Linky Friday: Women on Mars


Will Truman

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

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151 Responses

  1. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Ge4: Sounds like it’s bad for men too, but worse for women:

    Narcissism, psychopathy, extraversion, conscientiousness, and limited neuroticism predicted self-reported higher earnings; associations that differed little by participant’s sex, although a slight pattern suggests women may pay a higher pay penalty for neuroticism but benefit more from conscientiousness than men do.Report

  2. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Ge2: Mars Needs Women!Report

  3. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    He5: What a whinefest! The entire thrust of the piece is that doctors are delicate flowers who go all to pieces if sued. (Or perhaps merely if a claim is made. The piece is either slippery or sloppy about the distinction.) Grow up!

    Note also the emphasis on how often the suit concludes with no payment. This seems like an odd complaint to come from the defense side, but the implication is that these claims were frivolous. “Although he was exonerated by the jury…” Dude, if it got to a jury, it wasn’t frivolous.

    Then there is this gem: “You know you did nothing wrong—that the claim against you is unreasonable—which only adds to your frustration and sense of injustice.” Note the absence of any acknowledgement that medical malpractice in fact occurs. It is an “injustice” that anyone suggests otherwise.

    Finally there is this: “You remain dedicated to providing the best possible care, but you find yourself taking a more conservative approach with patients…” “Standard of care” is a winning defense strategy. The standard of care often is a range of treatment approaches, some more aggressive and some more conservative. If the plaintiff’s argument is that yes, the approach the doctor took is within the normal standard of care, but could have been more conservative, the plaintiff just lost the argument. If the doctor is standing there wondering if this treatment strategy he has in mind might get him sued, it is either because he is an ignoramus and should learn something about the subject before whining, or because homeopathic enemas are not within the standard of care for brain cancer and he really should reconsider them, regardless of the threat of a lawsuit.

    The reality is that there are immense barriers to medical malpractice lawsuits. Acts by doctors that would make your teeth curl to think about might or might not reach the legal threshold for malpractice, and even if they do, the costs of pursuing the claim can be prohibitive. We don’t do med mal at my job, but we see potential cases fairly often. My boss does a preliminary review, and if he thinks there might be a case he passes it on to a colleague who specializes in this. In the decades he has been doing this, the colleague has accepted exactly two.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I think you missed the actual thrust of the piece: “This post was sponsored by The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer.”

      It’s an advertisement.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      “Although he was exonerated by the jury…” Dude, if it got to a jury, it wasn’t frivolous.

      Wait a minute. For a case to get to a jury, one of these things has to happen:

      1. A doctor engaged in malpractice.
      2. A judge has to screw up.
      3. The defense lawyer has to screw up.
      4. The plaintiff’s lawyer has to misrepresent the case or fail to catch the client doing so.
      5. None of the above; the doctor didn’t engage in malpractice, but it legitimately requires a trial to figure this out.

      Are you saying that 1 and 5 are the only ones that happen on a regular basis? Doctors commit malpractice all the time, but lawyers and judges are so good at their jobs that frivolous cases almost never make it to trial?Report

      • 6. The doctor committed malpractice, but the available evidence did not meet the standard of proof.

        (4) doesn’t work, unless you mean someone fabricated false evidence. Once the testimony is in, the defense will move for a directed verdict, claiming that even taking the evidence in the most favorable way for the plaintiff, the defendant would still win. At that point there is nothing for the jury to decide, so everyone goes home. If there is enough evidence that the jury could rule in favor of the plaintiff, then the case by definition is not frivolous.

        (3) sort of works, though in practice med mal insurance companies usually have very good lawyers. But yeah, if we go into the realm of the doctor complaining that his lawyer has to defend the case competently, then this is a true assertion.

        (2) is logically valid, but a rabbit hole. If the point is that we should work to have a system where judges are competent, then I am all in. If the point is that nothing should ever be decided because it might be decided wrong, then we should all dig holes in the ground and climb in and huddle for the rest of our lives. So yes, it is logically possible that a frivolous case is sent to a jury because the judge is a drooling idiot.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        “Doctors commit malpractice all the time, but lawyers and judges are so good at their jobs that frivolous cases almost never make it to trial?”

        I assume your being facetious here, but giving everyone the equal benefit of the doubt, say doctors commit malpractice 1 percent of the time, and lawyers/judges commit malpractice 1 percent of the time, then lawyers/judges aren’t regularly committing malpractice in these cases. If doctors are committing malpractice all the time, then lawyers and judges aren’t the real problem.

        The most likely reasons something goes to trial is that there is competing medical expert testimony. [Edit: Also the failure to settle]Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

          Lawyers are more prone to report and discipline malpractice from other lawyers than doctors are from other doctors in my experience. That leaves it to the courts to deal with medical malpractice.Report

        • Furthermore, a bad Plaintiff’s lawyer isn’t going to last long in the business. These cases are generally taken on contingency. They also are expensive to bring to trial. If the pretrial expenses are only five digits this is a small case. Who fronts these expenses? It depends. For the right case, the lawyer will. “Right case” means clear liability and damages. This also requires a lawyer with the resources to front tens of thousands of dollars years before he will say any of it back. If the case isn’t quite that good, the lawyer might still take it on contingency, but the client fronts the costs. Of course this requires a client with those financial resources, which most don’t. Taking this further, if you are rich enough you can find a lawyer to take any dumb ass case you want to bring, but he will bill you by the hour. But that is a limited special case. Put this together and it turns out that one of the most important skill sets for a Plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer is to assess the value of a case early on in the process. Guys who aren’t as good at this as they thought find themselves fronting $100K for a case that crashes and burns, taking them out of the game.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Ge2 – Michael Crichton also proposed all-female crews for deep sea habitats,

    Norman said, “I notice your support team is all women.”

    “Yes,” Barnes said. “All the deep-diving studies show that women are superior for submerged operations. They’re physically smaller and consume less nutrients and air, they have better social skills and tolerate close quarters better, and they are physiologically tougher and have better endurance.


  5. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [Re1] I wonder if the letter writers issue comes from the “Marxist-” part of her feminism – having concluded that polyamory naturally flows from Marxism, she seeks other Marxists to date, only to find to her dismay that they have not arrived at the same obvious conclusion from the given first principles…Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Polyamorous Marxist: Its obvious that monogamy is naturally part of bourgeois capitalism because it rests on the idea of private ownership of a person. Polyamory is Marxist because it represents the communal ownership of the means of reproduction.

