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June 24, 2008

What Does Cass Think???

Cass thinks this is breathtakingly stupid:

...new laws could see wolf-whistling builders placed on the sex offenders register. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill will create a new offence of "communicating indecently", punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

The legislation is intended to punish sexual harassment by text, emails and letters, but ministers also aim to include sexually explicit comments to strangers. It is expected that the law would only apply to persistent offenders.

And I'll tell you what's even more cretinous: when some idiot decides to "fix" a problem that may not even exist.

"It has come to the attention of the college that some female students have been making comments to, or whistling at, the builders both whilst on site and as they walk around the campus.

"Although we are sure no offence is meant, this constitutes harassment and is wholly unacceptable.

"We have asked the contractors' representative to pass on all instances of harassment to the college and we will take appropriate action which may include disciplinary action."

A spokeswoman for the contractors, Galliford Try, said: "We have no registered complaints on this issue. However we do not condone inappropriate behaviour from any parties on our sites."

While applying the law equally across the board has a certain blindly symmetrical appeal, applying a stupid law in the absence of both malicious intent and any genuine damage to the "victims" (even if only perceived) only doubles the stupidity. The only conceivable benefit might be that society may finally realize how utterly stupid some sexual harassment laws truly are. Frankly, in today's uber-liberated culture where just about everything seems to be kosher, I can think of only one punishment that truly fits this heinous crime.

Naughty, naughty girls. 'Twould serve them right.

Posted by Cassandra at June 24, 2008 05:25 PM

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Comments

You're welcome! See, you don't *always* link because you think someone's post is breath-takingly dumb.

Sometimes you link because of what they link to is so... oh, wait. That's what you said in the map post.

Never mind.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at June 24, 2008 06:00 PM

i retired early because of PC nonsense like this. The rules from EEOC specifically told me that if the person I was talking to took offense, or if anyone within earshot took offense, and if people heard it and didn't take offense, we would all be fired.

Assuming that most of us are decent human beings with a sense of humor, rules such as the one cited stifle communication and creativity. I always informed people who were confused about what they could say or could not say by presenting the scenario: don't talk to others in language you would not use in front of your mother or sister.

Posted by: vet66 at June 24, 2008 06:27 PM

The world she is full of perilous perils.

That's for sure.

Posted by: Pile On at June 24, 2008 07:47 PM

You know, not to be a critiquing blog critic, but I think you would be well served to entitle every post "What Does Cass Think?".

Posted by: Pile On at June 24, 2008 10:52 PM

"I can think of only one punishment that truly fits this heinous crime."

Ooh...a spanking! And then, the oral sex...

Posted by: camojack at June 25, 2008 12:31 AM

Camojack, you just launched She Who Will Remain Unnamed into Mistress Mandy mode.

And just as soon as she finds the batteries, we're all in for it...

Posted by: BillT at June 25, 2008 04:23 AM

(1) The Princess would just like to state for the record that she is *not* Mistress Mandy :p

(2) re: You know, not to be a critiquing blog critic, but I think you would be well served to entitle every post "What Does Cass Think?".

Oh hell. Never mind.

He will pay. Oh yes... he will pay.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 25, 2008 06:45 AM

Pile reminds me of the advice of a writing instructor, who many years ago told me: "Never use the phrase 'I think.' It is always redundant."

There is a rhetorical use for it, of course, which is to soften strong or controversial claims slightly in order to make them more palatable to your listener. They may consider them if they believe you are offering a possibility, but reject them if you believe you are demanding a certainty.

Still, the old boy had a point. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 25, 2008 06:49 AM

If you take the trouble to read the linked post, a question was asked:

"What would Cassandra say?"

Which is another way of saying, "Hmmm... I wonder what Cass would think of this?"

In answering that question, it did not seem either unnatural or redundant to reply, "Well, I think... this."

Posted by: Cassandra at June 25, 2008 07:22 AM

I don't have to take the trouble to do that. I saw the other post when it first asked the question, so I understood the title as soon as I saw it. :)

Pile's comment just reminded me of something clever a teacher once told me. I expect that any teachers reading are probably glad to know that at least some students are sometimes listening, and even pass on their good advice once in a while. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 25, 2008 08:04 AM

The proposed punishment sounds absolutely fitting. In fact, this Ford Probe I went out with the other night could talk of nothing else.

Posted by: Hummer at June 25, 2008 08:25 AM

In fact, this Ford Probe I went out with the other night could talk of nothing else...

