Re: Talk

1

Issues matter more to Iranian women, because what's really being discussed when people talk about abstractions like "what's the appropriate role of religion in politics?" is often "how should we make the women act?"

Goddamn, ogged, that is exactly right. No wonder they made you a blogger.

I think that's exactly what happened in that lefty flap a while back (although for all I know, it's still going on) where some blogger dudes were saying that sometimes the Democratic party should budge a little bit on abortion for the good of the whole party (or, not support some pro-choice senator or congressperson in CT or some shit; I can't remember what it was).

At the same time, I feel like this is not entirely unrelated to the reluctance of American men to engage with women. Last week, I was having a great discussion with two friends about the sexism of the slut phenomenon in high school, and how they were being complicit in it, and it was all academic and fun until they found that I'd been called a slut in junior high and was deeply affected by it (and clearly upset). Then they didn't want to talk about it anymore. The fact that it "matters to women" as you say, makes it somehow off-limits for discussion that's not between intimates.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:00 AM
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s/b "not support some republican pro-choice senator or congressperson"


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:01 AM
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and clearly upset

A lot of people, myself included, try to observe a(n) (imaginary) separation between the rational and the emotional. If someone is getting emotional in an argument, my thought is usually to look for someone else in our conversation to talk to until they calm down. If no one else is in our conversation, it's to take the steps that I imagine will help them calm down. I would probably have done one of those (or make an off-topic joke) in the conversation you describe. How, ideally, do you want someone to respond to you in a situation like that?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:06 AM
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There is a fine line between allowing your personal experience to flavor your opinions and using personal anecdotes as data points in a discussion. It is difficult to get past the "where you stand depends upon where you sit". Which is also why it is important to get input from opinions outside your comfort zone. Empathy is the key here.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:08 AM
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Empathy is the key here.

Uh oh.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:12 AM
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or, not support some pro-choice senator or congressperson in CT or some shit

That's interest group politics, and I don't see why anyone would be surprised that Democrats who have less of a stick in the abortion fight (men, usually, but not solely) want Democrats to win. That's not worrying about rights vs. not worrying about rights; that's prioritizing the rights you want to protect.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:14 AM
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There's a difference between disagreements on the importance of the abortion plank to the Democratic platform and bewilderment and condescension exhibited by some of the blogging strategists. Bewildered that many women were very vehemently against caving on abortion and condescending to the extent that the discussion seemed to be framed as those shrill women who can't comprehend political strategy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:22 AM
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Aw, Ogged, I love you!

An English friend of mine who has spent a lot of time in Algeria (and is a feminist who loves to argue) has always represented the "argumentative women in sexist societies" thing as being in part a manifestation of the maternal role. Sexist or no, she says, one role that women *do* have (that isn't valued much in the west) is the matriarch role. I don't know if you think she's getting it wrong, or if you'd agree but with the caveat that a lot of matriarchal behaviors are the end result of sexism, but I thought I'd throw that in there and see what you have to say about it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:22 AM
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From a political point of view, I'd sooner elect an anti-choice Democrat than a pro-choice Republican, precisely because I'm confident the anti-choice Democrat will vote with the D's when it counts, and be marginalized for his minority viewpoint in the party. Likewise, a pro-choice Republican will talk a good game, but will either contribute to the program of the anti-choice Republican majority, or (at best) be ineffective at pushing a pro-choice agenda.

This is, emphatically, not arguing that "the Democratic party should budge a little bit on abortion for the good of the whole party."

This is, of course, not the point of the post (or of M. Leblanc's comment).


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:25 AM
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There is a fine line between allowing your personal experience to flavor your opinions and using personal anecdotes as data points in a discussion.

What's wrong with having one's opinions affected by one's personal experience? Isn't the entire point of politics human behavior and experiences? I'm always really suspicious of arguments that there's some "objective" view that's better than the views of people who let their personal experiences affect their opinions. There's a lot to be said for learning about *other* people's personal experiences and realizing yours isn't universal; there's not a lot to be said for pretending that one has some objectively right point of view that doesn't have anything to do with the personal.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:26 AM
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Yes to 10.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:28 AM
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And how else can one bring one's personal experience to bear, except through anecdote?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:29 AM
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I agree with 10-12, with the proviso that people (unless you know your co-debatants well enough that they know you know this) should flag anecdote as anecdote.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:33 AM
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I agree with 10, and that's what I was going to say to w/d's comment.

Also, this:
I'm confident the anti-choice Democrat will vote with the D's when it counts

I hate to put too fine a point on it, but the logical implication of your statement is "abortion does not count." That's what offensive to pro-choice women.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:35 AM
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10. I thought that is what I said. If we are in a discussion about some policy, and I say "Well, that never happened to me", my personal experience is irrelevant. However, I can certainly favor a policy because in my experience it will do "good", or whatever.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:36 AM
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Also, I reject the notion that someone getting "emotional" somehow destroys the rationality of the argument. Sometimes, when I talk about the Iraq war, I get pretty damn emotional. But that emotion is rational. The emotional/rational distinction is NOT the same as the anecdote/fact distinction.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:37 AM
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Wait, I disagree that 10 addresses my question. 16 comes closer to it, except that I'm not claiming getting emotional destroys the rationality of your argument (hence my use of "imaginary"), I'm claiming it makes it harder for certain people to properly respond, and asking what a proper response wold look like.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:41 AM
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How, ideally, do you want someone to respond to you in a situation like that?

I want them to treat me like an adult, not a child whose emotions need to be coddled, and say "wow, dude, that really sucks", then continue talking about the larger issue.

Anyway, we might be talking about different things, because you read into my "clearly upset" that there was a need for me to "calm down," which wasn't the case, although I am sure it is in some discussions. It was more like "you guys don't realize how it can hurt someone, I'm telling you now, it happened to me and it hurt."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:41 AM
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Cross-posted, but again, I'm talking about this as my failing, in that I want people to calm down and have trouble responding in situations where they aren't calm, not saying there actually is some reason that they have to be calm.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:42 AM
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I say "Well, that never happened to me", my personal experience is irrelevant. However, I can certainly favor a policy because in my experience it will do "good"

I'm not following; is this something where you *do*, or *don't* have experience? And is it really irrelevant if X has never happened to you, or is that actually very relevant? Like, if I say, "I've never been poor, but I don't see why people can't just budget better--in my experience that really helps," wouldn't you say that my never having been poor is extremely relevant, in suggesting that I don't realize the difference between "budgeting" and "not actually having enough money to budget."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:43 AM
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What's wrong with having one's opinions affected by one's personal experience?

I don't think anyone has said there is anything wrong with this. In fact, I'd say it's expected. The problem comes from the use of personal anecdotes as broad truths or evidence for a given side of the argument.

Arguing from personal experience in a particular matter may indeed be very moving, but it's hardly fact. It's memory tangled with emotions. Arguing irrationally-emotionally doesn't make an argument convincing. Quite the opposite.

Of course, this is all just me arguing from my personal experience of emotional arguments and not based on fact.

On preview: so thouroughly pwned.


Posted by: I Can't Put Esquire After My Name | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:44 AM
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Well, fair enough. I would say that's really the crux of what I said in comment 1, the notion that people need to be calm in arguments, or at least if they're riled up, it's rhetorical or academic rather than personal. I think that's problematic, especially when it's often the women who fall into the latter category, and arguments with them are deflated or abandoned as soon as it gets personal.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:44 AM
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the matriarch role

Oh yeah, totally, I don't disagree. I was attributing just the particular styles to sexism, but insofar as women don't feel like they first have to establish the right to be heard, the matriarchy is a good explanation. Of course, any time you have strict roles, you're going to have sexism, but that doesn't mean that broadly sexist arrangements can't have real benefits that are missing from less sexist ones.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:45 AM
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16. This is especially true when a "fact" presented to you in an argument goes against your direct experience. I get very emotional (read punch you in the face angry) when someone says no farm was ever lost to the inheritance tax, cuz I did. Personal anecdote aside, policy will affect people differently, so there will be many "truths".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:45 AM
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19: My answer is that the only thing one can do is say, "I'm sorry, this is making me feel kind of weird and uncomfortable, can we return to it later?" Which is frustrating, but at least it articulates that the problem is one's own discomfort, rather than the other person's shrillness.

(On second thought, I think in America we use the word "uncongenial.")


