Morning Ed: Gender {2017.07.17.M}

[Ge1] It turns out, if you make resumes gender-blind it hurts women. Which suggests…

[Ge2] According to a population-based study on sex differences, women aren’t actually more empathic than men (though think they are) and don’t behave more altruistically than men in experimental tasks.

[Ge3] According to a study, gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers are different in precisely the direction we would expect.

[Ge4] Ruth Graham defends being someone else’s wife.

[Ge5] This is definitely a thing. Some of it is simply that a lot of women prefer it, or are okay with it… though even that has a dubious component to it. My wife always planned to allow people to use her first name but found that she had a harder time getting her patients to take her seriously, so it’s Dr Himmelreich.

[Ge6] If we’re going to go there, I think there is a stronger argument that elementary school is geared far more towards female assumptions rather than male.

[Ge7] Salary gaps among movie stars is one of those cases where people have to navigate between hyperbolic complaints that don’t hold up, complaints that do, and everything in between.

[Ge8] To avoid eating disorders, marry ugly.

[Ge9] Aaron Neil argues that we should stop worrying about the gender gap in the First World.

[Ge0]


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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83 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Gender {2017.07.17.M}

  1. [Ge6]: It more than a little bit funny that 9 of those 13 ways that “white male privilege” shows up as early as elementary school are explicitly about race. Couple that with Will’s point about which gender the default rules of elementary school are skewed towards and that suggests something about where white females place on that specific hierarchy of privilege. But I guess that to mention such things on a site called Everyday Feminism would cause too much dissonance with the brand.

    [Ge9]: The gender gap report highlights Rwanda as a stellar performer in gender equality, pointing out that Rwanda even outperforms Canada. Putting aside that all it took for Rwanda to get those kinds of results was a genocide that killed a whole lot of the country’s men, there is an idea smuggled in that comparison. The idea is that we should be surprised that less-developed and presumably backwards Rwanda could outperform enlightened and progressive Canada (I mean, have you seen their dreamy PM!? Paul Kagame doesn’t get those kind of Facebook mentions). And in that idea is just more proof that people who supposedly spend the most time thinking about things like gender equality have what appears to be the least understanding of the issue.

    There is a reason why, when you go to engineering departments of universities, the women you find there often have unfamiliar last names.

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    • The idea is that we should be surprised that less-developed and presumably backwards Rwanda could outperform enlightened and progressive Canada

      There’s a path dependency to these things in a culture. It’s tempting to pin it on the dominance of a particular religious tradition in a country, notably the Abrahamic faiths, but then you note a Muslim-majority country like Pakistan with a history of female leadership and categorical generalisations sort of fall apart.

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      • The generalization definitely falls apart. The Pakistan example reminds me of something. Look at a list of all the female heads of government that have been and count how many of them were/are the daughter or wife of a previous head of state. Does that tell us something about women? Not likely, but it does tell us something about how power operates in the world. And that is a much more complicated set of phenomenon than which the internet SJW/alt-right/#content crowd is capable of dealing.

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    • Perhaps this is part of your point, but a lot of Western assistance to third world countries is in the form of STEM training for women to help improve standards of living.

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      • It’s not really conscious design. It’s just that there are enough people who really want to work in academia that you can offer wages like this and still get qualified candidates. Why pay more than you have to?

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    • Ge9: There’s a similar phenomenon where people will say stupid things about income inequality, like “income inequality is worse in the US than in Cambodia.” It’s true that Cambodia’s income distribution is in a mathematical sense more equal than in the US, but “worse” is a value judgment. And if your values are such that you think the situation for the Cambodian poor, or even middle class, is worse than for the American poor, your values are profoundly fished.

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  2. Ge1: Meanwhile, John gets more job offers than Jennifer when it’s a STEM job.

    This could be a methodological problem. The resumes in the STEM study are made up, and are then assigned names, whereas the resumes in Ge1 are created by the owner, but then the names are scrubbed, “for all signs of gender”. That’s a lot harder than you might think, though. The person named as supervising the program in Ge1, Professor Michael Hiscox, is an international studies professor. Gender does not otherwise appear in his cv.

    Or there could be people who have a slight bias against men (the reported effect is not very big, smaller than that reported by Moss-Racusin, though we don’t know things like the significance value of either) in certain jobs that are not STEM jobs. This in fact fits nicely with the best theory I have for understanding the STEM resume. The idea of “woman” associates with language and emotion, and the idea of “man” associates with science and rationality. Maybe the Australian government is looking more for language skills.

