Re: Hotness

1

I think your aside about the Greatest Doom Player reveals the fatal flaw in your general contention, namely, that doing un-hot things really well isn't that hot. I don't think math whizdom is itself hot.

I don't share your predilection for excellence, as I understand you to be laying it out, but if there were a young lady in whom I already had an interest, and she turned out to be a math whiz, that would be, I don't know if I'd say hot, but certainly a bonus. But the realm for which that's true is bounded (musical talent and geekdom are two members of the class I can identify). An excellent golfer? Don't care. A great violist? That's pretty cool.

This reminds me a discussion on metafilter, I think, of the Suicide Girls (can't locate the specific comment now, though), in which the poster said that SG was just like the girls on the covers of car magazines: here's a girl, it says, who likes the same stuff you do, and maybe if you met her you could do that stuff together! And how much cooler would it be if she were really, really good at it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 10:57 AM
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here's a girl, it says, who likes the same stuff you do

That's how I felt when I came across this page: bacon, basketball, and high school girls all in one package!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:02 AM
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But the realm for which that's true is bounded (musical talent and geekdom are two members of the class I can identify). An excellent golfer? Don't care.

Ok, so the predilection isn't shared. Because despite the fact that I'm decidely lukewarm about golf, an excellent golfer strikes me as hot. Hell, an excellent curler strikes me as hot. The Doom Player example was just meant to acknowledge that group of activities in which we can talk about excellence, but in which excellence is a dubious distinction.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:05 AM
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Oh, Ogged. I had a very vague notion of setting you up with someone who is cute but doesn't wear make-up or high heels. And she's a violist! She's not a soloist, but she's in an orchestra. But she lives even further away from you than profgrrrl.

And, as I should probably be putting on a different thread, I just saw Molly Ringwald where I was having lunch.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:08 AM
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an excellent golfer strikes me as hot

Here you go. I'm sure your exes would approve.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:10 AM
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I just saw Molly Ringwald where I was having lunch

Did you tip her well?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:11 AM
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Violists are hot.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:16 AM
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I have sort of that predilection, as well. In my case, I suspect the root of the predilection is that I assume (a) there are many paths to Truth, and (b) any activity (e.g., basketball) I respect is some sort of path to Truth, and (c) if someone is great at an activity I respect, then they have a better understanding of Truth than I do, and I want to steal that understanding. "Truth" is really a placeholder for something Weiner or w-lfs-n will have to explain to me.

Also, Apo, how much bacon do you really consume in a week. 'Cause I've been eating a fearsome amount lately.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:17 AM
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I think in this case, Tim, "Truth" is a stand-in for "Sex".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:18 AM
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I don't know if this counts or not. But I didn't find Cardinal Ratzinger attractive at all until about an hour ago.


Posted by: pjs | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:23 AM
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I believe Molly's career took a bizarre turn somewhere, towards appearing in French films. So she could just about afford her own lunch. Especially now that exchange rates are so favorable.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:24 AM
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Uh huh. How does she feel about philosophy students?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:27 AM
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CS students, Ben. We've already been over this.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:27 AM
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Either way.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:29 AM
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As a general matter, the ladies cold love CS students. I think this was well-known. Ringwald - didn't she date Judd Nelson? You could do better, Ben.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:32 AM
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What if truth is a woman? What then?

Also, if she were a great violist, she might know more than two positions...


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:40 AM
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They even know it on Craigslist. But I figure, you gotta write your pitch to your audience, write? What we've got here, we've got a cute girl, she's a violist. She doesn't wear make-up, doesn't wear high heels—none of that for her. She's down to earth, you know, her legs reach the ground. (Hey—maybe she's Amy Cimini!)* Independent-minded, is what I'm thinking, maybe even a bit ... bohemian. Not in the current degraded sense. The real article. A CS student, hey, I would be different--I always am--but you think, you think of a CS student, a CSist, you don't think, suitable match for a violist, an artist. You think: this guy probably wears faded Metallica shirts as often as possible. The philosopher, though, he's a part of café culture, he's down with the arts. He can converse on subjects varied, he goes to the small little cinema--and that's what he calls it, a "cinema". You gotta match your pitch to your audience. That's all I'm saying, here, SCMT. You gotta understand you some hypothetical imperatives.


*(Until right now I didn't put together ac's comment about seeing Molly Ringwald with the "Molly" who can afford her own lunch—I thought she was talking about the violist, and appearing in French films would be a bizarre career turn for a violist.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:40 AM
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Oh boy, viola jokes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:42 AM
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You gotta understand you some hypothetical imperatives.

I can't wait to add a w-lfs-n impersonation to my teaching repertoire.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:42 AM
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But I figure, you gotta write your pitch to your audience, write?

Amazing.

And FL, if you can cut out the middleman and just impersonate whatever generic type I was impersonating, so much the better.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:46 AM
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Tim, I eat a whopping lot of bacon in a week, though I've never tracked it specifically. Bacon with breakfast both weekend mornings and on a drive-thru biscuit at least two days a week. BLTs 2-3x a week for lunch, bacon cheesburger at least once, and in salads with dinner a couple of times a week.

One Saturday when I had the house to myself recently, I ate a pound of bacon, fried 5 strips at a time, because that's all the pan would fit. I only stopped at a pound because that's all the package contained. I'm not sure what the single-sitting ceiling would be, as that remains purely hypothetical at this point, but it's higher than a pound in any event.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:48 AM
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Apostropher, have you ever had bacon pancakes or waffles? The Original Pancake House serves them, but I can never bring myself to get them.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:51 AM
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McDonalds Bacon Egg and Cheese? Man, I used to live on those (at least two a day on during work for weeks on end); turns out they aren't good for you in that quantity. If only a bulging middle and a greasy mouth were considered sexy....


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 11:52 AM
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bacon pancakes or waffles

Whoa! No, that's a new one on me. Seems a little like hiding your light under a bushel, though.

McDonalds Bacon Egg and Cheese

No, McDonald's has decent biscuits but they aren't conveniently on my way to work. Hardee's (which some of you know as Carl Jr's) is the default breakfast drive-thru (due mostly to location), but the Gold Standard is the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:01 PM
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I should add that for hardcore pork enthusiasts, you have to drive a bit out of the city limits:

BP Calvander Food Mart 108 Dairyland Rd. Corner of Homestead and Old 86. 919-942-8225. This place has a wide variety of pickled delicacies floating in what looks like formaldehyde. No reservations required, take out or dine-in standing up. Port-a-John in parking lot open to public. Hot food also served.


