Re: How Was This Not Published As A 'Modern Love'?

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Except:

At first, it was a job, then it became a pleasant job and then it was getting together with a friend," she said, describing her relationship with B. K. "With him, I don't feel like a prostitute, though maybe I am. It's not just the sex with us. We care about each other, we talk, there's a connection, not just business."

Not always, of course: often the guy is happy to sustain the fantasy of a relationship while not forgetting that the money means he gets to demand sex whenever he wants. But this non-streetwalking segment of the market seems very much Viviana Zelizer territory.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:53 AM
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By paying for a relationship, he can custom-design its features, rather than be subject to the whims of the other party. The woman, on the other hand, now that her one relationship has been monetized, can use the proceeds to pay for her own custom-designed relationship. A moment's thought will convince you that this is clearly the socially optimal outcome.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:54 AM
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1: Erm, that's what she's saying in a public setting where the john can read and identify her. While it's not impossible that she has some level of attachment to the guy, things like that happen, she's not in a setting that's allows her to express an opinion without threatening the business relationship.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:56 AM
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Further to 3: But the Zelizer book looks interesting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:57 AM
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something that feels to him like a relationship between two people, but that doesn't involve the subjective experience of the other person at all.

Sounds like most relationships to me.

Where's Emerson?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:03 AM
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2: Careful, or we'll get another econ thread.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:04 AM
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Hm, yeah, perhaps. I'm not pushing some happy-hooker romanticism here. I do think a lot of work on this stuff strongly suggests that both parties in relationships like this spend a shitload of time marking and defining what the relationship is, and of course struggling to draw the line here rather than there. You can say that's all window-dressing bullshit for what's ultimately a sex-for-money exchange, but that doesn't change the amount of time each party spends drawing these lines and defining these rules that signify the relationship is of this sort rather than that. Again, this more or less assumes a context where the guy isn't about to directly coerce the woman, and the woman doesn't want to think of herself as a prostitute.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:04 AM
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You fool, Emerson is DEAD!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:06 AM
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7: And that's all reasonable. I'm sure there really is a personal relationship going on there in plenty of these arrangements. All I was saying is that he formed a personal relationship by going to a sex-for-money site, meaning that she's being paid to keep any part of her subjective experience of the relationship that would make him unhappy under wraps; what he's paying for is pretty much exactly to not have to know what she feels about him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:21 AM
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You cannot kill sperm without injuring paternity.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:23 AM
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both parties in relationships like this spend a shitload of time marking and defining what the relationship is, and of course struggling to draw the line here rather than there.

Sounds like every relationship (of almost any sort except between human and goldfish) ever mentioned here too.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:26 AM
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The cash nexus is the only bond between man and man. Marx must have been gay.

I think that for a lot of people, relationships, love, romance, and sex are the last refuge from the crassness of our opulent society. But there's no particular reason why it should be, and in fact, it would be very odd if one particular part of life were boarded off from the rest.

I myself am shocked when a man's being tall, pleasant, good-looking, and well-shod turn out to be deciders for a woman on the dating scene. But then, who am I to judge? Perhaps I'm just projecting my envy.

From a historical, crosscultural point of view there's no story here at all. (In "Americans and Chinese" FLK Hsu pointed this out before I was born). America does seem to have a weird thing about how the groin area is sacred/polluted in a way that many societies don't,


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:34 AM
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12: I don't think the tradition of concubinage from imperial China is really something we want to emulate.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:38 AM
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From a historical, crosscultural point of view there's no story here at all.

This is simply untrue. While there may be some cultures where the exchange of sex for money is a completely socially unmarked transaction that doesn't affect the status of the seller in any way different from selling any other service, cultures like that certainly aren't common, and absolutely aren't universal.

Cultures where a man's purchase of sex isn't unusual or 'polluting' are certainly common; ones where a woman's sale of sex isn't are terribly rare.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:40 AM
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Again, this more or less assumes a context where the guy isn't about to directly coerce the woman, and the woman doesn't want to think of herself as a prostitute.

I'm sure everybody's seen this total gem by now.

Seriously, I accept the first point about the (possible) relative lack of coercion - that's important - but my advice to anybody who was worried about it would be, if you don't want to think of yourself as a prostitute, try not to trade sex for money.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:46 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:49 AM
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Whoa. From the article:

A month later, she connected with another sugar daddy, a man in his late 50s who lived in Louisiana. The only thing he wanted, he told her, was that she do well in school. He insisted she send her transcript, and once satisfied, he sent her nearly $500 a month. Though they never met, never even talked on the phone, he wrote her long letters by hand encouraging her studies and advising her on finances and sent her novels, newspaper clippings and a J. K. Rowling commencement address for inspiration. He never once mentioned sex.

Now that's a weird and interesting story. . .


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:49 AM
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Pretty much anywhere in Europe during the nineteenth century. Practically everywhere, including the US, during the twentieth century. Nelson Rockefeller died in the arms of his concubine. It's probably harder to find stratified societies where this kind of thing doesn't happen. I can't think of one.

We are in a stratified society where people's chances in life differ enormously, and people on the lower end choose between the options they see. That motive was completely clear in about half the women's stories.

I have mentioned my amazement and horror when I saw sharp new MDs in their thirties sucking up to people who have real money (who could write $10,000 donation checks without checking their balance). I had thought that MDs were supposed to be arrogant, but I'd been sheltered from the really high-end part of society.

As you know, I'm also unduly sympathetic to socially inept men lacking the little bells and whistles that make a man a good date. A lot of guys who would go to a service like this want to avoid the story I've seen too often, the un-thought-out long term relationship that ends with a dumping because one party never really was as serious as the other.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:49 AM
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I'm not sure that women's sale of sex is not polluting in the US now. The story makes it seem that it isn't, but it's a story. Nobody wanted their real name used, that's for sure.

In books I've read about Taiwan anthropology (not fiction), men often want to marry prostitutes, and sometimes the families are willing to pretend.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:53 AM
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my advice to anybody who was worried about it would be, if you don't want to think of yourself as a prostitute, try not to trade sex for money.

Great advice. Now I just need a way to clearly establish when sex is given in exchange for money and when it is not.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:55 AM
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Pretty much anywhere in Europe during the nineteenth century. Practically everywhere, including the US, during the twentieth century. Nelson Rockefeller died in the arms of his concubine. It's probably harder to find stratified societies where this kind of thing doesn't happen. I can't think of one.

I may not have been clear above. When you say that this sort of thing always happens, and what's weird is that Americans thing there's something wrong with it, you are ignoring the way prostitutes and less formalized sex workers are consistently regarded and treated. 'Anywhere in Europe during the nineteenth century' prostitutes were social untouchables, treated like garbage, Likewise "practically everywhere, including the US, during the twentieth century."

It's not weird or unusual for modern-day Americans to think of prostitution as repugnant -- what's unusual, if anything, is thinking of it as repugnant for both parties, rather than as a conventionally acceptable way for a normal, sympathetic man to use a repulsively dehumanized social outcast.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:58 AM
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3: The narrative in 1 is similar to narratives of women in arranged marriages. There may be some degree of self-deception involved, but the commonality gives it some credibility.

15: if you don't want to think of yourself as a prostitute, try not to trade sex for money: We're in "But fuck one goat . . ." territory here. Even the woman in the Eliot Spitzer case didn't think of herself as a prostitute. She thought of herself as a struggling singer/songwriter (IIRC) who occasionally went to a hotel room to help finance her aspirations.


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:59 AM
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20. Yeah, that's the big question that's been at the forefront of feminist discourse for that last 50 years. Any suggestions gladly received. (Read The Dispossessed, by LeGuin.)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 9:00 AM
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Send me some cash, Gonerill, and we'll see what happens.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 9:02 AM
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21. I don't know if John means that les grandes horizontales were accorded a degree of toleration for everybody's convenience, but that's a bit off the point - there aren't many openings for a Lianne de Pougy.

Christine Keeler was tolerated by the British political establishment until it went pear shaped. Then she was fitted up on a technicality and sent down.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 9:06 AM
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I try to remain as poor as possible so that I can be sure women aren't just sleeping with me for the money.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:01 AM
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Oof, reading that was tough. My first year in NYC, when I made $10,000 that year and often struggled to get food to eat, I also went out on dates with strangers a lot. Some of them were just nice people who wanted things that I wanted. A few made it pretty clear that they wanted to help me out, not with a stipend or paying my tuition or something (though I think a few would have if I hadn't made it clear how gross and manipulative it was), but by offering me access to a lifestyle I couldn't make for myself.

I've told this story before, but it seems relevant here. I went out with one guy with whom I'd corresponded quite a bit. He's a brilliant writer, very funny, etc. When I met him, I found him physically a bit unappealing, but I was pretty open-minded, especially since I liked his work. The deal-breaker ended up being that whenever I said I wanted to go home or expressed reservations, he immediately started offering things--tickets to plays, trips out of town, fancy parties we could go to. I ended up not wanting to see him anymore not because I found him unattractive, but because he so clearly found himself unattractive. He could have won me over by telling me funny stories, or talking to me about work, but in the end, he obviously thought of me as a sort of potential prostitute. No matter how much he liked me as a person (and I think he did), he thought I was someone who should be bought, not wooed. It made me too sad.

With Max, there was always the danger of it slipping into this kind of relationship, since he was rich and I was poor. Throughout our two and a half years together, his financial status was always part of what we both used to maintain emotional distance from each other. At the beginning, especially, he spoiled me rotten--not by buying things for me, but by doing things for me other men can't offer (a morning bubble-bath in a giant claw-foot tub, parties with my friends in his giant house and yard). I drew the line at letting him take me with him on vacations, which he took all the time. And it seemed to be understood that although he frequently went to top-notch restaurants frequently by himself, that would only be a special occasion if he was bringing me along. His gifts were signs more of his class position than his bank account--fleur de sel from Paris, a wool hat from Reykjavik.

Max was careful to heed my injunctions never to make me feel like a prostitute, especially since I was nearly 20 years younger than him, financially strapped, and a total outsider to his social set. But yeah, I still felt somewhat coerced by him, sexually. At some level, I think he felt a little like that other guy I went out with, thinking, why is this 23-year-old bothering with my sorry old ass? With women his own age, he knew he was pretty hot shit, and could be awfully vain about what he had to offer. But with me, I think on some level, he couldn't figure out why I wasn't out trolling for hot 20-something hipsters if it wasn't about the lifestyle he could share with me. No matter how attracted to him I obviously was, I think it always made him feel old and unattractive to be with me, which isn't how he would feel at all with someone his own age.

I'm not saying "boo hoo let's feel bad for these sugar daddies," but there is an element here of profound self-loathing and cynicism. The article definitely gets it right that no one who pays for (or treats) his partner will ever really be able to be sure that she actually likes him. These guys obviously assume they can't, for whatever reason, find someone who genuinely likes them. But note all the different ways that the men seem obsessed with trying to undercut the coercive element of the financial exchange. It's not about kindness to the woman, necessarily. It's about trying to figure out if that feeling from her is "real," even in the context of a relationship predicated on financial exchange. Mind-boggling.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:12 AM
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ugh, frequently frequently.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:13 AM
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It is so difficult to be a rich, charming, sexually attractive older man. Some days I just curse my fate.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:27 AM
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21: It's not weird or unusual for modern-day Americans to think of prostitution as repugnant --

It's not weird or unusual for Americans to think of prostitutes as repugnant. Clearly, prostitution is just fine - there's so much of it. Both of the illegal kind, and the various proxy types. Yes, I am reinterating your point in part, but I'm pretty the vast majority don't think of prostitution as repulsive. They don't think of ordinary porn as repulsive, and that is surely a form of prostitution.

what's unusual, if anything, is thinking of it as repugnant for both parties, rather than as a conventionally acceptable way for a normal, sympathetic man

As long as he doesn't admit to it. If he admits to it, he's repulsive. (That doesn't make the act repulsive.)

to use a repulsively dehumanized social outcast.

As long as the outcast doesn't admit to it, and she isn't trading sex for drugs and living that life, she's not repulsively dehumanized except in the abstract.

what he's paying for is pretty much exactly to not have to know what she feels about him.

If he takes it that sex is love, and she has sex with him, then he's paying for love. There's not much of that to go 'round, I expect, since the entire thing is an illusion.

So I think the distinction here is that I don't see them exgaged in a repulsive act per se (the crap that tends to go along with it IS repulsive), so I don't see either party as being inherently repulsive. Apparently you see it as inherently repulsive and think it unfair that he should not be punished as severely as she is. (And I agree; I don't think either of them should be punished.)

max
['They've had these sort of websites for awhile; they used to advert them on OKC.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:27 AM
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(Just to clarify for anyone new, my ex Max is not max.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:30 AM
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But is he Idealist?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:33 AM
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Does the money make me more attractive than I really am?

To steal from AWB: What does this mean? What notion of reality underlies it?


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:41 AM
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The article definitely gets it right that no one who pays for (or treats) his partner will ever really be able to be sure that she actually likes him.

Cavell's on my mind.


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:51 AM
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It gets worse: you'll never really be able to sure that there's anyone else at all.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:52 AM
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33: I think it's partially that, when we evaluate our worth as partners, there are things we might consider as relatively intrinsic to ourselves, like personality, intelligence, sexuality, age, body, face, and it wouldn't occur to these guys to say, "Would she even be dating me if it weren't for my personality?" But it's pretty easy to think, "Would she even be dating me if it weren't for my money?"

For women, it seems like the possible loss of physical attractiveness is a lot more a source of anxiety. "Would he still be dating me if I got fat?" or "Would he still date me if I got old?"

For me personally, I think the separable quality that makes me anxious in relationships is personality, because I do sometimes find myself in dark moods or just wanting to be alone. "Would he still date me if I were gloomy?" "Would he put up with me if I said I didn't want to hang out sometimes?"

I guess all these things are different from person to person, but for any of the sugar daddies in the article, the explicitness of the financial exchange mixed with the somewhat emotional nature of the relationships seems inevitably to result in this kind of thinking about whether the money is separable from their attractiveness. (Answer: of course not.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:57 AM
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36: The asymmetry between men and women is interesting here, but not surprising. You never hear men say "I'm worried she only likes me for my looks, and not who a really am."

Are men more likely to think of their looks as part of who they really are? Is this because they can hold on to their looks longer? Or maybe men just assume women aren't that interested in the way men look.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:06 AM
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You never hear men say "I'm worried she only likes me for my looks, and not who a really am."

Isn't it just a valid observation of our society that it's more common that her looks would be a deal-breaker for him than vice-versa?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:11 AM
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38: Its a common opinion, but I don't know if it is true.