      Marxists were always very weird when it came towards sex. They could be the most libertine or prudish people at the same time. The Chinese Communist Party could declare that “making love is a mental disease”, by which they meant romance in the mid-20th century Western sense, while Mao lived a life of debauchery. The Bolsheviks believed that the final decisive battle of the Revolution would be against “velvet covered albums resting on small tables covered with lace doilies.”Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Yeah the politics of that piece are rather — well, precious. Honestly, although my relationships do contain some kind of political meaning, inasmuch as I wouldn’t likely date a “Trumpist” or whatever, they’re still my personal stuff. They don’t need to have some big political implication. Nor do they need to emerge from some “theoretical position,” other than basic person ethics such as “be honest” and “be caring.” Past that, good grief hard leftists can overdo things.

      Setting politics aside, I honestly feel sorry for str8 poly women. Finding righteous poly men is indeed really hard. Finding fuckboys who pretend to be be poly, but who are just players is easy, which is sad I guess. Just know the score before you play. Anyway, being bi or lesbian in poly space can be pretty awesome.

      There really is a thing where women “get” poly easier than men do. Anyway.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

        This remark has stuck with me all day, and made me wonder. Do gay men have difficulty being poly? My guess is no, though that’s very second hand.

        So we’re down to a group that is so often the problem group. Meanwhile, we know that attachment is good for human beings of all sorts, and yet we describe a group (“players”) that seems to run away from attachment, and uses deceptive practices to avoid it. That sounds like the result of trauma to me. What trauma, though? How does it work?

        And the rest of us are caught up in not being one of “them”, which is my SWAG at why it’s hard to find “righteous” poly hetero cisgendered males. You don’t want to be one of “them”. And that might be secondary trauma.

        I don’t feel like I understand this phenomenon at all. I reject any sort of “men are evil” explanation out of hand.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          I dunno. Being poly sounds profoundly unappealing to me as a straight dude, and part of that is based in a brief flirtation with the lifestyle. I don’t think I was a particularly big jerk about it,[1] but I do know it just didn’t make me happy at all.

          Is this a result of trauma? I don’t really think so.

          Patriarchal brainwashing? As much as I’d like to see how a control pillsy who grew up in a society free of patriarchal influences would turn out, securing grant funding would be difficult, and I don’t think an IRB would be terribly impressed either.

          Some innate bit of brain chemistry and structure? Well, it could be that too.

          Anyway, it’s not a particularly critical issue for me right now. At the moment a none-agamous relationship seems more my speed.

          [1] Though it was a time in my life when I was a real asshole in general, [2] so you know.

          [2] As opposed to now. Now I’m just delightful.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to pillsy says:

            Actually, it’s the “players” that I think are responding to trauma, since they sort of reject attachment.

            And the sense in which I mean “trauma” could easily include brainwashing.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          @doctor-jay — I know a few poly gay dudes, plus some who do the “open primary relationship” thing. It seems to work okay.

          Honesty, the dynamics of gay dating culture are so utterly different from str8 culture that I can’t say much more than “this ain’t that.”

          I certainly don’t think (str8) men are evil. If I had to summarize the pathology I see, I’d say they’re profoundly insecure.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

            Some additional thoughts. First, I’d set aside the issues of players and fuckboys and “nice guys,” etc. After all, these are general topics of adversarial dating. They aren’t unique to poly.

            For poly, we have a few important characteristics. First, a lot of people would like to date/hookup with/etc multiple people. By contrast, not many people will like to see their partners do the same. Dealing with this is the heart od making poly work.

            Theory: women invest more effort into emotional awareness and maturity. Likewise they place more value in good communication. This is critical to making poly work.

            An emotionally aware person can experience jealousy, but they understand what is happening. They process. They communicate. An emotionally unaware person moves strait from jealousy to anger.

            Second theory: while both men and women can be controlling and possessive, mascilinity codes< these traits in a strong way. In other words, it is not enough to share intimacy with a partner. You must also possess them. To do otherwise represents failure as a man.

            Women don’t experience this to the same degree.

            Third theory: for men and women of median attractiveness, it’s much easier for the woman to find hookups. Men know this. They understand that poly can lead to her getting much and him getting little. Serial monogamy feels like a better game.Report

            • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

              Interesting thoughts and observations. Thanks.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

              The third theory makes the most sense for me. A lot of heterosexual dating norms for women come down essentially to: Does a man want to do x with you and will you say yes. Yes, I realize that this is an oversimplification and that women are at a much greater sis of sexual assault if they say no but the two basic questions remain the same.

              For heterosexual men, it’s very different unless you are st the top level of desirability for a man or are really good at seducation or game. Knowing this, monogamy comes across as the better deal usually because chances are even in poly relationship, the man is going to be effectively monogamous.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — The question remains why more attractive men shy away from poly? It seems like a winning deal for them, if they could manage the jealousy and communication issues. Certainly poly women would welcome them.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to veronica d says:

                Offhand, I think most men would have a real problem with both parts. Especially communication.

                At the risk of drawing drawing vast, sweeping conclusions here — women seem a lot better at social communication. At the very least, I’ve personally witnessed (and later had my wife explain) nasty verbal fights where I could tell that something ugly was going on, but couldn’t figure out the three layer deep cutting remarks.

                Also, I think that women get a freakin’ lot of practice tip-toeing through minefields socially — starting with the cliques of junior high and ending in trying to make their way through male dominated fields….

                Most men don’t have that kind of experience. And learning it in a poly relationship seems….stressful. I suspect juggling the attention, needs, and balances of a poly relationship is probably easier — from a communication standpoint — than, say, the average workplace fun of trying to be in charge without being “bitchy” or “shrill” and letting Tony from Accounting down gently the 53rd time he tries to ask you out…Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Morat20 says:

                This might explain the prevalence of nerdy men in polyamory. Nerdy men aren’t usually considered great communicators but they do have the experience of being at the receiving end of the adolescent social world so it might make them more able to communicate as necessary in polyamory relationships.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I think nerdy men — and by that I clearly include myself — are also real familiar with compromise, half-a-loaf thinking, and in general have already accepted that a lot of the cultural male concepts are…not really ideal.

                The guys that seem to be happiest in a poly relationship are, well, rather open to sharing and while they might be cutthroat competitive in some areas, they don’t view sex and dating as some sort of competition.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Morat20 says:

                Honestly, given the gender ratios in nerd space, poly is a good deal. It’s spreads the love.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

                Why do more attractive men shy away from poly? First, most people shy away from poly because they were raised in a culture that assumes monogamy and might not even be aware of poly. Its easy to assume that everybody knows what you do but I think even if your a young person in a Western culture, its pretty easy to be unaware of poly if you don’t move in certain social circles. Its also possible that there are a lot of effectively poly people out there but they don’t refer to themselves as poly because they weren’t exposed to the lingo or they might be older and refer to their relationship as open rather than poly. Very few people spend time on Internet blogs where this topic will come up.

