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February 21, 2008

Coffee Snorters: Is It Drafty In Here? Edition

What-the-hell-are-you-gawping-at, you sexist pig?

Yeah, you. Some people just have no sense of decorum.

Sheesh.

Update: Heh....

I blame spd and those joyless, repressed scolds in the White House who don't understand the completely understandable desires of today's strong, fully-independent women to taunt men with their sexuality while demanding that they be treated just like one of the boys**.

**For the sake of clarity, all opinions expressed are to be attributed to the Editorial Staff and not to mr rdr.

Posted by Cassandra at February 21, 2008 02:09 PM

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Comments

The comments at the link was even funnier.

Remember "Easy access".

Posted by: Ymarsakar at February 21, 2008 02:35 PM

Perhaps it is meant to provide adequate ventilation to provide that "clean" and "fresh" feeling.

Posted by: Edward Lunny at February 21, 2008 03:49 PM

I don't see what the fuss is about, it is practical article of clothing ... solves the age old question ... thong or French cut?

Posted by: Frodo at February 21, 2008 04:11 PM

*rolling eyes*

Posted by: Cassandra at February 21, 2008 04:16 PM

LOL :D

Posted by: Frodo at February 21, 2008 04:19 PM

I suppose we can console ourselves that she does not have to worry about the heartbreak of visible panty lines.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 21, 2008 04:29 PM

Sooooo.... if you look at what she has gone to so much trouble to make sure you can't avoid seeing, are you sexually harassing her?

Incroyable.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 21, 2008 04:31 PM

That exact question has vexed me since I was a young pile of raging hormone's Cass. I have always known it is impolite to ogle or stare, but I do question the sanity of certain young ladies (and sadly, even older ones) who put their wares on blatant display, and yet seem to get huffy (or even offended) if you are caught glancing at them. I'm sorry, if you wear a miniskirt, you'll forgive me if my privitive brain draws my eyes to an item of interest (the LEGS people, don't get all filthy-minded on me).

The response to my inquiries regarding this from a feminist I knew boiled down to "she's dressing like that for HER benefit and she shouldn't have to cover up just to prevent you from undressing her with your eyes!" Excuse me? I'm not the one who laid out her wardrobe. She chose to wear a dress cut low enough that I can tell her natural hair color, not me. If she didn't want people to LOOK then why is she wearing it in public? And if she only wanted CERTAIN people to look (which I sometimes believe is the ACTUAL case) then again, she should invite those people over and only show THEM. But this feminist acquantince insisted that the lady dresses provocatively for her own self esteem and not to be looked at. Ok, I'm FINE with the concept of her dressing for herself, and I'm certainly ok with the idea that it's not for me to decide how someone else should dress (note though: it IS my right to mock you for what you wear, it's just not POLITE). But for crying out loud, if I'm going to be in eyeshot of something that kicks off one of the three male needs (food, sleep, sex) then by golly, I'm going to LOOK.

And before I do catch any grief from the ladies here, I have permission from my better half to look. Her exact phrase I've heard her use is "You can look at the menu all you like, as long as you eat at home." So :P

Posted by: MikeD at February 21, 2008 04:48 PM

Using the NY Times logic matrix, Yes if you are a Republican, no if you are a Democrat.

Posted by: Frodo at February 21, 2008 04:48 PM

Heh. All I thought was... is she *leaking*?

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at February 21, 2008 04:52 PM

Oh, she looks cold. She could use a scarf.

*sicker*
0>:~}

Posted by: Snarkammando at February 21, 2008 04:58 PM

Another thought occurs. If she sits down in that skirt for any length of time, isn't she going to have that pattern indented into her heiny?

Posted by: MikeD at February 21, 2008 05:00 PM

""You can look at the menu all you like, as long as you eat at home."

Heh, Mike, I've said something very similar to MH since day one of our marriage: "It's not so much where your got your appetite, Honey, as long as you come home to eat." Fortunately, for me, he's quite happy getting not only his appetite but his *cookin'* from home as well.

Posted by: Sly2107 at February 21, 2008 05:04 PM

Ummmm..... I can't speak for other women, but Grim's persistent attempts at misinformation aside, I am a woman and when I get all dolled up, it ain't because I want other WOMEN to look at me :).

It's because I want *men* to look at me. Period. End of discussion.

I am 48 years old and I can honestly say that I have NEVER in my entire life spend 5 seconds of my time putting makeup on or selecting an outfit for the purpose of garnering admiring FEMALE attention. I could give a rat's ass whether women think I'm attractive. When I go out at night, what makes me feel beautiful and desireable is to see a man's eyes linger on me appreciatively. What I want to know is that I am still able to attract the opposite sex.

And I am not surprised that your wife lets you look, Mike. You strike me as the considerate type. If a man is considerate, his wife does not mind him looking because it is not a threat to her. I have, rarely, pointed out unusually attractive women to my husband because he NEVER ever makes me feel threatened, and so if I see something I think would give him pleasure I don't mind pointing it out. If he was a jerk about it, I wouldn't do that. I don't understand why more men can't understand that. It's not exactly rocket science.

Gentlemen earn respect.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 21, 2008 05:08 PM

Mike, I read that response to the Engineer and he just roared. I don't care if he looks, and sometimes he is EMBARRASSED for the young lady in question.

It doesn't hurt that he has a daughter to worry about...and I have caught him looking for head coverings and chardors online for her when she turns 12. Or a paper bag. She and her brothers are taking karate. Heh.

Posted by: Cricket at February 21, 2008 05:11 PM

The Devil Wears Prada....

Posted by: Cricket at February 21, 2008 05:15 PM

Ya know, I think I read a headline today online that Britney was showing off her privates again by not wearing underwear. Maybe they designed this skirt with her in mind.

On a slightly different note: just because you're thin doesn't mean you have a nice a$$; just because you fit into something, it doesn't mean it looks good on you; how many women might buy this skirt and want to actually wear in out in public, not realizing that there a$$ looks like, well, a$$...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 21, 2008 05:25 PM

Cass,

Thanks for the kind impression you have of me. I endeavour to live up to it. And it's certainly true that my wife has nothing to worry about. She too has pointed out women to me on occasion. I think the big difference is looking without being a jerk about it. If you do the whiplash effect look (ESPECIALLY in front of your significant other) it BETTER be because they've got an extra appendage, or you're being rude to both the lookee and your intended.

Cricket,

And that particular embarassment for the lookee is generally why I am uncomfortable looking in public. Sure, if it's artful and tasteful while provocative, I'll looks without embarassment. Othertime I want to break out the taser and burka for them.

I appreciate the worries he has for your eldest girl-child. My brother has a 16 year-old blonde of his own, and his current debate is between displaying the body of the first boy to come around or disposing of it in a lime pit (tongue-in-cheek for the humor impared).

And my favorite ogling/parenting story I have is a few years back when my brother related the following:
"I was driving home and passed one of those high-school car washes, with the teenaged girls in bikinis holding the signs advertising. My first thought at seeing them was 'do their fathers know they're out in public dressed like that?' and my second thought was 'damn I'm old.'"

Posted by: MikeD at February 21, 2008 05:26 PM

there = their

PROOFREAD!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 21, 2008 05:26 PM

Cricket,
For the Engineer and MH.
Yes, Mr. On, for you, too. And any others who have not been previously mentioned........

Posted by: Sly2107 at February 21, 2008 06:20 PM

Here is something off thred, but wonderful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N7gL3TF9sw

Posted by: Mark at February 21, 2008 06:58 PM

Oh Mark.

That was amazing. Thank you.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 21, 2008 07:05 PM

Mary Black is a goddess.

Posted by: Mark at February 22, 2008 11:52 AM

Off thread? More wonderfulness. Of all the versions of Sweet Jane out there, the Live on Letterman is the best. And Mr. rdr is correct - the greatest thing to rock and roll.

http://dirtydano.imeem.com/music/X9Jq4duy/lou_reed_sweet_jane/

This requires registration and is annoying, but the music is great.

Posted by: Mark at February 22, 2008 12:12 PM

> if I'm going to be in eyeshot of something that kicks off one of the three male needs (food, sleep, sex)

Food? Sleep? What are you, some kinda pansy-ass sissy boy? Real men don't bother with such trifles.

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 23, 2008 09:11 AM

Sooooo.... if you look at what she has gone to so much trouble to make sure you can't avoid seeing, are you sexually harassing her?