/smack!!! :)

That's for making me spit out my coffee.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 25, 2008 08:30 AM

Punk.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 25, 2008 08:31 AM

Well, now that Pile On is out for the summer from his teaching job, he should contribute more often:

"The Perils of Pile-On"

Not to be confused with:

"The Perils of Piles", which would mean something else entirely and would encompass varying degrees of revealing personal health history.

Would be a good take-off for a daily blog, at this very location which he shares with Cassie-o-sandra.

And, of course, Cass runs out of ideas for titles for blog posts, so of course it would be normal just to say the obvious:

"What Cassandra Thinks"

There are many obvious variations for future blog postings:
"What Cassandra Thinks She Knows"
"What Cassandra Knows about What She Thinks"
"Cassandra Speaks Whereof She Knows"
"Cassandra Speaks Whereof She Thinks"
"Cassandra's Think and Do Page"
"I Think I Know What I'm Talking About Here-Cassandra"

And now, I think I'll shut up.
And thanks for not smoking. I think.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 25, 2008 08:32 AM

Well, sadly for the readership I wiped out all the guest logins when I was dismantling the site after I quit last Fall. I really did not intend to come back, so I deleted most of the back end of the site. That is why it is still such a mess.

I may have to rethink that, Don. I've just been so busy lately.

Posted by: Indiana Jones at June 25, 2008 08:52 AM

New item for the list, Don -- "What Cassandra Rethinks."

So, that's eight topics, and I think I'll shut up, too.

Nine. "Cassandra Thinks Don and Bill Should Rethink The Decision to Shut Up and Probably Go with the Original Decision."

Posted by: BillT at June 25, 2008 09:25 AM

We do live in perilous times, so we must face it!

I just can't think of some construction hunk getting his knickers in a twist because a girl..
uh...wait. Twisted knickers...never mind.


Posted by: Cricket at June 25, 2008 10:15 AM

Next time, try a Ford Focus to help the Probe stay on task.

Posted by: Excursion Driver at June 25, 2008 10:17 AM

I've always believed that the term, "I think" was best used to avoid libel suits....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 25, 2008 10:46 AM

Love this bit:

No builder has complained of harassment yet, despite the extra attention.

This same article was discussed at Discarded Lies. I thought you might enjoy this story from Lady of Shallot (cross-posted with her permission)

Despite?!?

I was racing down the Harlem River in a speedboat with one Capt. Doris, a Puerto Rican chick of some years (50+); we approached one of the bridges from Harlem to the Bronx and saw it was crawling with construction workers doing repairs. I groaned with annoyance -- we were in our bathing suits, and I just knew we'd be pelted with remarks and Barnyard Suggestions.

Doris laughed and said, "You just don't know how to handle them. Watch this!" And she slowed the boat down and called up to them cheerfully, "How are all you FINE-LOOKING MEN doing today? You are looking Mighty FINE!"

The guys came over to see us and stood there shuffling and grinning. They were transformed into absolute pussycats. Not one rude remark, either!

So I think the English college girls are on to something, and the Nannies shouldn't get their knickers in a bunch.

Posted by: levi from queens at June 25, 2008 01:10 PM

That should have been Lady of Shalott.

Posted by: levi from queens at June 25, 2008 01:13 PM

Well, at the risk of drawing down the Furies on my head, I'll never forget the first time I was whistled at by a sailor.

Newport, RI., summer of 1971. I think I was all of 12 years old, but I looked older than that. I even remember what I was wearing. The quintessential 70's outfit: a pair of faded blue jeans, a navy blue body shirt, Dr. Scholl's sandals and a red bandana to keep my long hair back.

I took it as a compliment. From that day forward, as long as a guy didn't do anything overtly rude, I was never offended if I got whistled at, and to be honest I was rarely if ever treated rudely b/c I usually just smiled shyly and kept walking.

I think men (even the worst sort) pick up on your attitude. If they think you are arrogant or dismissive, they take that as license to say the worst sort of things to you. Not right, but perhaps understandable from a human nature point of view. Their pride is offended. But if you don't hurt their pride, they tend to be generous and even courtly in return. I found this to be true at college too, even at the frats where other girls I know were not always treated with respect.

I am not condoning bad behavior. Part of the reason I left school (not all, but part) is that I was frankly disgusted with the way guys treated women, and the way women allowed themselves to be treated. I didn't understand it, and it was beyond anything in my experience of the world. But you don't force people into a corner and then expect them not to behave like animals either. Part of this is a little bit of situational awareness.