Mmm, pig knuckles...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:09 PM
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Original pancake house? Are you from Portland, w-lfs-n?


Posted by: pjs | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:10 PM
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Seems to me it reflects well on you somehow to be involved with the best cellist, swimmer, etc.

It's all some of us have in lieu of actually achieving ourselves...


Posted by: thom | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:11 PM
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pjs, they, or another chain with the same name, has a few locations in Chicago.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:13 PM
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I think that excellence is "hot" when it comes to having crushes on people from a distance.

When I actually try to get to know someone I find that all the people I like (romantically or as friends) are people that have stong opinions that they can explain, defend, and support.

I think that excellence can be seen as a proxy for those opinions, in a way that is similar to SCMT's "Truth." Unfortunately there are many people who are excellent at something without being self-reflexive about it and I find that less interesting.

I think that explains why I like blogs.

Though I should note that I like people who have strong opinions and are interested in having actual dialogues about the subject of the opion, rather than just shouting their own opinions over and over.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:20 PM
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Shouldn't there have been more of a joke with 'golfer' and 'strikes?'

I'm trying to think of one, but nothing is coming to me.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:24 PM
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Apostropher, have you ever had bacon pancakes or waffles? The Original Pancake House serves them, but I can never bring myself to get them.

I could never bring myself to order anything other than the apple pancake in my Hyde Park days. Though I always found them closer to an apple pie than a pancake.


Posted by: oztk | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:28 PM
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Carl's Jr is Hardee's! I'd been wondering what was going on since I moved out to Utah.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:34 PM
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Is it the competence that is attractive, or is it perhaps the confidence that comes from competence?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:36 PM
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Not the latter. How boring if it were!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:38 PM
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If only a bulging middle and a greasy mouth were considered sexy....

Well, a slight belly bulge can be endearing, if there's already some attraction.

Bacon lovers might enjoy the Bacontarian website.


Posted by: annie | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:51 PM
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If only a bulging middle and a greasy mouth were considered sexy...

It's not!??


Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:55 PM
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So wait, let me get this straight: you mean, all these years I've been eating chips and pizza have been not just in vain, but actually counterproductive? The agony...


Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:57 PM
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she lives even further away from you than profgrrrl.

Whoa, whoa, I go away for a little bit...you don't know where I live (do you?). Where does she live? !


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:57 PM
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I think I know what time zone you are in. But I could be mistaken. She's in NY.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 12:59 PM
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Shit.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:03 PM
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I bet ogged is far too clever to have the time zone that the comment timestamps are set to be his time zone.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:03 PM
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As I've mentioned, the time stamps are set by the server that hosts the site; they have nothing to do with where I am, and I don't control them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:05 PM
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Well, if that's true then I don't know.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:06 PM
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I guess cleverness doesn't enter into it, then. I would have thought you could control them.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:06 PM
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is it perhaps the confidence that comes from competence?

Definitely not that. It's a lot like SCMT Tim says about "truth." There's something fascinating about someone who's mastered something, or has a gift. Usually they have some intensity or focus or grace that's just so compelling. Some of it must be what thom says at 27, but I don't think (I hope), not all or most of it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:07 PM
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Ogged, don't we all know approximately where you live?


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:07 PM
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Yes, I think we all do, even though it remains Top Secret.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:08 PM
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This seems to indicate that the timestamps are, for some reason, on Arizona's very own Mountain Standard Time.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:09 PM
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Maybe you live next door to her, then.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:09 PM
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Nope. See 40 above.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:11 PM
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Right. She does tour a lot, though I suppose that doesn't help.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:18 PM
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What orchestra?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:21 PM
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Don't want to give her away.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:22 PM
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Don't most people feel this way? I mean, excellence isn't the only attractive thing, you do need to be kind and loyal and physically appealing and all that, but I'd think that that finding excellence in almost any regard sexy was perfectly normal -- more people than not feel like that.

Although, I guess I'm thinking mostly about what I know women find attractive about men. What, precisely, most men are looking for in women, once you get past the obvious, has always been a bit of a mystery to me. (One of the many reasons why being off the dating market is so nice.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:23 PM
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Touring is good! I am neither easy to take for extended periods, nor do I like having someone around all the time. Maybe she's thinking of moving?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:23 PM
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She actually has applied for other jobs, all over the place.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:28 PM
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Don't most people feel this way?

That's what I would have thought, but I'm not so sure now. w-lfs-n's first comment above makes me think not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:34 PM
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The golf example might bring more baggage with it than is just, because I imagine that someone who really enjoyed playing golf would have a lot of other bad habits I wouldn't like as well.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:40 PM
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You just made the world a much less interesting place.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:41 PM
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I'm not entirely disavowing the position I held in the first comment, mind.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:48 PM
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Uh, re 21, holy crow, that's a lot of bacon.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:51 PM
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Does excellence imply a certain level of intelligence? If only in that area? For example, what if you were the world's greatest basketball player, but it was clearly a function of genetic gifts (e.g., you are 10 feet tall, and as wide across), with no real understanding of the game?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:54 PM
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I haven't touched bacon since 1981. That part of the thread was grossing me out.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:56 PM
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Does excellence imply a certain level of intelligence?

Yeah, something like that, no? A being-inside the activity in a way other people aren't.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:58 PM
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I don't think that the attraction excellence holds is analyzable to some other trait that excellence indicates, Tim.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:58 PM
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I haven't touched bacon since 1981.

That's weird. Not to have touched it, and to remember. I love bacon, but I don't consume it in anything like apostrophical quantities.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 1:59 PM
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Sure, Ben, but it's also not just excellence, as Tim's hypothetical helps us understand.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:00 PM
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Hey, ap'r, you turn to the Hippy Hill News for restaurant reviews in the triangle? Is this one of your frat buddies? (joke) Looks like love of bacon and pigs' knuckles could really bridge the political divide.

While I'm sympathetic to your basic premise, I've met too many boring successes for this to be true. I'm thinking across both sexes, really, but obsessive focus and a broadly interesting personality are not as common as we'd all like it to be.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:01 PM
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Unless you want to say that domination or simply being better than others isn't excellence, which I'd buy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:02 PM
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Would you consider someone who was 10' tall and dominated basketball games for that reason alone to be an excellent player?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:03 PM
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Intelligence, and focus, and caring intensely about something. I'm having a flashback to, as a teenager, finding a 45 min disquisition on dieseling (when the engine of your beater keeps coughing along for a couple of seconds after you've turned off the ignition) entirely compelling, despite having no particular interest in auto mechanics and no prior romantic interest in the boy who was lecturing. He was just so interested in what he talking about, and so focused on communicating those facts he believed any reasonably well educated person should know about the internal combustion engine...