I suppose it doesn't have to be true in order to keep guys from saying, "I'm worried she only likes me for my looks."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:16 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:18 AM
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I imagine part of the danger is that women are used to having their looks more closely scrutinized than men, so getting a few wrinkles or gaining five pounds is something that seems more potentially detrimental to a woman's attractiveness, but women's bodies are also subject to various processes that may make our looks change more dramatically. We may gain or lose weight with the menstrual cycle, or get pregnant, or whatever. Going on birth control can result in weight gain, too, which is obnoxious. So I think men may just not be as attuned to the fluctuations of their body shape because it's not something they're constantly aware of (and being made aware of). They'll see it if it's a trend over a long period of time or particularly dramatic. But are they worried that if they have a bit of a "fat day," their girlfriends will permanently lose all interest in them?

I do know some gay guys who worry about their partners seeing them "looking fat," so maybe this has more to do with the anxiety about the judgmental male gaze than anything.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:21 AM
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I know it may not be true, but it really really feels true, specifically on that 2-second first impression scale.

Maybe I've fallen for the cultural narrative, but it really seems like girls say more often that they didn't find him attractive when he first walked in the door, but felt themselves growing attracted as they saw his personality, whereas guys are more inclined to stick within those girls who (at least mildly) pique their interest when they walk in the door, and filter from there based on personality.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:22 AM
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41, 42: I obviously agree that society in general spends far far more time judging women's bodies than men's. And this difference is enough to explain why men don't worry that women are only after them for their looks. So I guess my questions weren't that mysterious after all.

Still, there are some physical dealbreakers for a lot of women, too. We've talked about "short" as a dealbreaker before. We can probably also add "fat" and "comically small penis."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:30 AM
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"comically small penis."

I'm picturing a penis in a top hat and tails, belting out "HELLO MY HONEY, HELLO MY SUNNY, HELLO MY RAG-TIME GAL..."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:37 AM
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WHY MUST EVERYBODY LAUGH AT MY MIGHTY SWORD?


Posted by: OPINIONATED RANDY NEWMAN | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:38 AM
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There are physical dealbreakers, sure, but they're usually inseparable from the dude's identity. Once she's already dating the dude, he's not likely to worry, "Would she still date me if I were no longer tall?" or "Would she date me if I lost my enormous cock in an accident?"

However, I think men do worry, "Would she still date me if I couldn't get it up?" because that is something that can come and go, and worrying about it seems to cause it to happen. And it's not like the woman can just bring it up one day, like, "Hey, I don't just put up with you because you're a rock star in bed." (Believe me; I've tried this line and it doesn't produce the intended effect.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:43 AM
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There are physical dealbreakers, sure, but they're usually inseparable from the dude's identity. Once she's already dating the dude, he's not likely to worry, "Would she still date me if I were no longer tall?" or "Would she date me if I lost my enormous cock in an accident?"

Don't forget about going bald!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:51 AM
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Hmm. I've always assumed that worries about "just liking me for my money" or "just liking me for my looks" were just as much about pride and identity as they were about fear of being abandoned.

Men like the ones described in the article aren't just worried that they might lose their money and won't be able to afford their kept women anymore. They want to think that the women like them for "who they are" because it soothes the ego.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:52 AM
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So I think the distinction here is that I don't see them exgaged in a repulsive act per se (the crap that tends to go along with it IS repulsive), so I don't see either party as being inherently repulsive. Apparently you see it as inherently repulsive and think it unfair that he should not be punished as severely as she is. (And I agree; I don't think either of them should be punished.)

I don't like the word 'inherently' there, especially where the referent of 'it' is unclear. Mostly, I don't want anyone punished for anything unless they're hurting people. In actually existing straightforward prostitution, I think the prostitutes are generally being injured, and the johns are therefore doing something wrong -- I'm not clear on the best policy solution.

In situations like the ones in the article, which seems to be about the lowest-coercion type of prostitution possible, I don't want anyone punished. But there's still something repugnant about pretending you have a caring relationship with another person, while deliberately structuring that relationship to allow yourself to remain ignorant of anything unpleasant about that person's experience of the relationship.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:52 AM
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In an enormous accident?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:52 AM
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50 to 47.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:52 AM
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Im limited e, the fantasy attachment is the hardest part of high-end prostitution. Intuiting and acting out someone's fantasy is a lot of work.

I suppose it's like improv acting, only for hours at a time.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:52 AM
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41.1 is interesting. I always have a sneaking suspicion too that it's simply because women's bodies are nicer, so obviously they're more of a draw. Men don't have such visually-interesting bodies, so we have to find other features of men appealing. (I don't know where gay men come into this vague theory.) Also, men are more shallow than we are.

OK, I have friends about to arrive for dinner, so I won't be around for this Saturday's prostitution thread - enjoy!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:54 AM
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Men don't have such visually-interesting bodies, so we have to find other features of men appealing

Speak for yourself, sister.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:59 AM
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53: We should make the Saturday Prostitution Thread an official tradition.

I always have a sneaking suspicion too that it's simply because women's bodies are nicer,

Its nice when a woman says this, because I can't get away with it, but it often crosses my mind.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:00 PM
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Though, as an addendum to 54, I do find that there's a big difference between visual appreciation of a man's body and actual attraction, which is far more likely to depend on personality traits, so perhaps I should not dismiss 53 in such a manner.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:03 PM
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||

I'm grading outlines for a paper on forgiveness right now. One of my students listed the major thinkers she would quote: Kant, Holmgren, and God. I was tempted to remind her of the proper format for citing personal communication.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:03 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:06 PM
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I guess the question is then, what are the qualities we see in ourselves as "payment" for their company (or as an exchange for something we get from them), and what are the qualities we see in ourselves as deserving of affection?

That's what made that old Woody Allen story about the men who pay for women to talk to them about philosophy and literature funny, I guess. Intelligence is one of the few things that we generally never think of as something that can be "exchanged" in a relationship. Like, I don't tend to think, "Oh, he just puts up with me because I'm intelligent." But what's weird is, I think men do tend to think of my conversation as something they're "getting" out of the relationship. I have always been under the mistaken impression that being smart would make someone care for me, that it wasn't a commodity for exchange, but something intrinsic to my worth as a person. But I've been with enough men who have been apparently titillated by my smarts without therefore caring much about me that I'm starting to think Woody's got it right. (I'm not whining here, to be clear; it's just a mistake that I've made many times in the past, confusing an apparent appreciation of my intelligence with respect or affection for me as a person. When I end up saying, "Why would he treat me like shit? He said he thought I was smart!" there are some missing pieces in the logic there.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:08 PM
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From the article:

NOR ARE MEN THE ONLY ONES seeking relationships within particular parameters. A. B. was 18 when she first went on the site, in 2006, looking for extra money.

Does JRoth know about this?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:09 PM
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Whoa, 59 to 48.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:09 PM
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"She brought along a textbook and her GRE vocabulary flashcards, in case B. K. was late." [emphasis added]

In it's own small way this detail saddened me more than rest of the article*.

*Which today just seems too overwhelming to get a handle on. An O wearisome condition of humanity! Born under one law, to another bound; kind of thing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:10 PM
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Unfortunately I am engaged wholesome Easter activities today and tomorrow, so only light trolling will be possible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:16 PM
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54: I'm with Paren. I like men's bodies, and I think the 'women's bodies are nicer' reaction comes from commodificiation -- women's bodies get treated as a luxury good in a way men's don't, so it feels more normal to react to their 'quality'.

This is one of the many things that we've talked about lots before, but part of the difference, I think, in how men and women relate to the attractiveness of their partners is that women are more likely to treat it as a binary "Physically attractive to me, despite any flaws, or not? If so, physical flaws aren't a serious issue." There are dealbreakers, but someone who you feel physical desire for is attractive enough: fat, old, small cock, whatever, if you want that person, they're who you want.

Men seem, on the other hand, to be more likely to be (or possibly it's just a cultural narrative that that they do) comparing to an outside standard -- "Yes, appealing enough that I want to have sex with her, but her belly isn't all that flat and her skin could be clearer. Her physical flaws remain an issue."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:17 PM
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(And sorry about the Saturday Prostitution Thread.I really do have other interests, I just saw the quoted paragraph and thought it was incredibly funny.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:28 PM
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There are dealbreakers, but someone who you feel physical desire for is attractive enough: fat, old, small cock, whatever, if you want that person, they're who you want. = Patriarchy

The Patriarchy persists in the the culture of women as commodified bodies giving commodified love. The less conditional nature of women's affections, toward partners, toward children is more important for maintaining the patriarchy than mammary glands or youth. Older men can find younger trophy mates cause discarded ex-wives will take care of the children.

So what is really important for maintaining the Patriarchy? Women's role in extended nurturing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:30 PM
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Yep. Only when the weak and needy are left abandoned and unloved will the patriarchy truly crumble.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:34 PM
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The superficial/intrinsic distinction provides the correct framework to discuss the NYT story, I think. I assume that many of the men and women in the NYT story regard wealth, and lack thereof, as a matter closely related to intrinsic worth.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:37 PM
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Yep. Only when the weak and needy are left abandoned and unloved are communal property and responsiblilty rather than personal will the patriarchy truly crumble

There, helped you out.

But you really don't wanna share, do you?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:40 PM
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Personally, I couldn't take a woman seriously unless I had to give her father at least 30 cows for her. Or posibly I'd be serious if she would cement an alliance with Spain.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:44 PM
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67:But 67 really says it all. Women defining themselves as the particular essential loci of compassion opposed to the vast or gendered Other of cruelty and indifference.

That's the Patriarchy in a nutshell. Women protect and maintain the Tribe.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:47 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:52 PM
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Does the money make me more attractive than I really am?

To steal from AWB: What does this mean? What notion of reality underlies it?

This notion:

That which is for me through the medium of money -- that for which I can pay (i.e., which money can buy) -- that am I myself, the possessor of the money. The extent of the power of money is the extent of my power. Money's properties are my -- the possessor's -- properties and essential powers. Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness -- its deterrent power -- is nullified by money. I, according to my individual characteristics, am lame, but money furnishes me with twenty-four feet. Therefore I am not lame. I am bad, dishonest, unscrupulous, stupid; but money is honoured, and hence its possessor. Money is the supreme good, therefore its possessor is good. Money, besides, saves me the trouble of being dishonest: I am therefore presumed honest. I am brainless, but money is the real brain of all things and how then should its possessor be brainless? Besides, he can buy clever people for himself, and is he who has a power over the clever not more clever than the clever? Do not I, who thanks to money am capable of all that the human heart longs for, possess all human capacities? Does not my money, therefore, transform all my incapacities into their contrary? If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, also the universal agent of separation? It is the coin that really separates as well as the real binding agent -- the [. . .] chemical power of society. ... As money is not exchanged for any one specific quality, for any one specific thing, or for any particular human essential power, but for the entire objective world of man and nature, from the standpoint of its possessor it therefore serves to exchange every quality for every other, even contradictory, quality and object: it is the fraternisation of impossibilities. It makes contradictions embrace. ... Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust, etc. If you want to enjoy art, you must be an artistically cultivated person; if you want to exercise influence over other people, you must be a person with a stimulating and encouraging effect on other people. Every one of your relations to man and to nature must be a specific expression, corresponding to the object of your will, of your real individual life. If you love without evoking love in return -- that is, if your loving as loving does not produce reciprocal love; if through a living expression of yourself as a loving person you do not make yourself a beloved one, then your love is impotent -- a misfortune.

Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:54 PM
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Commie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 12:59 PM
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The dating-algorithm guy in the article is a familiar type, I think. If you're sitting around unloved (at least, by the women you want to be loved by) and sitting on a pile of money, and you think, well, this could buy me affection or sex in the amount of Y*Z, where Y equals the attractiveness of the woman and Z equals the frequency or amount of sex and/or affection, and you can limit Z to the point that Y can be as high as possible, you are a good candidate for becoming a john. But then you decide you want to increase Z while maintaining Y, and since you can't increase your own desirability, you can only increase the amount of money, well, that's going to make you confront the limitations of your personal charms and the separability of your financial worth from your intrinsic worth, whether you're in danger of losing it or not.

Or what if you're in a not-prostitutey relationship and you decide you want more Y from your partner, possibly at the expense of Z, and without increasing your own attractiveness? (Maybe you should try going to the gym more, sweetheart?)

The mindset LB describes in 64 as the more "feminine" model doesn't think of these things as equations to be balanced. Certainly, some women think this YZ way, too. But at least in my own experience, even if I have noticed flaws in my partner, they end up getting bound up with what I like about them, or they're a big enough deal to be cause to end the relationship (if the flaw is, say, vindictiveness or jealousy). The petty thoughts that cross one's mind get erased the instant one thinks, "Would I accept being criticized about that?" Perhaps because women aren't generally in control of being able to offer more on the financial side of the equation, we're comparing apples to apples. Dudes with money who are doing this are comparing apples to apples with $5000/mo to spare.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:01 PM
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I always have a sneaking suspicion too that it's simply because women's bodies are nicer, so obviously they're more of a draw.

I think that it's more that with movies, magazines, etc., etc., we're given a very narrow range of what is thought to be acceptable female beauty, and endless ways in which it can go wrong, and endless products we should buy to fix it. It's on everyone's mind. Guys have a slightly broader range in terms of acceptable physical appearance (and perhaps comparably less in terms of career/money.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:01 PM
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One of the interesting things about the rest of that passage is the way Marx uses a notion of effective demand (ie, demand backed by ability to pay) that's casually taken for granted in contemporary economics in a way that infuriates lots of lefty types.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:03 PM
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21

... 'Anywhere in Europe during the nineteenth century' prostitutes were social untouchables, treated like garbage, Likewise "practically everywhere, including the US, during the twentieth century."

Compared to what? Unmarried sexually active women at the same economic level?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:03 PM
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Er, uh, what 63 said.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:03 PM
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That women's bodies are nicer is also not a given.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:04 PM
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"Dude, you better take an equal share in raising our children or...or..or...I wll raise them by myself."

Look, I may phrase ir poorly, but I am no more or no less blaming women for the Patriarchy than I am blaming labour for Capitalism. But Labour is not gonna sweet talk Capital into sacrificing some profits and power, labour has to be committed and organized to withhold what Capital wants and needs, their labour.

And sex is not what the Patriarchy really wants and needs. The Patriarchy as a tribalism wants children.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:06 PM
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54, 64: I kinda thought asilon was joking in 53.1.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:07 PM
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Personally, I couldn't take a woman seriously unless I had to give her father at least 30 cows for her. Or possibly I'd be serious if she would cement an alliance with SpainSpam.