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:46 AM
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My worry with the use of personal anecdote in argument is that it can, and is, used as a bludgeon: well, *I* have first-person experience and you are just wrong! Any disagreement becomes an ad-hom.


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:46 AM
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I hate to put too fine a point on it, but the logical implication of your statement is "abortion does not count."

That's pretty clearly not the intent or understanding of most people making the argument summarized in #9. Rather, those people are saying that Democratic control of the Senate is the best guarantor of abortion rights, even if some small percentage of those senators are anti-abortion. People can and do make the same sort of argument about minority rights.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:46 AM
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I agree with every part of 22. Does that mean the way I (or one) should ideally respond is to respond as I would to the same argument stated in a less-riled up manner?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:47 AM
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Look, I just get pissed off when people imply that because I have a personal stake in something, that my objectivity is shattered, and the argument loses some of its quality, or rationality, or whatever. Yes, personal experience affects objectivity. However, I hold plenty of opinions that run contrary to my own interests. If there is a draft, I want women to be drafted. I want this city to institute a smoking ban even though I'm a smoker. And so on.

To maintain that strong emotions on a particular topic completely inhibit one's ability to analyze that topic rationally is one of the biggest sexist tropes used against women, who are socio-culturally synonymous with "emotional."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:49 AM
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Arguing from personal experience in a particular matter may indeed be very moving, but it's hardly fact.

Of course it's fact. What else could it be? Generalizing from it is another thing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:49 AM
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I hate to put too fine a point on it, but the logical implication of your statement is "abortion does not count." That's what offensive to pro-choice women.

I thought the line of thinking here was actually: "This person might talk pro-lifeishly, but is unlikely to vote that way in circumstances when his or her vote would make a difference."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:49 AM
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I think in America we use the word "uncongenial."

My superpowers allow me to recognize the bogosity of some shrill/uncongenial distinctions, while still sometimes finding other people genuinely uncongenial. (I had "congenial" for "respectable" originally, but didn't want to get sidetracked, so I changed it.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:50 AM
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28: Yeah, I think that's right.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:51 AM
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This discussion is great, although a semi-hijack of ogged's post (sorry, o), but I have to go now. Be back later.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:52 AM
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Of course it's fact. What else could it be? Generalizing from it is another thing.
Thanks for re-stating that. Your wording is much more what I was aiming for.


Posted by: I Can't Put Esquire After My Name | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:55 AM
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"To maintain that strong emotions on a particular topic completely inhibit one's ability to analyze that topic rationally is one of the biggest sexist tropes used against women, who are socio-culturally synonymous with "emotional.""
I'm not sure I agree with this. The trope is that woman, unlike men, are unable to keep their interests and rationality adequately *seperated*, not that one should not have emotions invested in the issue at all. They are related, but distinct.


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:56 AM
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Building on what Tim said, an anti-abortion Dem who votes for a Democratic Speaker will make it much less likely for an anti-abortion bill to come up for a vote, even if he would vote for it if it did.

Likewise, not only did pro-choice Senators for anti-abortion majority leaders, but all of them except Chafee also failed the pro-choice cause during a key procedural vote. Often enough the key vote on something is procedural, and the vote on the bill itself will be a meaningless way for people toi cover themselves.

My own beef on this is that the right-to-lifers were not the first Democratic constitutency to be (possibly) betrayed, but almost the last, and the pro-choice groups were unperturbed during the earlier betrayals (for example, of doves and of labor Democrats).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:57 AM
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14: What 27 and 31 said are what I meant: "when it counts" meant "when that person's vote would affect the outcome."

I apologize for being unclear and for causing offense.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:57 AM
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24: TLL -- Tell the story? I'd have been one of those people saying "No one's ever found a family farm lost due to the inheritance tax". What was it worth? How much did you have to pay? Why wasn't it possible to pay? Generally, what happened?

This is nosy, of course, but considering I'm at risk of getting punched in the face if I ever run into you in person if I don't know roughly what happened to you, I'm interested in the answers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:59 AM
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Here's an anecdote to definitively prove something-or-other! I've noticed that anywhere I've gone in the Caucasus or Central Asia, young women tend to be far more engaged, productive, and active than young men. This was all summed up nicely by a secondary-school director in Tajikistan. A US Embassy official was visiting a classroom to observe some US-sponsored civic education curriculum, and asked why all the girls were raising their hands and debating and discussing, and the boys were silent and not participating.

The director responded, "In our country, the women do the thinking and the men make the decisions."


Posted by: susan | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:59 AM
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I apologize for being unclear and for causing offense.

When you do stuff like this, it just makes life harder for the rest of us, mrh.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:02 AM
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Apologizing graciously, I mean.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:03 AM
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The trope is that woman, unlike men, are unable to keep their interests and rationality adequately *seperated*,

Who actually makes that argument anymore? I thought the standard understanding was that anyone with a personal stake in a matter is to be less trusted on that issue, and then men have less of a personal stake in issues, broadly, than women (because the system was set up initially to take account of their interests). Do people expect women as a class to get emotional about tax policy, for example?

(NB: Of course, if you actually have interests involved, you argue that it makes the issues clearer to you, in some sort of Hayekian sense.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:04 AM
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1: I now better understand what you meant by "men not engage your argument". Could you help me what by explaining what "engaging your argument" about being called a slut would have entailed in that particular instance?

How might those two men have responded in a way you would consider fair, with both supportive and adversarial examples. Thank you for listening.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:07 AM
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Though I agree with m., I wonder if I'd extend the same consideration to a man. If TLL got punch-me-in-the-face mad during an argument about the estate tax, I'd likely see his anger as an unfair coercion. Then again, I'm repressed, and I don't like anger.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:09 AM
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To clarify: I'd probably see it that way if TLL seemed genuinely threatening, which he may or may not be.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:10 AM
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44: I'm repeating myself here, and I'm only jumping in because M. said she was away for a bit, but my understanding is that in the conversation she describes in 1., the men she was talking to sought to discontinue it when they realized she had relevant personal experience. My further understanding is that she would have wished them to continue the conversation roughly on the terms described by w/d in 28:

Does that mean the way I (or one) should ideally respond is to respond as I would to the same argument stated in a less-riled up manner?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:11 AM
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as unfair coercion

Or indeed as battery.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:11 AM
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Well, I don't think anyone serious makes the argument, but the trope has a lot of play. Take, for example, people who rationalize not voting for a female president on the basis of "Well, what happens if she PMS's with her finger on the nuclear button! OH NOES!" Obviously ridiculous, but it has a surprising amount of rhetorical power amoung the stupid.

You're right that this trope tracks a different distinction, mostly an argument within liberalism, between those who want engaged people locking horns(Federalist #10 style) and those who want a managerial state run by informed wonks.


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:11 AM
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46: Well, he's already copped to attending Claremont, so bet "not."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:12 AM
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I thought the standard understanding was that anyone with a personal stake in a matter is to be less trusted on that issue, and then men have less of a personal stake in issues, broadly, than women (because the system was set up initially to take account of their interests).

Doesn't that give men precisely the same personal stake in preserving that system as women have in changing it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:12 AM
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Doesn't that give men precisely the same personal stake in preserving that system as women have in changing it?

(1) I'm not saying it's a good argument, just that it's not gendered in the same way in which the quoted material described it, and (2) I think people depend on inertia a lot, so the risk of change seems smaller.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:14 AM
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Or to give another example, if three eople are discussing the merits of sending more troops to Afghanistan, because of the resurgence of the Taliban and the increase in car-bombings and terroristic tactics and the renewal of al-Qaeda in West Pakistan. Some points brought up would how many and waht kind of troops, how much non-military aid should be allocated, whether a major effort to build the Afghani Army should be a priority, and so on the conversation is going and person C says:"I lost a son in Afghanistan."

I am not sure how the conversation continues in the same tone, that would be dismissive; but I am not sure that a complete change in tone would be productive. It is a powerful argumentative technique. Grabs complete control.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:15 AM
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48: Fair enough, but I guess I was thinking about the anger before things actually progressed to fisticuffs.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:16 AM
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Which is what they call fighting at Claremont, I believe.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:17 AM
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When you do stuff like this, it just makes life harder for the rest of us, mrh.

