but mostly defensive work, which is split between defending the state when people sue it for trying to enforce environmental laws (so I'm good), but also defending the state when people sue it for insufficiently enforcing environmental laws (evil-ish? Or realistic? Depends on the case?). I'm hoping to net out to mostly good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:36 AM
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I honestly can't think of a signal clear enough that I would pull out my dick in front of someone I had no pre-existing relationship with beyond common employment. But, I never even took the LSAT.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:39 AM
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183 - Also, an admirable commitment to fashion issues:

One of the major thrusts of latent history is to avoid a narrow purview. We're presently assembling evidence about the French Revolution indicating that a dissident faction of the sans-culottes used to assemble secretly under cover of dark for the sole purpose of wearing culottes... - DeLillo Great Jones Street


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:39 AM
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The French Revolution was so much more interesting in between the time I first translated "sans culottes" for myself and when somebody explained it to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:44 AM
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For a time, I had the impression that some portion of the Ancien Régime went about in those shorts that look like skirts.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:49 AM
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186 - It's quite alarming to know that things like that happen.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 9:56 AM
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189, 193 honestly the situation in 186 seemed murky to me at the time, and maybe it still is, idk! We were friendly, he wasn't THAT senior to me I guess (both associates though about 6 work-years apart) it was after a work-encouraged but not-work sponsored social event, I'd let him walk me back to my hotel (different from his), and had a sense something was off when the escort did not end in the lobby, which I guess I should have acted on! And any retaliation, such as it was, was simply him becoming awkward and cagey and bad at working with me, where he'd previously been supportive and engaged and, where necessary, intercessory on my behalf. Hmmm retyping that it does not seem murky at all.

It was only in retrospect that I realized how much damage all that did; to spare others that experience I advocate a prospective ban on sex, sex-adjacent activities, talking about sex ar sex-adjacent activities, and talking about animals, just in case anyone mistake animal talk for sex talk.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:08 AM
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When I told a female forged-in-70s-Texas-biglaw friend about all this she said grimly "ah, I forgot about all the romance."


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:14 AM
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186: That sounds awful. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to trivialize your experience.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:20 AM
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just in case anyone mistakes animal talk for sex talk

SOMETIMES, IT'S NOT A MISTAKE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:21 AM
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I missed that reference and I'm not looking it up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:24 AM
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196 you didn't at all! There's plenty of ok messing around that goes on, I'm just saying that prospectively it can be hard to suss out the consequences of a particular incident of either messing around or failing to do so and as a result no one should ever touch anyone else.

Also, after the fallout from 186, donkey dick guy completely went to the mat for me when it would have been very easy not to, so in sum what even IS sexism I give up.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:26 AM
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177: Hooray! Congratulations.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:27 AM
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Yes yay LB!! The shinier the office the closer to God.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:28 AM
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Without the supervisory relationship and the spontaneously exposing himself, I guess it might be murky, depending on the nature of the conversation. With, no way. (For whatever a stranger's opinion is worth.)


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:30 AM
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"Murky" would be going in for a kiss. I'm not sure there is ever any circumstance in which the very first direct sexual activity should be whipping out one's schlong.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:33 AM
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Save something for the honeymoon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:35 AM
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Something like 194 is why I am now a total humorless bitch at my workplace. Like, I no longer laugh at jokes that are even slightly off-color (this was apparently the signal that was misinterpreted in my case), and I immediately shut down any kind of sex-related talk, no matter how remote or abstract.

My own experience is what makes me assume, unfairly and based on absolutely zero evidence, that Doug Crockford had it coming. In my case, the guy who made oddball jokes about dog balls was also the guy who, in a less public context, interrupted my meeting by tittering at my shoes (it was later explained to me by another (old white guy) coworker that my shoes were patent leather, and I was wearing a skirt, and everyone knows that women who wear skirts with shiny shoes want you to see the reflection of their underpants. WTF). When someone makes a few truly egregious sexual comments at you privately, you tend to get really sensitive to any, even remotely, sexualized thing that they say. This looks like overreaction to everyone else, because the public comments are not as bad.

Anyway, I hate working with this coworker, and I would totally try to get him kicked off any panel I was on. Maybe that would be unfair, since he wouldn't know the reason (except he would, if he had any sense at all). And some other people might be mystified, since the public comments are not that bad, and the private comments are not googleable; and I am zero percent interested in making a public issue of my coworker's shitty behavior. But I don't GAF. It's a conference, not termination or jail time, and he's not exactly entitled to due process in that context.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:36 AM
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I'm state, not city

Ah. I was thrown off by the fact that you live in NYC. My understanding of New York government, based almost exclusively on old episodes of Law and Order, was that everyone who works for the state lives in Albany.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:39 AM
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A lot of agencies are mostly in Albany, but my office has a headquarters in NYC as well as Albany.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:47 AM
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203 right and even moving in for a kiss would have gone from murky to super-crummy when rejection resulted in him acting like a petulant baby in ways that had totally foreseeable negative professional consequences for me.

205 welcome to camp humorless bitch! patent leather shoes WTFFFFFF. Bans all around!


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:48 AM
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MOBY, WHEN I TOLD YOU "LET'S GET ANIMAL, ANIMAL, I WANNA GET ANIMAL", I DIDN'T REALLY MEAN I WANTED A PUPPY...


Posted by: OPINIONATED OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:50 AM
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Congrats LB!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:53 AM
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That patent leather shoes thing is so fucking gross. Why is someone like that given a pass to integrate themselves into society so fully?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:57 AM
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211: I blame Ogged.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:58 AM
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Congratulations, LB!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 10:58 AM
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Congrats LB!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:07 AM
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I've never heard that thing about the shoes. That's very fucked up. It's taking creepy mirrors-on-shoes perviness and combining it with the entitlement of assuming women dress for them.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:07 AM
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I don't even see women's feet. Ask people who have danced with me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:08 AM
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I've heard the shoes thing. Last when I was in elementary school and maybe middle school I think. Holdover from my parent's generation probably. Haven't heard it mentioned again till now I think. I'm surprised it isn't in some stupid movie or on Family Guy or something equally horrid.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:10 AM
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I've heard it, but only as a middle-school sort of thing, never from an adult. Come think, a very long time ago I read some sort of memoir? Maybe it was a novel? Supposed to be funny, anyway, about growing up Catholic in the fifties or sixties, called "Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:12 AM
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216: He only knows women have feet because of the occasional sharp pain in his balls.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:12 AM
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And here it is: Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:13 AM
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218: Novel by John Powers.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:14 AM
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I'd click the link, but I'm afraid what Amazon would put on my profile.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:14 AM
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I don't interact with the guy really at all, anymore, but thinking about this now makes my blood boil. He propositioned me (in a less horrifying way than CS experienced, sorry CS!), fairly early after I started working with him. After I backed away in horror, he started with the overtly hostile sexual insults, like the patent leather comment. I've forgotten a lot of the comments due to a defensive amnesia, but they were often directed at trying to undercut me professionally. Like, once I was talking to him about a case, and he interrupted to tell me that he hadn't heard anything I said, because when I raised my arms to fix my ponytail, my shirt had lifted and exposed the skin above my waistband, and obviously that was deliberate. I would literally get rage-induced headaches at work several times a week.

Eventually I complained about him, discreetly, to a sympathetic supervisor, and she disciplined him (also discreetly, at my request, since most of my coworkers are old dudes who are buddies with my enemy, and there's no benefit to me in publicly declaring war), and now I avoid him entirely. But he'll sometimes send company-wide e-mails, or make public comments that are jokey and mildly off-color, and they ENRAGE ME. Which is why I assume (again, unfairly) that behind every dumb and mostly-innocuous dog balls joke is an evil, predatory sleaze bag.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:35 AM
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Holy shit jms, that's horrible.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:39 AM
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re: "behind every dumb and mostly-innocuous dog balls joke is an evil, predatory sleaze bag," basically cosign and should clarify that I don't think donkey dick guy stuck up for me because of any principled stance against sexism, he just liked me/my work, and decided I was HIS associate, and that HIS people didn't get fucked over. If you told me he left our meetings and skipped down the hall to show some first-year his dick, well, I'll just say I consider this person's behavior ample warning that I may someday be deeply disappointed by him.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:45 AM
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Like, yes, maybe all these 24 year-olds are nuts, but also maybe they just have better instincts than me.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:47 AM
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They suck too Stabby, just in a way that's different than the way you and I suck.

I don't think the "dog balls" 'joke' is desexualized. I can hear that stupid "why does a dog lick his balls" joke lurking behind it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:49 AM
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I know it's both naive and romantic, but I still get doubly pissed when this kind of bullshit is done by lawyers. Literally your entire job is to be cautious and not be a dumbshit in a professional context! That is what people supposedly pay you for. If anyone deserves banning without due process for this kind of bullshit it's lawyers, they have a particular responsibility not to enter the zone of dumbshit situations.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:55 AM
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227 yeah ultimately, I guess if it's about balls and totally irrelevant, that's close enough to "sexualized" for me. Verdict, Very Bad Manners; Sentence, Banned.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:57 AM
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I mean, except for me, like most demigods I can do whatever the fuck I want. But everyone else.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 11:57 AM
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What... the... fuck.. The shoes thing is so beyond creepy. I don't understand how your colleagues, if they picked up on this, would put up with it. Is this something that normal people see? Lawyers must be different. Fuck that.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:02 PM
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228 the lawyers doing this shit were also being naive and romantic insofar as they didn't assume I maintained contemporanous records of all this, sooooo...

But you know what, for a lot of lawyers toughness is its own value independent of context, and garbage sex behavior seems low risk to them because they literally can't imagine that a woman who fancied herself a lawyer would choose to register offense or complain. Doing so would mean she was choosing to present herself as less than Maximally Tough, and it is impossible she could have any goal other than Maximal Toughness.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:06 PM
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232 may be the same for computer types, idk. They do, like lawyers, seem to be proud of how much they work, which is a sickness.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:07 PM
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Probably. It might be even worse given the lower number of women (I assume there are proportionally more female lawyers, not sure); if there's only one or a few women in a group the pressure to be tough is higher.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:14 PM
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"behind every dumb and mostly-innocuous dog balls joke is an evil, predatory sleaze bag," is something I'm willing to cosign too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:23 PM
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I worked in places that were supposed to be quite GOOD for women too, which I think some folks considered a shield from any criticism. Taking your dick out CAN'T be harassment if your mat-leave policy was in an *article*.

Whatever you guys I have to go to """"""court"""""" now


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:28 PM
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Law, at least commercial litigation, has a particular issue where the youngest lawyers are roughly 50% women but for a variety of reasons incl but not limited to sexual harrassment it gets progressively much much more male as you get more senior.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:29 PM
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236: The quotation marks are to make it sexier, right?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:30 PM
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237: That is the most depressing dynamic as a young woman in a firm. I've mentioned it before, but being in my early thirties and sitting in an endless stream of conference rooms with bright-eyed young women and silver-haired men made me really jumpy -- it felt as if the vet was going to show up to have me humanely put down when I hit 35 or so.

Then I moved to government and found all the middle-aged and old women, which has been great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:34 PM
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There's probably a bad Logan's Run remake in that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:35 PM
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Probably not any worse than OG Logan's Run.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:37 PM
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239 - right, and at this point it's not even a little bit blamable on pre-feminism dinosaurs lingering on after the K-T event, either. It's what, 35 years of rough male/female parity in law schools now? And yet.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:42 PM
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I don't know how typical my experience was in terms of what happens to women, but I never had a harassment problem, I had an underutilization problem. I got staffed on big cases doing fragmentary, low-status work, and by the time I was quite senior I did not have the experience I needed to be impressing people making partnership decisions, and I still wasn't getting the right kind of assignments. I wasn't really functioning as an independent lawyer until I came here (which was a real 'jump into the deep end and pretend you know how to swim already' experience.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:47 PM
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Where I work it looks at first like all the women are 15 years younger than the men, but that's because all the women dye their hair. (and have hair)


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:48 PM
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We're behind you in that transition, but the rhetoric on our side is that we can no longer blame it on a pipeline problem--women are getting into tech but they're not sticking around.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 12:51 PM
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re: the scrollback far above.