Cattle on the hoof are an old fashioned, extremely inefficient form of currency. Spam is uniform in quality, easily quantifiable, and much more durable.

John Emerson


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:12 PM
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And maybe 81 isn't quite accurate.

The Capitalist Patriarchy wants Parents. Good committed producers and consumers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:12 PM
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The Patriarchy as a tribalism wants children.

Dear Mineshaft,

My married brother died before producing children. I know I'm obliged to marry his widow. But she has big hair, likes only mariachi music, and can't tell a dactyl from a dicotyledon. In these circumstances does G-D require me to use Viagra, or is it sufficient if I just give her enough money to go out to the bars she likes and come back pregnant?

/s/
Limp in L.A.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:25 PM
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Cattle on the hoof are an old fashioned, extremely inefficient form of currency. Spam is uniform in quality, easily quantifiable, and much more durable.

John Emerson

Spam is good in the outside world, but really, my mackerel

John Emerson


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:28 PM
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Dear LiLA,

I wouldn't bother with any of that. If your brother's widow does have children, they won't carry your name or further your honor anyway.


Posted by: God | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:29 PM
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No, women's bodies just are nicer. It has nothing to do with commodification, it's just that, objectively speaking, women are nicer, more sexually attractive, friendlier, and more appealling than men.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:51 PM
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90 is probably funnier if you know I'm a lesbian.


Posted by: Jesurgislac is a lesbian | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:51 PM
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Ok, Jesurgislac is a lesbian, but is Jesurgislac a lesbian?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 1:55 PM
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Wow, this is a great thread. By far the best prostitution thread yet. AWB has some great comments, but it's hard to single out any one person.

The spectre of unconditional love haunts all discussions of relationships. Unconditional love between adults (and perhaps even between adults and children) is a childish, impossible ideal, but I think it's also key in structuring romance. Is it a positive illusion, one that calls out the best in us and we ought to try to support socially, or a negative and destructive one?

I suppose it's like improv acting, only for hours at a time.

Yes, I've heard this comparison before from people who should know. The distinction between acting and authenticity is IMO one of the most profound sociological questions. Perhaps the illusion of the possibility of unconditional love is at somelevel necessary to create or sustain authenticity in family life.

One of the interesting things about the rest of that passage is the way Marx uses a notion of effective demand (ie, demand backed by ability to pay) that's casually taken for granted in contemporary economics in a way that infuriates lots of lefty types.

This is usually briefly mentioned right at the beginning of econ 101, and then ignored forever after. I've always thought it was one of those loopholes that might be so enormous as to render the entire thing silly.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:04 PM
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I'm glad people like Asilon and Jesurgislac are around to say the things that I'm thinking.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:05 PM
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eg "I'm a lesbian".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:06 PM
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I've always thought it was one of those loopholes

The notion of consumer surplus, and thus the economic conception of social welfare or the public good, depends on it completely.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:07 PM
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89 got funnier thanks to the deletion of two earlier comments.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:18 PM
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97 is the funniest comment yet on this thread.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:22 PM
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Guess What? Chicken butt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:24 PM
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I think any notion that women's bodies are "objectively" more attractive than men's is just silly. I mean, I like them more, but that's because I'm straight. Women's bodies are more curved, men's are more streamlined, how can you choose between those fundamental design principles?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:28 PM
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If visiting a prostitute is like visiting an improv theater for several hours, then I am doubly glad that I have never visited a prostitute.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:33 PM
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88: Careful Jesurgislac, you're getting into Gigli territory there.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:34 PM
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I am not Ben Affleck.


Posted by: Jesurgislac is a lesbian | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:36 PM
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Me either.


Posted by: Jesurgislac is Ben Affleck | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:36 PM
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Sifu Tweety is objectively funnier than anyone else on Unfogged.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:37 PM
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Am I drunk?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety is Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:37 PM
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103: You just think that because you like his body.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:38 PM
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Thanks, but I'm vegetarian. Anyway, eating Tweety is wrong.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:39 PM
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I'M SEXY POULTRY


Posted by: OPINIONATED SIFU TWEETY | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:40 PM
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You're chicken.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:43 PM
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The cat just caught and ate another mouse. Yay!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 2:43 PM
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It's funny how quickly the prostitution threads turn into the Marxist economics threads. I guess that's totally predictable -- prosititution is really ground zero for thinking about what commodification means.

Also, while I appreciate LB's attempts to articulate the case against prositution from a liberal contract/rights/harm perspective, I must say I find her approach to the issue totally unconvincing. From a liberal perspective, the old "why is it wrong to pay for something that it's fine to give away for free" argument really does carry a lot of weight, assuming that both sides are not coerced into the transaction. LB seems to think that all prostitution is a form of active coercion, but that's pretty obviously not the case; many women are apparently very willing to make the sex for money tradeoff, and, again from a liberal perspective, it's hard to see what's so bad about the buyer being willing to buy what the seller is selling.

For myself, I think prostution is deeply wrong, but come at the issue from what is basically a religious or romantic perspective. I think prostitiution is wrong primarily because it brings sexuality and romantic love into the cash nexus , which is properly kept outside of it. But there are many things that modernity has brought into the cash nexus that should properly be outside of it, so I have a hard time thinking of either prostitutes or their customers as uniquely bad people.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:10 PM
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Another vote that men's bodies are so so pretty.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:10 PM
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Does JRoth know about this?

He does now!

Wait, which is more likely - that there's another AB out there, or that mine lied about her age by a couple decades in this article?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:20 PM
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And obviously, by "mine" I don't mean the AB that I possess as chattel, but merely the one that....

Oh, fuck it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:30 PM
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for the sake of argument, might the widespread belief that women's bodies are nicer (evidence: straight women more aroused by women's bodied than straight men by men's) be due in part to early conditioning by mommy-love? Ditto the "women are more compassionate" idea.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:35 PM
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LB seems to think that all prostitution is a form of active coercion,

Well, no. See my 49, and particularly the last paragraph. I don't think we're that far apart, despite the fact that I find the religious/romantic vocabulary alien, being neither the first nor particularly the second.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:35 PM
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113: I occasionally feel concern that my tendency to use locutions such as "spoken for" with regard to women in relationships evinces unenlightened attitudes, but on the other hand, I delight in anachronistic speech, so whaddaya gonna do?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:37 PM
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aroint thee


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:38 PM
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My father is fond of "aroint thee".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:39 PM
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116; I wouldn't worry about it unless you notice that you're pissing people off -- you can carry off a lot in the spirit of archaism. (Warning: this applies only to gender roles. Do not attempt with other social power relations.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:39 PM
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he's only saying what everyone's thinking, neb


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:45 PM
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s/b sayeth/thinketh etc


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:46 PM
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Actually "he's only sayeth" and "everyone's thinketh" are solecisms.

(Warning: this applies only to gender roles. Do not attempt with other social power relations.)

I get such disrespect from the churls around here, it's amazing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:47 PM
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119: so "ye olde balle and chaine" is the appropriate phrasing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:48 PM
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Sometimes while teaching 17-18c texts, I find myself using "to have" as a synonym for "to fuck." It's embarrassing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:52 PM
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Yeah, better just to use "know" or "enjoy".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:53 PM
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can hath cheez ryalle


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:54 PM
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"Have" and "know" I understand, but where did the use of "make" to mean "fuck" (circa 1950-1970?) come from? That's just confusing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:56 PM
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swyve is more suave


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 3:58 PM
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Saturday night: swiven.
Sunday morning: shriven.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 4:03 PM
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At some point I decided that the men in my life needed to experience a little hearty objectification, so I've made a point of leering and ogling and complimenting. Result: about three years into my relationship with my honey, he turns and says, I know you think I'm hot and whatever, but what about me? Of course I felt bad and apologized and reassured him, but it's still funny.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 4:14 PM
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49

... But there's still something repugnant about pretending you have a caring relationship with another person, while deliberately structuring that relationship to allow yourself to remain ignorant of anything unpleasant about that person's experience of the relationship.

But in any relationship a party which wants the relationship to continue is apt to soften complaints. I don't see anything unique here.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:03 PM
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131: Well, the more you water down prostitution the more its problems resemble the problems of ordinary relationships in patriarchal societies.

The men in these relationships have the upper hand because they have the money. This will be true of a lot of relationships as long as women earn 69 cents on the dollar.

None of this makes it happy, fun or good.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:12 PM
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so I've made a point of leering and ogling and complimenting

The men I've done this with (not strangers! lovers) seem not to know what to make of it: should I be uncomfortable? should I find this annoying? is it a non-sequitur? why do I feel like rolling my eyes? it's kind of nice, but it's making me nervous! why am I having trouble believing that my feet and ankles are really sexy?

Interesting, overall!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:22 PM
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The men I've done this with (not strangers! lovers) seem not to know what to make of it: should I be uncomfortable?

I've gotten this with all the lovahs I've had who don't think of themselves as sexy. It actually makes for a smoother interaction than the reaction of people who are accustomed or sick of being complimented on their looks.

Cassanova, I think, said that you should compliment the beautiful ones on their wit and the smart ones on their beauty. People should feel free to compliment me on either.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:29 PM
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132

The men in these relationships have the upper hand because they have the money. This will be true of a lot of relationships as long as women earn 69 cents on the dollar.

This does not follow. The person with the upper hand is the person who cares less which won't always be the man (even if he does have more money).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:36 PM
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I've gotten this with all the lovahs I've had who don't think of themselves as sexy.

Makes sense, of course, but it seems to happen with those men who do think of themselves as sexy/attractive as well (leaving aside the actual male model types). It happens most glaringly when the compliment seems to come as a non-sequitur, when something else entirely is going on. And so it registers with women as well.

JM's honey's "hot or whatever" is great.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:40 PM
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132: The person with the upper hand will not always be the man. (Trust me.) But it is more likely to be, because money gives you more options. Money makes it much easier for men to walk away from relationships, especially after a decade or two of marriage.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:42 PM
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116:archaic figures of speech are often sexist. News at 11.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:49 PM
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I wasn't remarking on the fact that the figure of speech was sexist, I was commenting on my use of it.

Literature professor can't read, news at 11.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:53 PM
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137

... Money makes it much easier for men to walk away from relationships, especially after a decade or two of marriage.

I believe most divorces are initiated by women.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 5:56 PM
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Cassanova, I think, said that you should compliment the beautiful ones on their wit and the smart ones on their beauty.

This is sort of what I've always done with guys, and they like it at first. Then the beautiful ones get paranoid that you don't think they're hot (like other ladies do), and the smart ones get paranoid that you don't appreciate their minds (like other ladies do). For seduction purposes, though, yes, it works.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:02 PM
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most divorces are initiated by women

IIRC, it's by a huge margin.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:06 PM
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140: But women's income & reported happiness goes down, while men's goes up. Men are far more likely to remarry within five years, etc.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:07 PM
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It's best to offer compliments when it occurs to one to offer them -- when they're felt -- rather than in accordance with rules. Yes, I realize that there are nonetheless inevitably rules in play.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:08 PM
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It's not a rule, and I didn't think of it like that until reading 134, but maybe instead we can call it a bad habit. I think for me it's sort of a dignity thing; I can't bring myself to fawn on some super-good-looking guy about how pretty he is.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:12 PM
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145: True enough, since it goes without saying how pretty he is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:18 PM
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3

1: Erm, that's what she's saying in a public setting where the john can read and identify her. While it's not impossible that she has some level of attachment to the guy, things like that happen, she's not in a setting that's allows her to express an opinion without threatening the business relationship.

Didn't read the entire article did you? Lola does not seem overly concerned with preserving the business relationship.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:21 PM
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141 --I think I saw VH1's Mystery urging something similar. I wonder if he's actually read Casanova.

143 -- I think you're right about income (men do better) but IIRC wrong about happiness -- men have much higher rates of depression, suicide, etc. following divorce.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:22 PM
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On male looks I have an acquaintance who's a successful male model. He's also pretty smart, wants to be an actor, and is talented as an actor, but he's so good looking that it's hard for him to get roles -- the biggest ones to date have been as Himbo characters in bad teen comedies. He is basically too good looking to be taken seriously, which is pretty rare for men.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:33 PM
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Cassanova, I think, said that you should compliment the beautiful ones on their wit and the smart ones on their beauty.

It's embarrassing how well this works on me. Though I'm certainly susceptible to flattery of my intelligence, it has to be done well: "You're in a math PhD program, you must be so smart!" will make me snort and think poorly of you, but the similar level of compliment about my appearance will make me blush and beam.

Certainly it could be abused, but I don't think giving compliments people actually enjoy is a bad habit.


Posted by: oztk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:34 PM
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148: According to this study a failed marriage leading to divorce affects men and women equally. Note also that the unhappiest period is right before the divorce, but really few people regain their baseline levels of happiness.

OTOH all the subjects were German.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:39 PM
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149: I've noticed that. All the main-character roles for women are for Stunning Beauties only, but male main-characters are expected to be somewhat quirky-looking. It sucks for women actors who are something other than the ideal of the moment, but it's interesting that a shockingly handsome man can't be taken seriously. (It's also one of the reasons 141 works. IME, it's apparently kind of a new thing for them if a woman wants to know what they think.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:40 PM
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149 -- Nature hasn't dealt me the most impressive of hands, and I've played my cards poorly enough to make most compliments unbelievable. Surely your friend can wear his hair, and maybe his torso, differently enough to tone things down a little (and maybe get better roles).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:43 PM
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150: Works on me too, oztk. Call me pretty and I'm putty, despite a lifetime aversion to valuing prettiness in myself. But "smart" is like, uh, thanks, compared to what? PhD candidates in English? Women? The kind of people you normally hang out with? I'm not notably impressive compared to my colleagues.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:47 PM
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But "smart" is like, uh, thanks, compared to what? PhD candidates in English? Women? The kind of people you normally hang out with?

Bloggers.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:51 PM
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150 seems really true to me, though this may just be about my own insecurities. Basically I know how smart I am in relation to those in philosophy better than most potential dates. So compliments on intelligence don't tend to go very far. On the other hand compliments w/r/t attraction I tend not to believe, so that's another problem.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:54 PM
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Yeah, it has to be convincing. When it's like, "You're, uh, really pretty [for a nerd]," you can tell.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 6:59 PM
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Being pretty does not come with a set of beliefs about what constitutes real beauty, but "smart" is deeply intertwined with ideas about what constitutes "smart." Its like "hip" that way. I crave compliments on my intelligence from credible sources.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:00 PM
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I just have to say that the originally linked NYT piece is disgusting.

Also: compliments are not something to be "used" on people! Unless you're Mystery.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:04 PM
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Men are far more likely to remarry within five years, etc.

