Morning Ed: Society {2016.10.11.T}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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178 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Fashion industry: The reason why so much clothing is designed for tall and slim bodies over people’s actual bodies is because of changes in the way fashion designers are trained. In the old days, fashion designers would start off as apprentices to a dress maker or tailor. They would take measurements of actual human bodies and learn how to make clothing with their own hands. This was true even for people designing ready-wear fashion. Towards the mid-20th century, fashion designers started to get trained in schools and with pen and paper rather than human bodies. This made everything for abstract. Many of them might not even know how to actual make their clothing. They create art pieces that look good on mannequins and hangers rather than humans.

    SVU: I still think the Law & Order franchise needs a show called Special Vehicles Units about traffic violations. Its the most serious crime in New York City. ;).

    On a more serious note, its kind of weird that SVU is getting soft on crime for a sex crime when sex crimes is an area where people are getting more serious about enforcement. I’m also not sure how whether society is getting soft on crime. Tens of millions of people still believe in lock them up and throw away the key. They just tend not to post on this blog.

    Books: I largely agree with this. Where books outshine TV and movie is where the action takes place over a very long period of time or where the action is low key and not visual. It also works where you want to experiment with language. Television and movies are highly visual media and work best when you want to make the audience see things.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I’m going to disagree a lot with the “the action is not visual” aspect. Manga and Books in a sense “have no budget.” Switching locations is nearly free (in fact, should even be encouraged, so long as you don’t make a travel book out of my scifi, looking at you GRRM). Special effects are free.

      Television and movies work when your characters are … relatively superficial. Particularly movies and hour-long “wrap it up by the end of the episode” stories.

      DS9 had a great story that was originally written for Analog — and it came across way way better in print. (It was the one about the timetravelling messages from a planet). It got cut way to hell to put it on screen.

      Doctor Who had a few like that as well… (The family of blood was one that you NEED to read the print version).Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        A lot of the scenes in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy were basically there as a joke about how you could do them on the radio – how much does it cost to put in a scene with a million monkeys with typewriters? An hour or so with animal call records in the sound effects room and your special effects are done.Report

  2. Avatar InMD says:

    I feel like Berlatsky’s review completely misses the point of the film. It was to show how easily a small confrotation with the USSR could quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange, and honestly depict what that would look like for the average American. No heroes, just panic, desperation, and slow death from fallout for those who survived the initial blast.

    I am too young to have understood The Day After when it was politically relevant. Having seen it since it does have the cheesy made for TV vibe of its era. The characters have Leave It To Beaver values which I’m pretty sure everyone on TV did until roughly the time the Simpsons became popular. That just makes it a product of its time.

    Maybe Berlatsky needs to open his mind to the possibility that art can be good (and effective) without genuflecting to modern academia’s various dogmas, many of which didn’t exist or were far outside of the mainstream when this particular movie was made. The reference to the Iraq war is also particularly bizarre given that Desert Storm wouldn’t happen for almost 10 years after the movie came out and the next invasion for another 20.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      InMD: I feel like Berlatsky’s review completely misses the point of the film.

      Yes, exactly.

      You do not see the carnage in the Soviet Union, for example, because who cares about them?

      Um, neither did Threads? Neither did Testament? Neither did On the Beach (and unlike most, they actually went places?)

      The whole point of the nuclear post-apocalyptic fiction was to show how very small your world would get, were you even to survive.

      (a quick perusal of the previous essays in this politic movie series demonstrates some other medal contention runs in the Missing The Point Olympics)Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        At the conclusion of the film, Dr. Oaks, grief-stricken, stands in the rubble of his home and yells at squatters to get off his land. One of the squatters, as ragged and traumatized as Oaks himself, reaches out, and comforts the other man. The bourgeois assertion of property rights dissolves into mutual recognition of suffering and virtue. The apocalypse is not so much a growth experience as a revelation that no growth experience was needed. The nuclear arms race has no possible connection to genocidal destruction of Native Americans, or a history of enslavement, or decades of imperial wars, in which the lives of innumerable people were sacrificed to abstract goals, or simple to greed. Nuclear war does not fit into an American history of violence, because there is no such history. Americans are good, and do not deserve to suffer. Therefore, they shouldn’t get annihilated in a nuclear war.

        I wonder if this guy believes the people in Aleppo deserve it, for all the stuff the Syrian government has pulled over the last half century.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          It’s what happens when identity politics and similar theories come completely untethered from actual events where those ideas might provide some insight and turn into a religion. One wonders if there would have been a positive review had Oaks said ‘this is awful but I guess we had this coming, given how we treated the Indians and all..’ or if the airman chuckled as he died from radiation poisoning saying ‘well this sucks for me but at least whitey got his come uppance!’Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      I feel like Berlatsky’s review completely misses the point of the film.

      In Berlatsky’s defense, that is his schtick. He’s the guy with a bag full of social justice buzzwords who is not afraid to use them. He is the personification of critique drift.

      Actually, it is more accurate to say that Berlatasky gets the point, the very obvious point, but for some reason decides to offer these critiques anyway. Read his post on Election. He thinks that he’s doing some great bit of original cultural criticism in pointing out that some of the protagonists/the viewers feelings about the Tracy Flick character stem from her being a woman. I can’t wait to read his review of Citizen Kane so he can point out that there might be more going on than just a desire to go sledding.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        Yea I did a bit more poking around his reviews and I agree with your assessment. If I didn’t know better I’d almost think it was a really well done satire.Report

      • Avatar Pillsy says:

        It’s an old and disreputable genre. My favorite example will always be the Maoist Internationalist Movement’s review of “Conan the Destroyer”:

        In terms of class, “The Destroyer” opens with classic lumpen lines from our hero who is a thief with a scrawny thief partner. Conan tells the
        queen he is from a people with no government and he appears to have nothing in common with the queen; although in truth Conan believes in a certain god but without much detail or depth and his superstitions prove to be a weakness the queen exploits. These same lumpen qualities gained Conan recognition in the “Conan: The Barbarian” when the king realized that Conan’s band of lumpen is fearless enough to dethrone the suicide-cult, especially if provided sufficient money.


      • Much of the animus against Kane was because he was fat.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      The whole point of The Day After was to show what a nuclear exchange would do to ordinary people. “Ordinary people” in the context of mid-80’s television meant middle-class mid-western white (presumably Christian) people, who were still at that time a demographic majority.

      If Berlatsky’s problem is that, then his problem is with functionally all pre-Cosby television, not with the content of this particular work.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Tim Gunn article: I don’t think you can take one example and extrapolate to the entire creative industry across various media. Your assertion demands several PhD thesis worth of study. Female fashion is bad but the fashion industry but how do you take Tim Gunn and compare it to the novel article where Franzen’s agent said everything would be tested by committee and audience previews?

    I am also not sure of the broader point of your assertion. Artistic types are going to create based on their own vision and I don’t see what is wrong with this. There are also multiple audiences. Just because Robert Mapplethorpe shocked midwestern conservatives does not mean that there wasn’t an audience for his work. People making Kevin Can Wait are not going for the same viewers as Girls on HBO. We live in an embarrassment of riches of art and media and live and let live is the proper attitude. I find it hard to believe that there is someone out there who can’t find any media for them. Yet people manage to turn culture into a total war.

    So when you make this complaint about creatives, it sounds to me like wanting cultural dominance of “respectable” conservative suburbanites with Evangelical bents. I find the idea that culture should always be created with audience wants and needs first as being loathsome and appalling. Who is the audience? Do we define it as broadly as possible? If I am producing a play in a small theatre in SF, do I need to worry about conservatives in Republucan leaning Danville?

