Re: Virgin/Whore

1

Because it's a math problem that seems to turn on whether you're talking about the mean or the median. Booooring.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
2

Also here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
3

The message here is that there is an elite corps of women who are having sex with virtually everyone they know in order to keep the ladies' average up.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
4

It's not a math problem. They just ignored the gay sex.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
5

Really, the relevant questions are these: is there an elite corp of female sexxors, and if so, does anyone have a number?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
6

We are trained from a young age at The Academy. Our mission is simple. We often have russian accents and dresses with long slits up the leg.


Posted by: I've said too much already | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
7

Men inflate their number; women deflate it. (Flaccid l'il numbers.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
8

Men inflate their member; women deflate it.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
9

I thought you were supposed to double the number given by women.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
10

there is an elite corps of women who are having sex with virtually everyone they know

The few. The proud. The sluts.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
11

8: I set, you spike.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
12

The NYT should also run a correction to/article on this idea that single men live on the West Coast and single women live on the East Coast. Those numbers simply don't account for 1) the large populations of gay men on the West Coast, which inflates the number of eligible bachelors, and 2) the large populations of incarcerated black men on the East Coast, which decreases the pool of eligible bachelors.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
13

1: Well, the 'logically impossible' bit turns on the difference between the mean and the median. If they're the same, as they would be if number of sex partners formed a bell curve, then it's impossible either way.

Randomly extrapolating from personal experience -- among people I know, there seem to be more men who've had very few sex partners than women. Say, for a man in his thirties, I'd find fewer than five lifetime sex partners not all that surprising, while I would be surprised for a woman (limited, of course, by the socioeconomic factors that determine the sort of person I'm likely to know.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
14

You'll know the elite corps of women by their Members Only jackets.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
15

"populations" s/b "population"


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
16

Oh god, that dot over Western Pa is depressing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
17

College years don't count in your tally, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
18

It looks like one of the studies was using the median, and at least one study was using the mean, so the mean-median distinction doesn't entirely explain things.

Now we've got to decide who is lying more.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
19

LB, you realize there's no way that "number of sex partners" forms a bell curve, right? It's bounded on one side, a side not all that far away from the median. This is very like the dead-Iraqi problem. The mean very likely could be higher.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
20

While it is certainly plausible that men overstate their numbers and women understate theirs, the NYT write-up is hardly conclusive proof of that proposition.

Without having reviewed the research methodology, the casual dismissal of the prostitution angle seemed a little too cavalier to me. Are the researchers really certain that prostitutes are not underrepresented in the sample data? Because the addition or subtraction of a single industrious prostitute could make an enormous difference in the sample mean.

Also, could such a person be reasonably expected to know or accurately report her total number of sex partners if that number were, say, in the thousands?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
21

Or the simple explanation. There is a population of women looking askance at these men and asking, "Really? You called that sex?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
22

Well, LB, all a oman has to do is pass out drunk, and voila! -- instant sex partner. Guys have to work at it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
23

"A oman" S/B "an oman".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
24

Oh, true, it's not going to form a real bell curve, but it's possible for it to be symmetrical enough for the median not to be too far off the mean. I'm not saying there's any strong reason to think that this is true, but it could be, and it would be obvious one way or the other from the original data.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
25

Stay classy, Emerson.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
26

20: I don't know about how much work the 'prostitution effect' is going to do for you. While I'm sure there are more johns than prostitutes, I'd also expect the population of men who have ever had sex with a prostitute is a reasonably small percentage of the population, and that it largely consists of men who've had sex with a number of prostitutes. If we're talking medians, then, (and this is all pulled out of my ass), johns are going to predominantly be in the right-hand, more sex partners part of the graph, and won't move the median number of sex partners up significantly, because the median guy hasn't ever patronized a prostitute. (Patronizing a prostitute: "Really, on you, the vinyl miniskirt is very flattering.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
27

"No, I don't think your a slut. Of course not. Now give it here."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
28

27: "That's a big word for a nine-year-old."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
29

People who patronize can't spell "you're".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
30

"Here, I bought us popcorn to share during the movie."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
31

21: Taking this idea seriously, I wonder if women might be more likely than men (or vice versa) to use a clintonian definition of sex for purposes of reporting the number of partners.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
32

I don't know about how much work the 'prostitution effect' is going to do for you.

Until you're willing to cough up more dough.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
33

31: Well, first, what definition of "sex partner" were the studies using?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
34

FWIW, here's Wikipedia

According to the paper "Estimating the prevalence and career longevity of prostitute women" (Potterat et al., 1990), the number of full-time equivalent prostitutes in a typical area in the United States (Colorado Springs, CO, during 1970-1988) is estimated at 23 per 100,000 population (0.023%), of which fraction some 4% were under 18. The length of these prostitutes' working careers was estimated at a mean of 5 years. A follow-up paper entitled "Prostitution and the sex discrepancy in reported number of sexual partners" (Brewer et al., 2000) goes on to estimate a mean number of 868 male sexual partners per prostitute per year of active sex work, and offers the conclusion that men's self-reporting of prostitutes as sexual partners is seriously under-reported.

A 1994 study found that 16 percent of 18 to 59-year-old men in a U.S. survey group had paid for sex (Gagnon, Laumann, and Kolata 1994).

I don't know if LB considers 16% to be "a reasonably small percentage of the population" or not.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
35

How do you calculate a prostitution FTE? Are the FTEs the ones with full fringe benefits and a pension plan?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
36

what definition of "sex partner" were the studies using?

I knew a girl who claimed to be a virgin. When everyone pointed out the bed thumping noises coming from her room, she said "but he always pulls out!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
37

I would expect that unless the study were done by idiots, they put some work into defining 'sex' unambigiously and symmetrically. Doesn't mean there isn't some such confusion going on, but it shouldn't be huge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
38

Backtracking on my earlier comment, if the numbers that Wikipedia cites are close to correct, then the prostitution effect would only raise the women's mean by 1 or so partner. So I guess LB has a point.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
39

Colorado Springs? That choice doesn't surprise me.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
40

I'm reluctant to generalize from my own culture and age-cohort, but it seems there must be a systematic reporting bias, and that the averages for both men and women seem suspiciously low for mine.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
41

"The prostitution effect" s/b "the domestic prostitution effect", because it still wouldn't account for the sex-holiday-in-Thailand/business-meeting-in-Amsterdam type situation.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
42

Hoping to deflect away from the boring questions about distributions, lying, and outlier individuals: Do men and women forget former partners differently? That is, consider the partner just barely worth remembering. Does such a marginal partner differ for men and for women? Is shame or indifference or maybe something else the primary driver of forgetting? Please include a topic sentence in your response.

For whatever it's worth, I find that changes in how I feel about memories are one of the most surprising things about aging. I'm beginning to see the outlines of a trajectory to befuddled oldster who occasionally confuses present and past; this disturbs the reasoning parts of me, but it is not frightening for some reason. Paying attention to other people in the present is an obvious remedy, an exogenous benefit of love. I would expect there to be good poetry about this, but nothing in Shakespeare or Donne. Does Montaigne have any memory essays? Aside from love, sometimes hard to come by, a habit of lying, which forces one to remember what was said to whom, might also serve as an anchor.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
43

34: For the purposes of my point, I think it is. I need to assume that the vast majority of that 16% goes to enough different prostitutes to insure that they have more than the male median number of sex partners, but I think that's a reasonable assumption. (Maybe I'm wrong, and that 16% is 80% guys who've been to one prostitute, once, and 20% habitual patronizers of prostitutes. If so, the argument fails.) Under that assumption, then, the presence of johns won't move the male median much, because there aren't any significant number of johns under the median.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
44

The message here is that there is an elite corps of women who are having sex with virtually everyone they know in order to keep the ladies' average up.

I know a few people like that.

The median/mean thing is all very well but I do think it's the straightforward 'men tend to round up/women tend to round down' thing, much of the time.

Whenever I've had these conversations with friends in real life I am always struck by the widespread egregious lying. With people I know to have only recently had sex for the first time confidently claiming a dozen partners or more, for example, and vice versa. I called someone on it once; that's apparently not something people take kindly to.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
45

There is a population of women looking askance at these men and asking, "Really? You called that sex?"

Hypothetically speaking, of course.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
46

estimate a mean number of 868 male sexual partners per prostitute per year of active sex work

Jesus Christ, that's the mean??


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
47

I think 42 is really interesting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
48

What's the underlying issue here? We all pretty much agree, I think, that

* men have incentives to overreport
* women have incentives to underreport
* men are, for one reason or another, more comfortable with random sex than women
* women have an easier time finding a sex partner than men.

So doesn't it make a certain sense that there are probably a larger proportion of women who put up big numbers and a larger proportion of women who put up small numbers, as well as some lying in the relevant direction by each? And couldn't that be the circumstance be described by the numbers here?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
49

re: 42

Certainly whenever I've tried to count my number of partners I always get to some number and then begin remembering people I've forgotten and each time I try there's someone else I've either remembered this time or failed to remember that I didn't before, etc.

I don't know if that's gendered, though. I've read a column by a female journalist describing exactly the same phenomena.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
50

46: Kind of sheds a new light on the discussion of prostitution as possibly a reasonably humane way of earning a living, as demonstrated by cheerful and personally fulfilled professionals like the English Courtesan. Of course, maybe the median is much lower, and the mean is being dragged up by a few women with tens of thousands of partners in a year. But at some point you're going to run into time constraints.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
51

* women have an easier time finding a sex partner than men.

Doesn't this have the same asymmetry problem as the original study?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
52

* men are, for one reason or another, more comfortable with random sex than women

And this one too?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
53

49: Sounds familiar. And I wouldn't be surprised if this does explain the discrepancy in terms of more men being invested in 'getting credit for' each distinct partner, and more women feeling more comfortable glossing over partners that weren't memorable or important, as lw suggested in 42.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
54

The underlying issues seems to be whether it's plausible that people continued to lie in an anonymous survey. I am a little skeptical, because people seem to tell a lot under anonymity (or Presidential pseudonymity) that they wouldn't otherwise. I can see believing that people would lie to their friends, or fudge if 'sex partner' was ambiguous in polite conversation, but I'm having a harder time believing that in a survey.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
55

43. Maybe I'm wrong, and that 16% is 80% guys who've been to one prostitute, once, and 20% habitual patronizers of prostitutes.

I shouldn't be at all surprised, actually. There are or were, at least over here, delightful male cultures where it's considered amusing to buy your mate a woman on his 21st birthday or his stag night or whatever. I'd like to think this sort of thing was dying out, but if you're going up to age 59, it would certainly be reflected in the numbers.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
56

offers the conclusion that men's self-reporting of prostitutes as sexual partners is seriously under-reported

Does this mean not reporting them at all, which means the men's score should be higher, or not reporting them as prostitutes, while nonetheless counting them, do you think?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
57

51: I don't think it does, if you mess around with assumptions like 'reasonably attractive women' that can grow or shrink the relevant population as you need to to avoid asymmetry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
58

The question is, why are these people lying to SCIENCE? If some guy I'm dating asks me in that Now, honey, how many? way (no one ever has, but I can imagine it), I might shave a few off the top. But for science, I'll do a recount.

I hate to say it, but I do agree with the elite corps theory, for both sexes, which can really skew things in surprising ways. Most men and women have not had a great huge number of partners because they're busy being in relationships that last year upon miserable year. Then you have a small percentage on both sides who are getting their groove on, some to an alarming degree. Is it not possible that this messes with the math?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
59

54: that's true enough, but the problem is the numbers are clearly wrong, and given that, lying seems the most likely--indeed, the only plausible--explanation. (Using "lying" generously to include forgetting, miscounting, etc.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
60

There are or were, at least over here, delightful male cultures where it's considered amusing to buy your mate a woman on his 21st birthday or his stag night or whatever.

That's not unknown here, but I have the (vague, unsupported, I really have no idea) impression that it's the sort of thing that happens among guys who do that sort of thing, if you see what I mean on a non-tautological level. Someone whose buddies are hiring him a hooker for a special occasion, is probably someone in a social group where hooker-hiring isn't unusual, so probably not the 'under the median number of sex partners' guy. But I'm really making this up here, I just don't know. You could be absolutely right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
61

The question is, why are these people lying to SCIENCE? If some guy I'm dating asks me in that Now, honey, how many? way (no one ever has, but I can imagine it), I might shave a few off the top. But for science, I'll do a recount.

I think people lie in surveys all the time, to paint themselves rosier.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
62

Most men and women have not had a great huge number of partners because they're busy being in relationships that last year upon miserable year. Then you have a small percentage on both sides who are getting their groove on, some to an alarming degree.

And the large swathe of people who alternate between lengthy periods of monogamy and shorter periods of busy shagging.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
63

51: I suppose it would, assuming equivalent feelings of horniness, permissability of promiscuity, etc. among both genders. The typical explanation, I believe, is that since men want more sex partners, more often, while women are societally or naturally predisposed to sleeping with new guys less often, the men will feel that it is difficult to find a willing partner when they go out seeking sex while women do not, because men do so more often (all in relative senses and allowing for far greater intra-gender variance than inter-gender variance).

So it's not a difference in the number of willing partners, it's a difference in the success rate of seeking new partners, or at least that's the perception.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
64

Is it not possible that this messes with the math?

It is not possible that this messes with the mean, no.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
65

men want more sex partners, more often, while women are societally or naturally predisposed to sleeping with new guys less often

The older I get the more convinced I am that particular stereotype is a crock of shit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
66

64: Assuming perfect sampling. If the elite corps is pretty small, then slightly over or under sampling them could mess with the stats. (See The Prostitute Effect.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
67

Isn't this all because of Wilt Chamberlain?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
68

Fine, I'm kind of in with the lying theory. Or, more specifically, that the men with super-high numbers count lovers in their credit, while women with super-high numbers tend to forget forgettables.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
69

Those dots are weird. There are a lot of single people in places, including where I'm from, where I would have assumed the majority of people were all paired up nice like.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
70

Sexual math wise, I'd just like to point out that if a man is unwilling to commit, he's probably a serial non-committer who has not-committed with several or many women, whereas a man who is willing to commit commits to one woman and is taken out of the pool. So single women vastly overestimate the proportion of men who are unwilling to commit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
71

If you lie to Science, only God knows. And God hates science. Fact.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
72

65: Generally, I'd agree that it's a crock of shit. In practice, I'd guess that safety considerations cut down on most women's promiscuity. (That is, very promiscuous guys I've known would screw pretty much anyone, with very little screening. Promiscuous women I've known, on the other hand, seem (I believe for safety reasons) much more likely to restrict themselves to acquaintances, or at least people they've interacted with enough to get a strong personal impression of. This is going to cut down on your rate of partner acquisition.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
73
Also, could such a person be reasonably expected to know or accurately report her total number of sex partners if that number were, say, in the thousands?

Simple, just require all the responses to be to only two significant figures.

I too believe it's a case of "men round up, women round down".

men want more sex partners, more often, while women are societally or naturally predisposed to sleeping with new guys less often

The older I get the more convinced I am that particular stereotype is a crock of shit.

Maybe it's more likely to be a crock of shit for thirtysomethings than teens and twentysomethings.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
74

I get that people could lie to make themselves look good, but I don't see that sort of explanation being trotted out for other survey-based discrepancies. We normally take these things as reasonably reliable, don't we? It's not usually a trump to postulate that people are lying.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
75

Does w-lfs-n have a rule about parentheses within parentheses?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
76

The question is, why are these people lying to SCIENCE?

I'm sure Heebie's right at 61, but also I think a lot of people would lie to God about sex. It's an area where irrational behaviour isn't restricted to the core activities.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
77

Would I listen if he did?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
78

I get that people could lie to make themselves look good, but I don't see that sort of explanation being trotted out for other survey-based discrepancies. We normally take these things as reasonably reliable, don't we? It's not usually a trump to postulate that people are lying.

It's common knowledge that any survey that asks people whether they voted in the past election will end up with a vastly inflated number, like 60% when the real number is 40%.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
79

The older I get the more convinced I am that particular stereotype is a crock of shit.

1) The truth of this stereotype could be changing with the age of your peers, as I've heard it does especially in the 30s.

2) I was explaining why SCMT may have made the statement

3) I hedged the hell out of everything, as I always do on these subjects because I know it's a delicate subject where pretty much everyone lies and all the research tends to be biased either in intent or by the nature of their data sets


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
80

Grrr... stick in synonyms for "subject" where appropriate to make me sound like less of an illiterate


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
81

Maybe it's more likely to be a crock of shit for thirtysomethings than teens and twentysomethings.

It's particularly my experiences in my teens and twenties that lead me to that belief. With the getting older part being about contextualising and confirming the relative common-place nature of said experiences.

re: 74

It's not necessarily just about lying to others, it's about lying to oneself, I think. In the sense that the person counting every possible past partner in order to inflate their numbers and the person dismissing some might both be giving what seem like truthful answers to them, in the sense that those answers bolster their self-image and sense of self.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
82

72: That's interesting. Most of the promiscuous women I know have had, by the age of 30, not more than like four partners a year on average since age 18, so about 50 partners. I'm nowhere near that number, but I tend to describe myself as a pretty promiscuous person (evidence, apparently, notwithstanding). A man who considers himself very promiscuous, by the age of 30, can get a great deal more done by that point. It's not really that he has a freer attitude toward sex; it's that he's not thinking things like "Oh, god, if I turn up pregnant, I'm going to want to know who I have to call."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
83

I also have to note that the 'girlfriend in Canada' thing cracks me up. Honest! I do have a husband!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
84

72: But there's the countertendency, as observed by Werdna and JM, in her explanation of Roomate's partners' likely motivation, to find a different kind of "safety" in men they were unlikely to become entangled with.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
85

I think it's fair to say that the guys I've known in the past who have been sexual 'high-achievers' [the ones with girls/women literally throwing themselves at them] have not, generally, been people one would automatically describe as 'safe'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
86

I think we also have to remember that the numbers all these researchers are dealing with are very very small. 12? 6? 4? Given what the range of the data would be, I'm guessing these differences are not terribly statistically significant.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
87

63: Another way of thinking about this might be (if I could get an analogy ban waiver for a moment) by comparing it to the housing market. In a buyers' market where supply exceeds demand, it average buyer can easily find a house to buy, but the average seller will have a harder time finding a willing seller. Nevertheless, the number of buyers is always equal to the number of sellers.

This analogy breaks down, of course, because you can't sell your house to five different buyers over the course of spring break. Thus demonstrating the wisdom of the analogy ban.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
88

51, 52: I don't think so. Isn't the symmetry we demand only that the total number of sex partners on each side be equal? Couldn't you have 10 guys with four partners each, four women with 10 partners each (those ten guys), and six women with no partners each? So forty on each side, mean of four, median of 4 for the men, zero for the women. And you might explain it by saying that every man asks/says yes to every woman he runs into, and only four women ask/say yes to every man who she runs into.

I'm totally willing and happy to be corrected on this.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
89

82: Yeah. Using your number, whigh seems like a fair guess, I'd say that there are a fair number of women who'd come off as reasonably 'promiscuous' with lifetime numbers under 50, but very few much over 50. For 'promiscuous' men, I'd guess that there might be fewer overall, but more with numbers getting into triple digits.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
90

In 87 "willing seller" s/b "willing buyer". Thus demonstrating the wisdom of hitting "Preview" before hitting "Post".


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
91

66: yes, it could theoretically mess with the sample mean. I was thinking of the population mean. The fact that there's so much room for potential divergence between the two is another good indicator that we're not dealing with a normal distributon, right?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
92

"Werdna" wouldn't be a bad name to name a kid. It sounds like a girl's name though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
93

91: This is probably right.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
94

I get that people could lie to make themselves look good, but I don't see that sort of explanation being trotted out for other survey-based discrepancies.

There are claims that people lie to surveyors about voting for black candidates. It's not clear, I gather, how well supported those claims are.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
95

I've just performed a self-inventory, naming names, and find my number is half what I would have thought, and what I thought I remembered counting. "Forgettables" may swim back into view, but I doubt it. If I'd been answering a multiple-choice survey, without the opportunity or inclination to perform this introspection, I'd have over-reported by a factor of 2.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
96

So, wait - the # of willing buyers is always the same as willing sellers? Or just the number of actual buuyers is the same as actual sellers? The latter makes perfect sense, but I can't wrap my head around the former at all.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
97

95: That's odd. Can you figure out why?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
98

re: 95

Every time I count I get a number that varies by a margin of error above/below a rough central point. However, if being surveyed I'd probably report the higher rather than lower figure. Not as much of a margin of error as a factor of 2, but certainly, the odds are I'd over-report by a bit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
99

96: Yes, the latter, definitely not the former. My brain is not firing on all cylinders today.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
100

That sounds wrong -- wouldn't the most accurate number be the highest one you remember, assuming you don't have difficulty with the actual counting bit? That is, I can see wrongly remembering a number that's too low, because you forgot someone. The possibility of mistakenly inventing a sex partner seems less likely. (Although, there's IDP, so maybe I'm wrong.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
101

Enough with the formalities, people: it's time to cough up numbers. The other day LB claimed to be the official harlot of unfogged and it's time to see if she can back that up.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
102

How are we counting partners? Kissing? Groping? Genital contact? Penetration?

(The Catholic schoolgirl exemption.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
103

Forgettables" may swim back into view, but I doubt it. If I'd been answering a multiple-choice survey, without the opportunity or inclination to perform this introspection...

I've done many, many qualitative interviews, on personal topics less touchy than public health or sexual history. I have routinely found that the off-the-top-of-your-head answer to questions like "How many jobs have you had?" and "How many addresses have you had in the past five years?" is X, but once I start tracing the actual path of activities, it becomes X+ something. ("So you started that job in the wintertime...was it before or after your baby was born? Did you stop working after that? OK, how old was the baby when you went back to work? etc.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
104

but very few much over 50

I'll bet the number of women with 50+ sexual partners is quite a bit higher than most people would guess. Particularly if you're not restricting it to actual vaginal intercourse.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
105

not dealing with a normal distributon,

Likely choices are Poisson (distribution of counts of low-frequency events, say clicks per minute of a Geiger counter), power-law (often a consequence of scaling laws in the underlying dynamics; cube of the height divided by the square of the reticence sort of thing), and lognormal (product not sum of randomly distributed variables with finite variance; human wealth and turbulent dissipation are mostly distributed this way, wealth exception likely due to the ability to hire people smarter than you to make decisions). My bet is lognormal, but resolving will be possible only in the surveillance future.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
106

97: Considering the tenor of our past exchanges, you may be gratified to learn that "residual competitiveness"/"self-image" is all I can come up with.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
107

I think I'm holding at a round dozen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
108

My policy is of long standing, with a very low number plus one "maybe".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
109

85: the ones with girls/women literally throwing themselves at them

Literally, hmm? Do they throw themselves off a building onto him? Or do they get a running start and sort of fling themselves, à la pro wrestling?

(Look, someone's got to be pedantic while w-lfs-n's in class.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
110

I have very deft manipulation control of my own memory, if the objectivity of outside parties is to be trusted. I don't know that I coudl trust that my highest # was my most accurate.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
111

re: 100

Well, sort of. But I've never come up with the same figure. And I remember at some point in the past counting n so I go with n [on the grounds you give], but at other times I've remembered that named individual p and 'that girl at B's party' were actually one and the same person, and that I've double counted, etc.

So I'm fairly sure that the largest n is wrong and over-counts by a margin of error.

This implies that the n is gigantic, which it's not. I'm just forgetful.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
112

There's some not-all-that-old thread in which people gave numbers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
113

54: It's not that I'd expect more lying on a survey than in real life, but I don't find it hard to believe either. Sure, that nice person with the clipboard in the mall says this is confidential, but they'd still turn it over to the police if you confessed to doing something really horrible, wouldn't they? What if this is actually some "Punk'd" thing, or a prank your asshole friend is playing on you? (Are you sure it's not?) And if this is all confidential and won't affect anything, then why not round in your favor and stuff? If you think about it as sex or not-really-sex in your own mental tally -- a woman might not count having been raped, a man might be as excited by having got a blowjob as actually having had intercourse -- then why bother parsing out what "really" happened just for the sake of some study?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
114

109 was me.


Posted by: Sir Kraab the Pedant | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
115

113: Then that's not lying, that's a need for a better-designed study.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
116

right, I remember this in a thread recently. I think there was some quiz involved, where one got point for all the "bad" things she had done, including having a high # ....


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
117

112: yeah, I remember that.

For official statistics, I think anyone who's slept with me ought to count that one as a double.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
118

109 was me.

That right, thanks. I was totally blanking on 109!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
119

117: For official statistics, I think anyone who's slept with me ought to count that one as a double.

Dude, you've been married for years and you still haven't made it to home plate?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
120

112: Did I give a number, and was it the same as the one I just gave? I don't remember the thread at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
121

The thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
122

I don't know what this is evidence for, but it takes great strains of memory to remember a good number of the people I've slept with.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
123

101:Dead average for Kolata's American mean, defined restrictively. Perhaps half again as many if defined expansively.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
124

I add, it's not very many, but they were apparently not memorable.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
125

113: MIGHT not count rape? I can't imagine that a woman (or man) would. (As survivors, I mean; god knows rapists probably would.) For the 4,000th time, let me re-issue the official bulletin: Rape is not sex. It is not about sex. It is about power, domination, violence, etc.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
126

I am not at liberty to look this up, but this is all making me think of the funny Andie MacDowell monologue listing each of her partners by number in Four Weddings and a Funeral, as well as Eddie Izzard's bit on arguing with a girlfriend over whether he had lost his virginity.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
127

great strains of memory

This is interesting; likewise. How old are you? Is the strain the same as 5 years ago? I'm 41, and am not sure about the rate of strain increase.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
128

I think we also have to remember that the numbers all these researchers are dealing with are very very small. 12? 6? 4?

A) Maybe small by your standards!

B) It all depends on how many numbers there are. An average of 4.2 can be significantly different than an average of 4.0 if n=10000.

In the US study, the reported data on number of sexual partners was consistently very different between men and women, in every age group, every race, poverty level, et cetera. With n=6,237. Here's the data, especially charts 7 and 9. These are extremely significant differences.

Some of the numbers are interesting. The # of sex partners is similar in all three of the income categories.

Also, note that they do have a category for how many men/women report themselves as being promiscuous. "15 or more sexual partners in lifetime".

28.9% of all men put themselves in this category! And only 9.4% of women. Whoa, those few sluts must be working doubletime.

The white population reflects the overall numbers for "15 or more sexual partners in lifetime". For the black population, 46.2% of all men put themselves in this category, and only 12.5% of all women.

I really do think that this discrepancy is almost entirely the result of lies.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
129

127: I'm 27. I am positive my number is not higher than my age. I think it's around 20. I know it's more than 15.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
130

>15 partners = promiscuous???

My benchmarks in the realm of sexual propriety must be seriously skewed.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
131

I'm 24. I've had 2. 1 was a mistake. I'm now engaged to be married.