This does not necessarily indicate happiness.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:07 PM
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Hell, most unfogged threads are series of mutual, subtle, indirect compliments, if yiou need to see how it's done, which most people here obviously don't. Taking an interest in interests and taking arguments seriously without flattery is complimentary.

Heck even most of the insults are affectionate. Sometimes I think mutual admiration is what most human interaction is about.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:08 PM
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compliments are not something to be "used" on people!

No, but you do need to consider how they will be received before you give them. You cannot walk up to any person with great tits and say "you have great tits!" as a spontaneous expression of your glee.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:08 PM
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Sometimes I think mutual admiration is what most human interaction is about.

You say that like it is a bad thing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:12 PM
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162: Right, of course.

161: bob, the fact that taking an interest in some things that others also take an interest in is complimentary to them does not mean that one is issuing compliments to those people. Which is not to say that unfogged doesn't engage in some mutual stroking from time to time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:14 PM
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Giving compliments is very tricky whether or not they are something to be used. The type of compliment that one would give an SO differs from one given to a friend or someone at the bar. This is not just because the way one gives the compliments differs, but also because what one can expect as reciprocations differs. Obviously there is a sense in which this could be looked on as a type of using.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:15 PM
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Sometimes I think mutual admiration engagement is what most human interaction is about.

Fixed that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:18 PM
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|| Ow. Hurty. GM sideways 6 is teh suxxor. That is all.|>

31:(Just to clarify for anyone new, my ex Max is not max.)

{waves} As I have said previously, I cannot wrap my head around paying for it, precisely because I would be perpetually aware that I was paying for it, and then I would wonder if I was being awful somehow. Except, obviously, that isn't true; I completely don't mind ogling Monica Belluci's ass when she is getting paid for it. But that's different I cry... I do not know why. Oh, hi. Ah, why? No relationship there... sorta like these dudes, but without the intimate minute-by-minute sexploitation.

36:I guess all these things are different from person to person, but for any of the sugar daddies in the article, the explicitness of the financial exchange mixed with the somewhat emotional nature of the relationships seems inevitably to result in this kind of thinking about whether the money is separable from their attractiveness. (Answer: of course not.)

I don't think they're different; it simply seems men can be attractive via the wallet, whereas women are forced to play the genetic lottery. Is the former meritocratic, or merely goofy? And now I'm seesawing back over to taking LB's side here.

49:I don't like the word 'inherently' there, especially where the referent of 'it' is unclear.

'it' referred to prostitution. Apologies for dangling referent.

49:But there's still something repugnant about pretending you have a caring relationship with another person, while deliberately structuring that relationship to allow yourself to remain ignorant of anything unpleasant about that person's experience of the relationship.

I agree. I'm just not sure that (remaining ignorant) is even slightly confined to the field of prostitution; prostitution just seems like the most extreme form of a certain kind of behaviour (from both sides). I am trying to groping for some kind of universal principle to apply that doesn't effectively result in Emerson world or Nunplanet.

Viz, B's exp she mentioned above (please not to get mad, B!). Previous to it actually occurring, I told her it sounded like a bad deal, in part because I am totally against my friends being exploited. In that particular instance, though, I was mainly worried that the dude really sounded like kind of an asshole. Having an asshole involved would tend to result in unacceptably bad working conditions no matter how high the pay, was my thought. At the same time, however, I could say, 'well, at least you're getting something out of the deal. Get cash up front.'

If my ex-person had come to me at some point and said she had had a little incident, but she had gotten paid for it, I would not have been upset because she got paid. I would've been a little bothered by the lack of advance warning, not very much by the notion that she had sex with someone else. I would have been (and would be) far more upset about risks taken.

Question: is the social outcast action due to the notion that a woman in that position could have gotten paid a lot more for, er, 'rights' to the precious the pudenda? As in, 'you could've married a banker, but instead, you took the cash! You're not an honest woman!' (!)

max
['Pardon rambling. Ouchy.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:26 PM
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154 is completely true for me too. But I think the issue is that for anyone who does work/has worked in an intellectual job, intelligence is work-connected and commodified in a sort of unpleasant way. Telling a competitive sprinter that they're fast is just going to remind them that they have to cut another tenth of a second off their hundred meter time if they want to win. I'm flattered when someone says they like the particular way my mind works, not flattered when they tell me I'm "smart".

prosititution is really ground zero for thinking about what commodification means....For myself, I think prostution is deeply wrong, but come at the issue from what is basically a religious or romantic perspective. I think prostitiution is wrong primarily because it brings sexuality and romantic love into the cash nexus , which is properly kept outside of it.

Right. It's sort of a symbolic taboo-type violation in a way. The stuff about unconditional love above is related to this. If love is to be held completely outside the barter system, we want any conditions on love to be those most closely connected to our personhood, and there's a certain ideal of completely unconditional love that must be present as well even though it's obviously enormously unrealistic.

The thing is, love can only encompass a certain amount of personal relationships. Laws against prostitution do in a sense use social authority to hold sex in a special relationship with love.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:28 PM
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156: Basically I know how smart I am in relation to those in philosophy better than most potential dates.

This sucks, and doesn't go away when you get to know people better. It's extremely hard to comfort someone having a crisis of confidence about their place in an academic field, because no matter how obviously intelligent they are to you, your opinion isn't what counts.

157: When it's like, "You're, uh, really pretty [for a nerd]," you can tell.

And then sometimes it's not "like" that, it's exactly that. When I turned on my car and the radio started up, my homecoming date was surprised: "Wait, you listen to the Beastie Boys! You're so normal!" Not awkward at all.


Posted by: oztk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:29 PM
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In that particular instance, though, I was mainly worried that the dude really sounded like kind of an asshole.

but chicks dig assholes. The problem comes when the guy is a creep.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:37 PM
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166:Sorry, there aren't that many variants. Engagement that isn't hostile (or even sometimes that is) is complimentary. "Indifferent engagement" seems oxymoronic to me. People want, need attention.

Making it that simple opens up a world of possibility, a universe of ways to compliment with embarrassing the other. The good compliment does not invoke gratitude, but furthers engagement.

And everyone, including Scarlett Johanssson & Berube's Jamie, values what they know and what they do more than what they look like. Complimenting on appearance is more aggression than engagement

"Where is that train going?" you ask the child at the table.

But hell, I'm the augsy. Y'all know this better than I.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:43 PM
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168: I'm flattered when someone says they like the particular way my mind works, not flattered when they tell me I'm "smart".

Exactly. And the sprinter would be react better if you praised some subtle point about her technique. What you care about - or at least get complimented a lot about - requires a compliment that shows understanding, which is more difficult.

On the other hand, if you praised something subtle and specific about my clothing or how my hair was that day, I might think you were digging to find something to praise, and it would probably be less effective than if you had just said "you look nice". Proper calibration is important.


Posted by: oztk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:43 PM
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bah "without embarrassing" of course.

As old as the Socratic dialogues.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:44 PM
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You cannot walk up to any person with great tits and say "you have great tits!" as a spontaneous expression of your glee.

Actually, you can...


Posted by: spontaneously gleeful | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:49 PM
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"Indifferent engagement" seems oxymoronic to me. People want, need attention

Again, you say that like it is a bad thing.

My three year old chatters a lot, and he has no problem with grabbing your face and turning it towards him when he talks. I understand where he is coming from.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:50 PM
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This sucks, and doesn't go away when you get to know people better. It's extremely hard to comfort someone having a crisis of confidence about their place in an academic field, because no matter how obviously intelligent they are to you, your opinion isn't what counts.

Boy, is that a fact.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 7:50 PM
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Okay, I've been overcome by my baser - humorless and didactic - self. Here's the short version of the cultural construction of sex in contemporary American society (anthropological).

Sex is, of course, a symbol (culture is constituted of symbols). It symbolizes a particular sort of relationship (one study avers that this symbol refers to one particular type out of a broader class of relationships defined in terms of diffuse, enduring solidarity).

Sex outside such a relationship is dissonant precisely because the normative referent (marriage relationship) for the symbol (sex) does not match the actual relationship. It's like using a word to mean something other than the 'real' meaning. If you accept that sex has been the defining normative symbol for marriage, then the gay marriage, as well as legalized prostitution, show up as ways in which the meaning of that symbol - or the bounds of its referent - is being contested.

Now, back to the cock jokes.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:25 PM
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I would be so much more tempted to abase myself for money if I weren't afraid of AIDS and whatnot.


Posted by: Dolly Madison | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:27 PM
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175:"Indifferent engagement" seems oxymoronic to me. People want, need attention

Again, you say that like it is a bad thing.

As I read the quoted text, "bad thing" looks like your imagination at work, probably in search of the group's approval. Flashing your toddler as the next step is confirmation.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:29 PM
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GM sideways 6

What exactly does this mean? Google provides no illumination.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:48 PM
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From the article:

And so, nearly each week, B. K. gets together with Lola, the young woman he met on the site, for a meal or a gym workout and a few hours at a hotel outside the Western city where he lives. Their visits are generally no longer than four or five hours because Lola, a senior, has a full course load and also works 40 hours a week at two low-wage jobs. With no money from her parents, she was frank in her Seeking Arrangement profile, saying she needed "immediate financial assistance." In B. K., she gets that in the form of $100 or $150 stuffed in her bag each time they meet. He feels good about helping her with her tuition, encouraging her studies and romancing her, albeit in hotel rooms. Most of all, he's grateful that she doesn't want a commitment. At least he was at first.

How is this even close to the cocept of being "kept"? It sounds like straightforward prostitution.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:52 PM
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My three year old chatters a lot,

Looking at Paul Allen's business card]

Patrick Bateman: Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!



Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:52 PM
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139: Subtext? Philosophy student puts down Literature department without really knowing what he talks about. News at 11.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 8:54 PM
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I've heard girls/women say that they wouldn't want to date someone-or-other because they wouldn't want their boyfriend to be prettier than they are. Which sucks for me, because I'm pretty. Also smart. But very poor. Alas and alack.

135

The person with the upper hand is the person who cares less

A thousand times yes. I had arrived at this thought when thinking about exploitative labor conditions, immigration, etc., but it carries over to other relationships.

171

What's an augsy? Also, although I'm sure there's probably a base-level of attention that people need (babies die w/o it, no?), I can attest that I almost always avoid attention, compliments, etc. I just want to be left alone, or, when with others, observe from a safe distance. I'm sure I'm not alone here, too. Sometimes it's tough to sort out one's idiosyncrasies from one's pathologies, especially when one has deeper issues/questions about the Normal and the Good. Whatevs.


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 9:03 PM
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Yeah, it has to be convincing. When it's like, "You're, uh, really pretty [for a nerd]," you can tell.

You're pretty good-looking for a girl, awb.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 9:48 PM
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Sweet of you, Jack.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 9:54 PM
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probably in search of the group's approval. Flashing your toddler as the next step is confirmation.

Yes, I've spent the thread trolling for a compliment, and all I got was an insult from you. I can settle for that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:17 PM
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The person with the upper hand is the person who cares less

A thousand times yes. I had arrived at this thought when thinking about exploitative labor conditions, immigration, etc., but it carries over to other relationships.

Bzzzt What is Waller's Principle of Least Interest (1938), Alex.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:29 PM
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The person with the upper hand is the person who cares less

I don't buy this, it's silly to apply this principle of bargain shop haggling to relationships. The person who is most miserable in a relationship might be the most likely to walk away, but they ain't the most powerful.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 10:58 PM
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189

The person who cares less ≠ the person who is most miserable.
(I might be misunderstanding what you're saying though.)


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:14 PM
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In fact the person who is most miserable is in many situations likely to be the person who cares more.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:15 PM
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All right, miserable is the wrong word to get my point across. But the point of romantic relationships is to care. If I care so little that I'm willing to use the threat to leave to extort more out of my partner, there's a sense in which the relationship just doesn't work for me. That's a sucky situation, not a powerful one. Basically, the whole argument that "cares less=more powerful" comes out of business bargaining models where extorting the other side is the point of the whole interaction.

I could probably make a more coherent game theory type argument for this if it wasn't so late, and I was smarter.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:31 PM
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There's a sense, in that case, that for you it's not really a romantic relationship anymore, but it's still a relationship. You have the power, in that case, because it is, for the other, still romantic. You might not find this sucky because you could still be getting what you want out of it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:34 PM
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193: OK, sure, but IMO most people are not that much of a jerk about it. I think most people don't like being in one-sided romantic relationships. It's actually a pretty unpleasant experience to have someone in love with you that are not in love with.

The entire model comes from looking at romantic relationships through an economic lens, which as discussed above is a problem.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:40 PM
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Basically, in the economic negotiation situations where the ability to walk away gives you power, you are bargaining over a fixed surplus. In a romantic relationship, the size of the surplus to be divided depends directly on the willingness of the partners to refrain from extorting each other. In trying to get the better of your partner, you can cheat yourself.

Obviously this is idealized and people maneuver each other all the time in relationships, but I think there's clearly truth to it at some level.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-11-09 11:46 PM
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Relationships. Well, besides Two for the Road, which I watched again last night. Maybe the tenth time? Besides Donen's cutting between 5 different periods in a marriage, he also nearly set a record for quick edits in general:average & median shot length ~4.5 seconds. It's like a box of snapshots of a 10-yr romance, all jumbled together. And a lot of pain and arguments and cruelty, which is what I don't get to see on the web, and what makes...well what alienates me, like the polyicians publicface. Just a mustsee.

But Married Life was what I just watched. Marriage, romance, adultery, betrayal, murder, friendship. Deception & self-deception.
Yet Love and happiness.

Brosnan voiceovers, and finishes with something like "You never know what is inside of the head of the person sleeping beside you." Does it matter if you don't know?

I used to to go parties, and think:"1 in ten is abusing their daughters, 3 in ten are cheating on their partners, there are embezzelers and psychopaths and depressives and somebody here may shoot up a school auditorium. But I can't tell who's who, because it isn't social to show the pain."

Should have watched the Bunuel double feature instead, I think. Cheers.

Curence was very kind, I think. "Augsy" should have been "aspy" for apsberger.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 12:55 AM
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aspberger. Whatever.

I also thought about compliments as a gift. A gift.

A compliment shouldn't be the initiation of an exchange or economic transaction, and an effort should be made to avoid putting an obligation on the recipient, even so much as a "thank you"

So a compliment mught be given that self-obligates or self-deprecates the complimenter, and perhaps even best disguised as an insult. Maybe you can make the recipient feel good for disliking you, with specific reasons. "Great tits" might not be so bad.
I seem to remember Shakespeare doing some tricky things in the sonnets.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:04 AM
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The entire model comes from looking at romantic relationships through an economic lens, which as discussed above is a problem.