    SVU: I can confirm the Kinsley observation on SVU. One thing I never liked about police procedurals is how they seem to exist in a world where a shockingly high portion of the population are genius sociopaths. I do appreciate that Law and Order is filmed in New York and the actors are often theatre people.Report

    • Avatar Trumwill says:

      Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing is a different question from whether it is a thing. I contend that it is a thing, and it is not just a thing when it is one side’s complaint. But most of all, I am contending that it is a thing.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        FWIW, I read your observation that it is a thing with an implication that it is a bad thing because it seems to me to come from a place that is more conservative, mid-Western, Southern. Which I am obviously not. My inclination is to defend artists first, audiences second.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          As with just about anything, it is sometimes good and sometimes bad. In the case of plus-sized women, I think it’s not good. I suspect its role is one of reinforcing norms rather than creating them, but “not good” all the same.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Just because Robert Mapplethorpe shocked midwestern conservatives does not mean that there wasn’t an audience for his work.

      I believe the argument at the time was less “there isn’t an audience for this!” and more “I can’t believe that *THIS* is what our tax payer dollars are paying for! DEFUND THE NEA!”

      Arguing against the latter with “but there’s an audience for that art!” invites the counter-argument “so let them pay for it”.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @saul-degraw — But to the specifics of the article, indeed it is legit hard to find good plus-sized clothes, particularly cool, fashionable clothes. For example, cool tights. I’ll often see a woman wearing a really cool pair of patterned tights, and I just know, even if I can find them online, I probably won’t be able to find my size. So it goes.

      I’ve been losing weight, so I’m now just shy of a size 14 (depending on the brand; women’s sizes are annoyingly non-standardized). In any case, I can now shop at places like Gap, and most “XL” sizes will fit me, and I can now find cool tights with reasonable confidence they’ll fit. So yay. I can now shop in the city, when before I had to head out to the suburban malls.

      But still, I can wander into Nieman’s, and they will have nothing that fits me, even though I love the clothes and could afford them. This is irritating.

      Anyway, capitalism blah blah markets blah blah blah. This is market failure and many of these designers show contempt for larger women. It’s kinda awful.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    Cab racism: Regardless of the racism element, or not, options to monopolies are always good. Competitors can focus on under-served customers (like blacks or poor folks) to win market share.

    Plus Sizes: “Sometimes creative industry is more about what the creators want to create than what consumers want or need to consume” And yet, these guys are still in business, so SOMEONE is buying their stuff. So really, if they want to ignore a large market, and they still are in existing as a business, why shouldn’t they ignore it? They don’t NEED to serve that market and they don’t want to. Someone will however, and likely make a lot of cash.

    Trump and NFL: Yawn. Didn’t bother to read it. I experience similar every week but it mostly comes from the anti trump folks who “can’t believe people think like that”. Welcome to america biatches.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:


      Someone will however, and likely make a lot of cash.

      There are a few plus-sized brands, and they do make a lot of $$$, insofar as plus-sized women are forced to pay significantly more for less quality. This leads to a situation where they are more careful shoppers, and less likely to experiment, and also more likely to wear their clothes out. In turn, this leads to scarcity in thrift stores. In turn, this blocks plus-sized women from certain cultural modes of dress.

      In total, the situation sucks for us — well for them. Right now I’m just on the cusp of dropping out of the “plus-sized” label (although I remain six-foot, broad-shouldered, so I’ll never entirely be able to leave behind the “plus-sized” section, regardless of my waist size).

      Anyway, the “rah free markets!” rhetoric ignores what actually happens.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        … Avoiding the easy question of whether the Soviets or East Germany did a better job of providing plus sizes, I’d ask whether Denmark, Sweden, or any of the Nordic socialist models do a better job of providing plus-sized clothing to plus-sized people.

        From where I sit, it seems a lot more likely that the fashion industry suffers from the equivalent of “racism” (but for people of size) and *THAT* is what is causing the market failure.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Fashion is a positional good.

          That’s one of the things that it’s used for.

          There was a movement a few years back now where Dove soap (I think it was Dove, could have been Ivory, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, so let’s say it’s Dove) argued for multiple standards of beauty and showed different body types in its commercials. The arguments swirling around the net at the time was whether Dove was in danger of becoming “the fat girl’s soap”… and that Dove had to worry about “skinny girls” going out and buying something else.

          Rah free markets.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          @jaybird — I don’t advocate centralized control, so what happened under the Soviets doesn’t seem relevant. I actually have no idea what happens in the “Nordic socialist” countries, although their demographics are likely quite different from ours. That said, fashion is pretty global, inasmuch as the clothes that don’t fit me in Nieman’s are often from Italian or French designers. Likewise, while I’ve never shopped in the EU, I would be unsurprised to find Donna Karen there (unless I’m wrong; I have no idea what shopping is like overseas).

          Indeed I think that fatphobia drives much of this, inasmuch as many brands want to push an “aspirational” image, and thinness is certainly part of that branding. In other words, even if “plus-size” women outnumber thin women, the brands will avoid them, thus to avoid any association with “wretched, gross fatties.”

          Regarding race, it probably isn’t an accident that the only good plus-sized places to shop in Boston are targeted toward a black and Latina demographic. The shorts I’m wearing now are size 14 from Ashley Stewart.


          My current fashion challenge is, I’m not fat, I’m just big. Plus, my hit-to-waist ratio is different from a cis woman, which actually means I want clothes that accentuate that rather than hide it. Anyway, I mostly wear separates, rather than dresses, so I can play mix-and-match games between my skirts and tops. This works well enough.

          Like, this is a simple enough outfit that mimics the “little black dress” look, although it is a skirt and top combined. The color isn’t a perfect match, but whatever. Likewise, the sleeves on the top are a bit tight around my upper arms, but I don’t mind. The outfit works well enough. (Although honestly the skirt is getting a bit loose, so yay! Time to shop.)

          The top is from Rainbow, which seems to focus on an “urban” demographic, largely Latina. Not all of their stores have a plus-sized section, but a couple do in town. The skirt is Forever 21, which requires driving to a suburban mall to find their plus-sized offerings. The stockings are from Silkies.

          Mostly I wear shorts and tee shirts. This winter it’ll probably be shorts or skirts over leggings.

          Anyway. Fashion, it’s a thing.


          Note, I think fashion is more complex for women than for men. It just is. Please keep that in mind as you try to understand this from your own perspective.

          (#notallwomen, etc.)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I don’t advocate centralized control, so what happened under the Soviets doesn’t seem relevant.

            So we’re not fans of the free market, we’re not fans of centralized control, we are then hoping for… what? An example of “we should do it like they do it in (non free-market place)” would get me to say “okay, yeah.”

            I’m not seeing how the example of clothing offered to African-American or Latina demographics don’t qualify as the free market working. So maybe I just need that explained to me.

            Indeed I think that fatphobia drives much of this, inasmuch as many brands want to push an “aspirational” image, and thinness is certainly part of that branding. In other words, even if “plus-size” women outnumber thin women, the brands will avoid them, thus to avoid any association with “wretched, gross fatties.”

            How do we overcome this? For what it’s worth, I think that if we use “shaming” as one of our tools, we shouldn’t be surprised to wrestle with questions of whether fatties ought to be shamed.

            Note, I think fashion is more complex for women than for men.

            Of course it is. I have a Big And Tall Store that I can go to and get my favorite 3X shirts and 3X slacks (with little elastic thingies in the hips that keep my pants fitting nicely) and they cycle through a handful of interesting shirts so that I have my pick of everything from oxford-styled shirts to festive floral-patterned short-sleeved shirts to printed t-shirts with the superhero or sport team flavor of the week on them.

            But Fashion is a positional good.

            That’s what it’s *FOR*.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:


              So we’re not fans of the free market, we’re not fans of centralized control, we are then hoping for… what?

              This isn’t a fair question. I’ll suggest this, my objection is not with the free market as such. Instead, it is with “free market cheerleading,” which manifests in a dismissive attitude: we don’t need to care about this, the free market will always-automatically fix it.

              I don’t know how to fix it. But it sucks.