                Even if aware of polyamory, they could have decided that it isn’t for them. Not all attractive heterosexual men want to maximize their good looks for having sex with as many women as possible. Many want romantic, affectionate, and committed monogamous relationships or even if they want a maximum number of partners, they might be too lazy to pursue it.

                Another reason could be machismo, they don’t like the idea of their women sleeping with other men or even women maybe while they are in a relationship with them.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq Just for the record, there are plenty of reasons for attractive heterosexual men to want poly other than having sex with as many women as possible. For example, they might want romantic, affectionate, and committed polyamorous relationships. (I know a few attractive heterosexual men who want and/or have exactly that.)

                So framing it that way makes your other arguments weaker, because of what it implies about your underlying assumptions.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

            Well, “profoundly insecure” sounds like it’s on the right track to me.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to dragonfrog says:

      It’s very tempting to interpret [Re1] in the light of [Re4]. That is, given that she has embarked on polyamory, (even though you might not call it “cheating”) she is unlikely to walk that back.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        @doctor-jay — Poly seems to be a pretty simple equation: you get to love multiple people. In exchange, so does your partner. From that there are various patterns and structures to help manage the inevitable jealousy that results.

        It’s not for everyone. It’s fun tho.Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

          I don’t think I’m capable of it. Loving just one person has been hard enough. I couldn’t do that with a dozen.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Doctor Jay says:

            Traditional cheating and polyamory seem amazingly time consuming and a lot of hard work. I have no idea when I’d get my reading in.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

            @doctor-jay — My peak was four, but two of those were long distance. Right now I’m fully dating two women, both local-ish, and kinda-half-dating a third, who is my g/f’s g/f. Actually the three of us want to set up a poly house, except triads can be kinda unstable, so I’m “in the market” for a forth. (My other partner wouldn’t really “fit in” to that social scene.)

            In addition, there are a bunch of women kinda in our collective orbit. Most are in other poly relationships, but they’re interested in hooking up with some or all of us. Often they’re people in my extended polycule. Like, my other g/f (not the one who I want to live with) has a partner who is a hypno top. I wanna play with her. Plus there are a bunch of people hawt for me or my g/f, who we want to visit and play with.

            That said, right now I have real emotional investment in a small cluster of people. That works well enough.Report

            • Having emotional investment in a cluster of people I get. The part I have a hard time imagining is living with them. Living with someone, whether in marriage or some other arrangement entirely, is a roommate situation. Finding compatible roommates is hard. Finding a compatible roommate who is also a compatible spouse is even harder. Finding a whole group of them? Good luck. Even on the one-on-one level the deep dark secret is many couples don’t actually sleep in the same room. Loving someone is entirely distinct from agreeing on temperature and mattress type, before we even get to the snoring issue.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                I don’t think that many polyamorous people live with everybody they are in a romantic relationship with. The real estate prices in major metropolitan areas would preclude that at least. What seems to happen is that the leave with their main partner and see the other people on the side.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq Yeah, most people don’t live with everyone, not just for real estate but also b/c compatibility. But for real estate, sometimes enough house for 4 people can be more affordable than enough for 2 2’s…. I know people who’ve taken advantage of that both poly and otherwise. (It helps if there are large pricing gaps btw different parts of the metropolis. One of the 4s I am thinking of is actually a chain (though not-romantic people in the chain are fond of each other), and they now have a huge gorgeous house in Edmonds instead of a small house in W. Seattle and a rental in… I forget where. Better finances, more living space per person.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Maribou says:

                Most of my friends live in “poly houses,” where there are multiple overlapping poly relationships in the same house. Basically it’s a co-op with sex.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

          I’ve known at least a few official polyamorous couples where one person in the equation was effectively monogamous and the other person was polyamorous. That doesn’t really seem workable.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

            @leeesq — Yeah don’t do that. “Unbalanced” poly is recipe for heartache.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to veronica d says:

              It’s working for the three of us, FWIW.

              I mean, Mr T and I aren’t not dating others because of relationship rules that we mustn’t – that would be right messed up. We’re just not dating others because we happen not to be dating others.

              Fledermaus and I have been together 22 years of which about 15 “officialy” poly. During that time, Fledermaus has been seeing someone else in some capacity for a total of maybe 7 or 8 years (most of that being the last 5 or so that she’s been with Mr T), and I’ve been seeing someone else for like 6 months. The main experience of heartache through it all wasn’t mine but Fledermaus’s, when she had a partner with a lot of problematic relationship habits.

              Mr T I think went on a couple of dates with others here and there in the first couple years they were together, but also hasn’t in a long time.

              And, I dunno, not going to over analyze things, but… We’ve lived together for 3 or 4 years now. We’re co-parenting Fledermaus’s and my 7 year old, and Fledermaus’s and Mr T’s newborn. It’s working pretty well.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Well certainly – I don’t believe I’ll ever want to get into a rigidly monogamous relationship at this point.

        Obviously I hope that will be in large part because I remain with fledermaus, so any other relationships I’m in will of necessity be non-monogamous. But if our relationship ends at any point, so I could theoretically get into any new relationship entirely on its own terms – I don’t think I’ll be comfortable with mandatory monogamy.

        And I say this, having done practically no dating outside our marriage – but having that security, that if:
        – I do fall for someone else, it’s not automatically a choice of self-denial, infidelity, or breaking off a relationship that is otherwise thriving
        – my partner does fall for someone else, they also won’t have the above automatic choice
        … that is a really important thing to me. Rigid things break, flexible things bend and continue unbroken, is how I see it at this point. Not going back to that rigidity…Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Please don’t take this as judgmental. Pursue happiness in your own way and bless you.

          And, I want to represent. It isn’t such a terrible thing to find that you have a mutual attraction to someone but can’t follow up on it because of a pledge of fidelity. It’s painful, yes. But life is painful. And especially love. When you’ve navigated a situation like that successfully, kept faith, and treated people well, you feel pretty good about it, and about yourself.

          If you haven’t made such a promise, it doesn’t matter, I suppose. I did. I intend to keep it.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Doctor Jay says:

            Of course, if I made such a promise I would do my utmost to keep it. Treating people well is the most important thing. And nobody else has to do things my way, I don’t want to apply judgement to anyone else’s happiness.

