The Left’s Continued War on Women


Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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149 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Both Countries do it?Report

  2. Avatar veronica dire says:

    Ah, the supposed limitations of the female brain.

    You know, it’s weird; these things like hit me two ways. In one way, it’s super offensive and obviously false, since like, I’m a math genius who works for a big tech company doing really hard shit with optimization theory. Which is really cool.

    Like, I promise you I’m 10,000 times smarter than these turd-boys. I do math for fun.

    So yay big brains on girls!

    On the other hand, I know that people will dismiss this fact ’cause I’m trans.

    So, yeah, it all just sucks.

    I’m not sure if I have a point.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      Seriously, @veronica-dire , you raise an interesting issue. On the one hand, as good liberals, we’re supposed to categorically reject gender essentialism. Yet on the other hand, we’re supposed to embrace you as a girl despite your genitalia (which I do).

      Well… something is causing you to feel, and has made you always feel, like a girl, yes? Just like I’ve always felt like a guy and, in fact, find female thought processes a bit mystifying at times. If that difference between us isn’t in the brain, likely some subtle structural difference, then where and what is it? I suppose you could go spiritual and speak of a male and female “soul” but that’s still a essential difference, right. It’s even more true to the dictionary meaning of “essence.”

      So if there’s that kind of difference, whatever and whyever that is, between the brains of boys and girls, why is it verboten to speculate on other brain-specific differences? We’re almost certainly talking about differences in group means that are orders of magnitude smaller than differences within groups, so it’s silly to make much of practically. But it can make no practical difference and still exist on the margins. By the way, I say this as the parent of a daughter that was one of only two or three kids to get a perfect score on the math assessment at her school last year. /brag 🙂Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        I think the key to untangling that paradox is to understand that any systematic differences between men and women will be general tendencies – not absolutes. People, after all, are complicated.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @road-scholar — The reason you must be careful in talking about these things can be clearly seen by looking at what actually gets said, by whom, and with what preconceptions. You should also consider who is receptive to which messages. How are these results reported? Which studies get attention? Which do not? In what ways are the complex statistical results “dumbed down” for the public? Exactly what language is used to communicate these results to people who don’t know what p-values are? What happens when they get repeated on blogs, or at the dinner table, or by fools at the pub? What do they look like when they finally become folklore?

        Yes, there is an object truth about human brains. Sex/Gender probably has some (slight) correlation with various mental faculties. But what does that have to do with some halfwit pontificating about the “spacial abilities” in men, often to women who are smarter than he is?Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @james-k — I think what happens is this: in our culture men are supposed to be smarter than women. They are supposed to be higher status. This message is reinforced constantly in many ways, again and again. It runs deep.

        But of course it is false. Plenty of women are smarter than the average man and plenty of men are dumber than the average woman. (At least on any particular topic. Myself, I don’t believe smart and dumb are absolute things. I’m great at math but a staggering fool in other ways.)

        Thing is, this puts men and women in a bind, even men and women who want to be pro-woman, pro-feminism. The reason is this: if the woman actually uses her intelligence in a way to raise her status, for instance if she speaks with authority or is given the lead role on a technical project, it will feel (perhaps subtly) emasculating to the man. It will hurt him in small ways.

        In fact, the situation will feel unnatural to him. It will seem somehow wrong. And even if he means well, this will affect his perceptions and his behavior.

        Which is utter bullshit and totally crappy and totally unfair to women.

        And it sucks for the dudes also — not as much as it sucks for the woman, but nevertheless.

        The root cause of all of this, of course, is the false notion that men should be smarter than women, more serious, the leader, the speaker, the knower. If we could put to rest that bullshit the world would be a better place.

        We’re unlikely to fix this anytime soon.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        The actual research on brain differences is really, really fascinating (also, not academic).

        There are male brains, there are female brains, and then there’s the about 10% of us who have something in the middle (and that runs along a continuum, too).

        The folks in the middle tend to be sort of fucked up (a bit of that’s cultural, probably). But it’s also where we get most of our geniuses from. Part of the idea is that a critical level of testosterone affects motivation… but the other part is that testosterone is brain poison — too much really, really gaks the intelligence.

        And the fun part is that gendering isn’t super-correlated with what kind of brain you’ve got. I’ve always felt mostly like a woman, though I suspect folks would call me a bit butch. V, who probably has around the same braintype as I do, probably has always felt more girly than me. My husband, who has a surprisingly similar braintype to mine has always felt like a guy.

        Life ain’t liberal, people ain’t the same. But people also aren’t binary.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @kim — My gender history is really messed up and complicated. But I didn’t always feel “girly,” well, not exactly. Looking back there was always something there, but I can never quite pinpoint it.

        But I pursued masculine-coded tasks, math, computers — I even trained at an MMA gym for a while, doing BJJ and Muay Thai (and I still think grappling is an amazing sport and would like to do it again if I wasn’t terrified to stepping into a BJJ gym).

        So it’s all very weird. I’m definitely femme, but I mean that in terms of the queer identity. I’m femme-as-fuck, femme like razors.

        But none of this has anything to do with how I feel about my body. That’s a different kind of thing, really hard to go into. But I can say this: my brain was hungry of estrogen and now that it has it I feel alive. But more, my brain was meant to be in a woman’s body. It knew what sort of body it was meant to have, and I basked in an indescribable wrongness for most of my life, and I had no idea what was happening.

        As the hormones took affect, that wrongness became a rightness. But our language lacks tools to express this well.

        I’m thinking of maybe doing a guest post someday on something I find a mystery: Clearly being trans is a physical thing. It is about how I relate to my body. But it is also a social thing, how I want to be seen, how I want to relate.

        Those seem like separate things. But they line up for me. They line up for most people. Why?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Veronica Dire, I think that in traditional sexism men were seen as more intelligent, ratioanl, and logical than women, who were generally depicted as emotional and not that bright. In modern American culture, at least as far as TV and movies are concerned, women are depicted as being the more intelligent, common-sense gender while men are a bunch of dumb, doofuses. Intellectually-inclined men generally don’t get fair treatment in modern American culture. At best, we are depicted as socially maladjusted and lacking common sense. At worse, it is unmany to be intelligent.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I’d be delighted to read that guest post. Absolutely thrilled.

        In Eurocentric sexism, men were seen as oversexed animals, and women were seen as ice princesses, the people who brought culture to the Wild West. That this existed alongside the idea that men were more “intelligent and cold-hearted” is interesting, no?

        Traditional sexism is a far more multifaceted beast, as it exists across many cultures (for example: Islamic culture holds that women have far more sexual desire than men do).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I don’t think we ought to take comedies as the “word of God” about our cultural preconceptions. Women with masculine sounding names routinely go into math and science at a far higher rate than other women, despite having roughly equal ability.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @leeesq — You’re right about the “dumb men in commercials” thing; it’s really gross and offensive and I don’t smile and nod when I see such things.