I was actually thinking of the episode of Seinfeld where George proudly says "I am dumping you" and then suddenly realizes that he has "hand" in the relationship.

I recognize that Seinfeld is not a rich source for models of mature, functional relationships.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:05 AM
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171: Engagement that isn't hostile (or even sometimes that is) is complimentary. "Indifferent engagement" seems oxymoronic to me. People want, need attention.

Of course, people want/need attention, validation. Consider, though:

- Indicating a guy talking to his friend: "What is he doing?"
- "He's complimenting him."

No. Leaving aside, that is, the possibility that he really is complimenting him, on, say, his shirt, he is just talking to his friend, which does involve attending to his friend, and therefore providing attention to his friend, thereby validating his friend as someone he is willing to talk with ... but he is not "complimenting" his friend except in a quite strained sense of that word. I don't grant that strained sense of the word as an ordinary one.

The relationship between "complimentary" and "complimenting" is not that straightforward, though I'm actually not sure I'm even willing to grant that in talking to his friend, the speaker is being complimentary.

(/phil of language)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 12:02 PM
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dating algorithm

Christ! That's like my band-assessment procedure taken to a pathological level. I'm off to scrub my brain.

Meanwhile, this whole thread hits something philosophical about acting and love; after all, if you love someone you're willing to do things you wouldn't otherwise to make them happy...otherwise you wouldn't be in love.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 12:33 PM
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199 is framing ther interaction as interpersonal rather than social. But all interpersonal interactions are also social.

When the King passes 100 courtiers;when the General revues 100 soldiers at attention;when the Matriarch at the extended family gathering...and singles one out of the many to ask whether it might rain today...it is understood as an honor and a compliment.

And my interactions with those I choose, out of the many, to interact with, do not merely validate their existence but in some sense compliment them.

The lurkers who read this blog, out of thousands of possible blogs that could be read, are not simply validating the existence of Unfogged. They are making a choice that flatters (I am tired of only one word) Unfogged.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 12:59 PM
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Bob, it's red queen logic to say that an insult is a compliment.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:03 PM
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Now I will grant that my interactions with the person behind the counter at the convenience store are pretty trivial and ritualistic.

But I don't have to say:"How's it going, dude" as I make my purchase. And there are times and people when I don't bother with that minimal interaction.

Hell, the nods, the smiles, the tipping of my gimme cap to strangers on the sidewalks...these are not mere acknowledgement that the people are there, as a tree is there. They are, in a sense, a communication that I am glad & pleased that they are there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:09 PM
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202:I was thinking of looking for the Oscar Wilde quote last night. The worst is to be ignored.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:10 PM
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Isn't Bob both obviously and trivially correct about unfogged -- most of the people who comment regularly do like each other and communicate that fact on a regular basis.

But so what? I'm not sure what the significance of that is supposed to be.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:12 PM
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Or maybe I should refer you to hilzoy's discussions of spousal abuse.

In any case, as this blog understands very well, there is a whole category of "friendly insults" and another category of trolls and trolling.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:15 PM
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204 -- All through the Bush years, people kept saying silly shit like this that or the other situation couldn't get any worse. Of course there are worse things than being ignored.

205 -- Not all communications here are complimentary. Read's Mission to the Trolls notwithstanding, there are apparently people with a mental illness of some kind that leads them to make time and effort for purely negative acknowledgment (which could, of course, be worse!)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:23 PM
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201: 199 is framing ther interaction as interpersonal rather than social.

I don't understand this distinction, but it probably doesn't matter.

And my interactions with those I choose, out of the many, to interact with, do not merely validate their existence but in some sense compliment them.

"in some sense" is the operative phrase. Everything else you've said does elaborate on that sense, so okay. The family of alternative terms you've used includes: admires, flatters.

It's taken me a bit to determine why I've wanted to press this question, and what I come up with is just that it emphasizes a transactional model of human interaction in which the question of manipulation is perpetually on the table. I resist that: the normalization of that model results in things like that dreadful Sugar Babies website, and in people engaging in sober discussions of what, if anything, is wrong with it. People upthread have said this already.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:24 PM
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205:No, my point is different. What I am really saying is 204 in response to CC 202, by taking the comment seriously and respectfully and "moving the ball forward" is a form of subtle stroking and flattery.

It is not "I like you" or "Good Comment", but really "Also this in response to what you said" develops positive relationships, and does it better than direct compliments or flattery.

Maybe it is trivial or obvious when examined closely, but the thread moved into a question of how to compliment with embarrassing the subject and I am saying that that is what human beings do.
Fricking existentially, socially we do little else.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:27 PM
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I'm a slow typist. Friendly insults can be complimentary, but might, on net, be negative. Depends on how friendly. There's a lot of country between 'Jane you ignorant slut' and our unnamed friend's antisemitic excrescence.

It's a sad thought indeed that Hilzoy's Mission to the Conservatives, Emerson's Mission to the Liberals, and Read's Mission to the Trolls all have the same infinitesimal chances of success.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:28 PM
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208:emphasizes a transactional model of human interaction in which the question of manipulation is perpetually on the table

Shrugs. Sorry.

Have a nice day.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:31 PM
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208:emphasizes a transactional model of human interaction in which the question of manipulation is perpetually on the table

Better:You say that like it is a bad thing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:33 PM
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It is not "I like you" or "Good Comment", but really "Also this in response to what you said" develops positive relationships, and does it better than direct compliments or flattery.

Perhaps it seems obvious to me because, while I didn't end up commenting in that section of the thread, I realized that the compliment that would be most likely to flatter me is "you talk about interesting things" or "I like how you think about things."

And yet, I think it's an over generalization to say, "the thread moved into a question of how to compliment with embarrassing the subject and I am saying that that is what human beings do." Just because interpersonal communication is what people do doesn't mean that it's easy or clear.

I would say that Wolfson is the best example of someone who attracts a lot of friendly insults.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:34 PM
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210.2:I think I have said before that I do not like to talk to or about conservatives or Republicans, or acknowledge their existence in any way.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:36 PM
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Just finally read the whole article in the OP through...wow. A truly interesting phenomenon that really does blur the lines between prostitution and relationships in ways that make our conventional "prostitution" arguments around here look rather out of date. The 10-1 ratio of women to men that is reported on the site seems to indicate there's significant demand among women for this kind of thing.

That guy "Sam" discussed in the article has a truly original approach. It seems like it could potentially render the standard objections of e.g. LB to prostitution pretty much moot, as it seems hard to argue that his contract-based method isn't in some sense more empowering than marriage. Since marriage is designed around romantic/familial bonding and not economic or individual "empowerment", it's not surprising that a smart person who puts their mind to it can design an arrangement that is more individually liberating.

I think I might have run across a blog by that Sam guy once, at least it was a blog by someone who purported to be extremely rich and experimenting with all kinds of interesting partnership/contract relationships with women. (Along with a ton of very high class prostitution). It felt authentic too, in that it was focused on musings/questions with almost no boasting of any kind, and had that slightly aspergery quality that Sam seemed to have in the article. But maybe it was by another rich guy, I bet there's more than one like that. The blog guy was Asian-American, wasn't clear if Sam was.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:52 PM
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Just to be clear, I don't necessarily think that being "individually empowering" is a great thing, I don't really believe in individualism although I do believe in liberty. Just saying that things in this article seemed to really undermine criticisms of prostitution along purely rights-based / exploitation type lines.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:56 PM
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212: You're interested in considering everyday social interaction under a certain description, as a form of varying exchanges of compliment/flattery. I don't dispute that that description is worth considering -- of course it is, and there's a lot of discussion out there about it in the form of talk about power and authority.

I want to remain clear that it's one set of descriptions, though. It's not the truth of the matter (except under a description). I want to know *why* considering these things under those descriptions is good or interesting: where does it get us?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 1:57 PM
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where does it get us?

I don't think I understand the question. I don't have an eschatology or something. I don't even have a therapy.

I just have a habitual Method of Analysis imprinted on me as a young hippie, probably under the influence.

I do have to resist "Linda Hirschman-like" analyses, as I maybe grant too much autonomy to human beings. So I call for pitchforks and barricades in an honest belief that it's possible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:31 PM
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from the article:

Sam is also more determined than most to try separating a sugar baby's affection and the money she's paid to provide it. In his arrangements, he says, he establishes a trust in the woman's name that pays a monthly stipend of at least $5,000 for the length of their contract. If the woman decides to quit sleeping with him at any point, he may quit serving as adviser and pamperer, but the stipend continues regardless. "If I didn't do that, then it's like a leash I'm putting on somebody, and that seems really unfair," he said. "Besides, then I'd never know what the relationship was really about."
Sam runs these relationships with an explicit business plan, a set budget, measurable goals and quarterly reviews. From the outset, the contract has an end date. It's a brilliant, if contrived, way to protect his pride. The contract specifies that the romance and sex are to end by the preset date, so there's no break up, no rejection, no bruised ego. She's not dumping him; the gig's just over.
Suddenly the extremely elaborate prostitution on Dollhouse seems more believable. Sure the technology doesn't exist (and probably can't.) But maybe people really would pay for it if they could.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:49 PM
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form of talk about power and authority.


I have a half-assed, half-baked, undigested misunderstanding of TA, am hypocritical etc etc, but I do think it influences me.

So instead say of Emerson's "The media is contolling us/them" for me it is "Why are we letting the media control us/them?"

Why are we letting the banks rip us off?
Why are we letting the wars be waged.? Why are we not creating a universal healthcare system?

And I guess it leads to comments like #66. Why are we perpetuating the Patriarchy?

Why aren't my comments deleted?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:49 PM
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220: Once upon a time, on the veldt


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:53 PM
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219:Ooooh Dollhouse

It's funny how you can not snap to implications until they are shoved in your face. Scenes from next week show a dying women's memories and personality getting downloaded into Echo.

But maybe people really would pay for it if they could.

Immortality with cannabilism. What would Dick Cheney or Richard Scaife do for that?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:54 PM
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Why are we perpetuating the Patriarchy?

Bobby, its called the double standard. Now don't complain, we got the long end of the stick on this one.


Posted by: Hank Hill | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:54 PM
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Biohazard! How's D.E. doing?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:55 PM
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222: Immortality with cannabilism. What would Dick Cheney or Richard Scaife do for that?
Start going to Mass?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 2:56 PM
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I haven't read all of the linked article, but a friend pointed me towards this, which seems germane:

The industry offers an enormous variety of opportunities to exchange money for company. [...] One specialist agency is known as Hagemashi Tai, which translates as I Want To Cheer Up Limited. It rents relatives.[...]
But the firm's services do not stop there. It can also provide temporary husbands to single mothers who want them. The website says the "dad" will help the children with their homework. He will sort out problems with the neighbours.
He will take the kids to a barbeque or to a park. He could also appear at the daunting interview with a nursery school head teacher which parents are required to endure in order to persuade the principal to give their child a good start in life. [...]
Mr M O from Shizuoka near Mount Fuji called upon the services of I Want To Cheer Up Ltd because he needed a father.
Mr M O has been blind since birth and had a number of concerns that he felt he could not speak to others about.
"I kept it all inside and couldn't deal with the criticisms that had been directed at me by my parents and teachers," he testified.
After some discussion, the company sent an older man to have dinner with him. "Usually I can't open up when I meet someone for the first time but on that occasion, I felt I was really talking with a normal father. I'll use the service again," he said.
Loneliness is a problem faced by many people on these crowded islands. But the Japanese are prone to believe that, in the right circumstances, money can turn a stranger into a friend... at least for a couple of hours.

Creepy cultural assertions in the sentence notwithstanding, pretty interesting.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 3:21 PM
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224: She's graduated to a cane from the walker, made it up and down the stairs twice yesterday, and today is wiped out from those heroic treks. According to the PT guy's measurements and evaluations and her reported pain levels, it's going quite well so far.

Thanks.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 3:21 PM
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229:What is this we, kemosabe?

I know I should grovel in guilt for my privilege, but I am the one with the considerably lower outside income, the housekeeper/dishwasher/launderer/cook, am primarily responsible for the daily & emergency care & maintainance of the dependents, do the shopping and handle the minor budget. All badly.

Yeah, there's the bankruptcy thing, but hey we had a seven-year medical emergency and incidentals put on the cards just added up. We were making the payments fine until the fucking bankruptcy bill, and overnight the interest and payments spiked. Fuck us. Fuck them. What did we do that was wrong? Guilty and ashamed anyway.

Yeah sure, I strut my male studliness through my masculinist universe, with my dick draped over my shoulder.

There was this kid intern therapist who interviewed my thirty years ago, and after glancing at my history, said:"Flunky, huh?" She wasn't bright enough to push my paranoid button, so I was like, "...and WTF world do you expect to live in?" But Jeez she was gorgeous, and probably married an investment banker.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 4:07 PM
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31,167: (Just to clarify for anyone new, my ex Max is not max.)

Yes, but it's so much funnier to imagine he is - every thread in which you two comment on different things becomes a nest of intrigue and nuance!


Posted by: Unpronounceable Awl | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 4:18 PM
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219: I don't know Dollhouse (?), but I wouldn't define Sam's contractual method as prostitution -- the money flow is contractually separated from the sexual services rendered, which is the brilliance of it. It's a commercial arrangement, but it's not prostitution -- he's designed it so there's no direct trade and the woman has the freedom to refuse him sex and remain in the arrangement.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 4:37 PM
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230: Isn't Sam the guy who specifies that the woman must be drop-dead gorgeous, 'look good on my arm', and so on? It seems doubtful that he'd agree to form a contract with a woman who declined to sleep with him from the get-go (not to mention who isn't gorgeous). He's basically offering an invitation to women to sleep their way to the top, or to their desired ends, whatever their project may be. Their looks and sexual availability is just part of their resume.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 5:03 PM
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OK, I've read the article. It comes off as slightly more compassionate than I was expecting, given the hook.

It also brings to mind this site. I can't remember whether it's been linked here before; it purports to be letters from men who've purchased sex. I can't get a good sense of whether it's genuine; the letters seem to be edited to a sameness of tone, but that's not atypical.

An example:

I have no regrets about the experience. In fact, I'm glad I did it, because it made me realize that a working girl can't give me the type of sexual experience I really want. My encounter with this particular woman lacked the kind of intimacy I had with previous girlfriends. (At one point, she seemed to recoil when I kissed her chest.) I'd prefer a sex partner who wants to be there and wants to come with me, too, rather than someone who just sees it as her job to get me off and get it over with. Perhaps other working girls aren't this bad, but because of that, I probably wouldn't do something like this again.