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:04 PM
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Oh shit, sorry, I never posted a comment I had written. No, I wouldn't.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:04 PM
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Intelligence, and focus, and caring intensely about something.

Yes, agreed. But...someone who's nonchalantly terrific at something (there are such people, right?) is also compelling. So while caring intensely is itself attractive, I'm not sure it's the same as the excellence attraction.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:07 PM
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Heh, Lizardbreath, 71 reminds me of my slightly inebriated recounting, complete with a little diagram, of the substance of this comment to my gf, who claimed to have found it compelling.

(Ogged, what is the apology for? You're not talking about 69, are you?)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:08 PM
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someone who's nonchalantly terrific at something (there are such people, right?) is also compelling. So while caring intensely is itself attractive...


Also, frequently you can't actually tell how much someone cares. You can have this kind of attraction without actually knowing the object of it well or at all (and I think most instances of it are like that), except through the activity in which the person excels. Maybe they look intense when they're doing it, maybe they make it look like a snap. But you can't tell from that how devoted they are.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:11 PM
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Yes, that's true too.

I apologized because I'd answered your question in 70 before you asked it, but never posted it. See?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:12 PM
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I just looked back at the infinitely growing penis thread, and I have to say that it remains the Best of Unfogged. Just the idea of ogged testing w-lfs-n's thesis on a rubber band.... Genius!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 2:30 PM
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re: 70. We often never know the person we are attracted to, especially in the early hazy stage. You get an idea of the person, coming from a specific instance, and it is as much you as the person; it doesn't matter whether the beloved is trying or not trying, only your perception of the facial tics, the things she says. You construct the person early on, and spend the rest of the time fighting to keep it that way. Opaque spheres and all.


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 3:14 PM
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that wasn't re: 70, but re: some other post, or maybe completely irrelevant.

re: 70 -- yes, if that person scored lots of points and played ok defense.


Posted by: textu | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 3:16 PM
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78 applies to 70, and all that is not 70.

I really thought I'd come back to find someone had made a porking joke about my bacon comment.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 3:39 PM
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You've got us figured all wrong.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 3:41 PM
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What Lizard Breath said in 70. It's intensely confusing.


Posted by: Abby | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 4:00 PM
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70 was by me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 4:39 PM
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That's what confusing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 4:52 PM
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I think it comes down to evolution. Being excellent at something is a form of fitness, even if it won't cause one to breed more better equipt children, it plays that role in a society with much fewer biological pressures than our early human ancestors. I think it is the same reason why chicks dig the "bad boy." Success, even if it is at playing the harp is success, and it causes men's most inner biological beings to want to impregnate it.


Posted by: Jacob | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 5:19 PM
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That's crap.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 5:34 PM
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I dunno, Ben. In high school, the harp players got serious action. Those guys, and the guy on the triangle.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 6:40 PM
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A few years back I stayed at a hostel in Lithuania in which a Welsh girl who happened to be a harp player was also staying. She was traveling with a mini-harp and she and her friend (who I don't think played any music) would go to town squares and make money by busking.

She was much hotter than her friend, though I don't think it was the harp that made the difference.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-19-05 7:03 PM
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I hope you guys realize that an 88-comment thread has AOTW yielded 2 comments by LizardBreath, and the rest by guys. not to complain or anything. frathaus


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 5:45 AM
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but, to speak to the main point, I definitely agree that people who are good at stuff are hot. like husband X, he knows all kinda stuff about Wittgenstein. hot. guys also seem to take much more of an interest in me when they know I can read sanskrit, too.


Posted by: alameidaa | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 5:52 AM
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What am I, chopped fake-meat product?


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:11 AM
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Guess so, ac!

Ariel Weinberg, aka plorkwort, observed once that a good way to gain the interest of the fellas was to drop mention of the fact that she was learning Forth or some other obscure language. But she was talking about geeks anyway.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:21 AM
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Yeah, really. Where are all the female political blog commentators?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:33 AM
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I assumed that Abby was a female, but then all she said was that she was confused, so...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:35 AM
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Ala:

(You so should have chosen Ala Abdul Nabi as your nom de blog; imagine, a Shi'a Iranian, Ala Abdul Nabi, and the Gayatollah all on the same blog - you'd have made Time). I'm sort of curious about whether you think the nature of the topic (excellence and hotness) or what it devolved into (straight women's relative (in)ability to identify male hotness) is or was somehow off-putting to women. Not my blog, yada, yada, but it doesn't seem like a very female unfriendly place here.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:36 AM
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SCMT, you want to name her after a Duke basketball player? That seems out of character for you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:39 AM
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What can I do? I'm sure the Heels were Ala's first choice. It's just such a great name.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:40 AM
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Annie also commented, Alameida. And how about, you know, waking up in the middle of the night to join in?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:43 AM
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True, it is a great name. And there have been so many in basketball. My favorites include Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, God Shammgod, and Olu Babalola. However, for the real winner, we turn to women's basketball for (I kid you not) Ivana Mandic.

I think now we know who wants to sex Mutombo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:54 AM
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But we already know that Mutombo is male.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:56 AM
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Simple pedantry compels me to note that "Mandic" is properly pronounced "Mandeech."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:57 AM
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Yes, and Ivana is pronounced "ee-vah-nah." Don't be a spoilsport.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:00 AM
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God Shammgod; one of the truly great names of all time. And thanks for linking to the correct spelling of Alaa Abdelnabi's name.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:05 AM
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And one wouldn't say, "I want a man dick," but probably, "I want a dick," or "I want a man's dick," or maybe "I want the dick of a man."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:11 AM
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AOTW yielded 2 comments by LizardBreath, and the rest by guys

things are so much more congenial around here lately, aren't they?


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:12 AM
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Ogged. Rhetorical excess is nice and all, but would you really say "I want the dick of a man" before you'd say "I want a man dick"? What about "I want some hot man dick"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:13 AM
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AOTW yielded 2 comments by LizardBreath, and the rest by guys

things are so much more congenial around here lately, aren't they?

I take it this is confirmation that ac is chopped liver?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:15 AM
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If her name had been "Ivana Hotmandic," I probably wouldn't have said anything.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:15 AM
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More that ac doesn't have a strongly gendered handle, and not everyone is reading with attention. I would surmise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:21 AM
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If her name had been "Ivana Hotmandic," I probably wouldn't have said anything.

Nothing to offer, Ogged?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:22 AM
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It's funny to read my earlier comments as coming from a guy, though - offering to set Ogged up and all.