        However, there is science that proves your broad point incorrect. Patriarchy remains at work, and that which codes feminine continues to be dismissed as frivolous. (For example, compare how sports are discussed versus high fashion. Neither is inherently more “serious.” Both make much money. But the latter faces a higher degree of scorn.)

        Conversation dynamics remain heavily tilted in favor of men. This is measurable. Classrooms are a popular object of study, no doubt due to ease of access, and the results are stark. Male students get called on much more. This is easily measurable. However, when questioned, the students are unable to accurately estimate the level of imbalance. One study (sorry, no link) found that when female students were given even 20% of classroom time to speak, it was perceived as unfairly tilted in their favor.

        Understand that: even 20% of classroom time is perceived as too much time for women.

        This is easy to understand from the perspective of feminism. Since men are supposed to be the smart ones, and women are supposed to be quiet, except when discussing frivolous things, the students sense any serious speech by women as too much speech.

        (By the way, this is not necessarily true when the teacher is a woman, where there is a clear and socially reinforced position of status. This is about student time, where the statuses are in question.)

        Likewise on the perceptions of diversity. A room with fifteen white men and one or two women or minorities is perceived as diverse, given the mere presence of women and minorities. However, if the women or minorities are assertive, speak with authority, take up time and space, etc., they are perceived as demanding, bossy, or disruptive. It is an entirely broken dynamic.

        People don’t realize that their perceptions are off, and this includes yours and mine. This stuff has to be measured.

        Against all this we get to see men treated badly in commercials about domestic chores. It hardly seems like satisfactory compensation.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Many women experience a day of mental discomfort as their menses approaches; we call it “PMS.” While all women will vary, and many have no issues, there are good numbers of women who experience something akin to rage. For me, it was this feeling that everyone one else was wrong, somehow, and I NEEDED to correct them, I’d become very combative and aggressive.

        This is, I suspect, the closest a cis woman may be able to get to the discomfort of trans people without hormone replacement therapy.

        My dad died of prostate cancer. In the decade he lived with the disease, he was given estrogen to help prevent the cancer’s growth; and he claimed a constant discomfort, much as my trans friends describe, and similar to my day-of-rage when I had PMS.

        So yes, I think it is a definite hormone/brain-wiring thing. And for many people, just a few weeks on HRT will indicate if they have more comfort with a different balance; this is short enough to not cause any long-term physical changes, and something that should be available to anyone who has discomfort in their own skin and wants to see if transition would help them achieve that comfort.

        But we put a whole lot of gatekeepers in the way. Shameful of us. Completely shameful.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @zic — Yes, the gatekeeping continues to be a great injustice. For example, a friend just moved to a new town and had to search several months to find a doctor who was both on her plan and would prescribe estrogen to her. She saw many doctors who said no.

        She has ample medical records showing she was under care here in Boston, that she had already been psychologically evaluated, etc. Plus, she is post-surgical.

        I’ll repeat that last part: she is a post-surgical trans women, with a vagina, with no natural gonads in her body to produce any hormones at all, and more than one fuckhead doctor said no.

        They would just let her wither I suppose. Fuckers.

        (Sorry, this gets me furious.)

        (This was in Seattle. No, really.)

        Did you know that some trans women deliberately cycle progesterone so they can experience (some aspects of) menses? I haven’t done this, but I’ve thought about it.

        It’s hard to explain, but I think it’s about shared experience, getting as close as we can.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Kim, the idea that men are oversexed and women aren’t is relatively recent. It dates from around the Victorian Age. Women’s sexual purity was always important but the old idea was that women were lustful, tempters of men. This kind of goes back a real long time, Eve, Circe, and company.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Kim, the idea that men are oversexed and women aren’t is relatively recent. It dates from around the Victorian Age. Women’s sexual purity was always important but the old idea was that women were lustful, tempters of men. This kind of goes back a real long time, Eve, Circe, and company.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        You’re right, of course. Humans are weird, and suppressing our sex drive has been a key way we have managed to establish and maintain civilization.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Figured I’d slide this in while I had the link up:
        “. “There is genetic variance in how much testosterone someone has at birth, and there are certain things that can enhance or diminish that,” explains Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott, a prominent researcher on the science of ideology who authored a recent book chapter on hormones and politics. “One of those things that enhance that is muscle mass—if you build muscle mass, you enhance” your testosterone levels.

        What might this have to do with politics? While direct research linking testosterone to ideology is lacking, researchers have recently published data tying muscle mass to political preferences. One study shows that rich men with large biceps are more opposed to wealth redistribution than rich men with small biceps. Another study finds that weightlifting ability correlates with support for, er, a more muscular foreign policy. Plus, get this: Men with wider faces (an indicator of testosterone levels) have been found to be more willing to outwardly express prejudicial beliefs than their thin-faced counterparts.”

        You might be asking what the hell this proves about testosterone and intelligence. Intelligence, true intelligence, is about linking together knowledge into networks, it’s about finding new and insightful pairings — it’s about seeking novelty. This article provides some evidence that folks experiencing excessive testosterone may be more likely to avoid novelty — other people or other ideas.Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        I think you’re right about the cultural dynamic. For that reason we should be exceedingly cautious about any claims that women are
        less intelligent or less rational than men – there are some serious cultural confounds to consider.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @kim — You like to go way out on the limb, don’t you?

        Have you read Pearl’s Causality? If not, you should. It’s full of delicious Bayesian graphs and lots of math.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        no, not really. The military does plenty of research on this sort of stuff.
        (in all fairness, the military does plenty of research on all sorts of stuff!
        Darpa’s research with rats went far better than it’s research with cats).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        seriously, you should see some of the identical twin research done with testosterone… (It’s an easy hormone to manipulate. I think they did it with football practice).Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        One more cite, and I’m bringing it well back to spatial reasoning, strangely enough.

        … today appears to be my “I have time to google” day.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Not taking away anything from you V, but the VAST majority of women I’ve encountered have poor spacial ability and directional sense. I don’t consider that an “inferiority”, but I do consider it a difference.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        My spatial ability is in the superior range @damon, far better than most of the men I’ve worked with on projects where strong spatial skills were necessary. I suspect this difference you’re seeing has other components to it — first is the kind of play (boys given blocks, girls dolls, etc.), second is the types of activities you were using to judge; a thing you commonly engaged in vs. something new to them.

        As far as directional ability; that’s just a weird thing in our culture. I spent a couple of months asking people what direction the front of their house faced; hardly anyone knew. I’d help them figure it out based on where they could identify the sun being in certain parts of the day. But my experience suggests most people have some sort of map in their mind’s eye, but that that map is not hooked to compass points, and they simply don’t bother to think directionally, they think in terms of way stops along known paths. The more someone had experience in wilderness without roads, the more likely their internal map was fixed to a compass.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        There are robust differences in spatial reasoning between men and women, but these a population level differences, with the two distributions overlapping a great deal. If the vast majority of women you’ve known have had very poor spatial reasoning skills, then either the law of small numbers is in effect or your own biases are coloring your perception of their performance.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @zic — I’ve always known which way my house or apartment faces, mostly ’cause I look at maps. In fact, I think I’m fairly sensitive to compass direction and feel really disoriented (heh, literally) when it gets all turned around (such as exiting a strange subway station).

