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September 20, 2006

More Regrettable Post-Feminist Navel Gazing

It will be interesting to see if the half vast editorial staff can write this post without eliciting what seem to be de rigeur accusations of being ugly/a leftist/a Lebanese/a Rad Feminista (and before you go there gentlemen, do save yourself some grief - go here first). Or conversely, a toady to the Vast Oinkitudinous Reich Wing Conspiracy. Our underpaid staff of itinerant Eskimo typists have helpfully provided a few time-saving hints for those who need help making up their minds what the editorial staff think about Modern Gender Issues:

Women seem determined to prove every moronic stereotype about the female sex. Instead of calmly poking holes in Noer's thesis (which is easy enough to do) they start waving their Lee press-ons about like a bunch of deranged harpies on crack.

Or this:

Brooks' observation begs an interesting question I often ask of feminists who deride choice. Is it really in society's best interest for only uneducated and stupid women to raise children? And why do feminists like Hirshman value selling one's talents to the highest bidder over selflessly using them to enrich the lives of our loved ones and, inevitably, society? Is she so quick to dismiss the paid "helping" professions: social work, teaching, psychology?

Or this:

I realize the subject is distasteful, but I think there is a larger question here, and it is simply this, "Why, after all this time, do women not feel comfortable standing up and saying, 'Enough'?" I read article after article and the same comment came through. "I thought I was normal until I watched the porn channel".

Honey, you are normal. There is nothing wrong with you. It breaks my heart that women have reduced themselves to nothing more than sexual appliances. And I wonder how much honesty is going into these decisions?

Confused yet? We know we are. Or perhaps we are just normal, and it's the world that has gone mad.

What is it about these battles of the boobies that brings out the worst in even the nicest people? We understand it's an emotional issue. What we don't understand is why both sides can't try just a bit harder to see the other side's point of view. We know this post is going to make some people angry, and very likely will make no one happy - on either side. But the HVES write to figure out what we think about things. That is what we do. To be honest, we would really like to duck this one entirely.

But we have been trying to ignore it for weeks now and it simply refuses to go away, and it does raise a few interesting philosophical questions (aside from the admittedly saliva-inducing prospect of Pamela Atlas' breasts).

The argument that John Hawkins made yesterday (and that Masked Menace advanced somewhat more lucently in the comments section) essentially amounts to this:

Life isn't fair, and we all have different advantages when competing for that big brass ring. Why shouldn't a woman be able to use her appearance to jump her to the front of the line?

Wow. That's an interesting argument. I'd love to see that one fly in the workplace. Should women be promoted, not based on the quality of their work, but because they flash the boss a little skin on the side or better yet put out after working hours? If I knew that was the standard I'd be showing up at the office a lot more and putting in far fewer hours in front of the old PC. Maybe it's time to consider those breast implants after all. It would seem good old fashioned hard work has become a thing of the past.

It is undoubtedly true that women can and do get ahead by taking advantage of "assets" which are, to put it mildly, unrelated to the actual quality of their work product, just as it is true that men can and do get ahead by sucking up to their bosses, taking credit for work actually performed by subordinates, and other tactics which do them no real credit. Being underhanded or unscrupulous is also an "advantage" when competing with co-workers who are above such tactics, just as being willing to flash some skin is an advantage when competing with other bloggers who are unwilling to take off their clothes to get traffic.

Just to clarify, we are not saying that women who choose to bikini vlog are underhanded or unscrupulous. But John's argument is tantamount to saying that women ought not to mind how the race is won; essentially, that they have no vested interest in the standards by which they will be judged. This is a frankly silly argument, and one he himself would never be willing to submit to if the tables were turned; a point Vinnie tried to make in a hyperbolic and satirical post that I think John completely misunderstood.

To be honest, we agreed with much of John's initial thesis, if not his conclusions. Boob blogging does bring increased traffic, men do enjoy looking at hot photos of women, and this is a free country. We are not really sure what either side wants out of this. In our view, freedom means that boobie bloggers are entitled to wave their mammaries about with complete abandon, those find that sort of 'political commentary' immensely thought-provoking are free to tune in, and those who find it disturbing, distressing, or just plain stupid beyond words are free to complain, discuss, or snark away. What on earth is bothering John so much about the brouhaha? That people in the blogosphere are bitching about something?

Helloooooooooooo. John darlin'. You know I love you dearly, but this is the blogosphere. People are always bitching about something. If it wasn't Pammie's boobs it would be something else. This is a subject, just like any other subject, which people are free to discuss. Boobs aren't sacred.

Well OK. Maybe to you. But to us, they're just body parts.

In a follow up post, John says some things that I do think need addressing from a feminine perspective, the assumption being that John is Not A Woman, and therefore is perhaps not Best Qualified To Comment On The Female Perspective. His post is just rife with non-sequiturs. Here's the first one:

Of course, one of the great things about the talk radio, the blogosphere, and for that matter, the internet as a whole, is that you don't have to be an 8 on a 10 scale or better to make it.

Actually, that's only true if you're a man.

And this may well be the real reason women resent boobie-vlogging. John admits, over and over again (and his commenters reinforce this point) that they are going to choose a female blogger who is good-looking - and shows some skin - over the alternative every time.

And then there's this comment from Beth's site:

... I’m a lot more interested in what an attractive woman has to say than I am in what an unattractive woman has to say.