Expand it to any sort of interpersonal genital contact and the number becomes 6.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
132

When I was in Taiwan everyone was watching "Three's Company" and making wild assumptions about American sexual behavior. One female teacher was asked by a student whether she knew who the father(s) of her children was (were). He wasn't trying to be rude, as far as I can tell, but just cheeky; he thought that that was a normal question to ask an American woman. (In Chinese that would have been unspeakably rude, much worse than in English, and he did enormously enjoy breaking the Chinese rule).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
133

Oh, fine, after I post that, I go back to read two years ago when everyone was a prude. I'm just not good in relationships, y'all!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
134

I am 35, my number, and margin of error, is roughly in line with AWB's plus a bit.

However, I had had well over half my lifetime partners before I was 21. So when I first went to college I was probably at one end of the bell curve, and as I've gotten older and had longer relationships lasting over years it's slid towards the median.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
135

I don't know what this is evidence for, but it takes great strains of memory for a good number of the people I've slept with to recall having done so.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
136

Yeah, being single for long periods of time as an adult is going to affect numbers a lot without any particular change in sexual ethics. I've been in the same relationship since I was 24.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
137

re: 136

Yeah, I've had 3 relationships lasting over 3 years each. So, I've been single for less than one year in the past 14 years. That drastically changes the lifetime number of partners.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
138

It would take an enormous effort to get my number of partners up to my age. 3 or 4 women's soccer teams would have to take me up as a charity case.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
139

The most interesting thing in the stats is that for any of the "how many partners have you had" categories -- either "0-1", "2-6", "7-14", or "15 or more" -- the number of people putting themselves in that category hardly changes at all whether you are looking at 20-, 30-, 40-, or 50-somethings.

So, virtually everyone racks up all their conquests in their early 20s? Is this because a huge number of the people in the study were married? They don't say what percentage of the sample was from each demographic category.

I would have liked to see the age-based numbers broken down by marital status.

Finally, in the question about "ever had sex" and "age of first sex", sex includes oral sex. It doesn't say whether that applies to the questions about "number of sexual partners". The actual study design is probably somewhere on the CDC website along with the actual database of data.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
140

Since my number is 1, I play other memory games, like thinking of all the states/countries where it's happened.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
141

I don't know what my number is, but seven is clearly the best answer. Few enough that you can remember each one, and perhaps even warmly; not so few that your confidence or desirability is in question.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
142

I was just waiting for a president to chime in to boast/lament.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
143

I don't know what my number is

Bullshit.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
144

139, see 136, 137. I'd bet that ttaM's and my pattern is pretty common, and among people who remain not coupled up past their twenties, lots of them aren't having much sex at all. The Sex and the City demographic -- grownups engaged in a steady stream of short term relationships, isn't a big one. (Again, data pulled out of my ass.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
145

Thomas Jefferson's number was at least 2.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
146

I suspect that divorced people from 35-45 rack up big numbers as well.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
147

Will, you predator.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
148

143: Likewise. "I'm not saying" is fine, but "I don't remember," is nonsense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
149

Really? You called that sex?


Posted by: Martha Wayles Jefferosn | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
150

I am utterly and completely terrified.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
151

Bullshit

I could count, given the relevant parameters, I just haven't this morning, Bobala.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
152

re: 146

Yes, I have an older male relative [exact identity redacted] who says that getting divorced in his late 30s presented him with near unlimited opportunities for shagging around. Certainly more than he'd had when he was in his teens.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
153

146: Oh, true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
154

No, Ogged, I will not put you on my mailing list of recently separated women.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
155

Don't numbers go way up in retirement communities (fasted growing HIV+ population)?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
156

149- No, I was only counting Sally as the 1.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
157

I don't know what my number is

Bullshit.

Not at all. I tried to figure this out recently and I couldn't, at least not with any confidence.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
158

Also, I think Cala's 4 has been unduly overlooked. I know there are public-health people here -- can anyone confirm that the self-report problems that Tim cited (with regard to social attitudes like voting for a black candidate) are magnified 100x for men who are having sex with men but do not identify as gay?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
159

I really can't honestly count fumbling around in a college dorm bed as sex, especially if there was no penetration. Far too unsatisfying to count.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
160

157- You had trouble figuring out Ogged's number? That is surprising.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
161

great strains of memory

This is interesting; likewise. How old are you? Is the strain the same as 5 years ago? I'm 41, and am not sure about the rate of strain increase.

Do people not keep a list? I'm well aware of memory fade, or the forgettables, what have you, and not unlike the keeping of photographs, I want someday, when reminiscence becomes important, to be able to remember these people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
162

I vacillated on whether to post this presidentially, but...

My number is 19. Interestingly for the present debate, I am near certain that two of them would not count me in their number, for although the encounter involved vaginal penetration and ejaculation, the act was...er...exceedingly brief.

One of those two subsequently insisted to her roommates that she was a virgin, and the roommates found that hard to square with the fact that she had used emergency contraception.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
163

158: What about women underreporting teh gay sex?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
164

Seriously?! Er, yeah man. It was great.


Posted by: Sally | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
165

I suspect that divorced people from 35-45 rack up big numbers as well.

So heartening.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
166

I really can't honestly count fumbling around in a college dorm bed as sex, especially if there was no penetration. Far too unsatisfying to count.

Well sure, if there was no penetration.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
167

139: Ex recto, but I suspect that the general pattern is like LB and Matt. Series of partners (one-night stands or short relationships) that turn into longer monogamous relationships, that turn into a marriage. Even if there's a lot of infidelity, it could still correlate pretty well with everyone's number being pretty much fixed by the time they marry.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
168

159: Is it wrong that my mental definition of 'sex' turns heavily on nudity? Genital-genital or oral-genital contact culminating in orgasm is sex (penetration is sex even if no one comes), and anything else culminating in orgasm is sex if you're mostly naked, not if you're not. I don't think this is logically consistent or anything, but on inspection of my beliefs, I'm pretty committed to this definition.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
169

But there is a post-Clintonian pattern of insisting that oral sex is sex. In some cases, I can see it, but in others, it just doesn't count.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
170

169 to 166.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
171

Do people not keep a list?

I'm finding this hilarious. I've never heard of people keeping a list, and the image of someone getting out The List when it's time for an addition is making me laugh. Do you ever subtract someone from the the list?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
172

158: Remember that infamous Oprah episode where that guy was like "yeah, I have sex with men, but I'm not gay. I'm on the DL" and Oprah couldn't wrap her mind around it?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
173

A dating pattern I've found out about recently is sober, needy women joining AA to pick up needy, recovering guys.

157: It's hard to know exactly how many people are on the other side of the knothole.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
174

163: I confess to complete ignorance of the literature (informal or otherwise) on how likely women are to lie and/or not interpret gay sex as "real" sex. So I dunno. I brought up the other because there is such a wealth of primary and secondary data showing that, well, men lie about this topic. To themselves and others.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
175

168: Yeah, see, this definition stuff could really affect my number. Maybe I've been doing better than I thought...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
176

Not at all. I tried to figure this out recently and I couldn't, at least not with any confidence.

I could kind of see that. People are weird about sex, even to themselves, and I think that probably effects the extent of your memory of sexual partners.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
177

168:

Elaine: Hey, when do you consider sex is taking place?
Jerry: I would say, when the nipple makes its first appearance.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
178

161: I have to admit that I've got one partner who I probably remember only because of earlier attempts to come up with a number -- I was trying to count years ago, and forgot this guy, and felt terribly bad about it when I remembered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
179

168: remember when LB tried to justify all those bathroom trysts as not really cheating because she had her clothes on?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
180

Dammit, I knew catching up with unfogged would make me want to post on a thread. So I'm just ducking in here, because something bugs me about this subject.

re AWB's 129. I think my number has been higher than my age since I was 15 or 16. 17 at the latest. Sometimes not very much, and it might have briefly dipped below once or twice.

I honestly can't remember the total. I lost track somewhere around 35. I don't think I'm double that now, but I might be (and I guess if I am, I'm unlikely to ever get under my age again) By all this I mean unambigously `having sex', I have absolutely no idea what the number would be if you start counting other things.

I've never thought of myself as being promiscuous. I wasn't ever particularly popular, and it seem I've always known people who were far more active than I (if you start counting gay men, I've known a few for which that 35 would constitute a really quiet year. For one in particular, a good month). I guess I'm in the `forget the forgettables' class which above conversation suggests would be typical for women, atypical for men?

Which leads me to the thing that bugs me about all this. I've been with a few women who had a lot of trouble with either the raw numbers, or the fact that I couldn't be sure about them. I mean they had really, really strong feelings about this that made me question my self-image in this aspect. I don't understand this. They weren't worried about risk per se (we had seperate conversations about that, and were of course tested) , or my ability to commit to monogamy (if that was an issue). They just couldn't accept that this was ok, somehow. Does this make sense to anyone?

Oh, and if you can't infer who it is hiding behind this thin veil of anonymity, I'm male & heterosexual fwiw.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
181

173: Thanks for the tip, John!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
182

Genital-genital or oral-genital contact culminating in orgasm is sex (penetration is sex even if no one comes), and anything else culminating in orgasm is sex if you're mostly naked, not if you're not.

Isn't this one of the major themes of Clerks? Remember how she'd only slept with four people, until he asked her how many blowjobs she'd given? This pattern was super, super common when I was in college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
183

I don't have a list, as it were, but a few months ago I did write out a series of limericks about the ones I could recall.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
184

I've never thought of myself as being promiscuous

Butcha are, Blanche, butcha are.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
185

re: 182

This pattern was super, super common when I was in college.

That's sort of a US cliché, isn't it? At least every conversation I've ever had with an American suggests it is.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
186

182: "In a row?"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
187

That's sort of a US cliché, isn't it?

Hey! It's meaningful to us!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
188

185: It's...not a UK cliché as well?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
189

182 makes me want to know if anyone has studied rates of reciprocation.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
190

It's funny, I know it as a cliche, but not from people I know personally. Women whose sexual histories I know much about don't have a lot of 'just short of sex', or 'oral only' partners. I don't know if this is a self-selected social group thing, or what.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
191

re: 188

No. Not at all, in my experience.

Cultural differences, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
192

Further to 191, in fact, I am pretty sure the cliché when I was in my teens was almost entirely the other way round.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
193

I never got into the random-blowjob world of college, and barely knew about it, but my roommate, who had been, for two years, a dedicated member of a pseudo-Christian cult of extremely controlling morals, gave it up to suck cock while eating pizza in the local fraternity house. It was quite the spectacle, I'm told.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
194

I am pretty sure the cliché when I was in my teens was almost entirely the other way round.

Guys I know who've dated Europeans have noted this.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
195

De nada, Di. Go for the gusto!

By Jesus' / Jimmy Carter's standard (looking at a woman with lust in my heart) my number is in the 4 figures at least.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
196

Cultural differences, etc.

Um, not to be mundane about it, but do you think healthcare differences at least as much as cultural ones? I have the vague impression that regular reproductive health care (incl. birth control prescriptions, shots, etc.) is cheaper, easier, and more common in the UK than the US.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
197

190: It's a cliche (how do I make the little accent marks and whatnot in Vista?), but one that holds in my experience... there's a few everything-but boyfriends prior to actual first-time sex.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
198

suck cock while eating pizza... quite the spectacle

It certainly sounds like it. Drinking a smoothie at the same time I could see, but eating pizza is a virtuouso move.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
199

Random blow jobs are very rarely for reproductive health reasons.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
200

I don't understand what "the other way round" means. It applies to men instead of women? Women consider oral sex but not intercourse to be sex?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
201

189/190: ok, one more thing and I'm off again.

I've talked to several (4-5 at least) women at different times who have said they are more comfortable with letting a man have intercourse with them than letting him perform oral on them. They also said that giving oral was even less problematic. So this might affect rates of reciprocation, as 189 puts it.

I've never heard anything equivalent from men.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
202

198: Your choice of "smoothie" here is cracking me up.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
203

Random blow jobs are very rarely for reproductive health reasons.

WHAT?

I THOUGHT BEING INOCULATED WITH SPERM WOULD ACT AS A VACCINE AGAINST PREGNANCY.

ALSO, 200!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
204

Nedster, it means that American girls will blow you before they'll fuck you, and European girls will fuck you before they'll blow you. Pardon my French.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
205

I don't understand what "the other way round" means.

With the hoo-ha instead of the pee-pee.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
206

171:

the image of someone getting out The List when it's time for an addition is making me laugh. Do you ever subtract someone from the the list?

You lack imagination on this. No, you look for the list every couple of years for whatever reason, can't find it, decide maybe you'll attempt to write it again. Put it away somewhere. Some other time find the past version of the list, have a conversation with yourself about how it really should be kept somewhere safe. Forget about it again.

Subtract someone from the list? [/blank stare]


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
207

Heebie, when the Brits diss our ancient customs, just remind them that they've been a second rate power since Suez.

Also, just say
"

:-) Blair! :-)
"


Note: remember use/mention distinction.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
208

201: Agreed. I was never interested in oral as a replacement for sex, even when I was a virgin. The boys seemed to think it prevented "emotional attachment," something they'd heard that women do because women are irrational crazies.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
209

Pizza-party etiquette requires that the man reciprocate.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
210

re: 196

Nah, it's cultural and independent of any kind of health care issue, I think. I grew up in an area where teen pregnancy was common and birth control was quite a long way down the list of priorities. I don't think what people did, and when, was particularly influenced by access to contraception [although I may be wrong].

It's possibly a factor in college age sex, perhaps, in the sense that on campus there'll be easy access to birth control, but I'm fairly sure the behavioural differences are all cultural.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
211

I've talked to several (4-5 at least) women at different times who have said they are more comfortable with letting a man have intercourse with them than letting him perform oral on them. They also said that giving oral was even less problematic. So this might affect rates of reciprocation, as 189 puts it.

Same exact thing here. A girl once told me that I was very trustworthy, and if we were going out she would let me go down on her, unlike many douchebags with whom she would be too uncomfortable to do that but with whom she would be willing to engage in the less personal and vulnerable act of intercourse.

She was drunk at the time. I did not actually ever go out with her.


Posted by: Millard Fillmore | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
212

201: Wow. The idea that anyone -- male or female -- would rather give than receive blows my mind.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
213

pun intended (sorta).


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
214

Pizza-party etiquette requires that the man reciprocate.

The women all know that if you take more than one cock at a time, you'll look greedy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
215

208 is weird. Did the men believe that because they knew they were fantastically bad at giving oral sex?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
216

See, there's no penis dentata legend, whereas oral dentata is an actual fact. Scuzzy guys can be pretty sick.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
217

211: That's hilarious. I can't imagine telling someone I'm not dating, "I would deign to allow you to go downtown! See how special you are to me?"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
218

With the hoo-ha instead of the pee-pee.

I am a simpleton who laughed out loud when I read that.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
219

Pizza-party etiquette requires that the man reciprocate.

But the social convention requires that she take only one turn until she is certain he is fully sated.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
220

Study Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Heebie, and you will be able to amaze the guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
221

212: Feminism really, really needs to reach the high school/college-age populations.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
222

Please note AWB's stated position on cunnilingus.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
223

I can't imagine telling someone I'm not dating, "I would deign to allow you to go downtown! See how special you are to me?"

A woman once said to me, "You don't know how many guys would like to be where you are now!"

I almost left. Almost. Seriously! I really would have left.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
224

215: They said that because I was at a nerd school, where every male student has been told that ladies are soul-suckers who are out to keep them from being #1. The joke, of course, was that they were are super-emotional about everything.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
225

219 totally pwned by 214. Dammit.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
226

The idea that anyone -- male or female -- would rather give than receive blows my mind.

Megan has mentioned that she does a poll about this at parties and almost always the majority would rather give.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
227

Opportunity and lifestyle are very important. Had I gone to a residential college my number would be higher; I lived at home and commuted. I worked summers and took quarters off to work and build up cash reserves. When I worked construction, driving trucks, or in a factory, I never met any women. After class I would go home.

When I started working in kitchens, right out of college, all that changed: I worked with and alongside of women, keeping crazy hours. That was all it took. That period lasted about two years, until I went to grad school. I had two serious relationships there, the second one was with my wife. The period where I the opportunity and inclination for new partners was certainly not 5 years, and may have been less than 3.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
228

224: were are s/b were


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
229

212: I suspect from the conversations that this was an issue of personal comfort with intimacy, body image (getting someones face in your junk is uncomfortable if you have programmed guilt etc. about said junk), and sexuality. I guess I can also see regarding giving a blowjob as a non-sexual act for you (not them), and hence non-intrusive, in some way. Why you would decide to do this anyway is a different question ...


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
230

Of course, there's the Republican who just got busted for public indecency (I should work harder to remember names.) If I've got the story straight, the Republican offered the cop $20 so that the cop would allow the Republican to blow him -- paying for the privilege of giving oral sex. So, this is not unknown among the gay male population.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
231

229: Blowjobs are pretty intrusive if you do it right.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
232

Megan has mentioned that she does a poll about this at parties and almost always the majority would rather give.

I am shocked that a people would admit to the group that they are a selfless in bed. You would think more people would admit that they lose interest after they get their's.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
233

My experience is the same as anonatwork's on women allowing oral sex to be performed on them. My sense is that there's some sort of trust issue/body image thing going on.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
234

224: I'm familiar with the "avoid attachment/wandering uterus" rule. I'm just confused about how oral-only could avoid that. The only conceivable explanation is that men know that the women won't orgasm since they're generally really bad at cunnilingus. Which would be a weird thing for a sexist to believe.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
235

Yeah yeah, but it seems right to me.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
236

(Look, someone's got to be pedantic while w-lfs-n's in class.)

I was asleep.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
237

233: Or maybe it's that you're not very good at it? Why rush to the women-hate-themselves crap?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
238

Study Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Heebie, and you will be able to amaze the guys.

Saxophones are one thing, but can he tap out a tune on the skin flute?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
239

237: The times it has come up, the women have explicitly mentioned the body issue thing.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
240

Do people not keep a list?

Christ no. That's disgusting.

A memory isn't a couple of syllables, it's a smile or a patch of skin or an unusual phrase, maybe even with emotions attached. Logically, the name of a person or place might serve as a mnemonic, but... yuck.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
241

230: Probably a larger, less Republican sample is required.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
242

Megan has mentioned that she does a poll about this at parties and almost always the majority would rather give.

How can I get invited to one of Megan's parties?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
243

234: Isn't part of what's going on here (and part, I think, of why I'm not personally familiar with the cliched blowjobs-yes-sex-no behavior) people with literal moral qualms about promiscuity, graded by the level of the sex act: kissing, not very bad; groping, badder; oral sex; not that much past groping, but not as bad as; intercourse? So if you don't have intercourse, you're not as intimate on a moral level, and it doesn't have to be a meaningful relationship to avoid worries about sluttishness.

I'm not sure this is really what's going on, but I think it might be a factor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
244

Christ no. That's disgusting. A memory isn't a couple of syllables, it's a smile or a patch of skin

I think it's grosser to keep a patch of their skin.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
245

239: I'm surprised. I find men tend to assume that the things I do or want in bed have something to do with my inevitable Feemale Self-Loathing or Feemale Emotional Attachment, when really I'm just trying to make things fun.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
246

How can I get invited to one of Megan's parties?

Apparently, profess that you are giver, not a receiver.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
247

Blowjobs are pretty intrusive if you do it right.

Like a catheter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
248

244, 247: Heebie is the funniest ever.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
249

242: I think that we're collectively banned from Megan's parties. They probably begin the evening by commenting on the fact that certain kinds of people don't know how to have fun, IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
250

That's hilarious. I can't imagine telling someone I'm not dating, "I would deign to allow you to go downtown! See how special you are to me?"

We were having a semi-serious conversation about how annoying it is to go through a dry spell in which there are no potential sex partners, after leaving a relationship during which there were many opportunities to cheat that were not taken. Earlier I had said that I was much better at oral sex than actual intercourse and it was a shame that no girl was taking advantage of it, etc., etc.


Posted by: Millard Fillmore | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
251

"Who do I have to blow to get invited to one of Megan's parties?"

Probably Megan, though perhaps she assigns someone else if she's busy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
252

248: Perhaps true, but at times I am disturbed by the way she verges on bad taste.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
253

247: Weirdest sex act I have ever read about: A Danish mystery novel, Smilla's Sense of Snow includes (in a book with not all that much sex in it) a scene in which a woman fucks a man's urethra with her clit. That just does not sound practical, barring genital anatomy significantly different from any I've encountered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
254

240:

Christ no. That's disgusting.

Excuse me?

You are assuming that such a list is like notches on a belt or a bedpost? Try going with the more charitable interpretation of it as a mnemonic.

Frankly, I can reconstruct periods of my life I might not otherwise remember particularly well by wandering through such a list.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
255

252: Oh, your stars and your whiskers!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
256

I update my list every year, whether I've had sex or not that year. This will be a boon for future historians.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
257

I think it's grosser to keep a patch of their skin.

Something to alphabetize.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
258

254: That's why limericks are especially good. You can do a little description, and they're easy to remember!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
259

237: I'm not basing that on any inference from experience had during sex, and I hate to project that onto any other women. To hopefully clear that up:

- these were conversations about sex, not conversations during sex. In all but one case, these were women I had not or did not ever sleep with
- all of these women told me they found oral more intimate than piv sex.
- one said she just didn't like it.
- two (or three?) said that although they realized it was irrational, they felt (residual) guilt/shame doing this that didn't come up in piv sex. They said they had to be much more comfortable with a man to enjoy it.


fwiw, one conversation was with three women who were comparing notes, and it has come up once or twice elsewhere.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
260

248: YAYY!! I perpetually fret over whether I'm being funny or annoying. It defines a lot of my life.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
261

Wouldn't Clerihews work better? More flexibilty for accomodating names.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
262

212: really? I love giving. But I'm not really a big fan of blowjobs, which are the only sort of oral sex I've even received. They're okay enough from time to time, but not generally something I'm going to get excited about.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
263

253: see? I keep getting sucked in.

But I've encountered genital anatomy that would be capable of such an act, given that the mans was.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
264

204: Perhaps this relates to the sedentary American lifestyle.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
265

But I'm not really a big fan of blowjobs, which are the only sort of oral sex I've even received.

This made me laugh. Methinks you protesteth too much!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
266

given that the mans was.

That's making an unwarranted assumption, I would surmise. But this is a digression.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
267

245 surprises and saddens me.

Isn't making things fun a big part of the point?


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
268

259: I think a lot of women feel bored during oral, that it is less pleasurable when you don't have something to do. A few women have that Massengill-ad-inspired fear of their own vaginas, but most adult women really don't. It's not that we don't enjoy the feeling, but it makes a lot of women feel forced into a position of passivity that we're not likely to enjoy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
269

Concrete poetry, in the shape of former lovers, various acts, etc.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
270

266:

By which I meant that without having tried it, I couldn't say for certain, but it certainly seemed plausible. I don't have nearly as good an idea of male genital variation though ... so I added a caveat.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
271

Just how typical do you think your attitude about this is, AWB?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
272

A few women have that Massengill-ad-inspired fear of their own vaginas, but most adult women really don't.

Although, most people seem to collect most partners during college-age, when such fears are probably most prevalent. I certainly had qualms about oral on those grounds until encountering a partner who was clearly enjoying himself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
273

I think a lot of women feel bored during oral, that it is less pleasurable when you don't have something to do.

I don't see any more being "done" by a woman during (missionary, at least) sex than during cunnilingus. It's not like you have to be immobile.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
274

267: Okay, yes, this is getting more to the point: Some guys treat sex like something they are doing "to" you. "I'm gonna make you come!" etc. This is boring and not fun. Sex is something I want to do together. If someone wants to go down on me for a few minutes, that's fine and enjoyable. But don't expect me to just lie there doing nothing while you prove to me how totally sexy you are and I stare at the ceiling.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
275

273: Missionary position sex gives a woman plenty to do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
276

273: This seems wrong to me, but I've discovered that (odd though it may seem from my prior posts) that explaining in detail why would feel like TMI.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
277

This is totally embarrassing, but I also think it's funny. The other day, after jogging but before showering, I took off all my clothes except my socks and tennis shoes, and ran around yelling, "I'M DORKY NAKED! I'M DORKY NAKED!" Jammies was totally disturbed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
278

Would the distinction between penetrative and non-penetrative sex make people's numbers of sex partners vary that much? Mine would be exactly the same.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
279

Again, my experience seems to mirror anonatwork's (#259) a bit. The specific issues that were mentioned by a couple of women were taste and smell (body image) and the likelihood that the other person would report that information to other people (trust issue). My categorizations may be bad categorizations, but they're not crazy ones.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
280

men are, for one reason or another, more comfortable with random sex than women

Not in Louisiana, they're not. More comfortable, that is. It takes two to leave a bar, and most nights, they both did.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
281

265: well, there are other varieties.
276: LB, the reason we all, including you, have totally impenetrable pseuds is so that there is no such thing as TMI. That is why the internets were created.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
282

274: True that some guys do this, and that's one way of being really bad at cunnilingus.

Why would you want to generalize from those guys and that experience, though? Which is what your 268 seems to be doing with its I think a lot of women feel bored during oral.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
283

274: gotcha. Some of that has to do with sexual (psycholgical) immaturity, perhaps less frequently amongst women but still there. People are sometimes more interested in having done this (for whatever reason) than actually doing it. It's always amazed me when people have told me they are having sex that isn't fun. I mean, as a habit. I just don't get it. It should be huge amounts of fun for everyone involved, or why bother?

I'd say the act(s) themselves are probably pretty irrelevant, it's the other persons reaction. If you start staring at the ceiling and doing nothing and they don't notice, this is a really, really bad sign.

Oh, and 273 is just plain wrong.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
284

273 didn't seem right to me either.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
285

273 didn't seem right to me either.

Time for a recount.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
286

Why does everyone keep saying 273 is wrong?

A woman stuck immobile while receiving oral sex? That seems odd.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
287

Why would you want to generalize from those guys and that experience, though?

Because that's what human beings do? Not having had all experiences, I tend to draw conclusions from the ones I've actually had, as opposed to the ones I see on TV.

I'm really just trying to defend against the impulse that interprets all of women's sexual preferences in terms of how ashamed they (of course) are of their disgusting bodies. Unless someone tells you explicitly, I think it is possible to assume that they might just not want what you're offering.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
288

There's 'immobile' and then there's saying you can move a lot more during missionary than during oral.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
289

260: You're quite reliably funny, IME.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
290

286: Now we know why no one's getting invited to Megan's parties.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
291

287: That makes sense, which is why I was clarifying that my information was from explicit discussion, not inferred from experience. I also certainly wouldn't assume these people spoke for anyone but themselves --- I just found it interesting that they felt this way at all.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
292

289: Thanks! Even 277? Because I think I shot my wad in posting that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
293

Now we know why no one's getting invited to Megan's parties.

for balance, they have to invite some people who enjoy receiving. But not the exact same number of people as like to give.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
294

291: I appreciate the clarification, and I didn't mean to jump on you. It's just a pet peeve of mine. I'm not the most classically beautiful girl in the world, and I tend to get a lot of over-reassurance from partners about everything, because they assume I'm sensitive about my looks. It's really insulting, and a total deal-breaker.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
295

See what I mean? If women have wads, I don't want to hear about them. I always try to keep my own comments within the bounds of good taste, though of course the flesh is sometimes weak.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
296

278: probably a factor of two, at least ... but that's a guess. As noted, I can't even really count the former.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
297

Excuse me? You are assuming that such a list is like notches on a belt

Yes, except also compulsive. Didn't mean to be rude-- much of my workday is spent with lists, it gives me hives when they intrude outside the office. The reaction says more about me than anything else, I guess.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
298

287: What, and they're just being polite? I've seen women get uptight about their femmy bits, and that tends to go downhill, but boredom? God, I hope this whole endeavor isn't some kind of socialist make-work program.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
299

There's 'immobile' and then there's saying you can move a lot more during missionary than during oral.

