Morning Ed: Media {2018.05.02.W}


Will Truman

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

Related Post Roulette

127 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Me1: Journalism requires a certain amount of access to get information. The problem with a lot of non-partisan (TM) mainstream journalists take this too far in the name of money or something else and become lickspittles.

    I think the idea of being a pundit or op-ed journalist for a living is an odd one. There was always the concept of the public intellectual but there is something very different about Mary McCarthy or Dwight MacDonald writing at the Partisan Review and people getting paid massive 6 or 7-figure salaries from their punditry. The public intellectuals at the quarterlies and small magazines did not make huge amounts and had freedom to do as they please. Pundits in larger organizations feel like they cannot or they cannot criticize their audience too much. So a lot of punditry feels like vague platitudes to the wisdom of the common American public to me. There is no analysis, no insight, just the repeating of cliche. The Jeff Toobin who writes articles for the New Yorker is much more intelligent than the Jeff Toobin who appears on CNN. And I think Jeff Toobin on CNN is pretty good as pundits go.

    I think the mainstream media is still in shock of our current moment. They know that Trump is not a normal President. They know that is administration is deeply incompetent, chaotic, and corrupt. But they still seem deeply uncomfortable with the idea that they need to point this out and take sides. Horse race political coverage of who is winning, who is losing is cheap and doesn’t offend anyone except a few nerds. Talking about how something is deeply wrong in American government and it will take a lot to fix it turns off advertisers and makes people think too hard. So the Clizzila’s of the world will continue with lickspittle apace.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Me2: I don’t have a problem with government making their position publicly known & advocating for it. I do have a problem with that advocacy being brought through less than obvious means.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Me2 – I don’t see this as any different than Stars and Stripes. The only problem I can see if the Chesapeake Bay gets this but no other region does.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      S&S has always been pretty obviously an advocate for the Pentagon. Can we say the same for the Chesapeake Bay? Sounds like the connection between the paper and the EPA was kept quiet.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        It’s not quite fair to say they’re an ‘advocate’ for the Pentagon, though I grant your point about the connection being obvious* in the case of S&S and maybe not so much for Chesapeake paper.

        *so much so that their institutional culture (seems to me) is such that it strives to demonstrate its independence but struggles to balance that with blowing everything up.

        (The Gannett(?) run Military Times series has a related dynamic with trying to maintain ‘access’, both for its reporters and for distribution of its product, while trying to maintain journalistic integrity.)Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Me4 – keeping commies out of state owned media? I don’t have a problem with that.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      That’s a slippery slope to not letting them write movie scripts.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        #unpopularopinion – I’m ok with the Hollywood blacklist. Thinking Stalin was ok is no different than thinking Hitler was ok.

        Eta – and there was certainly enough space within Rooseveltian (heck, even Hooverian (Herb type)) America to have leftish social democrat positions. So one didn’t need to make the unfortunate alliances that the ‘good guys’ had to in, say, the Spanish Civil War had to.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          But we didn’t know how bad Stalin was yet!Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @kolohe If that’s the basis on which you’re ok with it, you may want to reconsider somewhat. My primary problem with it, far beyond wanting to protect any actual naive commies, is that the tactics used were pretty screwed up. People who had no commie associations, as well as those with extremely tenuous commie associations (frex ‘I know this guy who is a commie, we used to date 30 years ago’) ended up being punished so people who were commies could get out of punishments. The whole naming names thing worked pretty poorly in that regard.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          So one didn’t need to make the unfortunate alliances that the ‘good guys’ had to in, say, the Spanish Civil War had to.

          Well, the American government, did in fact feel it was needed to make an alliance with Stalin.
          It was official government policy that Stalin was our ally and nothing bad was to be said about him, until the very moment the flag fell over the Reichstag, at which point Stalin was doubleplusungood and you could lose your job for thinking otherwise.

          Again, I don’t disagree with that decision so much as note that defining the boundaries of acceptable discourse is fraught with danger, because it is often done to reflect the whims and desires of the powers that be.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            In short it’s always been a political decision, never a principled one. You see the same thing now with designation of terrorist organizations.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Keeping fascists, fascist sympathizers, or fellow travelers out of state owned universities?

      I don’t have a problem with that.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Me5 – but the Beeb has that power not only from its unique position in the media-government ecosystem, but also that it’s been more or less a straight shooter throughout its existence. They’re reinforcing effects. (And can lead to a downward spiral if it did start to slant things)

    Eta – though my own observational bias is towards their international broadcast, which even CNN does much better than its main domestic broadcast.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I wonder if the International broadcasts are aimed at a different audience. They probably are. Or the assumption is that International audiences are more educated, in more elite professions, and watching in shorter bursts.

