Re: Brother I'd Like To Punch

1

You can't.

Might as well tell him anyhow, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:19 PM
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Most college-aged men, who haven't been been previously sensitized, probably need to swing through an insufferable SNAG phase before they can swing back to decent human being.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:23 PM
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Frankly, if you could turn him into a Sensitive New Age Guy, that would be quite an accomplishment. And I'm sure he'd snap out of it.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:32 PM
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If that's where your brother is at, his slipping into SNAG territory is a worry for another day, if ever. And if he does, 2 is likely right.

Is this the same brother who was considering enlisting? What's he doing now?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:36 PM
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Sifu gets it exactly right in 1.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:36 PM
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A sensitive guy wouldn't have pwned me, mrh.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:36 PM
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Maybe you should just punch him, or kick him in the gametes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:36 PM
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Is he always this way, or do you think this is just part of the college-dude need to ensure that everyone within earshot knows he's not a homo by, weirdly, saying things that alienate women and attract other boys?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:36 PM
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I suggest rolling your eyes a lot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:38 PM
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college-dude need to ensure that everyone within earshot knows he's not a homo by, weirdly, saying things that alienate women and attract other boys

This is most likely it. Just wait a couple years and the problem will solve itself.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:39 PM
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4 - It's not the brother who was considering enlisting. You'll all be glad to know that he's pulled his grades up so my father is less worried about his future and has laid off the military stuff according to my mother.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:40 PM
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It's quite simple, actually. Take him aside and let him in on the big secret every girl knows and most guys don't: that any girl can tell what guys aren't getting any by whether they laugh at jokes like that.

You'll have to be a little more subtle, obvs. Make comparisons to attributes that he might already have grasped are signifiers of pussylessness, e.g. hanging cheesecake posters in your dorm room. If you need a more blunt instrument, forward him the link to the unfuckables discussion and tell him that Palin-MILF jokes fall unambiguously under that rubric.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:41 PM
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The boner-killer, I'd think, to wanting to fuck Palin is you know she'd insist on keeping the baby.

I ban myself.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:41 PM
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8 - Also when you're that age, jokes that are kind of risque are awesome because you're an adult now and you can get away with saying them.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:42 PM
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Agreed that the problem will probably solve itself -- depending, perhaps, on the tenor of the place he's in and the people he's surrounded by.

What wrong with Sensitive New Age Guys?? Probably I don't understand how bad that is, and it's meant to mean something like the all-emo-all-the-time types that have been described in the NYT on occasion, but whom I otherwise meet very, very rarely.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:45 PM
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8 -- Haven't you learned yet that expressing an interest in women is the gayest thing you can do?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:49 PM
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16 is an attempt at humor, I understand, but it's really not right. Expressing an interest in women isn't gay at all (she's a VPILF, after all). Treating them like people is what's gay.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:59 PM
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My sister had an away message up about 'barack hussein obama' the socialist, and my way of dealing with it was to tell her that racist bullshit was beneath her and she should knock it the fuck off.

I'd go for mocking him.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 8:59 PM
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Is this now the thread for lamenting the bizarre political sentiments of family relations? Because my wife of all people is suddenly and utterly bizarrely turning into an Objectivist. Just a few minutes ago she said, for example, and completely non-ironically, that she was very skeptical of the bailout bill because it seemed like something that Ayn Rand would have opposed.

This means I'm going to have to get a divorce, doesn't it?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:06 PM
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This means I'm going to have to get a divorce, doesn't it?

No, it means you have to be prepared to KILL AND EAT her when Armageddon arrives.

She'd do the same for you.

max
['Survival of the fittest, donchaknow.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:11 PM
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Some of my right-wing, generally anti-intellectual relatives recently tried to friend me on Facebook. So far I'm just ignoring the message and hoping they're computer-illiterate enough to think I never got it, because I really don't want the crap they spew showing up in my web browser every day. I'm sure I'll get an earful at some family gathering someday though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:11 PM
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19: There must be someone you can pay to kidnap her and do some deprogramming?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:12 PM
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I'm no longer interested in dating your sister, Cala.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:12 PM
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But I thought MILF was an attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.


Posted by: (O)CT(O)PUS | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:14 PM
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Brock, tell her Greespan supports the bailout, and he's such an Ayn Rand fan he had sex with her.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:17 PM
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21: This is one reason I'm not on Facebook. Not particularly relatives, just old or odd acquaintances in general.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:20 PM
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I believe in the power of mockery. Well, I don't know how effective it really is, but I like the idea.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:21 PM
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This means I'm going to have to get a divorce, doesn't it?

It's called post-partum psychosis, Brock, and it's a serious medical condition. You should get your wife into mental health treatment ASAP, employing a civil commitment proceeding if necessary.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:24 PM
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25: How solidly is it known that Greenspan had sex with Ayn Rand? It sounds plausible, but is it definitively true? Everything I've ever seen just says "was a close associate of" or something vague like that.

26: It's sort of weird. People who never spoke to me in high school add me as a friend, and some of them even send strangely familiar and occasionally creepy messages. But every so often I get a note from someone I actually do enjoy hearing from and probably wouldn't have without Facebook.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:24 PM
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25: How solidly is it known that Greenspan had sex with Ayn Rand? It sounds plausible, but is it definitively true? Everything I've ever seen just says "was a close associate of" or something vague like that.

Dude, who cares? It's too awesome not to be true.

Anyhow, of course it's true. They were shagging like rabbits. I know nerd orgies, and let me tell you, they were having nerd orgies.

Check this out:

Rand's inner circle was a cauldron of politics and sex, but Greenspan (he says) participated only in the former. He was married for less than a year to Joan Mitchell, whose best friend's husband was Rand's lover (got that?). Discreet as always, Greenspan says only that "I'd made an intellectual choice, not an emotional one." He and Joan are "friends to this day."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:27 PM
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This means I'm going to have to get a divorce, doesn't it?

Dude, if *that's* what ended your marriage I would laugh and laugh and laugh.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:43 PM
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29.2: But every so often I get a note from someone I actually do enjoy hearing from and probably wouldn't have without Facebook.

Yeah, one probably misses out on the occasional thing this way, but I still prefer to keep my various identities separate. College and grad school friends can reach me (I think, maybe sort of), or at least the real friends can, and I'm in the alumni register thingies; and real friend friends can; and professional acquaintances can; and family.

Call it compartmentalization, complete with separate email addresses and mostly-hidden identities on my part. Seems to work, or at least I don't know of anyone who's been privy to my cross-identities taking liberties with that knowledge. Well, on rare occasions, and pretty quickly shut down.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:43 PM
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32 - You once killed a man, didn't you?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:49 PM
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Excuse me, I have to go look up MILF at Wikipedia.

Honest.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:59 PM
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33: Not at all. I just prefer privacy. The thought of having my bio and preferences and acquaintances ('friends') and posts and pics freely browsable by anyone is ... foreign. I imagine that Facebook has some privacy settings, and I realize that people don't put their entire lives on there.

In any case, Facebook in particular seems to me to be for networking. I don't need to publicly network; whatever I do in that regard can be done privately, or within the established networks in that area.

That said, you're damned right, I put a premium on privacy. I don't need you unfogged yahoos knowing what a hippie I am, thank you very much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 9:59 PM
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Becks, there is basically no chance your bro will become a SNAG b/c of this. What are you smoking?

Anyway I advocate sneering mockery as well. "Wow, bro, you sure seem to be trying to prove your masculinity on your Facebook page! What's up--getting teased by bullies, gotta show them you're a real man? Do you need big sister come to school and tell them not to mess with you?"

That's what I'd do, but I'm a bitch like that.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:04 PM
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35 - You're a hippie? That changes everything! I trusted you!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:06 PM
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SNAG

Ha!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:20 PM
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36: I was thinking more doing something like comparing Palin to a high school teacher: "Dude, you want to get it on with Mrs. X??? What is it, the glasses? The updo?" Whatever basically takes the fun out of the Palin jokes for him.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:23 PM
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37: Well, I know that I've hidden it well here. Wouldn't want to alienate you troglodytes. We hippies are able to hide ourselves well, when we try, since you all otherwise go all apeshit.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:24 PM
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39 - I don't think that would work, but I don't really know gay men.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:27 PM
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You could mock him for basically aping the concept of a Van Halen video, a band so old and stodgy his parents probably listened to them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:29 PM
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42 - Dangerous strategy. What if Van Halen is ironically cool now?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:30 PM
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Dude! She's not a crazy hippie! She's a ... a... damn, parsimon, what kind of hippie are you? Oh... she's a non-adjectival hippie.

max
['Those are ok, man.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:32 PM
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The transgressiveness of it is what charms the youth.

You have to let him know you get that but that it's also dumb. Not 'tsk, tsk' but 'heh...ok...ew."


Posted by: ozma | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:34 PM
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Take him aside and let him in on the big secret every girl knows and most guys don't: that any girl can tell what guys aren't getting any by whether they laugh at jokes like that.

If you insist on doing something, this is liable to be pretty effective. New anti-pwning strategy: wait for someone sensible to say what you were going to say, and then agree with them. It's foolproof.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:35 PM
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44: That's an oxymoron, like "military liaison".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:35 PM
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46: I don't know why people always make those kinds of arguments. Plenty of dudes who makes sexist jokes or laugh at sexist jokes manage to get laid just fine. Even I've fucked dudes that have laugh at sexist jokes.

Anyway the idea that you shouldn't be sexist because if you aren't, you'll get more pussy, is bizarre.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:39 PM
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39: I understand the "whatever takes the fun out of it" angle, but countering it with a narrative about how 40-something women with glasses and updoes (may I say how much I hate that term) are totally non- or asexual doesn't really cut it.

Frankly, I'd just go with flatly telling him that yeah, you'd seen the Facebook MILF stuff, and it was really Seriously Not Funny, not amusing, in fact downright annoying, it was juvenile, sexist, degrading to women, etc., and he knows it perfectly well. Shake head, disgusted pursing of lips: Not funny. Whether this works with the brother is a matter of Becks' relationship with her brother. What he's already heard from her in the past, what he's willing to hear.