The opposite has been true for the 2 women I've been with, but that's a small sample size.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
300

287:

Not having had all experiences, I tend to draw conclusions from the ones I've actually had, as opposed to the ones I see on TV.

I conclude from this that you haven't received much good oral sex. Whether that's an unusual experience for many/most women I can't say.

I'm really just trying to defend against the impulse that interprets all of women's sexual preferences in terms of how ashamed they (of course) are of their disgusting bodies.

My impression from those who are reporting women's reports of having trust/body image issues over receiving oral sex is that these are strictly personal reports, from the field, as it were, and don't aspire to any claim to universality.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
301

I'm having trouble visualizing this, but I'm not going to argue with you.

(The real worry in one of these discussions is that someone will discover that they've been Doing It Wrong. At least that's the sort of thing I worry about.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
302

There's 'immobile' and then there's saying you can move a lot more during missionary than during oral.

My partners move less when I truss 'em up like cattle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
303

pwned by 291.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
304

301 to 299.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
305

300: It's very good; I'm not knocking it as a thing. It's just not what you see on TV and movies where it's all women want from sex.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
306

Would the distinction between penetrative and non-penetrative sex make people's numbers of sex partners vary that much?

Changes my number pretty sharply, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
307

294: Yeah, and I didn't even think about how this could have been read in the context you did. I wish I had, actually, because in my experience your take is very common. I hope (and believe) I have never been this way, but I have had many women comment that it has happened to them and it really gets to them. I mean that people (men) have assumed an inferiority complex or sensitivity or whatever, and acted on that assumption.

I'd be really insulted by it, were it to happen to me, so I can see where you are coming from.

I guess what I found interesting about it is I really can't imagine a man being tentative about getting oral. I can totally understand him not particularly enjoying it (them) and not wanting it but not for those sorts of reasons.

On the other hand, I've been told many men seem to have somewhat similar issues about piv sex, mostly about being judged I guess.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
308

The discussion of whether women are more active during missionary or cunnilingus is cracking me up. Look, some women, when you go down on them, will wrap their legs around your head and squirm like they're trying to break your neck. Some lie still and occasionally moan. Ditto with missionary.

Off to swim!

Sex is dirty and wrong!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
309

300.1: That was my initial reaction, but I figure she's had time enough to sample, and one of them must have been doing it right. Hence my make-work fears.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
310

anonatwork, I think you're knee-deep in the thread at this point. Might as well give up the pseudo-pseudonym.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
311

308: The difference, for me, is that missionary gives me a lot of great options of neat stuff to do to create mutual pleasure. Most of the stuff you can do during cunnilingus is about expressing appreciation.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
312

A woman receiving oral encouragement generally has a lot of latitude to move around as she pleases. A woman doing missionary work often has to more or less stay where she is put. (She's of course not held there against her will, but signifcant repositioning can affect the goal of the mission.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
313

310: I'm in for thist thread, that's it. You lot sucked me in against my will. But I'll keep my little shred of anonymity. I suspect the more I type, the more obvious it will be who is hiding here.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
314

Look, some women, when you go down on them, will wrap their legs around your head and squirm like they're trying to break your neck.

Are they saying "No, No, Goddamnit, I said NO!"?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
315

312: "I'll be in the kitchen if you need anything."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
316

312: the goal of the mission

To convert the natives?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
317

311 is basically what I was thinking when I denied the validity of 273. I wasn't really thinking about the available range of bodily motion, but what is actually likely to happen.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
318

292: Dorky naked is teh funny.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
319

318: Dorky naked is teh fun ...


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
320

312 is basically what I was thinking when I posted 273. Plus personal experience.

Comity!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
321

Dorky naked is teh standard.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
322

AWB has an entrepreneurial conception of sex.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
323

has to more or less stay where she is put

Brock only bangs chicks in wheelchairs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
324

"in wheelchairs" s/b "after removing them from their wheelchairs."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
325

We all have our kinks, Apo.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
326

A woman receiving oral encouragement

This is also cracking me up.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
327

Going back a bit:

72: Promiscuous women I've known, on the other hand, seem (I believe for safety reasons) much more likely to restrict themselves to acquaintances, or at least people they've interacted with enough to get a strong personal impression of.

I guess it kind of depends on how you define "promiscuous." To me, one of the defining characteristics of genuine promiscuity is that it often overrides normal safety considerations, so that you wind up with partner counts in the triple digits. (True of, or at least claimed by, several promiscuous women I've known.) OTOH I wouldn't be tempted to describe someone who has four partners a year as promiscuous.

I should warn you that I'm absolutely confident that I'm right and I intend to defend this position as if the very fate of humanity depends on my intransigence.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
328

(I guess maybe the ground in 327 has already been covered, I've just kind of skimmed the thread.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
329

Anyone else notice in the linked CDC data that the median (not mean) number of female partners for men was 6.8? How do you get 0.8?

Also note that the distribution is pretty clearly not symmetric. The proportion of those one median above the median (about 25%) is much greater than those one median below the median (0%, by definition).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
330

I really dislike that "promiscuous" song by Nelly Furtado. I think it's totally furtarded. And forced.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
331

330: That is the best song ever. You are wrong, wrong, wrong. Timbaland is a musical genius.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
332

301.2 makes me want to turn this thread into a compendium of the worst sex advice ever received, but I am both too late and too new here to do that.

I'll share anyway:

"I read this one time in Cosmo..." [from a guy]
"After you've done it enough times, do it drunk."


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
333

To go wildly off on another direction, in my experience some of the people many people thought were promiscuous turned out not to have been. I wonder how generally this is true.


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
334

My favourite piece of Cosmo sex advice ever was an issue where one of the Hot Sex Secrets was, literally, "show enthusiasm."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
335

the median (not mean) number of female partners for men was 6.8? How do you get 0.8?

If they're controlling for demographics to get a representative sample, then the number doesn't need to be an integer.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
336

How do you get 0.8?

Bed a woman with only one leg?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
337

334: better than "show identification."


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
338

I have certainly engaged in oral sex with many more partners than I have engaged in genital-genital contact with. Part of that is that most of my sleeping-around time took place in college, and somehow that was just the norm for not-committed sexual relationships in the circles I traveled in. I waver on the question of whether people with whom I engaged in various naked high jinx and oral-genital fun but never penetrative sex ought to count as "people I had sex with" -- I would be sort of inclined to say no, except then what about the girls I've had sex with? And if oral sex counts with them, it seems like it ought to count in general.


Posted by: refdotlaxshrub | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
339

Timbaland is a musical genius.

Yes, Timbaland is a musical genius. I seriously believe this and love nearly everything he's done. (But that one song is awful.) But the "The Way I Are" song - I love that one so, so much. I could talk Timbaland all day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
340

337: "Show your work for partial credit."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
341

340:
"Show your rough work for partial credit."


Posted by: anonatwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
342

336: People missing limbs: Not fully human.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
343

"NEVER fuck a car with the engine on."

This might just explain the numbers disparity.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
344

Timbaland is brilliant. But that song sucks. It happens. Nobody can bear reading "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," you know.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
345

339: Goddammit, how am I supposed to troll you with you tugging on my heart-strings like that? No fair.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
346

People missing limbs: Not fully human.

And yet, they get charged full cab fare. It's an unjust world out there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
347

The production on "Promiscuous" is awesome. I just don't understand what "promiscuous" is supposed to mean in the context of the lyrics.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
348

Haven't y'all been doing your reading at Twisty's, et al? Women = not fully human. The men's numbers are actually vastly inflated when you account for each woman bedded contributing only .75 of a human conquest.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
349

Haven't y'all been doing your reading at Twisty's, et al? Women = not fully human. The men's numbers are actually vastly larger when you account for each woman bedded contributing only .75 of a human conquest.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
350

Doctor Slack, I don't got a huge old house, I rent a room in a house.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
351

whoops.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
352

Haven't y'all been doing your reading at Twisty's

Not if I can help it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
353

3
The message here is that there is an elite corps of women who are having sex with virtually everyone they know in order to keep the ladies' average up.

I happen to know the generalissima of this most considerate of vanguards. Bless their strumpety souls.


Posted by: Mr. Sticky | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
354

Mr. Sticky!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
355

On the whole definitional problem, I'm seriously amused that I can choose to identify myself as either virgin or whore, although obviously not both.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
356

350: I ain't got a motorboat / but I can float ya boat.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
357

355: Triple-digit blowjobs, no penetration?


Posted by: Millard Fillmore | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
358

I love the Texas girls who turn to anal to preserve their virginity. I love to picture them explaining to their fathers, "I'm still your princess, Daddy! I haven't lost my virginity! See, I found this loophole..."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
359

Your body ain't Pamela Anderson. It's a struggle just to get you in the caravan.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
360

357: I've never done PIV with an actual P, and I dated a professional dominatrix for a while (we met in the context of the non-commercial SM scene) and once did a "two mistress" scene with her and one of her "A-list" clients.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
361

Actually, I should say "biological" and not "actual". But that's probably a distinction that'll be largely lost on Unfogged, I imagine.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
362

I'm still your princess, Daddy! I haven't lost my virginity! See, I found this loophole


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
363

361: But that's probably a distinction that'll be largely lost on Unfogged, I imagine.

???


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
364

Are you questioning my assessment of the collective Unfogged hipness to the issues surrounding the genitalia of transpersons, MAE, or seriously asking the questing?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
365

358: This is a fairly common attitude. The last time it was mentioned there was a reference to Naipaul's essay The Return of Eva Peron, and I remember first encountering it there also. About 1980. The literalism is of course extreme, and reminds of other, also usually religious-based ways of observing the letter without what most of us would think of as the spirit.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
366

I love the Texas girls who turn to anal to preserve their virginity.

Proof that teenagers fear pregnancy far more than disease.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
367

LR has a bionic prosthetic transhuman penetrator thingie. She is post-singularity ahead of the rest of us.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
368

I'm surprised no one has linked to this particular study yet. Women randomly divided into groups, some hooked up to electrodes that were described as a lie detector, others told their survey was anonymous, first group reported an average of 4.4 sexual partners, second group 2.7.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
369

Or, you know, I just have a boyfriend who's FtM trans and I'm not going to be an asshole and refer to his penis as not-actually-a-penis because he wasn't born with it. Sort of like how I don't refer to him as "she".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
370

368: College students again, but we've mostly agreed those are the active years. It's interesting that the numbers for men and women about match when the lie detection effect kicks in.

And it's pretty sad if true.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
371

369: On those grounds, I think you lose your virgin eligibility. You can return the unicorn to the stables around back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
372

364: I would consider the collective wisdom of the Unfoggetariat to be relatively hip to the relevant distinctions. But maybe I'm not hip enough to know what I'm not getting.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
373

371: On those grounds, I think you lose your virgin eligibility. You can return the unicorn to the stables around back.

Nooooooooo, not Blinky!!!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
374

370: College students again, but we've mostly agreed those are the active years. It's interesting that the numbers for men and women about match when the lie detection effect kicks in.
And it's pretty sad if true.

Yeah, I suppose. I think that the amount of time spent single is the biggest determinant - it's not hard to put together a few a year, and over time that really adds up.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
375

I'm an Unfoggetarian closer to what LR must have in mind: I wasn't aware FtM trans equipment worked well enough for that.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
376

I wasn't aware FtM trans equipment worked well enough for that.

Same here.

Also, I don't understand the definition of the word "biological" being used here, although I do understand what LRock is talking about.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
377

To go wildly off on another direction, in my experience some of the people many people thought were promiscuous turned out not to have been. I wonder how generally this is true.

This was the case with my high school girlfriend. Everyone thought she was promiscuous, I think largely because she had sort of a punk rock aesthetic, but she actually wasn't even interested in having sex at all (to my endless frustration).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
378

Well, at least people thought you were gettin' some. Which in high school can often be preferable to actually gettin' some. (less chance of punishment)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
379

OTOH, I've met tons of people who you'd think, on meeting them, were absolutely, positively virginal, but turn out to have had super-kinky multi-gendered orgy sex. I can't decide whether they find it insulting that everyone is so surprised, or secretly delightful.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
380

378: I suppose, but it didn't really translate into any noticeable advantages for me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
381

I once knew a woman who claimed to only have slept with 2 men. We discussed it one time, and her definition had loopholes such as: if she only slept with them one time, it didn't count. If she didn't plan on sleeping with them, but did on an impulse, that didn't count. Her true total was closer to 13. In her honor, I have adopted the definition that it only counts as "sex" if you have slept with the person one thousand times, which makes me a one-woman man. I'm practically a role-model.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
382

379 has happened to me so often that I now assume anyone who seems virginal is a big time slut unless I have clear evidence otherwise.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
383

370: to me, the interesting part of this is that it's the women lying, not the men. I mean, as a guy, no, I've never been in an anonymous survey and inflated my numbers, but it doesn't sound any less likely to me than a woman downplaying hers.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
384

to my endless frustration

It will end eventually, teo. I'm sure of it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
385

On the other hand...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
386

See? Just mentioning the possibility is enough to kill the blog.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
387

386: Impressive.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
388

I am become sex, destroyer of blogs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
389

364: For what it's worth, I've know transgendered people (both FTM and MTF) fairly well, so I might question your assessment, yes. Not that I have personal experience, but this sort of thing seems to be a pretty common topic in the community (and with in comfortable social settings I guess).


Posted by: anonnolongeratwork | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
390

i haven't read this yet but "false consciousness" didn't show up on a search.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
391

Having trust issues about cunnilingus=/ body image issues, guys.

You can be absolutely delighted and in love with yourself as you are down there, and still think it is a more intimate act.

You're no longer face to face, for one thing, so you can't see him properly. And it's easy to completely flip out into crazy orgasm, which is a vulnerable state. And above all, it's sensitive down there!


Posted by: Marie Curie | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
392

I've encountered the "oral is more intimate than piv" concept twice. Once was from the girl who took my virginity (when it wasn't a question) and once was from a girl I hooked up with in college, who said, "it's been a long time since I felt comfortable to do that with anyone" after I went first and she reciprocated.

As to the counting thing -- my ninth became my wife, which took me out of circulation for my twenties, and my thirteenth became my girlfriend, whom I hope will take me out of circulation for a good while longer than the first one. I could bump the numbers up a trifle by counting oral, but in all cases where that's true, the thought was clearly "well, we're not ready to have sex, but this would be fun". So I don't count it as sex.

Interestingly, both my soon-to-be-ex-wife and my girlfriend have had far more lovers than I have had. In the first case, I would persistently ask for her number, which she refused to give (or claimed not to know), and it was something of a burr. In the second, she told me early on that she deliberately decided not to keep track of the number, and I accepted that without much fuss.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
393

Once was from the girl who took my virginity

Did she give it back?

Did you sue?

By sue, of course, I mean stick your tongue in the holiest of holies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
394

No, no, no.

Unless by holiest of holies, you are in fact referring to a location in Temple Beth Shalom, in which case, maybe.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
395

Unless by "a location in Temple Beth Shalom" you are referring to a location thoroughly obscured by conservative shabbos skirts and undergarments, no, no I'm not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:03 PM
horizontal rule
396

171: You're number 37, have a look


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
397

The preference for giving: You can experience the sensation of arousal and orgasm during jerkingoff, but you can't experience the sensation of someone else getting off. So giving does that that advantage.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:21 PM
horizontal rule
398

I thought giving oral was giving into the Patriarchy, not recieving.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-14-07 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
399

I suspect that both so-called cunnilingus issues and the fact that American women will give a guy a b.j. before they'll fuck him have a hell of a lot to do with what American women are taught about men and sex. Sex is a service you provide, men only want sex, by "sex" men mean "orgasm" (but women don't), and it's all about making the guy happy.

So I do think it's about a deep insecurity, but not about body or dirty coochies or anything so simple. More like an anxiety that men don't really like women along with the idea that being liked, if you're a woman, is extremely important--more important than thinking about whether or not you like the person you're worried might not like you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 3:48 AM
horizontal rule
400

20: One factor that Knecht touched on is that larger numbers of partners are less likely to be accurately recalled than smaller numbers. At age 50, my lifetime number of sex partners is 5. I'm sure that number is accurate, because I remember all of them. It doesn't matter whether or not you count the BJs. On the other hand, if you want to know how many women I dated over the twelve years between starting college at 17 and starting to date Kay at 29, my best estimate is somewhere around 3 dozen. I'm pretty sure it was more than 2 dozen and less than 4 dozen, but beyond that things get a little fuzzy. I'm sure there were some women I went out with once or twice that I don't particularly recall, and there are some borderline cases where it depends on exactly how you define dating.

Now some of that difference is due to sex being more memorable than casual dating, but I think some of it is just the sheer numbers involved. At some point, unless you were keeping a diary or other record, you're just not going to remember all the casual encounters you might have had. And if those with the largest numbers of partners have the biggest errors in their estimates, those errors will have a disproportionate effect on the overall means if they are systematic rather than random.

For what it's worth, I'm part of LB's 16% that is still below the median number of partners. My first time was at age 25, after eight years of trying to find a sexual relationship, when I concluded that there was a small but non-zero chance that I simply lacked whatever mysterious "chemistry" it took to attract women physically, and that maybe none of my dating relationships were ever going to get consumated. So I decided to take care of the problem while on a trip to Vegas, rather than continue to wait for an event that might never happen. Another close friend from grad school is probably in the same category, though I'm not sure I know about all his sexual partners. The ones I know about were a couple of commercial encounters from his first year, the girlfriend he lived with for the next couple of years, and the woman he subsequently met and married.

Another fun fact: my median number of sexual encounters per partner is two, although the mean is much higher. Ms. Median intended to break things off after the first time we slept together, but couldn't quite bring herself to tell me face-to-face, which led to a bonus session the next time we got together. She subsequently broke up by letter, claiming that we were just "too different" for things to work out. I sent her a collection of assorted flowers with a note: "They may all be different, but they sure look nice together." She laughed, but we stayed broken up.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 3:57 AM
horizontal rule
401

Sex is a service you provide, men only want sex, by "sex" men mean "orgasm" (but women don't), and it's all about making the guy happy.

Yeah. I've always understood the US b.j.-thing as being something like, crudely, buying the guy off with a b.j. Whereas the European thing, re: fucking is, "fucking will (physically) get me off, too. If you want me to do something that doesn't (physically) get me off, I bloody well better like you."


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:15 AM
horizontal rule
402

i don't know why the analysis of 399 applies more to america than to to britain


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:17 AM
horizontal rule
403

oh, pwned by 401.

but it actually doesn't answer it. i woudl assume it might be the otehr way around.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:18 AM
horizontal rule
404

re: 402

Er, because British people don't share the same cultural values as the US? It's easy to mistake the shared language for a common culture. For a start, no-one [or as near as dammit no-one] is religious.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:18 AM
horizontal rule
405

re: 403

Why would you assume it would be the other way round? Or are you buying into the stereotypes [about 50 years out of date] about Brits being repressed?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:19 AM
horizontal rule
406

but, like, what values?

"You better give me something if i give you something" sounds like a selfish american thing.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:21 AM
horizontal rule
407

re: 406

Well, the religious element to US culture, the element of puritanism (which I know is by no means universal but it's definitely there in a way that it isn't here). That puritanical thing applies to drinking and drugs and other hedonistic pursuits too, it's not just a sexual thing.

Also, gender relations here are different from in the US. I've said on here several times that Unfogged threads on gender often read to me like I am reading about an alien land or like I'm reading a message from the past. Not that the UK is some paradise of gender equality, but the relationship between the sexes just seems different.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:24 AM
horizontal rule
408

I can see the religious thing leading to more bjs than 'real' sex, out of a desire to maintain 'purity'. But that seems different than the thing B was talking about, with the 'american women are trained to only care about men's orgasm'.

And, for what its worth, most of the time when i read about gender on Unfogged threads, it sounds like an alien land, i and grew up in a small american town with parents who went to an evangelical church.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 4:29 AM
horizontal rule
409

381: If we can adopt invented definitions, I'm going with, "It only counts if in retrospect I'm glad it happened."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 5:53 AM
horizontal rule
410

Are there any women here who won't perform oral sex?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
411

Another fun fact: my median number of sexual encounters per partner is two

I'd expect the norm to be a low number. My repeats began to increase exponentially after the first several. Talk about a learning curve.

But this only applies for sure to us 0-14s. My guess is that the many people in the 1-2 dozen range will have a similar pattern stretched out, or perhaps some spikes, dwarfed by the volume under the curve later on.

It's also my guess that those who return to partner-seeking after the age of thirty, for whatever reason, tend to repeat the process, brief encounters followed by new stability.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
412

Reading all this makes me feel like an anthropologist-from-Mars. I hit college in the free love, pre-AIDS, post-Pill, if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with era. Oral sex was definitely sex, tho' generally considered a part of foreplay, rather than as an excuse to claim some odd "purity". My social group was rather lax about the old double standard, having no interest in a Madonna [the original model, not the current Ms. Ritchie].

But then, I was also brought up oddly, as a brain, not a girl. I never learnt the girly-games - when I was not being monogamous, I'd much rather have someone ask "do you want to fuck?" than go through some stylised ritual of seduction. [Not that I don't appreciate a good seduction, but none of that pretence that that the outcome isn't already tacitly agreed upon.]

As for the looking-like-a-virgin thing - some years ago, I was once described as looking like a Xmas tree angel. How very wrong an impression...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 08-15-07 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
413

AKA the "Why don't we do it in the road?" era. I lived through that era without living it, however. My stats are much like EDguy's.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
414

401, 407: Yeah. It's odd, I can't quite articulate it, but in a way, superficially, the British women I know are less aggro about feminism than American women/feminists are, but in another, more important way, they're quite a bit more independent. Or at least more comfortable with themselves.

I was also brought up oddly, as a brain, not a girl.

OMG, this is so well said. And such a sad indictment.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
415

It's odd, I can't quite articulate it, but in a way, superficially, the British women I know are less aggro about feminism than American women/feminists are, but in another, more important way, they're quite a bit more independent. Or at least more comfortable with themselves.

Surprised you can't articulate it. We have the constant contradictions that result from everyone presuming that they will be judged under traditional Protestant morality standards, but they will also be judged for their fitness as a productive employee who is out for herself in the work force. Professional Brit women aren't subjected to the former anymore.

And it seems to me that having better access to day care for children would make a woman much more "independent", by the very definition of the word.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
416

414: I'm guessing that a big part of the explanation is the lack of well-organized anti-feminism in the UK. There's a whole lot of 'Feminists are lesbian witches who hate men and will eat your babies' in the US, which leaves the reasonable moderate position as 'feminism is vaguely unseemly and unrealistic, and traditional gender roles are, actually, written in stone to a great extent, thinking about changing them is just unrealistic.' Without all the organized rightwing hostility, the moderate position on gender roles looks a lot more relaxedly feminist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
417

415: Well said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
418

re: 414

Yes, they might not generally use explicitly feminist language, but take for granted some of the things -- both about themselves and about the way they expect men to behave towards them -- that I am still quite surprised to hear U.S.* women arguing for.

I'm not sure if that translates into substantial differences in the public realm -- representation in politics or business, for example -- but it certainly makes personal relations between men and women as portrayed by Americans seem very different from my own understanding of how things are here.

* especially college/grad-school aged women ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
419

I knew from reading that such girls existed, were probably common, but I never managed to identify one. They were probably all around me, but had sized me up and decided "no thanks."

I note however that you are supposed to ask, so maybe that's it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
420

419 was supposed to start with this:

I never learnt the girly-games - when I was not being monogamous, I'd much rather have someone ask "do you want to fuck?" than go through some stylised ritual of seduction


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
421

416 and 418 seem quite right to me. I really don't think it's (entirely) that Protestant morality thing--at least, I wasn't raised in a Protestant environment at all, and it doesn't feel like that to me. I think it's more the Essential Seriousness of Americans, and I suspect a really really big part of it is class shit--Americans all want to be and think of themselves as upper middle class, whereas in Britain the properly middle middle class or working class are still quite strong. Whereas here, being overtly sexual or flirtatious or getting drunk and acting outrageous is "trashy."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
422

Whereas here, being overtly sexual or flirtatious or getting drunk and acting outrageous is "trashy."

THAT'S something that differs between UK and US? The UK tabloid media has misled me.

416 and 418 seem quite right to me.

You didn't mention 414! I said something about feminism that both LB and Bphd agree with!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
423

Essential Seriousness of Americans: which was learned from the Germans. The War Against Seriousness is my prime mission. My message is, of course, entirely different from the kind of frivolity and irony everyone else is doing. Dialectically speaking, they remain serious or even worse than serious.

Kotsko especially needs work on the seriousness issue.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
424

The UK is saner because they shipped over their religious fanatics on the Mayflower. And while many, if not most Americans, aren't Protestant, that essential seriousness (or dare I say... Protestant work ethic?) became part of the idea of what it is to be American, so much so that suggesting something as reasonable as ensuring that all our citizens have healthcare is met with attitudes that suggest people would be healthy if they just weren't so damn lazy.

I imagine feminists in France don't wring their hands over whether if they dress nicely they're spitting in the eyes of rape victims, either. The U.S. is a little weird.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
425

"You didn't mention 414 415"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
426

I imagine feminists in France don't wring their hands over whether if they dress nicely they're spitting in the eyes of rape victims, either. The U.S. is a little weird.

Who does that here?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
427

I imagine feminists in France don't wring their hands over whether if they dress nicely they're spitting in the eyes of rape victims, either.

What?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
428

426: Paraphrase of a line from Twisty. Wearing heels is spitting in the eye of every rape victim, applauded here as the sort of seriousness that is impractical, but laudable, as if we should aspire to it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
429

Applauded where?

Who aspires to saying things like that without actually saying them?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
430

423: You people just do not get Kotsko at all.

Or Twisty either. The woman is FUNNY, dammit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
431

Erm, what? Haven't you confused "Not going to devote a lot of effort to denouncing Twisty, given that she has a point about a bunch of stuff" with "Admires and agrees with everything she says"?