        So of course Boston is the ideal city for me!Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Well, can’t be my biases since it’s patently obvious that they’re lost. So either they have poor spacial orientation or they just aren’t paying attention. I conceed it could be the “not paying attention”. One did admit she was a crappy driver. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Dude, it doesn’t count if you’re /trying/ to get them to not pay attention.

        [Seriously, there’s a big methodological problem where folks will remember the most egregious examples — you might be failing to account for all the women who actually did know directions reasonably well.]Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        I’m going to use @damon as evidence of my assertion that men are lousy at statistics!

        (Warning: post might be ironic.)Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Well, I WASN’T trying to get them to not pay attention. I doubt that my ex wife would be influenced by “my charms” should I even try. The one that admitted she was a terrible driver, sterotypically, was Asian, which gave me a chuckle. I would conceed that “my charms” COULD have influenced her but she did admit to me her poor driving record before I was in in “charm” mode. 🙂

        @ veronica dire
        Well now, I never claimed my “data” was statistically significant. Only anectodal. 🙂Report

      • Avatar KatieS says:

        @damon I have a better sense of direction than most men I’ve met. I absolutely hate not knowing where I am spatially. It only happens sometimes if I fly into a totally unfamiliar place. And “spacial”? Learn to spell.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:


        Thanks for your kind works KatieS!Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        My dictionary lists “spacial” as an variant spelling for “spatial.”

        (And ragging folks for their spelling errors on a forum where we cannot edit our posts seems kinda petty.)

        (It’s also kind of petty, if you insist.)Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre says:


        There are robust differences in spatial reasoning between men and women, but these a[re] population level differences, with the two distributions overlapping a great deal.

        What’s the typical effect size of the difference (e.g. z-score of difference in means after normalization, or some alternative descriptive statistic that I could look up the definition of)?

      • Avatar Chris says:


        Cohen’s d‘s ranging from .2 to 1.5 or higher, depending on the particular test, spatial ability (there are several, including spatial reasoning, spatial visualization, and spatial perception, most of which show sex differences consistently), and experimental conditions. In the mental rotation task, which is probably the most commonly used spatial reasoning task, they range from around .4 (or lower) to 1.3 (or higher). The differences in mental rotation performance begin to appear in infancy.

        You can do a version of the mental rotation task here:

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @chris — Looks fun. I’ll have to try it when I’m not drunk.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Veronica, given the relationship between spatial reasoning ability and secondary math ability, I assume you’ll do quite well… sober.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @chris — And I really don’t like the language used to report these findings. I mean, I’m not blaming the scientists, who are writing by and for educated people, but a statement such as “Past research has established that whereas females excel on measures of perceptual speed or verbal fluency, males consistently outperform females on certain tests of spatial ability” (from here:

        The problem is obvious: most people don’t quite get that this is a discussion of the mean. Instead, it seems natural to think in terms of “all women” (including those women at work) versus “all men” (including all that sent a resume this week).

        I do think it would be worth the extra verbiage to say “the average among men exceeded the average among women, but that X% of women out-performed the average man and X% of men did more poorly than the average woman.”

        Which, by the way, the article is kinda skimpy on the actual data, giving us p-scores and F-scores aplenty, but not the underlying data (which, given that there were only 50+ participant would have been possible in the article). I notice their box chart only shows one SD out, which gives me no clue the full range of results. I’d like to see that. They don’t even say if this appeared normally distributed. That would be an interesting fact.

        (Okay, I should not criticize too much a study from 1997, grabbed randomly from Google scholar. But still, this is giving facts but not the whole truth, and given the abuses associated with gender the whole truth matters a lot.)

        (This article seems better, at least from a quick glance at the charts:

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Veronica, it’s not standard to include raw data in psychology publications, unless absolutely necessary. The means, standard deviations, and/or 95% confidence intervals, maybe the minimum and maximum scores, along with the results of statistical tests (usually t-tests, ANOVA, and chi-squared), are usually presented, and raw data is made available upon written (which can include electronic) request, which should include a reason why the data is needed.

        If they present enough data, the mean and the spread, along with the sample size, and a discussion of any outliers, should be sufficient to evaluate the results. For some types of data, scatter plots will help, for others charts with some measure of spread will do.

        And the highly overlapping distributions point I was making above is definitely important in interpreting findings like these.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @chris — Fair enough, and I’m not going to tell Psych folks how to run their science. But as a lay person I could not read that study and figure out the question that interests me: how many women are better than the average dude and how many men did more poorly than the average woman? I think that is a really important thing to keep in mind.

        If I assume the data is normal, of course, I can estimate. Fine. But data like this seems unlikely to be normal.

        Anyway, my stats knowledge is rather uneven, as I’ve never really done stats for a science publication or anything like that. Instead, I do machine learning stuff, where I have tons of data and I can power through with bootstrapping and boosting and so on, and I see I did stuff right because my code gives the right answers.

        That’s a rather different kind of stats.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        But as a lay person I could not read that study and figure out the question that interests me: how many women are better than the average dude and how many men did more poorly than the average woman? I think that is a really important thing to keep in mind

        The stats that they’re using in most of those studies assume that the underlying population distributions are approximately normal, and since the statistics they use are meant to tell you something about the population, not just the sample, it’s likely a valid assumption. So you can, knowing the means and standard deviations of the two (or more) populations they’re comparing, get a good idea of how much overlap there is in the two distributions, and therefore the probability of any given member of one distribution being higher than, say, the average of the other distribution. It will be an estimate, but so would be knowing the actual values of each member of the samples.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I’d just e-mail the professor. he’s either going to send you the data, or run the stats himself (presuming the data hasn’t been lost, in which case he’s likely to refer you to someone doing more current research).

        I agree, there are some comparisons that a science writer ought to be doing.

        And I have heard some hilarious stories about machine learning (Analog had a fun piece about computers hallucinating…)Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      But this kind of gender essentialism is great for mathematicians, because everyone thinks of them as the masculine ideal.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        Oh, totally. Broad chested. Rock hard abs. Slow, silky voice, just low enough. Hazel eyes, broad smile, and a whisper into my ear, “Oh, Veronica, you’re as pretty as a covariant hom-functor under a clear blue sky.”

        It’s like pretty much bliss.Report

  3. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Since we are punching hippies, can I take a couple of swings at race relations?Report

  4. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Ya’ know, I probably shouldn’t wade into this, since the official opinion of this site seems to be that a normally law abiding person jaywalking is much worse and more attention should be paid to it than a serial killer also raping somebody, but by everything I’ve read, the Ontario Liberal Party is a centrist to center-left, neoliberal-ish, type of party, that bluntly, some of the BSDIers on this site would be pretty comfortable in.