I think the answer is yes, if she doesn't want you to look. That is the only reading of sexual harrassment laws that makes any sense.

I can't speak for other women, but Grim's persistent attempts at misinformation aside...

Persistent? I haven't mentioned that subject in at least a year. :)

Besides, philosophy is not misinformation. I warned you in the interview you asked for once that my approach, when an idea struck me, was to set out to defend it as vigorously as possible, and see if someone was capable of tearing it down. If so, I'd see where the weak points were, and rebuild so as to account for those.

You knew that up front. No whining. :)

Posted by: Grim at February 23, 2008 09:21 AM

========================================================================================
> The response to my inquiries regarding this from a feminist I knew boiled down to "she's dressing like that for HER benefit and she shouldn't have to cover up just to prevent you from undressing her with your eyes!"

1) Sounds like she's already undressed, you're just observing the result

2) If it's for HER benefit and self esteem, then what will happen to her self-esteem if no one notices how she looks?

This is all part of the capital-F Feminist double standard:

--------------------
"[Feminism has] focused on the fact that women as a group earned less -- without focusing on any of the reasons why women earned less, [such as:] full-time working men work an average of 9 hours per week more than full-time working women; men are more willing to relocate to undesirable locations, to work the less desirable hours, and to work the more hazardous jobs."
- Warren Farrell -

"Sexism, we have been told, made men powerful and women powerless. The reality is somewhat different. For centuries, neither sex had power. Both sexes had roles: She raised the children, He raised the crops/money. Neither sex had options, both sexes had obligations. If both sexes had traditional obligations, it is more accurate to call it sex roles than sexism.
Men's roles didn't serve their interests any more than women's roles served women's interests. Instead, both roles served the interests of survival."
- Warren Farrell -

"[The question men need to ask, is:] 'Is earning money that someone else spends really power?'"
- Warren Farrell -

"Today, when the successful single woman meets the successful single man, they appear to be equals. But should they marry and contemplate having
children, she almost invariably considers three career options:
1) work full time
2) mother full time
3) some combination of 1 and 2
He, too, considers three options:
1) work full time
2) work full time
3) work full time
Enter the era of the multi-option woman and the no-option man."
- Warren Farrell -

"The political genius of the feminist movement was its sense that it could appeal to all women only by emphasizing expansion of rights and opportunities and avoiding expansion of responsibilities. Had the National Organization for Women fought to register 18 year old girls for the draft, it might have lost members. Had feminism emphasized women's responsibilities for taking sexual initiatives, or paying for men's dinners, or choosing careers they liked less
in order to support adult men better, its impact owuld have been more egalitarian but less politically successful."
- Warren Farrell -

"Essentially, women's liberation and men's mid-life crises were the same search for personal fulfillment, common values, mutual respect, and love. But while women's liberation was thought of as promoting identity, men's mid-life crises were thought of as identity crises.
Women's liberation was called insight, self-discovery, and self-improvement, akin to maturity. Men's mid-life crises were discounted as irresponsibility, self-gratification, and selfishness, akin to immaturity. Women's crises got sympathy, men's crises got a bad rap."
- Warren Farrell -

"The U.S. Census Bureau found that as early as 1960, never-married women over 45 earned more in the workplace than never-married men over 45."
- Warren Farrell -

"While we acknowledged that glass ceilings that kept women out of the top, we [have] ignored the glass floors that kept [them out of the bottom]. Thus the 'Jobs Rated Almanac' reveals that the majority of the 25 worst jobs 'happen to be' male dominated."
- Warren Farrell -

"What Feminism has contributed to women's options must be supported. But when Feminists suggest that God might be a She without [ever considering] that the Devil might also be female, they must be opposed."
- Warren Farrell -

========================================================================================


I recall a story told by a friend of mine's GF in the 80s, who was very much a Feminist (she wrote articles for Feminist journals in the Tri-State area). They were at a party where some partly drunk guy was making boorish, blatantly sexist comments. She finally had enough, and dumped a bowl of pasta over his head. He apologized.

Now, the question here is, how is blatantly hiding behind your femininity NOT sexist?

Her actions, among males, are fighting actions -- she took things from a verbal dispute to a physical dispute -- and my money is that, had he responded in kind (say, by dumping a plate of salad over HER head), she would have been EXTREMELY offended: "You can't hit me, I'm a GIRRRL".

I believe the term is "Female Chauvinist Pig"

And no, size doesn't matter. Small guys LEARN TO FIGHT, or they learn to BACK DOWN. A little guy does NOT get to smack some bigger guy and say "no fair, I'm SMALLER than you!!!" when the big guy turns around and kicks his ass. Most *women* would snort at a man who tried that one. *All* men would.


(Don't, by any means, think I mean that men should strike women -- but I do believe that if you are going to impose that limitation on men -- and I believe that is reasonable -- then there needs to be a counterbalancing restriction on women: **don't take it to a physical level unless you're prepared to DEAL with it on that level**

This seems just and fair. Women, on average, who are smaller than men, need not worry about the physical threat they represent, but it restricts them from using that decency-imposed limitation unfairly to their advantage in an altercation)

========================================================================================

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 23, 2008 09:33 AM

...but I do believe that if you are going to impose that limitation on men -- and I believe that is reasonable -- then there needs to be a counterbalancing restriction on women: **don't take it to a physical level unless you're prepared to DEAL with it on that level**

That is not, however, the traditional response at all. The traditional restriction on women was that they were expected to uphold common standards of decency. A woman could slap a man who made a pass at her, and certainly one who made an ungracious and offensive statement.

The deal was, in return, she would not make passes; and she would not make ungracious and offensive statements.

Posted by: Grim at February 23, 2008 09:41 AM

Grim has the right of the double standard. Then it got me thinking about when men do it a la sharia law.

I don't like the feminist double standard of dress.
Flaunt it but don't you DARE comment or look.

Please.

As a peace offering to the wonderful men who love, respect and honor women, I give you this:
Rules For Dating My Daughter

Posted by: Cricket at February 23, 2008 11:46 AM

heh, having had that argument with feminist women back in college many times, about how that scoop neck lacy blouse was not for me to be looking at... and the one about me opening the door for them, and the one about me paying for dinner, and the one about me complementing how they look...

I finally nuked one [and sorta regretted it, almost]... I looked at her and said, "now you know why you can't get the SECOND date..."

about that streetwlaker's skirt, you can't really classify it as anything different. It's not as if the whole dress is lace. The panel serves the purpose of drawing the eye right there. It would be provacative to have lace panels on the skirt sides to show a flash of skin, here or there... the preview as it were. Showing off the main attraction that way? What is the point in that?

Now that I am older, and less combative about the "look at me, don't look at me" thing, I usually just run with the facts that are well known about how to draw the human eye certain places, and explain them. Then: "The only actions you can control, are your own. Wear a gunny sack if you don't want to be looked at. Or learn to like yourself, then you won't care who looks."

That doesn't work a work, though. So for that I lock on the the eyes only, and never comment on appearence. More's the pity, but it's safer that way. The curious side is how many women blush about that... I wasn't blessed with Newman's good looks, but my eyes are the same color and maybe intensity...

Posted by: SwissArmyD at February 23, 2008 03:52 PM

OBH:

re, this:

"Today, when the successful single woman meets the successful single man, they appear to be equals. But should they marry and contemplate having
children, she almost invariably considers three career options:
1) work full time
2) mother full time
3) some combination of 1 and 2
He, too, considers three options:
1) work full time
2) work full time
3) work full time

Enter the era of the multi-option woman and the no-option man."
- Warren Farrell -


Yes, I agree that a man only almost invariably only considers working full time.

But WHY does he only consider working full time?

Not because the woman is forcing this on him, but because it never once occurs to him that staying home and taking partial responsibility for raising his own children is something that just *might* be partially his job.


What mysterious force prevents him from doing any of the same things a woman does, from working out an arrangement whereby wage earning and child rearing responsibilities are shared by husband and wife? If he *chooses* to work full-time, it is because he does not WANT to stay home with the kids. He thinks caring for small children is beneath him, a boring and unmanly occupation. Woman's work. His friends will make fun of him.

It is fine for her, but certainly not something he is going to waste his time on.

And by the way, I have known several very fine (and self confident) men who DO stay home with their kids, often b/c their wives have chosen a military career. I have felt privileged to know them. Often, these men are former or retired military themselves.

