Morning Links

Friday, July 15th, 2011
  • Comparing corporate vs. state funding of the arts.
  • I was hoping someone would throw some cold water on The Filter Bubble. My former colleague Jesse Walker does here.
  • In which the Internet answers your important questions, and offers you a dress emblazoned with Steve Buscemi’s face.
  • This seems like a slight overreaction, doesn’t it? I mean, haven’t there been about a thousand beer commercials in which men are portrayed as infantile morons? And (some of) those are funny, too.
  • Hey, the Fourth Amendment is all but dead. Let’s see if we can’t get to work on the Fifth Amendment, too.
  • Smart editorial from a Florida paper cautions against Caylee’s Law. And it’s not just smart because it quotes me. It’s smart because it agrees with me! Here’s another dissent from the mob from a former Bronx prosecutor. (Last link via Mark Draughn.)
  • Speaking of which, I was on the CBC last night to discuss the law. You can watch here. I come on at about the 8:15 mark.
  • The perils of one-size-fits-all regulation: ” . . . so basically I’m responsible for periodically surprising myself with a random drug test.”
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66 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  BSK | 

    I’m not sure if the comparison between the milk commercials and beer commercials is particularly apt. The beer commercials generally work off of stereotypes that haven’t been used to marginalize men. Furthermore, they usually don’t operate under the assumption that all men are guilty of them, only those who drink a different beer. The milk ads play on stereotypes that have been used to argue against women holding positions of power/authority or even being considered as rational beings and implies that all women are guilty of them. Not the worst ad campaign ever, but pretty bone-headed, if you ask me, and likely evidence that the ad wizards who came up with it probably lacked a female perspective.

  2. #2 |  BSK | 

    I can see how the drug testing situation works out…

    With the FAA insisting that the drug test be TRULY random, the pilot must go on a raging, drug induced bender, putting him in a position where he has no control or knowledge of his own behavior. THEN, he’ll drug test himself, completely unbeknown to himself. And fail. Miserably.

  3. #3 |  JimBob | 

    As they used to say in the use-the-clipper-chip-because-we’re-making-key-escrow-voluntary-FOR-NOW days: “You can have my PGP key when you take it from my cold, dead brain.”

  4. #4 |  sailor | 

    I keep offering services to my only friend I know of with bit coins but he won’t pay me in bit coins. shrug.

  5. #5 |  Highway | 

    I dunno, BSK. The stereotypes against men that are used in advertising are ones that continually marginalize them with regards to family situations. I think your reading of it assumes that the only ‘power’ or ‘authority’ that matters is a business situation, but I think the household domain should be considered a separate area of power, that is important to everyone. Furthermore, maybe the assumption that the only power or authority that matters is in business, and that marginalization in that sphere is what matters, unnecessarily diminishes the meaning of the household as well.

    I think that the ‘men are bad at parenting’ and ‘men are unimportant in household decisions’ and ‘men are stupid and unobservant at home’ tropes are all damaging to society as well.

  6. #6 |  Mario | 

    [H]aven’t there been about a thousand beer commercials in which men are portrayed as infantile morons?

    In a way, don’t these milk ads portray men as infantile morons? I realize the ad is supposed to be funny, but the men are portrayed as fearful, spineless children.

    Oh, well. I’m bringing this up only because I get a kick out of how “men are fools” is the dominant theme of a lot of advertising, but the first time any suggestion is made that the dear ladies are something less than “goddesses,” the sniping begins.

  7. #7 |  Radley Balko | 

    Furthermore, they usually don’t operate under the assumption that all men are guilty of them, only those who drink a different beer.

    No, they operate under the assumption that all men are idiots driven by infantile instincts. There’s an entire campaign about men who choose a bottle of beer over their wives/girlfriends. And it’s not just beer commercials. Men generally are portrayed in ads as clueless buffoons.

    I’m not complaining. Like I said, some of the ads are funny. And effective. I didn’t find the milk ads all that funny. (Frankly, they don’t make men look all that great, either.) But they’re effective at making the point they’re trying to make. And taking offense at them seems to suggest that the only time you can poke fun at gender differences is when you’re making men look foolish.