... I don’t have time to check out very many new blogs. So Hawkins has it exactly right that while it might take me months or years to eventually get familiar with an interesting blogger I’m not currently aware of, if I follow a link to an interesting post, and I happen to see the poster is also an attractive female, that blog is getting added to my favorites.

Grim made an excellent point in the comments section yesterday, and it's one that I think doesn't get enough attention:

I think that Michelle Malkin, for example, has been hurt by the fact that a lot of her commenters are drawn by her looks. Her ideas therefore don't get the kind of challenge they would if they were there for the ideas only. As a consequence, the ideas aren't as good -- they don't get polished by adversity. She writes books, and they get torn apart where they are weak.

They didn't have to be that weak, but people tend to say fewer challenging things to beautiful women. Worst boss I ever had was a beautiful woman. She was accustomed to fealty from man and woman alike, and was therefore totally unprepared for dealing with serious challenges to her authority. She got them from me, though, because we were working on a military contract, and she wasn't being ethical. I think she'll hate me to the grave. Truth is, though, she was accustomed to getting away with things because people wanted to be on her good side (men and women both did).

Being pretty hurt her. Not only did it lead her to do bad things because she thought no one would call her on it -- she also really, truly did not know how to deal with someone who wouldn't let her get away with it. She didn't know how to defend herself, because she had never had to do so.

So go ahead, if that's what you want. If you want to learn to fight for what your beliefs -- or, for that matter, if you want to find out for sure if your beliefs are worth fighting for -- you've got the option of not doing it. If you're a beautiful woman, blogging may be the first time in your life to see for sure if your ideas really are right, and whether you can really defend them.

We believe this is very true. Beauty is, in many ways, a double edged sword - it draws admirers but it also arouses jealousy and pettiness from the envious. John goes on to skewer Raven, and again, we believe he really failed to understand her point:

Also, we're back to this strange little quirk of feminism:
"The rule is: You're not supposed to acknowledge in any way, shape, or form that you admire a woman's looks. If you do, it somehow means that what she says is valueless and that you think of her as some sort of gutter trawling prostitute."

Beyond saying that's just completely irrational -- and it is -- there's not too much to add. But, it's still amazing that in this day and age, you have women who seem to be scandalized by the idea that a man might be interested in looking at a beautiful woman and that, shockingly, he might be able to think she's attractive AND also think she's talented.

First of all, responding to both Beth's and Raven's posts by calling them "furious" and "completely irrational" seems a bit dismissive. This is the kind of response that is just calculated to raise hackles. Why not simply respond to their arguments? Admittedly both posts were not gentle with John either. But "completely irrational"? Doesn't that seem a bit extreme?

Raven made several excellent points, albeit in a way John may have found unpalatable. What he ignores about her "cleavage" example is that it was done on a private site with no promotion. Yet her traffic still spiked. But it didn't "do" her any good, so were her "principles" really compromised? We don't think so. Interestingly enough, another female blogger we know does a similar feature as satire, using what we think look like obviously photoshopped photos of outrageously large-breasted women who look painfully engorged.

Her traffic goes through the roof every. single. time.

A year ago, one of my commenters posted a link to a photoshopped pic of a woman whose boobs look absolutely deformed. I get daily hits on it from places like Saudi Arabia and China. This is the kind of thing women find absolutely mystifying. But then there are many areas where men and women don't always think alike. Menace, in the comments yesterday, said something very perceptive:

If your reason for blogging is traffic: pure hits, then, well, John's right. Those are the rules of the game. Like 'em, hate 'em, doesn't matter. They are what they are and if you want to win then you're going to have to play with them.

Every good athlete knows the rules and loopholes to their sport. The successful ones will use them against you to win. In baseball, if a pitcher has demonstrated he can be accurate with his pitches you can guarantee that with 2 strikes the catcher will set up 6 inches off the plate. If the pitcher can place the pitch so that the catcher never has to move the glove, 90% of the time it will be called a strike. This may violate the strict "written rules" as the ball didn't cross over the plate, but everyone that plays the game knows what will happen. If you don't like it, deal or quit playing the game. Playing and then complaining about it makes you look like an ass.

Which begs the other side of the question: Is this really the game you want to play? Traffic is not respect (nor is it influence). Don't get the cause and effect relationship bacwards. Respect and influence may bring traffic, but if traffic was the real measure of power and respect, the last few presidential elections would have been decided by the internet p*rn industry.

Those that receive the "coveted" insta-lanche usually find that after a couple of days they can't tell a difference in readership from before. It's like it never happened. Posting provacative pictures may increase your traffic today, but to keep up the traffic you'll have to keep up the provacative pictures. But then, like Playboy, do you think anyone's really reading the articles? Not on your life.

They are merely dancing monkeys. Don't get me wrong, I like dancing monkeys, but I don't go to them when I'm looking for serious discussion.

To sum up. If you are an attractive female and your only goal is to drive more traffic your way. Boobie blogging will work. My recommendation, however, is not to play that game.

That said, I don't get upset at those who make use of rules that benefit them at their game, because it would harm them in mine. I just note they're playing a different game and move on. Why should I be angry about it?