              Meanwhile, I also wonder how we’ll fix transphobia and racism and class issues and all of that. So far the free market has done little to eliminate those things, which is not to say I want to bring on centralized control.

              Perhaps these problems are not simply economics.

              I dunno. It’s worth thinking about, having a conversation about a social issue that is not subsumed under economics. We might do that. Maybe.Report

              • It’s worth thinking about, having a conversation about a social issue that is not subsumed under economics.

                That would be non-Kaldor-Hicks efficient and lead to deadweight loss.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                we don’t need to care about this, the free market will always-automatically fix it.

                This isn’t exactly an accurate description of the free market cheerleaders (#NotAllFreeMarketeers). I’d say that my position, at least, is closer to “we’ve got a problem with positional goods here and we don’t know how to redistribute positional goods equitably”.

                Perhaps these problems are not simply economics.

                The problems are not. Our toolkits are.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Working with one hand tied behind your back is always stupid.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                I’d say that my position, at least, is closer to “we’ve got a problem with positional goods here and we don’t know how to redistribute positional goods equitably”.

                This is the best way to put it. We all want to be Lake Wobegon. And that is fine. There is nothing wrong with that. We can, in fact, all be strong and good looking and above average in our own special way to the extent that we are not concerned with measuring ourselves against the next guy or gal.

                When we start talking about fashion, we are specifically talking about a world of positional goods. You can have positional goods. You can have equality. But you can’t have equality of positional goods. The achievement of one destroys the other.

                The best way out of this is to say, Fine. The celebrities and fashionistas can have the runway. They can have the pages of vogue. They can have the red carpet. I’m going to do me.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                One other thought and it’s about blaming fatphobia. Yes, it’s a thing and it’s worth calling attention to and it’s worth trying to ameliorate. At the same time though, the U.S., barring maybe a handful of other countries, has to be the easiest place in the world to be fat.

                Y’all should try shopping for clothes in Asia.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              So we’re not fans of the free market, we’re not fans of centralized control, we are then hoping for… what?

              I can’t speak for “we”, but a properly constrained competitive market is a powerful tool for lots of things. The hard part is getting the constraints right. I would be curious to know what share of the women’s clothing market Wal-Mart, Target, and JC Penney’s hold, and if a new plus-sized start-up would be largely DOA unless they can convince a handful of national buyers to stock their lines.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It seems that, in this case, we’re talking about a constraint that we’d need to loosen?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I would guess those three outlets are not a problem. Walmart in particular knows their customer base and is mostly fine with it. I can’t speak for women’s clothing, but they’ve always been great about husky men sizes and just odd men sizes.

                Not saying they’re *great* with women, but likely better than Neiman Marcus.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          To be fair, there isn’t a lot of demand for plus-sized clothing in non-market economies.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        So you alternative is to what? Make / shame designers/manufactures to make specific sized clothing for certain demographics?Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          I’d settle for doing away with the current numbering system altogether.
          We know how to make fewer sizes that will fit more people.
          It will be cheaper and more effective.

          Do it. By Fiat if necessary.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          @damon — I’m asking people to accept that there is a market failure here, and in turn to ask why there is a market failure here. Why are plus-sized women poorly served by the wonderful free market system?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Why are plus-sized women poorly served by the wonderful free market system?

            Racism. But for fat people.

            We need more than just fat people to complain about it. We need skinny allies.

            We could also do with fewer people bragging about how much weight they’re losing.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              We could also do with fewer people bragging about how much weight they’re losing.

              Heh. Good one.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              Also, we already have the word “fatphobia.” I’m not sure if it helps to call it “racism, but for fat people.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Fatphobia contains the word “fat”. It’d be like referring to “racism” as “(slur)phobia”.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @jaybird — “Sizeism” ??? I dunno. It seems like the broader fat-positive community has embraced the word. So.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                “You guys get to use that word. Why can’t I use that word?”Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                By all means we should encourage folks to ignore the heath risks of being overweight b/c it might hurt their feelings.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                A vision of the future: notme arguing that if we’re going to have Obamacare, then we should have it push for weight loss.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “A vision of the future: notme arguing that if we’re going to have Obamacare, then we should have it push for weight loss.”

                Which is the classic Alinsky playbook, I think. Make ’em live up to their own rules, as awful and rotten as they are.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                There is evidence that overweight, but not obese, may be the healthiest weight. However, I would take those studies with a grain of salt. Because I can see confounding facts, like the fact that people frequently lose weight when ill, as having an effect on what truly is healthiest.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                It seems to me that the folks that are the most vocal about “accepting” fat people are obese not just overweight. My mother in law, who is fat, has complained about her doctor bringing up the issue of her losing weight b/c it isn’t healthy. She has actually thought about changing doctor b/c he had the nerve to mention this to her.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Perhaps she would be happier with a fat doctor saying she should lose weight. He’d be a hypocrite, but at least he’d have some sympathy.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                A couple years ago, a researcher came up with a novel approach to studying the effects of obesity on mortality: Instead of looking at subjects’ BMI today and measuring mortality over an n-year follow-up, look at the highest BMI the subject has ever had in the past and then measure mortality over an n-year follow-up.

                It turns out that maximum lifetime BMI is a better predictor of mortality than current BMI. In fact, for a given lifetime maximum BMI, current BMI is negatively correlated with mortality. That is, among people who had a lifetime maximum BMI of 35-40, those who had a BMI of 35-40 at the time of the survey actually had dramatically lower risk of mortality than those whose BMI had fallen into the 18-25 range at the time of the survey.

                I’ve seen people try to spin this as evidence that losing weight is bad for you, but I think the more likely interpretation is, as you allude to, that diseases that cause weight loss carry a high risk of mortality.

                None of which is a good reason to be a jerk to fat people, of course. And there’s the should-be-usual caveat that it’s too soon to tell how well this holds up against replication attempts.

                Edit: And of course, BMI is not a great metric to use anyway. Some people have high body fat but normal weight due to low muscle mass, and some people have normal or below-average body fat but are overweight due to high muscle mass. I don’t know why they haven’t moved to waist-height ratio as the standard for research purposes.Report

              • replication attempts

                I think it’s well-attested that thin people have more opportunities for that.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Nah, this is measuring weight gain as a correlate to depression, most likely. Or the whole “no willpower” issue that makes people get fat through overeating.

                You ever get too fat? Well, suckers, looks like you just signed yourself up for an increased risk of heart disease.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I like waist-height a bit better, because I don’t get ridiculous numbers. Back when I was in my early 20s, I was still “obese” per BMI.

                I admit, I didn’t have a rippling six-pack ab. But when I stretched, you could see my abs. (So yes, still some padding that could have been lost. But obese? Please).

                BMI has me, clearly, still obese now. Height-weight has me on “you need to lose some weight” but not “dangerously overweight” which is…true enough. I’d prefer to lose 20% (that’d get me within spotting distance of my college weight) but will live with 10%. I’m hoping for 15. 🙂Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Well, what we really want is a body fat percentage, but that is hard to measure.Report

          • Avatar J_A says:

            Several years ago I took my mum shopping for clothing in San Francisco (she doesn’t live in the USA -this was a vacation trip for her). She’s something like size 12, and very fashion conscious

            There’s a place in town were there are three department stores closely located near a big square. We hit the three stores.

            First was Saks 5th Av. She loved the clothes, I don’t think we found anything in her size. Next was Macy’s (or its predecessor, Nordstrom I think it was called). Plenty of clothes in her size. Barely anything she would consider using herself. The third one was an intermediate one (might have been Neiman Marcus). Limited offer in her size, but in styles she liked, and where we finally made our purchases.

            Dinner conversation was about the inverse relationship between class (as signaled by the cost of women’s clothes) and women’s size.

            I think the market failure that veronica d scribes is explained by designers concerned that catering to plus sized women would “debase” the brand, and that high social class (and thin) women are willing to pay a premium for exclusivity in fashionable clothes in excess to what designers would earn selling plus sized versions of the same clothes in less exclusive locales.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Anyway, the “rah free markets!” rhetoric ignores what actually happens.