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    • I had at least one former employer that was far more likely to hire a female applicant than a male for a programming job.

      Thst same company had a gender sorting problem when it came to promotions and transfers and the like.

      Which is to say that more complicated than being preferential for or discriminatory against women (or gender-blind).

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      • Here’s the thing @will-truman: I think you are reporting your former employer accurately. It’s entirely consistent that there are people out there like that AND that we manifest bias via what calls below “system-1” processes.

        To fix this, we have to move away from the narrative that this is all the stuff of perpetration, that it’s a conspiracy among men to deny the best jobs to women. Both men and women are sexist, often in the same or strikingly similar ways. That bias has us perceiving the world in a less accurate way, and prevents this from realizing the potential of some group of individuals. Fixing this ought to be a “win-win” thing.

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    • There is also the possibility that the hiring committees, being aware of systematic bias, have been overcompensating in the reverse direction. The way I see it, this is a mismatch between system-1 and system-2 cognitive processes. For many jobs, it’s actually impossible to come up with a useful and objective set of hiring criteria, and thus much happens by “feel.” However, “feel” is very system-1, and thus prone to bias, even by people who very much want to be non-biased. So they consciously try to mitigate their system-1 bias with system-2 decisions. However, this has a different set of failure modes.

      Although in a very different context, I can give a personal example: my “danger sense” that I use on the subway. If a man (it’s almost always a man) seems “creepy” to me, or just somehow “off,” it is in my best interest to avoid him. However, what if he is a black man? In that case, is my creep-dar accurate, or am I being racist?

      I don’t want to be racist. I don’t want to drop microaggressions on random black men — and I can say from my own experience as a transgender person that minorities do pick up on subtle shit like that. Black men notice when white people act “weird” around them.

      On the other hand, perhaps my creep-dar is being entirely accurate. Perhaps my safety depends on avoiding this man.

      It’s a shitty dilemma.

      Okay, so creep-dar is a bit different from recruitment, but I think it has similar cognitive challenges in terms of fairness and diversity. It’s a hard problem.

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    • The study results require careful parsing.

      Despite the article’s click-bait-ish headline, what the study actually found was that for a given resume, assigning a male name made it about three percent less likely to get an interview than a no-name resume, and assigning a female name made it three percent more likely.

      So the reason that gender-blindness is considered to be “hurting women” is that they had been receiving the benefit of bias in the selection process, and this was considered a positive outcome because it corrected the years of bias going the other way.

      So the study conclusion is that, yes, bias in hiring exists, and yes, removing names from the resumes eliminates this bias, but it turns out the bias had been in favor of nonwhite nonmen and therefore removing that bias is bad.

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  3. I think my issue with Ge3 is that it’s taken to imply something about all men, but it isn’t necessary for all men to be more receptive to an offer of sex than to an invitation to a date to make the result be true.

    To be frank, to have a woman walk up to me and ask me if I wanted to have sex with her would be so unusual, so out of the ordinary that I would be suspicious that someone was pranking me. I think this probably invalidates any answer any man would give.

    As it turns out, women do field this sort of question from time to time, so they take it seriously.

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    • Whoops, I was critiquing the Clarke and Hatfield study. It turns out, so was Ge3. If you read far enough, you find that men also respond less positively to a hypothetical offer of sex than to a hypothetical offer of a date. But they are overall more positive than women.

      This makes more sense to me. However, it doesn’t follow that this is programmed into our genes.

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      • Agreed!

        If anything’s programmed into our genes, it’s the reality of men typically being larger and stronger than women. And if accept your invitation to be alone with you, as a woman, I’m pretty much going to be be at your mercy if you get weird or violent or whatever. So, yeah, I’m going to want to go out on a date and give your interactions a trial run before I risk my safety.

        Not to mention, by the time you hit college, if you’re a hetero woman, you may have had enough sexual experience to find that a good percentage of your male peers are actually not that good at sex (at least in terms of enabling a fulfilling experience for their female partner), so again, you’re looking for a date or something to get a feel for whether he’s going to be receptive to you giving direction/you feel comfortable giving direction, if things aren’t working out for you.

        I found that “I could die” and “I have, at best, a 50% chance of an orgasm” compelling reasons to turn down hook-up offers from strangers while in college.