I go to conferences fairly often, although often they are more technical working groups with a relatively small number of people than some big "FooBRCon!" type thing.

I have to admit, that I've not really seen much blatant sexism among software devs, and culturally most of the 'IT' workplaces I've worked in in the past 10 years have been pretty good in terms of broad sexual attitudes.

One of the women in my previous place of work came to me to complain about being treated with a lack of respect by some of her colleagues, which I felt was somewhat gendered, and I took it to our department head. It wasn't directed at her qua woman, but she was receiving more flak than she deserved, because she was quiet and timid, and didn't visibly 'know her stuff' as much as some of her colleagues.* And that kind of 'affect' is gendered.

But both in the previous place, and in the current place (4 days in!) the staff ratio was/is about 50/50 male female, and there was a reasonable spread of ages, too. So maybe that's not completely typical.

* complicated by the fact that original instigator of this stuff was another woman, and there was a complicated racial/social-class element to it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:05 PM
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the staff ratio was/is about 50/50 male female,

That really does make a huge difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:10 PM
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I haven't worked anywhere in 15 years where the ratio wasn't 50/50 or (more generally) more women than men. I think the current office is marginally more men than women. Looking at the tea/coffee/cocktails rota spreadsheet* it's actually about 60/40 but a couple of the guys mostly work remotely.

* one of the first things I had to fill out on my first day.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:20 PM
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My office is also about 50/50 male female, with a lot of women in positions of authority. (Fewer now that there has been significant attrition and reshuffling of roles, but still quite a few.) That sort of environment really does seem to keep the jerks mostly in check, and it's a pretty pleasant working environment overall. I hear these stories about other workplaces and I can't even fathom how people stand it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:29 PM
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Further to 243: I have at times speculated paranoidly that the lack of harassment and the underutilization were connected; that the same personality traits that led to my getting hassled much less than other women were in the same workplaces made me someone that senior men didn't want on their cases. Because I really could not figure out why I was getting good feedback on the work I was doing, and good reviews, and still had a hell of time getting meaningful assignments.

But that was paranoid speculation -- there's no way for me to know what was happening, and it's long in the past now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:30 PM
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Making people (women? general people?) paranoid seems to be part of the same muck.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:37 PM
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My office has a weird/terrible dynamic in which senior women* make sexual jokes and then the junior men respond with jokes about calling HR.

*Mostly project managers and BAs. We only have one woman developer, and she's a junior developer and would not do this.


Posted by: CB | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:37 PM
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Oh, I hate that. People who think that making sexual jokes is how you indicate relaxed confidence or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 1:56 PM
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I have at times speculated paranoidly that the lack of harassment and the underutilization were connected; that the same personality traits that led to my getting hassled much less than other women were in the same workplaces made me someone that senior men didn't want on their cases. Because I really could not figure out why I was getting good feedback on the work I was doing, and good reviews, and still had a hell of time getting meaningful assignments.

I don't know that that connection has to be the connection that grounds your underutilization in sexism. In other words, appropriate-utilization is a form of mentoring and grooming for moving up the chain of command. This is the type of thing that keeps women out of the senior ranks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:29 PM
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Ok court was good you guys, just super duper sexy. ()

Government composed entirely of middle-aged women bodes well. Re 243/250 fwiw the most-harassed women I knew (including myself here) had little in common aside from the fact that they were (1) harassed and (2) ALSO underutilized. You literally can't win!

Honestly I am feeling a slight shame hangover from telling the story in 186 coupled with live commenting the arm-around-me-guy back when, because I'm like wow I'm telling a lot of stories about men being inappropriate at work, to this white rectangle, is this useful or does it just sound like I'm trying to say I'm attractive to men? (Not that this shit has anything to do with attractiveness, but just stick with me.) This is some insane internalized misogyny, SELF BAN.

... but I mean, it sounds like I'm pretty attractive, right? Right????


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:29 PM
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... but I mean, it sounds like I'm pretty attractive, female right? Right???


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:31 PM
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Fucking comma in the wrong place. Stupid unsexy punctuation!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:31 PM
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What a cool, funny, transgressive dynamic in 252. Just really super bad-ass and impressive on everyone's part.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:32 PM
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This is some insane internalized misogyny, SELF BAN.

Nah, it's perfectly conventional internalized misogyny. Fear of talking about being hassled drawing the response "Yeah, right, like you're hot enough for anyone to bother with. Stop flattering yourself."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:34 PM
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It's not that I'm unattractive, it's that I'm surrounded by feminist men.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:37 PM
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There's also that it's about more than just attractiveness and it can be really hard to puzzle that out, for me at least. (Latest theory: maybe that it's related to people who meet me thinking I'm smart, that I talk about things more seriously or something? Probably it's not that and just breasts or whatever. No one's hit on me inappropriately in ages anyway, which is great!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:41 PM
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I, personally, am a combination of intimidating and oblivious, I figure.

And unattractive, of course, but that goes without saying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:41 PM
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259 yes a helping of that and a helping of "talking about myself in *any* way is stupid and conceited" all blended together into a pineapple/female shame smoothie.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:46 PM
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I don't need to worry about being flattered by the attentions of my creep co-worker, because 1) his harassment is primarily due to his being a troublemaking asshole, not any trait of mine; and 2) to the extent it has anything to do with me, it's not because of how I look but because I made the dumb rookie mistake of seeming too nice and open and eager to get along when I joined my office. I think this made me an easy target. Never again! I've learned my lesson and now I'm 100% stone-faced bitch.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:48 PM
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253/258 is exactly how they see it. The particularly pernicious part is when they pass on hiring people who they don't think will fit in by virtue of being uptight.


Posted by: CB | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 2:55 PM
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All I want is to be the HR person who fires founders from their own tech startups when those startups get bought out by faceless corporations, but in the meantime I would be ok with being the HR person who fires CB's colleagues.

Not sure how this is gonna work with the kicking-under-table gig guess I'm gonna be pretty busy.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 3:07 PM
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264.last: Ooh, me too! I'm dull, too. No personal life. Just work. All work talk, all the time. My coworkers have generally seemed to be lovely people, but I'd rather not find out the hard way that I'm mistaken.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:09 PM
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Was the conversation on this track before the Clinton HONY bit?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:12 PM
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The Trump HONY is going to be glorious.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:49 PM
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That's a good piece and all, but I'm not sure that the problem with Hillary's arm waving is that women can't get away with it so much as that when she does it she looks like an evil sorcerer has turned her into a human puppet.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 5:50 PM
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Just to be clear, this is only about work, right? I can still make references to balls and donkey dicks here and at family events?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:39 PM
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And at school if the kids aren't around? Asking because there's a PTA meeting tomorrow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 6:41 PM
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"There was this broad I was seeing on the down low back when I was still married to Ivana. This girl had the most amazing cans, you should have seen them. Huge! Oh, she used to do things to me.... Anyways, I was putting her up at a nice classy place in the Financial District. But I had this problem.... it was hard for me to go out to see her because I'm fuckin' Donald Trump, I'm a fuckin' celebrity, I can't just take my limo down to the Financial District, people will see me, it'll be the front page of US Weekly. Usually I just sent a cab for this girl to bring her over to the Tower when Ivana's not around, but one time Ivana was in town and driving me crazy - like usual - and I just had to get out of there. So, I'll tell you what I did, you won't believe this.... I put on a big fuckin' hat and a fuckin' trench coat and I pulled my collar way up high and sunglasses so no one could tell who I was, and I rode the goddamn subway down to the Financial District! Can you believe that? I rode the fuckin' subway!"


Posted by: HONY Trump | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:02 PM
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106: you don't think microaggressions exist? If so, are you going to start linking to instapundit again?


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 7:46 PM
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I think it's a very unhelpful way to frame the kinds of interactions that are inevitable in a melting-pot country. It turns one person into a victim, the other into an "aggressor," and poisons the atmosphere. People saying dumb shit to each other is just part of being in the world. Whenever I've seen examples, they're either actual racism, or harmless shit that wasn't phrased according to the rules circa two minutes ago.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-16 8:02 PM
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275: as a linguistic shaping operation, "microaggression" is pretty impressive. When we hear "aggression" we know three things: first, that it's unambiguously morally wrong, in fact it's the worst crime you can commit in some environments (like international affairs); second, that it's an intentional act; third, that it has a victim who has suffered significant harm. If we simply called it a "microrudeness" or a "microgaffe" instead, it would create a very different environment.

That's why it's so perfect for the Twitter age; because it combines Twitter's key features, viz: hyperbolic language, lack of context, mob politics and an utterly tribal view of life. That's the environment that allows you (and the rest of your shoal) to get someone sacked for wearing a shirt you don't like, and it's the functionality that allows you (and the rest of your shoal) to pelt someone with death threats for criticising images of women in video games. Mob war on Twitter isn't an undesirable and unintended side-effect of an otherwise good platform; it's the core functionality.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:32 AM
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276 is a macroperfection.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:40 AM
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Maybe the underlying problem is Twitter.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:41 AM
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Twitter, the platform, Twitter, the management or Twitter, the user base?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:01 AM
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Not the management, at least not primarily. They are doing a bad job at responding to customer complaints, but I think that the platform itself is so structurally flawed that even a management team composed entirely of flawless philosopher-queens would not be able to cope. And only the user base in as much as the user base is made up of humans. I don't think Twitter users have to be significantly different from the general population for Twitter to be awful.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:18 AM
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To be fair (to "humans") Twitter was perfectly engineered to elicit the behaviors we see. It's like saying Snapchat users exchange sex pix because they are humans, when Shapchat was designed to facilitate that sort of interaction: spur of the moment, not recorded, deniable.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 5:44 AM
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With the information we have in this case, there's no way to know exactly what the guy did, so who can tell about the rights and wrongs here. But there's a dynamic that I think people are ignoring.

Everyone agrees that sexual harassment and so on is a Very Bad and Very Serious thing, and it's the kind of thing that requires Serious Consequences at work, and because it's Very Serious there should be a whole lot of due process when someone is accused of it, and no one should suffer Serious Consequences unless the whole thing is proven and is really Serious.

Separately from that, it has always been true that if you piss off powerful people in a professional context, bad things will happen to your career. How you piss them off can be something that's not wrong in itself, or not wrong in a way that's a big deal, but if you act in a way that makes people in a position to make decisions about dislike you, they will make decisions that are unfavorable to you. And that may be a shame, and unjust, but unless you're unionized or in some other kind of contractual relationship, you don't get due process rights when something bad happens to you because the decision-maker dislikes you.

There's a fair amount of sexist shit that goes on that doesn't rise to the level of 'harassment' that you'd take Very Serious Action about. But it does make the women who experience it, and anyone else who notices and cares, predisposed against the guys who do it. I've said I haven't come in for much harassment at all, and I really haven't. There's a guy at work who said something inappropriate to me a while back that was not an extended big deal (I was wearing a sleeveless dress, we were walking back from court, he commented on another woman's visible tattoos and then asked why I didn't dress to show off my tattoos? (I don't have any, and had never brought up the subject.) Sleazy and uncomfortable in context, but not worth making a big deal over.)

I'm not in a position to make decisions about this guy's career, but it's not that implausible that I could be. And I don't like him, and would actively arrange things so as not to work with him, which, if I were a decision-maker, might genuinely screw him over. That's not a Very Serious Consequence for a Very Important Transgression, I just think he's an asshole, and avoiding assholes is a significant part of my decision-making process, as it is for most people.