Posted by: ac (chica) | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:36 AM
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Happens to the best of us. Someone pegged me as a guy halfway down the latest BPhD thread.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:44 AM
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And one wouldn't say, "I want a man dick," but probably, "I want a dick," or "I want a man's dick,"

Experience tells.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:48 AM
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Consensually, I hope.

(sorry, frathaus took over.)


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:48 AM
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Curse you, Tim! 114 was about 112.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:48 AM
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(Regretting having read Dan Savage's columns.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:51 AM
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re: 109

Is there a default presumption that non-gendered pseudonyms are male? Pretty clear to me that there is. That's sort of strange.


Posted by: washerdreyer (chico) | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:51 AM
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Second Sex, dude.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:54 AM
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OT, LB - I forgot to thank you the other day for the offer of job advice. I'll probably take you up on that after the semester ends.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:58 AM
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Any time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:58 AM
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Sounds painful.

Having just written the word ovary, I'm reminded that as my alarm went off this morning and the radio came on, I awoke to the words, "It's never too early to start worrying about your breasts."


Posted by: ac (ovary possessor) | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:01 AM
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"It's never too early to start worrying about your breasts."

Was this about cancer or sagging?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:03 AM
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Don't assume that the message was directed at women, previously fatboy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:06 AM
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Mercifully, that possibility didn't occur to me. Anyway, a guy with breasts would hardly need to be reminded to worry about them, no?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:08 AM
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Cancer, I believe. Though in my still sleepy/dreaming state, my first thought was that someone my try to take them away.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:11 AM
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Is there a default presumption that non-gendered pseudonyms are male?

In the frathaus atmosphere, there's arguably some inductive evidence for the presumption.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:12 AM
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"Might try to take," that is.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:13 AM
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I'm so late to this party, but my friend Tom made an excellent case for video games as the new hotness on grounds of the four theories dominating female mate selection, uh, theory.


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:16 AM
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I almost linked to that at the time, but, as I recall, your very own Susan so demolished his case that there was nothing left to discuss.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:17 AM
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Kriston, playing the oboe makes you awesome.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:22 AM
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Fuck to oboe, my friend, fuck to oboe.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:26 AM
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I have to find that post of Susan's. Except that it's so not true! She was watching Tommy and I play Super Bomberman 2 one day and she totally berated me for losing. Or for playing video games while she was around, I can't remember.


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:31 AM
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Oboe to fuck?


Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:32 AM
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Her first comment to the post you linked says it all, I think.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:33 AM
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Tim is alluding to his own mastery of English.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:35 AM
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Super Bomberman was a good game.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:35 AM
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I spent some of the night thinking about this question, of all things. First I thought excellence was hot because it caused one to stand out from the pack, but that is clearly not the case, because many bad things would also cause one to stick out from the pack and are not hot. Do I need to saying picking one's nose.

Okay, so sticking out is part of it but it has to be a good sticking out. Excellence is good, but why? It demonstrates a certain amount of ability, and perserverance, and focus, and work. So ability, perserverance, focus, work, these are all hot?

Yeah, I guess so. Hmmm. Not very surprising. We want mates that are more than lumps of flesh. Duh.

The only reason excellence would not be hot is if it was intimidating, and since we are all so secure here, it is not intimidating.

Actually, finding excellence 'hot' makes us 'hot,' especially to those with excellence. Win win!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 9:07 AM
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Second Sex, dude.

I'm probably just being contrary, but I still want to point out that's not necessarily true. I think I read mention of a poll that found that about 75% of blog readers were men. ~75% of commentators, too, are probably men, which would be a practical reason for the default assumption to be "male."

I know this is what Matt was getting at with his inductive evidence, but I wanted to apply it more generally.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 10:03 AM
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Shockingly, I agree with both LB (71) and Michael (138). However, since the agreement with Michael means disagreement with LB on a separate point from the one she made in 71, I think we're ok.

1) Couldn't it be, in addition to caring intensely and the rest of what LB said, that it's just more fun to watch someone celebrate a win than mourn a loss? Even anticipation of that celebration could make the "excellent" person seem more attractive. And if we're dealing with someone who's actually within reach as far as dating goes, then we would anticipate sharing in that celebration on a personal level. For women, that is. For guys, it's probably just because when chicks win they'll be more likely to be interested in getting all hot and heavy, as w-lfs-n might put it.

2) Second Sex: dude, totally. No matter which way you look at it, more guys read and produce blogs, and comment on them; not only that, but to generalize even more than Michael, a higher percentage of computer geeks are male than female. Though if you're looking for some hot .NET coding with that surreal "But I'm a Cheerleader" vibe, there's always Datagridgirl.


Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 11:17 AM
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Yes, I am a woman. What men want, besides the obvious physical attractiveness is what confuses me. I was, I think, agreeing with Lizard Breath.

I think, BTW, that she's right that people tend to think that non-gendered handles belong to men. I've thought of posting under one to see if I get more respect.


Posted by: Abby | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 3:21 PM
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non-gendered handles

Like Hindrocket.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 3:32 PM
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re: 140 -- it confuses us too. therefore pain. but also, therefore blog discussions like this. A wash?


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 3:40 PM
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While I am, as I've said before, terribly glad that this is no longer my problem in general, I came to the conclusion back in my single days that whatever it was, it seemed to involve a higher-pitched giggle than I could muster.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:09 PM
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of course, if you're talking about "men" as if they acted as a group, you'll never be able to arrive at an answer.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:11 PM
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it seemed to involve a higher-pitched giggle than I could muster.

Hey, hey, let's not get carried away. High-pitched giggles easily could have been on my list of won't-dates (they might, in fact, be subsumed under "squeaking").


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:13 PM
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This isn't meant as a serious indictment of men in general -- just residual annoyance from my college days. The "cocking your head to one side like the RCA terrier, and giggling appealingly" move always seemed to work so well for other women, and yet I could never pull it off with a straight face.

Not an effective dater.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:18 PM
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Ah, but you marry happier that way. You know, a few years back, ex and I were walking down the street and a woman came up to us doing what you describe, with her head cocked, all girly, and asked for directions. The ex still hasn't forgiven me, I believe, for...answering her. (I have to admit, I see her point. The woman asked *me* for directions, didn't look at ex at all, and really was ridiculously girly. Still, someone asks for directions, you gotta answer.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:22 PM
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The men who found that attractive were signaling to you just as surely as brightly-colored snakes and butterflies signal to those who would court them (in the deadliest romance!*), except instead of saying "I am poisonous", they were saying, "I am highly conventional and uninteresting".