            It’s just – having spent most of my adult life in a relationship that didn’t have an electrified third rail, I personally find that rather reassuring, and would be uneasy entering into one that did. Even though I happen not to cross the tracks all that often.Report

  6. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [Ge4] This makes me cringe. Not just from gendered effects, but from the claim that psychopathy and narcissism correlate with higher incomes. Yuck. You would think people would learn to spot this and avoid these people like the plague, but no, some people praise them to high heaven. “As a manager, he’s an absolute assassin” are words I’ve heard uttered un-ironically.Report

  7. Avatar Pinky says:

    Re5: I think the article, in its first anecdote, missed the implication of “just” wanting to get married. You can want to get married without just wanting to get married. That said, the article’s probably right that a lot of women are afraid of coming on too strong.

    My last first date was awful so I’m not going to talk about it, but the first date before that one, we talked about how we were both looking to get married, and that was the point of our dating. When it became clear that we weren’t meshing (ok, maybe 2 months after it became clear), we ended it. We could have gone on for years in that state if we weren’t both candid from the beginning about what we wanted.Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    Ga4; I could not figure out what the joke was for the shirt. I happen to have been a member of the last class at my HS to not have a mandatory computer class of some sort, so when I read the opening of the article, it was just a big “huh? What? Oregon Trail?” Well, the more you know!Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    Ge6: I don’t see why hiring more X in Hollywood will necessarily result in more stories about X.

    I also see a problem with the stats. As Pillsy would say, they beg the question of whether the X are appearing in X ghetto shows, and further whether the goal is integration or distinction. That seems crucial to the conversation.Report

  10. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    He6: As mentioned (barely) in the Kansas article, the state legislature voted to expand Medicaid earlier this year. Gov. Brownback vetoed the bill, and the House was three votes short on the override vote. Assuming Brownback is finally nominated and confirmed to an ambassadorship, Kansas’ expansion will almost certainly happen next year. If enough rural hospitals close, the legislature may override any veto even if Brownback is still there.Report

    • Nebraska politics vs Kansas politics is perhaps the strongest argument for non-partisan elections there is.Report

      • I don’t know that it gets any better outcomes from my perspective — the Unicameral declined to debate the subject of expansion this year, on the grounds that Congress looked poised to make it moot. And everyone knows which party each of the Senators is aligned with. But it does do away with a bunch of the overhead like majority/minority leaders, whips, etc.Report

  11. Avatar veronica d says:

    [cw: veronica talks about sex and sex work]

    [This insight is really limited to tgirl porn. The lives of cis women are probably similar in some ways and different in others.]

    [Ge1] The sad fact is, it’s really hard to make money in porn these days. Some women manage, big stars with big names. They can get enough people to sign up for their websites to make a living. But still, it’s a lot of work. They have to keep posting new content.

    Which actually, if you’re a big star you can be real aggressive and choosy about who you work with, which in turn can be really fun. (Trust me, I have friends who skirt the edges of this level of fame.) So yeah, if you love sex and if you’re beautiful and if you’re talented and [many other things], you can make your living fucking on video. It’s a life. Everyone does something. I write software.

    On the other hand, I have another friend, very beautiful, a “rising star” so to speak. She just released a video she made with another girl. She’s been pushing it hard on social media. Last night she posted (paraphrase) “Yay! My video made enough money for me to eat tonight.”

    It won’t make that money every day.

    There is still a lot of money in sex. The fact is, tho, a lot of small-scale porn performers make their money giving personal attention to lonely men. A lot comes down to cam work. In addition you can make money just talking to men on Skype and Twitter. No sex. Just the occasional selfie and the illusion of caring.

    Men buy my g/f stuff on Twitter. It’s — well it seems kinda pathetic to me. She’ll never fuck them.

    Other women end up escorting. Honestly, it’s gross, because the customers are gross. But you can make as much in one night as three full days camming. So yeah. I know women who do it. We don’t talk about it much.

    “Feminist porn” — whatever. I don’t mind the idea in theory, but too often the sex seems watered down and not-hawt. I dunno. It seems like when porn tries to be “political” (or whatever), it loses its edge.

    On the other hand, women making their own porn according to their own business sense and taste — yeah the customers are horny little bastards who want to see nasty things, but so what? Women owned! Women run! Plus I like nasty things.

    Yeah I’m down with that.

    Just get your $$$$ however you can.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

      You know, the phrase “the illusion of caring” makes my blood run cold. I’m not inclined to stop people from doing their stuff, but wow, I’m not ever going near anything that has “the illusion of caring” at its core.

      That would just amplify any loneliness I might be feeling, I think.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        @doctor-jay — So much of sex work comes down to this, tho. After all, consider that stripper giving some dude a lap dance, does anyone really believe she’s into him in particular?

        Some guys do, of course. It’s sad to watch.

        I dunno. It’s possible to suspend disbelief I guess, for some people. I won’t lie, I’ve enjoyed the occasional lapdance over my years. I never had any illusions. It was fun.

        I actually haven’t done that since transition. I really should, just for giggles, like take my g/f and her g/f (both hawtie cam girls) to a strip club. I wonder how that would play out?

        I bet we’d get treated waaaaay different from how I was treated in my boy days.

        I’d still pay for dances. It’s a matter of respecting the profession.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

          I think one reason why many lonely people are very reluctant to turn to commercial sex as an answer is that they are intelligent enough or realistic enough to realize that it is all a show or an illusion of caring. The lonely people want the real thing though, actual caring or at least actual desire. Not being able to get the real thing and not having the right brain-wiring to be satisfied with the illusion of caring or desire in commercial sex can be extraordinarily frustrating.Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

          I hope I’m not coming across as judgmental. Do whatever and enjoy it. Bless you!

          To me, feeling like someone cares about me is a lot more important than a lap dance.

          At the very least, if I’m going to be sexual with someone, I need this sense of equal interest/desire.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

      Feminist porn doesn’t seem watered down per se but I think it seems to involve what you call the “illusion of caring.” It wants to create the suggestion that the people in the scene have some real emotional connection to each other beyond simple lust. Its sort of like a sex scene in a Hollywood movie but with real rather than stimulated sex. It doesn’t quite work.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @leeesq — Very often the people working together know each other and in fact wanted to work with that person. Like, in the tgirl social space, pretty much everyone knows everyone on social media. We talk a lot. Relationships form.

        Like — okay full disclosure — I’m slated to fly out to the west coast later this year or early next, with my g/f, to make a film with a girl out there. Yes, I’ll be on camera. (Actually I already have been, but that’s a long story.) The thing is, she wants us to come, a lot. She offered to pay. I like her. I chat with her frequently. She’s really cool.

        There is no “illusion” here. I care about her. She cares about me. We both care about my g/f (in my case quite a lot).