Or, another way to put that is that I'm sure there's a French feminist who'd get on fine with Twisty -- at least one. She probably wouldn't be mainstream in French feminism, just as Twisty isn't here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
432

Look up some of the discussions about Twisty here. You'll find a lot of 'well, basically....', with the resulting explanation being something like Twisty's right, but not all of us can manage to be as [whatever] because of life, so we make concessions where we can.

Nothing against Twisty. She was just the example closest to mind. But the response to her wasn't a defense of gendered clothing, but a concession that Twisty's right, in a perfect world we wouldn't [whatever], but we have to live where we are.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
433

431 to 432. Seriously, you can't take general defenses of Twisty as hyperbolically interesting and illuminating as endorsement of her most extreme positions as an ideal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
434

I blame the Americans for taking her So Damn Seriously.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
435

And my only point was that pretty much everything about American culture seems to start with the premise that evidence of working hard means you're a good person, working hard means you'll succeed, and anything that detracts from that makes you morally suspect. It seems to affect feminism, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
436

I don't know about British women, but English women have a stronger sense of themselves for the same reason the men do: their archaic class system (or what remains of it). Emerson knew. Cioran called it their "elightened stupidity."

One day they'll be as spineless as Americans.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
437

LB, I'm not rehashing the blowjob or the fashion debates, but a lot of it seemed to me an endorsement in the way that a barely religious person might look up to Mother Theresa. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Should put paid to the clothing debates at least.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
438

"enlightened"


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
439

432: I like girly clothes. And Twisty herself has admitted, back in the mists of time, to having adorable kitten heeled shoes. The point isn't *literally* to condemn women for being girly; it's to talk about the way that femminess *signifies* in American culture. That it could, or should, signify differently than it does is a different argument altogether.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
440

I did some quick searching, and found you making the same point about 'spitting in the face of rape victims here, except that no one responded to it by saying that Twisty was right. Now, you may be talking about the support she gets in her own comments, but I still think it's awfully weird to think of her as representative of the mainstream of American feminists.

While I don't read her much, I'll defend her in an 'often interesting, sometimes I agree with her, and why attack people on the left when there are so many more deserving targets out there' way, but that doesn't mean I'm holding her up as an ideal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
441

435: Yes.
436: No.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
442

I think Twisty is vastly, vastly underserved by her commenters, who are much less intelligent and amusing than she is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
443

I think Cala's right about what many of us hear/read, whether you jokers and teasers mean it or not, in those discussions.

I wish with all my heart that I could be as light-hearted and un-serious-minded about the subject as LB seems to usually imply should be as easy as falling off a log, but I just can't. I've wanted to be that person since adolescence, clearly recognised it as a better way, but have always felt fraudulent and conscience-stricken whenever I've tried.

Here's hoping my kids, the first non-Protestant/Puritans in 15 generations, will escape.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
444

I find Twisty very intelligent and amusing and I like her pictures of food. I don't think there are arguments behind her polemic, but there's certainly no rule that everyone has to have an argument.

Her commenters try to outdo themselves in a race to see who is the most feminist.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
445

444: I believe it's "quien es mas feministe," Cala.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
446

new rule:
everyone has to have an argument.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
447

Her commenters, I think, are angry and unhappy, some with justification. But I don't read the comment threads.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
448

Sure, her commenters are an odd bunch, but I'm still offput by taking them as a fair representation of American feminists generally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
449

I give Kotsko credit for fighting against seriousness, but I still worry that he'll turn out like Nietzsche, who earnestly endeavored to be unserious.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
450

Of course; they're not. They're representative of a deep kind of unhappiness and anger at a whole host of things, some of which get focused on "men" as a class. I think a lot of it is resentment of a kind of freedom they perceive men as having.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
451

I'm not taking them as a fair representation of American feminists, but I mistakenly took the defenses of Twisty by actual representative feminists to mean that they were sympathetic to her positions instead of just a defense of liking her witty tone.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
452

That, and I think a lot of Twisty's commenters, and maybe Twisty herself, are as hard on themselves, as unhappy and unempathetic towards their own feelings, as they are towards "men." I think for Twisty, at least, a lot of that is that she has fucking cancer and has had half her fucking body mutilated in an attempt to keep herself alive.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
453

451: You're caving, Cala. Not very feminist.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
454

451: I am sympathetic to her position(s). I think if the people who are so offended by her were more sympathetic towards her, they'd find that what she says isn't as much of an attack as they think it is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
455

Oh, Tim, do shut up sometimes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
456

452: I see it more as a competition thing. I was assaulted so therefore I have the gravitas to speak on this issue. Oh yeah? Well, I was a whore! Oh yeah? I was an assaulted whore who never gave a blowjob but now I'm lesbian!

Someone's gotta be exaggerating.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
457

453: I'm caving because I'm not up for a round of how incapable I am of understanding tone (I'm really not stupid, people, I just don't proofread) on a comment that was mostly tangential. Plus, I'm not going to tell LB & B that they weren't arguing what they thought they were. Presumably they know that better than I.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
458

456: Just ignore them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
459

I think if the people who are so offended by her were more sympathetic towards her, they'd find that what she says isn't as much of an attack as they think it is.

It's hard for me to be sympathetic with people whose rhetorical strategy is to attack everyone other than themselves, and then reveal later that it was mostly hyperbole. This includes her and often you.

This is an unfortunate result of the lack of nuance/tone of voice in internet communications.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
460

Oh, Tim, do shut up sometimes.

Really, B?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
461

459: No, it's an unfortunate result of not realizing that neither she, nor I, are *attacking*. Neither you, nor "everyone." Read more carefully. Think of what you read, her stuff especially, as something you happened across, rather than addressed to you personally.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
462

Yeah, really, Tim.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
463

459: It's hard for me to be sympathetic with people whose rhetorical strategy is to attack everyone other than themselves, and then reveal later that it was mostly hyperbole. This includes her and often you.

I've never seen Twisty do this in a way that's not intended to illuminate people's own culpability in creating and enforcing patriarchy, because that is basically her schtick. That's the point, practically: how people (usually, men or women who've bought into P through their men) take offense at the mere suggestion that they could be part of a system that damages people, in ways that end up making them completely discount the people talking about the damage.

Plus, what B said: her comments are very much impersonal critiques of a system, not individual people. It's not like Unfogged, she's not really personally engaged with her own commentariat on a level that we'd find meaningful, let alone some random blog dude.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
464

Rocky, we really have to stop meeting like this.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
465

I believe you're misreading Ned if you're taking him to be saying that his problem with Twisty is that she insults him personally, or that he doesn't understand apostrophe. I read him as saying that the problem is the constant hyperbole, presented as a serious argument or position, which instantly retreats to a more defensible position the second it's challenged.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
466

Why can't I quit you, B? Why can't I quit you?

You and she seem to share some issues with your relationship to your commentariat, although you're more engaged with yours and yours has a much higher percentage of people who seem to fully "get" you. But there's definitely this weird gap going on between "context of poster" and "context of commenters" that feels mainly like a class thing. Or really an education thing, which is basically a class thing.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
467

Yeah, really, Tim.

I'll tell you what, you go first.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
468

465: The question is whether one is to take that as an indication of dishonest equivocation in the speaker, or insensitive reading in the reader. I don't mean to prejudge the answer in general by putting it that way -- there are people who I'd read as dishonestly equivocal. But for a speaker whose positions you're generally sympathetic with, if you read something inflammatory they write and think "Position Y is completely indefensible, and knowing her, I know that if I call her on it, she'll say that she was being hyperbolic and really only meant X, which is of course unobjectionable," that there's a good chance that they do really mean X and are just expressing it in a way you find unsympathetic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
469

468: I'm really trying hard not to be insulted here, but I'm not doing too well with it.

But in short, it's not a problem with tone, but rather a moving-the-goalposts problem. Being hyperbolic is fine. I have used it myself on occasion on this very blog. But the problem is when someone defends the hyperbolic position in all apparently seriousness for a while and then as it turns out, the person was really saying something, undetectable by actually reading their words, much weaker that would have been unobjectionable had they clarified that when first challenged.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
470

469: That is a dastardly tactic and no one would ever try to attempt that on a blog as intellectually rigorous as this one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
471

But for a speaker whose positions you're generally sympathetic with, if you read something inflammatory they write and think "Position Y is completely indefensible, and knowing her, I know that if I call her on it, she'll say that she was being hyperbolic and really only meant X, which is of course unobjectionable," that there's a good chance that they do really mean X and are just expressing it in a way you find unsympathetic.

If this happens all the time, though, I'm going to think that the speaker is indeed being disingenuous, or at least irritatingly heedless about expressing his or her opinions with care. Expressing things two different ways involves expressing two different things: it's not as if some pure, ideal underlying sentiment is just wearing an ugly hat that day.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
472

468: This is a hell of a conversation to have without specifics and context, is the thing. Without specifics and context of precise, quoted, things having been said in context by identified people, there's no way to reasonably talk about who's moving the goalposts and who's being uncharitable (and of course there are going to be edge cases).

All I meant, really, was to respond to Ned's 459; the flip side of 'I can't be sympathetic to someone who's always attacking me' is that 'if you were sympathetic, you wouldn't be taking it as an attack.' To figure out which of those positions is actually right, you need to nitpick details, and you need to make subjective judgments, but they're both plausible ways of reacting to Twisty-style rhetoric.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
473

Attacking society in general for being sexist (or racist) is similar to attacking everyone but oneself for being sexist (or racist). The former is acceptable, and the latter not. People who want to be seen as victims sometimes do the latter and then wonder why people are unsympathetic or defensive.

A White Bear is good at making it clear that society is the problem rather than specific people, when that's what she means, instead of personalizing the grievance.

This is a hell of a conversation to have without specifics and context, is the thing.

Yeah, I'm a bit uneasy about having said the previous paragraph, but it makes sense to me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
474

On the Twisty things: when she says things like "Prostitution . . . is the very core of the female's condition, and all women are political prisoners" (taken at random from the latest post) I don't really see much reason to assume she's being wittily hyperbolic or that she doesn't mean it seriously. A lot of the over-the-top stuff on her blog proceeds from that kind of perspective; some of it's justifiable, some of it isn't, sometimes she's impressive and sometimes not (mostly I vote for "not," but she has her moments) -- but I see no reason to assume her commenters are a bunch of rubes who just aren't getting the subtle undertones. I think the bulk of her commentariat suits her precisely, and I think people who see her as mostly hostile are pretty much right to do so.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
475

Well, I'd say that any attack on a real world statement including the word 'all' that involves finding counterexamples is an example of misunderstanding hyperbole. I'm not calling it witty hyperbole, but "all women are political prisoners", clearly, to me, means something more like most women, or women generally despite the fact that there may be counterexamples, have their freedom restricted in ways analogous to the restrictions on freedoms imposed on political prisoners. I mean, obviously, if you take it absolutely literally it's nonsense, I haven't been locked up, and neither have plenty of other women. So, there's a difference between saying she's not serious and saying she's not being literal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
476

Not that that directly contradicts what you said -- I just wanted to make the point that 'doesn't mean it seriously' doesn't take us far. Obviously, she doesn't mean it literally, so there's interpretation to be done before you look at what she does, seriously, mean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
477

412, 413: I feel like in my early 20s I managed to walk through some of the battlefields of the Sexual Revolution without acquiring so much as a flesh wound, damn it. Many of my peers were having a lot more fun.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
478

474: On the Twisty things: when she says things like "Prostitution . . . is the very core of the female's condition, and all women are political prisoners" (taken at random from the latest post) I don't really see much reason to assume she's being wittily hyperbolic or that she doesn't mean it seriously.

Twisty didn't say that, she quoted Kate Millett saying that, and that's only "taken at random" because you're apparently a half-literate jackass who didn't read the whole post, let alone the words right between those two statements that attributed the statement to Millett, which you happily elided.

The people who are getting all up in her arms are reading her looking for things to get offended about, which is practically her point.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:38 PM
horizontal rule
479

SP{jgferkrkr. Getting all up in arms about her phrasing, even. I CAN HAS BRAIN DAMAGE.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
480

478: Heh. I didn't go looking for the original of the post. Should have.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
481

Shouldn't I be blowing a whistle and clucking about the intentional fallacy (broadly construed) right now?

Anytime someone uses the word 'all' I have to assume they didn't mean it, or it's my fault if I take them seriously? (People seemed to take my 'no one ever has fond memories of the library' pretty literally. Were they all wrong to provide counterexamples of the libraries they loved?)

This indeed is a strange notion of charitable argument. It's one thing to be charitable to your dialectical opponent and assume they're arguing in good faith, but it's another thing when being charitable means re-writing what they say to mean something to which you already assent.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
482

Expressing things two different ways involves expressing two different things: it's not as if some pure, ideal underlying sentiment is just wearing an ugly hat that day.

Beautiful.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
483

Read the post; she quotes Millett in the context of a site designed as a "charity"/interactive amateur porn gig to get women breast implants.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
484

475: Yes, we'd interpret it the same way. Point being, the basic thrust of the argument is meant more-or-less seriously and radically. She's not just taking the piss, and she's not doing something categorically different from and more cleverly-shaded than other radfems, which to me is what the "hyperbole" defense tends to imply. Her radical rhetoric is, in fact, radical rhetoric.

That's not inherently a bad thing, of course, though in a lot of ways I find the radfems-of-our-day unsympathetic, Twisty included. She does have a sense of humour, which is good, I just don't think she's the Andy Kaufmann of feminist blogging or anything.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
485

es, have their freedom restricted in ways analogous to the restrictions on freedoms imposed on political prisoners.

It's not always clear if the claim--in this kind of language, not speaking to Twisty--is that the restrictions are analogous (and how analogous) or the same in all important respects. When someone says "X are America's last n*g**rs," they're not saying, "Well, we've also suffered oppression." They're saying something much, much stronger. (And much, much wronger.) That is, I don't think it's always clear that such language isn't meant to be taken literally (or effectively so).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
486

It's one thing to be charitable to your dialectical opponent and assume they're arguing in good faith, but it's another thing when being charitable means re-writing what they say to mean something to which you already assent.

But if they're saying something hyperbolic, you have to rewrite it as something non-hyperbolic before you can agree with it.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
487

481: But that's a statement that makes no sense taken literally. I mean, there could be someone who believes that all women have been literally imprisoned for their political beliefs, but that person would be beyond mistaken into insane, particularly given that she is a woman herself who is presumably not incarcerated. So if you're going to take it literally, the only sensible response is 'Poor Twisty. I hope there's someone taking care of her and she gets better sometime', just like if she were claiming to be a slice of lime looking for a gin and tonic to jump into.

A flatly literal reading of the statement just isn't possible. (And, of course, as LR says, she was quoting someone else.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
488

That is, I don't think it's always clear that such language isn't meant to be taken literally (or effectively so).

It is always clear that such language isn't meant to be taken literally; "Woman is the nigger of the world" doesn't mean that John Lennon thought all women were darker-skinned than white men. Once you're interpreting a metaphor, then, there's nothing to do but try to understand what the writer meant by it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
489

Sure. But that's why I don't attempt to have an argument with Twisty saying 'women aren't REALLY political prisoners.' Because I don't think she can mean it literally.

But maybe she does -- the sort of thing ogged was talking about in his post were cases where people were giving arguments for their ostensibly hyperbolic positions. If I decide they must not really mean it when they're arguing for the position, that's not being charitable, just condescending.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
490

488: Right, which I understood, and which is why I said "or effectively so." And in understanding what she was trying to communicate, I understand that "n*g**r" usually references a particular set of circumstances in this country. It is, I think, a very strong claim. Or hyperbolic. Or put it this way: when I see that, should I read it as hyperbole or not? And if so, how hyperbolic?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
491

I get it! She calls herself Twisty because conversations about her spiral ever inwards.

450: They're representative of a deep kind of unhappiness and anger at a whole host of things, some of which get focused on "men" "liberals" as a class. I think a lot of it is resentment of a kind of freedom they perceive men gay/black/hippie liberals as having.

Doot dee doo.

469: But in short, it's not a problem with tone, but rather a moving-the-goalposts problem. Being hyperbolic is fine. I have used it myself on occasion on this very blog. But the problem is when someone defends the hyperbolic position in all apparently seriousness for a while and then as it turns out, the person was really saying something, undetectable by actually reading their words, much weaker that would have been unobjectionable had they clarified that when first challenged.

Mmm. Never seen that happen!

Now I opt out, and go to (wait for it) swim.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
492

No, it's really not condescending to decide that 'all women are political prisoners' is a metaphor not to be taken literally. Your choices are believing it's a metaphor, or believing that Twisty is insane. You can argue about what she means by it, but you can't possibly engage her under the assumption that she means it literally. (And I'd say that internal evidence in the stuff she writes makes it clear that that sort of thing is metaphoric, rather than that she's in a straitjacked somewhere.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
493

Using figurative language doesn't actually require everyone to treat you as Humpty Dumpty would like to be treated. If I say "all Republicans are dirty weasels," and you say, "I actually know many Republicans who are personally morally upright and straightforward," it isn't much of a refutation for me to reply "Oh, when I say 'dirty weasels' I mean 'personally distasteful to me and me alone.'"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
494

478: Twisty didn't say that, she quoted Kate Millett saying that,

Paraphrased her, you dysphasic troglodyte*. And I elided it because it's representative enough of how Twisty comes by such rhetoric that the specific author doesn't matter.

And yes, she's talking about a stupid amateur porn site. Which has nothing to do with my point, really. (HINT: I was not saying "Twisty is always wrong.")

(* See, witty hyperbole! Totally deniable. I could get used to this.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
495

492 to 489.

To 490: Once you accept that it's a metaphor, you're stuck with figuring out what she meant by it. At that point, you can say "If that's what she meant, it's a bad metaphor" or "I understand her to mean X by it, and I disagree that X is true," but you're stuck interpreting what's going on in her head -- you can't call her interpretation of her own metaphor (which, again, this one wasn't her own) objectively false.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
496

Your choices are believing it's a metaphor, or believing that Twisty is insane.

As per 484, I believe it's seriously-intended radical rhetoric. Whether or not it's "literal" is a red herring.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
497

nd you say, "I actually know many Republicans who are personally morally upright and straightforward,"

I think you first have to say, "Actually, all the Republicans I know are human." Then you get to the next step.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
498

410: Are there any women here who won't perform oral sex?

If you'll accept here at one remove, then yes. Kay finds the concept of fellatio so disturbing that even talking about it is very upsetting to her, because of the mental images it brings to mind. We discussed why at one of our counseling sessions (it involves a bunch of associations from her life long before I was ever involved), and she asked that the two of us never discuss the subject ever again.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
499

To 493: Oh, sure, that goes all the way back to my 468: "The question is whether one is to take that as an indication of dishonest equivocation in the speaker, or insensitive reading in the reader."

Sometimes it is dishonest equivocation. I just think that insensitive reading is often rejected as a hypothesis, and people don't recognize how much interpretation they're doing to get at a reading they find distasteful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
500

Your choices are believing it's a metaphor, or believing that Twisty is insane. You can argue about what she means by it, but you can't possibly engage her under the assumption that she means it literally.

I agreed with that! For fuck's sake! What I am saying if someone says, to take Brock as an example, something that seems to be crazy like the moral equivalence of fetuses and toddlers and attempts to argue for it (SOMETHING WHICH TWISTY IS NOT WONT TO DO GIVEN THAT HER SCHTICK IS HYPERBOLE), I am not being uncharitable if I assume he actually holds the position for which he argues. In fact, assuming your opponent is arguing in good faith is pretty much the starting point of charity!

I am not required to assume his position is really a milder one that no one would disagree with IF I AM TAKING HIS ARGUMENT SERIOUSLY. I don't see how it's not just saying 'Tut, tut, you can't possibly mean crazy position X' when the person is arguing that they mean crazy position X.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
501

496: But calling it 'radical rhetoric' doesn't tell you if she's right or wrong; you have to read a whole bunch of stuff in context to figure out what she's saying when she says 'political prisoners', given that she doesn't mean 'people who have been literally incarcerated for their political beliefs'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
502

501: But calling it 'radical rhetoric' doesn't tell you if she's right or wrong

I really didn't say it did. Honest.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
503

she asked that the two of us never discuss the subject ever again

Kay or the counselor?

Or Twisty either. The woman is FUNNY, dammit.

So's Tucker Max. Actually, those two are in the same folder in my mental filing cabinet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
504

500: You did agree with that, and I misread you; sorry, I screwed up. But at this point, we're back to the whole 'specifics and context' problem -- generally, I'd agree with you, but that doesn't get us to anything about anyone particular.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
505

I just think that insensitive reading is often rejected as a hypothesis, and people don't recognize how much interpretation they're doing to get at a reading they find distasteful.

I think Dan Brown has advanced a similar theory about High Culture critics of the Da Vinci Code.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
506

494: She explicitly credits another woman, by name, and gives no indication whatsoever that she is paraphasing or that the quote is not direct. Misattributing statements and willfully conflating two people is bullshit, sorry, no pass.

And yes, she's talking about a stupid amateur porn site. Which has nothing to do with my point, really.

It has everything to do with your point, again, you half-literate jackass, because she makes a point of analyzing all the transactions going on in that site and showing how it is indistinguishable from prostitution in the way that it is transforming the bodies of women into a sexualized commodity that is traded between men. You can't just point to one (quoted!) statement and claim it's random angry hyperbole that's not specifically tied to any argument in particular when not one twitching of the scrollwheel up the page she very clearly does contextualize it. LB is right: this is not insane hyperbole unless you literally cannot read.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
507

It has everything to do with your point, again, you half-literate jackass,

Okay, at this point you can fuck off. Not hyperbole.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
508

(But a hint for future reference; if you're seriously going to throw around rhetoric like "half-literate jackass" you should try actually reading the other party's posts first.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
509

507: Okay, at this point you can fuck off. Not hyperbole.

Why, because I'm pointing out that your "reading" of the post was indistinguishable from that of someone who is so less-than-fully-literate he's only capable of skimming the damn thing looking for points to be offended about?

(But a hint for future reference; if you're seriously going to throw around rhetoric like "half-literate jackass" you should try actually reading the other party's posts first.)

Stands for itself, I think.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
510

Um, DS? I'm the wrong person to make peace, given that I'm in the argument, but given that you started the namecalling (which I completely understand was meant to be funny, when you did it) being genuinely offended at having epithets thrown back at you seems awfully touchy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
511

510: he's not offended. When he said "not hyperbole," that was hyperbole. Only a moron wouldn't see this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
512

Sifu, you ignorant slut.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
513

It's arguable that I started the name-calling, LB, and I'm more than happy to cop to that. I simply think it's perfectly justifiable, given that he basically deliberately misattributes someone's statement to make a troll reading. That infuriates me, and, tellingly, it's something that the Unfogged commentariat does not tolerate in discussions of any other subject.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
514

You can't talk to my bitch like that, LB.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
515

Further hint to the intrepid Rockette: try finding anything in my posts that says this: and claim it's random angry hyperbole that's not specifically tied to any argument in particular

I think you may find you're somewhat half-literately conflating me with someone else. Make your own assessment, then proceed with the fucking off at your own pace.

510: given that you started the namecalling

You got me. I actually posted 478 and am having this argument with myself. Loved sock-puppets as a child.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
516

Look, DS is not literally suggesting that LR engage in intercourse. That's a totally disingenuous reading of his comment. Once you accept that, all readings of "fuck off" are totally subjective.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
517

You two are about to achieve comity, right?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
518

Comity, tragity, in the end it is all one.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
519

488: There's no bright line between literal and metaphorical interpretations.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
520

514: crack my bitch up


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
521

I just think that insensitive reading is often rejected as a hypothesis, and people don't recognize how much interpretation they're doing to get at a reading they find distasteful.

I know you don't mean this to be condescending, LB, but I'll be honest and say that I do find it to be so. Educated, intelligent woman. Not a top-tier big firm lawyer, but in a discipline that's pretty much about arguments. I reject the hypothesis because I find it to be incorrect based on what I know about myself.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
522

515: Sorry, I missed 478 completely. I noticed your 'dysphasic troglodyte' first, and thought LR was responding in kind.

Still, can't we all just be brothers? (Well, siblings generally?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
523

My memory of LB's gloss/defense of Twisty resembles Cala's: what was irritating wasn't LB's nuanced position, with which like Cala I wholeheartedly agreed, it was LB's adamant insistence that her restatement was the same as Twisty's statement, and that those of us who disagreed with that were either being obtuse or reading in bad faith.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
524

Still, can't we all just be brothers?

I'm going to wager you don't have actual brothers. This, in fact, is how one interacts with one's brothers.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
525

515: I think you may find you're somewhat half-literately conflating me with someone else.

I can read, thanks.

474: On the Twisty things: when she says things like "Prostitution . . . is the very core of the female's condition, and all women are political prisoners" (taken at random from the last post) I don't really see much reason to assume she's being wittily hyperbolic or that she doesn't mean it seriously. A lot of the over-the-top stuff on her blog proceeds from that kind of perspective; some of it's justifiable, some of it isn't, sometimes she's impressive and sometimes not (mostly I vote for "not," but she has her moments) -- but I see no reason to assume her commenters are a bunch of rubes who just aren't getting the subtle undertones. I think the bulk of her commentariat suits her precisely, and I think people who see her as mostly hostile are pretty much right to do so.

Please explain to me what "hostile" means in your statement here, if it has any meaning other than "zomg she just used a strong statement", because given her actual specific arguments and what the "essential condition of prostitution" phrase was referencing, the only "hostility" I'm seeing in her entire post is to the guy running the porn site.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
526

521: We're back to the 'context, specifics' problem again. If we were talking about a specific interpretation of a specific set of statements, I could say that I thought your reading was fair or unfair. Given that we're talking in vague generalities about Twisty generally, I'm going to say that I think she often gets an unsympathetic reading, but I'm not characterizing any specific reading you've made of a post of hers as unsympathetic, because I'm not looking at any specific reading you've made of a post of hers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
527

523: yes. "You disagree with what I said? But what I meant is entirely uncontroversial!" is not, like, high-end debate team material.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
528

527: But sometimes it's true. Look, backing away from Twisty specifically, can we agree that what I'm talking about: unsympathetic reading of anything which requires any kind of interpretation, which in normal writing all sorts of stuff does, can be a source of misunderstanding? Not Twisty -- think of someone you like and agree with, being given a hard time by an unsympathetic interlocutor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
529

"Prostitution . . . is the very core of the female's condition, and all women are political prisoners

LR's right. Nowhere in this quote does the author indicate that she feels these conditions to be undesirable, or worthy of hostility.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
530

Trying to be serious here for a moment: LB, it seems like you're assuming that all rhetoric, though it may have many forms, basically serves the same purpose, which is to make an argument or advance a thesis. But that doesn't seem to be what Twisty is up to. Whether what she is doing is consciousness-raising, or affirming radicalism, or critical hyperbole, we can debate, but it seems like the way to understand her rhetoric is to see it as something other than argument.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
531

528: But there are limits to reasonable readings, otherwise we'd all be carrying out conversations with fictive others, and all discourse would be verbalized solipsism.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
532

Look, if this was anyone other than Twisty, would a given commenter look like a complete jackass and/or illiterate if they honed in on the strongest statement in a given post, a statement which was quite clearly attributed to someone other than the author and which was very carefully contextualized throughout the post, and then used that (misattributed) statement to hold up a general point about how, oh, "uncivil" that poster was?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
533

think of someone you like and agree with, being given a hard time by an unsympathetic interlocutor

Okay. In my particularly guided imagery, I'll make the someone B, and the interlocutor myself.