    All the evil hippies and leftists like me are probably voting NDP in the coming provincial election.Report

    • Avatar Dave says:

      since the official opinion of this site seems to be that a normally law abiding person jaywalking is much worse and more attention should be paid to it than a serial killer also raping somebody

      If it makes you feel better, when we voted on the site’s “official position”, the serial killer lost by one vote. It was closer than we all expected.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I find that when I’m trying to make a point to someone, the best way for me to convey both that I’m not inherently histrionic, and that I do not in fact see things in strictly black and white, us vs. them terms, is to compare my interlocutor’s position to the view that rape and murder ain’t that bad. I get a lot of mileage out of that one.

      Seriously, some of these posts are like reflex hammers.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @chris I’m just a horrible ideologue anyway, so why should I care?Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:

        Yeah it is the liberals in Canada who are the racist sexists global warming denialists because false equivalency. One example that is milder is just as bad as somethig much more extreme that is near ubiquitous.

        And when 2016 rolls around, the same folks will say voting for a D or an R is the same thing because they are both equally bad, which is a vile thing to say really and truly.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Jessie, ideologue? I was thinking partisan. I mean, you couldn’t help say this in reply to a post about Canadian politics, because it used the word “left” in the title.

        Looking at the Liberal Party’s accomplishments in the 20th century (on Wikipedia, ’cause I know jack about Canadian politics), I wish our “left” were that “centrist”, by the way. I mean, they went single payer health care, while our “left” went Republican half-hearted, never intended to be taken seriously, and stripped of its most important (and perhaps only remotely “left”) element anyway health care. But yeah, they’re in the center in Canada, so be sure to note that if something negative they do gets unduly associated with your team via the use of the word “left.” Use an analogy to rape while you’re at it. That will make it look like you care about ideas, or ideology, at all, surely.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Setting aside the hyperbole and the wierd attribution of opinions to the commentariate by and large that it doesn’t share (though I guess it’s good news that the righties think we’re leftists and the leftists think we’re righties) Jesse does have a point. The Liberals have been historically a pretty pragmatic and neoliberalish party in Canada leaving the roles of moustache twirling right wing buffoonery to the Tories and pure leftish utterly ineffectal but well intentioned naifs to the NDP.Report

      • Wynne is clearly running to the left in this election.Report

      • My impression was roughly similar to North’s and (I guess) somewhat similar to Jesse’s, even though I don’t sign on to the anti-BSDI heckler veto bandwagon.

        My knowledge of Canadian politics pretty much stops at 1940 (and even pre-1940 my knowledge isn’t too great), so I’ll take Jonathan at his word about how the current alignments shake down.Report

      • I’ll add that having come very late to this thread, I should’ve read the sub-thread down yonder, where these issues were hashed out a little more and more mutual respect was cultivated, before I wrote my “heckler veto” comment. For the record, if I recall correctly, I was one of the first persons Tod called out for using the “false equivalency” trope. I hope I learned my lesson.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    I think David Mossey’s posting should have said “MEN take notice”.

    Every hetero dude would prefer the pic on the right to the left baring vast wealth owned by the left pic person 🙂Report

  6. NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

    Not to be humorless and drab, but I feel like trivializing the phrase “war on women” by this sort of trite gotcha-ism really does seem to try to mansplain why politics is bad.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Not to be even more humorless and drab, but it seems to me that the minute we name *anything* via the trite political rhetorical metaphor “War On…” we inherently trivialize and misapprehend the actual issues we are trying to ameliorate.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I think “the war on women” is a reasonable rhetorical device when talking about policies that genuinely harm the quality of life of women, and threaten their economic and political equality, which is what the constant attacks on women’s reproductive freedom, equal pay, and the progress in fighting domestic violence are. It is hyperbole, sure, but hyperbole that serves to highlight the actual damage being done. “Attack” would be less hyperbolic, but would under-emphasize the pervasiveness of it.

      I think Tod was probably using the phrase ironically, to highlight either what he sees as liberal hypocrisy, or the absurdity of the phrase (in his view), or both. It’s clear now that it was an unfortunate use, because he opened himself up charges of false equivalency, and it has allowed the hard core Democrats here to ignore his point about sexism from liberals when a woman is perceived as threatening the team.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Here’s an example of the War on Women.

        It’s the reason the left is (shamefully) willing to throw someone like Lewinsky under the bus; it’s the balancing of the greater good vs. the individual good. I believe it’s possible support both policies that benefit women and to support individual women’s right to not be victims when liberal men misbehave, but it’s a message that needs some careful crafting. We wouldn’t be having this conversation of Hillary wasn’t looking like the front runner for the Dem nomination, and there’s little doubt: if she’s the nominee, she’ll promote policies better for all women than any Republican contender to the throne.

        As I’ve said elsewhere, Hillary Clinton has got to thread the needle here: what Bill did was a form of on-the-job sexual harassment, and unacceptable behavior. What the Congress and press did to Lewinsky in the wake of Bill’s misdeeds was far, far worse, however; it’s on a par with the mistreatment of women on display in that link above — total failure to have any consideration of how taking this action will impact individual women’s real lives; treatment of them as disposable and beneath consideration. That’s the war on women.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Zic, regardless of whether you see yourself as being on a team, we can always count on you not to ignore sexism, and to bring it into the light, and into perspective. It’s one of the many reasons why you are a valuable member of this community.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        ” It’s clear now that it was an unfortunate use, because he opened himself up charges of false equivalency, and it has allowed the hard core Democrats here to ignore his point about sexism from liberals when a woman is perceived as threatening the team.”

        Yes, because it’s so clear BSDI wouldn’t have been mentioned once if not for that one small joke.


      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:

        I am glad Chris disagrees with the claim that the left or liberals (in general, not just an outlier or two) have joined and continued the war on women (not just acted sexist in one or two ways.)

        It is a gross false equivalence to say otherwise. And it is this sort of gross distortion of reality that makes people think voting for an R is usually not that much worse than voting for a D. It is really, really much worse.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:

        It may have been said half in jest but it is part of a clear pattern of thinking on behalf of many here that both the D’s and R’s are equally bad lozard people. We should not be liberal or conservative in our thinking but rather libertarian or post-ideological. And we will be very ideological about our post-ideologicalism and BSDI centrism.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @shazbot3 “It may have been said half in jest but it is part of a clear pattern of thinking on behalf of many here that both the D’s and R’s are equally bad lozard people. ”

        With all due respect, saying my body of posts is a pattern of “the D’s and R’s are equally bad” at anything requires either limited reading comprehension, a pretty purposefully disingenuous misrepresentation, or not actually bothering to read what I write.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I disagree that “What the Congress and press did to Lewinsky in the wake of Bill’s misdeeds was far, far worse,” Congress exploited someone. That person’s sex had no relevance. Congress would have exploited whoever it was. It is, after all, politics.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @damon seriously imagine that she was your sister or daughter; and tell me if you still feel that way. Here she is, twenty years on, and she’s still the brunt of cigar jokes, etc.