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        • Toad,
          That ain’t programmed into our genes.
          Ya know what is?
          Festivals, having fun, getting drunk and having sex (And, for the most part, doing all of this While Married).
          (Well, the drunk part is pretty much European. Who else had enough booze??).

          But humans are social creatures, and having sex is an inherently dangerous/risky business (could get pounced by a large cat). So people tend to do it in groups, and they do it when Life Is Good.

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  4. Ge2: Calvinistic feminism. Women are just as bad as men and should be given equal opportunity to prove their depravity.

    Ge6: My mom would agree with you that elementary school is more geared towards girls. When Saul and I were kids, she contemptuously referred to the books we were assigned to read as girl books. Meanwhile, Everyday Feminism can go stuff themselves. They want to police the entire world.

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  5. Ge7 – Duchovny is the bigger star. You could have an X-Files miniseries without Anderson, but not without Duchovny. Anyway, it was his character than generally moved the story. I liked her better, and she was often more correct about the big picture than he was, but within each episode he’d be the one who thought outside the box and ended up being right.

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    • Duchovny is the bigger star.

      I don’t know why people seem to think this, but it is objectively not true.

      Duchovny’s success since X-File is basically limited to Californication, a Showtime TV series back when those didn’t really count, and Aquarius, a somewhat overhyped drama that had aired one year at the time and already wasn’t living up to expectations. (And, in fact, was canceled after two seasons.) That’s two (filmed) seasons of NBC, and some cable.

      Anderson’s success since the X-Files was three seasons on Hannibal, also on NBC (She admittedly was not the star, but the love interest of Hannibal…but she also had three seasons.), leading two different BBC shows, (The Fall and Crisis), appearing in a ton of BBC miniseries (Bleak House, Any Human Heart, Great Expectations, and War & Peace.)

      Functionally, that’s almost the same resume, and if anything Duchovny’s is a bit skimpier. Both of them had moderate acclaim on American broadcast TV shows. Duchovny also had some premium cable (Back when that didn’t really count, pre-Game of Thrones). Meanwhile Anderson helmed two different BBC shows instead…and she also found time for a bunch of BBC miniseries in there.

      Neither have had spectacular careers since X-Files, but it’s pretty hard to claim that Duchovny’s some sort of star and Anderson isn’t.

      I guess if your only justification for being a ‘star’ are ‘lead on a broadcast TV show’ (And literally nothing else.), he could mathematically win by barely crossing some sort of threshold she didn’t, like to be star you have to have exactly nine seasons of broadcast airtime…except, of course, technically speaking, Anderson technically was a lead on the original X-Files itself for two years longer than Duchovny, so actually had more aired broadcast American TV experience than Duchovny.

      You could have an X-Files miniseries without Anderson, but not without Duchovny.

      Psssst….two season of the X-Files didn’t have Duchovny as the lead.

      Anyway, it was his character than generally moved the story. I liked her better, and she was often more correct about the big picture than he was, but within each episode he’d be the one who thought outside the box and ended up being right.

      That is an almost surreally simplistic view of how the X-Files worked when Duchovny was there. You have, basically, described half the episodes of the first couple of seasons, and even then there were enough non-standard things mixed in that you could never be sure what was going on, along with religious ones where the skeptic/believer dynamic was flipped.

      But this was not at all how it worked by the end of the series (After which the miniseries would be set.), at which point Sculley was entirely on board with aliens, if not so quick to blame everything on them. Sculley stopped being the skeptic years ago in the show, aka, a decade and a half ago in ‘real life’.

      Note of the six episodes in the miniseries, Sculley plays the skeptic only in the completely absurd plot of ‘Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster’, which is less her being ‘skeptical’ and more that the entire concept of what is actually going on being complete lunacy.

      Also, you have ignored the fact that the revival wasn’t happening without both of them, as the producers specifically said. There was never the slightest possibility of leaving Anderson out, and thus claiming they offered her less because they didn’t need her as much makes no sense. There never was going to be a new season without her, which is why it was only six episodes…it was the most they could fit into their schedules.

      You’d think if they only needed Duchovny, they would have padded in two or four more episodes with just him.

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      • This is the classic problem of, “Hey, folks perceive men as higher status than women even when that is objectively not true.”

        So we have, “Hey, I’m sure X was higher status than Y because I perceive it that way, that shows that perceptions are not skewed to favor male status.”

        But the ugly truth is that is exactly what you would think if your perception was skewed.

