Weekend Navel Gazing: Old Boys Clubs



Murali did his undergraduate degree in molecular biology with a minor in biophysics from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He then changed direction and did his Masters in Philosophy also at NUS. Now, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

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93 Responses

  1. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    J.L. Wall is Jewish (unless I am very much mistaken.)

    For some reason we can’t get girls to write here. I would gladly change the name of the site to The League of Ordinary Ladies and Gentlemen if we could get a few female writers on board.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Also, Daniel is Jewish. I honestly don’t know the religious/ethnic make-up of everyone here. We are a bunch of dudes, though, so that’s something.

      If any girls want to write here they should email me.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        When Patrick asked me to contribute an essay on immigration for the lower section, I asked Joni Hersch at Vanderbilt through my nom de guerre here. Naturally she didn’t respond, probably thinking I’m just another Internet nutcase. She has some interesting stuff like like this that I think would be worth the “gentlemen” treatment.

        Perhaps if someone like Jason or Erik invited her directly?

        BTW Erik, this wasn’t the email I sent to, I used the one that is spam protected on the “Contact” page. In fact web trawlers have likely already snagged the mailto: you have above and you’re getting offers to rescue Nigerian millions as I write this. 🙂Report

      • Avatar J.L. Wall says:

        “Jewish with a goyische name” may be more accurate, so I don’t take offense.Report

      • Avatar Franz Liszt says:

        Okay ED, here is a brainteaser for you: I am not Jewish–pretty much split right down between Irish/German, but have been tested for “Jewishness”. Now how is that possible? No, this is not some deranged Hitler Youth Eugenics, Shockley craziness–this was Harvard Medical School.

        Now, what in the world am I talking about?Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Calling it the League of Ordinary Ladies and Gentlemen will look silly if the female contributors stiff us. Since this is the Internet, a good many contributors will stiff us. At least half have so far.Report

  2. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Also, I think ktward was simply asking if I’d be more open to expressing slightly more radical views outside the fairly libertarian sites I typically write for…which, as I said, would not be the case.Report

  3. Avatar James K says:

    I’m a white male atheist, so I fit the stereotype unquestionably.

    As to what to do about this, I suppose the only way to know is to ask the women who comment or lurk here. Would you like to contribute. Is there something we could do to make it more comfortable for you?Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      well, I’ve got a post that I’m working on… I don’t actually intend it to be antagonistic, but I’m playing off of one of Patrick’s responses to me…Report

  4. Avatar Jakecollins says:

    Few women possess the sociopathic narcissism to be a libertarian?Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      So, the way to demonstrate I’m not sociopathic is to prefer the use of force over voluntary organization? One of us certainly has a different conception of sociopathy than the other.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Few women possess the sociopathic narcissism to be a libertarian?

      It is certainly my understanding that this was originally a libertarian site, but it seems a bit of a stretch to think of it in those terms as it continues to evolve.

      Without going to the masthead to do a contributor review, I would list Erik, Ryan, C-Carr, Russell, Alex, Burt, Patrick, Shawn, Elias, Burt, Rufus, and myself as folks that either aren’t libertarian or if so just never write about being so.Report

      • Actually, when this site began back in January 2009, there were only 2 libertarians, one of whom rarely contributed. I REALLY need to do a post on this site’s history when I have some time. At the time, Erik was most decidedly anything but a libertarian, I think. Most would have viewed the site as being center-left on the whole, but we’ve always been conscious to avoid any particular ideological mission for the site.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Right. Because there’s nothing sociopathically narcissistic about “Make people give me stuff for free!” There are people at the OWS rallies demanding that their personal debts be cancelled, and we’re the self-centered ones.