Men have all the same choices in life that women do (the obvious biological restrictions aside). We always have choices. Some men just "choose" not to avail themselves of the ones that involve doing anything that resembles 'women's work', just as some women "choose" not to work the same hours as men and then complain when they get paid less. I have zero sympathy for either class of people.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 23, 2008 05:32 PM

Part of not having a double standard is enforcing the *same* standard on both men and women.

If both husband and wife are capable of working, there is no reason the entire burden of wage earning must fall on the man unless he chooses to assume it voluntarily. If he chooses to assume it voluntarily, he should not whine about the consequences of his own freely made decision. If he doesn't want to work FT, he should marry a woman who views wage earning as a shared responsibility. Period.

Just as a woman who has a career and chooses to have children should not whine when her lifetime earnings are negatively impacted, if in fact she works fewer hours as a consequence of that decision. Her employer did not ask her to have children and her child care arrangements are a private matter between her and her spouse - maybe she should have married a more enlightened sort of guy. Gender inequities are not a matter for which she can reasonably be expected to be indemnified by society if she ain't putting in the hours at the office.

Life is unfair, that way.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 23, 2008 05:42 PM

A wag once commented, "The only way to give a liberal a conscience is to give him a daughter." Heh, that always cracked me up. Grain of truth?

Posted by: Mark at February 23, 2008 06:02 PM

Well, I know for certain that my husband and I had some furious arguments on politics when we first got married! :) I also know that having children really changed my views on many, many things.

My husband and I still argue about politics, though now we're both fairly conservative. I enjoy arguing with him - he's incredibly sharp and even though he infuriates me, I find it fascinating seeing how his mind works. I don't expect, or even necessarily want, people to agree with me.

Grim doesn't agree with me lots of the time but I still like him :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 23, 2008 06:16 PM

Not because the woman is forcing this on him, but because it never once occurs to him that staying home and taking partial responsibility for raising his own children is something that just *might* be partially his job.

In fairness, this is not any individual's fault. If a woman goes to get a job after several years' raising children, she will be asked why she has not held a job in (say five) years. The answer, "I wanted to be with my children until they were in school" will be accepted as a perfectly valid response throughout the country, excepting a few enclaves of madness on the subject of children.

A man who submits a resume or application that shows a five-year gap since he held his last job will probably not get an interview for the position. A cover letter to explain the gap might help, but is no guarantee. There is a strong social stigma against men doing this; and, whereas a woman's desire to do it is accepted as natural, in a man it will be read by many as an excuse to cover some horrid problem he doesn't want to disclose. Maybe he was drunk all five years. Perhaps he was in prison. Something.

So, the expected cost is much higher for a man. He can't change his society any more than a woman can change hers. If he chooses to opt out for five years, he may not have the choice of opting back in again. A woman will, even if it impacts her lifetime salary.

Posted by: Grim at February 23, 2008 11:15 PM

Grim, I will readily accept that that is a valid point, because I agree with you (that there is a bias against men who stay home).

However, there is another choice there: working fewer hours or at a less demanding job so that you can share child care responsibilities. And few men do that *either*, though with two incomes they could if they wanted to, and that is precisely the scenario OBH raised.

My brother, actually, has worked out an arrangement where he and his wife did sort of do that. Neither one of them really stayed home with the kids but when they got in school. But they re-arranged their schedules so that one or the other of them was always there when the kids got home from school. And man, it shows with those kids. They are really a joy to be around. He is just as engaged as a parent as my sister in law, and he isn't in the least effeminate or anything else. Of course to me, paying attention to the upbringing of your own children doesn't make a man effeminate. It makes him a responsible parent (IOW, every bit a man in my eyes).

I really like that my brother did that. And I credit his involvement with the fact that my niece is so grounded. I think having a father show so much interest really helps a girl not to be flighty.

And by the way, I think you're wrong about women and employment. Saying "I wanted to be home with my kids" is *not* accepted as a perfectly valid excuse. It doesn't just hurt your long term earnings. It makes it really hard to break back into the job market. I rather doubt you've been in that situation yourself. For one thing, you have no recent references. Try getting hired for a professional position without them.

Not fun.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 23, 2008 11:36 PM

The closest experience I have to relate to that is trying to get into the job market after having lived in China. I had references; only you can't actually verify that any of them really exist, and they all speak Chinese.

I didn't get a very good job either. :) And even the bad job I had I got only, really, through personal connections. But a few years later I was able to get a better job; with the recent references to provide some substance to my claim to have worked in China, they were prepared to accept I might not just be making it all up.

Though I worked full time (and then some -- 60+ hour weeks), I have often been able to do it by telecommuting. That is a major advantage in life, and I really think the wave of the future. I really never minded the hours, because I could step away from the computer at any moment and play with my boy, grab my wife, and come back in a bit. So if I worked 12 hours a day five days a week, or ten hours a day six days a week, I was still home all the time -- and had four to six hours a day to play or help with the boy.

The real misery of work is being at the office, and away from home.

Posted by: Grim at February 24, 2008 12:01 AM

That is why I work at home. It is a way for me to have some control over my own life. That is important to me - more important than money or a title. And so I have been reluctant to give that up.

Life is full of tradeoffs.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 24, 2008 12:06 AM

Yeah, there's plenty of money in the world. I never cared about it at all. I only ever wanted enough that my wife didn't have to cry in fear when the bills came in.

We haven't always had that much, so I work hard. But I would love to be able to return home again.

Posted by: Grim at February 24, 2008 12:10 AM

I know.

And I know your lovely wife will be very happy to see you again :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 24, 2008 12:30 AM

> That is not, however, the traditional response at all.

Feminists have indicated that they don't WANT "the traditional response". I'm happy with THAT model as well, but it isn't "egalitarian" in any sense. I'm suggesting that, if a man insults you with a crude verbal pass, as a woman I think you're quite capable of using peer pressure (i.e., openly insulting his boorishness in front of his friends) to punish him for it (If he touches her inappropriately, THAT is certainly respondable with physical action, which he would be barred from retaliating in kind for).


In other words, with some tweaking, it's quite possible to find an egalitarian middle which is as limited in its sexism as one reasonably can be while still acknowleding the fact that women ARE, generally, smaller than men. But there need to be limits on how it is applied which prevent its use as an *offensive* weapon in a fit of anger, regardless of how just that anger is -- as a man, I'm sure you've been in instances where someone said something to you which your *desire* was to haul off and pop him one in the kisser -- but in addition to general decorum, you were likely also very much restrained by the fact that you would be instigating a fight, which you might lose.

I believe women are MORE than capable of defending themselves on a verbal level, partly because women spar with each other on that level a LOT more than guys do.

They should be as wary of taking any dispute to a physical level as a man is, if they profess any belief in "equality".

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 24, 2008 08:06 AM

> Yes, I agree that a man only almost invariably only considers working full time.

But WHY does he only consider working full time?

Not because the woman is forcing this on him, but because it never once occurs to him that staying home and taking partial responsibility for raising his own children is something that just *might* be partially his job.


NO.

Sorry, but, for the most part, the "Mr. Mom" thing is a myth. People forget that "Mr. Mom" ends up with things as they always were -- him at the job, her at home -- the only thing achieved (worthwhile, I more than grant) is that both end up respecting the actual work entailed in performing the other role, that neither of them has it "easy" compared to the other... that the apparent "ease" comes from experience with doing that job and knowing how to get things done efficiently and effectively.

One of the biggest stressors on any marriage is when he makes substantially less money than she does. I've heard the figure as ca. when her salary is >120% of his is when it starts to create issues that can tear a marriage apart.

I'm open to dispute about the idea, but from what I've seen, women as a group (the reader may freely consider themselves an exception if they wish -- esp. ones on this blog) really have NOT gotten past the whole "superior/inferior" thing, egalitarian pronouncements aside. If a man isn't dominating her, then she's got to dominate him. THIS is where the whole "career woman=bitch" issue derives from.

Male culture teaches a subtle distinction between being "boss" and being "superior", and, while there are certainly asshole bosses out there, most guys aren't assholes about being "the boss", and there are subtle differences in actions which soften the boss-interaction that I don't believe the female sub-culture teaches, at least not well.

Hence, women in charge often come off as overly harsh and "bitchy". I suspect that even women can see this, although there is probably some resistance to admitting it -- even a failure to know exactly what it is that is being seen.

This also ties into a common issue with most relationships -- there's "our money" and "her money". There is no "his money". Women tend to think of money THEY earned as being *theirs*, while money he earned as "ours". (Again, this is a general statement, not necessarily applicable to any specific reader).