But the chicks dig it, Ogged; the chicks dig it.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:18 AM
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>At the same time, I feel like this is not entirely unrelated to the reluctance of American men to engage with women. Last week, I was having a great discussion with two friends about the sexism of the slut phenomenon in high school, and how they were being complicit in it, and it was all academic and fun until they found that I'd been called a slut in junior high and was deeply affected by it (and clearly upset). Then they didn't want to talk about it anymore. The fact that it "matters to women" as you say, makes it somehow off-limits for discussion that's not between intimates.

I could see myself doing something like this. I have a lot of relatively weak opinions where I wouldn't try to convince people who strongly believed the opposite but I would be happy to bullshit with others who don't care as much. I can't be sure I apply this in a completely non-sexist manner.

OT- firefox 2.0 has spellcheck! No more spelling errors four me.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:20 AM
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it's pretty well talked-over that the right stole the term "values", so that e.g. being anti-abortion means having "values", whereas being anti-poverty is taken to not be a "value".

Similar thing goes on with "emotional". Somehow, when right-wingers shout themselves hoarse and red in the face, no one says "look, you're being emotional; if you can't talk abou this then go away."

Or when right-wingers get themselves balled up with fear: "there are terrorists out there who have *sworn* to kill all of us because they hate our freedom" and so on. Answer: "snap out of it; you're being emotional.

So fear and rage aren't counted as 'emotions'. It's b.s., obviously.

Is there anything more to the double-standard (counting some emotions as "emotional", some as not) beyond sexism?

I'm open to competing theories. But if I don't believe them I'll just tell you you're being emotional about it.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:21 AM
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Agreed that we use our experiences as the basis on which we form our opinions but also think it can be hard to argue with someone who says, "you can't claim X because I have personal experience that contradicts X." because, of course, the plural of anecdote is not data. Of course most of the arguments that I get involved in do not have large amounts of data (I would like to have data, but frequently get into arguements where I find myself asking, "wow, I wish I knew how common Y really is.") and are instead arguments about narrative.

I think the challenge of using personal anacdotes in arguments is that it adds an additional layer of "what are we taking as fixed for the purposes of this argument?" Every argument can bog down is, the question of whether on takes the rest of society as fixed or also on the table for discussion.

The problem with offering personal anectdotes is that they they can end up smuggling the rest of one's personal history into the discussion. Unless you're willing to have a bunch of people asking, "why did you react that way, do you really think that's typical, how would it be different if . . .?" it makes it harder to argue with personal anecdote.

Though, I think there should be a bias in favor of anecdotes arguing that something is a problem and against anecdotes arguing that something is not a problem.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:21 AM
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I say, with LB in 39, that I'm also interested in hearing the story behind 24.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:23 AM
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"I'll just tell you you're being emotional about it."

Hey arguments from emotion and victimhoiod can be compelling and powerful. We all remember the Cheneys being hurt by Kerry mentioning the daughter. Bush uses them every day. All politicianss use arguments from emotion.

I guess the question is how, or apparently even if, they can be countered without being dismissive and "cruel." When Cheney said he was really hurt and offended, I guess we say we're sorry?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:29 AM
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Why do you care about not being considered "dismissive and cruel," unless it's someone you're inclined to sympathize with in the first place, bob?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:35 AM
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"All politicians use arguments from emotion."

granted, bob. Which should produce the outcome that when women use arguments from emotion, people say "wow, she's got a bright future in politics! She really knows how to argue like a politician!"

Whereas. Instead what women here is crickets, or "oh that's too bad" or "let's talk about something else if this is too difficult for you."

Your point just leads reinforces the question: why is it that some arguments that involve* emotion are considered ordinary political discourse, and some get you shunned? Which emotions? In whose voice?

*(I wouldn't say "arguments *from* emotion exactly, since we're not talking about using it as a premise)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:36 AM
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62: Perhaps in that case the problem is with appearing dismissive and cruel.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:39 AM
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62: Yeah, Comrade bob, are you going soft on us? If Cheney's hurt and offended, you keep doing whatever it was you were doing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:42 AM
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"If Cheney's hurt and offended, you keep doing whatever it was you were doing."

Hmmmm??


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:45 AM
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"granted, bob. Which should produce the outcome that when women use arguments from emotion, people say "wow, she's got a bright future in politics! She really knows how to argue like a politician!"

Whereas. Instead what women here is crickets, or "oh that's too bad" or "let's talk about something else if this is too difficult for you.""

I don't think this one is too complicated. With a woman, she is a fragile porceline doll who you shouldn't press too hard lest she break down in tears. With a man, if you attack his emotional touch stones(especially the family), he will see red and deliver an oldfashioned texas style whuppin.

It's amazing how much that last sentence explains about US foreign policy.


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:46 AM
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I can't believe this documentary Slut only has one review. I think I have watched it on the indies 3-4 times. Not only about how irrevocably damaging the word can be for women, but also about the attempted recuperation of the word, and a generational controversy over that recuperation. Excellent. Recommended.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:54 AM
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so, Glenn, you're not really offering up the competing theories to straight-out sexism, then?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:57 AM
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66: Because the Cheney family's crocodile tears over being politely called out on their hypocrisy represented one of the more disgusting episodes of that campaign, and because Cheney is essentially a thug, I think his opponents need show him no courtesy. Is that what you were wondering?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 11:58 AM
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62:Well, I am in a public forum here, for instance, and a certain amount of weight will be given my arguments in part based on the way my character and personality are perceived. I care about appearing "dismissive and cruel" at least on those grounds.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:00 PM
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bob, bob--
*now* all of a sudden you want to sound like the voice of moderation?

maybe those calls for the violent overthrow of the government didn't do enough to burnish your soft & fuzzy image?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:07 PM
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Personal anecdotes seem to weigh disportionately heavy on a discussion when most or all of the other partcipants have strong opinions, but little direct experience with the topic as a practical matter. Since we generally value direct experience with a topic, if one person claims to have it, we often feel as though we have to defer. It's not as though everyone is meticulously crafting arguments from first principles when someone says, 'Um, actually, I grew up on welfare/lost the family farm/had an abortion/experienced a racist cop'; it's usually one person's speculative generalizations against another person's experience.

Beyond that, though, I'm not sure what to say about the role of anecdote in argument. Okay as a counterexamples to rought generalizations but not as generalizations themselves? I'm not sure it ties in neatly with emotion, except that if you offer a stupid generalization ('Women get abortions because babies don't match their handbags.') you're more likely to piss someone off. ('Fuck you, tool, my sister had to get an emergency procedure.')


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:17 PM
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72:I would have said I was engaging, but some might disagree. :)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:21 PM
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73:"Since we generally value direct experience with a topic, if one person claims to have it, we often feel as though we have to defer."

Ahh... to connect, provisionally, for discussion

"Iranian men and women seem to have very different argumentative styles, specifically, in that Iranian women will often press a point until you explicitly submit," ...Ogged

"all academic and fun until they found that I'd been called a slut in junior high and was deeply affected by it (and clearly upset). Then they didn't want to talk about it anymore." ...leblanc


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:24 PM
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73--

'procedure' s/b 'handbag'


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:29 PM
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67: There's a new biography out about Cheney (forget the title; the co-author was on Fresh Air the other day) which argues that Cheney sets the tone for a lot of US foreign policy and that he believes that if you're in a position of power, you should exploit that power aggressively rather than negotiate.

Of course, if Cheney were a woman, instead of calling him "aggressive" (or that Bushian favorite, "decisive"), people would describe him as "perpetually on the rag."


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:30 PM
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"it's usually one person's speculative generalizations against another person's experience."

I actually grant lesser value to personal experience and anecdote in argument, and grant much greater value to acquired or accumulated knowledge, data, studies, etc. Bush finding one shopkeeper having a good year can be effective on television, but is not evidence as to the health of the economy.

Anna in Portland knows stuff about Egypt, but is nowhere near authoritive for my judgements on Egypt. A few Cairo newspapers, a bunch of books are much more valuable.

I even seriously devalue my personal experiences, and try not to depend on them for judgements. We have science and books and libraries and Wikis so we can share experiences and knowledge precisely so we are not dependent on our limited range of experiences.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:39 PM
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I'd really like to read an answer to 39.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:40 PM
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However small group conversations and arguments have a completely different dynamic than peer-reviewd papers, and the immediacy and close contact can make anecdote and experience overwhelming. I would say that in comment #1, leblanc, by revealing her history toward the end, won the argument, and the men moved on.