  8. #8 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Personally, I think the AdWeek article conflates sexism with “something I don’t find funny that plays off of differences between men and women.” I can understand how a woman (who, incidentally, is clearly not the target audience of the ad) wouldn’t find the ad amusing. I can also see how, given that fact, this may not be the most effective ad campaign ever. But assuming that 1.) PMS really exists and 2.) milk has been proven to reduce its symptoms, I don’t see how pointing out that fact in a humorous (to men, at least) way can be labeled sexist.

  9. #9 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Has anybody every seen a really memorable ad campaign that wasn’t stereotyping SOMEBODY?

  10. #10 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    At the roots of the Art Funding dust up is the idea that Artists are naturally morally superior beings who, left untainted by monetary concerns, will create Important Art the provide Guidance to all us Lesser Mortals. Thus it is vitally important to make sure that Art is not funded by Tainted Sources (read; ‘sources We-The-Enlightened disapprove of’).

    The whole thing is obvious pigswill, and goes a long way toward explaining the absolutely MISERABLE level to which the Arts have sunk – while at the same time commercial art (illustration, popular music, film) has become increasingly dynamic and varied. There’s a lot of swill on the commercial side too, there always will be. But we have more sheer CHOICE than any culture before us.

  11. #11 |  BSK | 

    Highway-

    That is an interesting point, and I didn’t think of it in that way. It’d be interesting to look at how beer ads and other such representations of men and manhood impact those perceptions.

    Radley-

    I must have missed that campaign. I don’t pay the closest attention to commercials so I’m not up on every one. The trouble with assessing offense is that is it not always a conscious act to be offended. I’ve rarely, if ever, watched a beer ad and thought, “That offends me as a man.” (There have been other ads or representations that have, but no beer ad sticks out). If a woman looks at those milk ads is offended, should we tell her that we shouldn’t be because we aren’t offended by the beer ads? The different responses can potentially tell us two things: one ad campaign is objectively more offensive, leading to more folks being offended by it and/or the level of objective offense is the same but there is something different about offending men and women, with the something different not being an innate trait (“women are more easily offended” but something socialized; as a man, I don’t have to worry that unfavorable presentations of men will have a major impact on my life (though Highway makes a valid argument that they very well might) while women very well may feel real harm by such representations. I don’t know; it’s a complex issue. But, if people are offended, they are offended. If it isn’t a contrived offense (which I do think happens), it isn’t really appropriate to dismiss it out of hand.

    In the end, I think it’s a fail on multiple levels. I can certainly imagine women being bothered by it. And the last thing I, as a man, want to think about when buying a glass of ice cold, snow white milk is hot period blood.

  12. #12 |  BSK | 

    CMS-

    Potential issues with the ad beyond what is stated…

    1) The emotions expressed by women during PMS are solely a function of their hormones and, rather than being dealt with, should be drowned out with milk.
    2) All women become psychopaths during PMS. My personal experiences with women have generally found much of the PMS stuff to be nonsense. Maybe I’ve been lucky. Maybe it gets worse with age (I’m 27 and have only dated girls within a few years of me). But if I never heard of PMS, I don’t know that I ever would have connected the slight changes in behavior with the period. The difference between my PMS fiance and regular fiance is not enough that it would have registered.

    Again, I’m not in favor of tearing apart every ad that might be the least bit stereotyping. Rather, I just think that the ad week editor did have a legitimate point, even if it was a bit overblown (to be fair, Radley referred to it as a slight overreaction, nothing more; I’m sure many other, less rational people would dismiss the writer as a feminazi or some other extreme position). Ultimately, it was a bad ad on many levels and I think the bigger issue is my hunch that a woman wasn’t involved in the creative process. I certainly may be wrong on that but often times such thoughtless ads or actions demonstrate a certain myopia behind the scenes, which serves no one.