      I doubt International CNN features ads about selling off your life insurance for quick cash, get rich schemes from Multi-Tier Marketers, and/or Mesothelioma/Asbestos law firms.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The audiences are certainly different, and I think you are correct in describing how they are different.

        (A weird thing is that I came across Russia Today for the first time while I was in Thailand, whatever year that big Estonian cyber attack happened when people got upset that a WW2 Soviet war memorial was getting removed. The reporting seemed straightforward enough, and I just thought the subject matter was because it was a Russian based broadcaster)Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Isn’t keeping commies out of media a sort of slant?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        It is indeed. But my viewpoint neutral preference field is not an infinite plane. On one edge is e.g. Leninists, on the other e.g. White Nationalists. (This is not an exhaustive list)

        If they want to express those viewpoints via their own means of production, that’s fine. I’m even willing to cut some slack on the interwebz – where ‘ownership’ is a convoluted and muddled combo of privately owned, government owned, and privately owned but common carrier regulated infrastructure.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          There’s a difference between, on the one hand, expressing outright support for communism or white supremacism on national media, and, on the other hand maybe secretly harbouring such viewpoints or maybe just having family members who do, while providing your employer with normal, much more centrist, reporting / film acting / etc.

          To prevent the former, you just have to do a bit of a background check yourself – read the person’s old blogs or writings for other publications. If they keep submitting Stalin- or slavery-apologetic articles / film scripts, you decline to publish / produce them, and at that time start to reconsider their ongoing employment.

          To achieve the latter, you need intelligence agency support.

          And, near as I can tell, the latter is only necessary if you think commies have super powers of subliminal suggestion, whereby they can evade your editorial board and still turn impressionable audiences communist by selectively omiting Oxford commas in their article about sanctions against Cuba, or waggling their eyebrows just so while they portray a retired baseball coach.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            I’m actually friendly to the notion that there are enforceable bounds of public discourse.

            But as history shows us, defining and enforcing them is always dangerous and fraught with complexity.

            I’ve come to the view that the definitions and enforcement is best when it isn’t done in secret, but in full view of the public who can offer their opinions.Report

          • Avatar Mark Van H says:

            In the case of the BBC and communists or fellow travelers, the problem is not necessary the content they produced, but also the access to information they would have.
            At that period it was not exactly a stretch to regard communists and fellow travelers as likely potential agents for a foreign hostile government.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              Good point.
              Imagine the dystopian horror if one of them had been elected President.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              That could provide some support for the BBC blacklist, depending what the people were being hired to do (communist-sympathetic stage carpenters, sound effect designers, comedic actors – no problem. Communist investigative journalism show editors – maybe more of a problem).

              It doesn’t provide any support for the Hollywood blacklist, the other example @kolohe brought up elsewhere in this thread.Report

              • Avatar Mark Van H says:

                Based on the article it seems that the screening took the positions in account in the screening process.

                And yeah, Hollywood blacklisting is a whole other ballgame.Report

  6. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Me1 – Chilliza is probably pretty smart, for a hack.

    Me4 – This is how (reason 9.73m) you get Trump.

    Me5 – Its called propaganda.Report

  7. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    Me9: For whatever reason, I read Jezebel/Root comments and there was some serious tinfoil hattery around Joy Reid. Lots of talk of Russian psyops and Glenn Greenwald’s supposed hatred of black women.

    It sound like the “let’s talk about game theory” Twitter meltdown from earlier in the Trump presidency. It used to be that you knew intra-left battles jumped the shark when one side started name-checking COINTELPRO, but now it’s the Russians.Report

  8. Avatar InMD says:

    Me5 Ideological diversity is a good thing but its not the only thing. Standards and sophistication also matter. Having one hack parroting a particular set of talking points at another hack parroting another is just theater. Which is primarily what the MSM is into now (see Me8).Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    Me1 – I have a problem with this idea that bullying is power, at least as presented in the article. Power has a lot of dimensions. Wolf had more power than Sanders in that she was at the podium. Sanders has more power in that she’s smarter and more successful (although she’s in a high-turnover job). Wolf is cuter, and that’s a type of power. Sanders has a famous dad. Wolf is a member of the press in a country with our First Amendment. Sanders is in the government. I could go on all day.

    Bullies take advantage of situations in which they have greater relative power. But that statement means almost nothing, since you can’t take advantage when you don’t have any advantage.