Excellent technique.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:43 PM
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I suspect that either TLL hasn't read the various requests for more information, or he (reasonably) doesn't feel like providing it. I'm not sure that increasing numbers of people inquiring doesn't come off as hounding. (Not meant as a criticism of any person.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:46 PM
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Was there a follow-up request other than 79? I skimmed the thread so may have missed. If so, sorry - not trying to nag. I agree with 81, and was just expressing my curiosity.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:48 PM
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Do we get kittens and dolphins on random rotation now? Awesome. As long as you've got a rotation set up, can I request a monkey? I really like monkeys.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:50 PM
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SCMTim is making sure that TLL doesn't punch him in the face.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:51 PM
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I actually grant lesser value to personal experience and anecdote in argument, and grant much greater value to acquired or accumulated knowledge, data, studies, etc.

Well, sure, but that wasn't the situation I proposed. Surely what you say is the case if we're all sitting here carefully dissecting scientific studies and someone demands that their anecdote should be heard, but most of the time the discussion isn't nearly that high level. Usually it's a bunch of relatively unfounded thought experiments ('handbags!') versus experience ('nuh-uh.')

Case in point: NYT writer tells of now Ahmedmeeniemexican isn't trustworthy because of the social value of 'lying' in Iranian culture. Ogged counters by saying, hey, I'm teh Persian, let me tell you how this works. Most of us didn't demand from either side a scientific study, and I was inclined to trust ogged over the NYT.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:55 PM
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can I share an anecdote about the social value of 'lying' in the NYT culture?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 12:58 PM
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I really like monkeys.

Sicko.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:00 PM
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80: From what little I can tell from 1, it sounds like the argument wasn't "won" at all -- just that the men felt uncomfortable continuing and decided to give up. That actually seems like a pretty shitty outcome for someone seeking respect and genuine engagement.

Glenn has it right in 26; the fear is that once the anecdote has been invoked, any further contention will be construed as a personal attack. Since this actually does happen in practice fairly frequently (from both men and women, though women are more stereotypically identified with it than men) it's not a particularly irrational concern.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:00 PM
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88: I'd say that making your opponent feel uncomfortable and decide to give up is about as close to a win as anyone generally gets in a political argument.

Respect and genuine engagement is more than one can reasonably hope for.

(God I feel like such a cynic writing that.)


Posted by: Zadfrack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:10 PM
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89: Yeah, it depends, I guess. If you're a Democrat arguing with a Republican about pretty much anything in the current climate, pessimism is pretty much a given at this point; I just didn't get the impression that the gulf in m.'s scenario was quite that vast.

There really is such a thing as a productive political argument that isn't a shouting match, though. Or at least, that's my personal experience, which is very precious to me.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:18 PM
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(Ummm, making fun of myself and no-one else with 90, just to be clear.)


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:19 PM
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88:"That actually seems like a pretty shitty outcome for someone seeking respect and genuine engagement."

The documentary Slut I mentioned in 68 might be instructive. It was of course produced by feminists for women about women, amd male voices were few.

It had four parts: a historical overview;interviews of women who had been damaged or changed by being called a slut; interviews with women who were trying to recuperate the word for feminists; and secondary interviews with the victims on their reaction to the recuperation movement.

The victims were interviewed very sympathetically and gently, and there was very little engagement or participation by the feminist interviewer. She herself, encountering the stories had little or nothing to say. In Pt 4, the victims were simply allowed to express themselves on the "recuperation"; the interviewer neither defended nor cooperated or encouraged.

To be honest, if I am in an extended "academic and fun conversation" about the word "slut" and after I have had many opportunities to embarrass myself and be not completely kind and empathetic and suddenly one of the parties pulls out that anecdote I would feel set-up. I would walk silently away.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:25 PM
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But that's cool.

"I wondered, as I drove through Burlington and hit the 85/40 split towards Chapel Hill, whether in fact that is what we’ve got to prove: that we’re not adrift, that we have an identity, even if it’s an identity we’ve created for ourselves, that always having a chip on our shoulder is worth it because that chip is who we are."

Endurance Trial


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:39 PM
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I always worry about my identity when I approach the 85/40 split. Especially at night, when it's raining.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:43 PM
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92: "Set up" how? That's the thing that baffles me about men's reactions in this sort of situation -- that when a woman tells an anecdote about something uncomfortable or painful, guys withdraw, as if the anecdote had something to do with them personally.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 1:53 PM
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95:Magpie, a misreading. Go back to #1. The set-up is not the anecdote but it's timing. If the conversation about "slut" had started with the anecdote, it would probably have been a very different conversation.

1:"discussion with two [male] friends about the sexism of the slut phenomenon in high school, and how they were being complicit in it, and it was all academic and fun" ...my emphasis

"...until they found that I'd been called a slut in junior high and was deeply affected by it (and clearly upset)." ...leblanc

"deeply affected" "clearly upset" "all academic and fun"

Whatever.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:05 PM
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If I'm in an argument and offer an anecdote that demonstrates my position, then my interlocuter either has to conced, or rebuke me directly. My interlocutor has to argue either I drew the wrong conclusion from my experience, or that my own personal experience isn't as important as I think. Either are hard arguments for me to swallow.

On the other hand, perhaps my anecdote is convincing. Then my interlocuter suddenly, and perhaps embarassingly, has to renounce his position - something that's also hard to swallow, and maybe he wants to think about quietly for a bit, before giving in publicly.

I don't think this makes anecdotes bad, because there's nothing necessarily good about a protracted argument. Also, the outcomes I envisioned above aren't necessary outcomes - they depend somewhat on the nature of the argument, and the relationship of the people arguing - but I don't think they depend upon the sex of the people arguing.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:10 PM
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I apologize for my poor writing in 97.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:12 PM
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98, meet 41 and 42.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:18 PM
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bob, I see what you're saying about the "set up" thing, but I think you're wrong. I think people should be held to their opinions even when they don't know that they should be being sensitive. Would it be a set up if there was an online conversation happening between two people about affirmative action, and after a while, one of the participants said "oh, by the way, I'm black and affirmative action helped me."?

You say the timing was bad, but the only reason it was near the "end" of the argument was because they ended it after my disclosure.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:30 PM
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100:Yes I think the phone conversation would be a set-up. Information clearly pertinent to the conversation should be revealed as early as possible, or not at all. This is not to excuse and sexism or racism, but a matter of manners for the person with the important information.

Kinda like discovery in the courtroom.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:34 PM
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Or like people taking off their wedding ring, or not revealing a separate higher priority relationship. Or any number of more trivial or serious examples.

Even without an intent to decieve, fairness and kindness necessitates disclosure.

And in any case, I mostly consider sexism contextual and behavioral. If I discuss Tia's bad things at home, but not here I am sexist one place and feminist the other. Not perfect, maybe or maybe not phony, but who knows. We judge on behavior and avoid reading hearts and minds.

It is a good thing to help us and and provide opportunities to elicit our best behavior. If possible, and not too annoying.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:43 PM
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I kind of see m.'s point in 100. It might be nicer and kinder to the other parties to let them know up front that "those people" are "in the room" in certain contexts, but doing this in every instance could leave you with the (probably correct) suspicion that you're only getting heavily-edited versions of people's views. Not very satisfying.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:52 PM
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bob, I see what you're saying about the "set up" thing, but I think you're wrong. I think people should be held to their opinions even when they don't know that they should be being sensitive.

a couple of gut responses to this. (1) There's a difference between saying that people should be held to their belief and saying that they have an obligation to defend their belief argumentatively. I have many beliefs that I will happily admit that I hold, that I still wouldn't be interested in arguing about with just anybody. (2) This seems like it relates to your previous comment that, essentially, if someone's having a good argument with you but they feel uncomfortable about the tone of the argument they should continue and assume that either they're misreading the tone, or that you're strong enough to continue to engage in an interesting argument even if the tone is a little off (is this a misreading of 33?).

I happen to place a high value on good discussions/arguments so I understand the impulse to want to defend it and not let people off so easily.

I wonder if part of the difference between a discussion that is "academic and fun" and one that is more serious is that in the former cases all positions and conlusions are assumed to be provisional and in the latter case the stakes feel higher because there's a greater commitment implied in taking positions.