        There is also this whole dynamic of power and women (something I’m probably going to write about here), that has some historic weight to examine. But women traditionally didn’t hold power, except through their sexuality; and when they attempted to get close to power using their sexuality, they are still often slut shamed for it.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Tod, you were going to get pushback, to be sure, because some people are team players, and if you criticize their team at all, even if you do it validly, they’re going to react harshly. But if you just ignore the other side altogether, then if anyone’s guilty of BSDI, it will be the team players who inevitably say, “But the conservatives are so much more sexist, can’t you see?!?”Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        @shazbot3 , The 3 model is a bit more difficult to comprehend than the 11 or 9 models, I think, because your comments here have been kinda difficult to parse. But yeah, I don’t think the Republicans and Democrats are exactly the same. I do think that Democrats are pretty awful, but on issues like reproductive freedom and health care they make themselves less awful than Republicans. Of course, given how many legislative victories Republicans are winning across the country on issues of reproductive freedom, I’m not sure the Democrats talking a better game matters that much.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Zic, my point, perhaps not clear, was that what Congress did to her wasn’t because she was a woman, they’d have done essentially the same if it was a man, because it was politically advantageous to do it.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Truly? Because they really didn’t when the congressional page story came out. A boy spoke up and nobody demonized him.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        Kim has it exactly correct. Or my TX example (linked above) where defunding family planning clinics results in an increase in untreated cervical cancer and unplanned pregnancies. While they’re busy thinking about the ‘unborn babies,’ they are not actually doing the real work of considering how playing politics with women’s lives actually has repercussions in women’s lives.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Kim, Congress was looking for anything against Clinton, so yeah, if a man / boy would have been involved, they would have used him just like they used Monica.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        oh, zic!
        you assume that what they say is what they want!
        No, the right wants unplanned pregnancies, unwed mothers —
        plenty of little girls to shame and squander.

        Women, given their druthers, make sane rational decisions
        on pregnancies and childbirth. The right, faced with (in their eyes)
        a demographic crisis, seeks to do the “natural” thing and prevent
        women from certain aspects of decision-making. [Natural in that throughout
        history, women have been forced to bear children at sometimes dangerous rates. I’m not trying to deny our forebearers agency — women could and did
        take things into their own hands, but they were not without opposition]Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        the example I cited is roughly similar, in that by degrading that lad, the politicians would have enhanced Republican prestige, and cost Democrats some political points.

        And yet? Nothing of the sort happened.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @damon — The point is not that Ms. Lewinsky was targeted for being a woman. Instead, the point is that, because she was a woman, her abusers had certain tools available, which when deployed essentially ruined her life, and which would not have been available were she a man. In other words, it is not the motivations for the abuse, but the capacity to abuse, that takes on a specific gendered character.

        Keep in mind, sexism is not the only form of injustice in the world. And (most) feminists (that I know) see their gender-based activism as one part in a larger social justice framework. For example, modern views of patriarchy no longer see it as an entirely gendered phenomena. Instead, we see it as a piece within a larger puzzle of social power relationships. The pithy version is this: patriarchy oppresses women, but it ranks men, and men on the wrong side of that ranking suffer also.

        So under this framework, the story of Ms. Lewinsky illustrates a certain sort of gendered and sexualized injustice, which largely is targeted on women. It is not the only sort of injustice that ever occurs. But we women find it persistent and deeply harmful. Monica Lewinsky was a victim of this, and liberals who claim to be feminists took part.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 says:


        Tod, you were going to get pushback, to be sure, because some people are team players, and if you criticize their team at all, even if you do it validly, they’re going to react harshly. But if you just ignore the other side altogether, then if anyone’s guilty of BSDI, it will be the team players who inevitably say, “But the conservatives are so much more sexist, can’t you see?!?”

        You are on a team, too. You are on team centrist. And you are a great team player.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 says:

        D’s also better on:

        Comprehensive Immigration Reform and not being Anti-Latino Racists
        Not constantly denying basic science like liars and idiots
        Supporting voting Rights Act and not being intensely racist
        Not becoming goldbug idiots
        Progressive taxation and fiscal equality (Yay death tax?)
        Gay rights
        Favoring small-bore, moderate responses to climate change
        Providing basic assistance to the poor and indigent and the unemployed
        Social Security held stable or increased and protecting the elder-poor
        Realistic budgets
        Surpreme Court appointees who aren’t insane monsters
        Reasonable small-bore gun-control legislation
        Opposing and not supporting Islamaphobia

        On and on and on and onReport

      • Avatar Chris says:

        You know that you have lost all perspective when you figure that anyone who criticizes your team must be closer to your primary opposition than you are, simply by virtue of the fact that they criticized your team.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 says:


        I am glad that you think the R’s are awful and the D’s much better and that the war on women is 99.999999% from conservatives and the primary opposition to it is the hippy liberals.

        A better headline would be “A few of those who are traditional defenders of women against conservative mysogyny occasionally don’t live up to their own correct feminist standards.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Comprehensive Immigration Reform and not being Anti-Latino Racists

        I’m assuming that you’re not basing this on deportation numbers. You can argue that the democrats are better on deportations, though! Hey, and don’t forget busting medicinal MJ joints and blowing up people with drones. Democrats have much better numbers than Republicans on both of those too!Report

      • Avatar Shazbot2 says:

        I am assuming that you are on a team. Nothing more.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Shaz, so wait, Chris is a centrist now? This just gets funnier and funnier.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’m a Republican, Chris is a Centrist, Rtod is a backstabbing heretic.

        At least you know not to trust Republicans or Centrists.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        You are on a team, too. You are on team centrist. And you are a great team player.

        I am assuming that you are on a team. Nothing more.

        Dude, you wrote those comments like 12 minutes apart. We’re going to have to get you some ginko or whatever it is that is being marketed as a memory enhancer these days.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:


        D’s also better on: blah blah, more blah blah blah followed by even more blah blah blah blah

        Given the general level of physical fitness of the hippies, I strongly advise against patting one’s self on the back too many times. It may lead to a shoulder injury.

        As for me, call me the Captain of Team Hippie Puncher.

        Head or chest?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        “Tod, I am glad that you think the R’s are awful and the D’s much better and that the war on women is 99.999999% from conservatives and the primary opposition to it is the hippy liberals.”

        Pardon my language here, but what the fuck are you talking about? Can you point me to one post or comment I have ever written in my 2+ years here where I have ever called liberals hippies?

        Sheesh. Word salad.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Well @shazbot2 is right. You guys may not be on an ideological team. But, it is a team. It’s “Team Above It All.”Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        This conversation has become petty.