  13. #13 |  Difster | 

    Even if the milk ads were blatantly sexist (which they are not). So what? Look at the way men are portrayed in commercials and on tv. We’re shown as lazy, stupid and we couldn’t even find our own socks without the help of a woman. We’re clueless without kids too.

    So hey, a really sexist ad once in a while that portrays women as bitchy rags that need to STFU once in a while is just trying to bring a little balance back in to the world.

  14. #14 |  BSK | 

    Difster-

    I think the issue is that no one says, “I’m not going to hire this guy because he might not be able to get his socks on in the morning.”
    While people do say, “I’d never vote for a female president because I don’t want her finger on the button when she’s PMSing.”

    As highway points out, there are ways in which men might be harmed by these ads outside the professional ranks (or even within… as a male pre-school teacher, I have to deal with all kinds of unfortunate stereotypes). But the potential for harm to women simply seems greater, because men have many more stereotypes working to their advantage that women lack.

    Stereotyping in ads is generally lazy. Get creative, people! I just don’t think the stereotyping of women in ads such as this and the stereotyping of men in beer ads is an apples-to-apples comparison.

  15. #15 |  Leonard | 

    This seems like a slight overreaction, doesn’t it?

    Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    A: THAT’S NOT FUNNY.

  16. #16 |  Cyto | 

    You only think the milk ads are not funny because you are not married. I assure you, those phrases are quite apt for my married cohort.

    They also offer terrific advice. For those considering a long-term relationship with a female, just remember that you are wrong. If you can just keep “I am wrong” at the front of your mind in every argument, you’ll do OK. It takes most of us a lot of years to learn that trick.

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to order the defendant, Ramona Fricosu, to decrypt an encrypted laptop that police found in her bedroom during a raid of her home.”

    What if she says she just doesn’t remember the password?

  18. #18 |  Mattocracy | 

    Legal minds, correct me if I’m wrong. After reading about 5th Amend with regards to encrypted information, I can imagine in some scenarios that the prosecutors are going to try to offer immunity to the owner of said encrypted information in order to prosecute the other parties involved.

    Is that a reasonable solution to maintain the 5th amendment but still allow the prosecution to operate?

  19. #19 |  2nd of 3 | 

    It’s a bad serious of ads because they aren’t particularly funny, aren’t all that memorable, and are targeting the wrong people (the ads present PMS as the guy’s problem, not the woman’s; what’s the guy supposed to do? Make her drink milk?). Offensive? Maybe not, but if you’ve ever dealt with someone who has really severe PMS issues, it’s not all that funny for either party.

  20. #20 |  SamK | 

    I’m always torn about how to discuss secondary benefits derived from resource concentrations…i.e. corporate (or government) funding of the arts. Most of the arguments against the government having vast quantities of resources that could be left in the hands of individuals applies to corporate control of those resources as well, the primary difference being that the government takes those resources with implied consent but without individual consent and they (the resources) are supposed to be used for our benefit (whether we like it or not). Corporate funding, on the other hand, is taken by charging excessively (seriously, they’re funding arts programs, it isn’t being used to build a new pipeline) charging for things we essentially can’t do without (very few people manage to even feed themselves without outside assistance, no one refines diesel in their backyard) with individual consent but without any power (even the nominal voting power) to affect how those funds are collected/spent and the collected resources are in no way intended for our benefit.

    Once you have a big pile of cash though, you apparently start getting all misty eyed and spending it on things like Swan Lake…I don’t have any particular beef with unrestricted capitalism compared to unrestricted socialism, but I don’t think either one does a good job of recognizing how excessive power and resources are concentrated under those systems and used in ways that we, as individuals, have zero control over. I really don’t give a damn whether it’s the government or a corporation spending their pile of cash that they got from me on frivolous past times, I just want to know why I should catch hell for continuing to look for a system that doesn’t give *any* large administrative structure more of our resources than necessary to serve their function and shoot for all individuals having enough we can feel like contributing to such things locally…that said individuals don’t tend to have enough extra to feel like supporting such things so maybe they wouldn’t happen at all if we didn’t have large resource concentrations in government or corporate control.