    I can guess that this emphasis on power derives from post-modernism.Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The liberal blogosphere is up and arms at Ross Douthat again for an editorial he wrote about the redistribution of sex in the NY Times. I’ve read the article and for the life of me, the only reason my side is up in arms about it is because it is Douthat and he hit on some questions they can’t answer. From what I’ve read, his point was that the Sexual Revolution like all revolution has losers, in this case people unlucky in sex/love for a variety of reasons, and that which losers you have sympathy with depend on your politics. His other point was that despite some contributions and efforts from feminists and others, the Sexual Revolution is still Heferian as he calls it. Those with the wildest and most diverse sexual lives are celebrated and people struggling for success are derided.

    I generally don’t agree with Ross Douthat but he is capable of outstanding and annoying insights like his article about woke capitalism from around the time of the Parkland shooting. Yet, many liberals go around treating him like an idiot even though he does have many intelligent things to say. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with him on any point but he isn’t dumb.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Douthat was referencing the post by Hanson, which as John Holbo over at Crooked Timber notes, was a dishonest bait-and-switch argument, where he was trying to own the libs by using the language of social justice against itself.

      Douthat himself is waging a sort of dishonest argument, which seems to be that the sexual revolution has produced discontents, so his silent implied preferences are assumed.

      See, no one is arguing the discontents. As I’ve noted, and I guess the Srinivasan piece does too, it isn’t just young men who are discontent.
      Older women or anyone who doesn’t fit the porn mold are slighted and ignored as well. Women of my age routinely vent about how there just aren’t many men who are willing to see them as sexual and many of them grieve at the knowledge they will spend the last four decades of life without being touched or caressed.

      There are plenty of critiques about the Hefnerian model, and I’ve seen plenty of them, often by feminists themselves who don’t particularly like being urged to get their anuses bleached because that’s what their boyfriend saw on Anal Bombshells IV.

      What Hanson and Douthat don’t want to admit, is that their preferences are not really intended to rectify the pain and suffering of the walking wounded of the sexual revolution. They are sort of using other people’s pain as props to advance an agenda that historically has produced far more suffering than we have now.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Nobody is against the discontents in theory but the liberal side seems pretty united against heterosexual male discontents. To express frustration and a feeling of being left out even in the most careful language is to get blasted as being a “nice guy.” Douthat’s point about what discontents you feel sorry for being based on your politics is entirely accurate. At least my experience tells me, I’m supposed to grin and bear it.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I’ve read the Crooked Timber thread on Hanson. It was a lot more reasonable than the LGM thread on the subject, which descended into the sort of contempt that one of the Crooked Timber people posted about. The Crooked Timber posters were generally willing to accept that heterosexual men can be legitimately lonely without being horrible people.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          It would almost have to be.

          As much affection as I feel for the LGM crowd, most of the time its like the People’s Front of Judea/ Judean People’s Front factions in the Mos Eisely cantina at closing time.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        But that’s not even remotely the point of Douthat’s article.

        But I expect the logic of commerce and technology will be consciously harnessed, as already in pornography, to address the unhappiness of incels, be they angry and dangerous or simply depressed and despairing. The left’s increasing zeal to transform prostitution into legalized and regulated “sex work” will have this end implicitly in mind, the libertarian (and general male) fascination with virtual-reality porn and sex robots will increase as those technologies improve — and at a certain point, without anyone formally debating the idea of a right to sex, right-thinking people will simply come to agree that some such right exists, and that it makes sense to look to some combination of changed laws, new technologies and evolved mores to fulfill it.

        He’s pointing towards a certain ineluctable movement towards normalized/legalized Sex Work and robotic gratification. The former is somewhat prosaic in that it is happening right now and the latter is the more interesting notion on several fronts

        ~We’re not quite there, yet…
        ~We’re already mostly primed and anticipating it in theory (See: Her, Bladrunner, Surrogates, Ex Machina, and, Westworld to name just a few.
        ~What will the cultural norms be for Robot lovers? Legal?
        ~What does AI do?
        ~What are the chances the Robots will be Stacies and not Beckies? Is that ok?
        ~What are the chances the Robots will be Chads and not Omegas? Is that ok?
        ~Are we moving towards Sex as pure commodity? For both Sexes?
        ~Are there any implications for Sex becoming fully commoditized and customizable?

        Obviously, the murder spree of the Incels is what has sparked this round of discussion… and its focusing on Men and their sexual challenges… and from some perspectives it looks like women are achieving a certain power/liberation in the sexual economy; but if you talk to any priests who spend time in confessionals, you’ll find that many men are abandoning the companionship of the women they are with and that women are deeply wounded by this (to say nothing of the men). There’s also the rise of the herbivores noted in Japan. Are we confident that women might be as happy with Robot Chad than men might be with Robot Stacy?