John makes a similar case:

I know that the response to that will probably be something like, "I don't want that kind of traffic." But, that's about as genuine a statement from a blogger as a pro-athlete in the middle of heated contract negotiations who says, "It's not all about the money." Obviously, if you didn't care how many people read your blog, you wouldn't be blogging, you'd be writing in a journal that you left in a drawer at home.

But it's not that simple. Case in point: VC could easily have twice or even three times the traffic it does if we would do some very simple things. But we decided long ago that traffic was not our primary goal. Boobie-vlogging, however, does bother us from an aesthetic point of view.

It is not that we have any real desire to stomp it out of existence.

But on any given day, if there are worthy posts out there (and they don't have to be ours) and someone happens to be waving their mammaries about, the herd is going to rush over to gawp at boobs instead of reading what could, perhaps, be something really worthwhile. The valuable gets drowned out by the tawdry. And so, in the larger scheme of things, from our view, something is lost. We think that is regrettable. John thinks it's nifty.

That's America.

And in the crap shoot that is the blogosphere, where influence is determined by who can send the most traffic your way and not (sadly) by what you have to say, if (as John and his commenters freely admit) they are always going to listen to someone who is hot and shows some skin over someone who is not hot/refuses to post a pic, then female bloggers who don't do these things are at a decided disadvantage. They have admitted it. Pamela's traffic has shot through the roof since she started boobie-blogging.

Personally, this doesn't bother us a whole lot because, as Menace so adroitly observed, that doesn't happen to be the game we are playing. Except for one thing, which we observed earlier. John stated that the great thing about the blogosphere was that you didn't have to be an 8 or a 10 to succeed.

And that used to be true. The great thing about the Internet was that it truly was a "faceless" medium: one where women thought that, perhaps for the first time, we could compete solely on the merits in the marketplace of ideas. And with the advent of vlogging, that has changed. You can't turn back time, nor stop the relentless march of technology. But we can't help wishing, in a sense, that this hadn't happened.

We are not a big fan of vlogging, to be honest, for the same reason we prefer newspapers to TV newscasts. Some, like Mary Katherine, do it fairly well. But we think it is a shallow replacement for blogging. It can't convey complex ideas well, and we are old fashioned. We like to click on links, and we like to read - to cross-check and reread passages.

We think a lot of women object to the dumbing down aspect of vlogging as much as anything else. In a medium where women are already struggling to be taken seriously, it's discouraging to turn on the TV and see the same old roster of "successful female bloggers": Wonkette (an attractive redhead best known for blogging about anal sex and the size of John Kerry's schlong), the undeniably attractive Pamela Atlas (umm... boobie blogging), and Michelle Malkin, who has always had a prominent photo of herself on the front page of her site and is an undeniably lovely woman - hardly a refutation of John's "you don't have to be an 8 or a 10 or post a photo of yourself to succeed" thesis.

When John comes up with a successful Helen Thomas lookalike in the top ranks of conservative female bloggers, perhaps we can talk. In the meantime, we've seen photos of a few of the top male bloggers and trust us, they are engaging and intelligent but we do not fantasize about them at night.

So we're afraid his 'equality of opportunity' thesis is looking a bit shabby. Perhaps women really do have something to worry about; like the idea that in this day and age, how we look continues to trump what we have to say for a very large part of the blogosphere, most of which is composed of men. What Beth and much of the Cotillion are saying is that in what they thought was a marketplace of ideas, they'd like to compete on merit. What John seems to be saying, at least to me, is "Merit is all fine and dandy honey, but if you throw in some skin I'm your huckleberry."

He then proceeds to object to the idea that what has been proposed isn't, somehow, some form of transaction: that something hasn't been bought and sold.

Am I the only one who sees a bit of a mixed message here?

Posted by Cassandra at September 20, 2006 06:21 AM


"Oh, those different times....when all the poets studied rules of verse - and the ladies, they rolled their eyes..."

Different times, indeed. And how silly to think that this Pandora's Carton had been opened, wrestled and resolved way back in the 'seventies. As I recall - we decided to call it a draw, with a wink and a nod.Do as you like, and may the best win-win, I think it was.And ye shall reap what ye sew.

It was Mom that taught the young lad best though, when all was said and done. She said,"Don't give me that, Mister. You know the difference between right and wrong!"

'Deed I did /do.It has to do with manners,and style is all.Ye shall reap what ye sew.

There are gals who behave like Atlas, or "Fran" wherever they are,(they can't help it, I guess) which is, ah, fine, but - what on earth is she rambling about in the water and her Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini?)... and then there are wonderful dames like Cass...who simply know better.

I can say that - because I know the difference.

And...only one Guess Who's coming Home For Dinner?"


Posted by: geo at September 20, 2006 10:04 AM

haha, i already have enough people accusing me of being fourteen--do i really want want to post cyberchicklet photos of myself?
u are truly correct about malkin. i devoutly hope she is more intelligent than her positions on DPW and Schiavo would indicate.
and...the otherthing...if you do stupid sh*t here, be prepared to be mocked unmercifully and vilified for your hideous taste in purses.

Posted by: matoko kusanagi at September 20, 2006 10:05 AM

"Things of quality have no fear of time!" I believe that is a correct quote. In any case, intelligent conversation is a greater indication of beauty than the cheap thrill of over-exposed flesh.