        Of course, sometimes you can measure. For example, see this summary article. Also, there was Dale Spender’s research, that showed teachers who gave equal time to men and women felt as if they were giving disproportionate time to female students. From this article:

        Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions. Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.

        In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:

        The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.

        In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts. This may sound outrageous, but think about how you react when precocious children dominate the talk at an adult party. As women begin to make inroads into formerly ‘male’ domains such as business and professional contexts, we should not be surprised to find that their contributions are not always perceived positively or even accurately.

        My point is, even if you intend to be non-sexist and balanced, you probably have a “gut response” that will skew your perceptions.

        Does this affect how you perceive the status of Hollywood actors? Can you guard against it? Can you measure, to double check your perceptions?

        Sometimes you can, sometimes you cannot. I have no idea how we would objectively measure Duchovny versus Anderson. One can easily say “X was a more significant role,” even if it was not.

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        • My formula is very simple:

          Without Duchovny, the movie doesn’t get made.

          Without Anderson, the movie doesn’t get made.

          Ergo, billing and pay should be roughly equal. (And which was why Anderson was able to get out from under the lowball.)

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        • Sometimes you can, sometimes you cannot. I have no idea how we would objectively measure Duchovny versus Anderson. One can easily say “X was a more significant role,” even if it was not.

          Even if we’re going by Hollywood emotional ‘Who feels like more a star?’ stuff instead of just counting roles, Anderson should logically win.

          She’s been doing stuff that is traditionally considered ‘serious acting’, with BBC classic-works miniseries and leading small, dramatic oriented BBC shows. She even played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire in a British live theatre broadcast.

          Whereas Duchovny was on fricking Californication, a cable series (Back when cable series weren’t taken seriously) about a sex and drug addict trying to get his life together and care for his daughter, and it didn’t help that it aired on Showtime and sometimes wandered into softcore porn, and couldn’t help by creating associations with his previous Showtime series, the Red Shoe Diaries. (I actually think Californication is somewhat underrated, but we’re talking perception here.)

          I hate to have explain this, and I bear him no ill will (In fact, I rather like the guy.), but the X-File was basically the high point of Duchovny’s career, whereas it was the launching point of Anderson’s to being a serious dramatic actress. Duchovny’s always been the comic relief or the guy they put in a dress for some reason or the lovable goofball, whereas Anderson is…any role. Literally any role. (It’s weird, because she’s a pretty bad actor at the very start of the X-Files, which can probably be explained as it literally being her second acting job. But she got much much better.)

          At the time they were being hired, when this discrimination happened, Duchovny had very recently managed to Serious Drama with Aquarius, and maybe he can stay there, I dunno. Maybe he’s going up!

          But Anderson had basically moved straight to Serious Drama immediately after the X-Files and been there for a decade!

          And yet people, when they hear he got offered twice Anderson did, immediately try to justify how he is a star. In what universe is he a star and she isn’t? How does this even work?

          So, yeah, there’s some seriously skewed perceptions there.

          And let’s not even mention that Duchovny actually had a (In my mind entirely justified, but still) contract dispute with FOX, causing him to drop out of the lead for two seasons, which means if there’s any irrationality in the pricing, it should have been against Duchovny. Who, in a way, screwed the show over, and really is sorta the reason it got canceled. I’m not saying the producers should have tried to screw him, I’m just pointing out that apparently that a guy who screwed the show last time is twice as valuable as a woman who did not. Penis apparently trumps all.

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    • Your characterization of what they are saying is way, way off. But it’s an easy trip, especially if you’ve never written things for scholarly journals. Have you?

      Pretty much every scientific paper I’ve ever read or written has a section up front called “related research”. So what goes in that, and what gets left out. There are usually a few obvious choices about what goes in. And then there is a bunch of citations that while not directly preceding the work in the paper, seem related somehow. But that “somehow” is where the “system-1” bias (and thank you for that term) can easily influence someone.

      The thing is, the number of times someone gets cited is really important in academic circles. Deans look at it when considering promotions and tenure. Department Chairs consider it during salary reviews. So if people forget to include (probably not because of malice, though that can happen) the work of women more often than the work of men, it creates a systematic bias in academia against women. It totally makes sense to me that this could happen.

      However, it has nothing to do with either “truth” or “all opinions are equally valid” like you might take away from reading this article.

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      • You are right that @notme’s characterization with the article is off. That said, there is an important disconnect. If we really believe that bias is systemic, then why the fetish for blaming the archetypal “straight white man?”