        Which is all to say that maybe some of the crackpot ideas of people like Hanson are the amoral post-christian working out of sexual transactional logic without regard to meta-terms like “meaning” or “fulfillment.” There are all sorts of permutations that may open up… and Douthat’s point is that the Market and Technology will be harnessed primarily for the needs of Incels (read Men)… and maybe we haven’t thought through what that means.

        My critique of this lucid observations is that maybe we can’t until its here… kinda like the Internet, Mobile Connectivity and Social Media… we can speculate on how we think it will play out, but the playing of it out will take it in ways we didn’t speculate.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          This is obviously correct. People are very aggressively misreading what Douthat said and arguing their perceived implications.

          THAT SAID…

          Douthat, and everybody trying to have that conversation right now, come across to me a lot like the people who looked at the Charlie Hebdo attack and thought the timing was right to talk about hate speech and religious intolerance towards Muslims.

          The context and timing of the words lend themselves to cocked eyebrows.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I pretty much agree with this analogy entirely.

            That said, it would be fun to argue such things as what “incel” literally means and how it’s a philosophy of peace and so on and so forth.

            That said, when the context and the timing has passed sufficiently, it might be a good time to have the conversation.

            I mean, if the incels can prevent themselves from killing another couple of dozen of people.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Oooh! Ellen Pao is weighing in!

              CEOs of big tech companies: You almost certainly have incels as employees. What are you going to do about it?


              • Avatar greginak says:

                I”m guessing working in Human Resources is going to get a lot more spicy and interesting at her business.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                So you’re telling me that anyone can say anything on Twitter?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yes, but when Thought Leaders start saying anything, stuff follows.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                I get it; I await the boldness of doers.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Is that why Facebook is launching a dating app?Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                She could have worded that better. Is is a point worth considering: if you’re a large company with a heavily male “geek” workforce, you probably have some employees who ascribe to the more violent aspects of incel ideology.

                The word “incel” once meant anyone who hadn’t had sex or intimacy for the last six months, but wishes they did. Nowadays it more specifically refers to a specific internet subculture.

                Of course, it is worthwile to make the distinction clear, even on Twitter.

                I don’t think anyone needs to care how many virgins work at a company. I can’t imagine Ellen Pao cares either. We do reasonably care how many of our male collegues secretly think we should branded, dipped in acid, and then raped to death.

                Cuz really, we’re not exaggerating about what (the more narrow, specific kind of) incels are like.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Personally, I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off if society wouldn’t be better off if all those geeks would just move to a really inhospitable part of the country to work by themselves away from where normal members of society congregate so we won’t have to interact with them.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @jaybird — Dude

                #notallgeeks, but it’s definitely a thing among geeks.

                Regarding the actual “incels” and “MRAs” (etc.), yeah, those guys can go pound sand. They’re toxic and horrible, far past the threshhold of acceptable. The entire worldview is garbage and, based on escalating frustration and entitlement — bah! Fuck those guys! Fuck the culture they produce.

                But #notallgeeks. Most geeks are lovely.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Eh, this seems like (yet) (another) situation where there are some extremely toxic and dangerous individuals and we can motte and bailey back and forth all day.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @jaybird — So let’s not do that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I agree. But tech leaders who tweet stuff like “You almost certainly have incels as employees. What are you going to do about it?” are doing that.

                But if you want me to agree that we should damn the ones who secretly think women should have unspeakable things done to them, then I agree. Damn those bastards to Hell.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @jaybird — Her tweet followed an actual mass homicide. Certainly HR should be aware that men like this exist and are likely part of the company’s payroll.

                And yes, HR types often don’t understand nerdspace.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You wouldn’t believe the stuff I heard about the people who conflated Islam and Al Qaeda in the days following 9/11. Hell, after the Pulse Shooting there were people who conflated Islam and Isis. After the Charlie Hebdo shooting, people blamed Islam rather than the shooters themselves…

                I guess I don’t understand the circumstances under which we apply the “well, we have to understand that critics of these murders might be confused on the finer points of these things” attitude.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            I’ll take y’all’s word for it as I’m not in twitter… but from the limited hate I’ve seen none of it has been of the sort… “Hey, now’s the time to grieve… tomorrow we fight.” Its all been the aggressive misreading type.

            p.s. @leeesq I did read through some stuff at LGM and was sorry to see you treated so poorly.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Thanks. Part of me should have known better. LGM has an orthodoxy about this and you challenge it at your own peril.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            I think this is pretty spot on about the timing. These conversations are always going to cause explosions because they are inherently political though.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

            This is so, so right. I read about the attack and it’s association with incels, and though, “Well, that’s a category of very real human suffering that I won’t be able to talk about for another year or so.”Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            @will-truman — I posted this on the Friday thread, but I’ll put it here also. Here is Katherine Cross responding to Douthat:

            I don’t think she’s misreading him. I do think she sees clearly how broken his article is.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          You are more willing to give Douthat a “face value” read than I am. Like Hanson, I think they are both having a proxy meta discussion of sexual mores without engaging in the actual subject of their essay.
          The things that Douthat notes, legitimization of prostitution and robot sex, have been discussed since I was old enough to read.