        Porn made by cynical male producers, which puts together whatever random women the producer chose — that still exists, I suppose. However, that is not what I see happening in my friends circle. It certainly is not “feminist porn.”Report

    • The sad fact is, it’s really hard to make money in porn these days. Some women manage, big stars with big names. They can get enough people to sign up for their websites to make a living. But still, it’s a lot of work. They have to keep posting new content.

      You have just described the modern freelance “creative” economy. I have been reading up lately on the self-publishing book world. You can make a living wage if you are a reasonably competent fiction writer, churn out three our four books a year, and devote the time not writing to marketing yourself. A lot of the discussion mystified me until it clicked that we are talking about the modern equivalent of writing dime novels, with the added thrill of spinning the “50 Shades of Gray” wheel of fortune with every release.

      All in all, it sounds dreadful. From either end: A life of drudgery for the writers, and I have no desire to read any of this stuff, either.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        @richard-hershberger What it seems to me is happening is a really peculiar reversion to an older system. Specifically bards. Hear me out…
        So before recorded media you had basically an entire class of working class performers. If anyone wanted to hear music you basically had to either play it yourself or you paid someone to perform it for you. That’s why, for instance, the mass manufactured Piano was such a huge fishing deal- because it let amateurs pretty easily play music for their pals. Like, if you look at pictures of community halls from the late 18th century right up to present a flipping Piano was there. Pianos were –everywhere-.

        Anyhow, point is you had professional working class bards basically. They’d travel from town to town and perform for rich people or venues where many people gathered. It was a working class variable gig. Some days you sleep on the road but you often made a decent penny at it. Also if you were especially good or especially connected you ended up with a wealthy patron and a comfortable sinecure.

        So enter recorded music. Suddenly you don’t need a person performing it on site to listen to music. That really contracts the market for performers. They migrate into bands and the like performing more specialized niche music. Also enter mass media: if you make the right connections or are good enough you get found and then you go to being a flipping super star who’s wealthy as hell and your music gets distributed to everyone in the flipping country. There’s this Woody Allen Quote:
        “The whole country was tied together by radio, we all experienced the same heroes and comedians and singers. They were giants.”

        So mass media made these big general buckets of songs that everyone listened to but there were a limited number of buckets. Now, however, the internet media has bypassed the media gatekeepers and now everyone can peruse almost anyone who’s interested in performing. So now instead of everyone listening to, say, the Beatles each person can listen to a singer who’s much more narrowly tailored to their own needs. It’s way better! People don’t have to settle for good enough music any more. It’s also cheap as hell!

        But it’s also cheap as hell. Which means that we’re seeing the resurgence (they never went away entirely) of the working class solo musician. Originally I was thinking we would also see the end of the musical superstars but now I’m beginning to wonder if the mass media edifice had more “value added” mojo than they originally were given credit for. I mean pop music has gotten blander but with the added effects, production, group writing of lyrics etc and marketting you see in the mass pop stars a kind of orginizational edifice and the actual artist perched on the top maybe is more interchangable than artists like to admit.

        So now we kindof have our cake and eat it too. We have the mass popular art but then we individually can go and watch niche working class artists who’re making stuff tailored to our individual tastes. The modern world has made us all into wealthy patrons in our respective castles.

        As for the artists, I dunno, I go back and forth. I mean yeah the working class artists are working their fishing asses off for working money at best. But in the pre-internet age what’d they be doing for a living? Accounting or manufacturing? Certainly not art. And of course right beneath them are the talented ameteurs who do something else for a living and make art for fun and give it away for free. And tech keeps advancing to make it easier to do that. What kind of flipping economic model are we looking at eventually coming about?Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          John Philip Sousa recognized what recorded music could do to both professional musicians and the average person’s ability to play music during in an early 20th century essay he wrote on the menace of canned music. Musical ability used to be more widespread because people had to play it for themselves for the most part. They needed to learn how to sing and if you were Protestant you were probably taught in church. More people also played instruments so they could make music. Recorded music eliminated this need because better quality music was closer at hand.Report

        • There are a lot of similarities in how books and music have changed. (Television, too. My kids rarely watch conventional scripted produced television. They adore YouTube videos. My younger one told me on day that she no longer wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She wants to be a YouTuber. I was never more proud.) The similarities break down in production, and especially at the consumer end. A singer with a good voice and adequate guitar skills can sit on the miniature stage in a coffee house and perform a perfectly credible set. On the production side, the creative process of writing a novel is different, and involves the distinct skill set of editing. Within the self-publishing community there is a common theme that it is ridiculous to pay for a professional editor. You can trade editing with other writers. From which I deduce that I don’t want to read anything that group touched. But more to the point, as a consumer if the person singing on stage sucks, or is fine but not to my taste, I finish my coffee and leave. Or if I went to that artist’s website and streamed a song or two, I have only lost a couple of minutes. Reading a novel is different. Assuming minimally competent prose, it may not be obvious for quite a while whether I want to finish this. There are many excellent books I bounced off the first time. My investment in time and attention in a novel is much greater than in a singer-songwriter. Hence my desire for a gatekeeper.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            I could not agree more. Novels and written prose in general present an enormously greater bar to entry and the plethora of offerings is similarly frustrating because some of them could be amazing but the amount of time and effort required to sort the wheat from the chaff is prohibitive.Report

          • @richard-hershberger @north

            IME – and for all I know you are exceptions! – those people with a significant amount of musical training feel similarly about random musicians as you feel about novels. (Including the “but I might bounce off something excellent the first time” phenomenon, and the “wanting to really immerse myself in something amazing without having to filter through all the chaff” phenomenon.) The solution for them/us, much like the solution for books, is to not sift through the chaff *ourselves*, but instead find people whose tastes they like, and sift through that 2nd-order set of things, rather than the pure chaff….

            I mean, this isn’t really a new move, and it is a type of gatekeeping, but there’s also a significant difference, somehow, between subscribing to a dozen different specialist internet newsletters / blogs, and following the NYT review section.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


        Have writers ever faced anything that wasn’t a life of drudgery? Way back when the idea of a professional writer emerged, a lot of them were earning sustenance existences and hoping for a rich patron to fawn. Hogarth made fun of them.

        Someone I know from college writes romance/Harlequin books. I don’t know if she is self-published per se but she is only a step or two above self-publishing. She does spend a lot of time on social media selling herself to fans.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Hack was originally a derogatory term for people who would write anything more money.Report

        • Have writers ever faced anything that wasn’t a life of drudgery?