        There is an optimization problem here. To the extent that you are fully focused on the role of straight/white/able-bodied/economically-privileged/cis male, you’re not fully focused on uncovering systemic biases. And to the extent that you are focused on learning and navigating and being successful within the system and changing the parts of it that need changing, you have to give up on assigning blame based on broad demographic characteristics.

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        • Blaming the archtypical “straight white man” isn’t a universal position among feminists, just among the ones that get lots of clicks and attention on the internet. And the reason for that is, once again, “indignant disagreement”. It’s easier to rally the troops, or at least some troops, but I think it’s a strategic mistake.

          For instance, in the studies I cite above, where resumes with the name “Judy” are rated worse than the same resume with the name “John”, the bias exists, to pretty much the same degree, in both men and women.

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      • The thing is, the number of times someone gets cited is really important in academic circles.

        So important, in fact, that there was a big kerfuffle several years ago about how to order names in the authors list for papers with multiple authors. A paper by Anderson, Brown, and Clark would typically be referred to as “Anderson et al,” so everyone would mentally associate it with Anderson. And since standard practice at the time was to list the authors alphabetically, people with names starting with letters early in the alphabet would have a significant career advantage, or so the theory went.

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    • Other than rare occasion, when I see this sort of argument being made, I take them at their word and apply it directly at the material at hand; i.e., how is it feasible that anything a woman may write might prove cogent to my own circumstances? Or anything written by a negro? — when I am not those things myself?
      They state their own irrelevance to a broad audience, and little else.

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  6. I had a dream last night in which I was witnessing the fallout from the LG and the BT breaking off from each other and starting to fight.

    The LGs were arguing that bisexuality wasn’t really a thing as much as straight people trying to be trendy or gay people hoping for some passing privilege and arguing that attraction to (unmodified) trans people with the same body parts as oneself was “really” gay while the BT people were arguing that the world was not binary and there was a spectrum in the Kinsey Scale and a spectrum in gender and spectrums all around and the LG were being just as bigoted as the straights.

    Which, as dreams go, didn’t really wander into outlandish wacky territory. But in the dream it resulted in people being made to take a side. Are you on the LG or the BT? And you couldn’t be both. People were playing tug of war with a rainbow flag and ripping it.

    Which, as dreams go, didn’t really wander into outlandish wacky territory.

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  7. Senator Turtle has two more defectors from Trumpcare and it seems like a big deal. With Lee and Moran saying “Start over” and Paul* and Collins long standing “No’s” that’s far more down that the GOP can sustain. That’s setting aside McCain being out sick. Now it never pays to underestimate the Senate Majority leader R Turtle but I’m struggling to see how he pulls the snapper out of the hat this time. I am not a parliamentarian but I can’t imagine they have enough time on the legislative calendar to start over.

    *Though strong suspicion is that Paul is a stalking horse and that if it came down to his vote he’d probably flip.

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    • He’s gonna try a clean repeal, except he lacks the votes for that as well. And even if he succeeds, a lot of the regulatory parts of the ACA can’t be repealed under reconciliation so he’d have the worst of both worlds.

      He’d kill the individual market entirely, prevent offerings of faux insurance to fool people into thinking they had coverage, get rid of the expansions and basically end up with even fewer people insured than before the ACA was passed.

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  8. So, the study, a single study, in GE1, showed different results from most of the research that’s been done before. It showed a very small (for one study) difference.(And the caption statistic, that men are employed at twice the rate as women…I’m not sure where that comes from, but if genderblind reduces it to only a 3-6% disadvantage for women…)

    And we have statistics from a year long genderblind process actually being put in to use that showed it achieved the goal of hiring more women.

    So, from a scientific standpoint, what that says to me is that there may be a problem with Hiscox’s trial – or, if it checks out, we should do more research.

    Or, screw his study…they actually did it in real life and it worked. This is reminiscent of “theoretically a bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly”…which just means you’re not performing a rigorous enough analysis, doesn’t it?

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    • Dan,
      I’m… not sure that’s what he’s saying.
      I rather suspect that this is the type of person who would like a homeground burger from a good greasy spoon (I know of several around here — Pittsburgh’s good like that).

      I think this is simply someone who lacks perspective on “Why There Is a Kids Menu”… which is sad, really. I mean, I don’t have kids, and I know why there is a kids menu. There’s a kids menu because sometimes parents want to go to a place, and they really don’t want to deal with a kid’s tantrum about “not being fed something palatable.”