        I share Jaybird’s confusion on what this has to do with free markets. Gunn’s criticism, and most other forms of activism, is coming from within the confines of the free market. Unless you are arguing that there ought to be some Commissar of Couture with the power to regulate the fashion industry and mandate a more equitable range of sizes. I suppose that this could be a case where anti-discrimination legislation would allow underserved consumers to litigate on behalf of more fashionable and stylish choices, but I’m not sure that would work out so well.

        You’d probably end up with a lot of very bland, very utilitarian, one-size-fits-many garments that were just fashionable enough to pass regulatory muster but not that people would actually want to wear. Of course, that’s kind of how I think about many of today’s fashions. When did it become a thing for adult’s to be wearing onesies?

        I’m asking people to accept that there is a market failure here, and in turn to ask why there is a market failure here.

        A market failure happens when there is a Pareto inefficient outcome. That is, there is a chance to make some people better off without making others worse off and that isn’t happening for some structural reason. I won’t go so far as to say that this isn’t the case, but I will ask what the actual market failure is. There is a difference between the market failing and the market failing to deliver a preferred outcome.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    If only Tim Gunn had some sort of platform to evangelize the gospel of Normal Clothes for Normal Women.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      How much say does he have over Project Runway?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        You know, I thought he was an exec producer, not a producer (and IMDB only has him as producer for less than 1/2 the shows run).

        And to be fair to him, at least once a season for the past 3 or so (the only ones I’ve seen) has been a ‘real women’ or ‘plus sized women’ challenge.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      From TFA.

      “Project Runway,” the design competition show on which I’m a mentor, has not been a leader on this issue. Every season we have the “real women” challenge (a title I hate), in which the designers create looks for non-models. The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why; in the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon.

      This season, something different happened: Ashley Nell Tipton won the contest with the show’s first plus-size collection. But even this achievement managed to come off as condescending. I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal panties; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.” Her victory reeked of tokenism. One judge told me that she was “voting for the symbol” and that these were clothes for a “certain population.” I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. A nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.


      • Avatar Kim says:

        Um. Wow.
        One shouldn’t have to cover up curves, but… to take a fat chick and use dress to deliberately put more volume on? Maybe not the best plan.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        You want me to read the articles before commenting? What kind of monster are you? Next, you’ll want to have a clue on whatever I’m talking about.

        (Gunn’s comments on Tipton are exactly what I was thinking. I’m surprised he said them aloud and they haven’t generated more buzz and/or pushback)Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why; in the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon.

        How true is this?

        My knowledge of the fashion world is limited, but isn’t Project Runway a show about haute couture? In other words, isn’t it about that segment I’d the fashion industry that does make clothes pretty much solely for runway models and celebrities?

        There is a whole other ready to wear part of the fashion industry that makes the clothes that actually end up in stores. I’m not quite sure why Gunn goes after the haute couture part, other than that the best way to get attention.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          The point is that the ready to wear market is pretty humdrum. It’s ugly and boring clothes all around. So while haute couture might be the high end, the reality is that what exists below that is still mostly designed for smaller, skinny women.

          Imagine if all the car companies only designed supercars and super car wannabes. And anyone who did not want a high performance, sleek, gas guzzler (of varying quality) was stuck with a minivan.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            I’m no expert, but in pretty sure that ready to wear covers everything that isn’t haute couture or bespoke.

            To use your car analogy, the BMW m series, the Honda Accord and the minivan all fall into the the ready to wear category. And I still don’t understand why, if you have a problem with BMW or Honda not making the right cars, you’d choose to go after McLaren or Lamborghini.

            It just seems like one of those pieces that is more concerned with “starting a conversation” than with identifying or addressing actual issues. Seems like posturing.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              If v actually starts a clothing line, I’d pay good money to see it.
              Otherwise — what the fuck has anyone on this website done? Myself included.

              Oh, sure, I know people that make bets with Hillary Clinton, and write television shows… But me? I don’t do dick other than make sure that better people than me can get shit done.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @kim — What are you talking about? I’m a software engineer. I write software. That’s what “I’ve done.”

                I’m not a fashion designer. I don’t have a “line.”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Sorry, I was a little unclear.
                Pretty much we all spend time on this site arguing and not getting much accomplished.
                jr was saying that this was “just about starting a conversation”
                I was responding with “that’s all we ever do around here — just talk”Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Cachet is a difficult thing to transfer.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              There is a gradient between Walmart and Nieman’s. But yes, the runway is the runway, but I can buy Donna Karen at the mall. Well, except her clothes don’t fit me.

              Calvin Klein, on the other hand, has XL sizes that sometimes fit me and flatter me. Sometimes not. It depends on the cut.

              Anyway, it’s a manifest fact that it’s hard to shop for plus-sized women. We have fewer stores with fewer options. A skinny girl can go into the mall and find dozens of stores with a fine-grained variety of fashions. Big women cannot.

              We are numerous. We have $$$. But still…Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              My wife shops in the “women’s” section, and is constantly complaining about how nothing fits well, or is flattering, or what does approaching fitting is something her grandma would wear (i.e. it’s ugly as sin).

              So sure, there are ready to wear clothes for larger women, but not much, and what there is is poorly cut and ugly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There are only so many ways to be skinny.

                The ways to be of size are legion.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I wonder how much room there is for 3D scanners and CNC type sewing technology to help this problem. Perhaps the issue is partly that clothing is still largely made the same way it was 100 years ago.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Biomechanically designing shoes that are larger than size 12 (men) is a bitch. Draping clothing on people is probably a lot easier, even if you’re trying for “nice looking clothing”Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                There was a golden age, around 1997, when I could get size 15 in a store. 1995 I couldn’t, and 1999 I couldn’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Perhaps the issue is partly that clothing is still largely made the same way it was 100 years ago.

                This is very insightful.

                I imagine that the whole “scale” thing is also coming into play. If you want to make one perfectly fitted suit, you can… but it’ll be a $5,000 suit.

                If you want to make 500 suits for $5,000, you can… but they’re only going to fit guys who are yay tall, yay wide, and yay thick. People who don’t fit in that box are SOL.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                The issue is that a lot of guys don’t seem to want to spend the extra money to get a suit altered. They find the closest fitting off-the-rack at Men’s Warehouse and call it a day. If you are willing to spend 100-150 more dollars (might be big city prices), a tailor can take an off-the-rack suit and make it look better for a person’s body.

                You can get a decent and well made off the rack suit for a few hundred dollars plus tailoring.

                At 5000 dollars, that can almost get you a bespoke suit possibly.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                $50 of tailoring is totally worth it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I bought a jacket 3 years ago, I guess now, and got it tailored only because the salesguy who helped me pick it out said that I *WAS* going to get it tailored if I expected to take this jacket home with me someday. So I put it on and he marked it with chalk and told me to come back in a week.

                If I went to Sears to pick up a suit off the rack, I’m not certain I’d know how to get it tailored beyond something old-school like under the letter “T” in the yellow pages. Or getting on the google and searching for “tailor colorado springs”.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                You pretty much do that and look at yelp reviews and trust them.

                Here is a handy article:


                I personally like my suit pants without a cuff.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, I’ve been reading the tea leaves and we’ll be pegging our pantlegs again soon enough.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                There were comments about how Tim Kaine was a regular guy during the DNC because he clearly did not get his suits tailored after purchasing them.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Why would you buy a suit and not tailor it? I say this as a guy that owns exactly two suits, which I wear maybe twice a year, and that have lasted…quite some time (and were indeed purchased off the rack).

                Yes, it’s another 100 bucks. But it’s a 100 bucks that mean your pants and jacket fit right, it’s comfortable, and frankly will look pretty solid even if you gain or lose 15% of your body weight or so.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill says:

                I don’t in part because my size is a moving target. So I’d have to get it tailored just about every time I use it (once every couple of years).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                A tailored suit has a surprising amount of flex in it, especially if you warn the tailor your weight fluctuates.