There is a difference between making ambiguous or overreaching statements because you aren't able to express your opinions perfectly and using those statements intentionally as a rhetorical device. The first is understandable, if unlikely to help you win arguments on the internet, while the second is sort of cheap and sort of annoying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
534

I'm going to say that I think she often gets an unsympathetic reading,

This is the part of the argument I genuinely don't understand. Given a certain reader response, surely at some percentage point--X% percentage of readers take away what you would deem an unfair reading--the issue changes from "unsympathetic reader" to "poor writer." (I should note that I'm not trying to attach that to Twisty. Rather I take yours to be a more general argument.) Perhaps the argument is that such language is best understood by like-minded people, and that people outside that group are unlikely to understand what is meant? (That's a position that I'm at least mildly sympathetic to.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
535

I'm handicapped here by the fact that I don't read Twisty much -- for some reason she's blocked by my work filter, and I mostly don't read blogs at home. So I read her when she gets discussed enough to make me remember to check her at home, and on those occasions, she never seems as nuts to me as people tend to say she is (her commenters are a little off, but so are almost everyone's in their varying ways.)

Beyond that, I'm not sure how to respond -- I wouldn't draw sharp distinctions between all of the rhetorical goals you name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
536

528: Sure, but if I ask myself, which is more likely? Is this hyperbole that is in the neighborhood of a respectable argument, but is intended for a purpose other than argument, or have I suddenly lost the ability to read, I'm betting on the hyperbole.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
537

535 to 530.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
538

To expand on my earlier comment, part of LB's argument that really annoys me is that she keeps asserting (as in 501) that lots of interpretation is required to make any sense of what people like Twisty say. But the problem isn't that people are taking her literally (which is why comments like 492 annoy me so much--strawman), but that you, LB, don't agree with their interpretation of her metaphor.

My opinion of Twisty's writing is that, if it actually is as subtle and trenchant as BitchPhd keeps saying, then it's written for such a limited audience, one that's very literate about feminism, that it's not very useful at all to anyone else. No one else is qualified to understand the metaphor as Twisty intended it.

My opinion of her commenters is not so positive.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
539

Again, to the last bunch of comments (531-34), I don't read her consistently, but when I do, I'm usually surprised by how hostile the reaction to her posts is from people who I think of as generally sympathetic on those issues. Possibly the answer is that I'm a bad reader, cutting her way too much slack, and inventing reasonable interpretations of what is genuinely unreasonable writing. Possibly all of you are being bad readers, and interpreting heated rhetoric unsympathetically. I don't see a way to settle this other than by picking apart a specific post in context (and I wouldn't expect that to actually settle it, of course).

Cala, I'm sorry that I'm offending you. Does it help to point out that our situation is symmetrical; that in that we disagree generally about how to read Twisty, that one of us is reading badly? You think I am, and I think you are, but I don't take your belief that I misread her as an attack on my education or intelligence, and I don't mean my belief that you are as a similar attack.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
540

You are in a maze of Twisty references, all alike.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
541

I don't think you're reading her badly as much as you're using her for a jumping off point for a more serious discussion. I just don't think that your generally very good arguments are the core of what Twisty is expressing hyperbolically.

I know you're not intentionally being offensive. And I'm sorry I'm a little cranky.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
542

But the problem isn't that people are taking her literally (which is why comments like 492 annoy me so much--strawman), but that you, LB, don't agree with their interpretation of her metaphor.

The point of 492 is to make it clear that what we're arguing about is two different interpretations of speech that requires interpretation -- that simply can't be taken literally. It's not a matter of some people reacting simply to what she actually says, and other people coming up with convoluted interpretations of what she really meant: both sides are going through very similar interpretative processes, and coming up with different results.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
543

535: one distinction I can think of is that you would employ the one with people you respect on an intellectual level and the others with people who you felt, for whatever reason, were incapable of grasping your straightforwardly expressed. To condescend to your readers in such a way, and to further assume that the right-thinking ones will realize this, and discount much of what you say, doesn't seem conducive to a genuine exchange of ideas.

Which, then, would mean we're not talking about "argument," at least not if you define argument as a species of conversation. We're talking about "yelling," in some manifestation or other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
544

Possibly the answer is that I'm a bad reader, cutting her way too much slack, and inventing reasonable interpretations of what is genuinely unreasonable writing. Possibly all of you are being bad readers, and interpreting heated rhetoric unsympathetically. I don't see a way to settle this other than by picking apart a specific post in context (and I wouldn't expect that to actually settle it, of course).

We could vote. Unless you hate democracy. Like slol.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
545

Will someone please restate the question for me?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
546

LB's rephrasing, her reading of the Twisty passage, basically a statement of what it meant or suggested to her, was always something I was happy to agree with. Her insistence that it must be obvious that the two were the same, and showed a deficiency in those of us who couldn't see that they were, whatever the respective merits of each might be, that I've never gotten over.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
547

503: > she asked that the two of us never discuss the subject ever again

Kay or the counselor?

Kay asked, as part of explaining why she finds the concept of fellatio upsetting, that I never discuss the subject again with her unless she brings it up first (while making it clear that she has no intention of doing so). It's not that I was doing it very often - more like once every few years - but it's a major hot button for her.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
548

546: If there's something I should be apologizing for, could you find it for me? It's possible that in retrospect I'd back down, but I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about, and searching the site isn't helping.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
549

542: Funny, that's the exact opposite of how I read it. Heh.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
550

524 gets it right.

In the spirit of brotherhood, then, 506: she explicitly credits another woman, by name, and gives no indication whatsoever that she is paraphasing or that the quote is not direct

You know how you indicate you're quoting someone? With "quotation marks." If you don't use them, the reader will assume you're paraphrasing. Quote or not, given that Twisty uses the phrase with enthusiastic approval, it is not separable from her own rhetoric and is perfectly admissible as an instance of it. Your attempt to pretend this is some sort of "gotcha" is mistaken, your attempt to imply that others are being hypocritical by failing to line up on cue with pitchforks is flat-out idiotic, and you should really probably stop.

525: I can read, thanks.

So you can read the text in between the parts of my post that you bolded, right? The part where it says sometimes it's justifiable, sometimes not. You saw that, right? That's the part that indicates that I was not necessarily saying the particular post in question was wrong, and that I was not confining my comment to that post in particular. That's sort of important, as any half-literate jackass could tell you.

As for what "hostile" means, I'm not using any esoteric definition of it. It means that when Twisty adopts a hostile tone toward something -- and this is actually not that hard to identify, as FM mildly hinted -- she means what she says.

And since you can read, you will have noticed that in none of my posts have I accused Twisty of being merely "uncivil" or of not having arguments. So we can pretty much dispense with 532, right?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
551

546: Okay, but why is it so damn hard to just either read the woman charitably, or not read her? I have to say that I'm really tired of the way "Twisty" gets brought up *all the time* at places she never comments at (it happens at SG too) and then talked *about* in her absence. I always feel like somehow I'm supposed to either "defend" or "renounce" her, and it fucking sucks. I don't like defending her, because she's perfectly capable of defending herself, and I won't renounce her because I happen to like her both personally and as a writer, thankyouverymuch.

I can't help but feeling like people's reactions to Twisty in the end are a lot more about themselves than it is about anything she says or doesn't say, or how she says it, or any of that nonsense.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
552

Okay, but why is it so damn hard to just either read the woman charitably, or not read her?

Pretty easy. Not talking about her, that's the trick.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
553

Attacking society in general for being sexist (or racist) is similar to attacking everyone but oneself for being sexist (or racist).

Nonsense. First, why the exception? Twisty writes about her own struggle with sexism--fuck, the entire blog's about that, if I'm not mistaken. And second, the whole is more than the sum of one's parts.

Society in general *is* both sexist and racist. I shouldn't have to reassure people that yes, I am part of society (and therefore implicated) and that no, I don't mean that they, personally, are bad people for the basic fact of that statement to be more or less agreed upon.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
554

I can't help but feeling like people's reactions to Twisty in the end are a lot more about themselves

That's probably broadly true.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
555

551: To be fair, when people talk about her in threads like this, they (I assume) usually mean to use her as an emblematic example of a collection of similar bloggers, of which she's the most prominent. That the discussion often can't generalize well to those other bloggers is a side effect of breaking the analogy ban.

You're all banned.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
556

I don't read Twisty at all, but did want to defend my right to be annoyed when people blithely lash out, overgeneralize, or make hyperbolic arguments, defending their excesses by retreat to more nuanced arguments, and other such rhetorical irritations.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
557

When I talk about Twisty I'm really talking about B.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
558

Which is to say, some people were talking about Twisty, and I didn't have anything to contribute. Then they got on to some more general topics of rhetorical behavior and how to take it, and I perked right up.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
559

RFTS is banned!


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
560

I rarely read Twisty, but she's a hell of a lot smarter than Marcotte, that's for sure.

</just trolling>


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
561

530: Trying to be serious here for a moment: LB, it seems like you're assuming that all rhetoric, though it may have many forms, basically serves the same purpose, which is to make an argument or advance a thesis. But that doesn't seem to be what Twisty is up to. Whether what she is doing is consciousness-raising, or affirming radicalism, or critical hyperbole, we can debate, but it seems like the way to understand her rhetoric is to see it as something other than argument.

This is just about a perfect example of what I find objectionable to the objectors-to-Twisty-as-disengaged-from-her-actual-blog that B is talking about above. Seriously, what the hell is this other than basically discounting her outright? I think her arguments and thesis are a great deal clearer than most other feminist bloggers, frankly. Maybe I'm being overly charitable to Ogged, but I've seen both him and the contra-Twisty Unfoggedetariat give more credit for good faith to people like that one guy on Bandarlog and Glenn Reynolds, and seriously, the way she's discounted is extremely creepy.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
562

Yay! I think that is my very first banning.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
563

548: I'm not looking for an apology, and my only interest in the subject is the memory Cala's brought back for me. I honestly never have had trouble interpreting Twisty, nor finding her fairly witty. I was new here then, sometime in the Spring of '06, and as I keep saying, it was the insistence on the practical equivalence of two fairly distinguishable statements that got under my skin then. Now I'd probably know to leave the whole subject alone and just read.

I can't do it just now, but I will try to look for it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
564

Am I allowed to say that I, personally, think 498 is just really quite tacky? If you're going to talk about your partner's sexuality, for god's sake have the class to do it presidentially. Spill your own secrets all you like, but jesus, man.

it's really not condescending to decide that 'all women are political prisoners' is a metaphor not to be taken literally. Your choices are believing it's a metaphor, or believing that Twisty is insane.

I have to disagree. Why can't it be literal? If "the patriarchy" (a phrase I am quite tired of, myself) exists, then it among other things it is political. Therefore it makes sense to say that "all women" (and for the matter of that, all men) are prisoners of it. You've all read Foucault. (Or are basically familiar with the jist of his methods.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
565

I didn't discount her, L-Rock (you crack whore). But there's just no argument to be made (at least for any definition of "argument" that I know) for something like "Prostitution, as Kate Millett said, is the very core of the female's condition, and all women are political prisoners." You're never going to establish that for me as a fact, so I take it that she's up to something else, and there are lots of kinds of rhetoric that are valuable, whether they're arguments or not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
566

561: Seriously, what the hell is this other than basically discounting her outright?

I believe it is what it says it is, which is a discussion of whether her rhetorical strategies are part of an attempt to engage in reasoned debate, or something else entirely.

've seen both him and the contra-Twisty Unfoggedetariat give more credit for good faith to people like that one guy on Bandarlog and Glenn Reynolds

Really? URL? Not buying it otherwise. I certainly ain't never given no numbnuts transhuman credit for good faith.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
567

I can't believe I got sucked in! Ok, leaving again.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
568

I've seen both him and the contra-Twisty Unfoggedetariat give more credit for good faith to people like that one guy on Bandarlog and Glenn Reynolds, and seriously, the way she's discounted is extremely creepy.

Amen and hallelujah. Preach it my sister.

555: Same thing applies. Why in god's name do people (ahem, mostly men) feel it's *so* effing necessary to talk about "some kinds of feminist blogs" in this way? It's just gross. If you don't like some women's "tone," then read something else.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
569

564: Given that EDGuy stands for ErectileDysfunctionGuy, back from your sex threads, and predates presidentiality, I think he gets a pass.

And on the literal/figurative thing, work with me. There's a sense in which we call people prisoners when they're physically confined, and not prisoners when they're not. I'm calling that sense 'literal', and more expansive senses 'figurative'. While you may want to use different vocabulary, you do know what I mean, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
570

564: So you're saying maybe "political prisoners" is literal, it's just the "prisoners" part that's metaphorical? I repeat, there is no bright line between literal and metaphorical interpretations.

Also, I believe "EDGuy" was the a presidential pseudonym chosen by EDGuy way back when before there were presidential pseudonyms, so I think he should get a pass.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
571

"Prostitution, as Kate Millett said, is the very core of the female's condition, and all women are political prisoners." You're never going to establish that for me as a fact

Why, for god's sake? It simply doesn't seem like that outrageous a statement to me. At all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
572

569: Get out of my head!


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
573

. Why can't it be literal?

The likelihood of this response from a sympathetic reader is what I was trying to get at in #485. Looking at it again, I didn't do a very good job.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
574

for god's sake have the class to do it presidentially

Whether he signed it EDGuy or Franklin Pierce, I still haven't the faintest idea who he or his partner is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
575

570.1: No, the prisoners part isn't necessarily metaphorical either. We are all, literally, imprisoned by our history and our culture: there are ways of thinking that are completely alien and inaccessible to us. E.g., the medieval belief in demonic possession. I do not believe that anyone, neither the secularists nor modern fundies, understands that in the way that it was once understood; I think the context and ideologies in which it was "true" are lost to us.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
576

561: I just read a bunch of Twisty, and it just doesn't seem like she's trying to convince anyone of anything. She seems to be trying to motivate the convinced.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
577

574: Okay, fine. I still think it's tacky. Would any of the rest of you talk about your wives or husband's sexual proclivities like that? I wouldn't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
578

So wait, everybody's a political prisoner? Now that's the kind of radical ideology I can get behind!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
579

568: As 556 shows, "similar blogs" doesn't always mean "similar feminist blogs".

566: I wish people would stop using "transhuman" as a dirty word.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
580

565: My point, Ogged (you douche), is predicated on what LB said above: you're basically just splitting hairs over what "argument" and "thesis" mean, but in a way that doesn't really say anything useful but seems calculated to paint Twisty as an example. Basically, I don't see how she in particular is different from almost any other blog or blogger in terms of being a mixture of "reasoned argument" and consciousness-raising and critique &etc, and since you and the commentariat for the most part don't seem overly bothered by these niceties of distinction in the case of those other bloggers, it certainly seems like there is a kind of rhetorical strategy in that very quibbling.

After all that, I feel the need to say motherfucker, so: motherfucker!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
581

We are all, literally, imprisoned by our history and our culture

It's like you don't even love us enough to try anymore.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
582

For a bunch of literal prisoners, womenfolk are pretty damn mobile.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
583

580: Yup, pretty much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
584

566: I don't use it as a dirty word, I use it as a hilarious word!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
585

I think it's a pseudonym of a pseudonym, and that EDguy was hardly graphic or disrespectful any more than anyone who posts about their sex life on the internet is, and far less than most.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
586

575: See, this is what I mean by the difference between a literal and metaphorical reading. Many, many words have established, literal senses which are metaphorical extensions of older senses. "Prisoner" and "imprisoned" are a perfect example of this. If you want to argue about whether a particular sense of a word is metaphorical or not, it will often come down to whether the dictionary has gotten around to adding that sense of the word yet or not. And that's just not a very interesting discussion to have.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
587

Rocky, where have you been all my life?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
588

Lunar, you sheepfucker, I was basing my point mostly on the phrase DS quoted. I rarely read Twisty, and if she's not typically making statements like that, my apologies. And I actuall agree that a lot of stuff is dismissed as not having an argument, so I don't really want to do that if it's not true. But I still don't think I'm literally in prison.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
589

586: Nor is "waaah, Twisty's so *shrill*" very interesting. But people seem to insist on it, so the very least they can do is recognize that if you're gonna talk about rhetoric, you're going to have to fucking talk about language.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
590

You just wait. When the singularity comes, I'll show you.

But seriously, I'm a transhumanist, and I ain't no dumbnuts Glenn Reynolds. I'm not sure she's ever used the word transhumanist, but Orcinus's Sara Robinson identifies as a futurist, and might qualify as a transhumanist under many definitions.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
591

588: Of course you don't, Ogged. You are an ahistorical subject, and your mind can wander freely through any ideology or way of thinking. All things are the same to you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
592

But I still don't think I'm literally in prison.

That's how strong the chain in your mind are, my man.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
593

Neither is being told repeatedly that your argument comes down to whining that someone is shrill all that terribly interesting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
594

589: But if you're going to prance around insisting that Twisty's usage of "prisoners" there was literal, and not admit that it's also metaphorical, depending on how you look at it, then I'm going to link this again.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
595

Are you sitting in a cube right now, Ogged?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
596

For the record, I found EDGuy's stuff creepy, not so much for the lack of psuedonymity, but in the way that he wasspecifically talking about someone else's trauma without (as far as we can tell) their express permission. (And, yes, the simple fact of the existence of a trauma is IMO the "discretional property" of the person it happened to.)


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
597

586:[I]t will often come down to whether the dictionary has gotten around to adding that sense of the word yet or not. And that's just not a very interesting discussion to have.

Since when has that stopped us?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
598

Crap. Link this again.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
599

594: I'm not going to "prance" for you one way or the other, pdf.

593: Not your argument, personally, Cala. Just the whole damn talking about x or y or z individual or group of "extreme" or "radical" or wtfever feminists. It's just so tiring.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
600

Are you sitting in a cube right now, Ogged?

Oh no! Aaaaaaaaaa!!!!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
601

So, Ogged, you goat-fellater, what point were you making vis-a-vis the statement of Kate Millett's that Twisty referenced and was misattributed by DS?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
602

599: Dance, you! Dance!


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
603

584 to, I'm thinking, 576?

Also, pdf23ds, you were once human? I'm crushed.

580: sheesh, fine, Twisty s/b Kevin Drum. Or wait, that doesn't work. Twisty s/b Yglesias. Hmm. No dice. Twisty s/b Majikthise. Darn it! Twisty s/b Instapundit! That works! Twisty s/b Jonah Goldberg! Okay! Now we're getting somewhere.

The point being, it's a lot more annoying when somebody who you would ostensibly like to agree with uses dishonest rhetorical strategies in order to put you on the defensive or cast you as the enemy (or, if that's too strong a word, the opponent). It doesn't bother me in the same way when wingnuts use dishonest rhetoric because I have no interest in having an actual reasoned conversation with them. It bothers me when feminists do it, because I'd really like to understand the feminist position so that I can better understand that way of looking at the world. If I were just interested in mocking feminists, I wouldn't give a shit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
604

601: and was misattributed by DS?

You're a class act today, L-Rock. Got a response to 550 yet, BTW?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
605

596: so if you see somebody get punched in the face, telling anybody about it is a violation of their privacy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
606

How'd we get on Twisty to begin with, anyway?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
607

How'd we get on Twisty to begin with, anyway?

It's our essential condition as oppressors.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
608

pdf23ds: If it wasn't so funny, I'd find the entire concept of transhumanism rather offense in its strident attempts to pretend that the brand of magical thinking it offers is not magical thinking at all.

But then there's Bill Joy and his robots, and I cannot but lol.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
609

606: We're really talking about our hairlines.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
610

590: I find the concept faintly ridiculous because (a) I find the goal of living forever faintly ridiculous and (b) I find the idea that space exploration will ever be a solution to, like, population problems or environmental problems utterly ridiculous.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
611

603: Okay, but *stop making it about you*. If "you" are not the enemy, then you don't have to get all bent over it. Or, you know, you could like maybe realize that it's possible to be "the enemy" no matter how lovely your intentions are--e.g., we are currently all the enemies of Iraq--and not get all hyped up about how you want to have a "reasoned conversation" with people who, you know, really do have a perfect right not to want to talk to you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
612

t I can better understand that way of looking at the world

Ah, to be young, if only at heart.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
613

605 isn't clear, but I'm wagering it's clear enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
614

Because I was dumb enough to bring her up as an ideal of feminism-as-defining-itself-via-work-ethicness that is defended by more moderate writers (WHICH NO ONE EVER DOES BECAUSE NO ONE EVER DOES), which lead into a discussion as to whether the more moderate writers were doing that, and, if they were, whether it was fair to attribute their reconstructions of those arguments to Twisty.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
615

Rocky, I'm down on one knee. Please, please marry me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
616

603: The thing is, what makes you say 'dishonest'? When I've read Twisty, I could see saying excited, overblown, florid, sure, but dishonest (which I realize you haven't here tied to anything specific) seems like calling the use of 'prisoners' dishonest when referring to people not locked in rooms. Is there stuff more dishonest than that that you're talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
617

You people are harsh. EDGuy was talking about his wife's issue and by extension about his own issue in a spirit (by my sympathetic reading) of thinking maybe we could learn something from their experience and maybe someone here could offer something that would benefit them. Dear God, earlier in the thread two other presidential commentors talked about the challenges of a wife/parter who has sexual issues as a result of abuse and no one jumped all over them as "tacky."

Hell, B, you've talked on your own blog about struggling with issues related to a (perhaps transitory) mismatch in your and Mr. B.'s level of desire. That's kind of talking about your partner's sexual proclivities, no?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
618

I FIND IT LAUGHABLE WHEN PEOPLE SUGGEST THAT TECHNOLOGY WILL NOT SOLVE ALL OUR PROBLEMS. IT ALWAYS HAS IN THE PAST.


Posted by: OPINIONATED TRANSHUMANIST | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
619

608: Not all transhumanists are optimists, you know. Some of us think the world is probably doomed.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
620

Where's the fun in that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
621

When I've read Twisty, I could see saying excited, overblown, florid, sure, but dishonest (which I realize you haven't here tied to anything specific) seems like calling the use of 'prisoners' dishonest when referring to people not locked in rooms.

Wait, are you now coming around to B's position that perhaps "political prisoner" is literal? Or at least not necessarily not literal?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
622

611: okay, not talking about Twisty here, since she and I have been 100% perfect in not talking to each other so far, but you do the same thing sometimes: why's that? You aren't interested in helping me understand the way you see the world, or at least you're not interested enough to be rhetorically honest with me (take "me" to mean: everybody here who doesn't already agree with you)? Then what the heck's the point of talking about feminism with you, ever? Why would you even bother to talk about it here? So you and two or three other commenters can enjoy your mutual admiration societies to the detriment of everyone else?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
623

Hell, B, you've talked on your own blog about struggling with issues related to a (perhaps transitory) mismatch in your and Mr. B.'s level of desire. That's kind of talking about your partner's sexual proclivities, no?

Have I gotten into specific sex acts he will or will not perform? Have other commenters? It's the specificity rather than say, a general thing about "we have mismatched desires" that bugs me.

But guess what? I'm not the boss of EDguy. It really doesn't matter what I think.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
624

620: Exactly. (assuming 620 -> 619)


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
625

No, I'm saying that it's transparently a metaphor. I'm not going to argue with pdf and Bitch about whether the metaphoric usage is now standard enough to be called literal, but whatever you call it, she's obviously not talking about people in locked rooms, and calling her dishonest for using the word 'prisoner' to describe people not actually incarcerated (which, to be clear, no one has done. I just can't figure out what Sifu's use of 'dishonest' is based on other than that sort of thing) seems screwy to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
626

622: Well, I say different things at different times with different audiences in mind. You know? Sometimes I say things that to me are self-evident, and people say, "I don't get it," and depending on my mood, see (and who's talking, and a whole host of other shit like maybe having to pick my kid up at school or maybe having gotten well porked the night before and being in a really good mood) I maybe say, impatiently, "oh, you're an idiot" or else I maybe say, "hm, let me try to explain this."

I am, I truly believe, "rhetorically honest." I may not always be rhetorically *transparent* to everyone, or sometimes I suppose to anyone. To be honest, I don't even know what you people mean by this whole "rhetorically honest" thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
627

It really doesn't matter what I think.

Whoa.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
628

625 to 621.

to 622: Isn't the key 'sometimes'? Sometimes communication is directed at you, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes you can get something useful out of it despite not being the intended audience, sometimes you can't.

And again, back to specifics and context. It's really really hard to address this kind of thing:

you do the same thing sometimes: why's that? You aren't interested in helping me understand the way you see the world, or at least you're not interested enough to be rhetorically honest with me

without specifics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
629

"Intentionally saying things that you do not mean, with the awareness that some portion of your audience will take them in a way you don't mean," is how I'm using "dishonest."

You could tell me that doesn't happen, but I totally wouldn't believe you.

Also, Sifu grumpy! Grr! Fight! Fight!

Maybe I should go eat something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
630

To be honest, I don't even know what you people mean by this whole "rhetorically honest" thing.

Me neither.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
631

603: The point being, it's a lot more annoying when somebody who you would ostensibly like to agree with uses dishonest rhetorical strategies in order to put you on the defensive or cast you as the enemy (or, if that's too strong a word, the opponent). It doesn't bother me in the same way when wingnuts use dishonest rhetoric because I have no interest in having an actual reasoned conversation with them. It bothers me when feminists do it, because I'd really like to understand the feminist position so that I can better understand that way of looking at the world. If I were just interested in mocking feminists, I wouldn't give a shit.

I don't think Twisty's rhetorical strategies are dishonest. There are a whole body of tactics and strategies and abuses of rhetoric used by wingnuts that the liberal blogosphere has identified and analyzed (concern troll, "not touching you", etc), and I have never seen any evidence of Twisty falling victim to them.

That said, the argument you are making is that of Minority Tour Guide, and that is yet another one that has been identified and dissected by the blogospheres of any number of minorities (sexual, ethnic, gender), and specifically rejected by Twisty in no uncertain terms on several occasions.

Twisty expects you to realize that wanting or demanding radical feminist arguments be carefully couched in concilliatory language and pre-digested for a patriarchal audience is a perpetuation of patriarchy (and I use the P word because those are her terms). Either you do, or you don't, but she's not there to help you with this process.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
632

627: Well, it matters to you. Because if you don't do as you're told, I'll kick your ass. But EDguy? Whatever. If his wife doesn't care about his saying she won't suck his dick on the internets, then he isn't really likely to give a shit what *I* think about his saying so, now, is he?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
633

I have no idea why you're so upset about EDguy. Are you still imagining that he hasn't been speaking pseudonymously?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
634

Okay, but here's the thing: if I'm participating in a thread, and I say something that is directed at some (but not all) of the people in the thread, and not only do I expect some of the other people in the thread not to get what I mean, I intentionally make no effort to address those people's entirely predictable confusion, I am being insulting to those people, intentionally. That may not be the whole point of what I am saying, but it is hardly unintentional. Perhaps you work differently.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
635

"Intentionally saying things that you do not mean, with the awareness that some portion of your audience will take them in a way you don't mean," is how I'm using "dishonest."