        That said, I think there is something to the “above it all” quip — even if it was delivered in obvious bad faith. “Above it all” is its own sort of phony pose.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:


        Given my height, I’m not above anything…ever.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        My this is a pissy sub thread. Criticizing D’s or liberals when they fail isn’t being above it all. It seems to me to be trying to be intellectually honest. No ones side is perfect or right all the time. We move forward by admitting when our side fails. D’s are typically far better on womens issues, IMHO, that doesn’t mean they may not exhibit sexism or any number of other problems. We need to do better.

        There are some, who generally don’t identify as R’s or D’s, who project themselves as above it all, but they tend to be the non-aligned people. They are just sort of blind to their own teams though.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Pointing out that some people here simply cannot help but react to any criticism of their team with a combination of “But the other side is worse!” and “This is just more holier-than-thou BSDI nonsense!” (which, in combination, are kind of funny if you think abouIt it) doesn’t suggest that one is above it all. It just suggests that one has eyes.

        I mean, there were good comments on Tod’s thread pushing back against his narrative. Then there were comments like Jesse’s here, which suggested that because Tod had the temerity to point out that some liberals were being rather sexist, it meant that Tod (and anyone who agrees with him, presumably) believes that, in his analogy, jaywalking is worse than murder and rape. I will admit that it’s not hard to feel that one is above that bullshit.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        Well, yeah, that I agree with. Anyone trying to score cheap rhetorical points using the crime of rape is a pretty crappy person in my book. So, yeah.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Can I ask a question about the concept of “Team Above It All”?

        I’m not interested in debating the proposition itself; let’s assume for now that those so accused truly DO think they are Above It All.

        And I fully concede at the outset that this could just be selection bias at work – this is one of the only political blogs I visit regularly, in large part ’cause the rest are too annoying (though I swear if we seriously start erroneously treating clearly self-deprecating usages of the phrase “mackin'” as evidence of sexism here, it will revoke this blog’s favored status toot suite) and this blog has vanishing few conservatives on it.

        But why is it that I seemingly only ever see the “you think you’re above it all BUT YOU’RE NOT” accusation from lefties and never righties? You’d think righties would see libertarians and/or independents and/or self-described ‘centrists’ as equally snooty and self-deluded; but if they do, I never see them call it out.

        What is it about the *rhetorical dynamic* that causes this particular arrow to seemingly only be shot from the left, and not from the right?

        Seriously, I’m not trolling here, I am genuinely curious about why that is.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        @glyph If you look in the comments at the National Review or Red State or Allahpundit, not that I’d recommend it to normal people, there’s plenty of conservatives complaining about RINO’s who are more worried about Beltway cocktail parties than the constituents.

        But, the actual reason is, almost every time I read an article or editorial claiming they’re a “non-partisan” or “somebody seeking a middle ground” or more often, people put up by various journalists as centrist truth tellers (see every episode of Morning Joe), the actual policy proposals from those people tend to be at the very least, center-right and in many cases, straight up right wing. See David Broder or David Brooks for many instances of this.

        So, for us on the evil ideological partisan left, “centrist” has fairly often actually meant ” a goal of privatization or neoliberalism cloaked in the sheep’s clothing of having no ideological bent when you actually do.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        As if pretending to not be on a team makes you a referee!Report

      • Avatar dhex says:


        “What is it about the *rhetorical dynamic* that causes this particular arrow to seemingly only be shot from the left, and not from the right? ”

        if you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.


      • Avatar Chris says:

        Privatize it!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Pfeh. *REGULATE* it.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        @jesse-ewiak A “centrist” is not the same thing as an “above-it-all” moderate — what makes someone a moderate is not the content of his/her opinions but the degree of confidence in them. Ideologues think in terms of Right and Wrong answers and of course identify their side as being right and the other side(s) as being wrong. Moderates (generally speaking) recognize the limits of their own (or anyone’s) understanding and are aware that their political priors are contigent, depending on their personal background and experiences and likely subject to bias, and thus think in terms of preferences, cost/benefit tradeoffs, etc. You can be anywhere in a pretty wide band on the left-right spectrum and still be a “moderate”.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        @glyph — Well, I’ll speak from my own place here, but I’m rather left of center, and I usually find myself annoyed with other “left-leaning” folks on this sort of issue. And, well, I find the whole conversational dynamic irritating as all fuck. I think it is a sense of presumed status, a sense that “oh look at my mega-objective perspective,” when to me that perspective often appears very limited, smart but clueless.

        How is this different from the right? Hard for me to say, since I find the right just entirely fucking odious from end to end, but maybe it has something to do with this: The right wing version of “smug” tends to be cigar chomping jackasses and real-life Disney villains who no one can take seriously.

        (Maybe. I don’t know. I’m just kinda thinking out loud right now, so take that into account.)

        The right’s jackasses are just so completely ignorant that — it’s like — laughably bad.

        On the left you get the “know it all” who doesn’t know half what he thinks he does, but who knows just enough that I have to engage. Plus they play in my space.

        The right-winger tells me what the bible says. The leftist wants to explain gender to me according to sociobiology and quotes this-or-that fucking study or something.

        So, like, there is that.

        Myself, I like folks who get down in the mud. I like folks who have something at stake, a reason to get pissed.

        Like for example, I’d rather deal with gun owners worried about their rights.

        Look, I differ from them, obviously, and the paranoia found in the gun rights movement is pretty fucked up. But I get that they care. I hear them.

        In fact, I respect the fact they’re standing for something that matters to them. I understand that.

        They ain’t above it. They’re down in the shit with me.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Things I have never in my life been called before today:


        Things I have been called a whole hell of a lot before today:


        I think it balances out, really.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        While there is some pettiness in this thread, I think it speaks to one of the greater tensions around here recently. And the frustration that a lot of people feel.

        If it weren’t for what I consider the fairly neutral non-liberals and measured left-leaners that others here find so frustrating, I wouldn’t be here. Not because this place would be beneath me, but because I would simply have no place here. Not as a “conservative” or a moderate or an “above-it-all”, but as someone that is primarily interested in talking about issues, and particular players, along certain avenues and in certain ways.

        It’s hard to reconcile this with Veronica’s enthusiasm for fights-in-the-mud between passionate participants, or a seeming desire to keep the context as that between white hats and black hats (lest you be on Team Gray, which to some though not others puts you too close to black).

        Back in the days when we had a lot of Balloon Juicers*, Rufus (I think) compared this site to a library book group where some people came in with chain-mail and swinging axes. Some Juicers came over, looked around and said “These people really need the Cold, Hard, Hammer of Truth.” Neither being wrong, exactly, but any sort of balance or reconciliation being hard to manage. These aren’t the Balloon Juice days, but there are a few similar dynamics. Most specifically, the dynamic between a Team Gray and Hammer-wielders.

        It all takes its toll. The failure of this site to Call a Spade a Spade lead a lot of the Juicers to leave (some may still be here, I don’t know). For my own part, the array of topics I write posts about has retracted somewhat, looks to retract some more, and Shaz has simply won insofar as I bite my tongue the vast majority of the time I am inclined to say anything negative about left no matter what context. A tide that ebbs and flows, I suppose. On the other side of the divide, Ryan Noonan left over this very thing.