And:

I've been lucky and, as far as I know, none of the women I have dated or married has found out about my extracurricular activity. I wish I could combine the two worlds somehow, or at least make real relationships more satisfying. But it's so much easier when the only thing the woman really expects from me is money.

And finally:

It may just be that my issue is that I lack a horribly traumatic past or experience that renders my sexual expectations quite low, such that I can merely desire it as a form of exercise, much like another man may favour swimming over running.
I understand with sudden clarity why many women and some men are against the practice, much like I understand people's objections towards drug use. In particular, the charge that prostitution demeans women but I must admit, that I felt like I demeaned myself, bartering with this woman like I would over a cloth shirt. In essence, if I demean another person what does that act imply about my own character?
And I don't mean, "what do people think about what I did?", I'm referring to my own self-image, I feel like I lowered my standards for myself, not by paying for the services of a prostitute but by haggling over the price of the service. As it stands, I don't regret utilizing the service of a prostitute, as I've learnt more than a single lesson, through just one act but I can honestly admit that I sincerely doubt I'd procure such services again.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 5:24 PM
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"it's so much easier when the only thing the woman really expects from me is money"

I just felt like quoting that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 5:44 PM
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It's so much easier when the only thing the woman expects from me is transports of ecstasy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 6:10 PM
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what mission, CC, i just sense he's maybe the lonelist being around here, and it of course depends on him, but perhaps it's not his fault maybe that he suffers from some kind of illness if it's organic, and it seems he's kind of entertained and not that alone around here and if people perhaps try to be just a little accomodating to each other, those horrible shootings could become like impossible and not that frequent
i'm not saying you would shoot something of course, T, it's just like an example
maybe he'd think it's insulting that i analyze him like this however sympathetic, so, maybe deleting his comments works just fine for him
about compliments, just the straightforward praise or insult are better, imo, compliments could be very easily insulting, but it's just me perhaps i don't get multilayered things anyway
and the accomodating services bought, i think it's okay as far as its consensual, mutual interests are involved and doesn't involve stalking or any kind of violence, maybe there money does something good and beneficial for the both sides involved


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 7:10 PM
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Read, I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with a healer reaching out to the sick. Just that I didn't think you'd make any headway.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 7:28 PM
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Why aren't my comments deleted?

Because we like you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 7:36 PM
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We really like you.


Posted by: Sally Field | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 7:48 PM
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see, when i first started reading Unfogged he too was so confronted i recall
so it's worth a try, perhaps, and not a healer-healing like interactions, i'm not that ambitious
just a friendly online conversation, it's totally harmless and effortless and if it could accomodate someone, why not, works just like a mere substitute of real human interactions of course and that's okay that way


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 7:54 PM
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It may just be that my issue is that I lack a horribly traumatic past or experience that renders my sexual expectations quite low, such that I can merely desire it as a form of exercise, much like another man may favour swimming over running.

This is such a weird formulation.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:06 PM
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240: Are you talking about the phrasing? That was actually one of the major points that made me think the site is genuine (or at least that letter); it's such a familiarly bad style of writing.

The content, well, that's its own story.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:23 PM
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Are you talking about the phrasing?

The conceptualization, surely.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:28 PM
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The phrasing would suggest that "a horribly traumatic past or experience" would render one's sexual expectations quite low, but I take it the writer is saying ...

Wait. It's really pretty mangled, the more I look at it. The idea really is that a traumatic experience brings low expectations, and the writer's expectations are high, such that sex is a form of exercise? How odd.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:38 PM
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243: It's very mangled indeed, but what I take him to be saying is:

1. People who have traumatic histories are likely to have low expectations of what sex can do for them.

2. I have no such traumatic history, yet I also have low expectations of what sex can do for me. See: It's just like going to the gym! You like swimming; I like running.

Subtext: My situation is somewhat odd, because I am not a victim like that first group of people, and yet I am not some loser who really NEEDS sex as human contact.

It's an elaborate construct to help yourself feel better about the fact that you're doing something that society -- and you yourself -- generally frown upon.

At least, that's how I read it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:47 PM
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237,238:(Wipes a tear)

Walking the dogs was great tonight. Before sundown on Sunday the neighborhood is always neat, but this was Easter Sunday, and the Latinos had the grannies and little cousins visiting. Talking a block party of hundreds.

There's this dance I have to do with my 150 pounds of Shepherd-looking dogs as I approach a sidewalk with two sets of parents and 6 kids playing. Move to the street and back to the sidewalk and show the dogs are under control. I like to be good enough that parents don't call their kids back toward the house.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 8:53 PM
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244: That reading's not quite working for me.

Ah! It's that he didn't really care for it, and he figures that's because he lacks a traumatic past that would render his sexual expectations low. His expectations are higher than that! (The exercise bit is a red herring; he's comparing swimming and running as two ways of liking sex, with low or high expectations.)

The strange thing is that he seems to be apologetic about his higher expectations. He has to "honestly admit" that while he doesn't regret it, he wouldn't do it again. He just prefers running over swimming, see, but there's nothing wrong with swimming, he wants to make clear.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:03 PM
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OT: Yo, can we have a thread about the Amazon "glitch"? So many interesting possible conspiracy theories I'd rather talk about with you smart folks instead of Twittering about.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:05 PM
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Links:

List of books removed from search results
Jezebel post and commentary
Timeline
Resultant Google-bomb
Conspiracy theory about user flagging
Twitter shitstorm


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:09 PM
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Glitch, what glitch? I've been locked in the library all day.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:10 PM
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Oh.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:11 PM
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The thing everyone's noticing is that Amazon's removal of texts from search (through, I think, removing their sales rank, so they don't show up in a topic search) is incredibly random. Lots of YA and children's lit titles are being classified as "Adult Content," along with books on queer theory (i.e., not porn at all), books on feminism (Valenti's book among them), fiction with female sexuality in it (Chatterley, etc.), and even books on sex for disabled people. However, most straight porn seems unaffected, as well as books on "how to please your man" etc.

Authors and publishers have been contacting Amazon all day, only to get identical emails back, signed by customer service reps, saying, basically, sorry, but adult content is not included in searches, and your book is adult content.

A friend of mine is a publisher, and three of his titles, all late 19th-century fiction that could be sorta queer if you read into them quite a lot, but contain no sex scenes or explicit talk about homosexual desire at all, have been removed from searches.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:17 PM
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One of the effects of this is that if you search for "homosexuality," all you get are books on how to quit being gay.

Amazon is blaming some kind of "glitch," but it's so random, and affects texts for weird reasons, that it seems more like there's been some concerted effort on the part of some group to flag a bunch of stuff as adult content while the bulk of Amazon's staff are away for the weekend.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:19 PM
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It sounds like Amazon is going to be correcting its error/glitch post-haste. I'm not up for extended conspiracy theories about it -- though obviously it does look odd. Frankly, Amazon fucks up sometimes when it's in transition (which it actually is lately, as the online bookselling community will attest), but I haven't known them yet to have an ideological agenda.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:21 PM
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Wow, that's bizarre. I doubt it's a calculated decision by people at Amazon -- that would be profoundly stupid, right? Do they have some automated system for flagging things based on incoming emails? Surely if the decisions were being made by actual people fielding phone calls, they would notice the pattern? Or maybe it's a rogue employee?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:22 PM
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One of AWB's links:

Now, let's just put ourselves in Amazon's shoes. Keep in mind that Amazon is a smug, fairly liberal company headquartered in fucking Seattle of all places and, last I checked, Jeff Bezos is not exactly a Christian fundamentalist. Why on earth would they suddenly censor only a specific group of content that deals with a marginalized and politically active community? Why would this policy change not take the form of a specific policy, but rather of very discriminately flagging only certain titles as "adult" content? Why would this happen over a weekend?
It's obvious Amazon has some sort of automatic mechanism that marks a book as "adult" after too many people have complained about it. It's also obvious that there aren't too many people using this feature, as indicated by the easy availability (and search ranking) of pornography and sex toys and other seemingly "objectionable" materials, otherwise almost all of those items would have been flagged by this point. So somebody is going around and very deliberately flagging only LGBT(QQI)/feminist/survivor content on Amazon until it is unranked and becomes much more difficult to find. To the outside world, this looks like deliberate censorship on the part of Amazon, since Amazon operates the web application in question. To me, this looks like one of two things:

1. Some "Family"-type organization astroturfing Amazon in an attempt to rid the world of EVIL PRO-HOMOSEXUAL FILTH!!
2. Bantown


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:24 PM
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Yeah, that's why it's hard for me to imagine this is malevolent on Amazon's part, though that's the way many are interpreting it. (They sell butt plugs online, and you can search for them. This is not a company that has a mission to root out "sin.") But definitely, it reveals that there's something deeply wrong with the way their automation allows users to affect site content, especially if they're sending out all these emails signed by Ashley P or whomever saying definitively that the book is "adult."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:25 PM
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it seems more like there's been some concerted effort on the part of some group to flag a bunch of stuff as adult content while the bulk of Amazon's staff are away for the weekend.

That's possible. Any such group would have to be kind of dumb, I'd think, since the flags wouldn't stand up over any amount of time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:25 PM
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I don't understand "Bantown". Google turned up an Encyclopedia Dramatica page that gives me a headache.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:27 PM
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Any such group would have to be kind of dumb

The anti-gay crusaders really don't draw from the best and the brightest.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:28 PM
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258: I gather that Bantown is the act of entering a heated debate for the lulz and setting one group on another, like in WarGames. That is, the responsible parties might be neither Amazon doofuses nor conservative crazies acting in cahoots, but someone trying to stir up shit between queer-friendly and homophobic people, destroying Amazon in the crossfire.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:33 PM
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I've noticed.

But I'm really not sure if Amazon's system automates the flagging (and removal from search results) of anything that receives enough complaints. Automatically? That would be a really stupid policy on Amazon's part, and they're not stupid. They have review panels in place for fielding any number of other kinds of complaints. If some group has orchestrated this, it'd have to be an inside job!!!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:34 PM
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(Not that Matthew Broderick was guilty in WG, but someone playing a game that ends up getting other parties to freak out at each other, etc.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:34 PM
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Bantown apparently refers to a specific group who did this in the past, but is now metonymic for their methods.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:36 PM
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THE ACTIVIST JUDGES AT AMAZON ARE UNILATERALLY NULLIFYING AND SPITTING ON THE RESULTS OF DIRECT DEMOCRACY!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:37 PM
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destroying Amazon in the crossfire

I read this as "destroying America in the crossfire".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:40 PM
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Thanks for explaining Bantown, AWB. Sounds like a plausible explanation.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:47 PM
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Although now you've got me reading those damn articles. They are filled with horrible sadness. Apparently one of bt's members died from drinking liquor and cough syrup with acetaminophen for seven days.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:50 PM
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(Not that we don't comment Becks-style here...)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 9:56 PM
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Not that Matthew Broderick was guilty in WG

He wasn't? The guy hacked NORAD! What's a kid have to do?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:08 PM
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I just mean it did not seem to be his intention to make Russia and the US destroy each other, making it fundamentally not bantown. Guilty, yes, but only of loving RPG. And if loving RPG is wrong...


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:10 PM
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What the. Never thought following AWB's links would lead to me reading about one of my least favorite people's awful ex-girlfriends. Oh, irc assholes, don't ever change.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:11 PM
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Man I probably shouldn't (and, in fact, won't) do it, but the stories I could tell you about some of those people in real life.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:13 PM
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I wondered if you'd know any of those guys. How awful, to have an encyclopedia dedicated to the very stupidest moments of your life.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:14 PM
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273: that's their whole thing. They're like that serial-seduction-as-performance-art guy except that they largely fuck over each other.

They often are quite funny, in an unbelievably mean-spirited way. It's fairly pathological, though, and predictably enough often linked to fairly obviously genuine psychological issues.

You're making me remember why I left SF, kinda. Thanks!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:19 PM
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Oh look, someone's created a tag, on Amazon, to signify the delinked items.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:26 PM
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275: This seems like a good shopping list. False Colors!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:37 PM
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And look, a new critical edition of Fanny Hill came out last year! (Delisting 250-year-old porn seems kinda sad.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 10:43 PM
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OT: Yo, can we have a thread about the Amazon "glitch"? So many interesting possible conspiracy theories I'd rather talk about with you smart folks instead of Twittering about.

I was going to put up a post, but I'm not sure if it's still necessary, esp. since I buy the explanation above.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 11:13 PM
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He wasn't? The guy hacked NORAD! What's a kid have to do?

Read "Under a Description".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 11:14 PM
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Some of the people complaining about delisting have been doing so for months. Does the bantown hypothesis depend on everything happening over the long weekend? Or do you think that Amazon has, in the past, delisted authors that repressive groups complained about, and then bt brought it to a frothy head over the weekend? In which case Amazon is far from innocent.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 11:25 PM
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What kills me about this whole to-do is the people making apocalyptic predictions about how this will affect Amazon's business. Amazon will probably get a bunch of bad press about this, and maybe take a little sales hit, but they're too big and too convenient to be seriously harmed in the long run.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 11:36 PM
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232 240 243 244 246

It may just be that my issue is that I lack a horribly traumatic past or experience that renders my sexual expectations quite low, such that I can merely desire it as a form of exercise, much like another man may favour swimming over running.

My reading is considering sex as exercise is an example of low sexual expectations.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-12-09 11:54 PM
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Incidentally, has anyone ever wondered about the world of surrogate sex partners?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 1:26 AM
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283: Wow. That mustachioed guy is a "sexual healer."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 1:33 AM
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Like the convent, the world of sexual surrogacy seems to be one that the younger generation has not found.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:11 AM
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280: It wouldn't surprise me if it was both - that Amazon has for a long time had a function to remove pornographic books from sales rankings if it looks likely they're going to get anywhere near the top; that, once a book is tagged by some flunky at Amazon as "porn - no sales rank" - it can take weeks or months for the author or the publisher to convince Amazon that it is not porn; and that some right-wing Christian group decided to Banttown Amazon by reporting stacks of gay books as "pornographic" so that a whole bunch of Amazon flunkies just started hastily removing sales rankings without checking.

Livejournal was vulnerable to the attack by Warriors for Innocence that caused the Strikethrough brouhaha, because LJ Abuse had already demonstrated in past (smaller) attacks that they would change the rules and then suspend an offending journal without warning and without appeal. The only thing that was different about Strikethrough was the scale of LJ Abuse's attack on journals, not the means used.

The moral ought to be: do not attack your service users without warning, or some attack group will use this to give you a bad name...


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:04 AM
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the guy in 17 who only wrote letters and paid to help his baby stay in school without mentioning sex did interest me a lot.