                Mine’s handled a rather large amount of, shall we say, growth.

                I mean if you decided to go for bodybuilder, well, your jacket’s gonna have real shoulder problems.

                Then again, I gain weight all over pretty evenly. (No big beer gut, etc) so it’s not as drastic a change as some people I’ve noticed.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                A friend’s husband (according to my friend) doesn’t even want to pay 150 dollars for a suit. She told me he spent like 80 dollars max. Don’t know what we did for the wedding.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                As I mentioned to Mo down thread, go watch “How It’s Made”, particularly episodes dealing with clothing manufacturing. See how stuff is massed produced today. Then take a look at companies that use a lot of CNC and see how quickly they can change from one design to the next.

                Mo is right that fabric offers technical challenges for more flexible, less labor intensive manufacturing, but we’ve conquered such challenges before.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Completely automated sewing is really, really hard. Fabric moves a lot and bunches, unlike wood or metal which are very rigid. Also, manipulating all those pieces of fabric is hard. There is a company trying it though.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Ever watch the show “How It’s Made”? Something like 18 seasons out there now, maybe more. Fascinating what machines can do these days…

                Thanks for the link! I’ll have to see if there are any videos of the machines in action.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                How It’s Made is amazing. My wife and I would probably starve to death on the couch if a marathon of it came on.

                I often end up supporting manufacturing for the products I work on, so designing little machines and software to speed things along is super interesting. It’s always small scale enough that we can’t put a whole engineering team on it but large scale enough that a clever hack can save a good chunk of change. I suppose it’s so satisfying because you can attach precise dollars and cents to every thing you do. I love it when my output has precisely measurable benefits.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                My wife & I haven’t exactly starved to death when we find a block we haven’t watched yet, but we’ve missed out on more than a little sleep.

                Although whoever picks out the music for that show…Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                @oscar-gordon I have and I think it’s super fascinating, but the video the company has on their site shows how far we still have to go. The machine is just doing a bog simple straight line stitch in one piece of fabric and you can see the fabric slip and rotate to the side slightly, especially towards the end at ~20 seconds. And that’s an elementary mistake that an experienced seamstress would never make. Now take that up a level and have it become attaching a sleeve to a shirt and you can see how it can get crazy complicated fast.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                When in my heavier sizes, I wear 40/34. I can almost never find it. 38-34 yes, 40-32 yes, taller and thinner yes, fatter and shorter yes, but not fatter and taller.

                I’m pretty sure that one *is* a market thing. Still frustrating.Report

        • Avatar Mo says:

          My knowledge of the fashion world is limited, but isn’t Project Runway a show about haute couture? In other words, isn’t it about that segment I’d the fashion industry that does make clothes pretty much solely for runway models and celebrities?

          Looks like most of them sell to real people. I would also say that making clothes for celebrities and the ultra-wealthy is more like making clothes for fit normal people than making clothes for fashion models. Fashion models have very … unique proportions.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          For what it’s worth, I *have* been told by women that the market has opened up somewhat for heavier women, at least compared to yesteryear. Per Veronica, sounds like still not enough.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            Oh, it’s better, inasmuch as you can find something flattering rather than literally nothing. Brands such as Torrid have done a lot. Likewise, many chains have plus-sized sections, although with very limited selection. But still, Lane Bryant has nothing I would were, whereas Forever 21 does.

            So yeah, it’s better. It’s still rough going, however. There remains a tremendous gap between what a plus-sized woman experiences and what a size 2 women experiences.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            I don’t have any strong feelings on whether it is enough or not. I agree that if people are left unsatisfied by what is on offer, there is an opportunity to offer more. However, as someone who has struggled with weight my entire life, there tends to be a lot more to this dissatisfaction than just what is and what is not on offer down at J Crew.

            Part of it is that people look at what is on runways and in magazines and say, “I want to look like that.” And then they find similarly styled clothing and realize that they can’t look like that. Part of the answer for me has been to stop looking at runways and magazines and develop a sense of personal style that looks good on me. I think a good deal about clothes, but I also tend to keep a pretty sharp divide in my own head between what is fashionable and what is stylish.

            In Gunn’s piece, what I see is the desire to storm the runways and magazines and force them to be more accommodating to more people. That is a strategy, but I am skeptical as to how successful it can be. The high fashion world’s ability to morph and signal it’s superiority to the rest of us normal mortals will almost always outpace other people’s ability to wrangle it and try to use it for other ends. That world will, of course, become more diverse, but that tends to happen when people demonstrate success outside of that world first and then are brought into it.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @j-r — I have no illusions that I can put on the same strapless skinny-girl dress as a runway model and look like her. I mean, duh. But floral print tights? Yeah those look good on me, on the rare occasions I can find a pair that fits. I often wear shorts over stockings, or leggings in winter. I know what looks good. However, finding a cute pair of shorts with a nice print — I’ll often pass dozens of adorable styles and prints, none in my size, to find one pair that fits. If I don’t like the pattern, too bad. This happens more often than not, in most stores.

              I’m playing a different game from skinny girls.

              On vacation? Wanna go to the gift shop, buy a cool shirt?

              I don’t bother. Nothing will fit, except maybe one ugly sweatshirt. There will be six cute tee shirts I’d love to wear. None fit.

              These are tee shirts, hardly a sartorial challenge.

              Anyway, it goes on and on. This is commonplace.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                I’m aware that complaining about this kind of makes me come off as a jerk, but as a man with a 4:3 chest-waist ratio, I also have problems finding T-shirts that fit me. I basically have to choose between shirts that are too tight in the shoulders or those that leave ample room for the gut I don’t have, kind of making me look like I do.

                Mass market clothing is made for the masses. Everything else is niche, and priced accordingly.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            I don’t have any strong feelings on whether it is enough or not. I agree that if people are left unsatisfied by what is on offer, there is an opportunity to offer more. However, as someone who has struggled with weight my entire life, there tends to be a lot more to this dissatisfaction than just what is and what is not on offer down at J Crew.

            Part of it is that people look at what is on runways and in magazines and say, “I want to look like that.” And then they find similarly styled clothing and realize that they can’t look like that. Part of the answer for me has been to stop looking at runways and magazines and develop a sense of personal style that looks good on me. I think a good deal about clothes, but I also tend to keep a pretty sharp divide in my own head between what is fashionable and what is stylish.

            In Gunn’s piece, what I see is the desire to storm the runways and magazines and force them to be more accommodating to more people. That is a strategy, but I am skeptical as to how successful it can be. The high fashion world’s ability to morph and signal it’s superiority to the rest of us normal mortals will almost always outpace other people’s ability to wrangle it and try to use it for other ends. That world will, of course, become more diverse, but that tends to happen when people demonstrate success outside of that world first and then are brought into it.

            There is a whole world of street style and DYI fashion blogs that cater to real people. Seems Gunn would have more real world effect if he used some of his notoriety and clout to find people doing great things outside of the high fashion world and promote them.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Slate published an essay against the EPIC rant that has been en vogue among liberals for the past few years:

    Who’s winning, who’s losing, and why.
    Oct. 10 2016 11:49 AM
    Our Gutless Eviscerators
    Keith Olbermann and our vogue for EPIC RANTS are a product of liberalism’s blind spots.
    By Sam Kriss
    TV Personality Keith Olbermann speaks onstage during the Olbermann panel at the ESPN portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 24, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.
    Eviscerator-in-chief Keith Olbermann in Beverly Hills, California, on July 24, 2013.

    Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

    An evisceration is a very specific and very simple procedure: the removal of the viscera. With whatever weapon you might have, you cut someone open across the belly, laboriously pull out all the guts in their wormy coils, red and steaming, and dump them on the ground. Death is inevitable, but excruciatingly slow, unless you choose to speed it up. Human intestines are about 25 feet long, end to end, so it’s possible to get quite inventive here. In one account of the punishment, from the Icelandic Njáls Saga, one end of the victim’s gut is nailed to a tree, and he is then forced at spearpoint to walk around it in slow agonizing circles until his entire intestine is wound around its trunk. Many versions, like the hanging, drawing, and quartering on the books in English law until 1870, also include castration, decapitation, and the removal of the heart—to eviscerate someone is to not just kill them but to utterly destroy them, to show that this was never a human being, not even a body, only some stinking flesh with ideas above its station. No wonder it was most often used for the crime of treason: What it represents first of all is the impotence of bodies before the awesome power of the state. Evisceration is a horrific punishment, which is why it was phased out over the course of the 19th century. But like so many horrors of that age—debtor’s prisons, wars of plunder, long and stultifying literary novels—it’s back.

    A couple of headlines, just from the past few weeks: “Elizabeth Warren Eviscerate ‘Gutless’ Wells Fargo CEO,” “Trevor Noah Eviscerates Matt Lauer’s Presidential Forum Performance,” “Soledad O’Brien Eviscerates CNN,” “This Celebrity-Packed Political Ad Eviscerates Donald Trump.” The only other arena that sees nearly as much evisceration is sports, but it’s not even close: Politics has become incredibly dangerous. There must be some kind of brutal revolt in progress, an insurrection in which nobody is so secure and powerful that he might not find his guts suddenly sliding out of a gashed-open belly; the halls of government are blood-flecked and stink of human garum, and politicians wade to work through the dug-out viscera of their fallen colleagues. An incredible massacre, surely.

    So where are all the bodies?

    Every week brings news of gruesome tortures, but the next day the victims are still there, guts still wobbling happily inside their skin, and still pumping out the same old shit. Wells Fargo is still printing money; CNN is still seeping blather; Donald Trump might still stomp his way to a big, beautiful nuclear arsenal. Nothing is tamer, nothing is more toothless, more flaccid, more uselessly limp and passive and sterile than the click-mediated evisceration. In a recent column, the New York Times’ Ross Douthat writes that various liberal monologists have built a new political consensus, “an echo chamber from which the imagination struggles to escape”—which probably says far more about the powers of Ross Douthat’s imagination than it does about the state of the discourse. Political invective is weak, far weaker now than it’s ever been. Look at the gleeful pornographic slanders of ancient Rome or revolutionary France, Marx tearing into Louis-Napoléon, or Malcolm X declaiming the sins of white America, and try to find even an echo of that caustic fury in a talk-show host raising his eyebrows. It’s not just that these things are ineffective (after all, what have you or I ever actually done to stop the banking system? What could we do?), they’re not even polemical. Instead of exposing the evils of the world, our ranters have resigned themselves to laughing at stupid people. Real polemic surges up from below; these people look down and sneer. The left—and these eviscerations are always almost from something that, at the very least, calls itself the left—has lost something important. It still likes to see itself as an agent of merciless justice, cutting through the stomachs of its enemies, but it’s had a bad turn; it can no longer stand the sight of blood.


    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      It clearly is true that these rants largely are liberals talking to each other. But how could this be otherwise, in our segmented media market? But even on this level, they can be helpful. Liberals are prone to their own sort of stupidity, such as believing that Clinton is uniquely horrible–no better than Trump, really–so lets vote for Jill Stein instead. Having John Oliver do a compare and contrast of Trump and Clinton, putting her in perspective, is useful. There also might be enough legacy late night audience that having Jon Stewart be smart and funny and liberal might be heard beyond the echo chamber.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Clinton is uniquely horrible — and it’s not even her fault.
        (Nope. not getting into my reasons for this one.)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I agree that a lot of this is liberals just talking to each other and could be media segmentation. I’ve also seen conservatives do equal type of memes and “EPIC” take downs but I am concerned by the death of rhetoric. The author later talks about how we no longer seem to believe in competing interests anymore.

        What concerns me about the EPIC takedown is that we are no longer go at rhetoric. The left just seems to say “because science” or “because this policy paper” says so and can’t seem to go on from there. A few weeks ago I saw an article on ThinkProgress about school start dates. The author argued that schools should be more year round and pointed to the facts/studies that show lower-income students don’t retain as much as during the summer and also that they might need school for nutrition because of subsidized or free meals.

        The author did mention that the tourist industry likes long summers for middle class and above families. The author did not seem to understand the competing angles here. She had her white papers and said this should be the policy. She did not know how to convince middle-class families how to support full-year education because middle-class families might like long summer vacations and might not like the idea of their children being subjected to two more months of test prep. She didn’t even seem to question or ask whether lower-income families want year-around schooling. She had her white papers and that was it.

        Even in this sphere you don’t see people discussing conflicts on the left because for every Rheeist article I see saying we need longer school years (and presumably more testing), there are articles decrying how kindergarten has become a testing zone and kids are not being allowed to move around enough at school because recess is dead.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Besides Saul’s death of rhetoric argument, creating your own little enclosed universe where you are always correct and those that disagree with you are erroneous, horrid, and probably quite ugly to is how a big segment of conservatives in our country went down the rabbit hole. We don’t need the same corrosive forces to work on liberals.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      This got its own Linkage. Really good article.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Trump isn’t hurting the NFL. Tribalism is what is hurting the NFL. When the politics that can be put on display, like Kaepernick’s, deeply offend half of the population, there are going to be financial issues. And while I think Kaepernick is doing a good thing, many, many people don’t. And when the tribalism enters the locker room, again, you are going to have issues. The NFL’s job, if it was even remotely smart about this, would be to prevent team members/coaches/etc. from getting publicly political by contract. And be even handed to the point of stupidity. There is a reason why most of the really popular TV shows are really banal, that is to keep the biggest audience. When you leave that formula, you leave that money.

    Fashion for plus size women abounds. From stores like Lane Bryant to designers like Kiyonna. It just isn’t a thing in the skinny model world.

    Books are better for telling a subtle story that requires the consumer to have to put things together in their head. Mentally looking for clues and/or shades of difference in the storytelling. TV needs to be heavy handed to make sure the consumer gets what is going on. It also relies on multiple hands being involved, any one of which can detract from the whole. The books stands or falls on just the author.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Books also stand or fall based on editing. There are more people involved than you think.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David says:

        No, I knew that, I was trying to make a quick point and didn’t really think it through. In fact i often rant about those authors who seem to have made it to the point they don’t have an editor (looking at you Mr. King!)Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          The fun of television is when the writers don’t know what the fuck is going on. (DS9 actually had a good bit of stuff that the showrunners were rolling, that they didn’t bother explaining to the writers (or, at one point, everyone except one actor). It worked out better that way.)Report

  8. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Fashion: Given this is a huge untapped market, and the established players all seem hell bent on ignoring it, I have to wonder… How has this not resulted in Kickstarter funding equivalent to the GDP of a small European nation? Are there so few design students out there hungry for success that no one even tries to tap that market? I just saw a Kickstarter for a hoodie with enough pockets & ‘features’ to give me a headache, so there has to be a place for designers and plus sized clothing. I know there is a company that makes fitted men’s dress shirts from just three torso measurments.

    Also, fashion/clothing manufacturing strikes as probably one of the easier businesses to get off the ground. Certainly there is a capital investment, but I imagine the regulatory burden is much lower than, say, making electronics or rocket engines.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @oscar-gordon — The point is, I don’t know. Everyone keeps saying “The market will fix this!” and yet the market does not.

      I mean, plus-sized clothes exist. It’s not as if fat women are forced to go out naked. But we have fewer choices, for which we pay more. Okay, but we are actually a fairly big segment of the market, for which their should be competition and options and all of that.

      So what is happening?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


        I’m asking the same thing. There isn’t much a barrier to entry for the market, so why is the market untapped?