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    • Dan,
      not to call anyone out, but i think Saul around here is pretty much the poster child for cultural snobbery. [And… I’d just like to apologize, if saying that steps on anyone’s toes. I think Saul’s proud of it.]

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    • I don’t’ think anybody has every said snobbery doesn’t exist. It certainly does.. People of all sorts look down at each other for all sorts of reasons. However one common feature of snobbery debates is one person calling the other a snob while engaging in their own snobbery. But yeah snobs exist and sometimes it is much more that people have different likes and dislikes which offends people.

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      • Why does it it reflect poorly on his supporters.

        I’m sick of people looking down their noses at me I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back at them.

        If he doesn’t represent all Democrats why can’t the Democrats tell him and his that they are a cancer on this country.

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        • Dan,
          You willing to murder them?
          Because the people who think you are subhuman want you to die, and are quite willing to let it happen.

          Oh, did you think I was talking about liberals? Liberals are harmless… If you get upset about liberals, well, grow up and get a life.

          I mean, really, do you realize that ICE Detention is so bad that children willingly choose slavery rather than continue to stay there? [Get a Life! This is a business opportunity.]

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        • Because that’s a stupid reason to vote for somebody.

          The broader left has been driving me crazy with their belief that their attitudes and treatment towards the unwashed is impeccable except where irrelevant, but on a pretty basic level they’re not wrong about what should and shouldn’t matter.

          Anyone who tells me that they voted for Trump on the basis of such trivial matters is not someone whose political judgment I particular respect. That doesn’t mean that the broader left and non-lefward anti-Trumpers like me shouldn’t modify our behavior, but as much or more as a matter of practicality than any sort of wrongdoing.

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          • See it as signalling tribal membership.

            “Here are the things you need to agree with to be a tribal member in good standing. Let’s start with (example you’d think would have to be made up but, nope, there it is).”

            “Looks like I’m not a tribal member in good standing then.”

            (Now iterate that a couple of times a day over years)

            How long before that turns into “Looks like I’m not a member of your tribe at all, but a member of a different tribe entirely”?

            I mean, without getting into “should” or “shouldn’t”.

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          • Well this type of snobbery as policy effects, look at Obama’s salt policy or the Cook county soda tax that I’m going to have to pay soon. Look at the fact that we subsidize high brow cultural for rich people in San Francisco while people in other parts of the country are struggling.

            Frankly the response to Trump was been a massive truth serum for the left, it’s now clearer than ever before that they hate my guts. Only a fool votes for a movement that hates him.

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            • Dan,
              I’m sorry, do you suddenly have a problem with the insurance companies???
              Those are the real agents behind all these stupid “For Your Own Good” things, and they always will be.

              Stop voting for Democrats, and it’ll be the Republicans telling you what you can and cannot do. And they’ll have the gall to make it YOUR fault for being ungodly to boot! (Hi! I’m from PA, and our liquor laws are heavily influenced by the Anabaptist faiths).

              I know, for a fact, that we subsidize sporting arenas to a much, much greater degree than we subsidize “High Brow Cultural” for rich people in San Francisco.

              Because, um, the free market takes care of Rich People. They find restaurants that won’t even let you in the door (they won’t let me, either), they go to Fyre festivals, and they do all this stuff for $1000 a night lodging.

              That’s rich for you. Liberals ain’t that rich, generally speaking. Yeah, sure, I may watch “Sex is Zero” (please, watch it! it’s really fun!) — but you have netflix too, I’m sure (if not, it’s cheaper than cable), so you could do the same. Nothin’ is subsidizing that, for sure!

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                • Dan,
                  That’s just because all the tax scams and Get Rich Quick mass cultural games are played in Europe.

                  You HAVE seen F is for Family, right? Bilking france out of money is a longtime goal of American filmmakers.

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                • Dan,
                  Okay. We gotta talk about your ignorance, here, brother.
                  Because when you are talking about the Vietnam Memorial as being some sort of high brow thing…
                  Well, then we gonna tell you to chill off.

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                • First, by definition, ‘mass’ culture does not need any support.

                  Second, high brow vs. low brow culture has nothing to do with politics or even different sorts of people, and is a complete nonsense idea mostly based on how complicated the culture is to participate in.