As there are more women (and this works for minorities, gay people, anyone you'd think of in terms of 'inclusivity') in positions of power and influence, being casually unpleasant in smallish ways to women turns into a risky proposition. Not because it's unambiguously evil in a way that's bright-line distinct from ordinary interpersonal shittiness, necessarily, but that ordinary interpersonal shittiness isn't safe if the people you're being shitty to have power over you or can influence the people who do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 6:15 AM
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276: Sure, if you ignore the prefix and all context, it sounds horrible. Likewise, scoping something out sounds a lot more interesting than a colonoscopy. But if you look at the whole word, including the "micro-" part, your objections to the connotations of "aggression" are addressed, aren't they? I wouldn't even concede those things you say we know, but ignoring "micro-" by fiat seems like the bigger problem.

275: I'm going to leave aside the harmless shit, you're a much better judge of that than I am. But as for actual racism, the term "microaggression" was coined to describe racism (or other bigotry etc.) that isn't noticeable by people not directly affected, sometimes could be considered a genuine accident or backhanded compliment, and isn't individually harmful but adds up to dragging the target down. I think it's accurate to describe most microaggressions as actual racism but I also think it's useful to have another term to differentiate them from racism on the level of Jim Crow. I don't like "microrudeness" because I think that minimizes them too much and is too vague, but I wouldn't fight over it if that became the preferred term.

For the record, I don't actually like Twitter as such, all I'm saying is that "microaggression" seems like a useful concept to me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 6:24 AM
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Note that the people who think microaggression is a useful term tend to be using it in the plural. One by its nature isn't a big deal. Hence the micro part. It's how they build up in a context against people with less power or privilege. One microaggression probably is rude in and of itself, and it doesn't contribute to a singular, interpersonal act of impoliteness. It contributes to that person and being marginalized, for which "rudeness" and certainly not "gaffe" aren't appropriate terms.

It's not merely that it's being rude or impolite, it's being rude or impolite along a privilege gradient, particularly in a way that privileged people relative to that context let off as no big deal because it's seen as such a minor transgression and it's only just that one thing. If you have a better word to describe that real pattern that captures, go for it, but the ones suggested in 276 do not do that.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 6:34 AM
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On the privilege gradient, how does endorsing a textbook that calls Mexicans lazy rate?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:08 AM
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Off topic link.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:15 AM
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286 because dalriata had mentioned this type of boat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:15 AM
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Re: microaggression, I stand by this reaction: http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_13371.html#1644988


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:23 AM
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286: Ooh, that's tempting. I was leaning towards the Bay+ model but will have to think about this.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:25 AM
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Fair warning. If you sign up, they send you an email every day. Some of these emails will be for comically arty grappling hooks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:26 AM
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Honestly, purchase at REI with dividend is probably a better deal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:27 AM
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I actually think that prefix is right and the plural is right: the problem is "aggression," which implies hostile intent. A lot of things that get classified as microaggressions aren't just minor in themselves, but actually innocent in themselves. They only become a problem when they're repeated.

I'm not talking about the truly gross sexual harrassment being described upthread. Rather, something like Asian-American students complaining that strangers ask them where they're from. Of course they're right to complain: if you're asked that over and over again, you'll feel yourself being positioned as foreign. The pattern is a problem, no doubt, but the question itself is neutral. Indeed, (white) people ask other (white) people where they're from all the time--they just expect to hear "Kansas" or "Connecticut" as a response.

What we need, then, is a term that says, "That question you asked was neutral in itself, but you need to stop asking it anyway because it's part of a pattern that's damaging." And microaggression is not that term.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:41 AM
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REI has a boat/paddle combo that with dividend is $1192.50; this also throws in the light (~$10) and is slightly cheaper. Will probably just get the more expensive boat through REI with dividend and then either order the other gear from the manufacturer or see if I can get cheaper equivalents elsewhere.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:43 AM
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re: 292

I found myself making exactly that micro-$thing the other day. I asked my neighbour how long his mother was over for, as he'd just told me she was visiting.

I'd wrongly assumed (since he's Nigerian) that she was over from Nigeria. Rather than visiting from where she lives (a nice village in Kent).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:53 AM
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A Bayesian wouldn't fault you since many tens of millions more people live in Nigeria than in Kent, especially if you're restricting the later to the nice villages.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:55 AM
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I'm assuming Bayesians aren't very good at geography because I don't meet them often enough to care if I slander them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:01 AM
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especially if you're restricting the later to the nice villages.

Now that's the truth! A huge percentage of the population of Kent live in the warehousing developments thrown up in the former seaside resorts to house the people who can't afford to live in London any more. The population of all the nice villages taken together is quite low.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:01 AM
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I honestly don't think the components of the word 'microagression' matter at all. Anyone who is making a fuss about how 'homophobia' isn't literally a phobia in most cases is being a twerp, and it's the same sort of thing; the word has a referent as a whole, and you don't need to deduce the meaning from its component parts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:01 AM
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To be fair, he did say, 'a village in Kent', I'm adding the 'nice' for artistic license.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:02 AM
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I thought the whole place was basically underwater.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:03 AM
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I thought the Fens were in Kent, but Wikipedia says I'm wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:08 AM
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I disagree with 298: If someone says "That was an aggression", and it wasn't an aggression, the natural response is to say "No it wasn't".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:09 AM
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And I think it's a fair assumption that when someone who's actually Nigerian tells you his mum is visiting, that she's visiting from Nigeria. It would be different if he'd been black British.

298: but "-phobia" means "fear or hatred", not just "fear". As in "xenophobia" which means and has always meant "hostility to foreigners".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:10 AM
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298: Sure, but in this case one of the component parts reveals a conceptual confusion. People who talk about microaggressions would say--and I'd agree!--that we need to move from thinking of racism as an individual failing to thinking of it as a structural problem. And yet, the term continues to locate the problem in the intentions of individual actors, rather than in the actions' effects.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:11 AM
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282: Another way to put the microaggression thing is that it's behaviors that aren't all that importantly different from ordinary interpersonal being unpleasant, and interpersonal unpleasantness is sometimes malicious, and sometimes just thoughtlessly incompetent. But ordinary interpersonal unpleasantness, where there isn't a structural status difference, mostly levels out: there are natural consequences, in that if you're consistently unpleasant, people treat you badly in return, they judge you as a jerk or a clod; and for most people, it's pretty symmetrical -- they get as much unpleasantness as they dish out.

When it's racial or gender based, though, the problem is that for structural reasons it tends not to be symmetrical, and there tend not to be natural consequences, because the people you're pissing off don't have the social power to enforce them. So you end up with people on the downhill side of the structural power differential eating a lot of individually minor abuses, without being in a position to make them stop.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:12 AM
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With precisely the effect that Ned identifies in 302.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:12 AM
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tordinary interpersonal unpleasantness, where there isn't a structural status difference, mostly levels out: there are natural consequences, in that if you're consistently unpleasant, people treat you badly in return, they judge you as a jerk or a clod; and for most people, it's pretty symmetrical -- they get as much unpleasantness as they dish out.

This is like a message from some distant Utopia.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:16 AM
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Just wanted to add, LB, that I think 282 is spot on. I recently had the pleasure of telling a male grad student who sprawls all over whatever chair he's sitting on that a) women don't like it when men take up a lot of space and b) women run a lot of hiring committees these days. So gratifying.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:17 AM
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It's nice here. People tend to like polite, sensitive people, and dislike aggressive jerks. It doesn't keep the jerks from existing or from being in positions of power, but there is some pushback.

The UK must be awful, if that doesn't happen at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:18 AM
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We're a friendly people when we aren't shooting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:20 AM
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On average.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:22 AM
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I'm not sure I'm sold on the term "microaggression". I live in a foreign country. I have incredibly boring conversations all the time about where I'm from, nowadays followed by fishing for my opinion about Donald Trump. This is incredibly aggravating to me, and I wish to God no one would ever ask me about it again. But it doesn't make sense to me to view it as a form of aggression, no matter how small.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:37 AM
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the problem is that for structural reasons it tends not to be symmetrical

Also, regardless of intention, it often feels like being on the receiving end of (tiny) aggression. Sure, any individual microaggressor may be absolutely well-intentioned/naive/acting in good faith. The cumulative effect of thousands of instances, though, is of the environment being hostile and unwelcoming and the microaggressee not belonging.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:39 AM
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It's always my goal to never be an asshole unintentionally.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:40 AM
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Let's all reveal the question we get asked hundreds of times.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:40 AM
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312- You don't get there just by being a minority. There has to be some history of categorical oppression for the concept to make sense.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:40 AM
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315: Another Yuengling?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:41 AM
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316: Why? The subjective experience is pretty much what you describe in 313.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:46 AM
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288: Just last week I did something like Heebie's story at 115 in that thread. I was going to someone's desk to get a new ID card for work, and he was a black guy. I had to sit down right next to his desk to fill out a form. While I was filling it out, he got up and went to do something else and another guy, also black, sat down in his desk. When I was done, I tried to hand it to the new guy at the desk. He pointed out to me that he was a different person, I mumbled an apology, the guy I actually needed to talk to came back in a couple minutes and I gave it to him instead.

For whatever it's worth, I swear I noticed that the guy sitting next to me had got up and someone else had sat down. I offered the new guy the form because I assumed the new guy was doing something for my ID card, rather than something unrelated. But I figured any attempt to explain that would be just digging myself deeper.

As for whether "aggression" is fair, I think people are reading too much into it. I mean, interpersonal aggression might be bullying, or it might be just snapping at someone when you're cranky and having a bad day, and either way is different from military aggression. Also, some things that look like aggression aren't intended that way or aren't aggression in different contexts. If a bear is charging you and it's just the two of you, that's aggressive. If her cub is behind you, the same action is defensiveness.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:49 AM
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313: Right, but the question is, how do we conceive of an action that is experienced (for good reasons!) as aggressive, but is not intended to be so? I think that there doesn't need to be a match between intention and effect: we don't need to say that X was acting aggressively in order to talk about the ways that Y has been harmed. In fact, I'd go farther and say that using a term that keeps the question of X's intentions in play actually gets in the way of our trying to understand and remediate the harms done to Y.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:49 AM
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318: for the same reasons that "reverse racism" is a stupid idea, and that white men are not actually a new oppressed minority. The individual behaviors have an impact that is affected by the sociohistorical context in which they occur.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:51 AM
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And also, obviously it isn't, if you don't experience it as aggression.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:52 AM
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"You're not like most Americans"


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:52 AM
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316: In fact, that can't really be the rule. If a black American asks ogged what country he's from, that doesn't seem automatically less microaggressive than if a white American does it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:53 AM
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309.2. Why would you suppose it doesn't happen? Anywhere? I suspect the UK is much like the US in that respect, but there are other cultures where it's handled differently. Doesn't mean it isn't a thing though.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:54 AM
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It's just that the term is misleading. A microX should be a small instance of X, and a good deal of microagressions seem not to be aggressive on the part of the "agressor". "Microtrauma" might have been the better word, but the ship has sailed.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:56 AM
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320- I don't see why X's intentions should be in charge of the naming, then. Somebody doesn't intend something aggressive, somebody else experiences it as aggression anyway: what do we call the thing? It turns out that in our current society, people are calling that thing a microaggression. Arguing about the wording seems very #notallmen to me, and like it's missing the point entirely.

I also don't think all the Xs of the world really need to be let off the hook so easily. If you accidentally hurt someone, the correct response is to apologize and learn from it, not to say "well I didn't mean to so let's not use the word "hurt" here because that implies that I did it on purpose." (which is what I expect people to start saying if the convention successfully switches from "microagression" to "hurt")


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:57 AM
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324- I can't tell if you're being purposely trolly now or what. You are correct, that there are different groups who have minority statuses and histories of oppression in different ways. It is possible for a particular behavior to be a microaggression when aimed at one group (by any other group) but not necessarily vice versa. So what?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 8:59 AM
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When I was done, I tried to hand it to the new guy at the desk.