        Perhaps @leeesq is right in his very first comment, that part of the problem is design schools teach design, on abstractedly perfect models*, so designers today don’t know how to design clothes for larger women. Couple that with a strong social pressure to stay away from that market if you want to be taken seriously, and you get a market failure that isn’t really a failure of the market (in that market forces are not solely to blame, but rather cultural forces are at work).

        *I honestly don’t know, I have no clue what is taught in design school.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          Is the market really that large? Obesity in the US skews low-SES and black/Latino. Among white women, it skews rural. The people I see complaining about this are almost all young, college-educated urban white feminists. How many young, college-educated urban white feminists are obese? How well does their taste in clothing correlate with people in other demographics? That is, is this really a market that’s underserved for no good reason, or just niche?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            I think I see the problem. This isn’t a thing that is limited to obese women. This is an issue that hits any woman who no longer has the body of a mildly athletic 17 year old.

            So perhaps in college, everything fit fine, but put on a few pounds, or have a kid (& all the associated physiological changes that causes) and suddenly nothing fits anymore and you can’t find anything outside of Lane Bryant or Torrid (& a few other places).

            Additionally, an outfit that is cut to fit that 17 year old with hardly any curves can’t just be “sized up” to fit a mature woman with hips, and a butt, and actual breasts. Clothes that look good on that woman have to be cut & assembled in a very different way in order to not look like a muumuu, which means it has to be designed, or redesigned, and that is where the problem is.

            Designers don’t want to venture into that territory. That is what Gunn is saying.

            The stuff that is out there is usually drab, boxy, and unflattering. It doesn’t have to be.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      mmm… yes. Are there still kids kept in detention centers on the US border? Free labor, people!Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Probably because of economies of scale (regardless of where the mass production actually happens). Anyone can make fashion, but not everyone can make money at it.

      And at the end of the day (or rather during the day), people are still wearing clothes of one sort or another. It’s not merely enough for any innovator to meet an unmet market need, they need to be a bit of disruptor, too. (& price point is everything)Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      The big issue here is that fashion is a huge industry and it helps to talk about things with specificity. A company like Zara tries to get new clothing into the shop nearly every week at low prices. Somewhat higher end companies like J.Crew do the same but every few weeks instead of every week and can be financially ruined by having one unpopular product. J.Crew’s business model is or was to have a few insanely popular items that everyone wanted and then people would be extra stuff to go with that must-have item. A few years ago they released a really unpopular sweater (more unpopular because of aesthetics than cut) and it caused them to loose a lot of money.

      The higher-end clothing companies tend to be more about slimmer body types. This is true for guys as well. I’m short and stocky and there are lots of mid-market and above clothing lines that I can’t wear because they are designed for tall, slim men from the Nordic countries. There are also lots of really expensive clothing companies that seem to design clothing for young people who cannot afford said clothing generally (jackets that cost thousands of designers but look very avant-garde).

      And yes there is also some snobbery because clothing designers are aesthetic obsessed and probably like having that body elitism.

      I think modcloth tries to be more equal.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Also guy’s dress shirts are sort of different and I suspect companies like the one you mentioned are also partially aimed at guys who really hate shopping but don’t necessarily want to look like they hate shopping.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I think we pretty much covered why young designers looking to make a name for themselves do not go after certain markets. The might rationally believe that trying to make a name for yourself with certain markets would hurt your long term career prospects in ordinary fashion world. They could also very well share the prejudices of the ordinary fashion world.Report

  9. Avatar notme says:

    Dem NYC Elections official caught on video blasting de Blasio’s ID program.

    Nope no voter fraud there either. It’s amazing all the places that voter fraud doesn’t happen.Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Several of our market oriented posters believe that that their could be a market based solution to the fashion problems that certain people, especially real and non-ideal women, face. I’m not so sure of that. I’m on the rather short side for a man and my feet are definitely on the small side even for men my height. Trying to find shoes and sneakers that fit is not easy. Nearly all stores seem to carry one size above as their smallest size. Every pair of pants I get needs to be altered by a tailor. Finding shirts and jackets isn’t that easy. There are only two clothing companies in the United States that I know of that are aimed at short men and they tend to be expensive. I could afford their clothing but many other short men can not. They also have to deal with the fact that short men really don’t like their shortness called out in their clothing stores. Big and Tall stores get away with it because men are supposed to be tall and big. Fat might not be muscle but on a tall man it can convey power while a short and slender body does not.

    Non-model women have the same problem. In Western society, women are supposed to be as slender and elegant as willow or voluptuous in the right way according to mainstream thought. Those that are not this way will be seen as non-ideal and the fashion industry, who are very focused towards their own unique brand of beauty, will act accordingly. Even if there is a market, people in the fashion industry might not want to personally reach out for it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      There are two issues.

      Look at a bell curve. Look at the tips at the ends where all of the outliers are.
      It makes sense to complain that the people sitting in the outliers don’t have the options that the people in the big fat middle have… but it doesn’t necessarily indicate some funky market failure. It just indicates that the market is catering to the big fat middle and is providing a solution that doesn’t really address the outliers. This isn’t really surprising.

      Now, let’s say that we’ve got a market where the majority of the market caters to only people on one half of the bell curve and only uses people from the outliers to advertise their products to this half of the bell curve… leaving the other half of the bell curve (a nice chunk of people!) saying “man, I wish that there were people catering to me!” In this case, we’re not seeing the market not cater to outliers (an unfortunate, but somewhat unsurprising, outcome) but we’re seeing the market not cater to people standing in line with money in their hands. Which gets everybody to ask “what the hell?”Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Yep. Basically the median of the bell curve is probably somewhere between 10 to 12. Designers seem to like designing for 2’s and 4’s, putting the “tail end” of THEIR bell curve right past the actual median for Americans.

        It’s not really a problem for guys. Jeans and polo shirts, for instance, pretty much scale up or down.

        Then again, I went through serious contortions to find a brand of jeans I liked, came in my size, and didn’t wear out quickly in certain places. Big tree trunk legs is a bit of a problem. (As it is, all my pants are loose in the waist so they fit properly on the legs. Belts exist, so…).

        I gave up shopping for boots. Calves are just too big for anything that’s not custom.

        Both of which have always been a problem, even back when I was in college and was in quite good a shape.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      Your issue is that you are on a tail of the bell curve, which makes you more expensive to serve. What the market oriented posters are pointing out is that, because the gap is closer to the center of the bell curve, there should be a big opportunity to serve the larger sized market.Report

  11. Avatar Brent F says:

    As a guy who lived in Vancouver, I don’t think Mudade’s failure to flag down a cab in downtown Vancouver is indicative of anything. Nobody can flag down a cab there, its a burg where if you want a cab you have to call the dispatcher and have it sent to you.

    What he’s blaming on racism from lack of competition could very well be just ignorance of local conditions, and the soft American chauvanism of believing that the way things work where he’s from automatically applies somewhere else.Report

    • As we’ll see below, Mitul Patel and some of the other plaintiffs state that they did not authorize the lawsuit or sign the pleadings, though they did hire a “reputation management company” to do something.

      I’ve heard ads from those companies and wondered what they did. Now we know.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        Not enough details, but the contract could include an assignment to the “RMC” of any causes of action that arise involving the customer’s reputation (as well as the proceeds thereof). I don’t know that not authorizing “the” lawsuit or not signing “the pleadings” is necessarily inconsistent with signing a general assignment authorizing the RMC to appoint a lawyer to represent you on your behalf.

        May or may not be legal, but I could see the plaintiff’s side being plausible. Suing fictitious defendants seems like disbarment time.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      This is just stupid because the people acting as plaintiffs in these lawsuits are just setting themselves up for more trouble and litigation.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Except the people acting as plaintiffs don’t exist either, or if they do, their identity is being used without their permission.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        These suits suggest ghost writing by lawyers or maybe even a non-lawyer engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The ghost writer could get into a lot of ethical and legal trouble for thee antics.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Let’s say I’m a lawyer, or even just someone who knows enough about lawyering to fake it, and I am not located in the US, but in a country with no extradition treaty.