Posted by: Cass at June 25, 2008 01:25 PM

I've got to admit, I've NEVER whistled at a woman (excepting perhaps as a joke to a female friend). Once, ONCE I had a whiplash second look at a woman (an Airman at DLI in Monterrey). But that had less to do with her looks, which I missed, than her scent (I still don't know what the perfume was, but it triggered something primal in my brain). I had walked right by her and darn near broke my neck looking around. I never did see what she looked like (one woman in BDUs pretty much looks like any other). But the fact is, I don't really understand what the point is behind cat-calls or wolf-whistles. If you wish to express your admiration, it seems a pretty unimpressive way to do so, and if you're attempting to attract positive attention from her, why use something that's been pretty much hammered in by society as rude? The only thing I can think of is that it must have worked at some point (but I can't imagine when).

Posted by: MikeD at June 25, 2008 02:34 PM

Don't get me wrong, Mike. I would never go out with a guy who acted like that. It would be over before it started.

I never liked guys who come up to you and start telling you all kinds of nonsense, either. When I was in school, there were all sorts of guys who (as far as I could tell) had nothing better to do than hang around waiting for the girls to get out at lunch. They would then proceed to come up to you and tell you that you had the most gorgeous eyes they'd ever seen, yada, yada, yada...

In my mind, any woman who falls for that nonsense is not exactly the brightest light bulb in the old knife drawer.

I'm just saying that I didn't get my pantyhose in a knot just because some guy whistled at me when I was younger. As long as he doesn't get physically approach me, he is not actively bothering me and there is no reason to get all hot and bothered about what amounts to a noise.

Let's face it: most women dress to be attractive to the opposite sex. If the male of the species happen to like the way you look... no harm, no foul, so long as they are not obviously rude, crude, or offensive about it. I can see where some people may disagree, but a mere whistle (to my way of thinking at least) doesn't rise to the level of harassment.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 25, 2008 02:48 PM

But the fact is, I don't really understand what the point is behind cat-calls or wolf-whistles. If you wish to express your admiration, it seems a pretty unimpressive way to do so, and if you're attempting to attract positive attention from her, why use something that's been pretty much hammered in by society as rude?

I don't think I ever (when I was younger ) wasted time trying to analyze it.

I just took it as sort of an expression of what I'd call 'youthful high spirits'. Maybe not the sort of thing I'd do, or even the sort of thing I would want in a potential boyfriend, but certainly not the sort of thing that would make me call the cops.

Posted by: Cass at June 25, 2008 03:04 PM

It's kind of like that story about that British princess (can't remember which one now) who just got into trouble for cavorting in the altogether in the moonlight at her boarding school.

Who in the hell cares? Not me, that's for sure.

Good God. We have serious problems in the world and young people do some dumb stuff. They are full of themselves and they get up to some silly things. I know that I did at that age.

As far as I'm concerned, it's just Mother Nature ensuring that the species is continued. Sure, maybe she could have exercised a little better judgment. But I'm not going to hang her by her thumbs :p

Posted by: Cass at June 25, 2008 03:07 PM

As far as I'm concerned, it's just Mother Nature ensuring that the species is continued. Sure, maybe she could have exercised a little better judgment. But I'm not going to hang her by her thumbs :p

It's not nice to hang Mother Nature by her thumbs.

But I get what you're saying Cass. Doesn't mean I understand it. Clearly whistling is learned behavior. Staring is probably instinctual. Scratch that, I know it is. Call it the hunter instinct, but anything that interests the male draws the eyes. It's pretty hard to fight it too. Thankfully, my bride does not get offended when I look, but then again, I do make a concerted effort not to be an ass about it (i.e. ogle vs look). My only confusion is where are these guys learning this as a 'successful' behavior?

I understand the college girls in the story. I get it. Frankly, I think it is funny. They're turning the stereotype around. I think it's dumb that someone's making a stink about it, UNLESS these girls have made formal complaints about the workers in which case this becomes a case of hypocracy rather than a funny stereotype-on-its-head thing. The truly dumb part of the story is that a whistle could be construed as sexual assault and punishable with jailtime (and a lifetime label as a sexual offender). That's not funny, it's tragic.

Posted by: MikeD at June 25, 2008 03:22 PM

The Princess would just like to state for the record that she is *not* Mistress Mandy :p

We already deduced that.

Your kids *know* better than to hide your whip...

Posted by: BillT at June 26, 2008 01:10 AM

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