The thing is, I could easily have done that even if the new guy had been white or some other "race", because I'd have been on autopilot filling the form.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:01 AM
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321: Christ, "Reverse racism" is a stupid comparison. I'm not an oppressed minority, but I am a foreigner. I literally have less legal rights than the people who live here, and I could be deported tomorrow for god know what reasons. I do experience actual aggressions as well, like "Why don't you speak the language better?" The largest political party here is explicitly anti-immigrant, and there are regular anti-immigrant media campaigns that feature big billboards that I see every day.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:01 AM
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It's just that the term is misleading

English is hard, man. So many words do not add up to the sums of their component parts. What on earth is a red-blooded American to do? MEMORIZE ALL THE NEW WORDS!?!? Impossible.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:02 AM
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330: all right, you've totally convinced me. Microaggressions don't exist. I apologize for having questioned your authority on the subject.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:03 AM
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332: I'm glad I cleared that up for you.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:05 AM
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While we're at it, why are some blackboards green? What's the deal with that?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:09 AM
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Blackboards are made from slate, which is mostly black. But if the dinosaurs of the relevant time period and location had an epidemic of diarrhea, the slate formed there will be green.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:11 AM
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You know what else is crazy? Why do we drive on a parkway... but PARK on a DRIVEway?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:14 AM
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More non-standard geology.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:16 AM
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Re 315 and all of this, I wonder--because I wear the same Mean Old Dance Teacher thing every work day (black smock, black tights, black oxfords (buff leather obvi because I'm not an exhibitionist), I get a lot of questions and comments (from both men and women) about that. I wore a gray dress yesterday (I didn't know I was going to have court and had to run out last minute and grab not-jeans from H&M) and that was the object of a lot of office mirth, what giddy fun. None of it's particularly awful though who raised these folks that they think it's ok to comment on someone's clothes other than saying "I like your clothes," but it's stupid and especially stupid in aggregate, and I definitely notice no one is saying the same shit to the guys around me who wear identical suits every day. I'd never call these comments microaggressions because using that word gives fragile men an excuse to check out, but it definitely serves as a perpetual reminder that people are scrutinizing what I wear in a certainly gendered and probably sexist way. Thank you all for the consciousness-raising exercise.

Anyway this example is especially useful to me because it's also the sort of blissfully ignorant thing I probably do to other people in a thousand contexts. If someone pointed these instances out to me, would I stop? It depends!


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:17 AM
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327: Yeah, I worried that I was sounding #notallmen, when I'm actually trying to make the opposite point: #allmen and #allwhitepeople and #allwhatever. The consequence of structural oppression is that our intentions just don't matter that much: we live in a fallen world, and it's that fallen world, not our intentions, that determines the effect our actions will have on others. To my mind, a term like "microtrauma" would do the right work. It says, we don't care why you did that, you need to know that what you did harms other people and you need to stop.

But I take your larger point, E. Messily. If critiquing the term lends support to people who are made defensive by the concept, then I'm certainly willing to let the term stand.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:19 AM
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Just make sure you check with Walt before making any final decisions.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:29 AM
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I don't have that kind of authority. It will have to be tabled until the next committee meeting.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:30 AM
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"Microtrauma" would be instantly mocked for being too dramatic. And the people experiencing it would be told to stop being such babies.

It's almost like the actual word isn't what's at issue.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:30 AM
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308 is extremely gratifying to me as well.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:30 AM
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Microrudeness?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:32 AM
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"Microtrauma" in some ways would be a better word, but arguably it doesn't make as clear that it's the responsibility of the aggravating person to learn what's problematic and to avoid these interactions. But regardless, as someone who's going to be on the wrong side of just about any of these interactions, it's not really for me to decide what the people on the other side of the interaction should call it, right? Litigating their choice and well actuallying their words is shitty. There's a word being used, apparently chosen by some subgroup of people who experience this, and the only real problem seems to be that it makes the people in the wrong slightly uncomfortable. Same as it ever was. Don't be so PC about terminology, word police. (Ignore that last sentence, I'm just trolling and it's not leading anywhere, but it's surprisingly fun to say that.)

And examples are useful. I wouldn't have seen the perniciousness in what you said in 338, CS, but then again I work in a context where wearing different clothes every day is the norm and not doing so stands out. (There used to be a dude who would always wear black slacks and a white button-up shirt with the collar button buttoned but no tie, and if he had ever worn something different one day I would have pointed that out.) But good to consider. I try to avoid commenting on women's clothes, even though women tend to be much more boss at clothes-wearing than dudes (and I pay more attention to what women are wearing, because heterosexuality yay. part of the problem, certainly), precisely because there's so many ways to mess it up.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:33 AM
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To be clear, I have near zero problem with the concept, I just get cranky about careless neologisms. Not crazy about parkway.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:39 AM
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That horse (and his penis) are out of the barn on that one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:41 AM
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I also get cranky about word choices, but we can find other ones that are less pernicious to focus on. There's no shortage. How about, oh, "tech industry"?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:43 AM
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We just need an app a way to quantify absolute social power and give it a number, and a ticker that will track fluctuations in the relative power of men, women, people of color, LGBT people, etc, over time and across sectors. I don't mean a privilege score, I mean a straight-up holistic absolute power score. It's way more boring to argue about numbers than to argue about language, so people would tire quickly of arguing, thus the quantitative scoring norm would put an end to all the linguistic wars of attrition.

Anyway my absolute power score is 71 (estimated for 9/2016). It does not include the power to skilfully parkour my way home from my kid's school. Are you supposed to ice a laceration?

A friend of long standing (an ex, actually, but we were close friends on either side of that) has just come out as trans. I've had plenty of trans friends/acquaintances/roomies, but no one I knew for ~20 years before the transition. I was always a bit diffident reading about people finding it "hard" to adjust to the new reality, taking that to mean emotionally difficult: I don't find this emotionally challenging at all, but it's a surprisingly huge cognitive challenge. In part because we rarely see each other, so I get no reinforcement for the new name and identity, and in part because this was an important person in my life for more than half of it, under one name and set of pronouns which I now, every time I think of her, need to overwrite. I'm sure this isn't revelatory to any of you, but for whatever reason it took me by surprise. Anyway we spoke by phone a couple of days ago, and the conversation was superficially about practical challenges, and yeah women's pants pockets are useless, while skating over deep concerns I couldn't quite raise: are you going to be okay? Are you going to be safe? Are people going to hit you? I can't fucking stand the thought of anyone hitting you.

She told one story about an Uber driver saying some things that she took to be merely confusing or jarring, and I took to be not-so-micro microaggressions. (Like, by the second or third reported riff on the theme I thought he was clearly saying it on purpose to hassle her, not just being obtuse.) It might be easier to get exercised about this on someone else's behalf.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:48 AM
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I don't even understand the origin of "parkway". Did it originally take you out to the park? Was it some highways engineer's idea of a joke: "We're building a ten mile long, very narrow, parking lot"? Anybody know?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:48 AM
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Microrudeness

A microaggression is not just an instance of rudeness. It is an (often unintentional, usually uninformed) instance of an incorrect sterotype based on group membership being brought to the foreground.

It's not inherently rude to ask someone where they're from. It's not rude at all if you have some reason to believe they're from somewhere else- for example, if they're an American living abroad. Or if everyone's just talking about the different places they grew up, or any other of a thousand conversations where it would be fine.

It's a microaggression when your "reason" is that the person doesn't look American enough to you- so you assume that they are from some other place, based purely on race. And it's a microaggression when you follow up an answer ("Cleveland") with "no, I mean where are you REALLY from" and the answer you are looking for is "Vietnam" or whatever.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:49 AM
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The agression part of microagression strikes me as part of a general trend of using words like "violent" in a way that sounds strange to me.

I just imagined a horrifying world in which everyone could immediately tell I was a mathematician just from looking and thus just all tell me they hated math as a kid all the time with no way of avoiding it. The thought was so horrifying that I now have so much more sympathy for the whole microagression discourse.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:52 AM
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It's way more boring to argue about numbers than to argue about language, so people would tire quickly of arguing

You and I have very different priors. Hope things work out well for your friend.

350: Wiktionary says that in US usage parkways have a landscaped median, which I suppose is park-like. I don't think that's true anymore, e.g. the Parkway East here in Pittsburgh has a jersey barrier plus left shoulders for a median in most places.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:53 AM
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I wasn't quite speaking in my own voice there. I find it moderately interesting to argue about numbers and generally excruciating to argue about language, but I don't think that's the universal norm.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:57 AM
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Come think, a very long time ago I read some sort of memoir? Maybe it was a novel? Supposed to be funny, anyway, about growing up Catholic in the fifties or sixties, called "Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?"

There is, no kidding, a musical of this. I saw it at, no kidding, a dinner theater in Berwyn. Sondheim it ain't.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:01 AM
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I have a few trans aquaintances, but not really any trans friends. Which makes the whole recent trans social revolution feel very different than the gay one, because I have loads and loads of gay, lesbian, and bi friends (including some of my very best and very oldest friends). Similarly I have lots of gay colleagues and no trans colleagues.

(There's one important caveat, which is that one of my younger brothers really genuinely wanted to be a girl his whole childhood, until he started having sex with gay men and then that very quickly changed (as did his gender presentation: body build, voice, facial hair, etc). I'm really unsure how to categorize that in acceptable discourse around trans-ness.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:02 AM
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356 to 349


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:02 AM
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I know it's both naive and romantic, but I still get doubly pissed when this kind of bullshit is done by lawyers.

One of the things I didn't love the most about the PD office here was that they had this whole "we'll say ANYTHING!" vibe. I mean it was not a huge deal. Their hearts were in the right place and personally I wasn't often offended. But it just made everyone seem like they were trying really hard to impress each other. One attorney actually made a really racist joke (that only I heard) though I think he was immediately aware of what he'd done and realized it was not good.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:10 AM
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One of my daughters asked in the car last night whether any of my friends are transgender, which made me realize I don't know if I should out one (now former) friend in that context. So I didn't, and talked instead about someone we know who used to be a gay boy who liked wearing girl clothes and is now becoming a woman. Oh and practically all the mothers at church, which shocked her a bit. I didn't ask how the topic came up but she was totally respectful and just interested.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:10 AM
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In Chicago, parkway also refers to the strip of landscaping, often about ten feet deep, between the curb and the sidewalk. I believe upkeep is the responsibility of the homeowner—I certainly always mow it in front of my house—but the city has rights to it they might not have to the rest of your property.
An obvious instance is fire hydrants, which are always on the parkway.

This is a usage my wife taught me that I'd never heard anywhere else I lived.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:15 AM
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I'm now regretting posting the contents of a private conversation to a public website for no apparent purpose. WTF.

My daughter, the ardent female chauvinist, seems a bit indignant about gender transitions, and I'm not sure what to say. For now, probably nothing, but wait for a better opportunity? Does anyone know of any good children's books/movies/etc. on the subject, out of curiosity?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:17 AM
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360: There's no universally accepted term for that, and the dialect survey didn't even give "parkway" as an option. Eyeballing it, looks like there are a bunch of "other"s in the Chicago region, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:24 AM
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352: I've seen 'murder' used in a similarly stupid way to signify merely strong disagreement. The worst offenders IME tend to be MLA types, which is odd to me since you'd think people studying languages would be more precise, but I gather that's laughable these days. Some of the stupidest shit I've ever read comes from these people.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:28 AM
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263: Me


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:29 AM
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Has micro-feefee-owee been suggested yet? I don't know how many times I've gotten (still get) "where are you from/no really/what are you/what's your ethnicity" but I'm not the victim of an aggression every time that happens. I'm not the victim of a trauma, or even an insensitivity. I'm not a victim at all. It's people being curious about other people. That's a good thing. The notion that we shouldn't call attention to someone being a minority seems like some weird perversion of not even seeing race. Plus it's all so...wimpy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:40 AM
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My daughter, the ardent female chauvinist, seems a bit indignant about gender transitions, and I'm not sure what to say.