The obvious correlation is the one-night stand! After the act, one had better have something substantial to talk about or the experience is cheapened and won't have much future.

Posted by: vet66 at September 20, 2006 10:45 AM

John stated that the great thing about the blogosphere was that you didn't have to be an 8 or a 10 to succeed.

Depends on how you define success really.

If you are only looking for hits then yes being an 8+ absolutely helps.
If you are looking for respect (vice fawning adoration ala Grim's comment) then no it doesn't.

What's sad to me isn't John's prescription for showing skin, it's this: Blogging isn't about respect and being taken seriously, it's about feeding your own ego.

Because that is what the traffic=success really boils down to. Ego. It has nothing to do with respect, or influence. Yes, Pam's traffic has gone up, but has her influence? I doubt it. Her new "readers" aren't. When the video and pictures stop they will go away. They open the video, watch the bouncing balls and are in the presence of air compressions that vaguely might have been words and then leave without absorbing a thing that she said. And this is success???

and conflating traffic with success in the workplace would be like determining promotions on how many people came to visit your cube. It's the wrong stinkin' metric.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at September 20, 2006 10:46 AM

And one more thing about the media holding up bloggers like Wonkette.

The media isn't about respect or influence or truth. They are in the business of attracting viewers not presenting cogent arguments. Respect is just a lie they tell you just like "Sure, I'll respect you in the morning".

Remember the high school yearbook voting deal: "Best Personality", "Biggest Prankster".

The media and, appearently, John are campaigning for "Biggest Slut" and not only are we upset that they're winning, we've bought into the idea that that's the race to win instead of "Most Likely to Succeed".

Posted by: Masked Menace© at September 20, 2006 11:08 AM

It's the Naked News in the blogworld, sorta funny but nothing more than what it is. Once you start bikini blogging, you're competition is now the bikini blogs, not the news/political ones. If the point is to be a legitimate news type outlet, you've pretty much made yourself irrelevant.

Posted by: tommy at September 20, 2006 11:08 AM

Beautiful Cass. I do believe you summed up what all of us are thinking.

Posted by: Stacy at September 20, 2006 11:19 AM

I think, at times like this, it is best to ask the inscrutable Alanis Morrisette lyric generator for advice:

"I Think"

I Think the wrong metrics are really a huge problem
I Think internet boobs are too much on my mind
I Think web traffic has got a lot to do with why the world sucks
But what can you do?

Like a blue rain, beating down on me
Like a Masked Menace line, which won't let go of my brain
Like Michelle Malkin's ass, it is in my head
Blame it on overexposed flesh
Blame it on overexposed flesh
Blame it on overexposed flesh

I Think site hits are gonna drive us all crazy
And one night stands make me feel like a child
I Think ugly purses will eventually be the downfall of civilization
But what can you do? I said what can you do?

Like a blue rain, beating down on me
Like a Masked Menace line, which won't let go of my brain
Like Michelle Malkin's ass, it is in my head
Blame it on overexposed flesh
Blame it on overexposed flesh
Blame it on overexposed flesh

Like a blue rain, beating down on me
Like Michelle Malkin's smile, cruel and cold
Like Masked Menace's ass, it is in my head
Blame it on overexposed flesh
Blame it on overexposed flesh
Blame it on overexposed flesh

Wow. Like Masked Menace's ass is in my head? This blogging thing is gonna make us all crazy or gay, or both (just like Andrew Sullivan!).

I can't believe I'm doing this on working time! :D

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at September 20, 2006 11:19 AM

His argument also brings to mind "the end justifies the means."

Perfect, Cassandra. You nailed it.

I imagine the response will be (if he feels qualified to challenge you) that "it's our nature."

Like I said in responding to a comment from one of the outraged boys yesterday, NO KIDDING. We know, and nobody is stupid enough to think we can just change the reptilian function of the male brain by complaining. But we aren't reptiles. Defecating (I used more colorful words, of course) is also a natural function that complaining will not change. Since we're civilized, we've learned not to take a dump where ever we please. We behave according to conscious, higher brain-function standards. So why is it too much to ask for men like John to behave in a way that suggests they are civilized? (As in, showing respect for women as they would hopefully show their own mothers or daughters.)

Personally, I'm tired of men (and some women!) excusing all kinds of bad behavior with the "I can't help it" defense. It's interesting, to say the least, that people who claim to believe in personal responsibility and the ability to overcome (genetic, biological, inherent, whatever) disadvantage through sheer will don't see the irony in their position.

Men are men. That's a good thing. But the things that EXPLAIN the differences shouldn't be used to EXCUSE behavior. Otherwise, a woman could say "we're naturally more emotional" and excuse away emotional outbursts whenever she got upset about something (rather than dealing with the upset appropriately--such as not crying at the drop of a hat, for example). Or one could say "I can't help my PMS, so you just have to suck it up if I get a little crazy. And if you complain about me treating you like shit because of it, then you hate women and don't understand us.

I probably should have just written another post, but I'm tired of writing about it at my site. Besides, if people don't understand what I wrote, I suspect they either don't want to or never will anyway.

Posted by: Beth at September 20, 2006 11:35 AM

I have thus far stayed out of this argument because I believe it is inherently pointless. It seems, however, that this issue keeps showing up from time to time like the proverbial bad penny.