It's more guilt-tripping, or shame making, than mockery.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:40 PM
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45.2: You have to let him know you get that but that it's also dumb. Not 'tsk, tsk' but 'heh...ok...ew."

Oh, Ozma. What I was trying to say, but with much more elegance.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:46 PM
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"You know, you mother can see what you put on FB."

Yes, I've used it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:48 PM
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44: l love you too, max.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:49 PM
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48: I don't know why people always make those kinds of arguments.

Because they're effective. There's only one thing that scares a college guy more than being thought a fag: being perceived as failing to get laid. A gregarious and open gay man (who presumably fucks in all the closets) commands more respect than a frat type who can't hack it, sexual-conquest-wise. It's a weird sexual dominance thing they have going on, and it makes me glad I didn't go to college.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:54 PM
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||

Ellsbury!

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:55 PM
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Anyway the idea that you shouldn't be sexist because if you aren't, you'll get more pussy, is bizarre.

It might be false, but what's bizarre about it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 10:55 PM
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54: f'real.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:06 PM
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And there we are. Nice to win one in LA. A.

Night all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:16 PM
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58

I'm starting to think the genocide upon which our nation was founded might have some downsides.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:17 PM
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55: The double negative in the original proposition is unnecessarily confusing to me.

Why is it bizarre rather than just true (uh, that is, false)? Ah. Good question.

Rewrite the original proposition: The idea that you should be sexist because if you are, you'll get more pussy ... is bizarre.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:17 PM
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But then again, Paps: as white as they come. I'm so happy I could shit.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:18 PM
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Anyway the idea that you shouldn't be sexist because if you aren't, you'll get more pussy, is bizarre.

Isn't that what the whole SNAG thing was about? 'I am feeling very sensitive and needy today, hon... could I have a blowjob?'

max
['And then she dumped me!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:18 PM
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It might be false, but what's bizarre about it?

I think the idea is roughly that it's bizarre because encouraging someone to be non-sexist so he can get laid effectively treats women as objects of conquest -- with being "non-sexist" nothing more than a strategy for pursuing such conquests and therefore being ultimately sexist in a roundabout sort of way.

You shouldn't be non-sexist so that women will fuck you. You should be non-sexist because women deserve to be treated with dignity.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:20 PM
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You should be non-sexist because women deserve to be treated with dignity.

And then get laid because of your giant, giant cock.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:21 PM
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You shouldn't be non-sexist so that women will fuck you. You should be non-sexist because women deserve to be treated with dignity.

I think that someone who's likely to be moved by the latter point alone will not have very far to go.

Part of being sexist is treating women with dignity, so the person cajoled along by his carnal desires will be in the position of faking it for a while before he makes it, but what's wrong with that?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:29 PM
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Er, part of not being sexist.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:29 PM
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64: Because once he's done making it, he'll just quit faking it. I know the type...

(Seriously, I don't know if I agree with you or not -- is seeing someone as worthy of respect something you can make by faking? Maybe.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:34 PM
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I think pithiness might be better than mockery.

"Hey, you know those Palin things you keep posting on facebook? Yeah. Those are fucking annoying and you should stop. [brief pause; not enough for him to respond] I'm going to the bar. You want another beer?"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:35 PM
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I think the idea is roughly that it's bizarre because encouraging someone to be non-sexist so he can get laid effectively treats women as objects of conquest -- with being "non-sexist" nothing more than a strategy for pursuing such conquests and therefore being ultimately sexist in a roundabout sort of way.

Unless you want to get laid because getting laid is fun.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:35 PM
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Treating women properly so that you can have fun with them is still objectionable. Treat women properly because they deserve to be treated properly.

Then go ahead and have fun with them because they deserve to have fun, too!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:41 PM
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A hard-liner would say that it's impossible to treat someone properly in order to have fun with them, because part of proper treatment is treatment for the right reason.

Which is why this sort of demand isn't likely to get you very far with the very people of whom you're likely to want to demand it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:43 PM
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Which is why this sort of demand isn't likely to get you very far with the very people of whom you're likely to want to demand it.

Right. Is it better to demand correct treatment for the right reasons or not at all, or better to start with the correct treatment for whatever reason, and then go from there?

The answer that members of a political faction give to this may be correlated with the success of that political faction.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:46 PM
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Only on this blog would 58 be ignored in favor of arguing the specifics of gender politics scholasticism. I love you all like I love my grandmother's racist best friend: "At least your heart is in the right place."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:48 PM
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Di's right.

Ben voiced a "fake it till you make it" sentiment not long ago in another context, and I didn't know what to make of it then. Now, here, I'm trying to understand:

64.2: Part of not being sexist is treating women with dignity, so the person cajoled along by his carnal desires will be in the position of faking it for a while before he makes it, but what's wrong with that?

I take the operative term there to be carnal desires.

But wait! Who is being cajoled along? The (male) person with the carnal desires is being cajoled along by (his) carnal desires?

Ben!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:49 PM
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I didn't even notice 58.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:49 PM
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73 originally to 69.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:50 PM
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Treat women properly because they deserve to be treated properly. Then go ahead and have fun with them because they deserve to have fun, too!

See, Walt? Di is a non-adjectival hippie too!

max
['There could be a snag here.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:51 PM
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71: Is it better to demand correct treatment for the right reasons or not at all, or better to start with the correct treatment for whatever reason, and then go from there?

Nice.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:55 PM
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I find the Palin/MILF thing extra-annoying because it was part of why she was brought on board. It is deeply infuriating when Hillary Clinton, who was never running for Queen of Your Cock, was criticized for not being pretty enough for random dudes to get a boner about her, because giving people boners was not why she chose to run for office. Palin is in a weird position because she didn't "choose" to run for VP. She was chosen, in large part, because she has a vagina and she's attractive to men.

Becks's brother is being a dick, but he's being a dick in a way that McCain assumes people will be dicks about it. That is, no one's really allowed to think of her against the standard of an actually intelligent, thoughtful political figure, because she's running (whether anyone has told her or not) on the platform of eye-candy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 1-08 11:56 PM
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(That's not to say Palin wasn't also chosen for another kind of low-info voter, the "Roe v. Wade is my only issue but I don't really understand what it means or how it works or what law, in fact, is" voter.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:00 AM
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Is it better to demand correct treatment for the right reasons or not at all, or better to start with the correct treatment for whatever reason, and then go from there?

Except. When you tell people not to be sexist because being non-sexist it going to get them laid, and then they don't, in fact, find them selves inundated with ready, willing, and able hotties they wind up bitter and resentful Nice Guys. "I tried treating women with dignity, but they didn't fuck me, so obviously being treated with dignity is not what they want!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:10 AM
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I'm not sure it's easy to tell whether a guy is sexist or not, but one big thing for me is whether he acts as if I'm interesting. That is, he doesn't stop at being attracted to some surface image (of looks or personality), nor does he inspect and analyze me for flaws. He's interested. Does he really seem to want to know what I think about something and why I think it? If he finds further things that are either attractive or repulsive, fine, but I'm neither an object to be observed nor one to be modified.

That's a big thing to me when I see guys with their wives or girlfriends, too. Does he seem interested in this woman, in general? Does he listen to her as if she might say something he would like to know?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:16 AM
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one big thing for me is whether he acts as if I'm interesting.

(Of course, that's in the context of trying to decide whether to sleep with someone. You don't have to be interested in me to not be sexist.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:21 AM
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I'm not sure it's easy to tell whether a guy is sexist or not

New mouseover.

Seriously, assuming the guy's reasonable and you don't know much about him, no, it's not. But I don't take my first gauge in terms of whether he's sexist, for heaven's sake, it's whether he's human.

Maybe I should note that this is actually true for women as well: women are sexist! Against other women. If a woman treats me as an object, I'm not so much for friendship with her. Etc.

All such people are framing interpersonal relations in terms of male/female (assuming heterosexuality) power dynamics that I find very tiring and annoying, and I like to avoid it. I'd call the whole thing sexist, though I realize that's not the way the term is ordinarily used.

Oh. I wrote this comment a little while ago, and am just now posting it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:56 AM
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Is it better to demand correct treatment for the right reasons or not at all, or better to start with the correct treatment for whatever reason, and then go from there?

...

Only on this blog would 58 be ignored in favor of arguing the specifics of gender politics scholasticism. I love you all like I love my grandmother's racist best friend: "At least your heart is in the right place.

What would be really in character would be for this thread to degenerate into a fine-grained debate about the Kantian distinction between acting from (the motive of) duty and acting in accordance with duty.


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:29 AM
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I'm not sure, fm, everyone understood 58. I find it ambiguous, but not out of the blue.

Since the dawn of time, men have worked on the notion of a strategy that would attract any and all women. Any and all attractive (on whatever axes) women. Guess what? It doesn't work because women are actually different human beings. With, like all human beings, different interests and desires from hour to hour, much less from individual to individual.

Just as one can't say behavior X will guarantee mating success, you can't say that behavior Y guarantees mating failure. That's not to say that someone clueless enough to find certain Palin humor funny and acceptable won't also find such statements credible . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 5:14 AM
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That's a big thing to me when I see guys with their wives or girlfriends, too. Does he seem interested in this woman, in general? Does he listen to her as if she might say something he would like to know?

You have to be careful making judgments like this, though. First, one can't really be confident in reading the heart and mind of another. Second, to be more specific, you have no idea if this is the 17th time he's heard her say what he appears not to be interested in hearing. That doesn't mean he isn't interested to hear what she has to say on other topics. It is alot different telling one joke to 17 separate people than to telling the same joke to one person 17 times.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 5:20 AM
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So what are the general rules for when it's okay to de-friend someone on Facebook? I've become Facebook friends with a lot of people from high school, and unsurprisingly some of them are a bit obnoxious. Actually, I'm a bit surprised that there aren't more obnoxious ones.

I've only de-friended one person so far, because I got sick of reading his sanctimonious status updates about how Jesus had helped him forgive the person he got angry with, etc.

But I'm sure the question will come up again.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 7:46 AM
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Knecht@12 nails it:If you need a more blunt instrument, forward him the link to the unfuckables discussion and tell him that Palin-MILF jokes fall unambiguously under that rubric.