          Depends on the writer. My sense is that by the mid-19th century, the top tier did pretty well. I’m talking here about Dickens and Twain and the like. Probably even on, say, the Zane Gray level. Then work your way down to the no-name dime novel pulp fiction level. Those guys were churning out the formula as fast as possible.

          Nowadays the great hurrah! is that there are no more gatekeepers. Anyone can write their opus and have it up on Amazon. If they are ambitious they can even set it up as a print-on-demand book, but usually we are talking strictly ebooks.

          As a reader, there is no way in hell I am going to devote my time and attention to a random self-published author. But in my old age I have less time and higher standards for fiction. Money isn’t the issue. These books sell for just a couple of bucks, and even that isn’t the point. Ten or fifteen dollars is cheap for the right book. Two dollars is dear for the wrong one. I need my gatekeepers.

          This is why I happily signed a contract with a real publisher for my book on the evolution of the rules of baseball. I want to write a book I would buy.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I think the 50 Shades of Grey author had an upper middle class job and income in television. She just came up with a Twilight fanfiction idea and had the insight that if she shaves the serial numbers off, she might make money.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d says:

      The sad fact is, it’s really hard to make money in porn these days.

      “Service sector income going down due to stiff competition.”Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater says:

        @stillwater — Well we tgirls really have to play with our hormone doses to provide the stiff competition that audiences demand!

        (Which, that’s a topic most people don’t know much about.)Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

        The porn industry is probably one of the best examples of a pure free market in action. Nobody is really supposed to make fantastic incomes in a true free market because there is supposed to be so much competition that that costs of the product are as low as the market will bear. Since a lot of porn is available for free and few people are going to want a particular piece bad enough to pay for it, the amount of money you can make for porn is low.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

          @leeesq — By contrast, porn has an obsession factor that is not present in a true “free market” good. For example, where a bunch of people might not care much about which porn they watch — any two naked bodies will do — plenty of people will form obsessions to that one model. When this happens, well she might have a website, or else she might be repped by a particular company, who churn out all of her latest material, full length, good quality, etc. (Keep in mind the “free porn” is often 5 minutes clips of key scenes, which is fine for a quick jerk session, but not for an obsessive weekend of 48 hours of porn. And yes, porn addicts will do that.)

          In this case, there really isn’t a “free market” so much anymore, except in the really strained definition of “free market” that ancap types insist on. If you’re obsessed with Natalie Mars or Tiffany Starr (and who isn’t!), well you can find stuff by them on the free sites, but you’re obsessed, and they have Twitter accounts where you can interact with them and sites where you can (for a modest fee) see every new thing they do.

          They might even let you buy them stuff. You might even get a personal thank you note.


          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

            People have gone obsessive about things as benign as tulips, beanie babies, and baseball cards in the past and these obsessions have led to broken marriages or even economic collapse. Obsession over a particular good in capitalism or a certain celebrity in pop culture is not unique to porn.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

              @leeesq — true. I’m only disagreeing with the “pure free market” comment. For the men (and occasional non-men) with hyper-specific obsessions, it is the opposite of a free market.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

                That doesn’t effect the overall structure of the porn market. Most people perceive porn actors and scenes as basically interchangeable, one MILF is as good as any other, and will take the free stuff because people like free stuff.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — porn is the kind of product where there is a long tail of low spenders and a short tail of people who spend a lot. Its the later group who drive the market.Report

  12. Avatar veronica d says:

    [Ge6] I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before.

    Honestly, there will always be an “empathy gap.” It’s not insurmountable. It’s not “all or nothing.” Sure, a skilled writer can do their “research” and write about characters unlike themselves in situations they’ll never experience. But still!

    It’s about knowing what is a cliche and what is not a cliche. It is also about knowing what is politically sensitive, but nevertheless true and important. For example, can a cis writer say difficult things about being trans? I mean, sure, but OMG the chance they’ll “get it right” is darn close to zero. But for a trans writer — look, this is our life. We’re talking about the world we live in.

    Say you want write about day to day life in Lagos Nigeria. How would you approach that?

    Well, you could read up on the city. Fine. You could read what other locals have written — but wait! Then you’re getting their vision, their perspective. From that you cannot offer a fresh perspective. You can only repeat, rearrange. But you’ll never really know if you’ve captured the spirit of the city. After all, those writers might have exaggerated, embellished. If nothing else, they had an editorial eye. But because you are ignorant, you cannot know what and how.

    Fine. Maybe you still have an interesting story to tell. But the Lagos part will have to be somewhat backstage, at least if you care about truth.

    In the case of minorities, if you say false things about vulnerable, exploited, marginalized people — then you fucking suck. Privileged entitled assholes have zero perspective.

    Of course, another thing you might do is visit Lagos, even stay for a while. You’ll never know the city like someone who grew up there, but you’ll get something of its spirit and rhythm. That said, you’re still (presumably) white. You’re still (something of) a tourist. But it’s the right path to take.

    In my view, this is what Sean Baker did when he created Tangerine. Yeah, he was a “tourist” in the lives of poor trans sex workers. But he really spent time with them. He listened. He let them participate in creating the script.

    This is the opposite of the “genius auteur” type, who is stupidly selfish about his “genius” and his “vision.” In other words, Sean Baker is the opposite of Guy in Your MFA.


    If you want to include a trans character in your work, please do so. But do your research. Read some novels by contemporary trans writers. Follow some of us on social media. Read what we write. Spend some time with us — assuming you’re not a douche and we’re willing to do so. But still, even then you better not think you can say new things about transness. For that, you need trans writers. It’s the only way.

    For television, where most scripts are produced by teams, hire women and minority writers. Listen to them. If you want to create really fresh and interesting things, make them the showrunner. They see stuff you don’t.Report

  13. Avatar veronica d says:

    Veronica’s hot takes!!!

    [Re2] — I’m totally down with “maybe-dates,” the whole “let’s hang out” thing. It works well enough. That said, you have to step up to make it work.

    For example, my first maybe-date with my current g/f was fun. At a certain point we were talking about our other poly partners. I mentioned some of mine, and in particular things they had in common. Then I said, “I have a type.” I paused. Then I added, “By the way, you’re my type.” She smiled.

    Later, near the end of the maybe-date, I said straight up, “I really like you.” She liked me back. We kissed goodbye and agreed to meet again.

    Now we’re totally dating.

    Which brings up the second point, ambiguity is fine to start out. It can be fun, to wiggle your way around our crazy modern dating landscape. But still, at some point you have to step up and say what you want. You have to be willing to name things. You can’t be ambiguous forever. That sounds hellish.

    [Re5] — This is depressing. If you want to get married, then say so. Like good grief people. Know what you want. Know how to communicate what you want. Respect others who do so. This seems basic.