To the ladies out there: get over it! This is why I never understand women. The ability to get incensed over the most trivial or even PERCEIVED slights would do the fussiest, most honor-bound Spanish hidalgo of the 16th century proud. If you were men, your perceived impugned honor would require swords or pistols at dawn satisfaction of honor.

Some women will flaunt what they got. Some won't. This has been going on since the dawn of time. Why is this a giant issue right up there with Mideast Peace?

I come to VC because I have found Cass to be witty and insightful. I greatly enjoy her writing. I could care less what she looks like.

On the other hand, being a man, I enjoy pictures of nubile young things in bikinis. There are sites where I can view such things also. There is no necessary to mix the two, although I believe it was Pile On's now-defunct sight that effectively mixed the two on occassion.

I think you should be able to do what you want, and then reap the consequences of your actions. I have noticed that women tend to be much cattier with one another, though, and a live and let live philosophy seems to be anathema to their ways of thinking (at least with other women). I've never understood this.

Frankly, I'd rather jab sharp pencils into my eardrums than hear a gaggle of women complaining as follows:

Did you see Marcia in accounting today?
That tramp!
Who does she think she is wearing a short skirt like that!
The nerve!
And Betty, the boss's secretary, she gave me a LOOK when I walked past her and I could just tell she was judging me!
Who does she think she is!

ad infinitum...

Posted by: a former european at September 20, 2006 12:04 PM

The ability to get incensed over the most trivial or even PERCEIVED slights

Oh, but we can't help it! That's just our nature! And everyone has to just deal with it, or else you're nothing but a woman-hating pig!
(There's a point there.)

I'm guessing you aren't referring to Cassandra, Raven, or me, 'cause that doesn't describe any of us.

Posted by: Beth at September 20, 2006 12:12 PM

Heh. There's something wrong with me.

And this may well be the real reason women resent boobie-vlogging. John admits, over and over again (and his commenters reinforce this point) that they are going to choose a female blogger who is good-looking - and shows some skin - over the alternative every time.

Um, er, I disagree. I saw the bikini-blogger solely because SWWBO showed her to me because of Cotillion-traffic.

I come here, time after time after time because it's Good Stuff, especially as long as Cassie has taken her Angst-control pills... ;^)

Bloggers are like radio personalities - they never look like the face we put to the voice - but I'd rather read good stuff than look at a pretty face.

Schlussel is an example. I *can't* stomach her. La Malkin? Okay. And her stuff is generally okay as long as she's not got the vapors (how'm I doon for stereotypes here?) and I just skip past that when it happens.

Just as people skip past my "Dammit another dog died" posts when what they want is Gun Pr0n.

Vlogging has all the same drawbacks as TV news. Exactly the same.

Of course, I read my news on the 'Net, I can't stand watching it on TV unless it is an inherently visual event.

And I can focus on the message, not the messenger.

Apparently I lost my testicles somewhere.

Oh, yeah - SWWBO's on the road, she has 'em.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at September 20, 2006 12:21 PM

The only reason I encounter Malkin as much as I do is that she's added Allahpundit to the Hot Air site. Now, he's sharp.

FWIW, though, I read VC a lot more than most anything else. I can't account for the "web traffic" of anyone else, or who gets invited on television news (which I don't watch anyway). But insofar as my personal custom is concerned, you haven't many competitors at all. I don't think I read any other site as often, excepting the ones at which I'm also an author.

Posted by: Grim at September 20, 2006 12:44 PM

I believe I have to echo Masked Menace's thoughts on the matter today. You see... men (or atleast the weird, chest thumping, beer-swilling men I associate with) tend to use a lot of sports metaphors as it seems to echo our life pretty closely.

We compete. Its natural, from am I taller than that guy, to how much does he make, what does he drive, who is he married to, look I've got more hair! So, its quite natural for us guys to look at this problem in the sense of games or competition -- because in the end, no one ends up dead.

Boobie-vlogging and serious political commentary are two separate games. You don't go to one for the other as the seriousness of the content is vastely different, if not for factualness, but the way its presented. I like the statement that 'hits' are the wrong metric. If you want to see a high scoring game, you don't watch hockey, you watch basketball. And you never say that the the Toronto Maple Leafs suck just because the Toronto Raptors score an average of 70 points more in a game than they do. Wrong metric.

I guess... to bring it back to the argument... yeah. Looks do matter... if you're watching porn, or are trying to get someone's attention. Damn right I'm going to look at the lady flashing me at the side of the road, but I'm probably not going to read the silly sign she's waving or go to the carwash she's trying to promote.

So leave the political commentary game in the political commentary game. We beer-guzzling, chest thumping men that go to them like them for their low, but meaningful, scoring. Complete with checks and hat-tricks, and when the refs make a bum call the organist plays 'Three blind mice' even though there are four pinstrips on the ice out there now... and... yeah... all that good stuff we love the blog for.

Posted by: Kevin L at September 20, 2006 12:50 PM

Sorry, Beth, if you took offense. None was intended. I simply don't get all the hubbub. I used an example of a conversation I overheard the other day from a bunch of women running down all the other women in that office. I didn't get the point to that behavior, and I don't get the point to the big argument here.