      Best not to use words you don’t understand.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        … Libertarians are self-centered. As in the people running the Libertarian Party. The greens are just overly punctilious geeks.Report

  5. Avatar Johanna says:

    the obvious – the name of this blog.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I told them that we should be “Gentlepeeps” but my pleas fell on deaf ears.Report

      • Avatar Johanna says:

        Heh. I only got here via the spouse – To be honest this blog has been around long enough sans regular female perspectives it seems to be silly to be bothered by it now – or I could say again (this point has been brought up before yes?). Mostly – like Rufus said just not particularly interested.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I will say one of those things that I say all the time:

          If you’ve a hankering to see a female perspective: WRITE AN ESSAY! Dude. We will post it.

          I cannot provide a female perspective on stuff. Only you can. (Well, there are others who can, of course, but I’m not a member of that set.)Report

          • Avatar Johanna says:

            yeah well the things I find interesting wouldn’t necessarily draw what League regulars seem to love to debate on so I’ll pass. I agree with Rufus. Why would I want to write for the sake of adding a female perspective for a bunch of guys who don’t need and don’t regularly ask for it. Hell, I don’t think of this blog as exclusionary so I don’t see the big deal. Seems like over-sensitivity to me.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              the things I find interesting wouldn’t necessarily draw what League regulars seem to love to debate on

              Try us.

              We’re not *ALL* perpetual adolescents who argue stuff from a perspective of being steeped in cultural privilege! Some of us returned to adolescence after a period of adulthood!Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              May I be a dissenting voice here?

              As I said above, this isn’t a libertarian site any longer. And people post on everything from politics to education to food & wine to books, tv & movies to personal essays about their lives.

              Why not submit something on something you find really cool? Would I find something that strove to be in a female’s voice interesting? Maybe, maybe not. But I’d be pretty stoked to hear something in Johanna’s voice.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                I don’t see this as a libertarian blog and never have. It’s about culture and politics as a particular outgrowth of culture, on theoretical levels as well as practical. As far as libertarian ideas go I think it’s fair to say a lot of us have at least flirted with them. I’ve not only flirted with libertarianism but we dated for a while and are still on good terms despite going our separate ways.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

                Agreed. This site has a lot of libertarian and libertarian-ish perspectives but we’re much more diverse than that.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Both your strength and your weakness.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:


      Will a name change to a more gender neutral name make you feel better? Maybe that and a cup of warm milk, since these days the only thing that matters is catering to peoples feelings and their self esteem.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        You probably missed her saying that anyone worrying about these things, “Seems like over-sensitivity to me.”Report

        • Avatar Johanna says:

          Rufus – Exactly. The title is merely the first thing you see and a first impression. Attractive to women in a marketing sense? Nope. My initial comment was my drive by attempt at humor obviously taken far more sensitively than I imagined. If you find an interesting commentor that happens to fit the personality of this site is and is also female, I don’t imagine any hesitation for adding her into the blogroll. Sorry, but the invites to me feel more like when my guy friends in high school wanted me to play Dungeons and Dragons – I’m just not into that. I honestly wouldn’t be a good fit. I don’t have much to add to the types of conversations which are the mainstay of this site, hence I prefer to lurk. But really, to this female, I’m neither offended by the title, the subject matter, or the fact that this is primarily a boys club. Go forth and quit worrying.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Also, diversity of perspectives is good in that it keeps all lines of enquiry open. Its also good to balance out the non-epistemic factors which may go towards shaping our beliefs just so that the epistemic factors dominate.Report

  6. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    1. Maybe the name. Also, plenty of people find the things we talk about a bit boring. I can’t usually get my friends to read it. My wife hardly ever reads it.

    2. Not unless we’re obliviously discussing “what women really want” in every other thread.

    3. Maybe an open call for female contributors would help. Since most of the readers are males, probably not a lot though.

    4. Bear it in mind when gender issues come up here. Try not to piss of Tiger Beatdown again. Be polite.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      P.S. I was joking about Tiger Beatdown.