    Things are fucked up, yo!

    [Re6] — I’m inclined to agree. NSA sex is fine in theory, but I’ve never felt great after. On the other hand, I’m totally fine with FWB, but the F part is important. There has to be some kind of relationship and respect there.

    Like literally right now, in another window, I’m chatting up this girl who wants to do a threesome with my g/f and me. She’s hawt. We’re all down. It’s just a matter of logistics. (She’s a few states away.) But still, we talk about other stuff besides sex, like work and relationships and our partners. She’s a person. I like her. If this happens, if will be more long-distance FWB than NSA, even if technically there are no strings attached.

    I dunno. Truly empty “hookups” don’t interest me. I still love sex.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Here’s what bugs me about the Weinstein thing. There are quite a few voices popping up talking about how this was an “open secret” and reporters are now telling the stuff that they could never talk about before.

    Could we get reporters to, like, *STOP* doing that?Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

      Stop doing which part? Reporters not pursuing an “open secret”, or people making unsubstantiated claims that something was an open secret?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

        Not pursuing “open secrets”.

        There are enough people out there saying something to the effect of “oh, I totally knew about those goings on!” that I’m willing to believe that the claims that it was an open secret are substantiated enough for jazz (at least as far as I can see). I mean, it’s kind of an awful thing to admit, you know? Given that it’s an awful thing to admit, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say “okay, that person knew about it too”.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’m not following.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

            Weinstein did some seriously creeptacular stuff. Apparently, a huge number of journalists knew about it. To the point where they’re calling it an “open secret”.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

              It seems the issue is less “admitting you were in on an open secret” and more “being in on an open secret instead of calling it out.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, reporters should definitely stop being in on open secrets.

                Certainly open secrets that are somewhere in the ballpark of being of this particular nature.

                (It’s probably fine to have open secrets about silly stuff. Without getting into where the line is, I think it’s safe to say that this is way the hell over on the other side of it.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yes, I meant to make this specific to this kind of “open secret”.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

              Can’t say for sure with this particular topic, but my guess is this is more a publisher issue than a journalist issue.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                There’s another things about the Weinstein thing that I don’t see being discussed. In addition to the wealth/power thing (which is certainly very real), the truth is that the entertainment industry is pretty rife with quid pro quo sexual harassment. In fact, a lot of the industries PR is centered around what is really sexual harassment. It’s made out by the industry itself to be glamorous, and far more often than not its celebrated by people than condemned.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Well, the publishers appear to be complicit in some pretty awful stuff.

                It makes me wonder what “open secrets” they’re sitting on right now.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

          OK, I often take odd positions on Friday afternoons, so I might be off-base here, but you’re assuming it’s awful to admit that you knew about something like this once it becomes public. I think that, for some people, it’s a way of showing how connected they are. And that holds true whether they knew anything or not.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

            you’re assuming it’s awful to admit that you knew about something like this once it becomes public

            Yes. That is my fundamental assumption. (Edit: Well, to admit knew about something like this and did nothing until it was officially safe to say something.)

            I think that, for some people, it’s a way of showing how connected they are. And that holds true whether they knew anything or not.

            Here’s my perspective on that: that’s kind of awful.Report

            • How about if we replace “open secret” with “unsubstantiated rumor”? Presumably we aren’t complaining that we aren’t getting enough unsubstantiated rumors from the press. The question then is who had the resources to work this up to a real story, and for those with the resources who didn’t pursue it, why not? But “because life is short and there are many unsubstantiated rumors” seems to me a pretty good answer.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                Let’s use this framework:
                1 Thing
                2 Reporter hears about thing
                3 Reporter proves thing
                4 Reporter reports thing

                You seem to be describing a sequence of 1-2-4. I hope no one here is defending that. I think Jay is complaining about 1-2-(yawn).Report

              • Working it up to a real story was intended to cover (3).Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                OK, so you’re commenting that things can get stalled during (3). OK.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                The part I have a hard time with is that Jaybird’s ascribing blame, and therefore not only culpability but moral failing, to the press without sufficiently identifying where those failings have occurred. One thing we know (at least insofar as it’s repeatedly confirmed by their own accounts) is that reporters are in *that game* to break big stories. Breaking a story which would effectively take down a Hollywood kingpin would be career-changing. So on a purely self-interested level, it reasonable to assume that reporters were actively and aggressively trying to amass a body of evidence to expose HWs crimes which could withstand public scrutiny.

                Don’t blame the press. Blame HW. (And Lisa Bloom.) Or if we wanna blame the press, blame the gatekeepers who shot down well reported stories and wouldn’t publish them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                without sufficiently identifying where those failings have occurred

                Well, there are a bunch of people calling this an “open secret”. I assume that that means that it’s something that “everybody knew”. (See, for example, the article I posted already.)

                Do I need to find three examples of people saying “oh, yeah, that was an open secret”?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Not to pile on Jay but can you define the difference between an open secret and an unsubstantiated widespread rumor?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Publishers on a payroll?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                An open secret is a secret held because there is advantage in not publishing it… usually either for Access to that person and/or power, or because money changes hands to the benefit of the people in possession of the secret – not in a blackmail sense, but in a golden goose way.

                So as far as I can tell, JB is out on a limb so far as we don’t know whether it was an Open Secret (see above) or an Unsubstantiated rumor; most likely at an institutional rather than personal level.

                It is a second order ethical conundrum of what to do if you provide the photos and or the potential corroborating sources and your publisher kills the story. Are you complicit or have you done your duty?

                From what I’m reading, I can’t quite make out who knows what, when…. so JB is out on a limb, but its not the thinnest limb I’ve seen him on.

                Or so that’s what my decoder ring says.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                its not the thinnest limb I’ve seen him on.

                Also, some limbs are more bendy than others.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                True, but learn from past mistakes… stay well clear or when he jumps of you are going to get a face full of limb. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I’ve never seen him jump off tho he does frequently lose his grip and fall. Standing on that limb provides a good vantage point to watch the subsequent grasping for other branches.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                (I gotta admit, I did not expect to see so much pushback on this one.)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, there’s enough smoke to at least speculate on the fire.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:


                >unfurls scroll<

                On behalf of the OT Commentariate: you were right, we were wrong. That is all.


              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                What were we wrong about?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                That was a good essay.

                What I’m wondering about now is how many more names will be named. The Weekly Standard included this bit:

                A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—

                I suppose it isn’t the place of the guy who wrote this article to say who the producer is… but, as secrets go, it seems to be an open one.

                Corey Feldman’s accusations are finally being given some real scrutiny, for example. The undernet has started naming producers but these names haven’t broken out into the Real Media.