    TLDR: I don’t care who is supporting the arts, they all have too much of my money.

  21. #21 |  BSK | 

    Cyto-

    I’m getting married in 3 weeks and have lived (IN SIN!) with my girlfriend/fiance for 3 years. I doubt my proximity to women has informed my position on this matter.

    Believe me, I’m not from the camp that says men and women are entirely equal. We are different. Our bodies, our physiology, our hormones, our brain development, etc, etc, etc, all lead to real differences between the sexes. I am no problem discussing these and even lampooning these when appropriate. I just think the notion that women turn into wild, irrational, overemotional bitches during PMS a bit dated and stupid. And the idea that milk will solve the problem is even dumber.

  22. #22 |  BSK | 

    As the risk of making assumptions, I just think it is a bit problematic for a bunch of men to comment on the appropriateness of women (or a woman) to be offended by an ad. It is not our place to say how they can or should feel.

  23. #23 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    BSK – Next time you are watching tv, try this little experiment. After each commercial, say to yourself “That stupid man” and “That stupid woman” and count the number of times each one fits.

  24. #24 |  BSK | 

    ALATW-

    Again, you are implying that it is apples-to-apples. I’m arguing otherwise. I don’t think the stereotype of men as doofuses is as damaging as the stereotype of women as emotionally unstable. Not only because of the veracity of the stereotype, but because of the way in which we allow stereotypes to inform our opinions on different groups and how this is impacted by the relative power that group holds in society.

    Again, no one is going to say, “I won’t vote for a male president because he might be a doofus.” People do say, “I won’t vote for a female president because she might PMS and start a World War.”

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    “haven’t there been about a thousand beer commercials in which men are portrayed as infantile morons? “

    I think you’re understating that by a factor of a hundred, Radley.

    And, if you count ALL commercials, it’s a factor of a million.

  26. #26 |  M. Steve | 

    @Cyto #16
    [quote]They also offer terrific advice. For those considering a long-term relationship with a female, just remember that you are wrong. If you can just keep “I am wrong” at the front of your mind in every argument, you’ll do OK. It takes most of us a lot of years to learn that trick.[/quote]

    I’ve never understood this attitude. I’m in an LTR, and if I ever felt I had to pretend I was wrong, or be obsequious, to be in the relationship, I would have left years ago. I mean, if it works for you, knock yourself out. In my case, being assertive has never caused me issues. On the contrary, my partner appreciates me; she wants a strong man.

  27. #27 |  Zargon | 

    #24

    Well, we can play a game of who’s got it worse all day.

    Or we could simply recognize that it’s all pretty terrible.

    The woman trying to break into the higher ranks of her company probably finds the women with PMS stereotype very damaging.

    The divorced man trying to be a dad probably finds the men can’t find socks stereotype very damaging.

    Sure, it’s not apples to apples because different people care about and are hurt by different stereotypes.

  28. #28 |  CyniCAl | 

    That Reddit fart thread brought me back to sitting in the back row of class in high school, that’s all we did back then was laugh our asses off.

  29. #29 |  J.S. | 

    BSK, when men are routinely viewed as pervs first, fathers/humans second, the doofus perception is as pernicous as the PMS meme if not more so.

    Then there is this JC penny jewelry ad that makes women look like gold digging materialistic whores and men as clueless uncaring idiots.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyduncFpzl4

  30. #30 |  yonemoto | 

    Radley what do you think of this?

    http://dontbubble.us/

  31. #31 |  b | 

    radley balko is wrong on this one. just because there are a million commercials demeaning men doesn’t make it right for an ad agency subsidized under state law to demean and insult women.

  32. #32 |  Aresen | 

    @ b | July 15th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    The key is the state subsidy.

    Other than that, suck it up princess.

  33. #33 |  Juice | 

    @30 – It’s basically an ad for a search engine.