          It would be ridiculous to write much on either, without acknowledging the raging battle within the feminist world about porn, sex work, trafficking, autonomy and commodification.

          And again as I noted above, we are awash in a sea of discontents with sexuality. Fixating on men and their desires instinctively sets off a lot of red flags.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Fixating on men and their desires instinctively sets off a lot of red flags.

            “Mens’ desires are pretty problematic. How can we resolve these problems?”

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            And I think you are mistaken to discount Douthat’s understanding of the raging battle within the feminist world… and he pretty much spends the entire first part of the article pointing out there’s a raging battle in Feminist circles and weird workings out of Libertarian principles going on right now.

            For those more curious than martial, one useful path through this thicket is to look at areas where extremists and eccentrics from very different worlds are talking about the same subject. Such overlap is no guarantee of wisdom, but it’s often a sign that there’s something interesting going on.

            If there’s any Traditionalist Conservative pundit who reads and understands the post-modern world better than Douthat, I don’t know who it is.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Fixating on men and their desires instinctively sets off a lot of red flags.

            How many lonely women have gone on killing sprees as of late?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              That’s kind of my point, that if it were actually about sex deprivation, we would see mass slaughters by septuagenarian women.

              It isn’t about sex, not at all.
              Our human sexual desires are tightly bound up in our other desires for status and emotional fulfillment.

              Fixating on these guy’s sexual life, instead of their emotional life is the problem. Because the solution here doesn’t have anything to do with changing women, its changing men.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Given how tightly bound the emotional and sexual are, you can’t get address one without the other.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I agree with this to extent but see Oscar’s point. What many people are complaining about is not having romantic companionship and affection. Somebody to talk to, go and leave fun activities with, Conroe in, etc. There are lots of articles on how the lack of platonic touch is killing men, the thing is nobody owes anybody platonic friendship or touching either. Even if your seeking platonic companionship within your own gender, people are free to reject for any reason they want.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I think the whole conversation would be improved by several orders of magnitude and pick up a lot more allies if it started to be about “We want to be loving husbands and fathers and societal attitudes towards relationships are frustrating our search for partners”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                That does work better.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Many incels would have at least some problems with “we want to be loving husbands and fathers…” narrative. There is a narrative in the developed world that you sow your wild oats during your younger years, find somebody, and get married raising a family together hopefully to death or at least until divorce.” Incels believe that they are being excluded from the sowing your wild oats part and getting pushed into the deep end of a serious relationship.

                Many incels might want something a bit more deep than randomly sleeping about with a bunch of women but they don’t want to get pushed into suburbia. This is especially true if it as a step dad. They are looking for something more about doing fun activities together.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:


              How many lonely women have gone on killing sprees as of late?

              There was the woman who shot up the YouTube HQ, although I’m not sure if she was “lonely.”Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            When you right about women in their fifties feeling undesirable, the clear goal is that men need to be more broadmindes. However, men who feel undesirable got told to fake it to they make it and become more desirable. There might not be a solution because of the issue of consent but it seems putting pressure on some but not others is subpar. You have to be deep but I get to be as superficial as I want does not work well.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Ross Douthat was raising the same issues in the Westworld reboot. The Westworld reboot is seen as more feminist though, so it gets more respect.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            Sure, one of the things art does is explore change; sometimes it tries to advocate for a sort of direction we want the change to take; its easier to manage the change, though, when you control both sides of the dialogue and all the camera views.Report

  11. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Me1: I’m going to second my brother on this. Mainstream punditry is a weird profession. Even when I agree with them or think they are smart like Michelle Goldberg, Paul Krugman, and Mathew Ygleaias, I find it odd that they can make a really good living by writing for publications and appearing on television.Report

  12. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I take it back. I’ll endorse the PBS Commie Hour if I don’t have to see anything more on “incels”.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Something to make you say “hmmm“. Perhaps add an m or three.

    By the age of 19, 80% of US males and 75% of women have lost their virginity, and 87% of college students have had sex. But this number appears to be much lower at elite (i.e. more intelligent) colleges. According to the article, only 56% of Princeton undergraduates have had intercourse. At Harvard 59% of the undergraduates are non-virgins, and at MIT, only a slight majority, 51%, have had intercourse. Further, only 65% of MIT graduate students have had sex.