You are free to dispute any of the above acknowledged generalities as "cliche", but the fact is, cliches often ARE generally representations of The Truth on at least some level -- they reflect, in some aspect, the common order of things, matching the general case, regardless of their applicability to any specific instance. As such, they are always to be taken with a large grain of salt, but if they don't seem right, then that doesn't mean the solution to their "non-rightness" is to deny their validity -- it's to change the underlying cause(s) which makes them resemble the general case.

The chief point is, with regard to "male options", I'll pretty much guarantee you -- guys don't work because they choose to, they work because society looks with a very loud and indignant "Harumphhhh!" on any man who is supported by his wife. I would lay huge odds that you, and almost certainly everyone you associate with, would speak with a distinct condescension of any "gigolo" you encountered that you would NOT use against a woman in an identical position (no, I do not speak merely of outright, open payment, but any relationship where the bills are paid by the guy and the woman does as she pleases). Few indeed are the people who would actually think nothing of that situation.

And therein lies a key to truly recognizing equality: gender inversion. If you can invert the genders involved, and the common or expected response is different, then it's actually sexist.

Some sexism is inherent. Guys can't have babies, and, while theoretically possible, they don't generally have the ability to nurse them... so "sexism" is not the absolute villain some make it out to be -- but you do and should look at things you do and say to at least be AWARE of sexism, so that you can decide for yourself if it is appropriate or inappropriate.


.

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 24, 2008 08:35 AM

> If he doesn't want to work FT, he should marry a woman who views wage earning as a shared responsibility.

I will HAPPILY retract any of the above when you present figures indicating what percentage of the female populace actually, truly supports such behavior.

***I*** want to marry Elle MacPherson. She's smart, tall, and highly intelligent.

I find, though, that if I don't settle for something else, marriage is not in the cards for me.

If only one percent of the female population is willing to accept the relationship you suggest (and I'd argue it's certainly in single-digits), then the defacto effect is to eliminate all such males from the gene pool -- because of an essentially sexist attitude ("Men should make the money") on the part of (many) women.

Trust me -- if guys had that attitude -- that they would not go out with a woman who wouldn't support them, then they would not be getting laid and not be having kids (not suggesting there aren't *any* currently, but, where it exists these days, it almost always represents a manipulative, generally negative relationship, and not a balanced, healthy one as would be the norm for a gender-inverted one).

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 24, 2008 08:47 AM

ObH,

I'm not interested in reaching an egalitarian middle ground. I'm interested in restoring a hard recognition of the differences, one that is satisfying to women and -- by setting behavioral requirements on them -- elevates men toward something like gentlemen. Both men and women will be happier if we achieve that.

And how does one achieve that? In the manner of the Knight of the Wife of Bath's Tale, which is actually an older Arthurian tale; and which was later set to verse by Howard Pyle. Pyle gave the knight the name Sir Keith, whereas it had once been Gawain; the woman was traditionally known as Ragnell.

"You have answered well, dearest Gawain. Your answer has broken Gromer's evil spell completely. The last condition he set was that, after the marriage, the greatest knight in Britain, my husband, must give me the power of sovereignty, the right to exercise my own free will. Only then would the wicked enchantment be broken forever." And so in wonder and joy began the marriage of Sir Gawain and the Lady Ragnell.
Of course it was said that only the greatest knight in the kingdom could break the spell, perhaps because only he was bold enough. In any event, what I desire is the furthest thing from fair. What I desire is chivalry.

Posted by: Grim at February 24, 2008 09:28 AM

I'm interested in restoring a hard recognition of the differences, one that is satisfying to women and -- by setting behavioral requirements on them -- elevates men toward something like gentlemen. Both men and women will be happier if we achieve that.

Setting behavioral requirements on women?

Interesting approach, Grim. In our discussions, you never have been in favor of setting any 'behavioral requirements' on the male half of the equation whatsoever. Why is it always your answer to restrict women's behavior and "hope" that then men will behave themselves (but of course we would never want to "require" men to follow any rules?).

And why on earth should women want to submit to such a lopsided and stupid agreement? My personal morality is dictated by what I believe to be right or wrong, not what I "hope" to gain from someone else in return for restricting my freedom. I don't barter morality, especially with someone who doesn't even view me as an equal.

Morality ought to be its own reward, whether someone is male or female. Anything else is blackmail.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 24, 2008 05:59 PM

> Morality ought to be its own reward, whether someone is male or female. Anything else is blackmail.

I concur, but there are always going to be rules of social decorum to guide one in these areas. Flaunt them at risk (trust me, *I* do) but it's best if those rules of social decorum represent some measure of equality and fairness.

Current "PC" rules fail abysmally on both counts.

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 24, 2008 07:18 PM

I would like to add something about being an engaged parent; all military families have to face the fact that one or both parents will be gone.

Teaching children to be responsible is done on a daily basis; line upon line, precept upon precept.
Hold them to a standard for the job they have to do and expect an accounting.

When we had our fifth and last child, it was an emergency c-section. My husband called Jonathan and told him what was going on. The Engineer came back to me with tears in his eyes. The lad
stepped up to the plate and said 'Don't worry Dad. I have fed them their lunch and we have stuff in the freezer for dinner. We will be
outside for an hour and then come in and get ready for the evening. I will call you back and let you know what is going on.'

Of course we called a couple of good friends to let them know, and they dropped in to see the CLUs and make sure they were okay.

They told us that not only was the kitchen clean,
the laundry was being folded by the two older boys while they were all watching a movie. The two younger were vacuuming and dusting the living room.

Over the next couple of days, as we called or as the Engineer went back and forth to la Chez, that was the pattern and the standard.

Children not only learn by precept, they learn by example and mentoring. It is hard work but the payoff is good.

They still work well together, but need monitoring because on those warm pre spring days, the outdoors is soooo tempting...and we have to
let them spread their wings. Adulthood will be less stressful when they can learn to stop and smell the roses too.

Posted by: Cricket at February 24, 2008 08:27 PM

I'm surprised at you, Cass: not so much that you misread the statement, which anyone could do; but that you're not familiar enough with the Wife of Bath's Tale to have realized that you must have misread it. I thought you were a Chaucer fan.

I was not arguing in favor of putting restrictions on women, but on men. This is of a piece with what I have always argued, which (as we would be able to discover, if the archives were not now so difficult to search) has annoyed you usually on the other side: that I was too willing to give women a free ride, to assume they were good and virtuous, when in fact women are (you have often told me) just as bad as men.

I think the real objection may be that I'm too willing to give everyone a free ride: I don't generally cotton to putting restrictions on people. Frankly, I don't really think it works (see here). If virtue isn't freely chosen, it not only isn't virtue -- it doesn't occur.

So you see, in our more recent discussions, I haven't really been advocating against putting restrictions on men; I've been trying to pin you down on just what restrictions you thought were needed, and how they were meant to work.

My sense is that they usually don't; and so, rather than make people unhappy for no reason, it's best to leave it alone. If you can demonstrate that a particular method will achieve desirable results, I'll consider it; but my experience is that normally it doesn't work, and you have one more damn law on the books to try and enforce. There are costs to that, too; financial ones, in courts and officers, and social ones, in a loss of privacy and freedom.

Ductus exemplo, that I believe in -- and it is my reason for bringing up the old Arthurian tale now. Gawain was one of the older knights, one whose name survives in the earliest Arthurian works; and Ragnall is an old Anglo-Saxon name, which indicates that the story began in the pre-Norman period. Yet Chaucer and Malory told it, in the High to Late Middle Ages; and Pyle repeated it, in the 19th century; and I am repeating it again to you today.

A story that survives a thousand years has something of value in it. I don't generally care for laws, unless people can prove to me they will work and are worth the trouble; but a good story, with a strong moral, can be life's surest guides.

Posted by: Grim at February 24, 2008 11:35 PM

The problem, Grim, with that prescription is something anyone who has raised children to adulthood could tell you. You consistently want to put the cart before the horse, and that just won't do. I raised two boys and watched I can't tell you how many other people's kids. And anyone who has spent any time training Marines will tell you exactly the same thing:

Virtue is rarely freely chosen.

Why do you think the Marine Corps makes people better and not worse men? Is it the lack of rules and utter freedom recruits are given? I don't think so. They have all their freedom taken away from them, don't they? And then they are ordered around 24/7 until they stop thinking of themselves as individuals and start working as a team. Eventually they realize they can accomplish more by willingly submerging their egos at times to achieve a larger goal. But they don't go into that without having pretty much everything stripped away first, and it's damned uncomfortable.