*please emphasize the second syllable in "romance" when reading.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:25 PM
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I'm a pretty effective head-cocker/giggler. But I become too aware of the artificial note I have introduced, and it becomes distracting.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:29 PM
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The issue here, of course, is that finding someone to love has the same nature as job or apartment hunting -- you're inevitably going to have a great many more failures than successes, because when something turns out well, you stop looking. So -- I'm happily married, life is very, very nice now, but, like most people, I have a lot more memories of rejection and general romantic disaster than the reverse.

How did I start talking about this? Quick, someone be funny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:32 PM
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Naw, c'mon, tell us a disaster story.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:34 PM
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You know, if yo mama were a data structure, she'd be a deque, 'cause she allows rapid insertion at both ends.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:36 PM
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Help.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:39 PM
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None of them are particularly funny.

I could tell the rest of the supermodel/wedding story -- I actually left out the truly humilating bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:40 PM
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I don't know if it's funny, but I was in a bookstore the other day (buying that book about Kenya, in fact), and this cute Indian guy tried to chat me up and I found myself being kind of involuntarily girly and giggly and so on. And we got into a little conversation, in which I revealed that I haven't been buying myself books lately, because I'm trying to save money. And he offered to buy the five books I was looking through, while sitting in the cafe.

I thought: wow, that would be actual booksluttishness, wouldn't it, not just a funny blogname? I thought: oh my god, how incredibly tempting, far more tempting than any other gift from a strange man would be. I thought: no.

Not sure if I regret this. If I'm going to be all girly and giggly, I should at least get some free books.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:41 PM
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Rapt attention here...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:41 PM
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I find it amazing that someone who didn't already know you talked to you. How do people do that?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:43 PM
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Re the Indian dude: see, I find that creepy (but I find all guy-chats-up-girl scenarios creepy). But if he'd offered to let *you* buy *his* books, then I'd say at least he had style.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:43 PM
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I guess Ben and I agree, in our way. I never know how to chat someone up either (though I have asked out complete strangers; but that doesn't require chatting them up first, necessarily).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:47 PM
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I'm chatted up all the time. I want to say it happens every day, but that's pushing it. I think I look very approachable. People ask me directions and the time a zillion times a day, too.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:52 PM
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LB - did you go out with Robert? Am I remembering that correctly?


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 6:57 PM
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That's right -- I've even told stories about him here (Julie Eisenberg's and my mutual ex).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:01 PM
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The rest of the supermodel/wedding story:

So I'd mentioned that I was wearing a "spectacularly unfortunate" outfit. I'm not much of a clotheshorse, and A&B's wedding was going to be quite formal -- I didn't have anything to wear at the right level, and at the time had no money.

No problem. You borrow something. I had a good friend (Scrabble girl, for those who are taking notes) who is a clotheshorse -- she had a million outfits, in all possible styles and levels of formality, and she's just about my size. I riffled through her closet, and came up with a floor-length black skirt, in multiple layers of some light, drifty, gauzy material, and an opaque black lace halter (high in front, low in back). This is NY, so black at a wedding is all right -- I had an outfit.

I tried it on in Mr. Breath's windowless basement apartment and looked great -- a little more Morticia Adams than I would have gone for if I had been shopping for it, not really my style, but definitely a look. Mr. Breath had already left for the wedding (being in the wedding party and all) so I hopped in a cab at about 5 on a June evening, and went to the loft where the wedding was being held.

The loft had a gorgeous, floor-to-ceiling river view - the summer evening sun was streaming horizontally through the windows. I walked out of the elevator, over to the bar, and caught sight of myself in a mirrored column. I was, essentially, naked. Scrabble girl's fashion esthetic includes a certain number of outfits that would be most appropriate on the corner of 42d and Eighth. I thought I was safe in what I'd borrowed, because the skirt was long and the neck was high, but trying it on under indoor lighting I hadn't realized that both pieces were pretty much absolutely transparent under the lighting conditions in the loft. People standing across the room could tell what style underwear I was wearing.

I stuck it out for the whole evening, at a huge wedding where I knew no one, attempting to convey that I'd meant to dress that way, as my date escorted the supermodel in the tasteful floral bridesmaid's dress through the wedding. Really, from my point of view, not a good party.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:02 PM
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Wow, that is a good story. You might appreciate this selection from Unfogged's greatest hits.

So, what style of underwear were you wearing?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:08 PM
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LB:

Cripes, how sad is this? I envy you your embarrassing moments.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:09 PM
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I saw that story at the time,and had total sympathy for her. And luckily, underwear that someone who knew it was going to be visible might conceivably have picked intentionally. No further details.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:10 PM
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You envy that story? Dude, if you've had the dream about showing up somewhere with no pants on, you've lived it. Well, except for the 'implicit competition with one of the objectively most beautiful women in the world' bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:12 PM
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That's what I was asking. Well, it could have been a conversation starter, if you'd chosen to play it that way. "Look at what I'm wearing, for the love of god!"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:12 PM
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You'll have to rust me, LB, when I say that, as embarrassing stories go, that wouldn't fall in my top 10. And, IIRC, the details correctly, you got a mate out of it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:17 PM
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Damn, rust yourself, tell us one.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:19 PM
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Oh LB! How terrible. I had the most terrible time at the wedding of someone you know - truly the most excruciating evening of all time. It was like going to a high school reunion of only the popular crowd, with no normal people anywhere.

But what have you said about Robert? You know, I'm supposed to officially hate Julie Eisenberg because she started seeing Robert on the sly while he was still going out with L.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:19 PM
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I assume that this comment concerns Robert?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:23 PM
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Yeah, that's right, I met his lesbian wife.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:25 PM
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I have entirely forgotten L. I mean, I'm sure I would if you prompted me with more details, but damned if I recall him dating anyone seriously between me and J. I've blocked out most of high school due to various social traumas.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:27 PM
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Linda.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:29 PM
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Riiight. I'd forgive Julie for that. Not that any of this matters, given that we're all decades out of high school. My capacity for reminiscence in thisvein is limited.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:31 PM
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"I'm a pretty effective head-cocker."

No comments on this? Am I at unfogged?


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:32 PM
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Indeed. An oversight. But, for future, the floor is open.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:37 PM
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for me the joke was in the cutting and pasting. Someone else needs to get the tip-in.


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:40 PM
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You know, it's funny, I'm sort of writing this young adult novel about, well, high school (I have about 50 pages or so), and it seems to be about this one girl who made life suck at the time. You'd think at this point I'd have charitable feelings about her, be able to see things in perspective, &c. But no. I still hate her.