          Clients pay me money to clean up their online reputation. Fastest way to do that is to show Google, et. al. that I have a defamation finding. Easiest way to get such a finding is to file a suit and have the defendant stipulate to the defamation. Since such defendants are unlikely to do so, we create straw participants, with similar names, etc.

          No actual people are “harmed”, per se, but the courts are being used in a manner not intended.

          Someone, somewhere, is not doing some manner of due diligence to ensure that everything is on the up & up. I’m curious as to who is obligated to do the due diligence? Because even if the courts get wise to a certain person doing it, and label him/her vexatious or swear out a warrant, since they are out of the jurisdiction, it has no bite, and they can have a new identity ready to go the next day.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw says:

            Out-of-state attorneys cannot practice law, so the lawyer-filed lawsuits would have required a local “dupe.” Probably something like: a call from a national company needing a lawyer to represent it; we will try to do most of the work in-house; but if the case bogs down and is heading for trial we will need help from local talent and we do a lot of these, so you can expect referrals in the future. What ends up happening is that the local attorney signs pleadings relying upon the outside company, and the pleadings and backup documents look reasonably legit if you aren’t assuming crazy conspiracies. If the judge finds out, he/she will refer you to the disciplinary board because will see harm to the courts.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    So odd to use the word “evil” unironically these days but.. well. Here I am.

    A deep-pocketed coalition is spending big to keep marijuana illegal in Arizona. Drug companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and the alcohol industry, have together poured millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat Proposition 205, a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for those over 21. And as opinion polls show a tight race, another industry entered the fray: prison food providers.

    Services Group of America, whose subsidiary Food Services of America sells meals to correctional facilities, devoted $80,000 to defeat the measure in late September. The money-flow was first revealed by Tom Angell, the chairman of the pro-legalization nonprofit Marijuana Majority.

    I was pleased to see that Dr. Bronner’s Soap donated $100,000 to help make it legal. They’re Good people. If a bit nutty.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Dr. Bronner was a holocaust survivor who was involuntarily institutionalized in Chicago.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Let’s keep this illegal, because, you know, jobs depend on it being illegal.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The worst part is how banally stupid and shortsighted it is.

        “We can’t allow marijuana to be legal! We run a catering business!”Report

      • There’s a mostly very good (though it completely collapses at the end) novel by Richard Condon (who also wrote The Manchurian Candidate) called Mile High, which is about the true story of the 18th Amendment — it was lobbied through Congress and the states by its authors, the Mafia.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that drug cartels were funneling money to groups opposed to legalization.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            Then they’d best elevate their game. In California, the pro side has outraised the anti side almost 8:1. Better than 5:1 in Massachusetts.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              At this point, I’m vaguely confident that “Recreational” is about as inevitable as “Gay Marriage” was in 2006ish or so and my remaining questions include stuff like “in what order will states start legalizing?” and not “will it ever end up legalized?”

              I also have “how much damage to its own credibility will the federal government do before the inevitable?” bouncing around.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Given that the DEA is in the executive branch, I’m still baffled as to how we haven’t had a President just walk in there and tell the head of the DEA (who serves at his pleasure), the reschedule Marijuana to something lower.

                I mean, did Obama honestly believe their justifications? Is there some manner of law I’m unaware of that prevents the president from instructing the DEA, or if he can’t do that, firing DEA heads until he gets one that obeys? Ot is the politics of it still seen as so toxic as to be untouchable?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                IIRC, we’re signatory to a few treaties that pot legalization impacts. (Technically, we might already be in violation)Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                I’m not sure, but a lot of administrative agency determinations of similar magnitude are subject to judicial review. If so, rescheduling without developing a record will result in a reversal.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:


                Question 1: what is a rule?
                Question 2: how do you make a rule?
                Question 3: who reviews rule-making, and how?

                The answers to these questions are enormously complicated, internally inconsistent and generally tremendously frustrating.

                While I try to keep my adverb use under control, my few brushes with federal rule-making (at the Department of Interior) drove me nuts.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Perhaps then it’s a matter of media reports making it seem more simple than it is, because during the last review, the impression I got was that the DEA still didn’t like MJ, so it stayed Schedule 1.

                Similarly with Kratom, where I’m left with the impression that the DEA just doesn’t like the looks of it, hence it goes on the schedule. If there is a formal rule making process, it seems woefully obscure.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                The press oversimplifying? Well I never ….

                Google “Schedule 1 Drugs Rulemaking” and go have fun exploring the links that pop up. I have no familiarity with the Controlled Substances Act, but it looks like the rulemaking procedures are pretty damn esoteric.

                And before this gets into a liberal vs conservative thing, good government is hard, really hard. Federal agencies are given statutory mandates that are vague and frequently inconsistent. The American public has a love/hate relationship with the regulatory state, wanting all of the benefits without paying any of the price. Even the appropriate way to measure the cost-effectiveness of rules and regulations is hotly contested.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Indeed, the statutes for most of the big regulatory agencies provide for the courts as a final resort for people trying to overturn rules. As I understand the rescheduling process as defined by Congress, there is no recourse to the courts if you’re unhappy with what the DEA Administrator decides.

                Congress could reschedule cannabis on its own, if it decided to. So long as the filibuster remains in place and 41 Senators can block such a bill, I expect that marijuana will remain a Schedule I drug for a long time. Similarly, it will be difficult to confirm a DEA Administrator who favors rescheduling.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Well they are operating out of economic self-interest as any economist could tell you people do.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      Meh, It’s the debasement of words these days. How many times do certain groups throw around words like racist or fascist? Folks go straight there without bothering to think.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      Meanwhile in California, the state Libertarian Party is apparently opposed to proposition 64.

      I don’t understand libertarianism, I truly don’t.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        I suspect that the opposition is because it’s the “wrong” way to do it — possession of too much remains a felony, production and sales will be heavily regulated, and it provides a significant new source of revenue that can be used to grow the government.

        I have no statistics, but my perception is that here in Colorado, the authorities are busting more large illegal grow operations than they used to. Maybe it’s a change in allocation of resources. More likely, IMO, is that there are dumber people setting up grow operations, ignorant of all of the felony penalties that remain on the books if you stray outside the large set of regulations on legal production, sales, and possession.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          From the state voter guide’s argument against:

          “Organized crime filings have skyrocketed in Colorado since marijuana legalization,” says Past President of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police John Jackson.” We had 1 filing in 2007 and by 2015, we had 40. Since your Proposition 64 repeals the prohibition on heroin and meth dealers with felony convictions getting into the legal marijuana business, it could be much worse in California.”


        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          but my perception is that here in Colorado, the authorities are busting more large illegal grow operations than they used to.

          I wonder if that’s because the incentives have changed. Before legalization, cops could turn a blind eye on grow-ops under a “no harm, no foul, there’s tons of it and it’s all illegal anyway” policy whereas once legalized and taxed the cops and courts have an incentive to make sure everyone’s paying their legally required MJ taxes.

          Add: It could also be that there are more grow operations now that it’s legal, given easier access to the market.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos says:

        Gonna bet that they’re mad that it includes taxesReport

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          Not quite, I guess. The official comment is:

          While the Libertarian Party has been a strong supporter of ending marijuana prohibition for over 40 years, this proposition does more harm than good, damaging medical availability, and creating additional criminal offenses and regulations.

          I’ve heard the medical availability argument before, but it’s never been very convincing to me. The regulations and criminal offenses line is weird, given that it’s replacing existing criminal offenses.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            Yeah allowing people to grow their own, sell/buy and legal to possess like 28 grams will make it less available. I guess they couldn’t just say the bill is insufficiently pure and must be rejected.Report

  13. I don’t know about the figures nationwide, but I can explain why NFL viewership is down in San Francisco.Report

  14. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    The effects of the Housing crash continue to find new ways to mess with people.Report