        * – For those of you who weren’t around, Balloon Juice is a blog with a more ideologically pointed mindset. Erik Kain was a contributor over there, and over here, so there was some participation overlap.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        “Neutralism is immoral.” — John Foster Dulles (who was not a liberal, under any imaginable definition of that word.)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        As if pretending to not be on a team makes you a referee!

        It worked for John Roberts.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        @veronica dire
        Good point V.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        If it weren’t for what I consider the fairly neutral non-liberals and measured left-leaners that others here find so frustrating, I wouldn’t be here.

        I’ll co-sign. There are plenty of echo-chambers on the web, and more than enough places we can go where people do no more than shout past each other. There may be other places where people of different views actually talk, but I’m not familiar with them. This place is rare, and it takes effort to keep it a conversational place where people talk to, instead of past or at, each other.

        If certain folks don’t like that, they’ve got plenty of options out there. So let this one be different, for better or worse.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:


        I was over the line. Sorry. I like you a lot and didn’t mean to offend you.



        To clarify, I used the term “team centrist” to refer to whatever team you are on. But that is misleading, yes. Maybe you are on team “left of center.”


        You can be passionately arguing your case without being (perhaps this is your paradigmatic example) a Balloon-Juicer. A good example might be Crooked Timber’s comment page. Is it not always high-level debate? Sure. But it often is high-level. But it is not all tolerant of bigots, every side has a point of view, liberalism is bad too or just as bad, etc.

        I’ve been looking for a page like that full of conservatives. Haven’t found it yet.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:


        I really don’t see you defending liberalism here much. Given everything you write, I can imagine you voting for the Tories in Britain or the Conservative Party in Canada. Maybe not the insane R’s here.

        Maybe I’m way off, but maybe not.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:

        Same with Tod. I see him as being like the people I know who vote Conservative in Canada when the MP and the PM is reasonably moderate.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 says:

        I’d say there is a danger that this place becomes an echo chamber for a certain kind of centrist with-libertarian-leanings (however you want to describe it) echo chamber.

        Echo chambers and ideological biases aren’t avoided just by avoiding liberalism and conservativism. They are harder to avoid than that.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Shaz, thank you for the apology, though it was unnecessary in my case. Sorry about the ginko dig (seriously, is it ginko that people use? I can’t remember).Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        If you want to be an alternative voice to this centralism that’s actually heard, you might start by writing better comments than you’ve been writing lately. It seems to me that wheras you once actually tried to participate seriously, lately you’ve reverted to borderline trolling. You’ve become real easy to ignore.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I really don’t see you defending liberalism here much. Given everything you write, I can imagine you voting for the Tories in Britain or the Conservative Party in Canada. Maybe not the insane R’s here.

        Wait, what? Oh, I thought you said you could imagine me voting for the Toros, and I was thoroughly confused. Nevermind, then.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Saw this article today:

        Thought about the comments I’ve written, then erased without pressing submit.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @shazbot3 Thanks, but no real need to apologize. We all discuss culture and politics here, and so it’s natural that we all get cranky. (I was certainly at least as cranky here as you were with me.) And fwiw I very much like you right back.

        I was remembering something last night Erik said a while ago — that as elections approach, this site will always get more an more cantankerous. And it is the Spring of 2014, so I suspect that we’ll see more tussles here over the next 6 months.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Unsurprisingly I’m entirely in agreement with Will. I think things were maybe somewhat better before the site redesign, where there were clearly-demarcated sub-blogs that explicitly started with certain assumptions, for those times when you weren’t in a mood to deal with people who didn’t share those assumptions. Now every post looks like it’s on the front page.

        By the way, I wrote a simple GreaseMonkey script a while back to filter out the comments of specific commenters — if this is of interest to anyone, let me know. It’s nice for suppressing the folks who basically never make a comment that you’re interested in reading, the ones where just seeing their handle raises your blood pressure.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:


        By the way, I wrote a simple GreaseMonkey script a while back to filter out the comments of specific commenters — if this is of interest to anyone, let me know. It’s nice for suppressing the folks who basically never make a comment that you’re interested in reading, the ones where just seeing their handle raises your blood pressure.

        1.) What if someone is interested in obtaining your script, but you can’t see that they are interested, because you are filtering their comments? BUSTED!

        2.) …I…actually might be interested in your script. Thinking about that. You mind if I mail you, if I decide I want it?

        3.) I actually held off for a long time on getting a gravatar, because I have a half-baked theory that gravatars function as “faces” in the online world, and seeing a new person with a face that even LOOKS like the face of someone you already dislike or had an unpleasant interaction with, causes you to dislike the new person too. You’re primed to assume the worst.

        It seems to me that once discourse between any two parties becomes poisoned to a sufficient degree, the mere appearance of one party’s “face” (or handle) online raises blood pressure, as you say, before a single word of their comment has been read – and every word read after that is tinged by that bad feeling, leading to all sorts of bad-faith assumptions and a near-inability to read what is ACTUALLY written, rather than what was intended. This is a huge negative feedback loop of course, and it tends to ratchet one-way.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Ugh, this script means I will be spending a lot of time talking to myself.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Did somebody say something? 😉

        Actually one of my first interactions with Chris was not pleasant for me. IIRC, I wandered into the crossfire between him and TVD on something, and seemingly took a bullet that was really aimed at TVD. Once I realized that, things were fine – but it could have gone a different way.

        And as I see it, that would largely just be an accident of history. Which is one reason I am leery of such a script, because despite the fact that I think the ratchet/feedback loop usually turns one way, there are times when it can be turned the other.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I think a lot of people got caught in that crossfire.

        And Tom provides a pretty good example of the phenomenon you’re discussing. There were a few of us who had a pre-League history with Tom, and simply could not stand him. And we reacted pretty much every time he showed his face… with those really big glasses. Then there’d be a conversation about the conversation about Tom, and it got ugly often. I imagine some of us alienated more than a few people back then.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Ugh, this script means I will be spending a lot of time talking to myself.

        I didn’t like editing ability — and given my poor spelling you know I would like to be able to self correct — and I don’t like ranking.

        It all falsifies the conversation. The only thing I do like is removing outright offensive comments. Dave and Mark Thompson and Tod all do a beautiful job. I’ve greatly appreciated Jason’s subtle editing when I’ve written guest posts.

        And I’m really happy to see people I absolutely disagree with here, welcome back MFarmer and Wardsmith. I’d like to see George one of these days. And I’m glad Brandon Berg’s stuck around.

        So I guess I resist change. I’m traditional in my OT mores. But I did get to write about my pedophile here, about women and periods. So I don’t really think I’ve got anything to gain from screening and segregating tools; but keep the ban hammer, a speed limit on the internet highway.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        “Those glasses” was EXACTLY the gravatar that prompted this half-baked theory of mine. Having had no prior interactions with TVD, to me, they were just a silly image. If anything, “silly” is probably going to prime me to be in a good mood walking into the room.