      Honestly, my sense from observing real world professional magazines is that trying to self-consciously add the “female perspective” tends to go really badly. Is there a specific female perspective on Libya? On Occupy Wall Street? Maybe. But most magazines, when they hire female writers to offer the “female perspective” are just paying them to be women when most writers just want to write about everything. The worst, in my opinion, is when magazines hire women writers and then assign all of them articles about relationships. It’s so obnoxious.

      So maybe just make it clear that we’d love to get contributions from anyone who has anything interesting to say.Report

  7. Avatar Scott says:

    This is navel gazing, so why bother?Report

  8. Avatar MFarmer says:

    It would be easier to ban ktward.Report

  9. Avatar Plinko says:

    Is Gawker averse to letting it’s writers post on other sites? io9 has several writers who happen to be female and interested in writing on subjects that seem to be of interest. Other than Alyssa, who seems to have a pretty good gig where she could post anything she would write here at, no one comes to mind as a natural fit, but I also read a pretty tight circle of blogs.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Wasn’t there a woman that had byline privileges a few months ago? What ever happened to her? (I can’t think of her name, though)Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe says:

    open thread question – is there a way to find old ‘Off the Cuff’ posts after they’ve scrolled off the sidebar?Report

  12. A blogger-friend of mine wrote an interesting essay that relates to this topic somewhat: http://dyske.com/paper/765Report

  13. Avatar ktward says:

    One of a few reasons I continue to read here: y’all have a spectacularly entertaining talent for transforming molehills located in one hemisphere into mountains planted in the other hemisphere.

    On occasion, I’m compelled to qualify an arguably imprecise comment. But this one comes as a curious surprise.

    The League is absolutely a Boys Club, and I wouldn’t at all see that changed. Just because gals aren’t regularly front-paging or frequently commenting doesn’t mean we aren’t reading and genuinely appreciating. Myself, I love the familial dynamics between the smart guys here. It’s like spying on a smokey cigared poker game between Aristotle and Plato and Nietzsche and … well, you get my meaning.

    80% of the time, were I to inject my non-Club persona and female sensibilities into the mix I might screw up the thread and miss the very insights I’ve come to value.

    So really, E.D. Don’t change a thing.Report

    • Avatar Johanna says:

      @ktward – agreed.Report

    • Avatar Meaghan says:

      I know what you mean kt. I do rather enjoy spying on boys from time to time. This just gives a format to do so.

      I have just recently discovered this site so take my comments with a grain of salt. I will echo ktward and say “don’t change a thing”. It is what it is. Don’t fix what ain’t broke. There are way too many girls clubs out there for you to worry about it.Report

  14. I am an atheist with a predominantly Jewish heritage, social democratic young, white dude. I also have had a lot of people ask me why I blog here, but I used to tell them it’s a pretty liberaltarian type of place — and lately with the additions of Tod and Shawn and Erik’s continual evolutions, ideologically, I don’t think I would even grant the “tarian” description anymore. I’d say this place is best described as an earnest, somewhat high-brow but not wonk-y place that could use more females (and perhaps a little more gonzo); but that is basically just a place for polisci nerds and fellow travelers to yak it up.

    The lurk-y, drive-by readership does appear to be much more right-wing than the actual masthead, though, which I think is interesting and curious and have always wondered about.Report

  15. Avatar Char says:

    Gentlemen, I enjoy this site as a reader.  I am a mid-30’s white female corporate-type married mom with diverse interests (tech to public policy to economics; cooking, food, and wine; books, movies, and t.v.) and a capitalist libertarian.  This group tends to be intelligent, thoughtful, and truly interesting.  I don’t think you need to spend much time navel gazing on this one.  Just be who you are.

    In another time I would love to weigh in regularly.  I certainly have no shortage of strong, well-thought opinions, but my employer currently gets the majority of such efforts.  For now, the demands I have permit me the indulgence of reading only.  I suspect I’m not the only one who enjoys reading but doesn’t typically comment.  Please do keep up the thoughtful discourse so the rest of us can enjoy it!