Imagine, for example, a discussion about drug legalization. I could imagine perfectly comfortably taking a position that it should with the implied mental caveat that this was an argument from abstract principles and that both I would change my position if I saw data suggesting that this would be a harmful policy and that I would want to look to see if there was data before enacting my preference for legalization into law. If someone then confronted me with a bunch of data about the damage done by (currently) illegal drugs and demanded that I continue to defend my position in the same way that I had been I would be put off. The introduction of data would change the argument. At that point I would probably ask them a bunch of questions about where they were getting their data, decide whether I found the data convincing and, if I found the data convincing, I would probably walk off to see if I could find any other data to support my original position.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 2:52 PM
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Isn't calling it a setup unnecessarily loaded? I can see circumstances where I'd feel sandbagged and want to abandon a conversation because someone revealed personal information that meant that holding to my position was going to be traumatic for them, but that certainly doesn't apply every time someone has relevant personal experience, not even every time they've got personal experience with some emotional weight to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:11 PM
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Agree with LB in 105. I don't see what's unfair about starting out arguing a case on general principle and only turning to anecdote when that route begins to falter.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:16 PM
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I don't see what's unfair about starting out arguing a case on general principle and only turning to anecdote when that route begins to falter.

I'm not sure LB said quite that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:19 PM
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I originally had an "also" there, but figured it was unnecessary. I forgot you were STUPID, so I'm SORRY.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:22 PM
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105: "Set-up" could probably apply to most cases where the anecdote in question is of the form "[X] actually happened to me, and was profoundly upsetting / painful / traumatic." Not that it's necessarily a universally bad thing; sometimes people need the shock of realizing they're in the room with the object of a previously abstract argument, and that can lead to more honest discussion later. But it's probably not realistic to expect it to be conducive to discussion in the moment.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:29 PM
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109: Isn't that only true where [X] is a surprising, rather than a common, experience? No one would expect a conversation about bullying to be shut down by someone mentioning that they were bullied, for example, it's assumed that all sorts of people get bullied. The sense of having been setup, for me, wouldn't kick in unless I'd been having a rousing conversation on whether the civil rights of priests who molest teenagers were being abused, and the person I was talking to said after han hour that they were horrified I could take that position because they had been abused by a priest.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:33 PM
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In the case of the actual discussion at hand, though, I'm surprised that it was so difficult for the male interlocutors to deal with the new information. It just doesn't seem like that discourse-deforming of a revelation to me, and seems like a natural thing to drop into the conversation pretty much any old time.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:36 PM
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Yeah, right you are to 110 and 111.


Posted by: Doctor Slack | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:38 PM
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someone mentioning that they were bullied, for example, it's assumed that all sorts of people get bullied.

Lots of people have been bullied, but the word covers a fairly wide range of behavior, and the worst of it is pretty rare (thankfully). Listeners are going to infer where along the range of "bullied" you fall from your reaction. For sufficient anger or upset, people are going to assume the bullying was very, very bad. And maybe feel setup.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:52 PM
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And we've come back around to Alameida's post about men who won't engage with women in grad school seminars. There are certainly going to be some women who are unreasonably fragile about having their ideas attacked (heck, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that there might be some men like that as well), and if you know someone's like that, it's hard to blame you for not wanting to engage them. On the other hand, sometimes it seems if as if some men are kind of hair-trigger about finding excuses for not wanting to engage seriously with women.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 3:56 PM
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Which comes down to, it's a case by case judgment call.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:08 PM
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. On the other hand, sometimes it seems if as if some men are kind of hair-trigger about finding excuses for not wanting to engage seriously with women.

Yeah, I'm not sure ala was correct about the male motivations there. I just looked at the thread, and I thought I saw you saying that you didn't have any trouble finding people to argue with you online. ogged notwithstanding, I think many people realize you're a woman, so it might not be recognition that the speaker is a woman that's doing the work.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:12 PM
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I would say that in comment #1, leblanc, by revealing her history toward the end, won the argument, and the men moved on.

Not to try to speak for m here, but I think that gets at what she said on her own blog, about the rules of debate. If the purpose of debate is for men to competitively score points off of each other, then bob's assessment is correct:

Excellent technique.

If, on the other hand, the purpose of debate is to at least open the prospect of dialogue, and a shifting of position, then I for one would have been very frustrated and disappointed at the outcome that m describes.

Picture a lunchtime discussion at work. Some folks are going to try to stretch a personal anecdote into a universal principle, and that's annoying. And some topics people are more or less settled in their opinions about (party affiliation, whatever) and arguing may be entertaining but is unlikely to shift behavior. But sheesh -- there are zillions of areas in which people may hold vague or ill-defined opinions and which are wide-open for engaged discussion and analysis. I don't have a terribly well-thought-out position on the specifics of the estate tax, and I'm quite interested in hearing anyone share a story that may illustrate policy ramifications I haven't considered.

What's maddening about what m describes is when a friendly discussion is going on, and then you introduce personal experience, and it becomes radioactive - people back away fast. Maybe that's partly compassion or attempts to be kind, but it can leave the impression that it's all fine and dandy to discuss (poverty/harassment/child molestation) until it becomes clear that one of those Others who has actually been affected by it is present.

I know I've kept quiet about personal experience when I've guessed that arguing from abstract data would be more persuasive to my audience. It stinks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:18 PM
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I suspect we're all reading too much into the situation described by m leblanc and, at this point, we're just revealing our prejudices.

That said, it's relevant that the conversation was not just a conversation between men and a woman, but was a conversation about entrenched sexism in society -- always a potentially touchy subject.

It reminds me of this great comment by JM

I had a real-life convo with my lover this past weekend where he was talking about a balance of feminity and masculinity that helped him to understand himself, and suddenly my mental recontextualizer gave out.
Gender stereotypes have consequences--like when my post-doc sister wasn't invited to a high-powered NASA conference where her data was to be presented because her advisor assumed that with a toddler she wouldn't want to travel, like when the coolest lady in my LDS church scored better on the Foreign Service exam than her husband did (she was worth ten of him) yet she raised the kids and supported his career, like when hilzoy's older friends can remember the exact emotionally manipulative technique for answering neither "yes" nor "no" to a job-interviewer's question about whether they wanted children.
At the effectual end of the conversation, after he returned some Lacanian argument and we agreed that he'd been speaking in the metaphysical and I in the reality-based, I don't know which of us felt worse. Before my recontextualizer overloaded, we'd been enjoying a lazy, idealistic, post-prandial conversation--which had suddenly become my teachable moment.

(read the rest)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:20 PM
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I figure most of the people around here have guessed my gender by now.

I'm a bit of a weirdo on these issues, though. I was such an outcast in grade school that I think I missed some crucial developmental period when I was supposed to pick up gendernormative behavior. Talking about stuff like this I'm often talking more about how I see men relating to other women than to me. (The law school thing was personal experience.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:21 PM
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L.B. has it exactly right in 105. For example, I see absolutely no reason to abandon an argument about public policy and spending regarding some very rare disease just because someone springs the fact that their kid had that disease.

That tactic falls under emotional blackmail and then leads to the "If it saves one life it's worth it" sort of nonsense.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:29 PM
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I see absolutely no reason to abandon an argument about public policy and spending regarding some very rare disease just because someone springs the fact that their kid had that disease.

Yes, but you're a robot; we're discussing human to human communication.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:35 PM
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Speaking strictly for myself, if I'd been laughing with someone about some unkind thing I'd done in school, and a third person said 'that happened to me and it wasn't funny at all' I'd be mortified enough to end the conversation, and beat a hasty retreat. Not because the victim wasn't worth engaging, or an equal human being, but because I'd been called out on something where I was clearly in the wrong. The entertainment value of the conversation is over, and I'm willing to look for something else to do. Nothing personal. Or necessarily sexist.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:37 PM
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we're discussing human to human communication.

One-on-one or at a cocktail party? If one-on-one, I'd just drop it and never again bother engaging that person about anything beyond "Nice day, isn't it?". In a group I'd rather they went off to a corner and sulked. All too many humans need to realize the rest of the universe really doesn't revolve around their individual angst.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 4:56 PM
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Yes, but you're a robot

Way to go Tim, now all of the robots are going to be afraid of bringing up their relevant personal anecdotes, because it would change the previous conversation into a setup. Where is pdf23ds anyway?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:13 PM
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I don't really know what we're talking about at this point, and I'm too busy to read the whole thread, but one very real ancedote along these lines is abortion discussions, especially being pro-life, and doubly-especially being pro-life and male. Not only are you constantly told outright that your views don't/shouldn't matter (since you can't get pregnant), but if it turns out that a participant in the conversation has personally *had* an abortion, well, it's usually game over. There's almost no way (that I've found at least) to continue the conversation without that person feeling very much attacked. Disengaging has absolutely nothing to do with not valuing the person's opinions or experiences, and everything to do with not trying to get into a heated argument about whether this person standing in front of you is or is not a murderer.