  34. #34 |  DoubleU | 

    Re: Forth and Fifth Amendments: I was just in a discussion with someone about making an upgrade to my computer, he couldn’t understand why I would encrypt my computer or want a screen lock activated. I have nothing to hide, I want it “just because.”
    They government can take your laptop at airports or your cell phone at traffic stops if they feel threatened. They are making your life miserable, why make it easy for them?

  35. #35 |  SJE | 

    OT: Prosecutors gone wild.

    Driver is blind in one eye, on medication, and DUI, and commited several offenses on the same day. He ultimately kills a boy crossing the road with his mother. He gets 9 mo.

    They then prosecute the MOTHER for crossing the road, and she is facing 36 mo.

    I agree that pedestrians crossing without care for cars is a problem. But a women with 3 young kids, in an area without any crosswalks?

    http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/pedestrian-convicted-of-vehicular-1014879.html

  36. #36 |  Spanky | 

    http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/07/court-gives-accused-child-rapist-unlimited-access-to-child-porn-in-jail/

    4th is Dead, Let’s work on the 5th, —

    Court gives accused child rapist unlimited access to child porn in jail

    From the article: “The law also gives Gilbert the right to question his alleged victims.”

    Damn that pesky Constitution.

  37. #37 |  Anthony | 

    BSK-
    I think a father trying to get custody in a devorice would argue that the stereotype that men are domestically inept and infantile morons is just as damaging as the one where a woman president starts a world war.

  38. #38 |  J.S. | 

    OT: Veggie garden gal now in trouble for unlicensed dogs…

    http://consumerist.com/2011/07/town-drops-charges-against-woman-for-front-yard-veggie-garden.html

    “Though the City of Oak Park dropped the charges against her over the vegetable garden, they are now pursuing a new case against her for having two unlicensed dogs, The Detroit News reports. She got licenses for the dogs after the city gave notice to her about it in June, but the city is now pursuing misdemeanor charges against her, even though their normal procedure is drop things after the owner gets the dog licenses. If convicted, Julie could face 93 days in jail.”

    Can you say, gov. retribution?

  39. #39 |  Wiregeek | 

    BSK –

    do a google search for ‘milk pms’ and make up your own mind. The ‘link’ between milk and PMS is not a rock-solid piece of medical lore yet, but what’s out there has some interesting implications.

    dismissing the possible effects of calcium and vitamin d, both present in large quantities in milk and dairy, as ‘dumb’, is, well, dumb.

  40. #40 |  yonemoto | 

    Juice – I know it’s an ad for a search engine. Are you implying that their claims are false?

  41. #41 |  b | 

    #32, the state subsidy is an important part of it. california statutes allow for the creation of marketing boards for the various agricultural segments, and these boards have the power to impose marketing orders, a per unit tax on the producers, passed along to us, which fund these ads.

    your second sentence is not only unchivalrous and ungallant, but also erroneous if directed to me. i am a prince, not a princess.

  42. #42 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    #24 – I’ll accept that you have a normative view where mocking woman is worse than mocking me if you agree that your normative view is shared by some, but not all, other posters.

  43. #43 |  albatross | 

    BSK #22:

    Nobody has any right to tell you what to feel, including not to feel offense. But if you announce to the world that something offends you, with the hope of getting some public support or trying to get people to help you apply pressure to push back on the offensive thing, that requires those who hear you complaining to think about whether or not we agree. The more support you’re wanting, the more we will be deciding whether we think your offense merits any action to prevent it in the future.

  44. #44 |  Cyto | 

    #26 | M. Steve |

    Exactly. You’ve figured out the paradox. You must be strong and manly while fully acknowledging that you were wrong to make her angry. I didn’t say it makes sense. Just that it works.

    I didn’t just come to the epiphany all by myself. I was doing a bit of research about 15 years ago and I came across a study about various marriage counseling techniques. The authors were of the “active listening” camp which was in vogue during the 80’s/90’s. They tested 4 different techniques and did a retrospective study over 10 years. Fully expecting that their “active listening” technique would prove to be the best method for ensuring long term relationships, they were surprised when it turned out to be equally bad to all other techniques but one.