Just send her to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and let her work it out for herself.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:49 AM
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363: use it in a sentence?

Regarding "MLA disciplines," for whatever reason the one that still bugs me, ten years on, is "Inter-American Studies or Imperial American Studies?" (uh, cake please):

What to do about the term 'America'? How to dislodge 'America' as a synonym for the United States of America? If we call the hemisphere 'America' and the United States of America the 'United States', don't we erase the notion that both Brazil and Mexico are also United States? [. . .] But, in the final ratified version of the document, article one reads: 'The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America"' (Articles of Confederation, 1777: n.p.; my emphasis). Note the purposeful erasure of Franklin's qualifying North to America as well as the semiotic shift from naming to fashioning or styling. Here the style is also a stylus - a sharp, pointed pen that accompanies the sharp, pointed arms that will later support US expansionism, an early prophesy of the ideology of manifest destiny.

WELL, ISN'T THAT FOOD FOR THOUGHT. What about Brazil and Mexico?! I don't usually aim my sharp, pointed arms into the academic barrel, but somehow the smugness on display there crossed a line for me.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:50 AM
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366: a genuinely upsetting idea.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:51 AM
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365: I used to sometimes ask people what their native language was because I was curious/liked seeing if I spoke any of it but have mostly stopped doing it because I'm not sure if I'm committing a micro or macro anything.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:53 AM
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If somebody thinks you are being negative about immigrants, just remind them that Hitler was an immigrant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:56 AM
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I recently had the pleasure of telling a male grad student who sprawls all over whatever chair he's sitting on that a) women don't like it when men take up a lot of space

You threatened his job because you didn't like the way he sat in a chair. And you feel good about yourself for doing it.



Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:57 AM
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not sure if I'm committing a micro or macro anything

That may depend on the details of "seeing if I spoke any of it."


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 10:58 AM
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309:The Utopian bit is the idea that this somehow leads to "for most people, it's pretty symmetrical -- they get as much unpleasantness as they dish out".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:00 AM
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367: "Your question implies I'm bullshitting, which is nothing less than an attempt to eliminate my opinion from public view, to murder me." That's a more sympathetic example than others I've encountered that I can't paraphrase because I'm not skilled in the art of stupid crap, but I've also seen it used in face to face arguments to mean "You clearly want me to shut up."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:03 AM
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351: I find that a confusing example because someone who asks "Where are you really from?" is being very thoughtful indeed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:07 AM
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374: Huh, wow. I was hoping it wasn't going to be an example like me saying that if I got lightning-bolt powers I'd zap people who don't use their turn signals, which is admittedly murdery but I would argue shading more into justifiable homicide. Plus I'd be god and I could set the rules.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:08 AM
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And in the end
The rudeness you give
Is equal to
The rudeness you get.

But not the microagression
Because that depends
On the structure of oppression
In your society


Posted by: peep mccartney | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:11 AM
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360, 362 - I learned "tree lawn" in Michigan and "parkway" in Illinois. Both terms seem silly but I don't really have an alternative.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:11 AM
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Plus I'd be god and I could set the rules.

Someone gets it, finally.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:12 AM
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365: you don't need to link to instapundit; you ARE instapundit.


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:13 AM
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I don't know, basically one time this thing happened: I was 25 and going into NYC from Princeton, NJ where I was visiting my cousin. Well, you have to take the little train called "the dinky" from Princeton to Princeton Junction where you catch NJ Transit, and it's not entirely clear how to get from one to the other. I saw a woman looking confused/distressed. She spoke barely any English at all but we made gestures and I showed her where to go. I somehow conveyed "what is your language?" and she said Greek. I knew only "I don't speak Greek" in Greek and said it and we sort of laughed at how dumb that was and then for no reason imaginable I said in Bulgarian "but I speak Bulgarian" and she said also in Bulgarian "I lived in Bulgaria for eight years!" and then we had a limited conversation all the way up to NYC though my Bulgarian was not good and I just have always found it nice to be able to connect in this small way if possible, but perhaps it's presumptuous to think the other person will also feel that way. If we're having a conversation in English and I think I recognize an accent, I'm momentarily inclined to ask, but now usually don't. So circumstances are different. I just like that moment of "I'm interested in this thing of yours." (well THAT came out wrong.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:16 AM
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381 is cute but note also that the Princeton Junction/Princeton transfer is such an incredible act of psychic violence by NJT that it's literally impossible to commit a perceptible microagression in its glare.


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:27 AM
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JUST MAKE THE FUCKING TRAIN GO TO THE FUCKING PLACE YOU DONKEY DICKS


Posted by: Clytaemnestra Stabby | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:29 AM
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If I am interested in someone's heritage and I think it's polite to ask, I'll say "Where is your family from?". Maybe that's jerky but it's about the best I can do.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:39 AM
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FWIW, it doesn't bother me when people ask me where my family is from/what is my ethnicity. Years back, people used to ask me where I was from/no come on, where are you really from, sometimes accompanied with a gesture of impatience as though I'm being purposefully obtuse when I honestly answer that I'm from LA. That's more fucked up, but it's been a long time since anyone has done that to me. Because the PC word police have made the world a better place!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:43 AM
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You should try recreational purposeful obtuseness. I enjoy it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 11:58 AM
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The agression part of microagression strikes me as part of a general trend of using words like "violent" in a way that sounds strange to me.

And using the word "silenced" to mean "ignored". Or "silenced" to mean "disagreed with". This one is across the whole political spectrum, especially anti-abortion fanatics with their tape over the mouths. As is there's the opposite, using "shoved down our throats" to mean "offered as an option".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:01 PM
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387.1 was a quote, sorry.

You threatened his job because you didn't like the way he sat in a chair. And you feel good about yourself for doing it.

With all the women doing yoga and whatnot these days, you have to expect them to be repulsed by a man with bad posture.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:02 PM
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That wasn't threatening anybody's job. It was giving a graduate student advice on interviewing. I hear that they do that for everybody who looks like they might finish a dissertation, but I wouldn't know personally.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:04 PM
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371: Hey, it's all part of the Vagenda of Manicide.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:04 PM
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"Hey! You studying to be an astronaut?"

Does anybody remember this joke?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:06 PM
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No.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:07 PM
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No.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:09 PM
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I think "mirco-offenses" probably captures it better.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:10 PM
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391: "Because you're taking up space!"

I loved that joke.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:15 PM
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I don't get it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:16 PM
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Astronauts are famous for being manspreaders.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:16 PM
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But to the substantive part of your question, I am both good and evil -- some affirmative work, going after polluters, but mostly defensive work, which is split between defending the state when people sue it for trying to enforce environmental laws (so I'm good), but also defending the state when people sue it for insufficiently enforcing environmental laws (evil-ish? Or realistic? Depends on the case?).

In the latter scenario, it should generally be pretty easy to throw the case, right?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:22 PM
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If you go out of the airlock and into space, you literally manspread everywhere.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:23 PM
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Nobody plays records in space. It's the vinyl frontier.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:24 PM
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IMO in general you shouldn't say things like "women don't like it when men take up a lot of space," because it sounds just fucking awful, BUT you should point out that it's a blacklist-level offense to put your feet on someone else's chair and jostle it every time you fidget, no matter how long and cramped your legs are and no matter how underutilized the back of that chair is. NO TOUCHING OTHER CHAIRS.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:26 PM
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Women don't make passes at men who sit like asses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:31 PM
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The reason I hate the micro-aggression thing is because its purpose seems to be to convince fence-sitters that racism is real and hurts, and it's completely counterproductive. If I am talking to a group of white male students at Heebie U, and they are complaining about being silenced in their Sociology class (which they do complain about), and I'm trying to convince them that racism is real, it's much more effective for me to say, "The reason you haven't seen much racism yet is because when you buy a house, or apply for a job, or get a paycheck, there's no good way for you to know if you're getting a better deal than that black guy over there. But you are, and there's tons of studies to prove it." If you're talking to fence-sitters, focus on big economic and structural injustices, not things that Ogged can label owee-fee-fees.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:31 PM
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371: No, I felt *great* about it.

(On the off chance you were serious, I wasn't talking about bad posture; I was talking about a guy who invariably draped his arms along the backs of women's chairs in meetings. Including mine.)


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:32 PM
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404: see, that's better, but it's also completely different from what you said first time.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:45 PM
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405: Interesting: I think we've stumbled on a gender difference, since it's clear that Ms. Stabby knew what I meant. When women complain about men sprawling all over their chairs, it's *because the men are sprawling into the woman's space.*


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 12:51 PM
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I doubt anyone would disagree that sprawling onto a part of someone else's chair is rude, maybe even "aggression." "Into the woman's space" is pretty unspecific.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:06 PM
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308 definitely does not say anything about him invading other people's space. Agreed that invading other people's space needs to be discouraged.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:08 PM
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Huh, I'm really surprised by 407-8. Have you really never noticed (or heard a woman complain) that men spread out their limbs more when they are seated next to a woman than they do when seated next to a man? When a man sits next to me on an airplane, for instance, he almost invariably places his arm so that it occupies the entire armrest and crosses over into my seat and does the same, even more so, with his legs. If we asked him why he did that, he'd no doubt say it was for comfort's sake. But men don't take up nearly the same amount of space when they're sitting next to other men; they're at pains to divide the space equally.

So I don't think the phrase "the woman's space" is vague at all. I think every culture has a clear set of rules about how close a person can come to another person in various circumstances, and if you're not aware of those rules it's probably because, as a man, your space isn't constantly being encroached on.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:28 PM
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I (a woman) thought 308 was ambiguous too, even though as mentioned I know and hate seat creep.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:31 PM
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I thought 308 was referring to someone who was preemptively occupying way too much space, and not actually pushing into space where other people already were.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:37 PM
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I thought manspreading meant taking up too much space by spreading one's legs on public transport or elsewhere. But I think I've only seen the term in internet stuff shaming men for doing that.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:41 PM
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So now I'm off to spin class at my nice women's gym, where I'll be safe from men coming too close to my bike. But glad to have had the chance to clarify before leaving that I'm not actually threatening students' careers over posture!


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:44 PM
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409: But the phrase "the woman's space" isn't in 308.

I know manspreading is a real thing, I know this is nitpicking. But there are now people acting like manspreading is bad not because it invades other people's space, but because it's some sort of attempt to sexualize the act of sitting. On social media I've seen people post a picture of some guy sitting with his legs splayed out, surrounded by dozens of empty seats, with a caption like "We get it, dude, you have a huge dick". No, not so much, that is not what is intended. It is in fact an attempt to be comfortable. When our attempt to be comfortable leads us to be inconsiderate to women's need to be comfortable, that is when it's a problem.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:45 PM
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to spare others that experience I advocate a prospective ban on sex, sex-adjacent activities, talking about sex or sex-adjacent activities, and talking about animals, just in case anyone mistake animal talk for sex talk.

No wonder the guy took it as an invitation to work pro bonobo.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:52 PM
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412: Yes. I suppose you could add in other sorts of claiming personal space by splaying out (spreading your arms on seat-backs, crossing your legs in a way that they both go into another seat's space, etc.), but wide stancing is the most common.

414: I don't think that caption is trying to say that the dude is sexualizing it (although we have been using the word "sexualize" in a bunch of different ways, so maybe). I think it's saying that he's establishing dominance by putting his comfort over the common good and social norms in a very obvious, projecting way--in the same way that the phrase "waving his dick around" doesn't usually actually mean sexual assault--while simultaneously making an ironic yet crude joke that maybe he needs to be comfortable that way because he is so very be-dicked.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:55 PM
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414: It's also comfortable for me to sit with my legs all sprawled out by my mother lectured me for years to sit politely/with my legs together like a lady. So who cares if a guy is comfortable. Sit like a human being and don't take up more than your fair space.