        But it certainly seemed to me that to many people “those glasses” were not “silly”, they were a red sheet waving in front of a bull, provoking an immediate instinctual fighting response. So I really didn’t want a gravatar for a long time, the potential drawbacks seemed to outweigh any advantage.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:


        So, for us on the evil ideological partisan left, “centrist” has fairly often actually meant ” a goal of privatization or neoliberalism cloaked in the sheep’s clothing of having no ideological bent when you actually do.”

        I am not trying to put myself above anything nor am I trying to suggest that I lack an ideological bend. Of course I do. Everyone does. I have an opinion of what I am and if you have a label for me, whether it’s centrist/libertarian/idiot/whateverthehell, then go right ahead. What I like to do is not necessary put myself above it but try to move past it if only to address the details of a given situation. My payday lending post is perhaps the best example I can think of.

        For example, speaking of privatization, could you and I have a conversation about privatization where we actually could discuss the issues? Of course, we would both understand that our viewpoints on the issue originate our own ideologies; however, would you see my attempts to reach out to you as being solely rooted in my ideology?

        I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t address your concerns without any influence from my own personal ideology but at least if I addressed your concerns, we wouldn’t be having a pissing contest. I wouldn’t expect you to agree with me at the end of the conversation but you’d know that I addressed your points.

        My frustration with the more partisan crowd is that it disincentives me to engage in the conversations I’m very good at having. That’s not a fault with this site or the wonderful people here. That’s a function of my own patience.Report

  7. Avatar j r says:

    Are we so far down the progressive feminist rabbit hole that the phrase “mackin’ on ladies” made in jest is now considered sexist?

    Explain to me how this sort of thing is not just a reconstituted Victorianism. Perhaps the NDP ought to run on a platform of “Pearls to clutch and couches to faint on for Everyone!”Report

    • Avatar North says:

      You mean they aren’t already?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I don’t think the phrase is necessarily sexist. I think the context and tone matter greatly.

      Though I do find it bothersome when folks obnoxiously use slang in quasi-mocking ways.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        Right. I don’t find the “macking on ladies” comment all super offensive or anything, as long as he wasn’t, you know, actually going around sketching out women or anything.

        In other words, if there was no actually “macking” going on, I suppose we can laugh it off.

        (Which makes me wonder, does “macking” have a precise definition?)

        On the other hand, he definitely falls to the “not nearly as cool as he’s trying to act” test. By which I mean, I hope I’m never in this bro-dude’s presence when he tries to engage his inner “mack” — at least not if I’m at the moment drinking milk or soda or something.

        ’Cause, you know, snort!Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I’ve always understood “macking” to be synonymous with “hitting on”. In that sense, I understand the practice itself can range from “welcome, enjoyable, and not at all offensive” to “borderline criminal”. Then again, I have limited experience being macked upon and even then I generally retained privilege and power over the situation. I have been hit on by gay men, though never felt threatened (though I could see how the same behavior directed at a woman could be threatening).

        Or maybe I just love the attention too much.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        Getting hit on can be odd. I mean, it can range from awful to pleasant, depending. Thing is, for me, I never learned the skills that a cis girl learns in adolescence, so I kinda have to figure it out with an adult mind.

        That probably makes it easier, not sure.

        Like, one time this kinda sketchy guy comes and plops down next to me on the subway platform, like totally leering at my legs. (I was in fishnets.) Then he just looks up and says, “Nice legs.”

        I say thanks and go back to listening to my music. He waits a second. Then he gets up and goes away.

        Like, there was no way I’d get with the guy, just, nope. He ain’t in my league. On the other hand, he made his play, got the message, and went away. Which was fine, didn’t bother me. I mean, if you’re interested, I don’t mind if you tell me. I just don’t want to get “macked” on by persistent guy.

        Persistent guy is the worst. Or just gross offensive guy, like the creepoid-rando who one dark night at an outdoor subway stop is leering at me from a distance, just, you know, watching me the way creepoids do, until he comes up and asked if I like cock.

        I say, “Not yours” and walk away in a huff.

        Or one night, after much dancing and drinking, heading home on a late night train, some pasty-pale round guy gets on, all smiling at me in a weird way. I’m listening to music and trying to avoid eye contact, but he just keeps looking, like all goofy happy, but not in a good way. Then he sits beside me (on a largely open train car). I ignore him. He taps my shoulder. I get up and walk away.

        I mean, I don’t know, but at 1:30 AM I don’t want to find out — I’m pretty sure he was reading me as a sex worker. It just had that vibe. Like, he needed to put his cock somewhere, and I happened along. So, yeah, cock receptacle available, engage full-on creep!


        What said, though, is that the two times really awesome-hot men have hit on me I totally chickened out.

        The things we miss in life.

        “Sigh,” she says with a pensive look.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        (Which makes me wonder, does “macking” have a precise definition?)

        In Canada, it means putting on a raincoat.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire says:

        So he was putting raincoats on women?

        Was it raining? ’Cause if it was that seems an obvious kindness.

        Clearly we’ve been unfair to this man.Report

  8. Avatar Citizen says:

    Can someone partisansplain the political circle twerking, cause when I squint my eyes it all looks bad. At what point is sortition better?Report

  9. Avatar KatieS says:

    “Mens brains has a lot of space for handling the analytical process. They can analyze and find the solution for a process and design a map of a building easily. But If a complex map is viewed by women, they can not understand it. Women can not understand the details of a map easily, For them it is just a dump of lines on a paper,”
    What an idiot. I know a guy that gets lost going to a house he used to live in. Anecdote? yes but I’m sure I can find more.
    Maybe his brain has a lot of space because he doesn’t use it for anything, including rational thought.Report

  10. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Those are all inappropriate, especially for people who want to be elected to represent their districts.

    But I think it does illustrate the difference between liberals and the Republican Party. When liberals (including at least one guy who was a last-minute pick by the Liberal Party, presumably to run in a no-chance district) make comments like that, they immediately have to apologize and backtrack. When Republicans do things like that, they and many of their supporters in the right wing of the media deliberately double down on them, to the point where it’s politically hazardous for a Republican to even criticize their actions.

    It’s the difference between a party needing to improve and get its act together, and a party being completely off-the-walls crazy.

    It is nonetheless useful and laudable to call liberals out when they say sexist things, rather than disregarding or ignoring it on the basis that “Republicans are worse”.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I agree. There’s a difference between “oh, I wasn’t thinking! That’s going to cost me votes”
      and “Hyuck. Votes Ahoy!”Report

  11. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


    If only more people took time to cool off before commenting. Hell, even I still pop off an angry comment I shouldn’t.

    At least I learned to not do that with business correspondence. Almost lost a job because of that. My saving grace was that I was actually right & the other party was talking out their a$$, but my boss helped me to understand that such will not always be the case, or it won’t matter a lick if I am right, & I would do well to temper my writing accordingly.Report