That doesn't seem that different from a lot of philanthropy. People are always sponsoring individual schools for a charity even when the money goes into a general fund. "Save the Children" lets you sponsor a particular child, but the way that you help is by providing clean water to a village.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 6:35 AM
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Roughly half of the women I know well enough that they'd be likely to admit it have seriously considered giving escort work a shot, either out of simple curiosity or out of a desire to make big money. One went so far as to contact an agency and go in for an interview. That's a limited and very skewed data set since I tend to hang out with oddballs, so it's dodgy even as anecdata, but there it is.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:15 AM
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283: I sometimes feel like I have been treated by certain partners as a sexual surrogate, in that, while not treating me like a "real" partner with whom they are "really" having sex, I am used as a transitional figure for education, experimentation, and figuring out what one wants from the world. But I don't get paid, and they can still terminate my services at any time.

In fact, here in a few hours, I'm about to make an effort to break off a relationship that is making feel exactly this way. Thanks for bringing it up!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:33 AM
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293: AWB, is this the guy with the girlfriend who you've talked to about not-okay stuff on an almost weekly basis?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:36 AM
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290 should be 289.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:37 AM
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290: No, I love him forever, unfortunately. Different guy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:40 AM
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...the difference being that Mr. Not-OK thinks of me as a human being who also needs support, laughter, thoughtfulness, gratitude, etc. As not-OK as our relationship is, at least it has that. Today's gentleman is one of those pedestal-putting dudes who seemed like a lot of fun, very interactive, until we started fooling around, and then, all of a sudden, I feel like there's this shimmery veil of High Romance there that keeps him from treating me like a human being.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:44 AM
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Let me try again.

1. Basically, chastity is no longer a value any more, and faithfulness isn't always. Men who want virgin wives are ridiculed, if not condemned. The norm for the elite class seems to be for kids to fool around or have middle-term relationships until they're 25-35 and then "get serious". And for many, the marriages are term too.

2. Everything nowadays is monetized. Churches are businesses, non-profits are businesses, art is a business, universities are businesses, and anyone who objects to all this is out of the mainstream.

3. Beyond #1, many people have sex for the least of reasons, boredom or curiosity or for even less weighty reasons.

6. 1+2+3 = what we're talking about.

Or you could call it a rationalization process. The inefficient old marriage consisted of a [breadwinner / father / male sexual unit] plus a [housekeeper / mother / female sexual unit]. But now both sexual units are breadwinners, and the housekeeping is either shared or bought. You might as well dissect a step further and separate the sexual unit from the parental unit (except as initially necessary for procreation).

At the same time, the married couple is the last survivor of an older, more communitarian, more humane way of life, and many also want to keep the dating relationship on the old fashioned, pure, un-monetized side of the line; actually, less monetized than it was in the past, where breadwinners were thoroughly checked out before daughters were gambled on them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:45 AM
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I am also keeping my hands mostly off Mr. Not-OK, unless we're really drunk. Even then, there's a line.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:47 AM
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294 is a great summary.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 8:06 AM
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Between the Worst Song Ever and the article to which this post links, you at Unfogged this morning have convinced me that Pol Pot was right after all.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:07 AM
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The inefficient old marriage consisted of a [breadwinner / father / male sexual unit] plus a [housekeeper / mother / female sexual unit].

I'm afraid that one of the reasons people keep defaulting to this model is that it is very efficient at running a household. It is so efficient, in fact, that if the two adults bust their asses, they can perform many of the roles in an extended family.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:18 AM
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As Bertrand Russell observed decades ago, cooking and washing for two, or taking care of a single child, is inefficient.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:20 AM
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But if you are going to have a small household, the traditional gender role division of labor strikes me as the most efficient way to go about that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:23 AM
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OK, Mommie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:24 AM
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I don't LIKE it. But I think the efficiency is part of what keeps reinforcing that structure.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:26 AM
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Yeah, though in families that worked in and around the home (in crafts, etc.) the division could be different. Our system is good for factory workers, office workers, etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:28 AM
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I don't LIKE it. But I think the efficiency is part of what keeps reinforcing that structure.

I say again, I really liked this post of yours on the subject.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:59 AM
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Re: the link in 304, it's too bad there aren't comments enabled on that blog. Not that I don't understand.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:17 AM
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Thanks. That is one of my regular themes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:19 AM
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Megan, it's one of my favorite books now, and I'm recommending it to everyone too.

Professionals are specialists who follow rules, and bosses are generalists who make the rules and make the decisions. Democrats are professionals and Republicans are bosses., and the Democrats say that the bosses are stupid, and then obey them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:22 AM
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307: Not that that will do your reputation any good.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:23 AM
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I sorta miss comments. But I was trying to figure out a way to keep a blog without getting totally sucked in. Checking for comments is one of the things that draws me back to the internet, because I love the chatting and getting to know the readers. Not having comments is one way to decrease my attention to it. I know most people think that I got too hurt and frustrated with comments, but that's not why we don't have them. I'm more trying to manage my own compulsive tendencies.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:27 AM
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Well then, we're even, because For the Common Good is one of my favorite books and I recommend it to everyone.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:28 AM
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Professionals are specialists who follow rules, and bosses are generalists who make the rules and make the decisions. Democrats are professionals and Republicans are bosses., and the Democrats say that the bosses are stupid, and then obey them.

And yet! I am a self-employed bookdealer, and I make the rules and make the decisions, though in tandem with a partner, and I am not a Republican, and I am a professional, though there is no accreditation, and I am not stupid, and I follow my own rules! What to make of it? I think you are not giving this book the greatest recommendation, John, assuming you're purporting to voice its sentiments.

(Realize I'm finishing my taxes as I make offhand remarks here, so pay no mind.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:35 AM
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||

I know that it's pointless to gripe about the commenters at Yglesias' blog, but I was slightly annoyed to see that he just got 75 comments on a post about cover songs, and it doesn't go anywhere. Reading the comments it feels like there could be an interesting conversation about originals vs cover versions, but it just doesn't go anywhere.

|>

This is why I still think Bob is trivially correct above about the dynamics of the unfogged comments.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:36 AM
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I am a professional, though there is no accreditation

The book is specifically about the process of professional accreditation. So, you may be correct that it is a limited (or targeted) view of professionalism, but it is a different subject.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:38 AM
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313: Ah. Well, I won't quibble.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:42 AM
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I will quibble: better to call it professionalization rather than professionalism. Emerson's 307 should then speak of the professionalized rather than of professionals.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:45 AM
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I'm sure your demeanor is professional, parsimon, as may be your class/status outlook (with special parismon 56k flavor), but I don't think you are technically a member of the professions.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:48 AM
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I will quibble:

Quibbling is the unfogged way. To not quibble would mean that the terrorists NPR had won.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:50 AM
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311: You are neither a specialist nor a professional, Parsi. Professionals are credentialed and are employed according to their accreditation.

Megan, another book of interest, is "The Martians of Science" by Istvan Hargittai, the father of Crooked Timber's Eszter. In it you see Nobel-level scientists (or almost) working for standard average U.S. Army generals. They had no problem at all with that (except for Szilard, to a small degree) , because in Austria-Hungary the power vs. smarts relationship was even worse.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:50 AM
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I say it with love, Parsi. Professionals are lackeys and attendant lords. You're an independent businesslady.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:53 AM
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316, 318.1: Okay. Bummer. I'll pass this along to members of the ABAA.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:54 AM
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Professionals are specialists who follow rules, and bosses are generalists who make the rules and make the decisions. Democrats are professionals and Republicans are bosses., and the Democrats say that the bosses are stupid, and then obey them.

This is profound and has a lot of truth to it. It misses a number of subtleties though -- e.g. the Democrats still have ties to political machine and union bosses, who are not so much professional types. But those groups have lost centrality and confidence. More deeply, certain kinds of professionals (e.g. district attorneys, attorney generals) do exercise power. Not all lawyers are lackeys. Finally, the tech sector has a somewhat more "professional" culture even among the bosses.

Parsimon, you are a small businessperson, which is one of the significant class bases for the boss (as opposed to professional) elite. You are the boss-class equivalent of an adjunct professor or grad student. But culturally you remain loyal to your grad student roots.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:04 PM
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Requested from my city library; it will come to me from some university far away. I cannot get over the fact that my library card will summon books to me from pretty much everywhere west of the Rockies. Then, kind librarians at a pretty house three blocks from me will hand them to me with a smile. Civilization is the best.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:06 PM
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This is really creeping me out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:14 PM
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321: Yeah, there's and intermediate zone where, e.g., MDs or PhDs or LLDs or engineers are promoted up from a staff position to a chain of command position. They have to learn management skills, and they have to be vetted by existing management for management loyalty, and they have to learn to sometimes forget their professional scruples if necessary, and they have to be willing to be a bad guy to the professionals.

In terms of Schmidt's thesis, what happens when management itself becomes credentialed? It would seem that you'd have to have supermanagers about them who are not bound by the professional rules. (On the other hand, I don't think that Management Science is governed by a code of conduct enforced by a professional association.)

And of course, this blurs from Schmidt to Schmitt: the manager is decides by control of the state of exception, and by definition there can be no rules about the state of exception.

Bush and Cheney are good extreme examples of managers. Rove had one year of college and told PhDs what to do. Cheney flunked out of Yale, graduated from Wyoming, and left grad school at UW Madison without a degree.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:15 PM
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Wobegon County has great ILL. I can get almost anything. A recent book I got was a $100 rare book signed by one of my favorite authors (Kenneth Rexroth). I was sorely tempted.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:18 PM
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Dude. The fines on any of the LinkPLUS books are huge (start at $100 for a lost book). Way more than the cost of the books I've gotten. They aren't kidding about getting those back.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:20 PM
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It was worth more than $100 to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 12:22 PM
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Professionals are lackeys and attendant lords.

Yes, yes we are.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 1:07 PM
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This is why I still think Bob is trivially correct above about the dynamics of the unfogged comments.

What am I correct about?

The TA section on strokes pretty much was what I was aiming at. You have positive or negative strokes, and they underlay all human interactions. But you can also, and usually do, have a more substantive surface content.

It may or may not be trivial, since it's ubiquitous. TA is just an existential ahistorical psychoanalysis. But when I read DeLong engaging Krugman on a very wonkish subject, I can also look for the "strokes" besides studying the arguments.

I think actually my main point in thread context was that since interaction always involves transactions/strokes/compliments/insults, you can be very very subtle about it. Maybe that's also trivial.

Obama bowed to a Saudi Prince recently. Most think that was a horrible mistake.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:18 PM
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298:I also didn't understand why the gendered roles were the most efficient way to run a household, after weaning and presuming an egalitarian economy, and didn't see adequate arguments.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:23 PM
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This is why I still think Bob is trivially correct above about the dynamics of the unfogged comments.

What am I correct about?

I was thinking of two things, both only semi-seriously. The first was that the little round of mutual appreciation between myself, Megan, and John was an explicit example of what you were describing as implicit.

The second was thinking about the way in which the commenters at Yglesias don't engage each other and that it both makes the comments less interesting and seems to be a status move -- they are mostly appealing to the authority of either Yglesias or an imagined reader.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:36 PM
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What is it that bob describes as implicit? I haven't the patience to read all his comments in this thread.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:40 PM
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I'll let someone else try to summarize.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:41 PM
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299

As Bertrand Russell observed decades ago, cooking and washing for two, or taking care of a single child, is inefficient.

Compared to what? Cooking and washing for one?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:47 PM
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330

... presuming an egalitarian economy ...

Why should we presume an egalitiarian economy?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:48 PM
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335: Well, presuming one is a damn sight easier than finding one, right? Maybe you have just more free time than the rest of us.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:53 PM
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332:Doesn't matter

331.2:The threads at Calculated Risk and Making Light are fun. The CA threads are very long, a reasonably friendly community of intelligent commenters, intended to be fun, and rarely having much to do with the post, though usually about economics/finance. CA calls it a chat room.

You are right about Yglesias's place. I think part of the problem is that Yggles wants to keep a distance from his commenters, and mostly writes for other bloggers and the like.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:55 PM
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I also didn't understand why the gendered roles were the most efficient way to run a household, after weaning and presuming an egalitarian economy, and didn't see adequate arguments.

I don't have strong arguments, just my impression. But the specialization - one adult in the house, one working - can create a pretty nice lifestyle, and the forces of non-egalitarian economies and infancy mean that the specialization tends to go towards traditional roles. I don't mean to suggest I'm arguing for that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 2:57 PM
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It's interesting, now that I think about it. CA (and Tanta RIP) are very well respected by other bloggers and outside the blogosphere, but it still feels like he writes for his commenters.

Same with Thoma, hilzoy, even Krugman to a degree. Yglesias, Klein, CT feel like they are aiming outside their blog.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:03 PM
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334: Shearer, are you the stupidest fucking person on the face of the earth? I thought that was someone in the Bush administration. Could you just think for a fraction of a section before posting one of your imbecile rhetorical questions.

THINK! What alternatives are there to "two" besides "one"?

335: I this case, it's because most of us, except you, would like to see a more egalitarian economy, and we don't have a practice little codicils in everything we write just to explain things to you in advance so you'll STFU.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:04 PM
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BTW, blame Megan for the direction this thread has taken. I've taken enough blame recently. She started.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:06 PM
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I have summoned both Megan's and Emerson's recommendations from across the vast system of the LAPL. Soon they will show up at a newish library a brisk and healthy 15 minute walk from my house. Then I will see if there are books on the hold shelf waiting for other friends of mine, and I will write "Quick, behind you! Axe-wielding librarian" on the hold slip inside the book.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:07 PM
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it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:07 PM
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I do that! I leave notes for my friends in their library books. I have other, funner recommendations if you want them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:10 PM
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Yglesias, Klein, CT feel like they are aiming outside their blog.

I think Ezra does a nice job of responding to and including his commenters.

But I'm a fan of his blog. While there aren't that many comments, I still find his comment section to be generally quite worthwhile.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:12 PM
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Who the fuck is CA?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:15 PM
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Is it Charles Amirkhanian?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:16 PM
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What alternatives are there to "two" besides "one"?

Pi!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:17 PM
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Who the fuck is CA?

When I took that tone with my mother, she would say I was being Crabby Appleton.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:18 PM
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346:A mistake. I meant CR, Calculated Risk, of course.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:18 PM
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What are your funner recommendations, Megan? Leaving mousetraps in your friends' books?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:21 PM
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Nosflow, I adore your willingness to declare a failure to follow.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:21 PM
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340

335: I this case, it's because most of us, except you, would like to see a more egalitarian economy, and we don't have a practice little codicils in everything we write just to explain things to you in advance so you'll STFU.