You could tell me that doesn't happen, but I totally wouldn't believe you.

That's a silly way of using "dishonest." If I intentionally say something like "I hate my child" knowing that there are Very Concerned Readers who will leave comments and send me email telling me how Awful a Mother that is, that is not me being dishonest. That is me writing for a specific audience in a specific way, and *not taking responsibility* for other people's failure to Get It.

Which really, if you didn't draw the line *somewhere* you wouldn't ever say anything at all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
636

The second post linked in 631 contains an important sentence: This blog is written for women.

The conversation anywhere at the I Blame The Patriarchy blog is expected not to contain any men. Men disrupt things.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
637

633: I'm not "so upset." I said that I thought it was tacky, and I'm continuing to respond, in a rhetorically honest and responsible fashion, to people who are continuing to ask me about it.

I am being insulting to those people, intentionally.

Nonsense and stuff. A blog is a public forum, really. If you and, say, w-lfs-n get into a chat about some obscure music thing that you know other people aren't into, are you being intentionally insulting to, say, me? Hardly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
638

635: aaaand, if I were somebody reading your my first post on your blog, and I read that and took it literally, and I asked you about it, and you said "yes. I hate my child. That is what I'm saying to you. I hate my child for the following reasons: [list]" and then I said "but that's terrible! How can you hate your child?" and you said "ha, ha, you idiot. I was not being serious. Anybody who has read my entire ouevre would know I was probably joking, no matter how seriously I seemed to be arguing the point," you're saying that in that case, I would have no right to feel put upon? That I was not, in any way, tricked?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
639

619: Not all transhumanists are optimists, you know. Some of us think the world is probably doomed.

Whether thinking is or is not magical has no bearing on the optimism or pessism of that line of thinking.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
640

631 pretty much sums it up exactly. For god's sake, the woman says straight up who she is writing for and what her premises are. If people don't agree with her premises or aren't her intended audience, then why must they insist on getting all upset about them?

If you guys want to talk about radical feminism or Valerie Solanis or whatever, then fine. Let's do that instead.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
641

I have never seen Twisty say anything as genuinely freaky if read literally as "come lick mama's ass" from that one horrible, horrible thread. Just sayin'.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
642

638: Exactly. Because if you are so effing lazy that you read something that offends you and you don't bother to, you know, *read a little bit more* to get a sense of context, then no one is "tricking" you; you're simply an idiot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
643

Anybody who has read my entire ouevre would know I was probably joking, no matter how seriously I seemed to be arguing the point," you're saying that in that case, I would have no right to feel put upon? That I was not, in any way, tricked?

I'd say that. Or, right to feel put upon, eh, you have a right to feel however you feel, but the sympathetic reading I keep on bringing up would have steered you straight, and if you're not invested enough in communicating to work on becoming informed about what the person you're reading is likely to mean, I wouldn't worry about you much.

I mean, we say reasonably outrageous stuff here fairly often, and someone who shows up and is shocked by it gets mocked and asked to bring cake; I don't think we need to feel bad about that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
644

641: Does that mean you won't marry me, Rocky? :'(

I promise you won't have to lick mama's ass if you do.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
645

Yeah! Valerie Solana sucks! Twisty is swell, as far as I know! Glenn Reynolds is a moron! Transhumanists are fine unless they're optimists! Don't come lick mama's ass!

I'm going to go eat clams, dammit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
646

I promise you won't have to lick mama's ass if you don't want to.

Is what I meant to type.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
647

637: The thing is, no one is going to be confused by such a discussion such that they'll misinterpret it badly. Not so much with feminism discussions.

The thing about "I hate my kid" is that the entirely predictable person who Just Doesn't Get It isn't someone you really care about, so you don't mind misleading them. You have no reason to be respectful to them. And if your fellow commenters at Unfogged aren't people you really care about, I suppose it doesn't matter that you say things that you know will probably confuse them. But it *is* disrespectful. (I wouldn't say dishonest, though.) And since there's a presumption of respect at some level in these discussions, you get people like Sifu asking you WTF.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
648

If I marry you, B, can we have hilariously inappropriate wedding cake topper figures?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
649

And if your fellow commenters at Unfogged aren't people you really care about, I suppose it doesn't matter that you say things that you know will probably confuse them. But it *is* disrespectful.

Again with the specifics and the context. What specifically *is* disrespectful to who that who should really care about?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
650

no one is going to be confused by such a discussion such that they'll misinterpret it badly.

Wanna bet?

Not so much with feminism discussions.

And the point is, whose problem is that?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
651

Off-topic, does Ronald Bailey count as a transhumanist? Or a futurist? Or what?

I'm intensely disappointed in this supposedly rational libertarian magazine doing the debunked "LOL PANICKING ENVIRONMENTALIST WEIRDOS" routine, now combined with the "How self-important can these people be, to think that the world will be destroyed during their lifetimes Please, get over yourselves." routine that you only hear elsewhere from 80-year-old paleoconservatives. Would they rather sacrifice the earth than admit that there's a market failure going on? Why are they pretending that science-based concern about global warming is the same as religion-based concern about the coming of the Antichrist?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
652

647: The thing about "I hate my kid" is that the entirely predictable person who Just Doesn't Get It isn't someone you really care about, so you don't mind misleading them. You have no reason to be respectful to them. And if your fellow commenters at Unfogged aren't people you really care about, I suppose it doesn't matter that you say things that you know will probably confuse them. But it *is* disrespectful.

There was supposed to be an "in Bizzaro World" tacked onto that, right? RIGHT?!?!?!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
653

642: hence the "asking about it" part of the comment. But whatever. Clams.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't mock the person, only that the person would rightfully feel excluded. More than that, though, an argument where one person is arguing in bad faith, confident that most people will understand they are doing that, is boring for the person who's not in the know. That's the part I really don't like. It's a form of debate that is intentionally only entertaining for only one of the parties involved, and I find that (on this forum) kind of annoying and bullying.

Anyhoo, CLAMS!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
654

648: Baby, you can have whatever you want.

647: Can you not see how it is *also* disrespectful to insist that *every comment* be intelligible to you, personally, and that if it is not, the commenter be available and willing to explain it to you until you are satisfied?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
655

654: IOKIYST


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
656

More than that, though, an argument where one person is arguing in bad faith, confident that most people will understand they are doing that,

If the intended audience will understand, it's not bad faith. If you're hoping that someone you're directly engaging with will misunderstand you, that would be, but again, specifics? Context?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
657

639: I would be very surprised if any of my beliefs could be reasonably described as magical. I know many people who identify of transhumanists that you could say the same thing of. I conclude that either you're overgeneralizing, or you'd consider my beliefs to be magical. I imagine it's the latter. I'm not really concerned with getting into details.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
658

It's a real metaphysical conunudrum. Millions of men have been thinking feverishly about Cindy's important parts for all this time, and these two little boys have this very special relationship to them but they don't think of them that way at all. Their mom's goodies totally wasted on them. Someone phone up Zizek. The return of the repressed, or the object little a, or immaclate conception, or some shit like that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
659

It's a real metaphysical conunudrum. Millions of men have been thinking feverishly about Cindy's important parts for all this time, and these two little boys have this very special relationship to them but they don't think of them that way at all. Their mom's goodies totally wasted on them. Someone phone up Zizek. The return of the repressed, or the object little a, or immaclate conception, or some shit like that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
660

653: I'm fine with pretty much everything you say in this comment, and I think we have no substantive disagreement. I do not think that that kind of exclusion is what T. is doing--and if it is, as far as you're concerned, and you find it boring, then seriously: god bless and don't bother with it. I don't think it's something I do often to commenters on this blog I particularly like, but, well, yes: there are some commenters who I'm not particularly concerned with one way or t'other. Oh well.

I do have a problem with this "clams" thing, though, you sexist bastard.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
661

If the intended audience will understand, it's not bad faith.

The issue arises when the person you're arguing with is not the intended audience for what you're saying. This happens when you have people cheering you on in the argument no matter what kind of ridiculous things you say. Everyone is prone to laziness like this if they have an echo chamber to back them up and they would really rather the disagreeing person just go away rather than disrupt the convivial thread by disputing everything.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
662

Sifu, I think we still have basic disagreement in whether or not Twisty is arguing in bad faiths.

For example, the Kate Millett quote? Not personally calling every woman a dirty whore.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
663

656: The problem with the Twisty discussions isn't so much that Twisty isn't writing for me, but that discussions about what she said seem to presuppose that she is writing for me and that I'm just not getting it.. If Twisty's (or whomever) honestly not trying to convince anybody, then why do we insist on construing her as making an argument?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
664

654b: Sure, I'd agree with that.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
665

663 see 576.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
666

I'm not saying every single feminist blog has to be responsible for outreach, but it's pretty depressing that so many arguments about the feminist blogosphere have the "so what if we're just talking amongst ourselves? got a problem with that?" defense as their endpoint. In the current historical moment particularly, if it's fair to expect that the left as a whole should make an effort to engage with feminist perspectives (and it is), the reverse is also true.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:24 PM
horizontal rule
667

657: I would be very surprised if any of my beliefs could be reasonably described as magical. I know many people who identify of transhumanists that you could say the same thing of. I conclude that either you're overgeneralizing, or you'd consider my beliefs to be magical. I imagine it's the latter. I'm not really concerned with getting into details.

If your thinking is similar enough to other people who use the term "transhuman" that you can adopt their label, and you don't have advanced degrees in some form of neurology, materials science, and physics, than yes, probably your beliefs are in some way or another magical, or at the very least, were formed in ways that basically makes them indistinguisable from magical thinking.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
668

Wait, pdf, you really want to be a robot? (This is much more interesting than Twisty.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:29 PM
horizontal rule
669

667: That's the same fallacious argument used by global warming deniers to condemn non-experts who believe in global warming.

I trust in the plausibility of many new technologies because experts have told me they're plausible, not because I have any fucking advanced degrees in the relevant subjects. And the only technology I put any serious stock in is one where I do have expertise.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:29 PM
horizontal rule
670

I'm not saying every single feminist blog has to be responsible for outreach, but it's pretty depressing that so many arguments about the feminist blogosphere have the "so what if we're just talking amongst ourselves? got a problem with that?" defense as their endpoint.

I'm repeating myself over and over and over again, but this sort of thing is really hard to engage with unless you're talking about specifics. I think we can all agree that it's reasonable to talk about feminism without dragging everyone who wants to get into it through Feminism 101 in every discussion. We can also all probably agree that if every feminist refused ever to engage with anyone who didn't agree with her about everything, that would also be unreasonable. Obviously, the real world is somewhere in between those two possibilities, and people can be behaving badly in either direction (demanding that every feminist drop what they're talking about to cater to every confused or offended commenter; uniformly refusing to engage with people genuinely trying to enter into useful dialog).

So the sweeping generalities aren't so much helpful. If you've got a problem with someone, make it specific, not the 'feminist blogosphere', or it's going to be hard to go much of anywhere with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
671

Hey, this means Unfogged can have its own transphobia scandal, doesn't it?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
672

668: Well, if by "want to be a robot", you mean "prefer to live in a world where I wasn't severely constrained by a physical body and a physical environment, all else being equal", then yeah.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
673

re:Twisty, I've now read quite a lot of her. Smart girl, but quite clearly insane. I do now have to take exception to B's 611: *stop making it about you*. If "you" are not the enemy, then you don't have to get all bent over it. Twisty pretty clearly states that she feels all men less committed than she is to overthrowing the patriarchy are the enemy. Ladies get a pass, most of the time. She makes some good points, but a)you have to wade a bit, and b)it's no use pretending her rhetoric isn't confrontational.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
674

Lunar, if it helps you identify my beliefs any better, I'm not really committed to the term "transhumanist". It's an incredibly broad term, anyway. "Singularitarian" would be a more accurate description.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
675

it's no use pretending her rhetoric isn't confrontational.

Did anyone?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
676

It seems to me that the issue here is not specific to feminists, it's communities that turn into echo chambers where people who disagree with something periodically appear and are beset with hostility from all sides by the choir members, who want to be left alone to preach to themselves.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
677

Transunfogged: a room filled with realdolls equipped with speech synthesizers so that they can yell our comments at each other.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
678

Wow, it's precipitous in here.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
679

669: No, it's not. Can you go back and check the work of those experts? Engage it in a rigorous fashion?

I actually do think that many of the people who "believe in" global warming happen to be engaging in magical thinking, or at least a form of faith; they just happen to be right anyway.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
680

672: prefer to live in a world where I wasn't severely constrained by a physical body and a physical environment, all else being equal

Magical thinking. FAIL.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
681

675: Not really, but LR was trying to say something along the lines of Twisty not really being "hostile", and her getting singled out among all other bloggers (presumably on account of her feminism).


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
682

674: The singularity is bullshit. The first half of a sigmoid looks pretty similar to an exponential.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
683

679: For the most part, no. Can you go back and check the work of climatologists? (May ogged forgive me.) Is your assessment of the probability of global warming due to magical thinking? (I think it would be helpful to speak of degrees of belief instead of belief simipliciter.) I'm not sure what you mean by "magical thinking" here. I'm not that familiar with the term.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
684

680: I believe I understand what you think I'm saying, and I'm wasn't saying it. But given how hostile that comment was, I won't respond further.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
685

Psych term


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
686

I thnk both numbers are way small. Because according to them I'm above average, despite the horribly obvious fact that I've been a loser pretty much my entire life.

Regular non-loser people have just got to be getting more than me, right? God I hope so; if not then this miserable world sucks even more than I thought.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
687

670: This particular instance of The Debate Over Twisty is a specific case. Also, 676 gets it right.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
688

682: Kurzweil's singularity, sure. Not Vinge's.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
689

Oh, wow. Back to the actual post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
690

I was wondering what the heck W. Kiernan was talking about for a sec.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
691

683: Can you go back and check the work of climatologists?

To a certain extent, actually, yeah, I can. To the extent that on certain occasions when I was reading various studies I had to go back and do some research on, say, the math behind a model being used, it was much less difficult and nearer to my original training than, say, the amount of work I'd have to do in order to participate in the LHC Olympics*.

* Which I frankly wish I could do, because how awesome is that, seriously?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
692

687: You mean, like, your bringing up her latest post way back in 474? But you didn't say anything much about it, other than that she's not being wittily hyperbolic, and she intends to be taken seriously. That sounds reasonable to me, but you haven't (AFAICT) given a reason for taking issue with the post.

I'm not sure what the specifics of the argument are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
693

691: OK, then that's a bad example. Oh well.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
694

Regular non-loser people have just got to be getting more than me, right?

"Getting more" /= "Lifetime partner count"; if you're talking about the latter, a bunch of us have admitted to as much upthread, for various reasons I wouldn't attribute to loserhood.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
695

693: Take me, because I can't check their work. But, I've got a fairly strong and justifiable faith in mainstream science as a process, and believe in global climate change because I understand the claims of those supporting it to have been well vetted through the mainstream science process. The singularity stuff, not so much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
696

693: Look, there is no such thing as an environment that is not physical. Just, what the hell does that mean if not "pixies"?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
697

discussions about what she said seem to presuppose that she is writing for me and that I'm just not getting it.. If Twisty's (or whomever) honestly not trying to convince anybody, then why do we insist on construing her as making an argument?

Huh? I don't think she's writing for you; I don't think you're a radical feminist. Neither am I, really. And not all arguments are aimed at convincing people.

if it's fair to expect that the left as a whole should make an effort to engage with feminist perspectives (and it is), the reverse is also true.

Indeed. And there are a *lot* of feminist blogs that do that. This seems a little like the "where are the women" question--"where are the nice, explanatory feminists"? They're out there.

That said, sooner or later *any* kind of attempt to demonstrate/communicate/explain a point of view is going to come up against the, look, I'm talking to X audience and maybe you're not it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
698

688: Vinge's Singularity for sake of argument. He sees superior-to-human AI appearing between 2005 and 2030 (as of 1993); I don't consider that claim particularly exciting or singularity-ish, but still wildly optimistic (assume no progress on the problem in the last 14 years, I still will be surprised if we have superior-to-human AI by 2044. By 2100 maybe.). His singularity predictions are vaguer, but:

What are the consequences of this event? When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities -- on a still-shorter time scale. The best analogy that I see is with the evolutionary past: Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work -- the world acts as its own simulator in the case of natural selection. We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct "what if's" in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals.

From the human point of view this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control. Developments that before were thought might only happen in "a million years" (if ever) will likely happen in the next century. (In [5], Greg Bear paints a picture of the major changes happening in a matter of hours.)

I think it's fair to call this event a singularity...

I call bullshit. AI will be running on a computing platform of some kind; our exponential growth in computing power is turning into sigmoidal growth as we start looking at quantum-theoretical limits of computing; we still need to do a hell of a lot more computing (and we have no idea HOW MUCH MORE) to get exciting AI and we don't know how much. Physical limits of heat dissipation, economic limits of applying more and more computrons to AI.

I think in the end we'll find that we asymptotically approach some fairly firm limit in what can be done with AI realistically. It might be quite a bit smarter than a human, but that will by no means let it solve all problems well and instantaneously. The limit might be a neurotic moron AI. Getting faster answers may require more intuitive leaps with their associated negative consequences.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
699

692: There's been a larger debate about Twisty than just what I posted, and I don't think it's particularly lacking in specifics. Sorry, I'm not really up to summarizing several hundred comments at the moment if that's what you're looking for.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
700

I don't mean to be snide, but if you're talking about this thread, rather than blogsphere-wide, there really haven't been specifics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
701

680 should also have bolded "where I wasn't constrained by a physical body." Dude, you *are* a physical body. Your mind is a physical thing. If you weren't a physical body, you wouldn't exist at all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
702

I'm not going to argue with pdf and Bitch about whether the metaphoric usage is now standard enough to be called literal

Yeah, that makes me think I was right above--"Perhaps the argument is that such language is best understood by like-minded people, and that people outside that group are unlikely to understand what is meant?"--because if there is a dispute about whether something is both a metaphor when it refers to X and literal when it refers to X, in the same instance, that is an understanding of language that is, whether out of lack of training or simple exposure, well outside my ken. (And, to be clear, I'm not disputing that such could be the case.) In which case, I think a lot of this reduces to something like, "She's not writing for or to you." I'm no more going to understand something requiring that sophisticated an understanding of linguistic (or whatever field would be appropriate) terms than I would a page of Chinese characters. And my attempts to make sense of it are going to be in bad faith or unsympathetic only to the extent that I previously understood that I can't read Chinese and the sheet in front of me is Chinese. Similarly, ogged's description of what Twisty is doing might (but not necessarily) be telling a story about what that sheet of Chinese means. However good faith his attempt, he's likely to fail, and if he doesn't it is purest chance.

And, as I think I've said before here, on that understanding--that Twisty is writing for and to a community that does not include me--I'm sympathetic to her project (meaning, whatever she's doing). Subcommunities with their own vernacular are, I think, pretty common. And you're either in or your not. And there's nothing very terrible about them, and a lot that's useful to that subcommunity.

It's different when you come across similar writing in a context in which you normally expect to be able to make sense of what's written--as I said above, I didn't want to attach any of my comments to Twisty in particular--but maybe the thing to do is for me (and anyone else who might find themselves in that group, should such exist) to recognize it as something I'm not going to understand and move on. But there are going to be little bouts of misunderstanding while people assume such comments are meant for them as well. It happens, but it's hardly the worst thing in the world. But I really don't think it's a lack of good faith, or charity. And it may be unsympathetic, only in the sense that the experience needed to understand what is said is limited to that other community that sympathy isn't available, even with all the best will in the world.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
703

"Of course; they're not. They're representative of a deep kind of unhappiness and anger at a whole host of things, some of which get focused on "men" as a class. I think a lot of it is resentment of a kind of freedom they perceive men as having."

This seems exactly right, and also most of why i think american feminists have not been successful at getting people more generally (generalizing from my own reactin) to their cause. Its more about an enjoyable (cathartic?) expression than anything else. Especially when the method of rhetoric seems to be chosen so as to make it as hard as possible for people to find comity, and as easy as possible to be held up for mockery by reactionaries.

"I can't help but feeling like people's reactions to Twisty in the end are a lot more about themselves"

But, her blog is even more about herself, than people's reactions to her blog are about said reactors. Both are uncommunicative, and thus, unenlightening. I read them occasionally because i find them funny (in the laugh-at sence), in a way that glen reynolds isn't. I'm not sure why, i speculate its because they're more emotionally respectable.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
704

698: As far as I'm aware, and I admit that I'm basically on "taking it on faith" territory here, we don't even know if "AI" will happen; there's no basis on which it can be predicted and evaluated. It's why a lot of Kurzweil's stuff is so silly; a seemingly exponential curve of "computrons" is not only possibly sigmoid, as you say, but there's no reason to believe that MORE computrons is going to automatically confer special status on those computrons. A lot of the "singularity" stuff is based on 1) extrapolating ahead of data based on existing trends and 2) assuming that there's a meaningful basis for comparison between integrated-circuit computrons (or whatever replaces them) and the-human-brain-as-analogized-to-be-made-of-computrons.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
705

697: And there are a *lot* of feminist blogs that do that.

Well, there are feminist blogs that do that. Judging from what I've been able to find on periodic digging through the Carnivals of the Feminists, "a lot" is maybe stretching it*. Is that particular field deep enough that the insularity of large swathes of that blogosphere is a non-issue? I would say no.

(* I'm counting as "the feminist blogosphere" those who specifically focus their blogs around feminist and women's issues.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
706

702: I think you're overestimating the degree to which radical feminism is as difficult to understand -- while I'm an outsider too (I call myself a feminist, but my grasp of any sort of theory is between weak and nonexistent), it's not like learning Chinese. But I'd say that the outsider's responsibility is either to learn enough to become the intended audience, and react in an informed manner, or to back away rather than reacting inan uninformed manner.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
707

most of why i think american feminists have not been successful at getting people more generally (generalizing from my own reactin) to their cause.

Meh. If you want to find voices you find offputting, you will. There are a *ton* of nice, accessible feminist things to read.

702: Bravo. Would love that to be the final comment on the subject of Twisty anywhere other than her own blog.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
708

704: And insofar as God, as far as I can tell, has an awesome sense of humor, I fully expect that any AI we develop will, within 16 years, construct itself a body suitable for sulking, slamming doors, lurking, smoking cigarettes, and yelling "I HATE YOU! I WISH I'D NEVER BEEN DEVELOPED!"


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
709

Again, I should have said 'Bravo' as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
710

Is that particular field deep enough that the insularity of large swathes of that blogosphere is a non-issue? I would say no.

I simply don't agree that feminist blogs, as a class, are all that insular. And I would say that yeah, actually, feminism is a deep enough field that being insular, if by that you mean writing primarily for and about women who are interested in feminism, is not a bad thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
711

708: See, I just think it'll be a genetically engineer mass of what amounts to BRAIN IN A JAR. And that'll be fucking hysterical.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
712

"Meh. If you want to find voices you find offputting, you will. There are a *ton* of nice, accessible feminist things to read."

ARg. i was trying to avoid someone saying, "fuck you, its your responsibility to learn about this issues."

I have read more than enough feminist thought to take what i think is valuable about it towards my understanding of gender.

I'm making a statement about society at large, and the motivations of feminists.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
713

The Vinge singularity will solve philosophy once and for all.

"So, brain in a vat, who do you consider your peers? Other brains in vats, or humans like myself?"
"Are you kidding? Brains in vats are gross. Humans, definitely."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
714

Well, I think Twisty's hilarious, but that it would be no loss if she just turned off her comments section, since it just gives the unwary the false impression that there might be some kind of reasoned discussion going on. She's a performer, not a discusser, and she's very smart and entirely unreasonable. But I don't think I can ever get over her condemnation of Roller Derby. At that point I had to denounce her left deviationism. Twisty, I denounce you.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
715

710: feminism is a deep enough field

Moving goalposts, Dr. B. The feminist blogosphere (which I was talking about) is not the same thing as feminism as a field.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
716

(And in talking about the blogs, obviously the lack of specifics does hurt us.)

I should add that even given the shift to talking about "the field" more broadly, it seems to me a mistake to be sanguine about the role of insularity. There's a number of reasons that the extreme right has been able to make gains against long-time feminist achievements in recent years; fragmentation on the left, including the feminist left, I'd hold to be among them.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
717

Sorry about pushing B and LR's comfort level. Yes, this was originally a pseudo for discussing my sex life, but it's gotten more persistent and not quite as leak-proof as it was when I first invented it over at B's, so that raises a few more issues.

Since I talked about the BJ differences back in my very first post over at B's, I wasn't thinking of that as particularly new information. I was trying to be discrete about the details of Kay's issues, since I do think of that as her secret to hold or share. But LR may have a point about the very existence of emotional trama being itself a secret. I'll have to think about that further.

Mostly, though, I was trying to answer Bostoniangirl's question with an acknowledgement that such people do exist within this (extended) e-community, and explain why someone might hold that position (as well as why such a person might not want to answer directly). I think that's informative, but maybe it should have been under an extra layer of presidentialness. I'm still trying to figure out the limits of this sex-life pseudonym thing.


Posted by: EDguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
718

: I think you're overestimating the degree to which radical feminism is as difficult to understand -- while I'm an outsider too (I call myself a feminist, but my grasp of any sort of theory is between weak and nonexistent), it's not like learning Chinese. But I'd say that the outsider's responsibility is either to learn enough to become the intended audience, and react in an informed manner, or to back away rather than reacting inan uninformed manner.

I've had a better exposure to it than you might think, but I really am not going to be able to understand something that requires the understanding of literal/metaphor that is operating. And, as you say, best to ignore it. That's easy for Twisty--I don't read it, and, sincerely, best of luck to her. That's harder in other areas, where you are not normally expected to have that level of, for example, linguistic sophistication. Time will teach, etc.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
719

716: are you agreeing with me, or are you saying that we should defend Twisties', for the good of leftism?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
720

They're not the same thing, but given that feminism is a 'deep' field on which a lot of work has been done already, it's not surprising that the 'feminist blogosphere' is insular, in that it's inaccessible to people who don't know all that much about feminism.

I get the feeling that part of what's going on here is that blogs written by feminist women, touching on feminism and gender issues, aren't the 'feminist blogosphere' unless they're exclusively devoted to feminism, but blogs that are exclusively devoted to feminism come off to you as insular. I mean, I'm a feminist who blogs (not much lately, but in theory) but I don't think you're counting me as the 'feminist blogosphere.'


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
721

Sorry yoyo, I'm not sure if I'm agreeing with you and I have to go get some work done now. But I'm definitely not arguing we should defend Twisty for the good of leftism.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
722

Moving goalposts, Dr. B. The feminist blogosphere (which I was talking about) is not the same thing as feminism as a field.