But then again I generally do a lot better in arguments when emotion is out of the picture. I'm willing to debate someone who's very *intellectually* committed to a position, but not so much someone who has emotional investment in a position. Even something as clear-cut as say, racism: I'm obviously willing to argue against it all day long theoretically, but when someone who is passionately bigoted wants to discuss it with me I'll probably back down as soon as the argument heats up. (Not admit they're right, of course -- just disengage. Because I don't really want to fight.) Not with a close friend, I guess, but with pretty much anyone else.

Maybe I just have an excessively nonconfrontational personality.

Does any of this have anything to do with the conversation in this thread? I hope so.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:14 PM
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Not only are you constantly told outright that your views don't/shouldn't matter (since you can't get pregnant), but if it turns out that a participant in the conversation has personally *had* an abortion, well, it's usually game over. There's almost no way (that I've found at least) to continue the conversation without that person feeling very much attacked. Disengaging has absolutely nothing to do with not valuing the person's opinions or experiences, and everything to do with not trying to get into a heated argument about whether this person standing in front of you is or is not a murderer.

I'm a little hurt. I think we've had fairly productive arguments about abortion, although mostly in your prior incarnation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:15 PM
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I generally don't argue in person except under rare circumstances. We have meetings at work where we discuss new case law and I will argue about the cases because it is somewhat important but no one is too personally invested in positions either way. It is better to hash things out into a consensus than to leave issues just hanging out there.

It is fun to argue, but I don't do it against peoples personal experiences, because you can hurt peoples feelings that way.

Bioharzard's carefully worded response doesn't engage Tim's accusation that he is a robot. What are puny human feelings to a robot?


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:17 PM
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(I'm also running for a train, so don't take non-responses to whatever you say next as pique -- I probably won't comment again until tomorrow. For some reason I can't comment here from my Blackberry, although I can on other blogs.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:18 PM
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If you're reading, sorry pdf23ds, I don't actually think you're a robot. Though I think you may be a brain in a vat.

On preview: when I had a blackberry it wouldn't load threads past a certain, not particularly lengthy, length. It also wouldn't open the thread if I clicked on the link under the actual post, had to use the sidebar instead.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:20 PM
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Way to go Tim, now all of the robots are going to be afraid of bringing up their relevant personal anecdotes, because it would change the previous conversation into a setup.

I don't have the Sci-Fi channel, and so I haven't seen any of the new season of Battlestar Galactica, but can robots be said to have "personal" anecdotes? Does each Six experience get transmitted to all other Sixes? And what if they have contradictory experiences?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:20 PM
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I have season one and the first half of two, borrowed, on DVD. All I've seen is the miniseries. So fucked if I know.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:21 PM
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All I've seen is the miniseries.

You're in for a treat.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:24 PM
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125 is (on the topic of why people disengage at least) exactly right.


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:25 PM
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126- sure, LB, we very much have. You've also never to my recollection played the "well, I've had an abortion" card. (Maybe you have had an abortion, maybe you haven't, I don't even know.) I'm not saying that you can't have productive abortion discussions with someone who's had an abortion, I'm saying that the statement itself usually shuts off the conversation -- I'd be hesitant to keep pushing the point, at least, because suddenly we're no longer talking about "abortion", we're talking about you. (And I should clarify that it's fine to bring in the personal ancedote if that can be absorbed into a conversation that continues to focus on the principles or issues involved. But more often the ancedote *becomes* the conversation, which is then highly personalized going forward.)

I'm not even claiming it's necessarily *right* that it shuts down conversation, just that it tends to. And again, I'm perhaps excessively non-confrontational.

Although my broader point was that I think this same sort of non-confrontational attitude is behind a lot of the behavior described in this thread. (Which is a pretty bold claim to make, since I haven't read the thread and don't know what sort of behaviors are described in it.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 5:33 PM
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What are puny human feelings to a robot?

We recognize they exist and that they affect human's behaviour. They're data, sometimes important, sometimes not.

When it comes to issues affecting large groups of us, poor little Timmy47x had better have lots of company before his particular situation becomes worth considering as an example of the general case. Our bottom line is, your carbon-based emotional intensity is just and only that, it's not a valid substitute for thought.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 6:09 PM
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We seem to be conflating 'having an inappropriate emotional reaction' with 'sharing personal information.' The first is not conducive to further argument (though sometimes appropriate). The second doesn't entail anything one way or another.

If we're all debating first principles in a philosophy seminar or conducting sociological research, personal experience is probably unimportant, and introducing it is often construed as a ploy to shut down debate. But 99% of arguments and discussions aren't held to those standards, and it seems wrongheaded to say that side X is allowed to make sweeping generalization based on something they think they read, but if side Y counters it with an example drawn from experience, that's bad. We seem to be holding each side to different standards. Is Y just to shut up and let X run their mouths 'cause it might be awkward if they're shown to be running their mouths without a clue?

There's absolutely problems if someone gives the impression of holding that criticizing her anecdote means you hate her, but that's not a problem with anecdotes generally.

Plus, revealing your biases can be common courtesy. Don't you want to know before launching into a diatribe on young pundits and how they suck that Saiselgy's roommates and friends comment here? Isn't it relevant if something thinks all women who have abortions are whores if a professional woman says, 'Nope, me too.' Isn't it relevant to a low-level discussion about welfare if someone mentions how the policies affected them growing up?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 6:54 PM
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'having an inappropriate emotional reaction' ... not conducive to further argument (though sometimes appropriate).

Now, I'm no philosopher...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 7:15 PM
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Don't you want to know before launching into a diatribe on young pundits and how they suck that Saiselgy's roommates and friends comment here?

At first I was worried that that was referring to me. Then I remembered how careful I was to say they were "neat people" and how I kept saying that I liked everyone I met. So I figured you must have meant someone else who recently antagonized that crowd. Glad I missed that debate.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 7:37 PM
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While agreeing completely with 136, I thought I'd just highlight what I take to be a partial response to my comments: Isn't it relevant if something thinks all women who have abortions are whores if a professional woman says, 'Nope, me too.'

Of course it's relevant--if someone thinks all women who have abortions are whores then someone's personal experience with abortion could be a direct counterexample. They're making an empirical claim, and you have empirical refutation. (And honestly, if someone thinks all women who have abortions are whores, then I don't know that you should be discussing this with them without getting at least a little angry, and personally offended. I would be angry and offended, and I'm not even a woman, much less a woman who's had an abortion.)

But if the conversation is instead "Is abortion wrong" (and the arguments are somewhere above the level of "yes, because women who have abortions are whores"), "I've had an abortion" can easily chill the conversation because any further arguments from the other side all sort of start to sound like "you personally are an immoral person". (This especially so when the response is framed angrily as: "I've had an abortion. You're saying I'm an immoral person?!", which is not uncommon. Which is at least in part a defensive mechanism, I think, probably because so many woman hear people say things like "only whores have abortions".) The conversation can easily begin to take on an ad hominem character, despite best efforts otherwise. Or at least there is a fear that the conversation will be perceived as ad hominem, which itself can make disengagement seem like the most prudent option.


On the other hand, I do very much understand what you're saying. Much less weighty example: I'm from the South, and now live in the Northeast. It's not at all uncommon for people here to joke about the intelligence, culture, etc. of my home state. I don't really mind this (generally), but it does create awkward moments. If I let the jokes continue for a while and then let it later come out that I'm from the South, there's always a tangible sense of embarrassment and perhaps anger in the room. But if I instead jump out front with "well I'm from the South", people perceive this as serious oversensitivity on my part, like I'm trying to police their discussions. (This seems to happen on occassion no matter how much jovility I try to project).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 7:37 PM
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138: Not all that recently.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 7:43 PM
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"But if the conversation is instead "Is abortion wrong" (and the arguments are somewhere above the level of "yes, because women who have abortions are whores"), "I've had an abortion" can easily chill the conversation because any further arguments from the other side all sort of start to sound like "you personally are an immoral person"."