Raising a strong willed child is little different. If you don't get it into his or her head that he isn't the center of the universe, you won't have a moral adult on your hands and you do that by setting LIMITS and teaching him that we all have to live within them, not by handing a child a blank check and saying "Gosh I sure would *like* it if you'd be virtuous, but I won't make you follow any rules b/c it won't *mean* anything unless you do it voluntarily!".

We have mores, rules, customs and the like because if we are left to our own whims, almost none of us choose the high road.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 12:33 AM

If I had a dime for every male relative or friend who has recited some variation of "the Navy made a man out of me" or "I was basically worthless until I went to Parris Island" I'd be independently wealthy.

It wasn't the military's free love and all the choices you can handle regime that set these guys straight. And that's men talking. None of this is coming from me.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 12:37 AM

The link I provided treats that exact question, Cass.

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men. This is half the answer to the problem.

But do we not try to discipline and guide the others? If we catch them at their menace, don't we put them into prisons or programs where they are monitored, disciplined, and exposed to "rehabilitation"? The rates of recidivism are such that we can't say that these programs are successful at all, unless the person being "rehabilitated" wants and chooses to be. And this is the other half of the answer: the discipline and guidance must be voluntarily accepted. The Marine enlists; the criminal must likewise choose to accept what is offered.

The Eastern martial arts provide an experience very much like that of Boot Camp. The Master, like the Drill Instructor, is a disciplined man of great personal prowess. He is an exemplar. He asks nothing of you he can't, or won't, do himself--and there are very many things he can and will do that are beyond you, though you have all the help of youth and strength. It is on this ground that acceptance of discipline is won.And it must be won. That willing submission to the discipline is the horse: it is the engine that drives the rest. Without it, you don't get anywhere.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 12:39 AM

Bah, the blockquote didn't work there. The quotation is the part below:

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men. This is half the answer to the problem.

But do we not try to discipline and guide the others? If we catch them at their menace, don't we put them into prisons or programs where they are monitored, disciplined, and exposed to "rehabilitation"? The rates of recidivism are such that we can't say that these programs are successful at all, unless the person being "rehabilitated" wants and chooses to be. And this is the other half of the answer: the discipline and guidance must be voluntarily accepted. The Marine enlists; the criminal must likewise choose to accept what is offered.

The Eastern martial arts provide an experience very much like that of Boot Camp. The Master, like the Drill Instructor, is a disciplined man of great personal prowess. He is an exemplar. He asks nothing of you he can't, or won't, do himself--and there are very many things he can and will do that are beyond you, though you have all the help of youth and strength. It is on this ground that acceptance of discipline is won.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 12:40 AM

But you're making an assumption across a broad swath of society that no one would obey any laws, and that's really a bit of a stretch, especially when in many cases they are laws that were in force for decades (and even centuries) before.

If you never make a law just because someone might not follow it, there aren't going to be too many laws now are there?

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 12:48 AM

The acceptance of discipline is the horse, I said above: the engine that moves the thing.

Ultimately, while you can make people do what they don't want to do, you won't thereby make them into the kind of person you want them to be. If you want to achieve that, you have to convince them to want to be that person.

And changing who you are into something better is hard. So they don't need to want it the way that they want to lose ten pounds (say); something that'd be nice, but not worth getting up at 5 AM to jog in the rain every day.

They have to really want it, deep down. You can provide some of that motivation externally, but it finally has to be rooted in their heart. If it isn't, they'll resist you as much as they can get away with; and flatly disobey the moment you're not around.

By the end of boot camp, or fatherhood, if you have succeeded, you've got a man who WANTS to be a man. That's the foundation of our civilization: not the law, but the man with fire in his heart to see the Old Way upheld.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 12:53 AM

"If you never make a law just because someone might not follow it, there aren't going to be too many laws now are there?"

Suits me. :)

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 12:54 AM

That was unfairly flip, but the underlying principle is solid and honestly maintained: not that there should be no laws, but that there should not be too many.

A society that maintained its basic order without laws is the ideal, in my opinion. You need some, especially for financial arrangements and contract-enforcement. That said, I remember a time and a place where the basic social order was not dependent on any law, but on a common understanding of what was best.

The way we got there was from the tales: from a boyhood spent with King Arthur and Robin Hood, the Lone Ranger and others of a similar stripe; from being Boy Scouts with a Scoutmaster who was on the same principle as mentioned above, an exemplar with skills and abilities you admired and wanted to learn; and then, perhaps, the military as well.

We didn't need a law about sexual harrassment, because no lady would be bothered in the street; and if she were bothered in private, all she needed to do was complain to her brothers, or cousins, or any gentleman nearby.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 12:59 AM

Or, if she felt it necessary, or had no brothers or cousins, or just would rather take care of things herself, she could shoot the man who troubled her; a woman who did had nothing to fear even from the law, most of the time. If she upheld her part of the social bargain, she was free to defend herself if she felt someone was threatening her.

I don't recall it happening, but I am sure that is how we would have felt about it. Like the man who got slapped for taking liberties, the man who got shot for threatening a woman would have been felt to have had it coming. I imagine the deputies would have taken a report, and let it go.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 01:46 AM

But didn't knights take oaths or make covenants that to be worthy of their knighthood they would do certain things? Isn't that a form of self discipline? To live up to a standard that was imposed by a higher law? Such as oh...the church or the king? And a reminder that in order for society to function, a free society has to have a moral basis.

Posted by: Cricket at February 25, 2008 08:26 AM

I don't disagree with any of that, Cricket. In fact, that's just the method I advocate: freely chosen, personal moral bonds, to live up to high ideals that are exemplified by others you admire. I've sworn a few such oaths myself.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 08:30 AM

I was cleaning out my book cases this weekend and found a battered copy of a book I had read about ten years ago. It was written by an attorney. The title of the book was 'The Moral Basis Of A Free Society.'

I can trot over to your blog and share some insights from it if you like.

Posted by: Cricket at February 25, 2008 08:46 AM

I'm always glad to hear the insights of the wise, even the attorneys. :)

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 08:51 AM

There: I've made you a space. :)

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 08:53 AM

Heh.

I wish I had the time or the skillz to write as well as you and the others here; I tend to think in shorthand and black and white.

I will be there shortly. One of my vices is collecting and sewing vintage patterns for my
family. I don't call it 'heirloom sewing' as
that is reserved for the froo froo crowd, but
the reason I do it is because back in the 30s and
40s and 50s, men's women's and children's clothing was better made, looked GREAT and
has stood the test of time.

The reason I do this is because I can and also
because of fashion idiocy like that Prada skirt.
Also because I don't like 'Whores R Us' fashions for little girls or fabric made overseas.

IOW, I was surfing around on ebay.

Posted by: Cricket at February 25, 2008 10:52 AM

I used it and it FAILED. That is what I get for not cutting and pasting. I will try again.

GGGGgggrrrrr.

Sorry. It is already 11 30 and I have yet to start my schoolday.

I have to scram.

Posted by: Cricket at February 25, 2008 11:35 AM

> My sense is that they usually don't

I tend to disagree. Restrictions that make little sense, imposed "from on high" are rarely followed. Ones which one can see the right of -- usually ones explained as much as imposed, are fairly effective. People are very good at self-limitation. Otherwise, there would be no civilization at all.

> And anyone who has spent any time training Marines will tell you exactly the same thing:
Virtue is rarely freely chosen.

"...What was behind this smug presumption that what pleased you was bad, or at least unimportant in comparison to other things? It seemed the quintessence of the squareness he was fighting. Little children were trained not to do 'just what they liked' but...but what?... Of course! What OTHERS liked. And which others? Parents, teachers, supervisors, policemen, judges, officials, kings, dictators. All authorities. When you are trained to despise 'just what you like', then, of course, you become a much more obedient servant of others -- a GOOD slave. When you learn not to do 'just
what you like', then the System loves you.
But suppose you DO 'just what you like'? does that mean you're going to go out and shoot heroin, rob banks, and rape little old ladies? The person who is counseling you not to do 'just what you like' is making some remarkable resumptions as to what is likable. He seems unaware that people may not rob anks because they have considered the consequences and decided that they on't like to."
- R. M. Persig, 'Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' -

Cass, I think there are certainly different people in the world. Some respond well to "structure" -- being told what to do and when to do it... Others (yes, me) take issue with being told what to do and when to do it unless they know the REASON why it is being done. And few Marine Sergeants are particularly willing to take the time to explain why that foxhole needs to be dug THERE, much less why it is being dug at all. If I'd enlisted I would have wound up in the stockade, and, eventually, a dishonorable discharge. I RESPECT people who fit well into that system, I'm just not one of them. I also appreciate what they do for me as an American, you damnbetcha.