What has got everybody's panties in a bunch? I don't hear a lot of outrage from the guys on this issue, pretty much just the women. So then, the ladies are upset. Why? Because other women choose to engage in behavior of which they don't approve? Well, then I guess you're going to spend a lot of time upset, because I have yet to see ALL women marching in lockstep on an issue.

Once again, what exactly is wrong with the old live and let live attitude? Or are all women supposed to follow the standards of which you or someone else approves? Who is this universal arbiter or setter of female standards? Seems like a control issue to me.

Posted by: a former european at September 20, 2006 12:51 PM

Utopia: Looks should not matter.

Reality: Looks do matter.

Pragmatism: BoobBlogging is a bad trend. It cheapens the message within the blog. It produces more hits but less reading. This is the road to "defining deviancy down." It can be argued to be okay as a joke or for some amusement, but the trend is to turn personal blogs, then commentary blogs, then political blogs into soft-p.rn sites.

That said, (and my being male and all {{grin}}), since the Islamofascists hate female pulchritude, then may I suggest it is in the national interest and, therefore, patriotic to indulge in boobbloging. {Okay, just kidding.}

Posted by: Izzy at September 20, 2006 12:56 PM

As a Lebanese and a radical, man hating Feminazi, I feel it incumbent on myself to question your patriotism... heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 01:06 PM


I think that's a red herring. As soon as anyone wants to discuss rationally whether something is a good thing or not, you guys want to go high and to the right and accuse us of being Nazis or something.

Don't you think that's a bit extreme?

I said that I had no desire to control her actions, and also that people had a perfect right to watch whatever they please, yet for some inexplicable reason you come up with it being a "control issue". How do you get being controlling from saying people can do what they please?

My take - AGAIN - is that freedom includes the right to do as you please, but NOT the right to be immune from disapproval or to escape the consequences of your actions, some of which may be that some people think you're an ass. That is their right in a free society. To think otherwise is, in my view, a bit unrealistic, don't you think?

And don't other people have the right to their own views of right and wrong? When did we lose the right to express those views, so long as we are not trying to stop anyone from doing as they please? This almost seems like what the Left does - asking for PC compliance with "don't hurt my feelings...waaaah!"

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 01:12 PM

And once again, live and let live means simply that.

It does not mean endorsement, just non-interference. Unless something changed radically - at least that is what you were arguing with respect to a far different issue a while back :)

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 01:14 PM

OK, I try to be a man of few words in my comments...simply because I am a "mono-digital" typist. Or should I use Willie Shakespeare's line that "brevity is the soul of wit"? Whatever. Not this time.

I come back here often, not to look at pictures of the hostess, as there are none to be seen of which I am aware, although of course I'm curious as to what she looks like. Nay, my frequent returns are wholly due to the fact that I enjoy what she (and many of her commentators) put into words here. Food for thought, as it were. Naturally, as a male with a healthy libido, I certainly enjoy viewing those shapely members of the opposite gender. However, at the risk of sounding trite: "a place for everything, and everything in its place". I have even been accused by some "troll" type of having a blog solely for ego trip purposes. This is utter nonsense; my ego reached the saturation point decades ago, but there's no way some visiting nitwit can know that, really. My main reason for blogging is that I believe I've got things of interest to present, and I like to edify. Some (of the relatively few) who visit my blog appreciate this, and that,! my f riends, is good enough pour moi.

Posted by: camojack at September 20, 2006 01:54 PM

You know what's really striking? You look at the difference between the responses to your post, Cassandra (and my own) versus the responses to John's posts.
I don't even need to spell it out--just look.

There's a reason for that. ;-)

afe-- Point of order: this really isn't about whether Pamela or whoever should skin-blog. It's about the "advice" for all of us to show a little skin for hits.
That said, Pamela and everyone else can do what they want at their blogs. And similarly, we have the right to not like it, think it's crap, think it shows a lack of self-respect and/or credibility, think it's the Best Thing Evah, or whatever. Last time I checked, I still have the right to an opinion just like men do, but for some reason when women have opinions about something other women do, we're seen as catty or bitchy. That's never the case with men who rip on each other--and that does happen all the time as well.
And if we say something about a man's behavior, we're Lebanese (lol!) Goddess-worshipping feminazis. Bleh.
I think at times that maybe people still haven't (unconsciously) quite graduated from the thought that women should always be pleasant, plastic-smiled and submissive, never rocking the boat.

Posted by: Beth at September 20, 2006 02:26 PM


Honestly, I have to second that.

I sat over at John's yesterday and was called hysterical for agreeing with him.

What's up with that?

I am many things, but I really don't think hysterical is one of them. I remained calm and asked the commenter to re-read my comment. He wouldn't retract the comment. I moved on.

But it was patronizing, and in a way that frankly wouldn't have happened if I weren't female. There isn't any point in whining about it, but this is the flip side of what you always complain about: men having to be so fricking careful about what they say for fear of being accused of being "insensitive".

In my job, I have to pussyfoot around things men can come right out and say all the time. It is *so* annoying.

But if I am direct in the way a man would be, I am a "bitch", or "controlling". That really gets irritating after a while. Men say women can be manipulative, but honestly, sometimes we have to dance 20 steps around a subject just to avoid being accused of being "controlling" when a man would just barge right in and do it and no questions would be asked. I have better people skills than most (you can ask the folks I work with) but sometimes at the end of the day I am just wrung out from pretending to be dumber than I am, or weaker than I am, or more passive than I would like to be, all because I am female. Guile?