    The student surveys at MIT and Wellesley also compared virginity by academic major. The chart for Wellesley displayed below shows that 0% of studio art majors were virgins, but 72% of biology majors were virgins, and 83% of biochem and math majors were virgins! Similarly, at MIT 20% of ‘humanities’ majors were virgins, but 73% of biology majors. (Apparently those most likely to read Darwin are also the least Darwinian!)


    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      The chart for Wellesley displayed below shows that 0% of studio art majors were virgins, but 72% of biology majors were virgins, and 83% of biochem and math majors were virgins!

      I wonder to what extent this is mediated by women majoring in STEM being highly disproportionately first- or second-generation immigrants.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I don’t know.

        But I don’t know that that would really have quite as much impact as we’d hope given this stat (from the same article):

        Depending on the specific age and gender, an adolescent with an IQ of 100 was 1.5 to 5 times more likely to have had intercourse than a teen with a score of 120 or 130. Each additional point of IQ increased the odds of virginity by 2.7% for males and 1.7% for females. But higher IQ had a similar relationship across the entire range of romantic/sexual interactions, decreasing the odds that teens had ever kissed or even held hands with a member of the opposite sex at each age.

        I added that emphasis too.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Assuming the relationship is causal, I wonder how much of this is explained by, “Higher IQ people make different choices with regards to sex/romance,” how much is explained by “Higher IQ people have different opportunities with regards to sex/romance,”, and how much is some combination of the two/indirect (e.g., “Higher IQ people are more likely to play a classical instrument and people who play classical instruments are generally see as less desirable sexual/romantic partners*.”)

          * Note: I made both of those up for purely illustrative purposes.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I’ll emphasize this part now:

            But higher IQ had a similar relationship across the entire range of romantic/sexual interactions, decreasing the odds that teens had ever kissed or even held hands with a member of the opposite sex at each age.

            Edit: Not that IQ exists and, even if it did, was measurable.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              I saw that.

              I guess what I’m asking is how much of this is:
              “Ew, nerds! Don’t hold their hands, they’re nerds!”
              “Why would you want to hold hands with people? The chem lab is open!”
              “Wanna hang out?”
              “Chem lab?” “Hand holding?”
              “Oh.” “Oh.”
              “Later.” “Later.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This is why we need universal healthcare.

                Students in STEM would no longer have to worry about cooties shots.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                But didn’t you hear? Only sex perverts get cooties. Why should good moral upstanding citizens have to pay for sex perverts to be perverting around all day?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Maybe you should spend more time around small children because they will tell you that cooties are transmitted through touch. Even someone touching your clothing can give you, you personally, cooties. Cooties that can then be transmitted to others.

                Cooties may even be airborne, but studies are inconclusive.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Good thing there is a vaccine.

                Circle, circle, dot, dot… now you have autism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                From what I understand, you can’t give yourself the shot.

                Someone else has to give it to you.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            It seems to be combination of being ambitious, having plans, and dedication to work hard, which really cuts into the free time for romance or anything else, and crippling social anxiety.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Not that I wish to imply that IQ exists, of course.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      How are they defining virginity?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        That is an excellent question!

        I am the wrong person to ask.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Maybe I listen to too much “Savage Love” podcast but he often pushes back on the idea of their being a singular “V-card”.

          Hopefully the study either defined the term or asked more specific questions. Simply asking, “Are you a virgin?” or “Have you ever had sex?” is probably insufficient.

          You’d think we’ve learned a thing or two since the Clinton years.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Well, without getting into hypothetical situations where everybody in STEM is secretly pegging each other, I’d say that they talked about kissing and holding hands too.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      You know why, right?

      Not because of Trump.

      Because he said slavery must have been a choice if it went on so long.

      “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Please don’t think that I would argue that the radio station is obliged to carry his music.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Let’s take a step back.

          What “it” are you referring to?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Radio stations are refusing to carry the music of an artist based on things that said artist has said in other contexts that have little, if anything, to do with their music.

            Remember The Dixie Chicks? Something like that.

            I haven’t really listened to Kanye since “Late Registration” but I heard that “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was really, really good. “Runaway” was a pretty good song but I never picked up the album.

            And now going out of my way to pick it up would be a political statement!Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              So, you mean, it’s STILL happening?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, it used to be something that only censorious right-wingers who wanted to silence criticism did.

                It’s finally something that good people can do in order to make sure that people who say evil, ugly, and most importantly *WRONG* things don’t get their voices amplified.

                This new album better lay it down flat, Kanye. It better be *TIGHT*.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                “Well, it used to be something that only censorious right-wingers who wanted to silence criticism did.”

                Says who?