My only quibble is the "if you need a more blunt instrument" - there is no question that blunt instruments are called for.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 7:50 AM
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Is it just me, or is 'BILP' pleasingly onomatopoetic?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 7:55 AM
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Frankly, I'd just go with flatly telling him that yeah, you'd seen the Facebook MILF stuff, and it was really Seriously Not Funny, not amusing, in fact downright annoying, it was juvenile, sexist, degrading to women, etc., and he knows it perfectly well. Shake head, disgusted pursing of lips: Not funny.

I don't see this helping at all. When adults did this to me, at that age, I thought it was hilarious.

Here's what I want in this situation, which I don't currently have: a succinct explanation of the costs to the speaker and the people closest to the speaker, of propagating such a joke. Something that stings a little.

Any ideas?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:00 AM
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The thing is, BILP is almost certainly getting positive attention from his social circle for these things -- he'd stop posting them otherwise. Trying to offset that with negative attention, probably not going to work for the reasons Cala just gave. Just ignoring it (the advice Mom always gave when I found my brothers obnoxious), also generally ineffective. In short, hope he outgrows it, but in the meantime probably not much you can do.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:05 AM
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But I'd like to at least plant the seeds of some cognitive dissonance.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:11 AM
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countering it with a narrative about how 40-something women with glasses and updoes (may I say how much I hate that term) are totally non- or asexual doesn't really cut it.

But that's not what I meant, though I could see how it could be taken that way. The point is to make his obsession with Palin as MILF ridiculous (since he's probably not actually overcome with lust for Palin.) All of this depends on Becks' relationship with her brother, of course.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:12 AM
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80 is spot on.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:16 AM
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People are roiling cauldrons of vanity, confusion, desire, lust, and fear. Of course that's going to be expressed in fantasies around public figures. Most politicians are thoroughly asexual old toads, but when they are even mildly plausible as sexual objects then even male politicians get sexualized. See, Bill Clinton once upon a time, Barack Obama today.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:37 AM
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Oh please. Are you honestly saying the sexualization of Palin, Clinton, and Obama are comparable?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:38 AM
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90: Becks works in IT, which is fairly male-dominated. I don't know if she has stories about her or a coworker encountering porny images in the workplace, or being treated inappropriately sexually. If she does, she can tell him how she responded to that. If her brother knows any women who work in the building trades or similar they might have stories. It would require Becks or BILP making the analogy to women trying to enter politics. If he has activities he participates in that women are an important part of, Becks could point out that if he constantly made jokes about wanting to see them on their knees, it would probably make them uncomfortable enough to leave, and then he would have lost their participation. She could say that even when the jokes are not directly about his friends, or about Becks, it creates an atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust for women, so that women can't assume they're being taken seriously, and always have to wonder which of the men they work with are making fun of them behind their back. She can also point out that whether or not cutting it out would increase his personal chances of getting laid, making sex into a big joke that women are the butt of tends to make women more suspicious of sex, on average, and makes relationships between men and women less friendly and open. She could tell stories I'd think she almost certainly has of having the sex jokes directed at her in junior high, and how she responded to that. If she has stories about times men in her life have bucked some trend in their social group and have stood up for her when she or someone else was getting belittled for being a woman that would be good too.

If he could be persuaded to sit through it, the first few episodes of Mad Men might get across a point about how juvenile sex jokes in the workplace are actually meant to exclude women from power (the whole series would get across the point, but I don't know if he'd get involved). To the extent that Mad Men looks alien from his life, Becks can say that it's because it's a bunch of humorless women started bitching people out for acting like that. When people still act like that, today's world is a little more like the early 1960s.


Posted by: cynique | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:40 AM
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Not to say that this kind of sexism doesn't exist -- in Hilary Clinton's case it was really deployed in an attempt to cut her down to size and answer weird fears and insecurities she evoked. With Palin, there's nothing else to her but one form of fantasy or other, she was picked as an incarnation of some weird Real American Frontier Maverick Momma fantasy. There's not much to engage with there as an independent thinker.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:40 AM
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Don't chastise him; tell him, in admiring sisterly tones, how amazed you are that he's so secure that he doesn't mind girls talking behind his back - y'know, like they all do about a guy who wants to fuck someone old enough to be his mother, so that means he'd really like to fuck his mother... and you're just so happy that he doesn't mind women thinking he's a mama's boy, because you, at least, know he's not. I mean, when you and your girlfriends get together and make jokes about guys who clearly want to do their moms, you never think of him.

If you can do that with a straight face, you won't cure him of sexism, but you may get him to stop the MILF jokes. FTM, try pretend to slight tipsiness and acquire an aura of Revealing Secrets No Man Knows. Eventually, he'll grow up.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:41 AM
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96: Comparable in what way? I mean, no, of course not, but at the same time I can hardly imagine what the reaction would be if someone in the audience at a campaign event asked Palin what sort of undergarments she wears.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:42 AM
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100: Because it would be way more titillating than asking Clinton that question. Because she's been way, way over-sexualized.

Comparable in what way? I'd say uncomparable in the degree to which they dehumanize the politician.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:45 AM
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Bill Clinton, that is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:46 AM
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Also, saying that sexism means you won't get laid is silly, since it's not true.

Are you honestly saying the sexualization of Palin, Clinton, and Obama are comparable?

With the male politicians, you can argue the sexualization wasn't used to diminish them in other ways, as sexualizing men doesn't reduce their dignity in the same way sexualizing women does (I have my issues with this argument, but never mind). But I disagree somewhat, sexualization of was used to attack their authority to some extent -- the "slick Willie" thing about Clinton was related to his obvious sensuality, the Obama cult thing is related to his charisma and sexual appeal.

And I'm not sure sexuality is being used to diminish Palin. Perhaps it would be if there was something there to diminish, but I'm not sure what that would be. With Hillary, it really was used to cut her down and damage her and was very clearly related to men being threatened by a serious and dedicated figure on the national stage. Is Palin really a serious figure?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:49 AM
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Are you honestly saying the sexualization of Palin, Clinton, and Obama are comparable?

Not the way I'm doing it, no.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:50 AM
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101: completely agree, but that doesn't mean that PGD is wrong about the sexualization of Clinton, Obama (and to a much greater extent, though PGD didn't mention him: JFK).

PDG's point was only that anyone in the public eye who is not a "thoroughly asexual old toad" is going to be sexualized, to a greater or lesser extent. It's sad, but largely true.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:51 AM
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and finishing up on sexism and getting laid -- the right argument is that sexism will eventually *damage your lasting relationships with women*, not that it won't get you laid. This has the virtue of being correct and getting to the heart of the matter. In contemporary culture, the lasting relationship comes after the initial sex. If he's in college, he may be pretty focused on casual sex, but it never hurts to be gently prodded to think beyond that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:52 AM
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100,101: Also not quite comparable given the rest of the cultural context.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:53 AM
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And I'm not sure sexuality is being used to diminish Palin. Perhaps it would be if there was something there to diminish...Is Palin really a serious figure?

No, she's a pawn chosen to exploit this specific kind of over-sexualization. But it diminishes other female politicians to have their professional category mocked in this way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:54 AM
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anyone in the public eye who is not a "thoroughly asexual old toad" is going to be sexualized

And even then...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:55 AM
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it diminishes other female politicians to have their professional category mocked in this way.

And whose fault is that? Palin's nomination was an insult to Americans and an insult to women.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:56 AM
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110: Uh...is that rhetorical? It's the fault of the people who chose her to be the pawn to be exploited in this way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 8:58 AM
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111: I'm not sure, but I don't think it was rhetorical and I think you gave the answer foolishmortal was seeking. (As opposed to "the fault of the people doing the mocking.")


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:01 AM
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And she was one of those people.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:01 AM
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(As opposed to "the fault of the people doing the mocking.")

I don't let those people completely off the hook, either. They provide the climate for which such a stunt will flourish.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:05 AM
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I think women politicians have moved beyond the point where one empty suit (empty skirt?) can diminish them. Dan Quayle didn't diminish male politicians; obviously women are far from being the default category but they are unremarkable at the governor, congressman, senator level now -- every level but President, and that will come.

Also, this whole discussion has lurking in the background a tinge of the attitude that female sexuality is nasty and dehumanizing and vulnerability-producing in a way that male sexuality is not. This genuinely comes from misogynist sexism -- sexists really do have this attitude and use it against women, so it has to be taken seriously as a weapon that gets deployed -- but I wonder if it's possible to buy into it in the course of fighting against it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:06 AM
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112: The correct answer is, of course, both the people who chose her to be the pawn and the people doing the mocking.

113: Yes, she was. And since the harm is not limited to her, as Heebie points out, the fact that she bears some of the blame does not make it any less wrong.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:07 AM
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110-12:
Yes it was rhetorical, and my Hierarchy of Blame goes like this: John McCain > Sarah Palin > sexist culture.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:12 AM
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115: I think it's possible to read it as descriptive without endorsing it. (Otherwise, what's the alternative?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:12 AM
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I think women politicians have moved beyond the point where one empty suit (empty skirt?) can diminish them.

I totally disagree. I don't think established female politicians will have much fall-out, but a rising local female politician could have a rougher time. Furthermore, I think the real destructive problem is with the take-home lesson for high school and college age girls who might be contemplating a career in politics.

his whole discussion has lurking in the background a tinge of the attitude that female sexuality is nasty and dehumanizing and vulnerability-producing in a way that male sexuality is not....but I wonder if it's possible to buy into it in the course of fighting against it.

Right, female sexuality is used to dehumanize women in a way that male sexuality is not. I do not follow the rest of your comment, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:13 AM
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People who never spoke to me in high school add me as a friend

That's the odd thing about Facebook. Not long ago, someone I only dimly remembered from college contacted me on Facebook. To the degree I did remember him, I didn't remember anything about him that made me want to be his Facebook contact so I never responded.

(I am a little surprised that nobody's yet produced a "Willow's mom has got it going on" video. Have they? I haven't looked.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:20 AM
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Going by the first two images on that site (and as an aside, you lured me to the "feministing" site?! How will I ever explain this to the guys at the lodge?) sexism is really too weak of a word. Those images are worse than sexist. They are vulgar and aggressive and I wish I had the right word to describe them.