I'm smart, resourceful, and capable. I can usually figure out why the rules were created, and, if there is right in them, I'll follow them. Otherwise, as Grim suggests, I'll work around them. One can claim that leads to sophistry, but in my case, no, I always have one part of my reasoning set aside to watch out for me "justifying what I want" as opposed to what I should do. So far, I think I've been pretty good with the latter.

Because, when push comes to shove, All rules are a finite attempt to define proper behavior for an infinite number of possible circumstances.

Godel, Escher, Bach -- the Incompleteness Theorem, says that it is impossible to create a system of rules which are contiguous -- which have no holes.

Cite a rule -- any rule, no matter how absolutely inviolate you think of, and I'll cite you a situation (quite possibly utterly improbable but vaguely possible) in which violating that rule IS, in fact, the correct thing to do (i.e., "the lesser evil").

=================================

"I'm not denyin' the women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match the men!"
- George Elliot -

.

Posted by: obloodyhell at February 25, 2008 11:36 AM

You are never going to convince me that doing away with rules is a good idea gentlemen.

I think that is bull.

People behave themselves because they exist in a climate where if they don't, there is social pressure on them. We have all seen what happens when that social structure deteriorates (New Orleans, anyone?). There are numerous examples throughout human history. It becomes every man for himself and people become little better than animals. Yes, there are always some people who are decent, but they are not the mass. Sure there's a balance, but the point is simple.

Rules exist b/c without them people don't do the right thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 11:49 AM

Oh, and by the way, don't ever try to tell me that my right to live unmolested in society ought to depend upon the willingness of male relatives to (essentially) break the law and defend me. What if I have no male relatives or friends willing to defend me? And furthermore, why should they have to?

The law of self defense states that you may use force in defense of others proportionate to that used against a victim. So to state that I ought to sit back (if someone is genuinely harassing me at work) and wait on some man to beat up my aggressor, or even worse, shoot him, is just plain ludicrous. You are asking me to risk a jail sentence to defend myself from uninvited advances.

Much of sexual harassment law is badly written but that does not change the fact that in some cases there are very real offenses there for which a woman ought to be able to obtain redress. This is no different than if a man were being physically threatened at work - he ought to be able to go to a court of law or to the police and obtain redress. He should not have to fight it ought in the street.

That is why we have police and courts and to maintain otherwise is to discriminate against women solely because they *are* women. I don't think much of that type of "chivalry".

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 01:25 PM

Rules exist b/c without them people don't do the right thing.

Wrong, Princess. Rules exist to give my client an advantage. Rules also exist so that when my client takes that advantage, the loser can't shoot him or poison his dog. Rules don't force anyone to "do the right thing," but only make acting exclusively for your own benefit more costly, and thus less advantageous. The whole trick here is to use the rules in such a manner as to reap the maximum personal gain at the lowest possible personal cost. Naturally, the best method to assure this outcome is to have a good friend write the rules.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 25, 2008 02:42 PM

Naturally, the best method to assure this outcome is to have a good friend write the rules.

What about a smart alecky friend? :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 03:17 PM

Rules don't force anyone to "do the right thing," but only make acting exclusively for your own benefit more costly, and thus less advantageous.

Seriously, I didn't say (I don't think) that rules forced anyone to do anything :) I think the above is exactly what I argued: that in their absence people aren't as likely to do what is right. Those are two very different propositions.

Rules (and laws) do two different things:

1. They serve as guides and set standards for behavior so each person doesn't have to invent a moral code from the ground up. This is important, because we're not all equally intelligent or equally moral. Hopefully we learn from those who have gone before. In this way society is able to build on the wisdom of past generations.

2. They provide a disincentive for misbehavior. No, you can't force someone to obey the rules because (a) not everyone gets caught, and (b) some people are willing to take the punishment for the pleasure of misbehaving. However, in the aggregate many people will do the cost/benefit calculation and conclude the benefits of lawbreaking aren't worth the penalty.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 03:27 PM

"However, in the aggregate many people will do the cost/benefit calculation and conclude the benefits of lawbreaking aren't worth the penalty."
Which brings this full circle to gawking at an open ended female... as it were. =8^}

Posted by: btGawksNoMoreForeverhun... at February 25, 2008 04:17 PM

Rule #1: Og says only Og can have club.
Rule #2: Og's club says your food belong to Og.
Rule #3: Reserved for future use.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 25, 2008 04:25 PM

Rule #1: Og may be only one with big club, but he sure not mind showing it to Oggette last night in dark cave...

Rule #2: [sauntering past Og slowly in backless lace skirt and grabbing club] WHACK WHACK WHACK!!!!

Rule #3: You know, Oggette seem to get more food that way... heh.

Posted by: Oggette at February 25, 2008 04:41 PM

I do NOT like where my mind just went after that...an old Cheech and Chong sketch about a bailiff and him needing to whack something.

I really really hate you guys when I am helpless with laughter.

Posted by: Cricket at February 25, 2008 04:53 PM

"Wrong, Princess. Rules exist to give my client an advantage."

I was wondering when mr. rdr was going to show up...
0>;~}

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 25, 2008 07:22 PM

"Oh, and by the way, don't ever try to tell me that my right to live unmolested in society ought to depend upon the willingness of male relatives to (essentially) break the law and defend me."

Cass, this is the third time in a few posts that you have ignored something specifically addressed by something I either wrote, or linked to. The first time was in re: Canterbury Tales; the second was the link to how the Marines change young men; and now you are ignoring what I wrote about women who preferred to defend themselves, and how that right was not only accepted by the law, but so accepted by the mores of the society that the law was unlikely to come into it.

I don't know if all this means you're too busy to actually read what I'm saying, or if you're just in the mood to yell at someone; but either way, I respectfully move we table the discussion for another day.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 10:40 PM

I am too busy to get into an argument, Grim.

It is true that I probably am not as well educated or well read as you are. I apologize for not carrying around with a full knowledge of the Canterbury Tales inside my head. I am almost 50 years old and the last time I read Chaucer I was nearer to 20. You forget a few things in three decades, and yes, I am busy this week. You have probably noticed I haven't been posting. I have been working around the clock for three weeks now. I've still working and it's 11 o clock. I'm tired.

What right of women to defend themselves is accepted by law? You said a woman could shoot a man who "bothered" her. I said that was not true - it runs counter to the common law on self defense. I did not ignore you - I countered specifically what you said. I don't have to agree with you, especially when I happen to know for a fact that what you are saying is not the case. You do not get to "shoot" people who are not threatening your life:

Or, if she felt it necessary, or had no brothers or cousins, or just would rather take care of things herself, she could shoot the man who troubled her;

I was not "too busy" to read what you were saying. I read it and disagreed with it:

The law of self defense states that you may use force in defense of others proportionate to that used against a victim. So to state that I ought to sit back (if someone is genuinely harassing me at work) and wait on some man to beat up my aggressor, or even worse, shoot him, is just plain ludicrous. You are asking me to risk a jail sentence to defend myself from uninvited advances.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 11:06 PM

Be that as it may, I have no desire to upset anyone.

Whatever I've said or done, I apologize. Let's just let it go, OK?

Posted by: Cassandra at February 25, 2008 11:11 PM

In Georgia, the law contains a concept called, as I recall, 'disparity of force' -- a woman who feels threatened by a man, given the size disparity, can use a gun to defend herself. Maryland, as I recall, is more in favor of people being harmless, whatever the cost to themselves. It could be your certain knowledge and mine differ on this point insofar as the laws we know differ.

The point being, a man would not bother you in the street where I grew up, because he would find himself opposed by everyone around; and if he pressed himself upon you in private, anyone you told about it would defend you; or if you felt threatened, you could slap him or even shoot him if need be.

My friend Carolyn, for example, cheerfully posted a picture of a 9mm handgun on the wall of her beauty shop, with a warning that she would not be dialing 911. Probably in part because of her clear stance on the issue, it never came up; but if it had, she stood in no danger of prosecution. Simply by virtue of being so small, as she was, it was understood that anyone who would threaten such a person had it coming.