    The only technique that proved an accurate predictor of relationship success was when he accedes to her wishes. Not the converse, not increased communication, not “active listening”, not couples therapy. Just letting the chick get her way.

    To your point – I had noticed something similar when we were dating back in the early 90’s. I would ask where she wanted to go for dinner. She’d say “I don’t care” – then shoot down each choice until I picked whatever it was that she wanted. But she still wouldn’t be happy with the choice (because I was indecisive). I finally figured out that what she wanted was for me to choose our diner destination without asking her opinion, but at the same time be sure that I picked the place she wanted to go.

    Once you get that little psychic trick worked out, you are good to go.

  45. #45 |  Highway | 

    Cyto, you fail to mention the other prong of the trap of decisiveness: If you choose the incorrect destination without asking her opinion, and act confident enough that you go there, you will be worse off than if you had been indecisive.

  46. #46 |  Sean L. | 

    “Public interests will be harmed absent requiring defendants to make available unencrypted contents in circumstances like these.”

    1) The Public consists of everyone.
    2) Public interests = Everyone’s interests
    3) I am part of the group “Everyone”
    4) Therefore, my interests are part of the group “Public interests”
    5) My interests are NOT harmed absent defendants making their contents available unencrypted.
    6) Therefore, Public Interests are NOT harmed absent defendants making their contents available unencrypted.

    Pthhhh!

  47. #47 |  Sean L. | 

    On to more important matters — the velocity of the fart-of-a-lifetime.

    I’m hoping this is the key to get my adolescent kids into math, because this is what math was made for!

  48. #48 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Umm…

    Direct “art” funding in the UK is for targeted pieces of art for certain uses, yes. Art-as-in-art funding is handled via a number of non-governmental bodies, precisely to keep government objectives out of it.

    So…no, not really, Radley.

    It’s even more laughable than that helicopter’s pilot’s idea you can set up a proper online registration and accreditation system for a few thousand dollars. Someone should tell him about the costs of software development for aircraft compared to normal software. I’m sure he’d blow a gasket, but the same principles apply.

  49. #49 |  joshgeek | 

    I know Ms. Cullers is a blogger and all, but I wonder if she’s familiar with the concept of ‘no press is bad press’. She may well be blasting the campaign with a righteous indignance, but the effect of her article will not stunt the ad campaign. It merely promotes it further. Point being, she may have been more effective at countering the ads by simply having a nice warm glass of shut-the-hell-up. And maybe a little milk wouldn’t hurt either. :P

  50. #50 |  Aresen | 

    b | July 15th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    your second sentence is not only unchivalrous and ungallant,

    AYPI?

    but also erroneous if directed to me. i am a prince, not a princess.

    If it quacks like a duck….

  51. #51 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Okay, I haven’t seen any recognizably-female names or statements in 50 replies, so I’ll reply on behalf of the distaff contingent of Agitatortots.

    The ads are lame. AND, any woman who is offended by them needs to grow up. There are real problems with the way people in power see women (http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/sisters-in-arms/), but reacting like stupid, oversensitive crybabies who can’t take a joke will only amplify those problems rather than solve them.

    Oh, and for the guys who are quoting feminist claptrap about how ads make men reluctant to vote for women or promote them to high positions: I guarantee you that any woman competent to hold such a position hasn’t wasted her life bitching about how women are portrayed in stupid ad campaigns; she’s been out there proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.

  52. #52 |  BSK | 

    “I guarantee you that any woman competent to hold such a position hasn’t wasted her life bitching about how women are portrayed in stupid ad campaigns; she’s been out there proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.”

    Yes, but do men have to prove they are a force to be reckoned with? Or is it assumed? And, if you agree that this is something unique to women (as compared to men), do you not think that such stereotypes are part of the reason for this disparity? I don’t think someone is going to look at these ads and say, “Ya know what, I was going to vote for Hillary but… if she doesn’t get her milk, who knows what could happen!” But they do contribute to and, more importantly, reflect a narrative that exists within our culture about what women are: overly emotional, irrational creatures completely at the whim of their hormones.