There are lines and there are distinctions and both those images are past sexism. They border on condoning rape. In my opinion.

But Sifu nails it in one. I guess, as a guy, in this situation, I'd tell my brother he needs to grow up and stop being an asshole and get a little friggin' respect for women. I'd be pretty mean about it too.

I don't know if that would work as well coming from his sister. I don't even know if it would work coming from me, but I'd still say it cause if I don't at least try to straighten him out who will?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:21 AM
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female sexuality is used to dehumanize women in a way that male sexuality is not

Sometimes it is. For example, the ever-present GOP insinuations that Hillary Clinton (or any female Democratic politician) is a dick-chopping lesbian and John Edwards (or any male Democratic politician) is a dick-chomping fag.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:21 AM
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female sexuality is used to dehumanize women in a way that male sexuality is not

Well, perhaps in different ways, but calling someone a 'male sexist pig' is dehumanizing him. Sometimes he might be called that purely for his sexuality. Like say he admits that he is mostly attracted to young fit women. Is that expressing his sexuality? I think so.

Obviously opinions differ.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:25 AM
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There's a catch-22. Women in politics who are cute get the porn jokes, women in politics who aren't cute get the fatt-butt thick-ankle jokes. Both are demeaning.

To my knowledge the only guy politicians who get anything like that dismissive treatment are grossly fat guys (sometimes) and little short funny-looking guys (Kucinich).



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:26 AM
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#123. Dull day at work, Tripp?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:28 AM
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124, continued: The difference is that for women, a lot of people apply the attractiveness screen first of all. In some case it's aggressive sexism by guys who really don't think that women can lead and would refuse to work for a woman, and in other cases it's just a sexist kind of reflexive shallowness and silliness.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:29 AM
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For example, the ever-present GOP insinuations that Hillary Clinton (or any female Democratic politician) is a dick-chopping lesbian and John Edwards (or any male Democratic politician) is a dick-chomping fag.

In both instances, being female is the underlying insult. Feminity is both a diminished position and the only acceptable one for women. Therefore Hillary is punished for failing to be feminine enough, while Edwards is mocked for exhibiting any feminity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:30 AM
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, but calling someone a 'male sexist pig' is dehumanizing him. Sometimes he might be called that purely for his sexuality. Like say he admits that he is mostly attracted to young fit women. Is that expressing his sexuality? I think so.

That is judging someone based on their actions or behavior, not judging them based on how the hegemonic male would like to ravish them in bed. The first involved free will, the second is someone else's will being envisioned upon you.

And sure, men suffer inhibitions for not wanting to be percieved as a male sexist pig. Everybody suffers in a fucked-up world.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:33 AM
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Sorry, I was going by the truncated quote and not the original context.

Yes, I agree that calling someone a "male sexist pig" is not 'vulnerability-producing.' It is dehumanizing but the image is not one of a victim, instead it is one of a non-thinking beast who has lust and grossness and gluttony.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:33 AM
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heebie,

Yeah. I missed what you were referring to in your 119. I missed the context. See my 129.

So I take your point. Apo's example was much better than mine. My example was not really pertinent to this discussion. Mea Culpa.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:36 AM
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I do not follow the rest of your comment, though.

I see Palin getting a mix of misogynist attacks and the sexualization that would happen with any unusually young/attractive pol. To the extent that you say any sexualization is automatically demeaning because it's demeaning to a woman for someone to think about her sexually, that buys into certain Victorian notions.

Also, there's the element where being penetrated is seen as demeaning in a way that penetrating isn't, so male pol as virile stud (see: nauseating stuff about GW Bush in his flight suit) is complimentary while female pol as sexual isn't.

Out of curiousity, who is being demeaned by this video , Barack, Hilary, neither, or both?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:38 AM
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Just go ahead and punch him, Becks.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:40 AM
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When Limbaugh is called a male chauvinist pig, it's because of things he says and does, not because of what he looks like.

Various female MDs and medical students I've known havehad to thread the needle between "not attractive" and "too cute to be professional". A lot of them were pretty successful, but some guy MDs still have problems accepting female colleagues and superiors. Not just the older ones.

The secret seemed to be being quietly and tastefully well-dressed but not overly sexy or flashy, and pleasant and friendly but not flirty. But some of them pushed it toward the sexy-flirty side.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:41 AM
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That is judging someone based on their actions or behavior, not judging them based on how the hegemonic male would like to ravish them in bed. The first involved free will, the second is someone else's will being envisioned upon you.

Just what I was referring to in 131.2. This is basically a Victorian frame of the mustache-twirling male villain and the delicate vulnerable maiden.

Do we have an old-school Unfogged 1000-comment gender thread going now? (I doubt it, those days seem over). I'll have to look in tomorrow, though, time to do some real work.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:41 AM
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127: heebie, Feminity is both a diminished position and the only acceptable one for women.

Yes, in the world-view your examples portray. I think many men do not share the world-view that femininity is the only acceptable trait for women, and I'd like to think the new world-view of empowered women is gradually becoming more common.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:41 AM
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To the extent that you say any sexualization is automatically demeaning because it's demeaning to a woman for someone to think about her sexually, that buys into certain Victorian notions.

Yeah, well, I think those Victorian notions are alive and well. We're indoctrinated from day 1 that sex is about domination and submission. Of course there exists sexual thoughts that are free of this crap. But when it's being projected into the public sphere on someone who's ostensibly a professional figure, it's bullshit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:45 AM
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Feminity is both a diminished position and the only acceptable one for women.

This strikes me as a false dichotomy, or at least an unnecessary one.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:47 AM
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PGD,

Like you I've also got more pressing needs. This stuff is difficult enough to discuss over the internet and nobody needs my clumsy attempts. I hope people know me well enough to know I support the empowerment of women while still trying not to hurt myself by stifling my own male sexist piggish nature too much. I stifle some though, and I am trainable.

Peace.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:47 AM
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136: OK, we're not really that far apart, which lowers the chances for a 1000-comment thread unless Ogged and B make a simultaneous appearance.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:48 AM
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We're indoctrinated from day 1 that sex is about domination and submission.

Mmm, I think you're overstating the case here. There's a shitload of cultural training about sex and sex roles and it's all over the map and often contradictory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:48 AM
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I think many men do not share the world-view that femininity is the only acceptable trait for women, and I'd like to think the new world-view of empowered women is gradually becoming more common.

The first is definitely true, the second debatable. But marketing and Hollywood and the media narrative all pander to this worldview, and it causes huge problems for women, particularly young women who do not have firm footing of their place in the world.

Also:
I think many men do not share the world-view that femininity being fuckable is the only acceptable trait for women.

Since someone referenced the fuckable thread earlier and all.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:50 AM
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When someone compares a male politician to Tom of Finland or Ron Jeremy, it's demeaning and intended that way. But to my knowledge, that doesn't happen that often. Comparing someone to Paul Newman or Marlon Brando stereotypes maleness in a way, but it doesn't seem to reduce to how well they perform in bed or what they'd look like naked.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:51 AM
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That is to say, American society is simultaneously hyper-Puritan and hyper-prurient, and it's hard to reduce such a schizophrenic part of the our societal mindset to simple declarative statements about the role of sex in politics.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:51 AM
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When I make these global declarations about sex or how women are thought about, like the ones quoted in 137 and 140, I mean as portrayed by advertisers, basically. And Hollywood. The fluff we're inundated with. I don't think everyone internalizes the fluff, but I think enough people do that it's a real problem.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:54 AM
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||

Harvard PhD Corsi is on the job!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:57 AM
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|>

Sorry, guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:58 AM
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Damn you heebie, you are waving red meat in front of me and I have a hard stop like 3 minutes ago.

I think many men do share the world-view that being fuckable is the only acceptable trait for women.

Those men are boorish. Pigs even. Then there is the category of men that share the world-view that being fuckable is the most important trait for women. Then there are men who think it is not the most important trait but still a very important trait. And the scale goes down to zero, for the gays and some category of men that we want to belittle because they lack all testosterone. Like old farts. Unless they are dirty old men.

Whew.

Apo, the torch is yours my son. Carry on. I'm outa here.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:01 AM
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143 is true, and the prurience is a direct product of the Puritanism. So you can, as an individual woman, act outside the norms of acceptable femininity, but you have to be aware that you will be hypersexual to some and disturbing to others. Your sexuality or lack thereof is always on the table, just as it is for men. Acting outside the norms of traditional heterosexual dudeliness is a real gamble that can result in terrifying violence or in truly happy, healthy relationships with others, and sometimes both. The same is true for women, except that the very act of having a job in public is stepping outside traditional femininity.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:08 AM
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||
Hey, here's a surprise. The Bush DOJ lawyers appear to have fucked up the Ted Stevens prosecution and the judge is considering dismissing the indictment. A month before the election. How convenient.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:09 AM
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110 everytime i see how someone says that Palin is an insulting choice etc i think
she's a sitizen who is eligible to be elected to whatever your elective body is, one of you, not that better or worse, just an average person with all her misgivings
why not see it as if one is going to serve for example a jury duty
and try to treat her with that, dignity, as a person and a woman


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:12 AM
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Given the kind of cash Corsi has access to, and the relative poverty of some of Obama's family members, it wouldn't surprise me to see one of them take make a deal with Corsi to reinforce some slur or other in exchange for cash. A hundred thousand dollars it chump change to the people backing Corsi, but it's literally a lifetime's earnings for someone living on a couple of dollars a day.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:13 AM
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why not see it as if one is going to serve for example a jury duty

Because she's not going for jury duty. She's running to be one melanoma recurrence from appointing federal judges and holding the nuclear codes. It's prudent to expect that person to be above average.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:14 AM
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You should punch your brother anyway. No reason. And he can cry to Momma all he wants, the big tattletale.