You betcha. It makes the world go round. And I will load it up with a double spoonfull of sugar if that helps the medicine go down.

But honestly afe. The older I get, I sit in meetings and I often wish I were male. Becuase it would save SO much time if I didn't use 10 miles of charm just to accomplish the very same things I see men do by sheer bluntness. There are times when I really resent it a bit.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 02:37 PM

Many young women want to be "Britney's Peers" and dress what I'd call trashily.

They still become and are good mothers, lovers and wives. Their lives are complicated, and their grumpy old father-in-law loves them just as much.

Posted by: Jerry K. at September 20, 2006 02:42 PM

It's about the "advice" for all of us to show a little skin for hits.

Well Beth, to perhaps make John's point in a much less inflammatory manner:

If what you want is hits, then yes you should skin blog because, as has been demonstrated, that is perhaps the most "efficient" way of getting them.

However, if you want quality hits, respect, a reputation for strong thinking and quality discourse, skin blogging can be quite destructive of that end.

John has as much told us which camp he's in. His problem is that he thinks bloggers see hits like athletes see money. Not all do. Female bloggers such as yourself and Cassie view the type of hits provacative pictures would generate as similar to a male athlete getting paid in lipstick.

Unlike John, I would believe the athlete in heated contract negotiations saying "I don't care about the lipstick".

Posted by: Masked Menace© at September 20, 2006 02:48 PM

Oh, I think that's definitely true. I'm not big on judging people, either way.

It's what's on the inside that counts, Jerry.

I guess I just don't understand the need, as afe says, to combine skin with political commentary.

I'm not going to get out the pitchforks, and I wouldn't have commented on it at all if John hadn't essentially said that on the one hand, freedom includes the right to do such things but not the right to comment on the doing of them, which sounds suspiciously like a PC Lefty sentiment to me rather than something a conservative should be espousing.

Bottom line, do what you want, but don't expect to be immune from criticism or commentary. No one's trying to censor you, but don't confuse criticism with censorship - that's childish. And to be fair, as I have stated several times, it's not Pam who has done this. It's some of her defenders.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 02:50 PM

OK, I'm a little confused. Let me get this straight.

Pam has skin-blogged.
Some female bloggers have criticized skin-blogging. Which is not telling women what they can and can't do.
Some male bloggers have criticized criticizing skin-blogging. Which is telling women what they can and can't do?
Who's left to criticize the criticizing of the criticism of skin-blogging and what the helk can or can't any of us do?

Heh :-)

Posted by: Masked Menace© at September 20, 2006 03:13 PM

I read VC for the words

Posted by: Syberyenta at September 20, 2006 03:17 PM

Cass has a picture posted in her bio pages, or did.

She is an attractive slender brunette.

Posted by: Unkawill at September 20, 2006 03:24 PM

You are so dead, Unkawill :) I am older than Dirt - that is why I don't torture my readers with images of the Gorgon. But thank you for the ego boost. My daughter in law recently informed me that photo is "too severe looking" and I should replace it with one that is more flattering. I thought it *was* flattering! Kids.

Menace, is your life flashing before your eyes yet? Don't ever try to confusicate a woman with logic :)

Seriously, I don't see him taking on other people who comment on what other bloggers are doing. He just likes to poke a stick into the anthill when it's women who have their pantyhose all in a wad. Ask him - he'll admit it's true :) He enjoys it!

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 03:31 PM


AFE is a lot like one of my brothers. He's rather bitter about the opposite sex (and deservedly so) and so tends to react accordingly.

We all have our pet peeves.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at September 20, 2006 03:44 PM

...besides, afe only gawps at hot Czech supermodels with huge...TRACTS OF LAND!

*running away*


Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 04:58 PM

Cassandra I love how you write so much. Brillant and thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 20, 2006 05:23 PM

Heh. [deleted because I don't want to find out just how good a shot Cassandra is.]

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at September 20, 2006 05:37 PM

*Walks over to Cass*
'Scuse me Cass
*removes snark-arm** from Cass's hip*
*replaces it with the Castle's Choklit gun*

What say ye, Armorer?

**kinda like a sidearm, but this one perforates your ego.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at September 20, 2006 05:56 PM

Start running, John-boy.

And thank you, Wild Thing. As always, you are too kind.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 05:58 PM

Posted by: Drive-by Headlights at September 20, 2006 06:54 PM

I learned a long time ago that ego has no place in relationships. What counts is results and where the good ideas come from makes no difference.

When someone comes in with a suggestion, problem, or observation I ask them what they think should be done. If their answer is reasonable and logical I tell them that is a good idea. They now have the motivation to make it work whereas if it was my idea they would have very little, if any, buy in.

The juvenile preoccupation with physical characteristics is secondary to the job at hand. A word to the guys. Look into the eyes of the person you are talking to and learn to listen.

Posted by: vet66 at September 20, 2006 06:58 PM

"A word to the guys. Look into the eyes of the person you are talking to and learn to listen."

As a happily married man, let me suggest that you probably need to learn to listen to her without having to look her in the eye. Otherwise, whole years may pass without you getting anything done.

(AKA: Grim taking Pile Juan's advice on how to deal with these threads.)