She probably takes up all my h.s. era hate, though; I have none left over for Julie Eisenberg. As I recall, Julie even helped me throw ice cubes at her once, at some party or other. We kept flinging them at the back of her head and ducking so she wouldn't see us.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:40 PM
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"someone else needs to get the tip-in"

Always the case, isn't it, when dealing with head-cocking.


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:41 PM
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Someone else needs to get the tip-in.

That's decent as a setup, I guess.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:42 PM
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And thusly I get my own tip in. But only metaphorically.


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:42 PM
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I thought, as I was writing it, that the phrase was ill-advised.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:44 PM
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Oh, where have you gone, apostropher?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 7:44 PM
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This thread blows.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:50 PM
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Note that it took Tim one hour and thirty-three minutes to think of that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:52 PM
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I was actually just trying to chase a comment out of you. For a minute there, it didn't look like it would work. You had me worried.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 8:54 PM
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What did you think of Law & Order tonight? I'm sometimes bothered by the high degree of ripped from the headlines-ness.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 9:09 PM
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Haven't watched it yet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-05 9:11 PM
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LB, I went to bed thinking about forgiveness. And I decided that time makes no difference. If your very first boyfriend cheats on you with one of your best friends, you are entitled to remember that forever.

Just thought I'd share.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 7:23 AM
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Sure, if L. wants to hold a grudge against R., I'd hope she's got other things to think about by now, but no reason why she shouldn't. For you to be holding a grudge against Julie because R. cheated on L. with her back in high school (they were actually dating?) seems a little disproportionate.

But I'd really rather not spend too much time talking about high school. I didn't like lots of people there, and I don't remember lots more, and I'm completely out of touch with everyone. I don't want to be taking positions on the rights and wrongs of who did what to whom in the late eighties -- I will either be mistaken, or unwarrantedly uncharitable, or both.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 8:11 AM
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I just mean in principle, not the specific situation. The past often remains present.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 8:38 AM
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164 reminds me: "Punch Kaus in the face" is still on my to-do list.

re: 148; aren't the snakes and butterflies signalling "I am poisonous" to prospective predators?


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:08 AM
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Matt, hence "the deadliest romance".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:11 AM
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I thought they (snakes and butterflies) were bright to attract mates, and became poisonous to scare off the predators.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:11 AM
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Depends on the specific snake/butterfly, doesn't it? (odd moment in parenting: Whlile walking my kindergartener to school, she asked "What do you call the snake-bird that brings corn?" I boggled for a bit, riffled through my comparative mythology, and said "You mean Quetzalcoatl?" which it turned out she did. While I'm all for multicuturalism in schools, I have been keeping a wary eye out for any signs that she's coming after me with an obsidian knife.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:17 AM
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We need to start a "Punch Kaus in the face" pool. Everyone puts in 5 dollars and the first one to punch Kaus in the face wins.


Posted by: joe o | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:19 AM
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Joe, I'm in.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:23 AM
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But people who live in whatever city or region Kaus does would have a disproportionate chance of winning.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:23 AM
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You'll want to consider that when deciding whether or not to participate, then.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:25 AM
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Me too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:25 AM
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No, w/d, this is one pool where everybody wins.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:25 AM
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Positive sum game? I suppose.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:32 AM
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I like Kaus.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:37 AM
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You're next, ogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:39 AM
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I think baa likes Kaus too, and come on, nobody is going to punch him in the face.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:41 AM
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1. I think baa likes Kaus too strikes me as the sort of thing you shouldn't say about someone unless you've indisputable evidence.

2. Over the last five years, I've wondered how one might play on another's better angel to encourage them to take a beating. (Yes, the rest is fantasy, but...). I mean, if Kaus has a local reputation for being a charitable, decent guy, and there were a pool of money waiting to be to donated to Cause X, contingent only on Kaus surviving for one round with Y, would he do it? Probably not. But there must be a money/time period ratio at which Kaus (or whoever) would underestimate the damage that could be done by someone who knows what he's doing.

(Welcome to this new world, where my anger is the sun).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:51 AM
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Evidence.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:53 AM
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I think you're making an unwarranted assumption as to what baa meant by "delviers".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 9:59 AM
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I think the strategy is to get Mike Allen to write a WaPo story saying "Mickey Kaus couldn't beat up Oscar de la Hoya," and get Ann Coulter or Hugh Hewitt or Hindrocket or someone to disagree. Kaus will be in the ring, liveblogging the story of how Allen is completely discredited because he substituted an em-dash for an el-dash [Don't you mean 'hyphen'--Ed. Whatever...] even as he's getting his head beat in.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 10:09 AM
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Dan Drezner has taken over Matt Weiner's brane!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 10:12 AM
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b-wo, you know that that's a parody of Kaus's blogging style, some of the unfortunate elements of which Drezner picked up on?


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 10:20 AM
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Weiner:

De la Hoya is wildly overrated, and might actually lose to Kaus. I was think of someone like Sweet Pea Whitaker at lightweight weight (135 lbs, 5'6"); easy to underestimate.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 10:34 AM
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Weiner, I did not.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 11:07 AM
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Then you are a lucky man.

I am not sure whether Kaus's writing is so horrible that the memory cannot contain it, or whether it is so horrible that it mnemotechnically stays seared in your brain ever after, but I think it's both.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 11:18 AM
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might actually lose to Kaus

No matter how overrated, a trained boxer will never lose to an untrained amateur unless the real boxer was violently ill. In fact, Kaus (and anybody here) would stand a very good chance of being beaten to death just in the first round.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 11:24 AM
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Or if the untrained amateur had, like, laser knuckles.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 11:28 AM
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True.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 11:35 AM
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Seriously, everyone hates Kaus? (except me, and ogged). Whyever? Here's what he has today:

You've heard of the Full Ginsburg? Now there's the Full Kokoski

Category: media criticism. Same guy has letter published in the Post and the Times praising the new Pope. Kinda weird, innit? Value: mid-low.

The Ecology of Blarney

Category: media criticism. Links to evisceration of carnival huckster/lion of leftism Mike Davis. Fun detail: novelistic touches from Davis piece are just that completely fictional! Confronted about these falsifications, Davis shows no remorse. Value: high!

Would You Buy a Three-Beer SUV from This Company?

Category: Auto industry. Links to discussion of worker drinking habits during the day. Fun detail: there's a $24 dollar for 24 beers and fried pork rinds deal outside the plant. Value: medium/high.