                “It’s finally something that good people can do in order to make sure that people who say evil, ugly, and most importantly *WRONG* things don’t get their voices amplified.”

                Says who?

                While you tend to have an encyclopedic knowledge of past comments/conversations here that seems to border super human (I can’t remember what I said yesterday), I’m going to quote below everything I remember saying back in 2003 about the Dixie Chicks controversy:

                ” “Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, I’m better with my comments and the arguments with my comments than I am with the comments of others but here’s what I said back in 2009 (about Ted Nugent):

                Ah, what the hell. I’ll defend him. As a matter of fact, I’ll defend him by writing what I wrote when the Dixie Chicks said what they said and got that backlash.

                “Don’t shit where you eat.”

                Did Uncle Ted shit where he eats? It doesn’t strike me that he did… which makes a fairly interesting distinction between what he did and what the Dixie Chicks did.

                Who is going to stop buying Ted Nugent albums because of this? Who is going to say “Man, I seriously thought that Ted was a guy with his head straight on his shoulders who knew where I was coming from! I guess not! You’ve put me in a stranglehold, Ted.” and stop giving Ted his or her money?

                I mean, when the Dixie Chicks said what they said, I immediately thought “there are going to be a lot of people buying their first DC album in ‘solidarity’ but… they aren’t going to buy a second. On the other side, there are a lot of people who could have been counted upon to buy their next album (and the one after that and the one after that) who no longer will. And I’m not talking about concert tickets, and I’m haven’t even mentioned poster/t-shirt sales.”

                “But what about their right to free speech???”, I heard some people disingenuously ask, as if I were questioning it.

                I made my voice really high in mocking response “but what about the rights of the people to spend money on what they want and what they don’t want?”

                I brought my voice back down to reasonable register. “Surely you’re not implying that people are *OBLIGED* to buy the next Dixie Chick album, are you?”

                “Of course not.”

                “Well, my suggestion is that if you want to support the Dixie Chicks, you need to buy their next two or three albums. Buy a poster. Buy a t-shirt. Call up your local Country radio station and request their song. Call up your local lite-music station and request their version of ‘landslide’. And keep doing this for the next five years.”

                And, wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t. Why? Well… they didn’t really give a crap about the Dixie Chicks’ music. Wasn’t their bag. No biggie. We all have different tastes, after all.

                Which brings us to Uncle Ted:
                Does he know his audience?
                How many people who could have been counted upon to buy the next Uncle Ted album will not do so now that he’s said this?
                How many people who could have been counted upon to buy tickets to the State Fair where Uncle Ted will be playing at the Damn Yankees! reunion tour will not do so now that he’s said this?
                How many people inclined to call up K-Rock and request ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ for the umpteenth time will not do so now that he’s said this?

                I’m making some calculations in my head and I’m not coming up with anybody.

                Uncle Ted did not shit where he eats.

                Which brings us to the question:

                Did Kanye shit where he eats?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                It remains unclear to me why you said this:

                “Well, it used to be something that only censorious right-wingers who wanted to silence criticism did.

                It’s finally something that good people can do in order to make sure that people who say evil, ugly, and most importantly *WRONG* things don’t get their voices amplified.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Because it was obviously wrong when it happened to the Dixie Chicks but if someone brings it up about it happening to Kanye, they need to have the full context of Kanye’s offensive statements explained to them?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Who said it was obviously wrong when it happened to the Dixie Chicks?

                And I apologize for misunderstanding what you meant when you said, “AH! IT’S HAPPENING!” I should have known exactly what needle you were threading there.

                Just out of curiosity… did you know what particular statements were motivating the DJs’ actions?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Who said it was obviously wrong when it happened to the Dixie Chicks?

                I can find you some people who said it was?

                Wait, is this a real question or a way to make me spend 20 minutes on Google?

                Just out of curiosity… did you know what particular statements were motivating the DJs’ actions?

                I assume that the motivations were related to what the DJs said their motivations were in the article that I linked to.

                (Seriously, Kanye better drop freakin’ THRILLER.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                We can Google and find people saying anything on the internet.

                Why you’ve chosen to focus on the people who said the Dixie Chicks situation was obviously wrong and the Kanye situation is obviously right is what I don’t understand.

                I bet I can find people who defended the station that banned the Dixie Chicks and who will criticize this station for being PC.

                What then?

                Also, the article doesn’t quote Kanye directly. So, again, I’ll ask if you knew the particular comments he made at the time you made your initial comment.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh, I know what comments that Kanye made. And I know that the DJs in this case seem to be giving them a reading that Kanye’s staunchest defenders are responding to with various “well, actually”s.

                What then?