As for expecting you to carry around the Canterbury Tales in your head, of course I don't expect people do to that: that was why I provided the link. That said, you are so adept with Shakespeare, that no one is doing you a disservice by believing you might be as good with Chaucer.

Certainly I intend none.

Posted by: Grim at February 25, 2008 11:39 PM

Grim, I have taken a lot of law classes in my life. Which doesn't make me a lawyer, but it does make me not inclined to yield easily on this particular score.

In order to use deadly force (i.e., a gun) even in a disparity of force situation, you almost always have to reasonably believe you are in imminent peril of your life or of being caused 'great bodily harm'. It's an exception to the general rule; not a complete abdication of it.

Mere sexual harassment in no way qualifies as either one of those things. So my argument stands. You could, perhaps, fight off a rapist using a gun. But shoot sexual harasser in the workplace and get away with it? I think not.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 06:50 AM

Fear of rape always qualifies as "grevious bodily harm" as far as I can tell; and while I haven't taken even one law class in my life, I did work for the DA's office in Stone Mountain, GA, about... er, well, it's been several years ago now.

As for lesser forms of harrassment, you could (as we were discussing above) slap a man you wouldn't shoot. No one would have thought, in the 1950s or 1970s Georgia, of filing assault charges against you, though technically any slap is simple assault.

This is the point, though: the law wasn't what was keeping people in check. It was a combination of things they voluntarily chose, and fear of being looked down upon by their society. The best people wanted to live up to the example; and people who weren't the best at least wanted to appear to do so.

There were, as there always are, some truly evil people -- we had a case, I recall as a boy, where a farmer was interrupted at supper by a man who wanted him to pull his car out of the ditch. The farmer got his tractor and did so; the man shot him dead as thanks. That sort of person is not going to be controlled by values or ethics of any sort; but it's not clear that the law is a very good way of controlling him either. He was arrested, but broke out of jail twice, being ruthless and violent; one of the deputies finally shot him.

That was "extrajudicial," but if he'd gone the way of prison, he'd have been a threat to his guards and other prisoners for the rest of his life.

I'm not trying to say that the law has no use at all; it's very good for governing business relationships, as Mr. Rdr notes. I just doubt it's as useful as a tool for ordering society as people would like to believe it to be. The prison-based criminal system looks like a complete failure to me, and that's a real problem for society. The law might be more effective if it were backed by corporal and capital punishment, as it used to be; but in its current form, our criminal justice system doesn't seem very effective.

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 09:08 AM

Well, you have your opinion Grim.

I disagree with you. In fact, very much so.

You posit a scenario where it is preferable for people to take the law into their own hands (for instance, if someone offends a woman, her brothers or father could beat them up). Well that is just dandy... as long as there is a legitimate offense. But you conveniently don't talk about the fact that what you're advocating is vigilanteeism.

I don't want to live in a society where that sort of 'community policing' is commonplace. I don't want to worry about walking down the street and being roughed up. That is why we have police and courts; because we accept that in the main we settle our differences peaceably. The problem with your prescription is that it is a sword that cuts both ways: it is also used when the black boy tries to date the white girl or the poor kid tries to elope with the mayor's daughter. Her brothers and father can decide his attentions are unwelcome and take justice into their own hands. And American history has many examples of just how this worked out when (as you suggest) law enforcement decided to turn a blind eye. That is wrong.

If there is no law on a subject then who is to say when it is OK to go around beating people up?

According to you, there is no need for a standard. People's fists can do the talking.

I disagree. It is important for the law to set the standard that certain things are not permissible in a civilized society, and in a democracy there is absolutely nothing wrong with people voting to set those standards. That you do not see the "need" is your opinion. Your fellow citizens, apparently, do not agree. And I do not wish to live in a world where people settle that sort of thing by the question of whose fists are stronger, not by the force of rightness or having debated the matter in the public forum.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 09:25 AM

I'm not against a standard -- don't misread that. And I'm rather obviously not against debate; nor can I abide a bully.

What I am arguing is that the standard, to be strong and reliable, has to arise from an internal desire to uphold it. That has to be won from each member of society, rather than imposed upon them.

You say, "If there is no law on a subject then who is to say when it is OK to go around beating people up?"

But I have not said there should be no laws; I said that the laws don't work. Essentially the same laws and mechanisms existed now as then; there were laws and courts and police then as now. Mostly, they were the very same laws and courts.

We made less use of them, and we were a stronger society.

The things that actually held violence and rudeness at bay have gone away. Not the laws; they remain. They remain largely unchanged.

Therefore, it is not the law that restrained the rudeness. This is a straight-line calculation. Whatever it was that made it better, it wasn't the law.

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 09:46 AM

We made less use of them, and we were a stronger society.

Yeah. Because people didn't do a whole lot of things that they do now. Because if they did, they would be shamed and ostracized.

And re: this, I think you're wrong:

it is not the law that restrained the rudeness. This is a straight-line calculation. Whatever it was that made it better, it wasn't the law.

The laws do not remain unchanged. They have changed drastically in the past 30 or 40 years. I can't understand how you can say they haven't changed. People get off for a whole lot of things they never would have, before. Defendants have rights that did not exist several decades ago.

And a whole lot of things that are available now (like, for instance, hard core p0rn on the web) were against the law. You couldn't even show two married people on TV in a double bed. Yet you argue all the time against any kinds of limitations like the ones I grew up with (when society was hardly draconian and (by your own admission) was "better". What I am arguing is that those societal limitations are of a whole cloth Grim: they existed because the law reinforced public standards of "decency" (whatever that was at the time) and so it was easier to uphold them. They cannot be upheld now because anything goes. Everyone questions everything, including the authority to enforce what is left of the law.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 09:55 AM

People do get off for all sorts of things they didn't used to; but that's not the law, it's the courts. In other words, it's not that the standard has changed; it's how the standard is applied.

Which is really just another way of saying that the law is no standard at all; you can codify it, but if people don't believe it in their hearts, they'll just do something else anyway.

That's all I've been saying. Most of the time, the law as such is not a useful tool for social control. You've got to lead by example, and win the hearts of people.


As for the pr0n issue, all I want to get out of you is a simple proposition: "I want to do X, which will create Y positive effect." You've repeatedly said that you don't favor banning pornography, which is fine; but what do you want to do about it?

We did once manage to get as far as, "I want to ban porn from being displayed in a public space, which will prevent children from being exposed to it at Starbucks." That, you'll recall, I was entirely ready to agree to accept; and I'll gladly help enforce it with social ostracism, or even force of law.

Why? Because it seems like the sort of problem the law could really address, with neither privacy concerns nor free speech concerns. Once the actual proposal is on the table, and we can iron out how to counterbalance other important matters with it, I'm hardly unwilling to consider restrictions.

Now, what other standards do you wish to propose? I really am willing to consider them; I just want to hear it laid out. (Which, actually, is all I want out of Obama, too... yes, change and hope, but what change? Which hope?)

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 10:11 AM

Plainly, we need a King to decide these difficult issues for us and to decree what is best for his royal subjects. It just so happens that a client of mine is currently available to assist.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 26, 2008 11:13 AM

Paying, I hope? :p

Grim, I think what you are looking for is unrealistic. I've never seen things work that way in real life:


What I am arguing is that the standard, to be strong and reliable, has to arise from an internal desire to uphold it. That has to be won from each member of society, rather than imposed upon them.

But this ISN'T how laws are made. Ordinary citizens DON'T become engaged in lawmaking; in fact they really don't pay much attention at all. We have representative government, and like any organization, about 10 or 20% of the people do 80% of the work and the thinking for the rest of the organization, and they are fine with that. I have never known any company, society, family, or any other human entity where that was not the case. You are describing some idealized version of the world that doesn't exist. It's true that if what that 20% comes up with diverges too much from what the 80% are willing to accept there will be trouble. But that is a very different thing from maintaining that their consent has to be "won". It doesn't. In fact, very often what happens is exactly BACKWARDS from what you posit.

Take integration, for instance. That was a law that was imposed from above on a population that very much did NOT agree and their consent was NOT "won". And yet how many Americans would reverse that law now?

It has, quite literally, changed public opinion. The law sets standards, Grim, by becoming the "de jure" and "de facto" standard of behavior and (eventually for many people) accepted morality because to break the law is, for many, unthinkable and many equate legality, rightly or wrongly, with morality. You are ignoring that vital function.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 11:34 AM

I'm not ignoring it -- I don't think it works.