Switching sides here for moment, aren't you saying exactly that? If you say abortion is wrong, and somebody had an abortion, then isn't it a neccesary consequent that you are accusing them of immoral conduct?


Posted by: Glenn | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 7:59 PM
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141- yeah, but exactly my point is that's not a fun conversation to have. As I tried to make clear with a less controversial example, I don't even really want to have this conversation with someone who is heatedly defending some arguably racist views, at least not if I like the person otherwise and am hoping to remain friendly with them. (Please no gasps and awes -- I know good people with misguided notions of all sorts.) I'm just not that confrontational. Or, as I said before, I could be with good friends but not generally otherwise. Depending on the relationship.

Broader point just being that giving offense is not in and of itself the goal of my conversations, and so when a conversation takes a turn that makes it seem likely that giving offense is the only probable result, I'm inclined to disengage.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 8:12 PM
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I had actually forgotten what a seismic tool T/om Hi/lde was, if that's possible.


Posted by: standpipe b | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 8:27 PM
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your carbon-based emotional intensity is just and only that, it's not a valid substitute for thought.

No, it's better than thought, silly wobot. It's the delicious hot bittersweet chocolate sauce that gives value to the wan vanilla icemilk of thought. But of course you will never know.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 8:35 PM
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If that "chocolate sauce" stuff is like your WD-40 there may indeed be some value to emotions. But near as we can tell, humans use them mainly instead of thought once a discussion goes beyond sophomore year hypotheticals and depth and touches on real-life.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:13 PM
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Yes, chocolate sauce is not entirely unlike WD-40, in that both are high-viscosity liquids that make existence more worth existing. I admit I frequently eat it straight out of the jar.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:22 PM
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Okay, skipping the sluts and the baby-killers, I want to get back to the original post's point about liking the "men's" way of allusion and inference. I thought about this on and off all day, along with Alameida's post below about argument. And a couple of things occurred to me.

First, as one who also likes the allusion/inference thing, I think it has to be admitted that it's one of the pleasures of power--that is, *not* saying what you're thinking, and expecting people to know what it is anyway. Same way the inside joke works to mark insiders and outsiders. I enjoy the hell out of that kind of thing myself, but it's a little problematic, to use O's favorite word.

Second, and this came more from Alameida's post in conjunction with this one, I wonder if women who like men/"manly" styles of discourse tend to be good-looking. I know she is, and I'm vain enough to think I am. And I know that the way I look is a huge advantage in a group of men, because it means I won't be ignored. If I say something, guys will listen. Of course, that isn't the same as being taken seriously, and I'm not saying that I'm never ignored. But there really *is* something to the way that guys will react to a good-looking, smart woman, and I'm curious if women who end up playing the token outspoken woman role tend to be conventionally attractive more often than women who are less confident speakers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:23 PM
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Doc, I don't know what you look like, but I find your prose arresting enough to venture a guess that you're probably not ignored by even the blind men who engage you in conversation. I'd also expect the stereotypical dumb blonde -- if such a person were to exist in real life -- to be ignored pretty much all the time. (By men who didn't think it a realistic possibility that they'd be hooking up with her in the next 24 hours anyway.)

On your first point, I used to use kennings in conversation much more often, but living amongst outsiders cures one of the habit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:37 PM
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Okay, who's going to pipe up with the unattractive women's point of view?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:38 PM
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Oh, I won't talk to people who are blind. I mean, ew.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:45 PM
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Luckily, they won't notice.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:49 PM
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And I know that the way I look is a huge advantage in a group of men, because it means I won't be ignored. If I say something, guys will listen.

Ouch.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 9:54 PM
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B is so hot, she's not that hot. Content is king, baby.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:04 PM
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152: Okay, see, I *knew* that that would come across like that, and I so did not mean it that way and was hoping you'd not take it as such. Which is why I said I have, indeed, been ignored. But yes, you constitute evidence that my hypothesis, which I formed after reading A's post this morning but before reading this thread but still wanted to float anyway, is kinda weak.

All that said, I can't imagine your being ignored, honestly. And you're actually more talkative in person than I am.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:08 PM
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Yes, but would the Derb listen to her?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:09 PM
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153: I've been waiting and waiting for you to call me on my claims of surpassing pulchritude, Ogged. Now who's violating the sanctity of off-blog encounters, hmm?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:10 PM
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152 was kind of unnecessary, but I said ouch only because I honestly never contemplated the thought that looks would have anything to do with my feeling of being ignored. I'll have to think about it. Frankly, there are so few outspoken women at my school that I can't even think of anyone to compare to. And all the really hot ones don't say shit.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:14 PM
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So wait: maybe all the frathaus stuff can now serve a feminist! purpose. We can go back and look at the votes, and then test the men to see what they know of the various policy positions various women understood to be beautiful have taken.

I'm pretty sure Jolie is against orphanhood. And she did something in Africa and some East Asian country (Vietnam? Cambodia?).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:16 PM
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157: I think we'd have to get into what we mean by "really hot," and whether that includes the v. pretty groomed girls, who are often quiet, or the ones who were more just born lucky, like Alameida, and look gorgeous even (or perhaps especially) when they aren't bothering to try.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:19 PM
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Now who's violating the sanctity of off-blog encounters, hmm?

Don't even pretend those are the same kind of thing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:19 PM
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And then there's probably the self-perception issue. I know that I get more attention on days when I feel reasonably hot than on days when I feel like I'm looking like shit, but I *assume* that's more to do with how I act than with my actually looking *drastically* different when I need a haircut.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:21 PM
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160: Dude, you totally undermined my persona! That's *way* worse.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:22 PM
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129: Actually, I didn't even realize you were making fun of me in the earlier comment. It didn't occur to me that someone would think me a robot in character, though in hindsight it seems fitting enough, in a shallow way. Especially for my persona here, which seems to exaggerate my more BIV-like qualities for some reason.

Where am I? Working a lot. Not really commenting anywhere. Having indentity crises and such. Getting a dog tomorrow. Did you know you can litter-box train dogs?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-26-06 10:23 PM
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doing stuff for attention, so long as it doesn't go over the try-hard line, is always hot though.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 2:02 AM
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I think the 'hot or not' issue, in terms of whether you can get men to listen to you on equal terms, is a real one. I've been both (not = college, very short hair, skinny in a gawky big-boned kind of way, badly dressed. I'm much more conventionally attractive with longer hair, not so bony, and better dressed) and it's easier getting heard these days. It's not so much a difference in how you're treated once you're allowed into the conversation, it's a difference managing to be audible to the other participants initially.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 7:37 AM
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Getting a dog tomorrow. Did you know you can litter-box train dogs?

Can, but shouldn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 7:46 AM
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And what kind of dog?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:02 AM
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166: How's that?

It's a female shepard mix (or maybe border collie mix), around 35-40 lbs. I live in an apartment and will have to leave her home during the day. It would be a big pain to have to arrange for someone to let her out during the day, and a big pain for me to have to go home at lunch to do it. I figure litter training is a good solution.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:16 AM
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shepard s/b shepherd


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:17 AM
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I'm not conventionally attractive, never have been, and pretty much have always preferred boys and men as friends. A little skeptical about the link between attractiveness and getting men to listen to you. At least, I don't think it's as straightforward as a more conventionally attractive girl will have men take her more seriously as an academic/lawyer/thinking thing. There's certainly the stereotype of the blonde who's bright but everyone knows people only pretend to listen to her because they're hoping they'll get in her pants.

If there's a link, it probably runs through feeling more conventionally attractive and being more self-confident as a result, which makes it easier to wedge yourself into a conversation.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:20 AM
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The volume of waste is too high, and even a litter-trained dog isn't accurate. I've known a couple of people with teeny litter-trained dogs, (Jack Russells and the like) and their apartments stank, and the dogs hit the tray maybe 80% of the time. If you try and litter-train a 30lb dog, it may work, but your life will be disgusting.

A border collie (I know less about German shepherds) is also an emotionally needy dog. Without someone to interact with in the middle of the day, chances are she's going to get kind of nuts, which may involve eating your furniture, biting people, etc. Arranging for the midday walk somehow is I think, minimum humane treatment. (In the sense that if you don't, my guess is that dog ownership will become so intolerable in a year or two that you will get rid of the dog, which would suck -- you take a dog into your house, you're responsible for its lifespan.)