                Well, at that point, we’re stuck asking questions of whether it makes sense for the DJs to have done what they did in response to what Kanye said and look at such things as historical precedents.

                If you want me to do that, I’d just ask, again, “Did Kanye shit where he ate?”

                At this point, it sure seems to me the answer is “yeppers”.

                Kanye shouldn’t have done that.

                But, of course, if the next album is Fire, it don’t matter.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Oh, cool… so we can discuss what is actually going on here instead of trying to view it through these weird lenses that we may or may not possess? Great.

                Here? I think Kanye shat where he ate. I also pretty much stopped caring about what Kanye said a long time ago. But everyone’s mileage varies. Also also, the two tracks I’ve heard are poop. Literally… one is just him going “Poop a doop” for a while. Also also also, my hunch is that if he does drop any good tracks — or even thinking about his old tracks — many stations will play his music but not get pulled into his drama.

                Tl;Dr: This is a tempest in a teapot that will die very quickly so I’m not sure why anyone is making a big deal about it. A weird dude said a dumb thing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                A weird dude said a dumb thing.


                But now buying his album is a political act.
                Deliberately not buying his album is a political act.

                A month ago? It was little more than buying an album or not.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                But now buying his album MAY BECOME a political act.
                Deliberately not buying his album MAY BECOME a political act.

                Time will tell. My prediction is that it will not.

                Did it become one for the Dixie Chicks? Like, did people actually walk up to other people in Sam Goody and say, “Hey… you’re buying THAT album? YOU MONSTER!” or “Hey… you’re not gonna buy that album? YOU MONSTER!” Or was it more a thing where the album could become a political statement if someone so desired to make it so? I mean, I’m sure a little bit of all of that happened somewheres at some times… but what was the most common reaction to someone buying or not buying the album? Politics? Or ho-hum?

                The other day in the car, the Dixie Chicks came on the radio (the new gal likes to listen to Nash FM or some country station on Sirius). Somehow, we got through the entire song without discussing politics.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The other day in the car, the Dixie Chicks came on the radio (the new gal likes to listen to Nash FM or some country station on Sirius). Somehow, we got through the entire song without discussing politics.

                I reckon that, in 15 years, Kanye coming on the radio will be similar.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                What’s the over/under on when people stop reacting to whether or not some other people are listening to Kanye?

                More importantly, how long does that period need to last to make this a THING instead of just a thing?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’d have to look at historical precedent to properly calibrate.

                Was The Dixie Chicks thing a THING? There are a lot of different ways to measure. They had really strong album sales, but they had to cancel a number of concerts in the South (though ticket sales were strong in the NorthEast and Canada).

                Should I see the Court Yard Hounds as a tentative rebranding effort or as a side project?

                That said, I need to see what Kanye’s record sales look like over the next half a year. “Love Everyone” is scheduled to come out on June 1st.

                Will it do better than Life of Pablo?

                I haven’t listened to “Lift Yourself” yet. Here’s what Pitchfork had to say:

                Prior to releasing “Lift Yourself,” West tweeted, “I’m going to drop a song with a verse that will bring Ebro the closure he’s been seeking,” referring to a recent conversation the Hot 97 host discussed on air. He then added, “The bars (multiple fire emojis).” Find his tweet below. As it turns out, there aren’t any intelligible bars to speak of. He does rap, “poopty scoopty.” The track samples R&B group Amnesty’s 1973 song “Liberty.”


              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I think for a few different reasons Kanye won’t be a thing, as gross as his comments were.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Did Kanye shit where he eats?



              • Avatar Jaybird says:



              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                “I was not ready to see that little white man get thrown out with half a haircut.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Ya know… we might be making a mistake to presume that Kanye, ya know, eats. Or shits.Report

              • Avatar Rmass says:


                Just going to say anecdotally a lot of Kanye’s audience is black and Kanye’s going all maga trumper slavery was a choice.
                On Twitter nearly every black person I know is either dragging him or dying laughing from him screenshotting and putting up John Legend’s text to him.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      In a related note, here’s a great column from Vikram from back in 2015 that talks about this sort of thing.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Here’s a theory. It started as a tweetstorm but pigeon and planes turned it into a post if you’re more inclined to reading long-form essays. But the gist of it is that Kanye is doing an Andy Kaufmanesque piece of performance art and he’s *REALLY* remixing Joseph Beuys and the installation “I Like America and America Likes Me”.

      (Er, wait. I guess it *REALLY* started as a post at the Kanye To The forums. But that post is less comprehensive than the essay above.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Perhaps I’m misunderstanding a bit but it seems like “What Kanye is doing” and “What is happening in response to Kanye” are two related but separate conversations.Report