  53. #53 |  BSK | 

    FWIW, from another blog on a completely different topic…

    “******* July 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Tom, Tom. I have no problem with women running the planet. Like as not, they’d do as well as any man. There would be no wars. But it would get pretty damned interesting every 28 days or so.”

    This comes from a poster who I don’t know personally but has generally demonstrated himself to be an intelligent, rational actor. He later indicated it was a joke (not under any pressure, just as he and another poster shared similar jokes). It is not an uncommon sentiment, with many men feeling quite sincere about the belief. How exactly does a woman show she is a force to be reckoned with when that is the opposition she is facing? Tube-tying?

  54. #54 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #54: Never once in my 44 years has anyone ever been stupid enough to say or imply that I couldn’t be trusted because of my hormones. Ever. And you know why? Because I don’t use my femininity as an excuse for being an irrational twit, nor as a trump card to be played when things are going against me. And every woman worthy of being considered as an equal to men is the same way. Though I personally can’t stand Roseanne Barr, one has to admit she’s a successful businesswoman and there’s a quote from her which applies here: “The thing women have got to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it.”

    A woman shows she’s a force to be reckoned with by being one; it’s that simple. Real respect is always earned; it cannot be given as a gift or extorted as tribute. And whining about stereotypes and an “unlevel playing field” just reinforces the notion that women are comparable to children, a “protected class” to be coddled and patronized rather than treated like adults.

  55. #55 |  BSK | 

    Maggie-

    I respectfully disagree. Not only do women have to achieve a higher standard to earn that respect, but there is far less of a guarantee that once achieved they will maintain that respect and have it honored as it should be.

  56. #56 |  Leah | 

    I agree that getting all offended is unnecessary and lame. I do think pointing out institutionalized douchery is not necessarily the same thing as being a humorless man-hating harpy. Saying the ads suck because they’re pandering to stereotypes shouldn’t be ridiculous. Campaigning to ban such ads would be. And there’s a lot of space in the middle, too. I don’t think telling people that this crap reinforces internal stereotypes that many people aren’t even aware of is a bad thing. I just don’t think the people who are saying it are the spokespeople who’ll get respect. It just turns the conversation back to mocking the crazy hormonal women who spend all their time being offended.

  57. #57 |  Windy | 

    Leah said it best. I so agree.

  58. #58 |  JOR | 

    As we all know, anecdotes from one admittedly atypical person constitute a good argument when discussing the general conditions faced by most people (or by enough people to have a negative effect on most people, at least). And as we all know, summarily dismissing everyone with different experiences than one’s own as simply immature or weak or stupid or bad or whatever is also a good argument, especially if one manages to conflate moral responsibility and practical responsibility in the process. Hey, it’s kept the drug war respectable and popular for decades. Works wonders for rape apologism too (especially when the victims are either males or low-status females).

  59. #59 |  Barnes | 

    Saying “haven’t there been about a thousand beer commercials in which men are portrayed as infantile morons” seems kind of like complaining about a black comedian being able to get away with a joke about white people when a white guy couldn’t do the same about a black guy. I mean it wasn’t that long ago when women couldn’t vote and for a long time after it was still just generally accepted that they were “inferior.” Men have never had that problem, so who cares if they’re made fun of in beer commercial in the 21st century.

  60. #60 |  Ron | 

    Re: Computer Encryption … Can’t they get past encryption anyway? Aren’t there devices/techniques/programs that can get into the hard drive despite password protection?

  61. #61 |  BSK | 

    Leah-

    “Saying the ads suck because they’re pandering to stereotypes shouldn’t be ridiculous. Campaigning to ban such ads would be. And there’s a lot of space in the middle, too.”

    Very well said. The issue is when people automatically conflate the former with the latter. In the discussion here and in the article, I didn’t see anyone advocating banning the ads… just pointing out the problems with them. Personally, I’m curious how many people actually read the article (it was one long paragraph).