Mickey's Assignment Desk, Hardcover Division

Category: media criticism. Offers counter-intuitive praise of Maureen Dowd, and backs it up by linking to a column. And hey, it's actually good! Value: medium.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:11 PM
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We got off the track of romance-related stories of humiliation. This is my own fault, no doubt, but I find I'm still waiting to hear some more of them. I wish someone would entertain me.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:24 PM
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Once I went to a party with a girl.

Later she told me she didn't fancy me.

The end.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:28 PM
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You know, of those examples, the first is a meaningless coincidence (guy writes to two papers, both pick his letter to publish), the second is nitpicking factual embellishments on some local-news human interest story, and the third implicitly blames quality-control in the auto industry on drunk workers based on the existence of a bar that serves drinks at lunch -- something apparently not found outside any other workplace in the country. All of those are categorically worthless to me. On the rare occasion when Kaus says something on a topic that's of interest, he's generally wrong, and so wrong that he looks either willfully self-deceiving or dishonest.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:30 PM
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Oh, everything is a bad essay writing contest to you, bw.


Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:35 PM
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There's an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine asks a crazed loner type (wears fatigues all the time, discusses violent death for no observable reason) why he's, you know, a crazed loner. His response is remarkably similar to 222.

Just saying.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:40 PM
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Man, you try to help, and what happens?

I could fill it out with all sorts of background and incident, I suppose, but really, who would be that interested in my life? I'm just not that well stocked with stories of romantic humiliation anyway.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:40 PM
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Nit picking?! The deails that made the story interesting were *made up* -- and 100-times more *made up* than David Brooks on his worst day! If that's worthless as media criticism then media criticism must by definition be worthless.

The second story may be unfair. Sources with impeccable highly pro-working man bona fides, however, have made similar observations about alochol and auto company labor. Is Kaus making a crazy connection here: not obviously. Is he really suggesting that every problem with the big three can be traced to drunk workers: probably not.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:42 PM
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On the first one, what bored me about it was the local-news human interest bit. Whoever the intended audience was for that bit of media criticism, it seems to be someone who lives wherever in CA the flood was -- why anyone else would care, I can't imagine. On the second, the story comes down to "Some auto workers drink at lunch!" I'm sure they do -- so do some lawyers, and some journalists. In the absence of any larger context, why this is either news or I should give a damn is a mystery to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:47 PM
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If you don't care about media criticism, fine, but when the major paper in the nation's second largest city runs stories by an author known to have invented details in other stories, that seems like a big deal. (When the paper is trying to establish itself as a serious alternative to the NY Times, it's an even bigger deal.)

The auto worker story isn't even primarily about drinking; it's about the ineffectual response to it, and about the systemic reasons for the ineffectiveness, and the implications for US automakers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 1:56 PM
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Oh, and the Dowd observation is vintage Kaus: sharp, right, and something no one else is going to say. (I should note that I'm not mystified that people don't like him: he can be maddeningly focused on irrelevant crap when it comes to politics. Though whether he's more focused on irrelevant crap than the average voter is a good question.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:02 PM
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Erm -- generally, in our society, people are permitted to do whatever the hell they want when they aren't at work, so long as it's legal. What would you suggest a response to the situation should be -- daily breath tests on returns from break, set to a standard significantly higher than the drunk-driving standard? (That is, most big guys would still be legal to drive immediately after two beers -- I might barely not be, but I would be within an hour. And the drunk-driving standard is pretty tight.)

That's why the story is bullshit -- in the absence of any evidence that drinking heavy enough to affect the quality of workmanship after breaks by auto workers is pervasive, there's no evidence that there is any problem that requires a response. Just some snot-nosed prick saying "God, look at those sweaty people drinking. Can't anyone do anything about this?"

(On the other thing -- the LA Times is making an effort to be a national paper, but the story isn't a national story. Bitch about it locally -- I agree that if Kaus is accurate, which I wouldn't necessarily assume, it sounds sloppy -- but as a non LA local I'm really not interested.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:09 PM
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And I followed up to the WSJ story (I don't think I can link, it's for pay.) The plant has a policy for dealing with anyone who appears intoxicated. They suspend them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:13 PM
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My problem with Kaus is as follows:

1. He writes terribly. There was a brief period of time when he was a headliner at Slate and I felt obliged to read him. Having trawl through his bilge and diagram the sentences to make sense of him is too much. And I say this as the author of , "Fuck to oboe."

2. He comes with a context. He's not an unknown, and he styles himself a liberal or a New Democrat. Slagging your mates when they're in power (Clinton Admin) is brave. Slagging your mates privately is useful. Slagging your mates in public when they're out of power, to the complete exclusion of any comment on the actual people in power, is bad form. This is a large measure of the problem I have with The Southern Republic, and even Instapundit and the Galt. Just label yourself an unreconstructed conservative and this one goes away.

baa -

I'll direction-bet a $100 to charity against the Cs. It was Stein at ESPN on the Celtics, and I admit he sucks. WTF has happened at ESPN? They chose Steven A. Smith (may make me hate the NBA) over Aldridge. There is no one over there who consistently writes well about the NBA.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:15 PM
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Damn it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:16 PM
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Just label yourself an unreconstructed conservative and this one goes away.

Did you notice -- one of his top items is a claim that the Clintons' had critics audited, and not too far down is a crack about their marriage. The man doesn't let go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:17 PM
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Ignore that extraneous apostrophe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:18 PM
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(When the paper is trying to establish itself as a serious alternative to the NY Times, it's an even bigger deal.)

If they didn't have such hideous, eye-enraging colors on their website, I'd already consider them such. How hard is it to beat the NYT these days?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:20 PM
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LB, the fact that there was nothing to be done (apparently), was the point, as I understood Kaus's post. I read him as an editor criticising and assigning stories, not as a reporter investigating them. And he's pretty clear about the fact that he's just thinking out loud and will correct egregious errors (I've emailed him about a couple, and he's posted updates).

And the fact that you're not interested in LA stories can't really be part of the reason you want to punch him in the face...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:22 PM
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I can't believe that this thread has degenerated so far.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:22 PM
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I was thinking same. A comment thread focusing on Mickey Kaus, with the heading "hotness" is Wrong.


Posted by: textualist | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:24 PM
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actually I have no idea of how the man looks. Maybe it is an apt title.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:26 PM
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Having seen him on TV a few times, I can tell you that this is a flattering picture.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:28 PM
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Nothing to be done (problem, no obvious solution) and nothing need be done (no story at all) are two entirely different situations. He took what looks like a pretty clear case of the second (note that he's working from a WSJ story about health -- drunkenness on the job isn't identified as a problem in the story he's talking about, so he's got no systematic information on it, just his knee-jerk response to blue-collar workers having the temerity to have a beer at lunch) and invented a problem to be concerned about. It's pointless and nasty.