It's not surprising that I get super annoyed at dudes who are doing exactly the thing that I got chastised for.

And no, I won't start sitting like a dude. The male way isn't the 'correct' way to do it. Just sit normal and don't take up more space than, I don't know, your body with your legs mostly parallel?

Also once you're sitting with your legs all manspreaded out, you're giving off non-verbal signs for people not to sit by you. Which leaves new people to sit by those of us sitting unsprawled.

Unless we're true jerks and have put our backpack on the seat next to us.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:55 PM
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361: If you could find it, "Ma Vie en Rose / My Life in Pink" would be a great film for a kid, or for anyone.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:56 PM
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413: You're not fooling anyone, Vagendal Manocidist!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:59 PM
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Transit etiquette question: if someone takes the aisle seat and leaves the window seat empty, have they breached an unwritten rule? Or did I just imagine that taking the window seat is a good norm?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 1:59 PM
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420: Usually. But sometimes they will explain that they are getting off at the next stop, and will get up and let the other person take the window seat. That is excusable.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:04 PM
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I think it would be a good norm, but I don't think it is one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:04 PM
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417: Right - it's not literally about keeping your genitals cool and/or on display, but as a gesture of dominance it is very gender-politics-relevant that men do it practically without thinking and women, by and large, don't.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:06 PM
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420 is correct and whoever violates it should be shunned if not fed to crocodiles.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:08 PM
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421/422: Thanks. I thought 421 might be an exception but it's never been clear to me, and a lot of times I see those people on the bus for quite a while. People follow it in most cases, though, which makes people who don't do it galling--it puts the cost of having to sit next to somebody (which is generally slightly more unpleasant) onto someone else, which is unfair. (It's probably relevant that maybe two thirds of bus seating here is two-seat benches facing forward.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:08 PM
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426

I usually try to be very considerate when sharing a seat on the bus and take up as little space as possible, but I have a vague memory that one time I fell asleep while reading and was woken by the young women sitting next to me.
I believe my head actually landed on her shoulder.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:08 PM
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427

425: The exception only applies if they actually are getting off at the next stop.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:11 PM
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428

I literally curl up into the fetal position on the bus, so feminine am I.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:11 PM
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429

426 happened a few times to me on Greyhound trips. It's unpleasant, but I think understandable. City buses, not so much. I'm not sure if I've ever done it to someone else--well, to my wife certainly, but dunno if to a stranger. If I did it to a woman besides my wife I'd be mortified.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:13 PM
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430

It's not surprising that I get super annoyed at dudes who are doing exactly the thing that I got chastised for.

And no, I won't start sitting like a dude. The male way isn't the 'correct' way to do it. Just sit normal and don't take up more space than, I don't know, your body with your legs mostly parallel?

So the original interpretation of 308 was correct. It is unacceptable to sit this way whether you are invading other people's space or not.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:13 PM
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431

OT: Recently discovered benefit of third-party candidates: Guy with his truck's rear window painted to read "Johnson Weld".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:17 PM
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432

Which is good information. Men sitting a way they've been socialized to sit might annoy women in a job interview; women "uptalking" might annoy men in a job interview. Why? It just might. We need to adapt ourselves.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:17 PM
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433

My balls are made for evolutionary adaptation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:19 PM
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434

And we have been. For a very long time. We put a lot of effort into it. You may not have noticed that this happens.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:21 PM
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435

Maybe I should spread my legs apart to give them space to do evolution stuff?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:22 PM
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436

That was me -- the browser dropped my name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:22 PM
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437

429: Falling asleep in unlikely situations is one of my talents.

I was confused, then mortified.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:24 PM
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438

436: That's a relief. I was wondering how they could type.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:27 PM
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439

434 did have an eerie aspect. Like maybe it was typed by the ghosts of the women that nobody notices.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:31 PM
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440

Ride the train every day, at rush hour. I'm large, and the seat next to me is often not taken, even when the car is packed with standees. I try to squeeze myself to the window, always leaving the space outside a vertical plane dividing the seat in half inviolate, but it's often not good enough, apparently.

A problem with being tall is the seats are too low for comfort. With my legs drawn back, particularly in the style of seating where the seats face inwards from along the windows, my knees are much higher than the seat and it's work to hold that position.

I carry a messenger bag, and I've found that laying it flat in my lap, so that the strap falls to the outside of my legs on either side, I can spread slightly against it, taking up the slack. Held that way, with the spread only imperceptibly wider, well within the width of the individual seat, my legs are much more comfortable.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:32 PM
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441

Is manspreading not widely understood as a particularly masculine if not sexualized posture? Like with the samurai and, um, other dudes I can't think of specifically right now, it signals dominance. If you want to sit that way and the space is available, fine, and if you need to hoist your enormous package up to bring your knees closer together, have at it, but the spread isn't exactly necessary for comfort.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:35 PM
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442

I have no problem with anyone's posture. And I enjoy seeing people take up the space they want to. I occasionally do male drag and "take up way more space" was the first thing to learn, and it feels great. But then there's this guy:
https://imgur.com/a/XY6gF. On a crowded train, 2 days ago. And see how his foot is on his girlfriend's seat, even though he's already got three seats of his own? I don't care how he sits. But somebody being physically smaller or female doesn't mean they don't want their armrest or airspace the same way a bigger guy does.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:36 PM
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443

I just feel bad for those people made entirely of testicles. How are they supposed to get any circulation at all?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:43 PM
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444

...in case that wasn't clear, I feel sympathy for anyone taller or wider than the seat designers are aiming for, and I don't like seeing people having to squinch up. But I feel like I can feel the difference between someone seeing me as having my own space or being oblivious to that.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 2:45 PM
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445

If you're riding public transit you're by definition a loser, so you should have the cramped, constrained posture of the loser.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:00 PM
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446

442: Wow! What an idiot. And what if it's not even his girlfriend?

As a kid I wondered why women cross their legs one way, and men do it another way (with one ankle resting on the other thigh, forming a sort of triangle). I figured it was because of the anatomical differences, probably the legs are connected to the pelvis at different angles. Also the presence of testicles. But then I noticed that on Monty Python, men cross their legs the female way. Do they not have testicles over there? Hard to say.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:10 PM
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447

440: A lot of bus seats are awful for big or tall people. If they need to spread a little because there's literally no space for them otherwise, I understand. Sometimes you need to move beyond the plane separating the seats. A few years ago I had epididymitis--one of the few cases where testicular special pleading might almost hold up--and if nobody was siting next to me I would spread into the next seat a little. But it should be avoided if it can, certainly if someone's sitting next to you.

Fixed version of 442's link. Dude's a jerk.

445: May you choke on a pork rind while sitting in traffic, futilely gasping for the polluted air wafting into your open convertible.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:15 PM
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448

But men don't take up nearly the same amount of space when they're sitting next to other men; they're at pains to divide the space equally.

In my experience, this is, when achieved, simply the equilibrium result of a silent, but constant struggle and testing of boundaries throughout the duration of the flight. The best time to make your move is when the person next to you is reaching over to get their drink/peanuts and has to momentarily relinquish the armrest. This is another reason to the take aisle, because they will generally be in the vulnerable position after you.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:20 PM
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449

445 Could be a line in an online quiz: Who said it, Halford or Trump?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:21 PM
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450

448 is true. The struggle is real. My current policy is that if their leg is in my space, I'm going to put mine right up against theirs with a lot of pressure. And given that our buses are usually too cold, it also helps me keep warm.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:25 PM
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451

448: This is the kind of stuff I don't/can't know about, and would like to know.

446: I didn't know they were together, until they left the train holding hands.

But then I noticed that on Monty Python, men cross their legs the female way. Do they not have testicles over there? Hard to say.

My dad (French, had testicles in life) would sit this way in France and when speaking French. When speaking English he would switch to the "figure 4", which my mum called "American". He did it unconsciously. The American way always looked a bit affected on him. The first way, he would move his hands, the second way, he kept them still.

447: Thanks for the link fix.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:35 PM
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452

448, 450: I think part of what goes on there is that for a woman, if a man presses up against you, it's hard to retaliate by pressing back to claim the space, because at that point you're implicitly consenting to a level of physical contact that borders on groping. Trying not to get crowded on the subway, I do a lot of elbows out posture, so a guy leaning up against me is getting contact with something bony rather than snuggling up against the length of my thigh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:40 PM
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453

if a man presses up against you, it's hard to retaliate by pressing back to claim the space, because at that point you're implicitly consenting to a level of physical contact that borders on groping.

No doubt. And part of the reason dalriata's strategy can work even when you are the less big or less strong man is that the bigger or stronger man's desire to be alpha and manspread will often be outweighed by his homophobia.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:48 PM
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454

When I was 12 I yelled at by one of my older teammates for crossing my legs the wrong way: "you can't cross your legs that way. That's how girls do it, so they can hide their pussies." Nothing about balls being comfortable. It was embarrassing, and I never did it again.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:52 PM
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455

452: That makes sense to me, and good to know: I've interpreted elbows out as discourteous since it often ends up going over the line into my space. To avoid doing it I have a kind of silly-looking elbows-in posture when reading my phone or e-reader. But I never realized it might be defensive against jerks/creeps, but I guess that explains why it's more often women (rudely) elbowing me in the side. With regard to leg space, I don't press back against women but I'll hold my ground assuming I had a reasonable position to begin with.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 3:52 PM
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456

So, I shared pictures from a trip with coworkers, including a female C level person, which included pictures of our trip to the penis museum (other animals, not human). Inappropriate?


Posted by: Alexander Hamilton | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 4:01 PM
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457

I was yelled at. I was sitting on a bench at a hockey game, and I didn't want my skates up where they'd hurt some one.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 4:10 PM
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458

That's fucked up, man.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 4:46 PM
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459

Yes, armrest wars are pretty much inevitable in any public space.

And I've managed to go my whole life without knowing that manspreading was signaling dominance. You learn something new every day.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 4:55 PM
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460

456: Did the dog penis come with balls?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 4:56 PM
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461

460: It would be hard without them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 6:55 PM
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462

Wait, eunuchs can sustain erections, but they don't ALWAYS have erections.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:05 PM
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463

While 462 is one possible reading of 461, it's not the intended one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:08 PM
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464

I ride the commuter rail, which has one two-person bench seat on either side of the aisle. If there's at least one person in every seat when I get on, I always ask the person who has a bag next to him if I can sit down. I'm always super polite about it, because I get that much more pleasure out of acting like we're having a pleasant interaction when I'm deliberately trying to piss someone off.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:08 PM
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465

386 to 463, I think.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:15 PM
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466

That was either me or my balls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:17 PM
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467

465: Yeah, probably.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:19 PM
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468

466 to 300.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:39 PM
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469

It's nice here. People tend to like polite, sensitive people, and dislike aggressive jerks.