Even Margaret Thatcher got some of this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/04/health_enl_1102932669/img/1.jpg


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:15 AM
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so treating her with dignity contradicts to that?
It's prudent to expect that person to be above average


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:17 AM
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Yeah, this isn't a two-week case being determined by two lawyers, a judge, and twelve citizens that decides the fate of a single person. It's a job we are hiring for that has the potential to affect every aspect of our lives and freedoms. As Americans, we have the right to review her resumé and interview her.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:17 AM
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154: Grammar error. Call Lobohijo.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:18 AM
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I'd hate to have Palin on the jury if I were in the dock. Unless I was being tried for hunting out of season or something.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:19 AM
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I'd want her on the jury when I get caught for loving Jesus too fervently.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:20 AM
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156: delete.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:22 AM
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so treating her with dignity contradicts to that?

A vice-presidential candidate who can't name a single Supreme Court case other than Roe v Wade? Who can't answer the most rote interview questions imaginable without reverting to word salad? For the most part, she's being treated with way more dignity than she deserves.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:22 AM
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The same is true for women, except that the very act of having a job in public is stepping outside traditional femininity.

I think it's a mistake, in discussing this sort of thing, to treat America as one homogeneous blob. Being openly gay in Middle of Nowhere, OK is probably really hard; doing the same in Chelsea less so. I think the same is true for working outside the home. Or maybe you're leaning hard on "traditional." But then it seems worth noting that there are areas of the country in which that tradition feels alien and more than a little scary.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:24 AM
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we have the right to review her resumé and interview her.
sure, but if you don't respect an average sitizen (i refer to that 'an insult' phrase ) what's good in all the elective process


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:24 AM
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so treating her with dignity contradicts to that?

We're Americans. We like the powerful suffering indignities. We have a whole Enquirer-ish section of the media devoted to showing that, and it does pretty well for itself.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:26 AM
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A vice-presidential candidate who can't name a single Supreme Court case other than Roe v Wade?

I heard the question as "Can you name another Supreme Court case that you disagree with, other than Roe v. Wade". That one may be tougher, for most people (Dredd Scott comes to mind). Or was she also asked to name any case?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:26 AM
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Palin's nomination was an insult to Americans and an insult to women.

Palin definitely deserves respect and dignity as a human being. This line is saying something a little different, about how it is insulting to supply a candidate who is horribly unprepared, and expect the American people not to know the difference.

(In contrast, Palin is currently prepared to serve on jury duty, or as govenor of Alaska - it is not an insult for her to run for govenor of Alaska.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:28 AM
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164: No, I think you're right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:30 AM
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But still, Plessy v Ferguson. That should be a gimme.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:31 AM
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it is not an insult for her to run for govenor of Alaska

How many terms as governor must she have served before it is no longer an insult for her to be thought of as Vice Presidential material?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:32 AM
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Or Korematsu. It may be hard for a lot of people, but c'mon, the woman's running for Vice President, it's not too much to expect that she be interested and informed about the laws that shape our country.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:32 AM
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My guess is that she was smart enough not to say Lawrence v Texas, though given the text of her response, it sounds to me like she'd oppose that one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:33 AM
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But still, Plessy v Ferguson. That should be a gimme.

Should be, but there's one fact you can infer from someone who takes 6 years and 5 universities to graduate: she is a TERRIBLE test-taker. No one who is a great test-taker has trouble in college.

So she gets anxious and freezes when asked to produce information under duress. (I'm repeating myself from yesterday, but whatever.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:34 AM
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168: As many as it takes until she can answer a question coherently and actually have it contain an answer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:34 AM
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How many terms as governor must she have served before it is no longer an insult for her to be thought of as Vice Presidential material?

The answer, my Tassled Loafer Leech, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:35 AM
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161: Although I do agree that femininity is expressed differently across the country, Heebie is right that there is a pretty homogeneous media culture of femininity as reflected in advertising. But in other ways, I'd also say that femininity is not necessarily always more "free" in the places you'd expect it to be. In the Midwest, women do tend to wear makeup more often than they do in California or New York, but I never felt as much pressure to wear feminine clothing and get pedicures as I do in NYC. The clothes I wore in Cleveland were not masculine out of some kind of feminist "choice," they were just clothes. Here, every time I wear jeans and a T-shirt with sneakers, I feel like I'm making some kind of inadvertent statement. Femininity is differently performed from place to place, sure, but not always such that the places you'd expect to be more "free" are.

Also, FWIW, I run into a lot more weird attitudes toward my being a woman in the classroom here than I ever did in Ohio. This is in part because a large number of my students are very traditional Jewish and Muslim guys who are not used to dealing with women in positions of authority, but it's not just them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:37 AM
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164/167: surely those answers can't count--neither of those decisions is current law. The question must be about cases that one disagrees with and that are current law (even if the last qualifier is unstated). Otherwise it's a stupid question.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:38 AM
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Otherwise it's a stupid question.

And yet, that was the question asked, so.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:38 AM
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"Govenor Palin. Name a form of transportation."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:38 AM
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My point is that I have heard it repeated that she could not name any Supreme Court case, and that was not the question. I would guess that most people are only familiar with the Supreme Court rulings that affect their daily lives (Brown, Miranda, etc.). And then to ask what cases are wrongly decided gets into legal scholar territory, not high school civics. But I don't think that geography quizzes are all that important, either.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:39 AM
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177: Naw, it's more like, "Govenor Palin. Name a form of transportation other than cars."

"Well, um, that one that you just mentioned, cars, for example, and other forms of transport that have been used across the United States for transporting our families, and the freedoms we have because of that transportation."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:41 AM
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"Govenor Palin. Name a form of transportation."

Getting moved by the spirit, Katie.

(heebie: two Rs in governor)


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:41 AM
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I would guess that most people are only familiar with the Supreme Court rulings that affect their daily lives (Brown, Miranda, etc.). And then to ask what cases are wrongly decided gets into legal scholar territory, not high school civics.

The President has to be a part-time legal scholar, among numerous other important duties. Besides, there have been enough rulings that have annoyed the religious right that she should have been able to allude to one.

And for God's sake, if she had just mentioned the Exxon Valdez case that came down *this summer* she would have been fine.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:43 AM
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The same is true for women, except that the very act of having a job in public is stepping outside traditional femininity.

almost 75 percent of women aged 25-54 work outside the home! It's the norm! I also think it's pretty well incorporated into femininity, both in the media and elsewhere. How many women on TV are stay-at-home moms?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:46 AM
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164: The question came up as a follow on to the Roe discussion. And she had in fact very recently taken sharp issue with a Supreme Court decision (the Exxon Valdez one).

"I am extremely disappointed with today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court," Palin said. "While the decision brings some degree of closure to Alaskans suffering from 19 years of litigation and delay, the court gutted the jury's decision on punitive damages."

And her talking about it on TV. Of course she is coming out in favor of those yucky punitive damages ... so don't want to disturb the wingnut base. Did she forget about that case? Or pass on it because she was on the "wrong" side in the context of a national campaign.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:48 AM
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I never felt as much pressure to wear feminine clothing and get pedicures as I do in NYC

As He of the Half Kidney once noted, NYC is an exceptional abomination in this way.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:49 AM
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I didn't say any woman who has a job outside her home. Having a job in the public eye is a different thing. And yes, people should get used to it. But the fact that it's still kinda kinky somehow to have a woman in politics is disturbing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:49 AM
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179 is good. AWB for VP! Excellent debate performance, and in fact, Tom (or John or Mike or whoever), it seems to me that she is well countering fears that she might not be able to stand up to the presssure tonight. She made a strong showing, and I can only imagine that this will impact voters and we'll see some reflection of that going forward.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:50 AM
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178: If she were a sharp campaigner, though, she could have made hay with the question by riffing on, say, "Kelo blah blah property rights blah blah Souter blah blah liberal wing of the Supreme Court blah blah blah." There are plenty of righty bloggers who could do that easily. Christ, even I could do that. She's an embarrassment.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:51 AM
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One feels pressure to get pedicures [when] in NYC? Do people wear a lot of open-toed shoes?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:53 AM
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Kelo is a load of crap to my mind, but IANAL.

My only point is that I have heard it repeated that she could not name a single Supreme Court ruling other than Roe. That is not the case. I do think that she should be able to remember a case she had just spoken out against.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:54 AM
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If she wants dignity, she ought to treat people who disagree with her with dignity. What I see is another whiny right-wing Know Nothing who can dish it out but can't take it. It's not my idea that she wear her ignorance of her country's law, history, economic and social conditions as a badge of honor.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:56 AM
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This line is saying something a little different, about how it is insulting to supply a candidate who is horribly unprepared, and expect the American people not to know the difference.
i don't know, so you trust your average sitizen to vote and tell the difference between whatever and do not trust her/him to be elected, dishonest imo
and your elected officials should be 'the best of the best', though what is the best, it's relative, be your richest, best educated, the most popular etc so that way can come to the best race even as the next criteria? i doubt politicians are all that best people, they have an above average ambitions maybe that's all
ideally just being honest and act in the interests of people and listen to what they want is good enough to be qualified for any elected position imo


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:56 AM
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I said this in another thread, but what was most shocking about Palin's response was not that she couldn't think of a S.C. decision she opposed (that's not great, but yeah, it's understandable) -- it's that she said, basically, that she thought that privacy was a federal constitutional right, but that the federal constitution can be abrogated by the states.

That's fucking alarming. It's not even a sensical right-wing position. If she opposes Roe on states' rights grounds, there's a non-lunatic way to do it -- you strictly construe the Constitution and argue that privacy is not one of the enumerated rights enforced by the federal government, and therefore privacy matters should be up to the states. But to say, first, that privacy is a federal constitutional right, and then, second, that the states still have the final say? What the fucking fuck. I hope that that was just an unfortunate combination of word salad ingredients, because if that's something she actually believes, then this woman needs a fucking primer on the Civil War.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:57 AM
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So! Facebook. Is this one of those portable computers that the kids have now? And he's putting Palin stickers on the outside? Just tell him that it'll kill the resale value.

PS - Charley, Sifu, et al: You're welcome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:57 AM
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to ask what cases are wrongly decided gets into legal scholar territory, not high school civics.

Does the Republican party now believe that a high school civics course is a sufficient qualification for the position of Vice President?

I have heard it repeated that she could not name a single Supreme Court ruling other than Roe.