(and no, I don't want to punch him in the face for the LA story, it just doesn't add anything to make up for all the many negatives. Same with the Dowd link -- I could see how a link saying 'I think Dowd is funny when she writes about her mother' might be useful if you thought highly of his taste. While I don't, so it's useless to me, it's not offensive -- I'm just not going to count it as a positive to weigh against his many negatives.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:32 PM
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not as bad as I had thought, but neither the epitome of masculine beauty. Perhaps start another thread if more needs be said on Kaus.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:32 PM
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whether he's more focused on irrelevant crap than the average voter

I don't want to read the daily ponderings of the average voter either. I've worked retail, that was plenty.

I don't want to punch him in the face, I just don't want to read him and I absolutely second both points in comment 223. I start from the assumption that anything he says is either 180 degrees assbackwards or irrelevant until he proves otherwise. Sometimes he does.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:45 PM
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If you think that union=inefficient, unaccountable workers, then the story is a pretty good illustration. I guess more depends than I initially suspected on the amount of alcohol consumed. I think anybody would feel three beers in thirty minutes. Like I say, I read Kaus as an assignment editor, so I'm not looking for him to nail something down. I am interested in finding out the answer to the question he asks: do the non-union Japanese plants do things differently?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:52 PM
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Shouldn't the initial assignment be: is there a problem with after-lunch quality control? Giving grownups a hard time about having a beer with lunch in the absence of any indication that this is leading to problems (and I feel like the poster girl for enabling alcoholism, but haven't you ever had a beer when you were doing hard physical work? You work through the effects pretty fast.) is pretty damn obnoxious. You can do the story on whether the non-union Japanese plants get to lock the workers to their machines and give them miso for lunch after you've done the story on whether there's a problem to be solved.

Further, going straight to blaming the union for a problem that you have just invented off the top of your head? Also pretty obnoxious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 2:58 PM
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But is he Hott?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:00 PM
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The Suburban has an "average" (read: OK, not terrific) reliability rating in Consumers Reports.

There's some problem with quality control (would you buy a car with an "average" reliability rating?) And it's not just one beer with lunch, it's two or three. Three beers with lunch?! Are you looking for him to do a study first? It's reasonable if you say yes (or expect him to have more evidence), but that's not what he does. If that's what bothers you about him, ok, I can see that. But I don't think he's being obnoxious.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:07 PM
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No, I'm looking for some connection between the drinking and the quality control. The "two or three" line is a not-more than, from a bartender -- that is, it's limited to those workers who go to the bar for lunch, which isn't everyone, and not all of those are going to have three beers. If we had management complaining that workers are doing a bad job after lunch, but they can't crack down on drunkenness at work, then Kaus's assignment would make sense.

Kaus is leaping to suggest that we need to investigate ways to restrict workers' autonomy in the absence of any suggestion that their current behavior is problematic. He hasn't suggested an interesting or informative story. If someone writes a story showing that Japanese workers are chained to their machines and fed tofu balls for lunch, and Japanese quality is higher, this still doesn't tell us anything about managing american plants, unless we've done the prior story, that he takes as a given and doesn't even address: do the lunchtime drinking habits of UAW autoworkers have any discernable effect on quality?

Skipping that intermediate step is what makes him, in this instance, useless and nasty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:21 PM
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I'm not sure he's skipped it.

Two or three beers in half an hour? That does not seem conducive to precision assembly. "You can't control what people do on their lunch hour," GM spokesman Jerry Dubrowski tells the WSJ. But do Toyota, Honda, and Nissan let the workers at their American assembly plants pound half a six-pack during breaks? Of course, their plants are almost all non-union. Is breaktime boozing a UAW-protected practice?

I'll grant that it's not exactly a point of emphasis (I don't need much convincing that drinking three beers with lunch is bad for manufacturing, nor do I need much convicing that only a few drunk guys on an assembly like can ruin a car--but yes, it would be nice to know for sure), but he's not really saying "Drinking! Do something about it!" It's a series of questions that are pretty reasonable.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:29 PM
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Oh, and you're not going to start reading Kaus, I'm not going to stop, I almost never link to him, etc., so anytime you want to drop this, I won't be offended.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:31 PM
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Heh -- I was just going to say pretty much exactly the same thing.

Dropped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:48 PM
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I'm pretty sure Kaus isn't an Iranian name....


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:49 PM
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So we all finally agree that Mickey Kaus is the greatest blogger of all time. Woohoo!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:50 PM
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Curses, outwitted again! Damn those wily Persians.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:50 PM
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This not-so-wily Persian is trying to make sense of Tim's comment.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:52 PM
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He was intimating that maybe you weren't all that pseudonymous, Mickey.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:53 PM
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Ah, or defending a relative or something...I see. Mickey Kaus. No, probably not related.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:57 PM
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Glenn Reynolds, on the other hand...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 3:58 PM
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Is this to intimate that you find Insty distasteful, to indicate that you are, in fact, Insty, or to stir up a controversy about why he's still on your blogroll?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 4:11 PM
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That I might be related to Insty. Sorry, forgot the AMSF tag.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 4:13 PM
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You know, I was going to have a more substantive comment on this point, but I see you've mostly dropped it. Nevertheless: 251 reads a lot like plain ol' FUD mongering.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 4:17 PM
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FUD mongering has its place. Go pick on Unf.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 4:20 PM
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FUD-mongering is bad! That's also why I think your saying that he corrects his more egregious errors is lame: the corrections never have or undo the impact of the original errors. He should be thorough enough not to make errors.

I think the view of him as being an assignment editor might be sound, but it's bad that that's what he is, if he is that, precisely because it leads to FUD, especially if either the assignments aren't taken up, or the initial conceptualization of the assignment is lazy or tendentious.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 4:28 PM
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I just don't read him that way: he's a smart guy, thinking out loud in the way a smart assignment editor (and newspaper reader) would think out loud. I click Kausfiles to read him do that. I don't take him to be making assertions.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 4:34 PM
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I stopped reading Kaus because (though I find his links generally interesting) his style drives me crazy.

I doubt anyone here really cares about this, but the Mike Davis criticism is more than an LA local story (but still less than a national story). Davis became a huge deal regionally (i.e. in the West) among intellectuals/academics after publishing City of Quartz. And the LA Times is the regions major paper.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 6:43 PM
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region's


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-21-05 6:44 PM
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