What has happened to the New York we once knew?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 7:54 PM
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470

Rich people, of course. Polite ones.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-16 9:19 PM
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471

I didn't say New Yorkers weren't rude, just that we dislike each other for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 4:58 AM
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472

464. You're not trying to piss somebody off, you're trying to sit down. If somebody gets annoyed because a fellow passenger asserts their prior claim to a seat over a briefcase, then that person is a jerk and would be pissed off if you gave them $5.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 5:47 AM
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473

He's not doing anything wrong, but he's deliberately sitting down next to the person who made an effort to claim an extra seat rather than next to someone who left that seat empty. He's actively trying to piss the guy off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:04 AM
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464: I try to do that, but usually my social anxiety gets the better of me. It's certainly a more fair heuristic, and you get a nice jolt of schadenfreude. It's definitely trying to piss someone off, but it's someone who has violated the social contract so it's fine.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:11 AM
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475

474: I do it sometimes, but it has to strike me as especially egregious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 12:51 PM
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476

474: But then you have to sit next to the guy.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 1:41 PM
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477

Or sit in the seat across the aisle and put your bag next to the guy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 1:46 PM
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478

Possibly linkable: Just back from the farmer's markets, where I was struck forcefully by the superhotness of a woman in this shirt and a buzzcut. So much that I stopped at extra stalls to track her progress for a short time and maybe find a non-creepy excuse to talk, but no such luck.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 1:50 PM
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479

"Don't mention dog balls. Don't mention dog balls. Don't ...."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 2:07 PM
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480

I'm always impressed by people who find reasons to talk to strangers. I can't even talk to people I know.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 2:33 PM
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481

"That's a very matte finish on your shoes."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 2:40 PM
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482

So I'm leaving Arrakis for the Eid and flying to Amsterdam. Got to the airport 4 hours early to beat the crowds leaving for the holiday. Only there were no crowds. I was the first one at the check in and no one was behind me. I should have slept another hour ot two rather than waking up at 2 freaking am.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:08 PM
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483

You deserve the best seat on the plane, Barry, if there is any justice in this world.

(Of course, there may not be any justice in this, our world).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:36 PM
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484

Maybe more traditional Muslims don't celebrate holidays by going to Amsterdam to get stoned.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:42 PM
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485

If I tried to go to bed knowing I was waking at 2am, it would simply not happen.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:48 PM
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486

I don't get stoned. But I will drink some good beer.


Alas, I am in coach, JPJ.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:49 PM
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487

485 It almost didn't.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:49 PM
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488

Alas, I am in coach, JPJ.

Well, this confirms it: there is no justice in this, our world.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 6:57 PM
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489

And I hope you at least have access to a half-decent inflight movie.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:00 PM
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490

I'll see. Last time I saw Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Our Little Sister" which is wonderful. I think I might watch some of that French TV series "Les Revenants" this time.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:12 PM
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491

I'll see. Last time I saw Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Our Little Sister" which is wonderful. I think I might watch some of that French TV series "Les Revenants" this time.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:12 PM
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492

I'll see. Last time I saw Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Our Little Sister" which is wonderful. I think I might watch some of that French TV series "Les Revenants" this time.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:12 PM
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493

Meanwhile I will be triple posting.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:13 PM
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494

The exotic perversions of the east never fail to impress.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:37 PM
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495

I bet plenty of people in the west have quadruple posted.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 7:43 PM
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496

I don't get stoned. But I will drink some good beer.

Also probably not a popular mode of celebration for the more traditional Muslims.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:13 PM
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497

I'm watching a (non-Muslim) dude drinking a beer now which is weird because it's 6:30 am and selling alcohol was embargoed in the run up to the Eid. Maybe it's non-alcoholic but it looks like a Budweiser to me.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:28 PM
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498

Today I saw a woman walk out of a beauty parlor with the hair-dye foils in her hair and sit down to smoke a cigarette. Then she reached over behind a potted plant, grabbed a paper bag, pulled out a Four Loko, and poured it into her little paper cup. Then she smiled and looked happier than I sure ever am.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:33 PM
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499

I'd like to see what happens when you combine Thorn and Four Loko, just out of genuine scientific curiosity.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:38 PM
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500

I'm guessing she gets mean, but in a happy way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:42 PM
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501

Worst trans-atlantic flight I ever took (from Glasgow to Baltimore): I was in a middle seat, and the inflight film was Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams. You know, I just really hate a red-bulb clown nose, and also: clowns are beyond creepy!


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:44 PM
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501: Probably best to avoid the Carolinas for a while. They seem to be infested with mysterious clowns.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:46 PM
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503

Yeah, what's up with that?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:49 PM
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504

If the media can't be bothered to report on Trump at least they can get to the bottom of these creepy forest clowns.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:53 PM
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505

There are rumors that it's a viral marketing campaign for a movie or something. Also the later reports might be of copycats inspired by the earlier ones. Of course, there is another possibility...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:53 PM
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506

Less Revenants is pretty good, but be prepared for things to be mysterious for the sake of being mysterious. Still, not bad.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:54 PM
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507

499: That's definitely an experiment I've never attempted.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 8:58 PM
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508

Either "Les" Revenants or "Fewer" Revenants, autocorrect, make up your damn mind.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:01 PM
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509

507: Well now we have a goal for the next meetup you attend.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:02 PM
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510

In Edinburgh, where I lived for a year or so on a post-doc fellowship, I rented a flat from a guy who, no kidding, had a bit of a clown fetish. There were ceramic clown faces everywhere! and I honestly couldn't sleep at night. I finally packed up all of the clowns and stashed them away in a closet. And when my creepy, clown-fetishist landlord asked me about his clownish artwork, I lied and told him I had put his artwork (which I thought of as his grinning horrors) away out of a concern for their (cough cough, they were cheap and tacky and ugly) value.

And he actually believed me! God.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:05 PM
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511

510 A guy like that, you just know his ambition is to own a genuine Gacy.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:09 PM
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509: I don't know that that's a good goal, but I guess I went along with the milk and scotch plan in DC, so there's precedent.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:10 PM
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513

Scotch and milk sounds so disgusting I have trouble believing it's a real, established thing, but of course it totally is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:13 PM
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514

I think it might have been better with real milk than it was with the lactose-free version or whatever it was that we had. But I'd be damned if I was going to let it be just men participating, so I made my own stupid decision. It was definitely not as bad as it could have been.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:21 PM
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515

Have you tried kumiss?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:24 PM
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516

Have you tried kumiss?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:24 PM
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517

Twice?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:24 PM
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518

But the cabbie who first drove me to my clownish flat assured me that I had chosen a good neigbbourhood. "You've got yer pub," he said, "and you've got yer chippy."


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:24 PM
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519

I'm not in the horsey part of the state, Barry. I'm cool with ayran and the like but I think I'd have to be being very polite to make the leap to kumiss.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:27 PM
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520

Have you, Barry?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:27 PM
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521

515/516: No, and it sounds pretty gross too. I don't really like dairy products in general, and fermented ones sound even grosser.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:27 PM
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522

Kumiss sounds like less of a crime than mixing Scotch with milk, though.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:30 PM
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523

522: Absolutely.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:30 PM
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524

I have not


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:33 PM
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525

If I remember correctly, M/tch wanted to do the scotch and milk as a tribute to James Baldwin. It seemed like a good enough idea at the time and I certainly made a lot of worse choices at that point in my life.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:34 PM
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526

Baldwin just sank in my estimation.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:49 PM
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527

A quick google suggests it may be from his fiction rather than his own life, so there!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:52 PM
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528

One would hope so. Bismarck liked to mix champagne and milk stout. 'Black velvet', he called it. By their mixers shall you know them.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 9:53 PM
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529

Speaking of Baldwin, at a used bookstore I recently happened upon a book that is essentially just a transcript of an extended dialogue between him and Margaret Mead in 1970 about race, gender, culture, etc. Probably an interesting read, but I didn't buy it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-10-16 10:03 PM
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530

Black velvet is a well known poison among the British upper classes. Google suggests it was created by the barman at Brooks's in mourning for Prince Albert.

Hoi polloi substitute cider for champagne, although the aspirant middle classes have been known to use prosecco.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:59 AM
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531

Does it taste as bad as it sounds?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:33 AM
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532

||

Des Esseintes Croissants: They're Decadent!

Whether you're en route to the cathedral, or headed straight down to Hell, stop in at Des Esseintes Croissants for a delectable pastry. Against the grain? No problem! We offer a wide range of gluten-free options!
(c) 2016 The Durtal Companies

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:38 AM
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533

531. Worse, if anything. My memory may have faded, because I only tried it once, but it was truly nasty. If it was indeed invented in 1861, you have to add to your impression the fact that until the 20th century people preferred their champagne sweet, so it would have that going for it as well.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 3:00 AM
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534

529: Sounds interesting! But probably easy enough to find that I wouldn't drink Four Loko to get a copy, so don't start with that, Tigre.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 5:04 AM
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535

Four Loko and milk?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 6:31 AM
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536

Do people still drink alcopops in America? I think they died completely over here, in that form- you can get flavoured ciders etc.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 6:40 AM
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537

You can get cider that tastes like apples here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 6:51 AM
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538

You can get beer that tastes like honey here. It's kind of shit, but less shit than the other beer.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:00 AM
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Mead then? I'd rather shitty honey beer than shitty bitter IPAs. There, I said it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:06 AM
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536: It's perhaps not as trendy, but many of the brands I was familiar with still exist. They've dialed back the -pop side of the marketing, which the tobacco companies are also regularly taken to task about. I've seen "hard root beer" popping up with increasing frequency.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:27 AM
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American IPAs are over-hopped to my taste. British ones seem more to my taste, probably because I've been drinking them for nearly half a century.

You could always try this.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:31 AM
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Which over here are you writing from, chris y? Because alcopops sure seem popular in London, and I never saw anyone in the US drinking them except teenagers. Although, to be fair, the flavours of British alcopops (at least the ones I see) are way less gross than the US ones. Hm, but maybe that's what you meant -- do you count premixed cocktails like Pimms in a can as alcopops, or do you just mean, like, peach-kiwi alco-caca? Or Four Loko, which I guess is how we got here.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:32 AM
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Not mead, just beer with honey flavor added. I'd like to taste actual mead but by all accounts it sucks like the Dark Ages.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:34 AM
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Maybe once every other year I'll have a Smirnoff Ice, which I've thought is the main US alcopop. It's fine when you want to have a soda and vodka. Doesn't seem as popular as it was a decade ago, though.

Mead is fine. I've had a few, some were mild, some were more flavorful, all good for sipping. Apparently some drinks marketed as mead are just white wine with honey or honey byproducts in them, which probably does suck.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:38 AM
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We seem to be on the cusp of a local cider boom. New outfits starting up. Our climate is obviously more amenable to apples than grapes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:45 AM
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"hard root beer"
Aw, man. Something seems so innocence-lost about that. You're supposed to put ice cream in your root beer, not booze. And drink it with your grandpa, not the lads.

American IPAs are over-hopped
I don't think I can parse this. It's like saying they're over good...
I know it's not to everyone's taste, but I'm never happier with a beer than when I come away from it with a numb tongue and an inability to taste anything for the next several hours. I haven't found many British IPAs I like, less because of the gentler hops than the kind of cereal-gone-soggy-in-milk sweetness that characterises the malt of a lot of British ale. It's like drinking Weetabix. British pales are pretty good though, when I can't get an American style IPA (which is most of the time).


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:46 AM
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546: One of the cultural competency things you have to know in MPLS is not to serve root beer at any dry event where there are going to be older Somalis present, as they have strong suspicions that it might be haram. (Of course, what this means is that if you're feeding a group of Somali kids or younger adolescents, all they want to drink is root beer.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:50 AM
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547: Huh! Any idea why root beer and not other sodas? Is it just the "beer" part? The kosher marks aren't sufficient?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:54 AM
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542. I didn't think anybody on God's green earth ever drank alcopops except teenagers. Possibly all the yoof I know are just aging out of them. I don't much go to the sort of places they get sold in.

IMHO in a good beer you should taste the hops and also taste the malt. It's called balance.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:55 AM
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548. I thought hard lemonade was the sort of base line.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:57 AM
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I guess traditionally, root beer has a little bit of alcohol in it from the brewing process. Of course, it's a small enough amount that it was considered a drink for children (although I don't know if such root beer would be halal.) But anyway, I don't think modern root beer has any alcohol at all.

But still, there is a tenuous association between root beer and actual beer, beyond the name.