In fact, she didn't name a single Supreme Court ruling other than Roe. If she had even punted and just started naming cases, any cases, she probably would've looked less ignorant. Similarly, if she had named any newspaper in response to being asked what newspapers she read.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 10:59 AM
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191:It's a good thing you're not running the country, imo. Anyway, Palin doesn't meet your minimal criteria, since she lies frequently and with gusto.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:00 AM
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189 -- She was asked, iirc, and didn't name any. She can't be asked what she thinks of Kelo without the questioner facing the charge of gotcha journalism.

I would like to ask her if she thinks states ought to have the power to approve eminent domain for private projects like pipelines. Bet she says yes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:00 AM
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188: Yes. The open-toed shoes, the pedicures, etc.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:01 AM
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192: I wouldn't worry so much about that. I think what we're seeing is just that Sarah Palin doesn't know enough about constitutional law to have opinions that even wrong.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:01 AM
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It's a good thing you're not running the country, imo
no worries, i have zero ambitions on that front


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:02 AM
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199: Phew! Then we won't have to have a vicious battle for control of the country. I think you are too amiable to be a politician anyway.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:04 AM
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read's holding out for the Alaskan governorship once Palin vacates it for the Naval Observatory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:05 AM
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193 -- I was at a Red Sox game in Anaheim in July, and there was a friendly and energetic guy about two rows up wearing a J.D. Drew jersey. A Dodgers jersey. Embraced by both sides in Anaheim.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:06 AM
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191: Understanding what law is and how it works seems pretty important to me. And the thing that disturbs me most about her interviews is that she doesn't seem to understand that, if you believe that Americans are guaranteed the rights of privacy and personal freedom that are currently protected by certain Supreme Court decisions like Roe, and if you believe that women who get abortions should not go to jail (which she has stated), then overturning Roe (or Lawrence v Texas) and allowing for the criminalization of private decisions is bad. Not choosing to have abortions oneself or having gay sex oneself is different from inviting the government to make your medical and sexual decisions for you.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:06 AM
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You can see Alaska from Mongolia.


Posted by: alif sikkiin | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:09 AM
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I am the governor of Montana, and I'm going to tell you right now, definitively, it's the best damn job in America. It doesn't get better than that. My job description includes knowing where the fish are biting, what they're biting on, where the elk are, how high the elevation of snow is, knowing where the skiing's good.

Posted by: Brian Schweitzer | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:11 AM
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That is, a politician should not conflate his or her own personal moral life with decisions about legal matters. The fear, I think, is that it looks like hypocrisy because saying "I think abortion is murder but you're allowed to have abortions if you want" sounds contradictory, but we should be framing these statements as "I don't personally think abortion is the right decision, but I don't want the government to criminalize a very difficult medical decision that many women are forced to make."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:11 AM
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191: ideally just being honest and act in the interests of people and listen to what they want is good enough to be qualified for any elected position imo

read, the problem is that you have to be able to clearly judge what's in the interests of people, and you have to be able to discern and adjudicate between short- and long-term interests.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:14 AM
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From the Washington Times today:

"It's time that normal Joe Six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency," the Republican vice presidential candidate told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

Palin said if she and John McCain win, they will "put government back on the side of the people of Joe Six-pack like me."

Palin said she and her husband, Todd, have been affected by the economic downturn.

"I know what Americans are going through," she said a day after a record 778-point plunge on Wall Street. "Todd and I, heck, we're going through that right now even as we speak, which may put me again kind of on the outs of those Washington elite who don't like the idea of just an everyday, working-class American running for such an office."


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:18 AM
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Does the Republican party now believe that a high school civics course is a sufficient qualification for the position of Vice President?

I don't know about the Republican party, but I believe that according to the Constitution sufficient qualification is being 35 years old and native born. The rest is political construct.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:21 AM
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It's the party of Roman Hruska alright.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:22 AM
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"put government back on the side of the people of Joe Six-pack like me."

Give me a fucking break.

Sarah Palin and her husband have pieced together a uniquely Alaskan income that reached comfortably into six figures even before she became governor, capitalizing on valuable fishing rights, a series of land deals and a patchwork of other ventures to build an above-average lifestyle. Add up the couple's 2007 income and the estimated value of their property and investments and they appear to be worth at least $1.2 million.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:30 AM
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The rest is political construct.

And yet the authors and ratifiers of the Constitution kept electing really, really qualified people. You could make a decent argument that the first really unqualified President was ol' Tippecanoe, elected after the Founding generation had passed (Presumably the other candidate would be Jackson, and I'm sure the Founders would have been aghast).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:32 AM
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Don't believe the hype about Joe Sixpack. In a competitive situation I could put down a sixpack in less than two hours, but if I met that test they'd just they'd just move the goalposts on me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:47 AM
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authors and ratifiers of the Constitution kept electing really, really qualified people

Every once in a while the incredible coincidence of the personalities, educations and temperaments of the Founders shelves my doubts about a Supreme Being or whatever. Must have been something in the water.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:48 AM
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Other things that make me not get too exercised about the "gotcha" question.

1) Biden was asked the same questions in the same sequence (it was a natural flow from the Roe v Wade).
2) She could have said something like "No, nothing important really, I think Roe v Wade is the one people care about and the one that I will focus on."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:53 AM
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214: Yeah, I kind of agree. I mean, I recognize their failings, the flaws in the institutions they set up, but still. They did a damned good job.

Ironically, considering the conservative institutions they set up, I think a lot of their mistakes came from underestimating the conservatism of the polity they were setting up. I really don't think that they expected the Constitution to change so little in 220 years. If I had to guess, I'd guess that they would have expected more change in institutions and less in society (IOW, more would have bet on a more parliamentary system with less equality than the other way around).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:57 AM
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209 -- Jesus, I'm legally qualified to do drywall in your house. Hiring me to do drywall in your house would be very stupid. Because I'm not really qualified to do drywall in your house.

It wasn't in the goddam water. It was in the culture: people thought electing smart men of ideas was a good idea. And that wearing ignorance as a badge of honor was stupid. Jesus.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 11:58 AM
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I would like to ask her if she thinks states ought to have the power to approve eminent domain for private projects like pipelines. Bet she says yes.

Considering the story of the Wasilla sports complex (granted, a municipal, not private, project), you're probably right. My point wasn't about Kelo specifically, but rather about a basic grasp of recent judicial history, which I would consider essential for a candidate for one of the top executive positions in the country. The vast majority of commenters on this very blog could have seized the opportunity presented by the question, and I'm embarrassed on behalf of the Republicans who raised me that Palin couldn't.

It's bothersome that people have to dance around the question of her intelligence. Sure, she's not dumb, but like Bush, she's not dumb only given some value of 'not dumb' allowing for an utter lack of intellectual curiosity, agility, coherence or consistency.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:00 PM
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JRoth, I know it's not your field, but you might enjoy reading a couple of Marshall's Greatest Hits: M'Cullough v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden. Really.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:02 PM
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177: "Govenor Palin. Name a form of transportation."

This question seems to be a general idiom (or was Heebie riffing on Thurber, who if he did not originate it, at least used it effectively in a piece on his time at Ohio State. (I had convenently excerpted it on another blog.)

[econ prof trying to get an Ohio State tackle to name a "means of transportation" to stay eligible.]

All of us, of course, shared Mr. Bassum's desire that Bolenciecwcz should stay abreast of the class in economics, for the Illinois game, one of the hardest and most important of the season, was only a week off. "Toot, toot, tooo-oooooot!" some student with a deep voice moaned, and we all looked encouragingly at Bolenciecwcz. ... Mr. Bassum himself rounded off the little show. "Ding, dong, ding, dong," he said, hopefully. ...
"How did you come to college this year, Mr. Bolenciecwcz?" asked the professor. "Chuffa, chuffa , chuffa, chuffa."
"M'father sent me," said the football player.
"What on?" asked Bassum.
"I git an 'lowance," ...
"What did you ride here on?"
"Train," said Bolenciecwcz.
"Quite right." said the professor.



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:04 PM
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218: isn't the real reason people "dance around" the worry that attacking her intelligence indirectly threatens the intelligence of too many "regular" voters? That's why you can call her "unqualified"--because most people don't see themselves as qualified to be VP--but not "unintelligent", because that comes across as insulting.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:04 PM
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I'm not hiring you for drywall, Charley. Not Jesus neither. Well, maybe Jesus, if he brings Pedro with him.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:04 PM
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Oh man, pwned by TOS! I need to get off the internet!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:05 PM
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Not Jesus neither.

Jesus gets nervous around lumber and nails. Best to look elsewhere.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:05 PM
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217: It wasn't in the goddam water. It was in the culture: people thought electing smart men of ideas was a good idea. And that wearing ignorance as a badge of honor was stupid.

Cf. Rob's remark in some recent thread that some of the prospective voters he was speaking to were as students who hadn't don the reading, or who'd been baffled by it: the reaction of some was sullenness.

Wearing ignorance as a badge of honor is, of course, the anti-intellectualism we all know and love. I wonder sometimes whether it was always so, and if not, when, why and how it came about. Anyone know of anything addressing this question? Where's Gonerill?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:11 PM
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isn't the real reason people "dance around" the worry that attacking her intelligence indirectly threatens the intelligence of too many "regular" voters?

I'm an elitist, and I vote.

I'm also a capable drywaller, but I could never make a living at it; my work style is slow and meticulous, and drywalling is generally piecework.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:16 PM
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you have to be able to clearly judge what's in the interests of people, and you have to be able to discern and adjudicate between short- and long-term interests.
there are people whom you represent and whom you do not represent, should represent the majority i guess to get elected
so if you are a true representative of whom you represent you know what their best interests, long or short-term, are b/c those are your interests too, just inseparable
it's even something like instinctive i suppose
and sure if one was capable to get elected that far one has i suppose that clear judgement ability, coz i was talking about ideal situation, not Palin
besides that, if one should listen to the opinions of the experts one has to have the ability to listen to the different opinions imo
with all your strict criteria i suppose Lincoln would have been considered underqualified if just see his education and background, just saying


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:19 PM
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I'm also a capable drywaller

You're the wrong Jesus. Or the right Jesus. Anyway, you are not the Jesus Charley was referring to, but you should have been.