You mention integration. Fair enough. How much integration was actually achieved during the period that the law was insisting on it? Not so very much; the phenomenon of "White Flight" was compounded by the phenomenon of black flight, and in Atlanta at least the number of all-black schools actually increased as a result.

In other places, integration was achieved by force for a very limited time, to much public anger. Whites didn't like it, blacks didn't like it, Southerners didn't like it, folks in Indiana (like my wife) didn't like it, folks in Boston definitely didn't like it -- and so the government finally surrendered the point. The law failed to force the social change, and the few forcibly integrated schools de-integrated with the end of busing.

So who did integrate? The ones who wanted to do so.

Did they benefit? Yes, strongly and visibly in some cases; and without the feared violence that people apprehended.

That example has, over thirty years, changed the hearts of many on each side. Far from all! The schools of today are not much less segregated than the schools of the 1950s. That said, some middle-class neighborhoods are now both well and comfortably integrated.

Still, if you today do not want your kid to go to school with white (or black) children, it is not hard to fix it so they don't.

Now, that said, America today is much more integrated than it was in 1950. You say it was the law that made it so; but as far as I can see, the law failed to make it so. The government tried, and lost.

The one thing that the government achieved, however, was this: it repealed the laws that required segregation. In other words, it wasn't the enactment of a law that fixed the problem: it was the repeal of a law.

It was giving neighborhoods who wanted to the freedom to do so, of their own free will, that achieved the peaceful integration we have achieved in this society.

Not the law: the absence of a law.

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 12:18 PM

I leave for the weekend and a discussion of peek-a-boo skirts has become a philosophical debate on law and morality?

Is it any wonder I love this blog?

Posted by: MikeD at February 26, 2008 12:20 PM

But you miss the point Grim.

Because the law changed people's outward behavior (I don't give a rat's ass whether it changes their inner child or not - I only want to affect how the behave on the surface) a whole generation of kids grew up in an integrated America. And that generation has never known any other reality than that which that new law created - for them, that IS the way. So law did effect real change.

Their parents may not have changed but the children most decidedly did so. And I don't think that change will ever be reversed.

So also with women's liberation.

It may not be hard to voluntarily segregate yourself today, but you cannot be involuntarily segregated in a publicly funded school. That is, if you are black (or vice versa) and WANT to attend a publicly funded white school, you absolutely can do so and no one can legally stop you. *That* is the point, and the enhancement of freedom.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 12:27 PM

And I can tell you another change.

My children talk about race and sexual orientation in a completely different way from our generation or our parent's generation. To them it has never been a big deal. To me, race has never been a big deal but I have heard many in my generation express what I would call prejudice against homosexuals, whether they are lesbians or gays.

Sometimes it is attributable to religious beliefs, and sometimes it is just plain attributable to revulsion and dislike of people who are gay. But I have never heard either of my sons, nor any of their friends talk that way. And my older son is a cop (and a lot of people - especially liberals -- think of cops as the types who either dislike or beat up on gays) and he has had gay friends. To him, it simply is not an issue. He either likes you as a person or he doesn't. But so long as you are not doing it in his living room or asking him to discuss things best kept private, he really could not care less what your sexual orientation is.

It is irrelevant, just like any other private matter.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 12:33 PM

In case you're wondering why I bring that up, I believe that is another case where a change in law has brought about a change in the public's view of a social issue. Laws sometimes are retrograde to the public morality and sometimes in advance of it, but the fact is that the majority of people are law-abiding even when they look askance at some laws.

That is why judicial activism is so insidious - it acts as a force to shape public morality. Why do you think people fight so over SCOTUS nominations? They have very good reason to.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 12:36 PM

Indeed they do -- the law may not be any good for changing people's ethics, but it can certainly make your life miserable; or ruin it outright. The absence of a law rarely does that, but the presence of a bad law is a disaster.

That's one reason I'm so suspicious of using the law as a tool in this regard. I want a clearly defined proposal, with a clear goal that can obviously be achieved, and furthermore isn't likely to be read into something nastier by a bad judge, before I'll endorse a new law on any subject.

As for growing up in an integrated America, I don't know how integrated it is in practice even yet. I grew up in an all-white (literally, all-white) county in Georgia; I have no problem having black friends (including MAJ Porter, one of my closest friends over here, himself a very proud member of a black fraternity).

But I don't credit the Supreme Court with that: I credit my father, who set the example for me. And if my father had been a racist, but otherwise an excellent man, it's likely I would have grown up that way too.

Anyway, it's a different way of looking at it. The government spent a lot of money educating me, and quite a bit of that was spent in telling me what they thought about right and wrong. I mostly scoffed at it, and did just as I pleased; but when my father said he was disappointed in me, that hurt. That got results, even with no punishment nor threat. He could get with a word or a look what they never got with a law and twelve years of indoctrination; and what he believed, I basically also believe.

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 01:07 PM

You are a different generation from our children, Grim.

And there is a difference between the existence of an attitude and its prevalence.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 01:13 PM

You are a different generation from our children, Grim.

And a darn good thing, too. There's laws about that kind of stuff, you know.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 26, 2008 01:20 PM

I agree with you (FWIW) on the question of de facto integration. But change is incremental. Change on that grand a scale doesn't happen overnight. We are talking about overcoming deep seated feelings that people have always had for associating with people of their own culture, their own race, their own religion. I am not sure these feelings will ever be completely overcome, or even that they need be. All that needs to happen is that people ought not to discriminate unjustly in certain circustances on the basis of things like skin color or (I happen to believe) sex. It depends on the situation.

To discriminate means to choose. Choosing is not a bad thing in and of itself. Freedom of association is not a bad thing but there are contexts where it does become pernicious (such as when it is used to deprive someone of the ability to earn a living). I am not always sure those times are as frequent as either civil rights activists or feminists make them out to be but I don't entirely dismiss their claims either. I've seen and heard enough to know there are people in the world who would, if there were no laws to provide a disincentive, happily make the world both separate and very unequal.

I don't really know what your opinion is on that matter. To me it doesn't seem the type of thing fist fights were meant to cure.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 01:23 PM

WHACK WHACK WHACK!!!

Seriously, I give up. You guys win.

Posted by: Sister Mary Ita at February 26, 2008 01:25 PM

Maybe I am; but isn't this the point? You love that they have different (better?) attitudes about race and sexuality; you hate that they have different (worse) attitudes about sex. You want to credit the law they grew up with both with their improvements (if any) and their failings (etc.).

Yet relatively few of them could tell you what the law was; any law, even the driving laws they allegedly studied at some point. Few of them have had any formal interaction with it, but more than that, they have little awareness of it. You see the civics tests and whatnot that get passed around.

They've all had role models, though, parents and teachers and sometimes church leaders or Scoutmasters. It seems to me that's really where their morality is coming from -- that, and feeling things out for themselves, among themselves. My sense is that they're barely aware of the law, and the few laws the government makes sure they know about (don't drink; don't smoke dope) are the ones they're most likely to have broken.

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 01:28 PM

That last was in reference to the point about generations.

I will make no rebuttal to the point about us winning. :)

Posted by: Grim at February 26, 2008 01:29 PM

Hey, like I said, I'm wrong. I don't know anything at all. But the silver lining in all of this is, since the law has zero effect on human behavior or society, apathy is the word of the day and who gives a flying wallendah about the election?

Let the Democrats appoint whoever they like to the courts. And let them take over Congress. After all, unless we win over every heart and mind, no one will pay any attention and nothing will ever change as a result. Lord knows, the world hasn't changed any in MY lifetime.

It's all a tempest in a teacup and we might as well not worry about any of this silliness that goes on in our names.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 26, 2008 02:13 PM

"I will make no rebuttal to the point about us winning. :)"

Which in no way, shape or form equates to the best *man* having won...
heh

*sark*
0>;~}

Posted by: Snarkammando at February 26, 2008 03:10 PM

Well, sadly, they can still ruin our lives, even if they can't make them better. :)

Sly, I make no competition with spd as to which of us is the better man. I understand he is the father of daughters and the Generous Prince to a small herd of horses. That's enough virtue for any man, right there.

Posted by: Grim at February 27, 2008 03:23 AM

Virtue? Hardly. Just be thankful that I am far less dangerous than in prior lives thanks to the pressing need to support a bevy of potential adults and their four-legged friends.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 27, 2008 09:35 AM

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