When someone makes a comment about something being more efficient I would presume they are talking about more efficient in the world as it is rather than more efficient in some hypothetical utopia.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:22 PM
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353

?

Mass produced food is the norm in America. America is not hypothetical.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:24 PM
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340

What alternatives are there to "two" besides "one"?

One person households are the most common alternative to two person households. And speaking from the single person household perspective a two person household does seem more efficient.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:26 PM
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Obama bowed to a Saudi Prince recently.

It was an attempted head-butt. Unfortunately all senior Saudi royals have advanced training in ninjitsu, so the bastard dodged effortlessly. With decent advance work this would not have happened, but Cheney's moles are everywhere.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:36 PM
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353: Well, you were wrong and stupid. You really don't belong here.

I was actually talking about eating and laundering outside the household, a common practice in much of the world, and sharing childcare too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:36 PM
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I finally read the "disciplined minds" book after the second or third Emerson recommendation. It is good.

Because I was a physics major in college for a while I was fascinated by the portions of the book dealing with physics as a profession. Apparently, a lot of the money for physics experimentation comes from the military and physics professionals pretend to themselves that the topics that the military want to them to study are the topics they would like to study anyway. I did not know that as an undergrad and apparently most entering grad students don't know that either.

The use of physics qualifying examination with a lot of bullshit trick questions is also new to me. A stressful hazing period followed by a reconstruction of judgment is common in the professions.

The law portion of the book is a little weak. Duncan Kennedy's essay LEGAL EDUCATION AS TRAINING FOR HIERARCHY is better on some of the details.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:39 PM
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340

Holy moley, I like feisty Emerson!


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:42 PM
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My friend chose Materials Science over Physics for grad school specifically because he didn't want to get shunted into military work.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:43 PM
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Well. It would definitely derail the thread to start talking about gendered wage differentials, about how households where the woman makes more than the man is becoming more common. It may be perceived differently by different classes, professionals and academics for example as opposed to my own blue collar/pink collar experience.

I do think the situation is changing. We could look at disparate unemployment, white males are shrinking as a percentage of the workplace. We could use an example of a male factory worker and his clerical spouse, and changes in the economy over the last thirty years. We could use an example of someone in IT, whose job got outsourced and a spouse in financial services, who's job not only became more secure, but much more valuable to the company over the last few years.

Stuff like that, none of which pertains to my own situation, of course.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:44 PM
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You really don't belong here.

Retired cranky old men are an Unfogged maintsay. Shearer may be a bit abnormal in that he put his advanced degree to good use and seems satisfied with the direction his life has taken, but surely you can look past that to find the common ground.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:48 PM
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Currence must be new here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:49 PM
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And of course, there is an age differential. Couples under 40 look at tournaments/careers conflicting with domestic wants/needs a lot differently than people over 40 or 50.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:51 PM
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362: We really need more cranky old women. With Domineditrix out for her hip replacement, I'm not sure we have anyone competing in the women's senior division trolling competition.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 3:59 PM
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The common ground would have to be fake Socratic questions that sound like they came from a three year old.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 4:02 PM
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I liked Kennedy's essay, Lemmy, especially his differentiation between cold and hot teaching cases and talk about how difficult it is for students to find a good conception of themselves within law. I'm lucky I never ever thought of myself as a potential lawyer.

(Also I laughed at the line that parents rarely disapprove of law school. Both my parents disapproved, although they were willing to tolerate it as a sideline so long as I kept up a scientific discipline.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 4:10 PM
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367- my stepdad (a lawyer) gives long heartfelt lectures against the idea to anyone who expresses an interest in law school. So far only one brother seems even mildly interested. But he's young yet so my parents are hopeful still.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 4:44 PM
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Also I laughed at the line that parents rarely disapprove of law school. Both my parents disapproved,

and yet the line is still true.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 4:46 PM
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Gawd! I'm cranky! DominEditrix is not having a hip replacement, she's having, or has had, a knee job! Also PGD has annoyed the fuck out of me with 321.last! Also, when I announced my decision to go to grad school, an entire family full of people I loved well expressed their sadness. That was a little sobering.

Eh, it is time to make the soup.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 5:47 PM
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Regarding the Amazon glitch discussed upthread, perhaps this is well-reported already, but they're issuing a major mea culpa now, with the opening line: "This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection."

Well, okay then.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 6:36 PM
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371: Thanks, I hadn't seen that.

Huh, not a very public response, though. It's not on their press release page nor anywhere on their website that I can find. Just getting sent as an e-mail response to those who complained, I guess. (And from a "Do Not Reply" e-mail address, with no name of any customer service rep, unlike the other e-mails.)

There's no apology, and no clear explanation of what happened. Count me as underwhelmed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:27 PM
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I'm underwhelmed by the scandal.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:33 PM
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More info on what probably happened here, but you've probably already seen that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 7:34 PM
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It's an underwhelming scandal.

While it's not clear exactly what happened, the story that something got screwed up in their cataloging system that resulted in books that had one sort of tag ("sexual themes") get treated as if they had a different sort of tag ("adult content") is about 10000x more likely than the theory that they secretly set out to remove gay and lesbian books from their search results.

Unfortunately for Amazon, the people affected are much more likely to feel persecuted and bitch loudly and publicly, so I'm sure that their PR people are simultaneously telling reporters that they know the outlines of what happened, while simultaneously drafting a very carefully worded response and/or waiting for the thing to blow over. Which, of course, it will.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 8:43 PM
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This is off topic, but I'm looking for computer programming advice. If you were going to take just one beginning computer science/programming course and your goal was learning something that would be useful for getting into humanities/library-related computing, would you take a course with a description like

A:

Basic principles of programming, using C++; algorithmic, procedural problem solving; program design and development; basic data types, control structures and functions; functional arrays and pointers; introduction to classes for programmer-defined data types.

or B:

Introduction to computer science via theory, applications, and programming. Basic data types, operators and control structures. Input/output. Procedural and data abstraction. Introduction to object-oriented software development. Functions, recursion. Arrays, strings, pointers. Abstract data types, object-oriented programming. Examples and exercises from computer science theory and applications.

Or would you look for something else entirely?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 8:53 PM
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I reserve the right to refer to this question in a later thread, but since I don't read these comments during the day, I figure I might as well see if anyone's up and around.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 8:57 PM
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humanities/library-related computing

Could you expand on what you envision this entailing?

I would guess B would be better given those two options, but I am not sure what type of programming you think would be likely in the above areas.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:01 PM
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376-77: I can make that question its very own thread, if you like, eb.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:05 PM
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376: I don't know which would be better for you, but those course descriptions look pretty similar to me. Both hit the basics of functions, objects, data types.... It looks like the latter is a bit more abstract and the former more geared to teaching C++ in particular, but they both sound more practical than theoretical. So maybe it depends on whether you want to have expertise in C++? It's a hideous language, but it is pretty standard. (Who knows, maybe the second course also teaches C++, since it doesn't say.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:10 PM
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Actually, A just says that it teaches a bunch of stuff "using C++", so it might not really be about teaching C++ per se. Neither will give you expertise in the languages used.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:13 PM
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If I wanted to learn stuff for library-related computing I'd be looking at courses involving databases and information exchange.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:13 PM
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Could you expand on what you envision this entailing?

Um, maybe? Part of the problem is I'm not quite sure. Examples I've seen tend to be textual analysis - from basic word frequencies to more complicated things like measuring how closely words appear together - if they're about analysis, or they're about organizing information for display/retrieval (digital archives, museum websites, etc.).

I've seen advice that it might be better to skip the whole general computer science intro track altogether and pick up something like Python, which seems to come up a lot in this context. But I'm not sure about that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:16 PM
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376: I'm also unsure what library-related computing entails.

But if you look at programs like cars... There are some people who work on the next Toyota Camry, who need a really detailed understanding of mechanical engineering to make a car that is cheap, reliable, and safe. There are people who work as mechanics, who need the skills to know how to take a car apart, identify what's wrong, fix it, and put it back together. And there are people who make robot burning man art cars, who need to have enough of an understanding to design something that doesn't immediately fall apart, have the mechanical skills to fabricate it themselves, and also have the aesthetic sense to make something that's cool.

The courses you describe are mainly for the first category of people, and somewhat for the second. If you see yourself more in the third category, you might want a course that has more keywords like "scripting", "web", "python", or "ruby".

Also note that the first two categories of people will need much more than one course to reach a useful level of knowledge, while the third could gain a lot from a few hours of instruction here and there.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:20 PM
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while the third could gain a lot from a few hours of instruction here and there.

ie "they lack the basics".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:21 PM
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376

Or would you look for something else entirely?

I would look for something else entirely. Introduction to Microsoft Office or something like that would be more useful. The courses listed seem suitable for computer science majors but not so much for humanities majors.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:23 PM
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379: Thanks, but that's probably not necessary.

Neither will give you expertise in the languages used.

Right, they're both the first course in an intro sequence. The second is for computer science majors (within the computer science and engineering context, rather than the humanities and social science context) and probably picks and chooses from languages based on the concepts it wants to illustrate. The first seems to be aimed for people not in computer science who want more directly practical programming instruction at the start.

If I wanted to learn stuff for library-related computing I'd be looking at courses involving databases and information exchange.

Part of the issue here is 1) prerequisites and 2) availability of courses during the summer where I'm thinking of taking them. I haven't really seen many options for these types of courses that look good.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:23 PM
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ie "they lack the basics".

and their aims are modest. You don't need to know about pointers, recursion, or big-O notation to write useful scripts or small-scale web apps. But if you want to write bigger or more complex stuff, you need to learn those things as soon as possible.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:26 PM
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And I'm assuming I'll be taking additional courses. This is just about beginning.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:26 PM
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Introduction to Microsoft Office or something like that would be more useful.

That's up a different tree altogether.

keywords like "scripting", "web", "python", or "ruby"

That sounds righter. Or if there's anything along the lines of "Perl for Linguists".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:27 PM
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And I'm assuming I'll be taking additional courses. This is just about beginning.

Oh. Then take "B" - recursion and abstract data types are both going to be useful. Then once the class is over, get an introduction to python book and re-write all of your lab assignments in python.

Perl

Hmph.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:31 PM
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I'm sure those classes are more likely to be in Python now, anyhow, Mr. Hmphypants!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:33 PM
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Python really does seem like the language of choice for this kind of thing. This book(?) for historians looks built around using it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:37 PM
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Or rrrrrrrrruby.

Actually ruby probably hasn't hit the point where it's taught in that sort of class, I guess.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:37 PM
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Yeah, I agree with what's been said -- A is a C++ class and probably not what you want, and B is a general intro to programming class and probably also not what you want. Pick up How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, or, if you can read it without jabbing your eyes out because it makes Garrison Keillor seem like Knut Hamsun, the Why book on Ruby with the goddamn cartoon elves.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:40 PM
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My general sense is that learning SQL or R is more likely to be generally useful to people in the humanities, but that may not be true for librarians. You could ask Jessamyn West -- she responds to questions on Twitter and makes it her job to have thought about things like this.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:43 PM
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Snark just hates Ruby because he hates sweetness and sparkles and rainbows and happy jingle bells.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:43 PM
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376: I think you want A. A sounds like a basic introduction to programming, while B sounds like it's aimed specifically at software developers.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:47 PM
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Generally, when I've seen this kind of question addressed, both ruby and python come up as things people have taught themselves or otherwise learned outside of the normal computer science instruction context. Digital humanities doesn't really look all that established as a field - in the sense of having well-defined boundaries and structures - so a lot of it seems to be experimentation along the lines of "that seems interesting, wonder what can we do with it."

Digital library work is much more established - building catalogs and such - and prerequisites for that concentration at some library schools ask for C++ and/or Java at the very least before starting out. (Not my concentration, by the way. My aim is for archives.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:51 PM
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If it really looked like I was going to have to take one of those two classes (say, because every single class that actually looked relevant to me had one of them as a prereq), I would write to the department to ask which was more appropriate. The undergrad (?) advisor or departmental assistant may even know of a better class for your needs that's offered through an unexpected department (so you're not finding it).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:54 PM
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Plus they should know more--or be able to find out more--about the reality of how the two courses are actually taught, which may not be perfectly reflected in the course description.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 9:56 PM
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All of the previous advice is by people who are threatened by librarians, and want to prevent them from achieving too much power.

There is no downside to learning how to program, and if you're going to learn how to program you might as well learn the general principles. Something aimed directly at scripting will probably not teach you how to write a program longer than twenty lines.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:05 PM
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Walt, why do you think that B wouldn't provide a basic introduction to programming?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:06 PM
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After all, as you just said in 402, you may as well learn the general principles.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:06 PM
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402

There is no downside to learning how to program ...

Like there is no downside to trying crack?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:10 PM
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No, B would be fine. I'm pushing back against the idea that eb should just read Ruby in 7 Days.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:14 PM
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Take B and learn Python.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:17 PM
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Take B and learn Python.

This is most likely what's going to happen. Not sure if it makes a big difference that B has fewer hours of lecture and discussion and refers to "outside study" instead of "laboratory work." It's also not for as many units as A, but credits don't really matter since this isn't part of my program anyway.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:24 PM
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I probably should take rtfs' advice and contact someone at the school.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:26 PM
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405 is funny!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 10:37 PM
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Take B, learn Python, and apply for the jr. software engineer job.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:00 PM
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The old Yelp space! If you get the job, let me know if Moses still lives in the alley behind the building.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:06 PM
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I'm interested to know why the consensus seems to be B over A. Because it's less tied to a particular language? More advance concepts earlier?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:11 PM
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Because it's less tied to a particular language? More advance concepts earlier?

Yes.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-13-09 11:25 PM
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I'm arriving late, but I also say go with B. I'd say to learn Perl rather than Python, but you can accomplish most of the same sorts of things with the same level of effort in either language and it just happens that I have a personal preference for Perl.

As for the question in 413, I'd say that C++ is exactly what you wouldn't want to learn first. If you feel like you actually want to learn a C variant, Obj-C or C# are much better choices. There are robust development tools for both (Xcode for Obj-C, Visual Studio for C#), and the environments for both are constructed in such a way that you don't have to write dangerously to get things done. The specifics of C++ are, well, ugly. Obj-C is an OO extension for C that behaves like Smalltalk in many ways; C# is like Java and C all mushed together.

Based on availability of training, if you really want to get into OO stuff for some reason C# would probably be the quickest thing to get you up and running. Python and Perl both let you get away with less formal knowledge, but the programmer's argument against Perl is that it makes it too easy to write bad programs.

Potato, potahto, spud, though. Take B and then figure out what particular language is going to be most commonly used in the places you want to work. With enough background in the principles you can switch between them pretty easily.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 04-14-09 11:56 AM
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