Drywalling Jesus sounds like a bad band name.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:20 PM
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you are not the Jesus Charley was referring to

Sometimes I get us confused.

||
McCain pulling out of Michigan? Holy crap.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:23 PM
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229: YAY!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:25 PM
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I've done drywall as well.

Lincoln demonstrated a command of national and regional issues in a still legendary series of debates with Stephen Douglas. No one expects you to be perfectly conversant in our history, read, God knows we aren't in the history of your country. People who mention Lincoln in connection with Palin are running a con.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:25 PM
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231 got there first, but cripes, did read really just compare Palin and Lincoln>/i>?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:28 PM
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Lincoln also had a successful law practice. And a reputation for honesty Gov. Palin can only dream about.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:29 PM
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Unfortunately, it would be unimaginable for a politician today to show the extemporaneous speaking ability, the clarity and logical force, of Lincoln during the Lincoln/Douglas debates.

Lincoln was also a really important, major lawyer who broke new ground in his cases, as well as one of the founders of the Republican party during 1854-60.

Genius shows. Comparing Palin to Lincoln is beyond laughable.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:40 PM
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I wonder sometimes whether it was always so, and if not, when, why and how it came about.

It's implicit in Protestantism, for one, since whatever intellectualism was inherent in being a member of the Catholic Church was left behind when the Protestants split. That carried over in the US with the Puritans, which fed into the Protestant stream all over the US.

There's also the issue of the frontier versus 'civilization', where European/Eastern dandyism is derided as being mostly useless. (Because it often was.) There's the anti-royalist streak of the Revolution, with its rejection of all things aristrocratic.

You could push it forward aways to the advent of generic socialism in the US and it's egalitarian ethos, and then a little bit later the anti-intellectual streak of Marxism. Then you could crosscut it with the city/country divide becoming intensified in the early part of the 20th century, such that the threads of anti-elitism split up but crossfeed each other. Boil that for awhile, and toss in some anti-fascism, some anti-communism (so that western intellectuals tended to be influenced by Marxism/Communism, which was anti-intellectual and opposed by anti-communists who were anti-intellectual as well). And that's the cultural background for the 60's and it's anti-elitist streak, plus it's subsidiary movements, all influencing but not changing the original updated frontierism of 'country livin''.

Or you could just skip all that and say no one likes being sneered at, even if that is only projection, and that people will seize on whatever cultural detritus is to hand to fight with people they oppose.

max
['{shrug}']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:40 PM
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Oh oh. GPA-GRE-SAT time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:41 PM
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did read really just compare Palin and Lincoln>/i>?
no, i did not
i said if to look to only his education and background, he could have been considered that, underqualified, by that qualification purity criteria


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:41 PM
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did read really just compare Palin and Lincoln>/i>?


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:42 PM
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Lincoln was an active pol in a new party, representing a fast growing and important part of the country. In the brokered convention, Seward lost out. (shades of Hillary?). TV has changed the convention, probably in a good way.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:43 PM
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235: Or Douglas, either.

236: Marxism is pretty intellectual and elitist. Even Marxists in labor tried to master the theory.

The Puritans also were not anti-intellectual. Cotton Mather and even Jonathan Edwards were amateur scientists.

Anglo-Saxon Bible Christianity was one major source of anti-intellectualism. Political populism left and right was another. The country is more anti-intellectual than the city.

I think that Democrats go far too far in the anti-anti-populism direction, mostly because of its academic / administrative leadership and its technocratic program. The populist vote either sits home or else votes Republican.

Texeira recently convinced me that most Americans are more or less middle class by traditional populist standards, and that the genuinely poor are mostly minorities, disabled, and people with problems. His point was that there's not an enormous demographic of populist voters to be tapped. I didn't accept all of his conclusions, but he made a good argument.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:52 PM
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Standardized tests are the high points of some people's lives.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:57 PM
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236: Yep. Why is this pretty much obvious scattering of explanations not satisfying to me yet? I'm not sure.

Each of the things you mention builds on the previous ones. I mean, we've gotten to the point where people don't read books, and in fact, saying that you don't read doesn't even bear mentioning, much less raise an eyebrow. When I declared my intention to go to graduate school years ago, a couple of people expressed their condolences.

It's implicit in Protestantism, you say? I did not know that, understood in those terms, anyway, but sure, makes sense. What you call western frontierism had been my preferred explanation.

Damn. No doubt one could make a case for the fact that education is a function of privilege. Fucking privilege.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:57 PM
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Texeira recently convinced me that most Americans are more or less middle class by traditional populist standards

Bingo. Another reason why class warfare type arguments fall on deaf ears. The "middle class" aspires to upper, but fears falling into lower. I will be rich when I win the lottery. Sarah Palin represents me.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 12:57 PM
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241: God, I only wish the rest of my life could be judged on the basis of my standardized test scores. That was the only thing I was ever good at. It was like a musician losing his hearing, the day that the CTBS and SAT left my life.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:01 PM
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244: Seriously. Can't we get rid of billable hour benchmarks and just have an annual, firmwide multiple choice test, please?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:05 PM
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My kids want me to go on Jeopardy and bring home millions of dollars, since I always know the questions. Somehow I don't think it would work that way.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:08 PM
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246: It doesn't. But it's sure fun!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:09 PM
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God, I've just now been actually looking at the latest Palin interview questions on Supreme Court decisions -- just read snippets of transcripts before -- and damn. I think I've been almost as incoherent in my queries about the sources of anti-intellectualism in this country. The question clearly bears more study, dude! Go home and read!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:10 PM
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I only wish the rest of my life could be judged on the basis of my standardized test scores.

O, standardized tests, love of my life. How I adore thee, o number two pencil.

It's implicit in Protestantism, you say?

I'm not convinced of this, considering that several different Protestant faiths, from the Scots Presbyterians, to the New England Puritans and Congregationalists, to the Pennsylvania Quakers, all placed a high value on knowledge and education. A particular kind of Protestantism, maybe, but Protestantism in general, no.

(The rumor is, Biden better watch out. Sarah Palin stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:15 PM
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246: It doesn't. But it's sure fun!

You might have done better if you havent answered with "That is the sound your mother makes, Trebeck!"


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:23 PM
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I'm ashamed to admit it now, but back in the day, I really held standardized tests in contempt because I knew I could have my way with them so easily. I showed up for the SATs still drunk from the night before, and they still forgiving of me, allowing me to score high with them. No real measure of academic achievement would let me use them like that--which only made me more contemptuous of them.

Now I realize I acted haughty and cruelly to standardized tests. Oh I wish my evaluations could be so easy again!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:24 PM
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New England protestantism got over populist anti-intellectualism pretty early on. Harvard was founded to refute further eruptions of the Hutchinson variety.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:29 PM
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I just checked in to my hotel -- the Algonquin in NYC. Every room has a little card on the door with some witty thing said on the premises long ago. I have a Dorothy Parker remark that a certain young lady who came back from England with her leg in a cast had been injured sliding down barristers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:33 PM
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My mixed feelings about standardized tests were such that when I transferred schools, I listed my scores, but refused to pay to have them sent again.

I was such a wanker.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:33 PM
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Harvard was founded to refute further eruptions of the Hutchinson variety.

Yeah, I was wondering about that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:36 PM
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Anyone who thinks that protestantism is somehow inherently (or at its origin) anti-intellectual should take a good look at the career and background of John Calvin.

Of course, there's no disputing that there's been an anti-intellectual undercurrent in some American protestantism since the Great Awakening. But that's an issue with particular churches and movements, not protestantism as a whole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:38 PM
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I was such a wanker.

(admiring) You were. (/admiring) And just look at you now!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:38 PM
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I think anti-intellectualism has ever been subject to occasional eruption, as forms of populism of variable valence, but was consolidated as an enduring support column of the right-wing politics of resentment by Nixon. Someone read Perlstein and tell me if I'm right.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:39 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:42 PM
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256: Robert Halford, I think we've established the questionability of Max's assertion. Would you to provide an alternative explanation for the rising tide of anti-intellectualism in this country (to coin a phrase)? It's pretty easy to come up with candidates: use another one of Max's, if you like.

Or not. I'm off for a bit.

Sorry for my obvious irritability over this question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:43 PM
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258 -- That's one theme in Nixonland (which doesn't, really, have a very clear thesis at the end of the day, despite being an awesome book). Another theme, though, is that a lot of people were justified in feeling nervous about colleges because people on college campuses had gone completely fucking crazy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:47 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:49 PM
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If you start with the Bible being the only source of truth, and make the KJV or some other English version canonical, and then eliminate church hierarchies and so that every reader interprets for himself, you're most of the way there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:52 PM
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263: Bullshit. One of the things that can be great about really Biblical Protestant churches is the philological component, as well as the study of the history of exegesis and arguments about Christian ethics. I credit my protestant upbringing for my skills as a literary critic, for sure. It's true that in many churches, individual Christians give up the right to interpret scripture for themselves because it's somewhat difficult, so they read a lot of bad Sunday School lesson magazines written by morons. But you can't blame the entire Protestant reformation, the translation of the Bible into vernacular, and the subsequent rise in literacy rates for the anti-intellectualism of Americans.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 1:57 PM
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That's why I mentioned the KJV. If it's cnaonical there's no philology.

Some of the interpretations (dispensationism, the Scofield Bible) are not exactly anti-intellectual, but just insane. As long as you take that as a standard for truth, you're going to be anti-intellectual visavis pretty much everything else.

But is lit crit the true heir of Bibl;e Christianity? And if so, is that a good thing? We'll discuss that next week, kids!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:06 PM
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260 --

I dunno. By "rising tide of anti-intellectualism" I take it you mean"why does Sarah Palin appeal to many people not in spite of her obvious moron-icness, but because she's an uneducated moron"?

One pet theory which I find convincing, which I think John Emerson shares, is that the "culture war" anti-intellectualism is largely a battle between different kinds of elites -- many non-technocratic elites have cultural and/or educational values that they think have locked them into war with more technocratic elites. I.e., snowmobile salesmen v. public school teachers. What reads as anti-intellectualism is really a debate between prosperous people whose wealth depends on education (or a certain kind of education) and prosperous people whose wealth doesn't depend on education. An ability to succeed without the trappings of an elite education is extremely appealing to people whose relative success was also achieved without trappings of elite education.