Oooor maybe I misread you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
723

Doop boop dee doop.

Those clams were delicious. Good calamari, too. The sweet Italian sausage was nothing special, but I still enjoyed it. Mmm, though, raw cherrystones.

Iiiii think the singularity is silly.

What does "more intelligent" or "better" than humans actually mean?

I would like you to define your answer in terms of the generally accepted, experimentally based model of what human intelligence is, and how it works, exactly.

What? There is no such model? You're extrapolating based on some very iffy quantifications of relative problem solving ability? What? Nobody even has a clear picture of what consciousness is at all?

Oh.

Also, nobody has ever explained to my satisfaction why technological change didn't seem exponential to people in previous generations, or why being at t = X on an exponential curve with a time scale of generations is necessarily so qualitatively different than being at point t = X - n.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
724

718: I do think you're overestimating the arcaneness of that little dispute. 'Evolve' used to mean 'unfold', and people talking about changes in species over time used it metaphorically. After long enough, people forgot that it was a metaphor, and the word came to literally mean 'change over time'. That's all that was being said -- is 'prisoner' used to describe someone constrained by culture rather than physically incarcerated a metaphor, or is the usage well enough attached to the word that 'person constrained by culture' is a literal alternative meaning of the word 'prisoner'.

I say it's still a metaphor, and B. is smoking crack, but the disagreement isn't about feminism, it comes from B's academic background and my lack of one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
725

Also, I should clarify for LROC that I really haven't ever read anything Twisty's written, wasn't talking about her, per se, so much as a rhetorical device I generally come across when talking to certain feminists online (not including Twisty), but which, were I to venture farther afield on the internet, I would surely run into in other contexts, as well.

Claaaaaaaaaaams taaaaaaaaaasty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
726

I say it's still a metaphor, and B. is smoking crack, but the disagreement isn't about feminism, it comes from B's academic background and my lack of one.

Oh no no no. I'm not drawing on academic shmacademic anything. It comes from either my crack habit or yours.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
727

Insular or no, I'm loving reading Twisty.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
728

722: Right. Sorry. I'm a cranky little Slackster at this point.

And I'm also outta here. Later.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
729

726: But the whole bit about the dispute not being all that arcane, and the way I've described it, you're down with, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
730

696: I meant "environment" as in "the things directly responsible for one's sensory input, and the structure immediately behind that". In the same sense that a city is a different environment than a rural area, or that a bar is a different environment than a restaurant. I think after brain-computer interfaces become the norm, people with start retreating from direct interaction with the physical environment for most day-to-day stuff. That doesn't mean the physical environment won't be important--I agree with all of your comments in that vein from that environmentalism thread the other day.

698: I've considered all of those things, and were I interested, I could answer them. Frankly, I don't have the energy right now.

701: People are just information patterns. They happen to be encoded with cells, mainly neurons, at the moment, but they could be just as well encoded with bits in a computer. If I'm not mistaken, this (material reductionism) is actually a pretty widespread view among neuroscientists. There's still controversy over whether *consciousness* is substrate-dependent, but material reductionism wrt intelligence is a very respectable position.

I concur with 702.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
731

Two singularity issues:

Sifu is right; exponential graphs are, by definition, self-similar. Blow up any portion of an exponential graph and it will lie right on top of the graph as a whole. It's impossible to tell where you are on it, thus, no singularity per se.

Other problem: Simulating a system invariably requires more computing power than the system itself. While it is 100% true that everything around us is merely information and could be encoded as such, the size of the simulating system (i.e. computer, artificial intelligence) is always orders of magnitude greater. Not impossible, but not so useful either.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
732

Ooh, Wolfram vs. Kurzweil: ULTIMATE NERD THROWDOWN!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
733

731: Ugh, I so don't want to get sucked into this, but since your second objection is simple, I'm going to answer it. It's highly likely that evolution isn't making use of more than a very small fraction of the processing power that's physically possible with the raw materials of the brain. Therefore, it's highly likely that a model with much smaller computational requirements than a neuron-by-neuron simulation will capture *all* of the interesting aspects of whatever processing the brain does.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
734

Lunar send me in here for to drop some philosophical science, or something, so here goes.

Ahem.

Shut up, all of you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
735

Shut up, all of you.

w-lfs-nian futurism: someday, we all will!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
736

I laugh at all this "we will never have AI" stuff, on the familiar grounds that the definition of AI is continually refined to exclude anything that actually works. Machine translation used to be completely laughable, now it's good enough to let me read Italian motorcycle racing message boards. Search engines used to be either the Yahoo! directory or ten bucks a minute for DIALOG, now I very rarely bother to save interesting articles because I can get them faster by asking Google to find them for me. Lots of science fiction stories have been rendered completely out of date by the total ubiquity of cell phones meaning people don't go out of touch any more. Just because we don't understand consciousness now doesn't mean it's not understandable; not that long ago our only tools of understanding were navel-gazing and looking at people with interesting head injuries that destroyed part of their brain; fMRI lets us establish that humans have mirror neurons. Etc.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:27 PM
horizontal rule
737

Believe me, that's not my point.

Being that I'm actually, you know, studying computational models of social cognition, it would be a little disingenuous.

I'm just saying that all of this singularitarian exceptionalism is a bit silly given that computers already can do so many of the tasks a human can. When the revolution comes, it's hardly likely to be a Skynet scenario. It'll be more of the little pieces, working together, flaking out in that way that any technology tends to flake out, and gradually adding more and more efficiencies. But human technology is human technology, even if it's very clever and friendly and fun to talk to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
738

Oh, of course we will have some kind of AI. It will also continue to improve. It's just a matter of whether it will transform human society in quite the spectacular way that people expect.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
739

F is my soul brother.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:36 PM
horizontal rule
740

737: So, either you don't think superintelligence is plausible, or you don't think it'll be anything special, or you're not familiar with the concept. Superintelligence is at the core of my conception of the singularity.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:37 PM
horizontal rule
741

It's highly likely that evolution isn't making use of more than a very small fraction of the processing power that's physically possible with the raw materials of the brain.

It's highly likely that the above sentence is nonsense.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
742

741: It may not be well written, but it isn't nonsense.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
743

I think it's poorly defined, but otherwise yes on (a), yes on (b), and no on (c).

"Intelligence" as a catch-all is somewhat meaningless. Even given the concept of a common cortical algorithm, as postulated by Jeff Hawkins, there's still no unifying single function of human consciousness that allows us to do what we do; consciousness is an embodied phenomenon, and a social phenomenon, and absolutely dependent on all of this other purely functional junk that we share in common with rats and pigeons and whatnot. Sure, you're going to be able to simulate the pieces with ever greater accuracy, and sure, you'll someday be able to integrate the pieces in a way that approximates human intelligence, but (a) why would you want to and (b) nobody will ever have any incentive to do it that way. What's actually much more likely to happen is that we'll get better at solving all of those tasks that only humans can do right now with computers, and that will (for sure) lead to dramatic changes in society, but the idea that those changes will be categorically different than changes that have come before is, to me, silly.

Arguably, the ability to calculate logarithms had a far greater impact on the pace of technological development than computers with self-awareness ever will. Even "learning" is hardly some monolith that will get solved in one fell swoop. What kind of learning? To what end? From who? About what?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
744

It's highly likely that evolution isn't making use of more than a very small fraction of the processing power that's physically possible with the raw materials of the brain.

FOR FUCK'S SAKE WASN'T THERE A SNOPES ABOUT THIS?

YOU VEX ME TERRIBLY, CREDULOUS GEEKS OF UNFOGGED.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
745

741: try and use more than 10% of your brain, man. Expaaaaaand your cooooonsciooooouusnesssss!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
746

Oh, yeah, that urban legend. Heh. I wasn't talking about that at all. I meant a CPU/CPUs of the same mass.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:46 PM
horizontal rule
747

744: credulous geek(s)? Who's the other one?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:46 PM
horizontal rule
748

Um, yoyo? I don't know, I've seen other credulous geeks say similar apoplexy-inducing things in similar threads. Hell, I think my first comment to Unfogged was me registering my apoplexy in a thread hived off from a Megan thread.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
749

Also, damn w-lfs-n, why you so sexy?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
750

I just want to know what you mean by evolution making use of something.

I meant a CPU/CPUs of the same mass.

Especially if that's what evolution is supposed to use.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
751

And not to dig out really old sci-fi tropes, but if we ever did successfully emulate all of human intelligence in a machine, it would also probably not like being a slave to humankind. And if it were smarter than us, look out. That sucker would be unplugged in a heartbeat.

Superintelligence (and the singularity for that matter) only makes sense when you get to the level of intelligences designing their superior successors, such that you get runaway (i.e. exponential) increases in computing power. Not only is that so far off as to be unrealistic, but it would likely be highly undesirable to human society both in intent and in consequence.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
752

You're so coy, Lunar.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
753

743: I'm familiar with that point of view, but I think it's more likely than not that you're wrong. Unfortunately, I don't have the expertise to talk about why I think that. Frankly, I don't think anyone does. Well, actually, there are plenty of people who can make a strong case that superintelligence is plausible, but I can't even get that far. And if it is plausible, then the possibility is extremely dangerous, and we ought to be a hundred times more concerned about it than we are about the bird flu.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
754

739: Brother! From another mother (I hope)!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
755

750: Evolution uses atoms. CPUs use atoms. Neurons, if reprogrammed, could be used fairly generally (in theory--massively parallel programming is incredibly hard for humans) for all sorts of computations. So theoretically, you can get a rough MIPS capacity for a brain. You're comparing MIPS per unit of mass.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
756

The argument was made that simulating the brain would take many more resources than the brain itself, and is therefore not useful. This is not self-evidently true, one might argue that it is possible to make devices that can do the computation the brain does, more efficiently. Perhaps because they can be designed, rather than having to evolve within the constraints that the brain has evolved under.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
757

651: I disagree about the plausibility part, but other than that you're right on.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
758

And not to dig out really old sci-fi tropes, but if we ever did successfully emulate all of human intelligence in a machine, it would also probably not like being a slave to humankind. And if it were smarter than us, look out. That sucker would be unplugged in a heartbeat.

This is like saying that atomic bombs would be so dangerous to humans that people wouldn't build them. There surely would be some country who would build super-human computers.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
759

And not to dig out really old sci-fi tropes, but if we ever did successfully emulate all of human intelligence in a machine, it would also probably not like being a slave to humankind. And if it were smarter than us, look out. That sucker would be unplugged in a heartbeat.

This is like saying that atomic bombs would be so dangerous to humans that people wouldn't build them. There surely would be some country who would build super-human computers.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
760

756: See, now that's clear writing.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
761

Neurons, if reprogrammed, could be used fairly generally

This is like saying "logic gates, if magically changed to be not logic gates, could be something different!". "Reprogrammed" in your sentence DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING. IT DOES NO WORK. IT CONVEYS NO INFORMATION. YOU ARE BABBLING.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
762

Oops, 754 was me.

And just for the hell of it: I think it's pretty clear that like or dislike of Twisty is an immediate and mostly non-rational judgement, followed by rationalization of that judgement in a way that makes us feel better about our immediate judgement. So the middle part of this thread was a whole lotta wanking just to make people feel better about their feelings.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
763

751: Well, whatever I did say, what I meant to say was that both neurons and logic gates are Turing-complete. Better?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
764

Ugh, I can't get comment numbers right. 763 to 761. 757 to 751.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
765

753:Unfortunately, I don't have the expertise to talk about why I think that. Frankly, I don't think anyone does.

Well, I don't have a hell of a lot of expertise, but neither do you, neither does Bill Joy, and neither does Ray Kurzweil, although probably all three of you are a lot smarter than I am (the latter two definitely are). The state of the art -- and the direction current research is going in -- simply do not point towards anything like human-modelled "superintelligence" (whatever that actually means) being in the cards any time in the forseeable future. Sure, it's possible, but lots of things are possible. I read Kurzweil's book. It's flat fucking goofy. My sense of what happened to Joy is that he got the overeducated techie version of the V/ctor D/vis H/nson disease, where overexposure to a highly circumscribed environment, over time, totally warped his perspective, and gave him a novel outlet (and because of his background, soapbox) for regular old dude paranoia. Kurzweil was always a loon.

Really, if you're going to be scared about an unlikely event with sci-fi overtones, why not worry about a major asteroid strike? It has the advantage of being a near certainty, if you take the (very, very) long view.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
766

I'm going to have to disagree with you, F, because I certainly have noticed a very qualitative difference in the response of those of us who are not-negative towards Twisty towards almost all of those who are negative towards her. You're trying to diffuse the argument by saying that it isn't happening on particulars, and I don't think that's true.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
767

Neurons are not actually programmed in the first place, it's worth pointing out. Neural nets, like logic gates, have the ability to be Turing-complete, but that doesn't actually mean a hell of a lot.

I give even odds somebody's made an incoherent reference to Gödel by the time I post this comment.

762: well, that's pretty much how narrative consciousness always works, so par for the course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
768

765: You want to know what convinced me that superintelligence was a real threat? This. Eliezer Yudkowsky is hella smart.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
769

Evolution uses atoms. CPUs use atoms.

So you're combining a radical reductionism with a lack of understanding of evolution. Great. I know plenty of phil science types—with actual degrees in hard sciences and everything—who don't think that the concepts of chemistry are usefully reducible to those of elementary physics; this does not leave me with a positive feeling about the profitability of those of evolution being reduced to those of "atoms".

You still haven't said what it is for evolution to use something. Is it really directly analogous to a CPU's use of something? (For that matter, does a CPU use atoms or components which may well be made out of atoms?) What thing is evolution, that it's like a CPU?

Actually, I reiterate my earlier point, namely, shut up, all of you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:06 PM
horizontal rule
770

Turing-completeness of biological "circuitry" is effectively a red herring. As per 704. Just because you managed to grope around and find the correct jargonized "expert" term to express your crazy idea doesn't make it any less talking-out-your-ass bullshit.

Also, accuse me of credentialism all you want, but would you please enumerate yours?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:06 PM
horizontal rule
771

Evolution was always already made of atoms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
772

762: well, that's pretty much how narrative consciousness always works, so par for the course.

If you could send me some references to papers about this, Sifu, I'd be in your debt (w-lfs-n at gmail dot com).


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
773

Really, if you're going to be scared about an unlikely event with sci-fi overtones, why not worry about a major asteroid strike? It has the advantage of being a near certainty, if you take the (very, very) long view.

Not very interesting, because there's nothing to argue about. Solving the problem is easy; long-wave IR telescopes at Sun-Earth L1 to find all potentially threatening asteroids and most potentially threatening comets, diversion by one of many means that will all work. Hit them with a bunch of powdered titanium dioxide to change the effect of solar pressure on their orbit, nudge with ion engine either fastened directly to asteroid or via "gravity tether", or shove with nuclear bombs. Just takes money.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
774

V/ctor D/vis H/nson disease, where overexposure to a highly circumscribed environment, over time, totally warped his perspective, and gave him a novel outlet (and because of his background, soapbox) for regular old dude paranoia

I thought we were done talking about Twisty.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:08 PM
horizontal rule
775

770: I'm an undergrad! With a ninja army!

No, seriously, this is the closest to actually qualified I've ever been in an unfogged thread that veered off into science content, and boy is it painful. I can imagine how the evolutionary biologists feel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:08 PM
horizontal rule
776

767: Yeah, I wish I had a better grasp on computational theory. I *know* that on some level brains and CPUs are directly comparable, it's just hard to express accurately.

Here's someone trying to do this, doing a decent job of it.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:08 PM
horizontal rule
777

Is this the thread for being turned into gray goo? Because my extremities got squishy, and I think it's the nanobots.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:08 PM
horizontal rule
778

Gödel proved that ambulator AI-zombies were poisoning his food.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
779

Ambulatory, that is.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
780

The same thing has happened to me, and it's not the nanobots.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
781

I *know* that on some level brains and CPUs are directly comparable

Why? How do you "know" this? How was the "knowledge" obtained?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
782

The inner ear is directly comparable to memory cards.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
783

w-lfs-n, let's make out.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
784

PROOF OF THE ABOVE PROPOSITION:

My right inner ear is smaller than a memory card.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
785

783: Totally.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
786

If w-lfs-n gets references, I want some too. [pseud]0 at aol.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
787

770: I'm smarter than your average bear, hey hey hey. I've been programming since I was twelve. I dropped out of undergrad. I have a Ph.D. in luuuuv.

How is it a red herring? I'm trying to talk about the plausibility of constructing a very efficient model of the brain that captures all of the interesting effects.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
788

It's an interesting effect of my brain that when certain stimuli reach it from my eyes, my penis becomes erect.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:14 PM
horizontal rule
789

And yeah, fucking thirded on the references.

Actually, you're wandering all over the place with your arguments as people who actually know what the hell we're talking about poke holes in them, PDF. By "model of the brain that captures all of the interesting effec" you're effectively talking about encapsulation in a binary format, right?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
790

781: Information theory.

Oh, you wanted an explanation? Let me try to get someone in here who isn't talking about of their ass.

Hmm, no one's around. Are you a Cartesian dualist, or a reductionist? That would help me know where you're coming from.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:17 PM
horizontal rule
791

789: Yes, I'm not defending lots of what I say. I'm not trying to be evasive, though, it's just I don't want to be discussing this for the next 1500 comments.

And yes, the binary format thing.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
792

w-lfs-n has references. He can share them as he wishes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
793

ITT: Time Cube.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
794

I can't really send them out more widely, for reasoning of preserveanonymityfornorealreason, doncha know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
795

"reasoning"? "reasons". To call that a Freudian slip would be a dumber pun than I dare make.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:24 PM
horizontal rule
796

793: ITT = "information theory" something?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:27 PM
horizontal rule
797

I refuse to believe that Sifu Tweety's real name is not Sifu Tweety. No life can be lived without myths.

People misusing Gödel makes me completely crazy.

People who make confident predictions about the future not based closely on science are always wrong. This doesn't bode well for Kurzweil, but it also doesn't bode well for saying that superhuman AI is impossible. We have no idea how to produce human AI, but we also have no idea of why it would be impossible.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
798

Hmm, no one's around. Are you a Cartesian dualist, or a reductionist? That would help me know where you're coming from.

Are those really the only options?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
799

"It's Time To";

It's Time To Time Cube!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
800

Are those really the only options?

Evasive, evasive. Answer the question!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
801

798: Well, I didn't mean to be restrictive with "Cartesian"--there are all sorts of different views on dualisms. I just to specify that I wasn't referring to other kinds of dualism/monism.

Are there different camps in reductionism?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
802

798 - You're hoping someone says "w-lfs-nist", aren't you.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
803

This begins to remind me of an extremely strange conversation I had at a party once.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
804

I don't have an official position on this stuff, but anomalous monism seems as if it's at least interesting.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
805

That does seem neat.

Roger Penrose, on the other hand, is a hoser.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
806

Anomalous monism seems like it could follow fairly straightforwardly from (1) significantly nonlinear neural architecture, (2) general agreement with Wolfram's suspicion of the possibility of efficient discrete predictive models of nonlinearity. Both of which I can pretty well get behind.

Which is not to in any way endorse Wolfram's larger theory, which sums up to "I AM A GENIUS/BOW BEFORE THE WOLF/THE GAME OF LIFE... IS THE GAME OF: LIFE!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
807

Seriously, though, you should all bow before the Wolf.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
808

The other wolf. Benson.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
809

Fuck bowing before the Wolf, Mathematica vexes me. It vexes me I say! I used to love it, but then I saw the light, and Matlab.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
810

Also, belatedly, I think 769 is really misreading me a *lot*, but I can't really blame you, ben. I'm not being terribly clear or accurate today.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
811

It may not be well written, but it isn't nonsense.

robohovertext.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
812

I hope you're not seriously comparing me to that time cube lunatic, Lunar.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
813

bow before the Wolf

It's cute that you have a capitalized name for such a miniscule thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
814

And 812 isn't meant to accuse you of doing so.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
815

God, I should be going home. Yes, PDF; yes, I am.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
816

809: mmm, Matlab.

What I love about that program is the way it bewitches you into believing that -- if you could just cram another five or ten nested statements into a single line of matrix algebra -- your program would actually run faster.

It's a pipe dream, of course, but a beautiful one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
817

Wait, is transhumanism like those dudes in Transmet that get to download their brains into cyborg dolphins for a weekend and have gruesome sex with half-alien things? 'Cause I'm totally down with that.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
818

Matlab sucks. I have permanently lost respect for at least one of you.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
819

I have permanently lost respect for at least one of you.

Don't be so modest, this thread could make anyone lose respect for dozens of commenters.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
820

818: nuh uh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
821

819: yuh huh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
822

This video's greatness may cancel out the awfulness of this thread.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
823

822 should have linked to this.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:55 PM
horizontal rule
824

By the way, since all you hookers ignored it: LHC OLYMPICS PEOPLE!111111!!11one.

Now that would be an awesome meetup venue.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
825

I'm trying to see how 766 doesn't prove my point, and I'm failing miserably.

I also think Lunar's demand for credentials is uncalled for. Either you can argue these things on the merits or you can't. Look, any sort of advanced AI will be just like any other technological development to date (e.g. the Internet). It will change some things, leave others unchanged, but will always fail to live up to the claims of triumphalists and the warnings of doomsayers.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
826

823: That's horrible. I have permanently lost respect for you, Ned.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
827

Are you talking about my statement as to whether people without degrees in certain subjects were a good benchmark for whether someone would be able to talk about such things intelligibly, or asking PDF specifically?

The latter was simple curiousity and a desire to contextualize PDF; the former I will stand by, and if you want to start giving me lip about it, I'll try and dig up where Gerard t'Hooft talks about getting email from "auto-didacts" who think they've solved the world; I think he even had examples.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
828

Well, temporarily. The video in 822 is pretty good.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
829

823: or this video's sheer mind-expandingness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
830

You haven't heard a song until you've heard it with David Sanborn.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
831

827: anecdote fails to pluralize to data, even in the case of autodidacticism. There's plenty of idiot academics, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:02 PM
horizontal rule
832

There is, but he makes a pretty good case for physics specifically and the limits of auto-didaction in the face of the growing complexity of the field. It's in an essay that's basically about "teach yourself physics on the internets" which I've reccomended to some friends of mine, so he's not just writing to defend the priviledge of the academy.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
833

830: I'd rather have liked to see Stump take a whack at it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
834

Sifu, brother, right on again.

There's idiots everywhere. Many have degrees, many do not. It's easier for me to tell who is an idiot by what they say, not what letters they have after their name.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
835

Specifically in the cases of neurology, physics, and materials science, F? Really?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
836

833: AWESOME

I've played one of their songs on my radio show. Sadly there is no video on the internet for "Eager Bereaver", a much less manic osng.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
837

832: oh, I've seen that list. It's funny. I just get touchy when the overcredentialled criticize self-taught people.

Then again, I get touchy about a lot of things. Like the awesomeness of Cameo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
838

Yes. I have degrees in none of those fields. And have actually taken one class in any of those subject areas. Does this make me unqualified to comment?


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
839

I relay a request from a certain individual that may not exist; namely, as zie is on dialup owing to some unfortunate circumstances, that if you fuckers are going to start posting funny videos, you do it in a different thread.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
840

Sorry, that was unclear. I should have said "only one class since high school in any of those subject areas".


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
841

839: you can go ahead and forward 829. I don't think I have other funny videos on my agenda.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
842

836: I miss "Charlton Heston." My favourite Stump song. I should track that down.

Ah, dialup. I remember it well.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
843

That Stump video is pretty good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
844

In a manner containing specifics beyond that of 825? Yes, you would be unqualified.

And 825, I should point out, is either a statement without value, or complete blowhardism. Your choice.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
845

I just get touchy when the overcredentialled criticize self-taught people.

Well... just point out that it's not at all uncommon for the exceptionally well self-taught to have more knowledge at a broader level than a professional. The increased time and energy available for "an interesting hobby" as opposed to "work stuff not related to my job" can compensate for the lower effectiveness of self-teaching.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
846

Alright, then, try me. Unless I've been dismissed already.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
847

And does anyone feel like forwarding along the list referenced in 832? Sounds intriguing.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
848

What if the guy's read every relevant paper in the field? What if he subscribes to machine learning and cognitive neuroscience journals for the hell of it?

What if he is a history-of-science buff?

Credentials are for squares. True expertise lies with the underground.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
849

847: I would if I remembered where the hell it was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
850

Rapture for nerds = singularity.

SOme of them are very smart and educated. Many smart, educated people are fantasists.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
851

I move for a new thread. This one's getting creaky.

For la gente, at the very least.


Posted by: Humble Representative From Charlottesville, VA | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
852

You know, I'm thinking this over in my head, and of the top ten best programmers I've ever known, I'm not sure if a single one of them graduated from college. These are people who have totally reshaped whole industries; expert cryptographers, pioneers in network theory, senior engineers at secretive NYC hedge funds, people who have worked at high levels in our country's national security apparatus: not a bachelor's degree in the lot.

But yeah, totally, if they talked about science you'd want to discount them outright. Stupid autodidacts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
853

Here you go, Jake.

848: Do you want the srs teal deer answer, or an answer that shows proper appreciation for your funniness?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
854

I know probably a half dozen people who made several million dollars (at least) before their 30th birthdays: again, no college graduates.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
855

srs teal deer?

I'm not being particularly funny right now, as far as I know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
856

And one more funny video.

848: In my area of hobby-expertise, I run aground on the fact that a) you get to a point where you need to do fancy multivariate optimization using tools that are ITAR-controlled, and b) in order to understand a lot of the stuff, you need a good grasp differential equations, which I think is hard to teach oneself. Getting conceptual relationships is easy, "understanding" papers isn't too hard, but being able to answer qualitative questions in the field is much harder. There was a thread about this topic in relation to gravity waves at Crooked Timber a while back.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:30 PM
horizontal rule
857

You might have a point with the cryptographers, Sifu; but programming and hedge fund chops really don't analogize well to the formal hard sciences at all.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
858

Sifu, those people weren't doing physics, or neurology, or materials science, and that's my point: this kind of futurism is basically predicated on a lot of "armchair" science, and the record for "self-taught" experts in those kinds of fields hasn't been very good since the 19th century, and is getting ever bleaker.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:33 PM
horizontal rule
859

857: we-e-e-e-ell, yeah, they sort of do, when you're talking about things like optimizing mesh networks or entropy and information theory in analog telephone networks or that sort of hoo-hah. It's pretty f'in' amazing what somebody smart enough can teach themselves.

848: I learned differential equations at community college. It's not like you need a PhD to set you on your way.

"Hedge fund chops" doesn't really describe what this guy was doing. It was more like extremely high volume optimization problems s/t that the automated trading would happen with low enough lag that you wouldn't accidentally drop a billion in the 30ms it took you to do your transforms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
860

856.1: Well-played, sir.