Posted by: Ace-K | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 8:08 AM
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I recognise, in principle, that balance is a good thing. I just really like the way imbalance tastes. But fair enough, nobody would ever want to read me as a beer critic; "MOAR HOPS!!!" is pretty dull copy.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 8:13 AM
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Chris is so right on the too many hops. Fuck you and your ton of hops, Mr. Craft Brewer. I learned the hard way never to order anything with "hop" in the name or any American IPA.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 8:25 AM
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Are IPAs the cheapest kind of beer to make? If so, that might explain why they occupy so much shelf space despite being nasty-tasting.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 8:40 AM
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The only IPA I know tastes of sweet sweet phonemes.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 8:43 AM
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Fuck you and your ton of hops, Mr. Craft Brewer.
Mmmmmm. A WHOLE TON of hops. I want this beer.

Are IPAs the cheapest kind of beer to make?
I think hops are probably the most expensive ingredient in beer, and also more subject to price instability from changes in crop yield from year to year than grains, so I'd guess IPAs are defo not the cheapest kind of beer to make.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:12 AM
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They're the easiest kind of beer to make I the sense that if you fuck up and contaminate it with some nasty off-taste, it's still consumable because the hops hide the mistake.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:26 AM
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(although I don't know if such root beer would be halal.)

This would depend on the imam you consulted, though I think most would err on the side of caution and tell you to regard it as haram. I transfer this impression from a conversation I had with somebody about old fashioned ginger beer, which is made in much the same way.

You couldn't use in this case the "medicinal" work around. A friend of mine suffered from anaemia and her doctor told her that if she wasn't Muslim he'd recommend she drink a couple of bottles of stout a day. She mentioned this to her imam who told her to get stuck into the Guinness, because she was using it primarily to treat an ailment.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:35 AM
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"When the muezzin says 'morning gone' Guinness Time will spur you on"


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:39 AM
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Do people still drink alcopops in America? I think they died completely over here, in that form- you can get flavoured ciders etc.

I don't think they died over there. I saw a reference recently to the incredible popularity among British idiots of something called "WKD", which we don't have at all.

They are proliferating here in America. There's a new brand of "hard cider" every month, all of which are identical. "Hard root beer" and "Hard cherry cola" etc. have also become prevalent in the last 5 years, as have the horrendous Bud Light [Fruit]-A-Rita line of products. And Mike's Hard Lemonade and its spinoffs have been around for a long time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:41 AM
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"Hard cherry cola" has put me off my dinner, and I'm not even going to eat it for a couple of hours.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:44 AM
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562

I saw an ad somewhere (I think a billboard by I-35?) for alcohol-infused water.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:46 AM
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Which I guess I should have expected after the caffeinated water came out. Still, though.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:47 AM
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alcohol-infused water.

Vodka?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:48 AM
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Apparently its name is air.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:48 AM
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564: it is not obvious to me how it would be different.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:49 AM
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I guess it has more water, and bubbles.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:50 AM
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560: Are their ciders that are alcohol-infused non-alcohol non-alcoholic cider/apple juice? I'm assuming you don't mean things like Angry Orchard or Woodchuck, or imports like Strongbow or Magner's, which are just...cider.

The Bud Light Lime [Fruit]-a-Ritas are abominations, but one of my favorite podcasts has an annual segment where they drink the new one for the summer with a guest; the results tend to be hilarious, or at least serve as a morality play against drinking such awful things.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:53 AM
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their->there, guh


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:54 AM
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I thought air was oxygen infused nitrogen, mostly.

I think the advertising industry is approaching a crisis, in that pretty much anything you could sell to anybody without a major technological breakthrough has already been branded. So they're stuck trying to pass off sillier and sillier products until, presumably, the public draws a line. Now I don't expect the public to be super-discerning, but there must come a point, like when Coca-cola in Europe tried to sell carbonated tap water, and they were basically laughed out of the market.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 9:54 AM
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Real mead is becoming a craft brewer thing now. I've had it at a few different places, and it's not bad.

The UK is quickly catching on to American style craft beers. Many of the craft brewer ales in London advertised things like 'west coast hops'. These still tend to be at a lower alcoholic content than American pale ales.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 10:09 AM
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carbonated tap water

You mean club soda/seltzer?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 10:12 AM
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558 That's a good imam who knows his stuff and the spirit in which it should be interpreted.


You can have your bitter hops, I'm drinking a nice Affligem Blond.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 10:26 AM
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559 is great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 11:53 AM
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I actually just bought a local mead a couple days ago. It's not bad. Tastes like a fairly sweet white wine with undertones of honey, which is about what you would expect I guess.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:12 PM
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I'm not an iman, but I did watch a movie where Antonio Banderas played a Muslim. I think mead is Muslim-Kosher.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:16 PM
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Mead is definitely haram, regardless of what Antonio Banderas did.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:27 PM
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578

He got drunk and then had his wounds treated with cow urine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:28 PM
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Serves him right.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:30 PM
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A cow orker home brews mead, it's pretty good. I went to a mead brewery in NH that had a large variety. It doesn't have to be sweet any more than wine does- there are plenty of dry ones available. Doesn't have the tannins of wine though so I think it's much smoother.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:30 PM
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As a child, I was fascinated by mead. I remember reading that the Norse gods and heroes used to drink mead at every opportunity. They even kept a goat that lactated mead. It was obviously the best drink.

And then, if you think about it, mead is *alcohol* made from *honey*. What combination could possibly be more alluring?

But my parents never had any mead in the house, and I remember how sad I was when I realized that mead just tastes like sickly wine.

Upon consideration, I think I was imagining the gods drinking something more like Smirnoff Ice.


Posted by: Ace-K | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:32 PM
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It doesn't have to be sweet any more than wine does- there are plenty of dry ones available. Doesn't have the tannins of wine though so I think it's much smoother.

Yeah, the one I got is labeled "semi-sweet." There were also dry ones at the store where I got it, but they weren't local.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:34 PM
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One time I bought a big bottle of mead from a road-side stand operated by a bee-keeping coop in Uganda. I carted it with me for the next week of traveling around the country, and back on the plane in my carry-on luggage, being extra careful so it wouldn't break in transit. I got back home to open it up on a special occasion with friends... and it was the most disgusting, rancid swill you ever tasted.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:38 PM
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The poor goat with all those honeybees and yeast in its udder.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 1:47 PM
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Speaking of religious innovation, you can now purchase a version of the Bible illustrated with Minecraft images.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:06 PM
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551: Huh. I did not know that.

561: Comity. Ugh.

571: I don't know about "quickly." And you can put all the American hops you want on top of an English malt and it still won't taste like an American IPA.

Although I'm not a big cider fan, British (and also French) hard ciders outside of the froot-flavoured crap they market to kids are vastly better and more interesting than anything I'm aware of on the American market (Woodchuck, etc). Seems like there's an opening in the market there. Then again, I'm trying to imagine some kind of complex-tasting still cider going mainstream in the US, and no, I can't.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:09 PM
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Maybe they should dump some hops in the cider?

Actually, I quite like Woodchuck cider.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:15 PM
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There is a craft cider scene in the US, quite distinct from the big popular ones like Woodchuck (which I find way too sweet). There seems to be some overlap with the mead scene, which makes sense. Both are probably unlikely to go mainstream, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:19 PM
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There's a meadery down in the 'Root. The one's I've had aren't bad.

I was approached a few weeks ago by the owner of an apple orchard looking for legal advice. I've been trying her ciders as I run into them around town -- I've seen maybe 6 different varietals so far -- so far they're pretty good. I should quote her an hourly rate in cases . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:32 PM
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Ok, delete the apostrophe. But add in that they make cyser, melomel, and pyment.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:36 PM
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This is the meadery here. "Odin's Gift" is the one I bought.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 2:43 PM
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OT: Clinton's health: did the right actually get something correct?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 3:22 PM
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No.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 3:30 PM
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Thank goodness. I was going to have to adjust my priors ever so slightly.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 3:35 PM
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Speaking of religious innovation, you can now purchase a version of the Bible illustrated with Minecraft images.

I assume the Book of Job is depicted such that Herobrine gets Notch to troll the shit out of Steve.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 6:23 PM
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I went to a party this afternoon, and bought a bottle of the melomel. Sweet but good.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-16 7:16 PM
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Polish miod pitny is pretty great - sweet but not overpoweringly so (and available in various ratios of honey to water).

Grappamiel from Uruguay is the sort of digestif equivalent to mead and is dangerously drinkable.

Lots of bars in Beijing have started stocking "not your grandfather's root beer" which tastes a lot like regular root beer, only a bit sweeter, and has a fairly fearsome alcohol content. I'll fess up to drinking it when I'm not in the mood for spirits, as the alternative tends to be overhopped American IPAs, which I can drink 1 - 3 of before finding them intolerably horrid.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 12:27 AM
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You mean club soda/seltzer?

No. I meant this incident.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 3:45 AM
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There is a craft cider scene in the US, quite distinct from the big popular ones like Woodchuck (which I find way too sweet).

Neither of these is quite what I had in mind, people.


Posted by: Opinionated Johnny Appleseed | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 3:58 AM
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I must admit to finding commercial meads fairly boring, whereas a good Somerset rough cider, or its Norman equivalent, can be fantastic. In the olden days, apparently apple growing regions used to alternate making cider and beer in successive years. Nobody has ever explained to me the agricultural reasoning behind this.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:02 AM
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598: I remembered the Dasani story but I had forgotten (or never knew) the "added carcinogen" and "can't live without spunk" details. Thanks for that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:09 AM
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Well "can't live without spunk" at least has the virtue of being true, for animals anyway.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:16 AM
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Great, now you've gone and excluded OPINIONATED APHID from the discourse. A typical microaggression. And because aphids are quite small, it counts as a macroaggression.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:19 AM
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In my late teens we lived in Somerset near a proper old cider farm, in a run-down barn at the end of a long, muddy track down which you drive at the peril of your car's suspension. The cider was sold by the gallon in plastic containers, which you filled yourself from massive barrels containing dry and sweet, mixing them to your taste. It was incredibly strong, and had to be drunk within a week or it turned to vinegar. I've never been able to think of anything else as real cider since.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:37 AM
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600: Limited brewing facilities?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:40 AM
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605. Maybe, but it leaves open the question of what you do with all the cider apples in a beer year.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 4:54 AM
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It's practically OT at this point, but the one Parkway I'm familiar with does in fact take you to the park.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:02 AM
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A typical microaggression. And because aphids are quite small, it counts as a macroaggression.

But, from what you have laid down it follows that both the magnitude of the aggression by you perceived, and that perceived by the aphid itself, as likewise all those perceived by lesser animals, are each of them the true magnitude of the aggression; that is to say, by your own principles you are led into an absurdity. Doth it not therefore follow from hence likewise that the magnitude of the aggression is not really inherent in the object, but resides entirely in the mind?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GEORGE BERKELEY | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:04 AM
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608 is superb.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:06 AM
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it leaves open the question of what you do with all the cider apples in a beer year.

Sell them to the bloke down the road, who's having a cider year? Or is the idea that the entire area would just make cider one year and beer the next?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:09 AM
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Or maybe use them as animal feed? You could probably dry and barrel cider apples and use them as feed over the winter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:14 AM
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That sounds like a great deal of work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:15 AM
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610. My understanding was the latter, but I can't find any reference to it now, so I'm beginning to doubt my sanity. Googling did however turn up this unrelated gem:

A final interesting fact, which the Guardian Northerner has mentioned before and will again, is that the world's biggest outlet for Benedictine is Burnley Miners and Working Men's Social Club. This still serves 'Benny and Hot', the mixture of Benedictine and hot water for which soldiers of the Lancashire Fusiliers developed a great liking during the First World War.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:16 AM
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It seems really unlikely they would waste that many apples. They could have made applejack.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 5:44 AM
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Scrumpy and Western, anyone?


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09-12-16 6:44 AM
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