                And I wonder if there isn’t a (yet) that should be appended to that last sentence.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I think Jaybird is referring to articles like this one:

                I have been having conversations about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment for more than 17 years.

                . . .

                But another reason that I never considered trying to report the story myself, even, truly, in the years after I did start writing about gender and power as my beat, was because it felt impossible. Sisyphean. I remembered what it was like to have the full force of Harvey Weinstein — back then a mountainous man — screaming vulgarities at me, his spit hitting my face. I had watched him haul my friend into the street and try to hurt him. That kind of force, that kind of power? I could not have won against that.

                Why the Harvey Weinstein Sexual-Harassment Allegations Didn’t Come Out Until Now

                Basically, she kicked-down, but was afraid to kick-up.

                And I think her accusations against Weinstein’s legal team are ugly, and I’m pretty sure she think she’s kicking down.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to PD Shaw says:

                EDIT: I’m pretty sure she think she’s kicking [up, when she’s still kicking] down.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw says:

                I gotta be honest here, I’ve never really understood the whole punching or kicking up/down analysis of political expression, so it’s not obvious to me. Who’s the “up” that she thinks she’s kicking, and who’s the “down” that she’s actually kicking.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to PD Shaw says:

                …kicking down against Boies, Harder, and Lanny Davis?

                That seems like kind of a stretch.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to PD Shaw says:

                I’ve got absolutely zero problem with people who say stuff like “I was afraid” to not publish any given story. I mean, I understand why the actresses who got harassed (or worse) didn’t say anything. It’s a bummer, but I understand.

                I don’t understand how this could be an open secret for so long.

                I’m wondering what other open secrets are being sat on.

                I think that journalists/publishers who sit on awful open secrets are morally culpable.

                And, for the life of me, I can’t believe that this is particularly controversial.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                The controversy is your characterization of what was going on. If they couldn’t get confirmation for the story, they weren’t sitting on it. Now you can say other people were sitting on it or the equivalent—other people who were peers of Weinstein’s in Hollywood, or politicians who were not directly vulnerable to retaliation.

                Open secrets are often things that everyone knows, but are difficult to prove to whatever standards are required (for publication, in this case).Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Well shoot, that’s a right lot of circumstantial golden goosery:

                The attorney Lisa Bloom, whose business has recently been the representation of women lodging harassment and assault claims against powerful men, is a member of his legal team. I cannot imagine it coincidental that this spring he bought the rights to make her book about Trayvon Martin into a miniseries.

                Where are we on hypocrisy as a moral flag for causes again?

                We’ve all disarmed our hypocrisy guns, right?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                No, good lord don’t do that. Merely repeating yourself won’t answer people’s objections to your view.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                Are media reporters in the game to break a big story? Maybe, although I’m not sure. They definitely are aware that they need access to stay in the game, and I don’t know if they’d give up their access in pursuit of a big story. Truthfully, I don’t know if Harvey Weinstein counts as a big name. He’s more influential than famous. That can make the decision doubly tough, because it reduces the payoff but increases the cost.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                HW is famous. He’s one of the best producers in Hollywood.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah, sort of. More famous than you and me, sure. But the most minor Avenger is a bigger name than he is.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Pinky says:

                I think Pinky has a point here. HW and Cosby both got Times front page stories but HW is not going to be water cooler conversation nation wide whereas Cosby was/is.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

                I concede that. My point is that HW’s fame was significant enough to motivate reporters on the Hollywood beat. He has a well known name. Even by people like me. (I’ve been a big fan of his over the years, unfortunately.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Btw, I think I’ve sorta lost track of what we’re discussing here. Is it that Weinstein wasn’t famous enough for reporters to care about breaking a big take-down story, or that Weinstein was so powerfu l-
                yet so inconsequential – that he effectively bought off reporters silence re: the sexual harassment allegation with the implicit threat to deny them access?

                I mean, both of them might be true. (Might be aliens too, for that matter…) But isn’t the more plausible account the one provided by reporters and others in media: that they had information about these types of events for a long time but couldn’t get anyone to go on record backing the rumors up with public testimony?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:


          I think reporters DID pursue it. But until you get at least one of the participants in the creepiness (perp or victim) to make on-record statements describing their experiences there isn’t a story to tell. Hell, there were probably dozens, if not hundreds, of reporters desperately trying to break this story over the years, and apparently some even tried, but HW’s connections put the kibosh on publication.Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird says:

      It’s kind of difficult to say, “X Person is a terrible human being, Y told me so” and then Y says, “I never said that” or “I don’t know what this reporter is talking about.”

      Imagine if a reporter in 1990 said, “actually, Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. Now, I have nobody to come forward, but somebody this person told me.”

      It’s terrible, sad, and horrible, and I wish it wasn’t that way, but that’s how reporting works.

      I’ll explain in a less high stress way – you know Doris. Doris is Larry’s boss. Doris tells you at lunch, “Larry’s actually pretty terrible at work, but he knows enough people I can’t say it out loud.”

      Now, if you can get a bunch of people to say, “hey, Larry’s pretty terrible,” you may be able to go above the person protecting him. But, if at the next meeting you say, “hey, Larry’s terrible, Doris told me,” that’s going to cause issues.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

        Here’s an excerpt from The Cut’s article on this that I think is interesting:

        Weinstein went nuclear, pushing Andrew down a set of steps inside the Tribeca Grand — knocking him over with such force that his tape recorder hit a woman, who suffered long-term injury — and dragging Andrew, in a headlock, onto Sixth Avenue.

        Such was the power of Harvey Weinstein in 2000 that despite the dozens of camera flashes that went off on that sidewalk that night, capturing the sight of an enormously famous film executive trying to pound in the head of a young newspaper reporter, I have never once seen a photo.


    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well, one issue, perhaps not the only one, is that Weinstein was powerful enough in his circles that people who know about his behavior were unwilling to go on the record about it, which considerably shifts the incentives against reporting on it. It was a problem, but I’m not sure it’s a problem that should be primarily laid at the feet of reporters.

      This sort of ties into an interesting Ezra Klein Voxsplainer that touches on “open secrets”, and connects the way they finally become open, er, non-secrets to (he says) the process that leads people to support Trump because “he says what everyone is thinking”. He basis this to a yet-o-be-published Case Sunstein paper which I haven’t gotten to yet.Report

  15. Avatar Peter Moore says:

    He1: It looks like the problem is not the study, but the click-baity headline. They are really ranking countries making the most healthy *lifestyle* choices. And what they measure is alcohol, smoking and obesity, which tend to be more rich-country problems.Report