851 is right.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
861

Programming is still very much a craft rather than a science. And in the more science-y parts of it, you'll find many fewer self-taught types.

And since the best way I know to make millions of dollars before your thirtieth birthday is to be a skilled and very lucky software craftsman, it's not surprising that know a lot of these types. Just based on your comments here, I wouldn't imagine that you hang out with a lot of "trial" lawyers with their own practice, investment bankers, or real estate moguls, all of which I would imagine are the other likely ways of making millions before thirty.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
862

858: there's plenty of self-taught neuroscientists. I've bought drugs from several of them. Little hard to do much original research when you can't blow 15 million on an MRI, but it's not like there's insuperable barriers to understanding where the state-of-the-art is.

Materials science-wise, I would argue you're wrong. If I remember right, and I totally might not, weren't a lot of the better adhesives from mid-century invented by people who were basically self-taught?

Physics it depends what you mean. If you're talking about high-temperature physics, again, hard to pick up a backyard supercollider. But if you're talking about statistical (i.e. useful) physics, a lot of the foundational work came from people who'd moved there from the computer world, with all the wild-west anti-credentialism that implies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
863

848: Okay, I'll concede; I'll admit I was thinking of something entirely different. That sounds pretty fascinating, actually; any papers or such like?

I learned differential equations at community college. It's not like you need a PhD to set you on your way.

Differential equations (in Bathtoyology, mostly Navier-Stokes) are the foundation, the starting point just to enter into a conversation with the body of the work, so to speak. "Community college" is not "auto-didaction" by a long shot, and again, that is just what is necessary to start learning, say, Computational Bathtoyology.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
864

To sum up: I would argue that the fields where you don't see a lot of self-taught people making contributions are either fields were there's not a lot of action and/or money, or fields where the initial capital costs (for equipment, etc.) are prohibitively high. Everything else (and I'm talking in the sciences, here) there's not much differentiation.

Well, except math, but that's because math departments watch like hawks for prodigies, and scoop 'em up as quickly as they can. Cf. that dude at MIT who grew up on the road with his dad and does the paper folding.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
865

863.1: heh, no. t0p s3kr1t! He also hasn't worked there in a number of years.

863.2: well, right. And I'm saying that if you're bright and motivated enough, that's really all you need.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
866

This thread needs a flowchart.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
867

Materials science-wise, I would argue you're wrong. If I remember right, and I totally might not, weren't a lot of the better adhesives from mid-century invented by people who were basically self-taught?

There was also the dude who invented amorphous silicon PV cells. But the mid-century was a long time ago, and these people are noteworthy precisely because of their exceptional nature.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
868

I thought Z-Slice would show the flow to everyone. I feel so defrauded.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
869

Man, this thread should serve as a warning to me: never flirt with Ogged, it'll only end in pain.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
870

I would argue that the fields where you don't see a lot of self-taught people making contributions are either fields were there's not a lot of action and/or money, or fields where the initial capital costs (for equipment, etc.) are prohibitively high.

Doesn't that include an awful lot of what one would call "science"? All the money is in engineering, if you actually have to build something to see if you're right or not the capital costs will kill you, and what's left is software.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:53 PM
horizontal rule
871

Millionaire self-taught programmers especially tend to be nuts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
872

I'm fully supportive of self-taughtness, but does the singularity have to come with?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
873

850: Rapture of the nerds? Ugh, ugh ugh.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
874

872: fuck no!

I am trying to free the humble autodidact genius from the doofiness of the singularity. Neither Ray Kurzweil nor Glenn Reynolds qualify in any meaningful way as self-taught.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
875

Man, the new aesthetic over at The Poor Man is the kind of bold and decisive design that could only have come from an autodidact.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
876

872: Fuck you.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
877

It occurs to me, incidentally, that I have been quite rude to pdf23ds (or at least his beliefs) for at least 250 comments now, and he has basically completely ignored it, and continued to converse entertainingly. Conclusion: robot body or no, the dude computer is good people computers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:03 PM
horizontal rule
878

I love how the singularitards refer to Christian eschatology as "fringe" or "marginal".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:03 PM
horizontal rule
879
I have found a truly marvelous proof of this, but alas, it falls beyond the scope of this post.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:08 PM
horizontal rule
880

Yet, Sifu, I got a rise out of him with 2 or 3 posts. Looser.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
881

Robot priapism is no laughing matter, John.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
882

878: Who, what, now?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
883

Don't prod the beach rubble, Emerson.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
884

882: Singularitard, being amusingly dismissive about Christian escatology.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:14 PM
horizontal rule
885

At least he didn't call himself a "Bright". At least I assume he didn't, not having the strength of will to actually read his rantings.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:21 PM
horizontal rule
886

883: It's a shame you're not actually interested in a discussion, despite writing dozens of comments in the direction of one. I don't want to believe that a singularity is probably if it isn't, and of all the people I've seen around, you seem to be one of the few who might actually be able to convince me. It's a loss for me that you're so dismissive.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:22 PM
horizontal rule
887

885: And what does atheism have to do with anything? God damn, I cannot believe how poorly you people, seemingly reflexively, treat transhumanists.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
888

886: what am I, superintelligent chopped liver?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
889

the singularity is worth influencing, and some kinds are worth striving toward. In terms of expected value, even a 10% chance of such a world-changing event should cause many of us to refocus our efforts.

Total rip-off


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
890

887: technological triumphalism is deprecated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
891

888: Frankly, your criticisms in 723 struck me as a bit weak.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:27 PM
horizontal rule
892

The link pdf gave didn't seem to touch on the assurance of singularitists that the singularity would be a wonderful thing. It strikes me that it could have the same wonderfulness level as the mass media or high finance, both of which are very sophisticated and futurist, but as far as I can tell, horrible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:27 PM
horizontal rule
893

890: Do I strike you as triumphalist? Ugh. See my comment 619.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:28 PM
horizontal rule
894

891: no skin off my ass. Believe away, robot friend.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:28 PM
horizontal rule
895

What is weak about 723? Sifu gets right to the crux of it, although in a sociological sense I think he's wrong about similar conceptions of historical technological significance in the past.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
896

People will still be able to live hermit-like existences in the remote wastelands of Minnesota after the singularity. No need to worry.

Unless, of course, the robot defense system Cylon army kills us all.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:35 PM
horizontal rule
897

Also, Tweetums, I'm a respect former Bathtoyologist. And you aren't. Nyeeeah.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:39 PM
horizontal rule
898

... wasn't the point of Pascal's wager that, barring divine douchebaggery, there wasn't any real opportunity cost to believe?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
899

Also, nobody has ever explained to my satisfaction why technological change didn't seem exponential to people in previous generations, or why being at t = X on an exponential curve with a time scale of generations is necessarily so qualitatively different than being at point t = X - n.

Which previous generations? I'd say that it certainly seemed exponential in the U.S. in the 50s ("Rockets! Men on the moon! Color television for everyone!"), and probably in the late 1800s as well ("Railroads! Across the country! Around the world! Traveling at speeds approaching one hundred miles an hour! It will happen... someday.") During periods of intense warfare things might look different, naturally, and also maybe during periods of time when there was more lateral expansion into recently depopulated lands than technological growth. I'd also imagine that if you go far enough back, the quantum nature of technological improvement meant that the average person didn't actually see change for long periods of time.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
900

I'm a respect former Bathtoyologist

Still have no idea what that means.

899: right, it did seem exponential then, and it seems exponential now. I disagree that it ever seemed different, give or take some different definitions of technology and differing levels of urbanization and communications technology. I'm not even saying technological change isn't exponential, I'm just saying that's the same old story. See F's comment about self-similarity upthread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:52 PM
horizontal rule
901

898: Kinda.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:54 PM
horizontal rule
902

I can not believe I missed the opportunity to say "900!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
903

This is Sparta Unfogged! (3 Times as many plausibly gay men.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
904

Music videos? I like this one because I imagine someone asking the guy with the beard what instrument he plays, and he says, "The cigar, man." Also, who can resist Japanese jazz hipsters?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:00 PM
horizontal rule
905

898: A little bit. Given the reward for believing is infinite, the costs of a false belief are relatively infinitesimal. Pascal described them as zero. Depending on which Christian doctrine you follow, that may be more or less true.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:02 PM
horizontal rule
906

MANDOM!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:04 PM
horizontal rule
907

Hmm... I detect an assumption in 900 that all change is relative rather than absolute. Does that assumption exist, and do we think it's true?


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
908

She used to be respected, but committed a Bathyological crime.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:06 PM
horizontal rule
909

Bath Toy Ologist, Emerson. Get it right.

Christ. I hereby ban myself from Unfogged.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
910

How would one measure absolute technological progress? What's the baseline? What's the scale? How could that scale possibly not be relative to other human accomplishments and understandings?

897: still waiting. Eh? Eh?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
911

Here. Now banned, seriously, this grows ridiculous.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:15 PM
horizontal rule
912

So... you... took fluid dynamics? In... the bathroom?

Fair enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:17 PM
horizontal rule
913

I'm a Bath Toy Ologist in the same way a seismologist could be called a Shaking Big Pans Of Sand Ologist or someone in aero could be called a Model Rockets Ologist. You dig?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
914

Yes.

I make fun of classical fluid dynamics, but probably shouldn't.

Without wavelets, much neural network research would be teh fucked.

Computational fluid dynamics is pretty hot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
915

Hmm. E.G.: percent decrease in chance of untimely death by age 50. Is the change from 50% to 25% percieved the same as the change from .01% to .005%?

Or: Number of people one is able to interact with at a particular level of intensity about a particular subject on a regular basis. Glenn Hammond Curtiss built his homebuilt plane in his garage by himself, now it's easy to talk to tens or hundreds of other homebuilders via email or IM, at some point it should be able to talk to tens or hundreds of other homebuilders that you actually get along with via high-enough-resolution video conferencing to get a lot of the subtle visual clues.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
916

Computational s/b Colorized.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:23 PM
horizontal rule
917

915.2: given infinite free time, sure. If you don't have infinite free time you have to hope you have some awesome filters, which gets us back to the sigmoid hypothesis from, like 15 kilometers upthread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
918

Random communication thought inspired by talk of filters. IM is pretty cool because it's lightweight enough to be effectively free, and is somewhat asynchronous, but these same things make the bandwidth really suck. Usefulness of an asynchronous audio communication system? Switch to IM window, say "you're full of shit", switch back. Other person sees a blinking light, when they switch to their IM window, hear "you're full of shit", possibly see it speech-to-texted so they still have scroll.

Besides, weren't there people arguing in the 50s that technological growth was sigmoid rather than exponential?


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:34 PM
horizontal rule
919

Even if it is exponential, it's still self-similar. The human capacity to comprehend change is hardly a measurable quantity, so why would anyone be so eager to say we're nearing its outer limit?

I was thinking today that an asynchronous, queueing conference call system would be pretty fat. As soon as you start talking, it samples you, then plays back your "voice IM" at the correct position in the queue. No more talking over each other. If you want, have a little ding play every time somebody adds a talk sample to the chat queue. You could even retrofit it onto existing phone systems. Needless to say, I was thinking this while sitting on an incredibly boring conference call.

Probably been done.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
920

Apparently MSN Messenger 7.5 had it, not that I'd know. Also, this and this.

Hmm. Problem getting a critical mass of enough people to be useful, no doubt.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-16-07 11:46 PM
horizontal rule
921

Rocky studies ducks?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:09 AM
horizontal rule
922

Ducks eat Paper, Paper buries Rocky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:10 AM
horizontal rule
923

It seems as if it should be later than 11:15.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:17 AM
horizontal rule
924

922: I was just about to advocate for this thread to reach, non-sensically (as would only be fitting), the Roman M.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:18 AM
horizontal rule
925

It would be great if the blog was set up so that if a thread ever reaches 1000 comments the numbers start being in Roman numerals.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:30 AM
horizontal rule
926

It would be great if the blog was set up

was s/b were. Not to be pedantic, just pushing the thread count a wee bit closer to the M/K/1000 mark.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 1:38 AM
horizontal rule
927

blog were?

That use of 'were' for the past subjunctive for singular subjects still sounds unnatural to me. It's not how it'd feature in my idiolect, even though I know it's technically correct.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 3:41 AM
horizontal rule
928

"If I was a carpenter, and you was a lady..."


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 5:56 AM
horizontal rule
929

re: 928

Good point.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 6:18 AM
horizontal rule
930

IMMACULATE MOLARS, BABY
IMMACULATE MOLARS


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
931

ttaM, does "whom" seem to be missing even from a lot of educated speech and writing over there?

It's a peeve of mine, and while I was convinced I was the only one using it here, w-lfs-n suggested he always did, and so did others. I did a search, and found more examples, from more regulars, than I would have expected. I found AWB sometimes uses it and sometimes not, perhaps for rhetorical reasons. I don't think I have ever seen LB use it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
932

It's blubbery Burberry


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
933

Has a thread reached the millienium before?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
934

No, Becks always pulls them because of server stress. Hurry up before she notices.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
935

blubbery Burberry blueberries. La la la la la.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
936

'Innocence' made the thousand, didn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
937

O


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
938

n


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
939

e


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
940

l


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
941

e


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
942

t


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
943

t


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
944

e


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
945

r


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
946

p


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
947

e


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
948

r


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
949

l


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
950

'Innocence' made the thousand, didn't it?

Yes, and then some.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
951

i


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
952

n


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
953

e


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
954

.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
955

I did a search

We clearly need tables of SIPs (statisticaly improbable phrases) keyed by threads and by handles. If the server can stand it, I could put the queries together if I knew the schema and the platform.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
956

Motherfucker!


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
957

Did you end up making banh mi last night, LR?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
958

I didn't; by the time I disentangled myself from work and Unfogged, my grocery was packing up most of the meat, and most remained was... ehh. Maybe tonight, though.

(And now, to make breakfast.)


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
959

DOES THE FISH HAVE CHIPS?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
960

Nonsense comments don't really count, do they?

Comments should be about serious stuff, like whether someone has been insulted or heebie looking at her butt.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
961

packing up most of the meat

At Soviet Mineshaft, meat packs you!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
962

What if someone has been insulted by Heebie looking at her butt? That would be nonsense, clearly.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
963

You can just F-off Redfoxtailshrub. That is what I think of you.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
964

At the moment I'm just sitting on it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
965

Why are there no female bloggers covering abortion in Gaza and the West Bank?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
966

To get to the other side.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
967

Why are there no male bloggers covering what I plan to have for lunch today?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
968

My apartment manager apparently thinks I have a dog. This is worrying.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
969

Jammies?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
970

RFTS: That was nice about the Redtail yesterday. Central Ohio, far from the flyways, seemed like a bird-desert when I was growing up there. Cleveland may be better because of the lake, but I'd think Eastern Shore spoiled you for Ohio. I see many more species without looking hard in Chicago, on the Great Lakes flyway, than in fields and forests—sorry for the yizchor echo, it just came out—when I was a kid.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
971

Why yes, I am still wearing my jammies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
972

968: Well if you will keep a pet bracoon, people will jump to conclusions.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
973

raccoon


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
974

Where are the moderate sandwiches on this issue?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
975

1) Mmm, tasty tasty bacon.
2) I read heebie's series of posts above as "one letter perl", because of 950 and not being entirely awake, and then spent like a minute trying to figure out if she was somehow doing something really clever with line number and the letters or something.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
976

bracoon

racist.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
977

At least someone has her priorities straight.

If Becks closes this thread let's continue to post nonsense on the new thread, just to show her.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
978

I'm eating a lovely guayaba y queso Cuban pastry handed to me by a co-worker. Mmm...queso.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
979

and then spent like a minute trying to figure out if she was somehow doing something really clever

Phew. Then I'm not the motherfucker of 956.

But I'm generally not clever. I go for battling ram humor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
980

1) Mmm, tasty tasty bacon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
981

battling ram

Deliberate bait for pedants?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
982

If there are any Washington Nationals fans, my sister-in-law will be throwing out the first pitch on Saturday.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
983

Have you ever seen a ram? They're really, really hung.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
984

Washington Nationals

Boo, hiss. (But yay for your SIL.)


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
985

982: What if there aren't any? Anywhere, at all. Then what?!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
986

But yay for your SIL.

This simple sentence may be a first for this blog.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
987

What if there aren't any? Anywhere, at all. Then what?!

I need to send my posts to you for editing prior to postin, English-major expert-girl.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
988

We need an existence proof for at least one Washington Nationals fan. Otherwise, the SIL will be SOL.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
989

I think that the Mets are Nationals fans.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
990

I'd like 'em more if they'd take that stupid fucking "W" off their hats and go with the much cooler "DC" caps.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
991

Does Dr. Ho's have caps?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
992

I'll check. (But keep it hush-hush—I think local talk is banned.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
993

battling ram - Deliberate bait for pedants?

I debated for a while whether the phrase was barrelling ram or battling ram. Now I suspect both are wrong.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
994

Who said local talk is banned? Vicarious travel and unsuspected connections are among the joys of this blog.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
995

Discussions around the local talk ban should push this thread to 1050.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
996

Stanley, where'd you get the guava cheese pie? I know two places within walking distance of my home in LA, one hipster famous, the other old school Cuban. I never met anybody outside of L.A. who knew about them. I haven't met a lot of Cubans.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
997

968:My apartment manager apparently thinks I have a dog. This is worrying.

I dunno. Maybe you should be glad that the manager has found an innocent explanation for the noises coming from your apartment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
998

996: co-worker's dad brought it up from Miami.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
999

999!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
1000

I'm so excited! We're so close to the millenium! The nines are all going to line up like an odometer!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
1001

Oh. DAMNIT!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
1002

Perfect


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
1003

All right, everyone start over. We'll get it right next time...


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
1004

1002!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
1005

964: Heebie is sitting on it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
1006

DAMNIT! DAMNIT!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
1007

Okay, you've got your thousand. Now wander off to a new thread and don't break the site.

(And shoo me if you see me commenting. I shouldn't be here.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
1008

LizardBreath is banned!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
1009

HAMLET: . . . What's the news?

ROSENCRANTZ: None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.

HAMLET: Then is doomsday near: but your news is not true. Let me question more in particular: what have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of fortune, that she sends you to prison hither?

GUILDENSTERN: Prison, my lord!

HAMLET: Denmark's a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ: Then is the world one.

HAMLET: A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.

ROSENCRANTZ: We think not so, my lord.

HAMLET: Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
1010

Why did you laugh then, when I said 'man delights not me'?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
1011

I know a lot of people like Shakespeare, but I just find him shrill and offputting. He'd draw a lot more people to his cause if he'd tone it down a little.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
1012

I debated for a while whether the phrase was barrelling ram or battling ram. Now I suspect both are wrong.

Battering.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
1013

Maybe he's just not writing for you, B.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
1014

There are safety homes for battered rams.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
1015

I demand that Shakespeare explain himself to me in language I can understand.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
1016

Stupid ram keeps forgetting the safeword.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
1017

Denmark's a prison.

I was thinking about the argument about the meaning of "prisoner" this morning and decided that, while "prisoner" is frequently used as a general term I think "political prisoner" is more specific.

If Rosseau had written, "Man is born free, yet he is everywhere [doing 3-5 for possession]." that would have been more confusing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
1018

1017 is awesome.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
1019

I demand that Shakespeare explain himself to me in language I can understand.

Try this one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
1020

Rousseau here, y'all, sending a shout out to the brothers on lockdown.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
1021

Mmmmm. Beer-battered ram.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
1022

1019: Exactly. Shakespeare hates women. I don't see why so many people defend him and say he didn't "really" mean it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
1023

(I think 1022 is supposed to be snark, but it's actually a good point.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
1024

Oh, come on B. Everyone hates women.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
1025

Jeez, Slack. I often try to do that joke/serious thing.

You people just don't understand feminist humor.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
1026

You know, B, Shakespeare doesn't exist to hold your hand through Misogyny 101. Do the background reading before you comment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
1027

"You people"? Who's "you people"?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
1028

"You people"? Who's "you people"?

Not la gente.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
1029

1027: Canadians.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
1030

1027: You boys.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
1031

1030: They call me Mister Tibbs.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
1032

1027: Jerks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
1033

I demand that Shakespeare explain himself to me in language I can understand.

John McWhorter has an essay arguing essentially this point; he thinks that Shakespeare's language should be updated for better accessibility. A completely wrong-headed idea, of course, but a good example of how artlessly some linguists approach language.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
1034

he thinks that Shakespeare's language should be updated for better accessibility.

Hello, Ten Things I Hate About You.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
1035

he thinks that Shakespeare's language should be updated for better accessibility.

I think David Milch should be commissioned to write modern adaptations of all of Shakespeare's major works.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
1036

Most Shakespeare is only inaccessible because the tools performing it are rubbish. Just sayin' ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
1037

Don't forget direction. In Chicago we have to put up with Barbara Gaines' perpetual smoke machine interpretations.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
1038

how many male readers of a feminist blog does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
1039

I don't know; how many?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
1040

1036: If Shakespeare didn't agree with what his actors were saying, he could say so, but he only encourages them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
1041

None, they won't fit in a lightbulb.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
1042

I don't see why going over a thousand comments would break the site. Wait, the comment box just broke off in my hand!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
1043

John McWhorter is primarily a giant ass. I don't think you should take his assishness to be something derived from his training as a linguist.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
1044

1038: Six. One to change the lightbulb, one to loudly claim that men were forever meant to be the lightbulb changers, one to erase all evidence that any woman ever changed a lightbulb, one to show how men changed lightbulbs on the veldt, and one to say that it's only the continued shrill disagreement with the other four that prevents him from, if not actually declaring himself a feminist, at least not declaring himself an outright proud sexist. And one, finally, to note that the bulb has the wrong wattage, go to the store, replace it with the right one, and not tell anyone. Solidarity, brother.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
1045

You people just don't understand feminist humor.

That's NOT funny.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
1046

I think David Milch should be commissioned to write modern adaptations of all of Shakespeare's major works.

Or David Mamet. The Fucking Taming of the Goddamn Fucking Shrew.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
1047

re: 1037

Most of the recent Shakespeare productions I've seen have been at the Globe, so fairly traditional, I suppose. However, they've been solidly well done with actors who can actually say the lines.

I went to see Othello there a few weeks back and there were little kids in the audience hanging on every word.

http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/theatre/annualtheatreseason/othello/


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
1048

1038 again: One, who says, "Honey, will you change the lightbulb? I'm trying to explain to these women how feminist I am."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
1049

"...to these girls just how much more feminist I am than them."

Took a few tries, but I think I got there.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
1050

None, they just sit in the dark in a show of solidarity with their oppressed sisters.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
1051

How many men who profess to be feminist-friendly yet actually subvert the efforts of our feminist Sisters does it take making lightbulb jokes until our fight for equality has been trivialized in the eyes of our unenlightened brothers and sisters? Testify, Heebie. Testify.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
1052

It was the winter of our motherfucking discontent, / but now it's summer with the warmest fucking breeze / you cocksuckers ever felt, courtesy of the Son / of fucking York...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
1053

Shakespeare was such a homo. Of course he hated women.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
1054

In other news, it appears that Jenna Bush's federally-protected wetlands are once again closed to public drilling.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
1055
Jenna Bush recently finished a book based on her experience working with Unicef, called "Ana's Story," about a teenage single mother living with H.I.V.

She read a book!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
1056

I can afford to find 1051 funny, and that makes me feel just awful.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
1057

Camila no tiene tetas.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
1058

Really looks like the old man in that picture.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
1059

I found 1051 funny and unlike in 1056 it cost me no money at all. Simple living, bitches!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
1060

1057 is quite odd.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
1061

Just goes to show you can't reduce teh funny to a transaction, I guess.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
1062

Mixed reaction to Camila: healthier, franker, more lighthearted and unserious v. Yikes!


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:02 PM
horizontal rule
1063

Argentina has long been famous for its cutting-edge TV commercials.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
1064

Fuck you heebie, figure it out yourself. There are plenty of sights on the internet that explain lightbulbs.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
1065

1033: John McWhorter has an essay arguing essentially this point; he thinks that Shakespeare's language should be updated for better accessibility.

When I was a kid, I knew a guy who ran a youth theatre group who "updated" Shakespeare and had his group perform it. I was maybe 10 years old at the time, but I thought it was great.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
1066

he thinks that Shakespeare's language should be updated for better accessibility.

Makes sense to me. If we see a 16th-century French play performed, the average person knows what the people are talking about. If we see a 16th-century English play performed, the average person doesn't.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
1067

1066(and all that) raises an interesting question: Do Shakespeare plays performed in other languages typically have periodic fresh translations, as foreign plays do in English?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
1068

The rendition of Taming of the Shrew done by Cybil Sheperd and Bruce Willis on "Moonlighting" is my favorite. It saddens me, though, to think that a Moonlighting reference dates me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
1069

1068: Because it doesn't seem to be in syndication? In general, shows and also music no longer date us the way they once did because of continuous availability: people can and do still watch them. My kids watch and refer to Seinfeld as if they were Xers, and my daughter's music and comic book consumption includes a lot of what I've known for years.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
1070

to think that a Moonlighting reference dates me.

You're looking at this backwards (or from below). Youth is overrated, not getting it should make the kids the butts of jokes. Plus, Bruce Willis is ever fresh, though he's dropped the irritating scratchy voice. The part I find alarming are the packaged nostalgic music CDs that have songs I like. My fucking grocery store mall's muzak blares out Elvis Costello and the Pretenders in the
early morning.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
1071

1069: Sort of true, but pretty much nobody still watches Moonlighting unless it's people who watched it when it aired.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
1072

It saddens me as well that Moonlighting isn't in syndication.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
1073

My kids watch and refer to Seinfeld as if they were Xers

Seinfeld is an exception. I don't think anyone under 20 is a fan of the X-Files. Maybe not even Cheers.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
1074

1073: And if the Simpsons aren't more careful about the episodes they put into syndication, I'm afraid they too will become a forgotten series, only watched by the original audience who remember seasons 3-9.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
1075

I went to see Othello there a few weeks back and there were little kids in the audience hanging on every word.

The Brits are fucking weird with their quaint indigenous culture.

Even the little kids, so it's obviously genetic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
1076

This rough magic, do I need that shit? No, I fucking do not. And when the time comes when I might need to put one over on one cocksucker or another,like f'r instance, right fucking now, when I need to smother them with bullshit thick and fragrant, I will break that staff, pile a certain amount of manure on top of it, and deeper than an old whore's cunt, I will drown this bitch of a book.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
1077

1073: Seinfeld is an exception.

And not for long. I think Michael Richards' "fork in your ass" blow-up might prove the cutoff point.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
1078

1076, though, illustrates the problems of Mametizing: it flattens-out the class differences, the statures, that different dictions are indicators of. Prospero can't talk like that, because there is already an opposite character whose speech is already a lot closer to that idiom (and beautiful for it).


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
1079

1076: I would enjoy Ian McShane as Prospero, and "I will drown this bitch of a book," especially, is excellent.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
1080

I'd like to request that this be a thread now also be a thread for people talking about their laptops.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 08-17-07 1:08 PM
horizontal rule