People who are actually struggling have less time for this kind of bullshit. There is a strong anti-intellectual streak in certain kinds of American protestantism, but it's political valence isn't necessarily conservative, although in many churches there's a kind of self-reinforcing cycle of increased conservatism.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:09 PM
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258 is correct. The tide of anti-intellectualism ebbs and flows, but there's always some there. I think the current situation is abetted by:
(1) A current within evangelical Christianity that claims everything you need to know about the world is in the Bible. It's a totalizing worldview that looks at curiousity as a sign of insufficient faith as well as a route into the errors of the secular world. This current is in the ascendant thanks to the conflict over the teaching of evolution, as well as the obvious conflict between biblical claims about what happened when and historical and archeological findings.
(2) The clear evidence that some intellectuals are profoundly stupid in ways that are quite harmful. The widespread support for communism among intellectuals in the early 20th century is the most obvious.
(3) Active promotion of hostility towards science by lobbies whose interests are threatened by science. The tobacco lobby has funded efforts to attack various scientific endeavors in an effort to discredit the smoking-cancer link. A direct attack would be too obvious, so they promote the notion that their is widespread "junk science" behind a variety of regulations, including those limiting smoking. Steven Milloy is the most prominent example.
(4) The view that academia has a liberal bias.

All of the above interact and reinforce each other. I'm sure there are other factors I'm missing, but I think those are the high points.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:14 PM
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264 is correct. A lot of mainstream protestant churches have sermons in which the entire point of the sermon turns on interpretations of a single word in Aramaic and how translation of that word into Greek introduced an unintended meaning yada yada yada. I can't count how many of those I've sat through. The formulation of inerrancy within the Baptist denominations is that the Bible is inerrant "in the original manuscripts." That leaves a fair amount of wiggle room.

The dynamic of my 267.1 above takes place within the context of fairly intensive bible study, but it's study of the bible only, not drawing in external sources and certainly not questioning anything in the text.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:21 PM
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i said if to look to only his education and background, he could have been considered that, underqualified, by that qualification purity criteria

People are judging Palin based on her performance: by the lack of knowledge and competence that she demonstrates every time she opens her mouth. Those are the criteria by which she is judged to be insultingly unqualified. No threat to Lincoln there.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:22 PM
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everything you need to know about the world is in the Bible

It isn't even that. It's that everything you know is in a subset of the Bible, interpreted carefully, and you'd do better not to look to hard at the rest. This latter bit is aided by anti-intellectualism.

(2) is probably hard to defend
(3) is important, the business vs. science aspects
(4) boils down to `propaganda works'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:22 PM
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One kind of technocrat can be very conservative -- actual tech people from tech schools.

Some of it is liberal arts vs. practical education. Some of it is people on the market (small business people) vs. people buffered by universities or other large institutions.

In a survey I saw, nurses and public school teachers were more conservative than other educated groups. First, these are applied fields. Second, many in these fields have religious motives. Third, they're really at the social "point of production" and find a lot of the liberal arts type slogans unrealistic.

The university has been the focus or source of lifestyle innovations that people object to. Sometimes these are presented as founded on Science even though they're really not. I think that there was overreach.

Going between Wobegon and Portland I've developed a degree of neutrality about lifestyle wars. Neither side of the line seems entirely horrible, and both sides want me to think that the other is. (But Wobegon is not terribly conservative).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:27 PM
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"Protestant" is about 65% of America, and not all Protestant Churches are anti-intellectual.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:32 PM
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Despised as I am by the best critics, like the peasant I am I struggle stubbornly on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 2:38 PM
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242: 236: Yep. Why is this pretty much obvious scattering of explanations not satisfying to me yet? I'm not sure.

Because anti-intellectualism is a tendency and not a creedo, I think. Intellectualism (Renaissance or Enlightment forms) tended (tends) to be a plaything of the elites. If you're anti-elite the political tendency is to be anti-intellectual as well. Problem is, is that being anti-knowledge or anti-learning is hard, hard work. ('I don't wanna know that I don't know nothin'.') It's hard to avoid learning something, which leads to learning something else. If you're against the consensus of some set of the intellectuals, you have to dispute it somehow, and one of the simplest ways is to be anti-intellectual.

240: 236: Marxism is pretty intellectual and elitist. Even Marxists in labor tried to master the theory.

Western Marxism. Marxist-Leninism and offshoots, not so much. (The Civil War? The Revolution from Above? Later on, the Khmer Rouge dragging the intellectuals/people with glasses out and beating them to death with sticks?)

The Puritans also were not anti-intellectual. Cotton Mather and even Jonathan Edwards were amateur scientists. Anglo-Saxon Bible Christianity was one major source of anti-intellectualism.

They were certainly against the things of this world, which puts one in the position of having anti-intellectual tendencies.

Political populism left and right was another. The country is more anti-intellectual than the city.
I think that Democrats go far too far in the anti-anti-populism direction, mostly because of its academic / administrative leadership and its technocratic program. The populist vote either sits home or else votes Republican.

Sure. The people who make up the intellectual establishment like themselves just fine, and don't like people who don't like intellectuals. Populists don't like people who don't like populists.

242 (again): It's implicit in Protestantism, you say? I did not know that, understood in those terms, anyway, but sure, makes sense.

I'd say it was implicit in Christianity. Jesus was not in favor of the things of this world. Christianity had to make adjustments to cope with this world, and so the Catholic Church spent many years as the 800-pound gorilla of the intellectual world. But they had a corpus of learning, whatever you think of the content.

Martin Luther comes along and engages in an anti-establishment revolt, but he himself was an intellectual and a Catholic, but not an elitest. And the allowance for each man to decide the meaning of the Bible for hisownself opens the door to a rejection of the intellectual establishment. So your anti-intellectualism appears and disappears and reappears, depending on the situation at the time.

max
['Hrmm.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:00 PM
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Max, everything you say is overstated, and much of it is just wrong. Especially about the Puritans and about Marxist-Leninists. Some semi-educated lumpen elitist must have brainwashed you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:06 PM
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Especially about the Puritans and about Marxist-Leninists.

Also about the RC Church. Max, when the Church held real intellectual authority (when theology was queen of the sciences, say), it didn't stand opposed to some other, truly or authentically intellectual world: rather, the Church was the intellectual world. Your summary makes me think of a condensed version of Bertrand Russell's history of the triumph of philosophy over the forces of ignorance and priestcraft.

A good read, though! This is much more interesting than yet another tedious metathread on sexism.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:33 PM
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Amongst MC's weapons are fear, surprise, a ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:38 PM
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the Church was the intellectual world

And working hard to smother alternatives, to be fair.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:44 PM
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When the Church held real intellectual authority

she guarded it jealously. The Paris theologians kept a stranglehold on Western thought until Erasmus.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:52 PM
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Erasmus was a churchman too, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 3:55 PM
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277: You left out my sentimental attachment to the Infant of Prague.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 4:01 PM
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There's a church around here dedicated to Santa Rosa of Lima. It's in an area with some Hispanic influx, but it's an old German or Polish church. I've wondered whether there's been any outreach. The largest Catholic church in the area does have a Spanish-language service.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 4:16 PM
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No one has to tell me about the evils of Sorbonne scholasticism, a prototype of analytic philosophy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 4:19 PM
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Hello!

So, I'm thinking that I don't necessarily have to procure a copy of Nixonland right at this moment in order to gain an understanding of its premise. What I've read of it thus far has been informative. I'll read more.

266: By "rising tide of anti-intellectualism" I take it you mean"why does Sarah Palin appeal to many people not in spite of her obvious moron-icness, but because she's an uneducated moron"?

Yes, because she's an uneducated moron, yet no, I'm not asking about Palin particularly, but rather the anti-intellectual environment that's been in place for quite some time -- my entire life to date, certainly -- such that her candidacy is no surprise. "Culture war" anti-intellectualism doesn't really speak to that. It's just as easily the town doctor's kids, whose mom plays Mah Jongg, who are essentially spitting on the pencil-necked geek who's getting A's.

Max said in 274 that anti-intellectualism "is a tendency and not a creedo." I recognize that this is the conventional wisdom on the matter, but I suspect it's this that I'm dissatisfied with. If in fact it has become a creedo, I want to know from whence it came: noting that the Republican party has successfully taken advantage of it is, while correct, unsatisfying.

It seems equally merely contingent that anti-intellectualism is a function of anti-elitism. There was once a day in which reading, attempting to further one's knowledge, was not considered bad in itself. That education has become the privilege of only the entitled, something requiring far too much money, is a relatively new development. (? I'm not sure about this.)

Clearly all of this irritates me beyond measure.

Meanwhile, I've just spent 10 minutes convincing my roommate that he should GO to the damn MEETING of the board for our local CSA: they are discussing expanding membership and production by 30% next year. After listening to a litany of whining from him about everything that's fucked up about the County funding for the CSA, concluding with his asking "Why would anybody go to a board meeting like that, that's so unenjoyable?" I said: "Civic duty? Participation? Witness? An added voice? You are a member of the Board, after all."

And ... he's raced off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 5:56 PM
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284: It seems equally merely contingent that anti-intellectualism is a function of anti-elitism.

---

This may be just restating the issue, but I think that the tendency in question is so much anti-intellectualism per se as refusal to defer to claims of expertise by what is perceived to be a designated class. Protestantism is by no means essentially anti-intellectual, but it did provide a large-scale real-world model of such refusal to defer, with the designated class being the Church hierarchy, and the claimed expertise being in matters of faith. People then replicated the pattern, targetting various particular designated classes claiming expertise with respect to various subject-matters.

In any particular case, this refusal to defer is, roughly speaking, either a bad thing or a good thing, depending on whether the claim to expertise is or is not justified. Designated class of purported experts - Leninists; refusal to defer - good. Designated class - evolutionary biologists; refusal to defer - bad. Designated class - globalisation boosters; refusal to defer - jury still out. Etc. etc.


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 10- 2-08 9:38 PM
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