    “I don’t think telling people that this crap reinforces internal stereotypes that many people aren’t even aware of is a bad thing. I just don’t think the people who are saying it are the spokespeople who’ll get respect.”

    I don’t know enough about the writer of the article to determine whether she is the type of person who’d be respected on the issue. Part of the problem is that raising these issues often automatically disqualifies the speaker from getting respect from some people.

    Some people are simply unwilling or unsympathetic to complaints of sexism (or racism or homophobia or ageism, etc, etc, etc). They will dismiss anyone who raises them out of hand as oversensitive, whiney, wanting special treatment, and other such similar criticism that seek to immediately invalidate their position. It is why combating such issues is such an uphill battle. I think your point is a really sound one and gets at the nuance necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff on these issues. The issue is the many, many people who simply think it is all chaff.

  62. #62 |  Leah | 

    I completely agree, BSK, and it’s a really tough thing to even talk about because of that. I mean, there are the people I can’t even share a link with if it comes from, say, feministe or jezebel – they see the site and turn off their willingness to listen (like the liberals who think Reason is one big Koch front). Then there are the people who take everything said by, say, a big-name feminist as gospel. And they’re wrong too, on a regular basis, just like everyone else! I don’t necessarily think there is a good way to pick out a spokesperson, it will be different for each different person. But the hormonal man-hating harpy stereotype is a strong one, and something people should be aware of when trying to publicize their views.

    Getting to societal change on a given issue is a difficult and lengthy process, which is probably why it’s so tempting for people to just campaign for a new law. Obviously that doesn’t make it the right fix, but I can see why it appeals to so many.

  63. #63 |  JimBob | 

    #60 Ron–

    This isn’t a matter of having a protective program that allows or disallows access to data. Simple protection like that can usually be bypassed if you’re able to move the hard drive to another computer or boot the computer into a different operating system.

    Encrypting data with any modern symmetric cipher (such as AES), on the other hand, means that you’re rendering the data incomprehensible to anybody who doesn’t know the key. The data you’re looking for is indistinguishable from random noise unless you decrypt it.

    Now, there’s always the possibility that the DoJ could try to guess at the key, but a 256-bit key (pretty common) means that there are 115792089237316195423570985008687907853269984665640564039457584007913129639936 possible keys to try. Right now, a good supercomputer can knock out a 64-bit key (18446744073709551616 possible keys) in a day or so. That means that the same computer would take something like 17 billion billion billion billion billion billion years to try all the possible 256-bit keys– which is significantly longer than it is anticipated to take before all the stars have burned out and nucleon decay has ravaged all matter.

    Or, for another vivid example– if every atom on the planet were turned into a computer capable of testing 1 billion keys per second, it would take their combined computing power about 40 billion years to check every possible key.

    So, no, they don’t have any sort of magical “override” button or program they can use in this case. Assuming that this woman didn’t pick a passphrase that can be easily guessed (the name of her dog, etc.), then there’s a VERY strong likelihood that they’ll never know what’s encrypted unless she tells them the passphrase.

  64. #64 |  B | 

    Regarding the fifth amendment article:

    Two examples of child porn in one story. The menacing threat of child porn is tearing this nation apart!

  65. #65 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #58: Surely you aren’t implying that men who become president or get into other powerful positions are not atypical?

  66. #66 |  John Markley | 

    Barnes,

    The analogy between sex and race isn’t very good. There are few, if any, ways or situations in which being black gives you any noteworthy advantage over being white. There are many, some of them quite common and quite grave, where women qua women have been and still are privileged over men. But these tend to be primarily experienced by men who aren’t in the upper echelons of the social or economic hierarchy, and the typical advocate of gender “equality” usually seems only dimly aware that such men even exist, much less have their own experiences that might differ from what feminists tell men men’s lives are like. (To be fair, feminists didn’t invent the attitudes about gender that tend to keep male distress and weakness invisible- they merely benefit from and reinforce them.)

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