Posted by: Grim at September 20, 2006 08:43 PM

[foot tapping...]

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 09:02 PM

Oh hell.

I am tired. I have been working too long and I need a good laugh.

Enjoy, gentlemen:


(and no, it is not boobs)

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 09:05 PM

Foot tapping? What's that to me? The other advantage of being happily married is that you can cast a merry eye on the whole question. :) We all make a separate peace, here.

Posted by: Grim at September 20, 2006 09:09 PM

Time to join the Chorus Line.

Posted by: Cricket at September 20, 2006 09:13 PM

I tap my foot at lots of people I am not married to, sir.

That is a lady's privilege. :D It is equally your privilege to ignore such tappage. After all, everyone else does. It's just a meaningless ritual.

And if no one else is going to say it, I will.

It is absolutely *shameful* the way that cute little car is flashing its headlights to avoid traffic. There is never an attorney around when you need one.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 20, 2006 09:34 PM

I never deny a lady her privilege. Just for the record, however, I am not ignoring you -- I am participating in the ritual with equally ritual, but nevertheless enjoyable, teasing.

Posted by: Grim at September 20, 2006 09:45 PM

i'm wid grim.
allahpundit is the bomb-dot-com.
but malkin is way too emo for me.
her vlogging style is grimacing and raving.
the only good vlogging i've EVER seen is goldstein.
err thing else is just snore city.

Posted by: matoko-chan at September 20, 2006 10:54 PM

Man, I go to work and miss all the excitement here.

Cass, I didn't criticize you. I thought I was very complimentary about the quality and substance of your writing. If I failed to make it clear before, then let me say it now: I come to VC SOLELY because of the excellent content. Everything else is secondary.

I personally think "booblogging" is silly, but I don't feel it is worth wasting my time criticizing it. People are free to do foolish things if they want. It just doesn't get me worked up like so many others here.

Beth, my comment was based upon examples of female conduct I have observed in the workplace. It seems to me that women spend an inordinate amount of time running other women down. Sometimes it may be justified, sometimes not. My female friends complain to me over and over again how women can be mean, catty, and cruel to one another. While men can certainly be guilty of the same, it seems that it is far more frequent with women.

I am not saying I'm an expert on this subject by any means. I have long ago given up trying to understand women. I am just going by what I have seen and by what other women tell me.

I never said women don't have the right to criticize other women. Of course they do. My point was merely that it didn't seem to serve any useful purpose, IMHO. I know people disagree with that point of view, but it remains my viewpoint.

I can go around criticizing everything I see wrong, but this tends to make me socially unpleasant and personally unhappy. For example, I could fixate on the incredibly poor driving skills of your average highway motorist on my daily commute, but this would probably lead to road rage and my face on the evening news after having shot several idiot drivers.

Instead, I try to ignore the guy with the endless blinker, the guy making a right-hand turn from the far left lane, the slammer-of-brakes-for-no-apparent-reason, and the guy who changes lanes every 5 seconds in accordance with the voices in his head, and maintain serenity and a zen-like calm. If this fails, I sometimes release a beautiful bird into the air, along with some colorful phrases and metaphors of an earthy nature.:)

In other words, I still think this is much ado about nothing (or at least very little).

I have lived long enough, however, to know that there is almost nothing more guaranteed to piss off women than to tell them that you don't think an issue about which they are incensed is an earth-shattering event, or that they are overreacting. I recall that taking such a position usually leads to hurling of objects at my cranium or the hurling of equally heavy epithets concerning my supposed ancestry or alleged mental deficiencies. I therefore commend the ladies on this thread for showing admirable restraint thus far.

Maked Menace: You are mistaken, old friend. Cynicism is not bitterness. There is a subtle difference. I am a good-natured fellow. It is like having fun in a ferociously seedy tavern in the worst part of town. You can carouse and have fun, but always keep one eye out for the knife being slipped in your back, the mickey being slipped in your drink, the wallet being picked from your pocket, or bullets spraying from the latest drive-by. Those were lessons I learned from my misspent youth. I am much more "respectable" now.:)

Posted by: a former european at September 20, 2006 11:12 PM

Two eggs,
Sunny side up.
And there you go.

Posted by: My Father-In-Law at September 21, 2006 12:13 AM

Ok, great post, but where are the "boobs"?!?! Don't see any!


Althor :)

Posted by: Althor at September 21, 2006 12:17 AM

When will we get past the idea that blogging requires one to be embodied?

Posted by: Petey at September 21, 2006 12:22 AM

I read VC for the words

I read VC for the Vargas-like hottie at the top of the page. :)

Obviously, if you didn't care how many people read your blog, you wouldn't be blogging, you'd be writing in a journal that you left in a drawer at home.

But this I have to disagree with. I rally don't care how many people read my stuff. I don't obscess over traffic logs (if I read them once every couple of months, that's ok).

This allows me to be intellectually honest, and not worry about pissing off my readership (as meager as they are) and affecting the almighty traffic. Moderating or altering my views based on blog traffic seems somewhat "traffic whorish" to me, and it's not something I want to do.

Other things I won't do is stir up the pot and generate hatred toward myself just for the resulting traffic that the blogswarm would generate.

It strikes me that showing skin when you're a self respecting lady is akin to that.

Posted by: Tony at September 21, 2006 11:00 AM

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