Are you an experienced dog owner, or should I get boring about sending you links to training resources and the like?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:26 AM
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The volume of waste is too high

On the contrary -- Ben's been posting only infrequently.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:29 AM
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you're responsible for its lifespan

Which I hear can be adjusted with a trash bag and an exhaust pipe.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:29 AM
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If the dog starts biting people, yeah, that's what it comes down to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:30 AM
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That dog sounds a bit big for a litter box.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:35 AM
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170: Not so much about interacting with friends -- I always had good male friends, even at my weirdest looking -- as being able to get a response out of men I didn't already know well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:39 AM
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171: I have read plenty about dog ownership, and have lived with many dogs in the past. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to handle the training. And I take my commitment to the dog seriously.

The dog I picked out isn't a very high energy dog, so I think one long daily walk should be enough to keep her sane and happy.

"even a litter-trained dog isn't accurate"

If you get a litter tray with high walls (like this), then stuff won't get everywhere. And females are going to miss less than males.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:39 AM
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Dogs aren't like cats, either. They really need people around. Once the dog is housebroken, it'll probably be okay as far as not messing the house goes, but a dog that doesn't get attention is going to get destructive in a nervous chewing-of-staircases sort of way. This is a constant that changes somewhat with the breed, but doesn't matter whether you're an experienced dog owner or not. Dogs don't like to be ignored.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:41 AM
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176: Even in groups of men. It is entirely possible that I'm oblivious to most social undercurrents like this, but I am not conventionally attractive, nor am I expensively groomed, but I am not often ignored.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:44 AM
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Eh, I'm not going to nag you. I think you're making a mistake, but if you've lived with dogs you know as much about it as I do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:45 AM
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180 to 178.

179: Yeah, this whole thing is very individual personality driven; it's hard to draw generalizations that work for everybody. And I could simply be reacting to being older and surer of myself. It doesn't feel that way, but who can tell.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 8:51 AM
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I was not ignoring the question, just at a conference all day.
If anyone still cares here is the story. First, It should be mentioned that the property in question was actually my wife's fathers property. After getting out of the Marines I went to work for him. We had a 500 acre citrus ranch in Riverside, CA. and our own packing house. Because of economies of scale, we were really at a minimum size of ranch to afford our own packing operation, which was the true profit center. We exported 100% of our product to the Pacific Rim, mainly Hong Kong, but also Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Twice a year I made sales trips to the Far East. We netted anywhere from $250,000- $500,000 in good years. The problem was that this part Southern California was experienced expolsive growth in the last 20 years. So, when my father lin law did some estate planning, he bought $1,000,000 of life insurance to cover the estates taxes, etc. But that was in 1970, when the property was worth $5,000 per acre. Also, in the back of his mind was that he had two girls, who would not follow in his footsteps. When I came on board he was 72, long past the ability to buy enough life insurance for estate planning purposes. When he died, the land was assessed at $100,000 per acre. Which is $50,000,000. Which meant a tax bill of $25.000,000. Now even at 1% interest, that's $250,000 per year, which is all of our net income most years. Now obviously there is no need to weep for me, but it had been my desire to keep the ranch and farm until I was old and gray. What would be the problem of allowing me to keep farming, but from a tax standpoint not have the stepped up basis, so that if I sold out the state would have its pound of flesh? I am perfectly capable of having rational discussions as to land use, capitalization requirements for agriculture, creative destruction and all sorts of reason that an estate tax can be beneficial, but having to pay $25,000,000 to the Feds hurts.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 10:01 AM
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Which is $50,000,000....Now obviously there is no need to weep for me

Do you have a daughter, and, if so, is she seeing anyone?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 10:09 AM
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I do, but she's only 15. And I clean my guns on a regular basis, after going to the range.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 10:48 AM
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182: That just makes me think that the US estate tax is badly set up. For example, in this country children normally pay 20% on everything over about 450,000, but business relief is available to children or other heirs working in the family business which discounts the assets by about 90% first. So in your case (if dollar figures were euro figures) you pay tax on land values of 5,000,000. Which would be about 991,000 of a tax bill (you wouldn't count as a child so get a lower exemption of about 45,000). If you sell the land within six years you have to pay tax on the full value. If you sell after six years but within ten you pay tax on the development value premium of the land.

I don't see why US estate tax couldn't have something similar, but I gather neither of the main parties has anything like this in mind.


Posted by: Emir | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:10 AM
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Hrm. You should get in touch with some Republican campaigns, if there's anyone you'd like to help out -- literally, that's the sort of story that I think they're looking for in the abstract, but I think they have a hell of a time finding any examples of.

And, if you enjoy reading our humble website, large donations are cheerfully accepted and will be spent on gin.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:12 AM
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I do, but she's only 15. And I clean my guns on a regular basis, after going to the range.

In eight years, she'll be 23 and I'll be 32, which I think is, in light of the financial concerns, an acceptable age spread. We should probably be introduced before then, though, so she can get to know me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:17 AM
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This was over 10 years ago, so it's old news. And truth be told, My wife and I had divorced about a year before my father-in law's death so don't ask me for any handouts. I stayed on board thinking that I was working to enhance my daughter's future. So, now I work for a living instead of living in the lap of luxury. And my ex-wife's sister is an excellent example of a fool and their money are soon parted, which is another discussion


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:33 AM
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Hell, ten years old is better than nothing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:40 AM
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Hell, ten years old is better than nothing.

There's got to be a way to work this into a joke about B-Wo and his lustings over TLL's underage progeny.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:42 AM
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's finances.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:44 AM
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But he's already made it clear he hasn't got the finances -- the progeny is all that is left for you to lust after.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:49 AM
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Oh and Ben, any thoughts in this regard?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 11:51 AM
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Re the attractiveness issue

According to Leonard Sax's book, there was a study of single sex and coed high schools in Belfast where in single sex schools you needed to ask about a dozen questions to predict the girl's self-esteem. In coed schools you only needed to ask the question "Do you think you're pretty?"


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 12:23 PM
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The progeny's mom still has the finances; TLL's daughter looks to me to be the heiress to at least 12.5M, assuming the land sold for its tax valuation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 12:30 PM
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I thought the progeny's aunt blew some of the valuation at the track.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 12:40 PM
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I'm figuring a 50-50 mom/aunt split, of the proceeds left after the estate taxes. That leaves the mom with $12.5M. Still worth b-wo's assiduous pursuit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 12:42 PM
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Besides that, she's super cute. And smart. I wasn't kidding about needing the guns.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 1:09 PM
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194 is probably the answer to my lousy hypothesis, thanks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 3:27 PM
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She sounds like a fitting match to my amour-propre.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 3:32 PM
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200 Send her any cock pictures, and I will hunt you down and make Abu Grahaib look like Disneyland. Sent with love, of course.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 4:52 PM
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Don't worry, Ben doesn't send cock pictures; he receives them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-27-06 5:00 PM
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To summarize:

(1) Having a conversation the expected result of which is offending, upsetting, or hurting someone (with no positive results offsetting) is not a good idea, and disengaging from such conversations is sensible.

(2) Having a general working assumption that the expected result of actively engaging a woman in conversation is likely to offend, upset, or hurt her is sexist and to be actively avoided, even if women are perhaps more likely than men to be offended, upset, or hurt by disagreeing with them (which is itself a highly controversial empirical claim, and I'm not endorsing it).

I assume none of the above is controversial, and I think it generally explains a lot of the feelings, and motives, on both sides.


Also, from 128: I'm also running for a train, so don't take non-responses to whatever you say next as pique -- I probably won't comment again until tomorrow.

Does this mean I should take non-responses at this point as pique? You came back "tomorrow" (yesterday) and didn't say anything. I don't expect you're actually mad, or hurt, but please let me know if you are.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-28-06 6:35 AM
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Dude, no, the conversation had just moved on. I figured you knew I'd had an abortion, because I've brought it up in conversations about abortion here, so I was a little irked when you named "women who have had abortions" as a class of people you expect to be difficult to talk to civilly on the issue, as I am a member of this class, and have put a fair amount of effort into civil discussion with you. Given that you weren't around or didn't remember that I'd mentioned that I had had an abortion, no hard feelings, but I think you might want to reexamine your assumptions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-06 7:48 AM
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Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-06 8:26 PM
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