                  I.e., do you have to memorize which utensil to use? Are you expected to tell wines apart? Do you have to understand the plot of an opera before you go see it? Exactly how much research do you need before you deal with this ‘art’?

                  Then the rich and powerful cleverly define ‘culture and art that require a lot of research’ as ‘high brow’, and look down their noses at all the people who don’t have the time or money to learn everything they need in order to participate.

                  The best example of this nonsense, of course, is Shakespeare, who started out extremely low brow, but as his phrasing and lewd jokes slowly became less and less understandable to modern audiences, he somehow became high brow, which is completely laughable to anyone who knows anything about theater history. But he’s now hard to understand, so you need to know things in advance, so, tada, magically high brow.

                  Neither the left or the right has anything to do with that, it’s strictly rich vs. poor, and it’s really stupid to play along with the entire premise of it. Some art is easy to understand, some art is complicated (And it’s not just ‘high brow’ stuff…plenty of TV shows shouldn’t be entered halfway though a series either!), and neither of them are better than the other. (Although, as I have mentioned here before, it is possible to make art require so much knowledge in advance it fails at arting.)

                  Pretending that ‘high brow’ art exists is inherently accepting the concept that things the rich do (and can spend time doing) are better than things that poor people do.

                  Meanwhile, most of what the NEA does can be basically considered ‘art conservation’, but there actually a lot of taking stuff that is hard to access (Both because it is made of small live performances, and because it requires a lot of lot of knowledge) and making it much easier.

                  I.e., NEA grants often take ‘high brow’ stuff and turn it into things anyone can access.

                  I know, in your head, that’s the stuff that conservative people would never like…which is you completely buying into the paradigm that the rich have set up to look down on the poor.

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                  • Second, high brow vs. low brow culture has nothing to do with politics or even different sorts of people, and is a complete nonsense idea mostly based on how complicated the culture is to participate in.

                    I just wanted to say that this is, like, not accurate from at least one perspective.

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                    • …and that perspective is?

                      There is pretty much only one unifying concept of what makes things ‘high brow’, and that is ‘It is time-consuming to start to do.’.

                      Or, rarely, just expensive.(1)

                      High brow is, from top to bottom, about thresholds. It’s all based on the amount of work someone is willing to put into their own entertainment.

                      And the entire concept is a way for rich people, and middle-class people with a lot of time on their hands, to consider themselves better than low-class people, who don’t have time to do anything but turn on the TV at the end of the day.

                      1) It is not particularly time-consuming to see Broadway productions, but they still end up counted as somewhat ‘high-brow’ because they are so costly. Indeed, the perception how ‘high-brow’ live theatre is varies based mostly on how accessible it is.

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                      • One that doesn’t begin from it being a nonsense idea, for one.

                        If I were to give you 10 examples of culture consisting of five high-brow and five low-brow things, do you think you’d be able to do better than 50/50 on guessing which they were?

                        What if I were talking about stuff that was high-brow/low-brow in other cultures, cultures you weren’t immersed in? Think you’d still do better than 50/50?

                        Because I betcha that you’d be somewhere around 80/20… and maybe even better.

                        There’s something going on.

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                        • If I were to give you 10 examples of culture consisting of five high-brow and five low-brow things, do you think you’d be able to do better than 50/50 on guessing which they were?

                          You do understand my point that the only difference between what we consider high and low brow are entirely based on how much difficult they are to understand, and there is no actual difference beyond that, right?

                          So, uh, go ahead and do your little test. If I can identify how inaccessible something is to start to enjoy (Which I can’t promise I can do for other cultures.), I will be able to identify if it’s considered high or low brow…assuming that culture has those concepts.

                          What if I were talking about stuff that was high-brow/low-brow in other cultures, cultures you weren’t immersed in? Think you’d still do better than 50/50?

                          If you are attempting to claim there is a difference in how things are considered high or low brow in other cultures…feel free to claim that.

                          Although I suspect what you would actually be claiming is that other cultures don’t have the same dividers of high and low brow that we do, and actually use something else entirely.

                          Which is, indeed, entirely true. The entire concept of dividing art and culture in this manner is a) western, and b) fairly new, so I’m not even sure it applies generally across western civilization.

                          Which really doesn’t have anything to do with my claim. My claim about how we divide high and low brow is, obviously, restricted to places where the concepts of high and low brow exist.

                          There’s something going on.

                          …are you trying to assert there’s some objective difference? Right after you just asserted that different cultures have different concepts of what is high and low brow?

                          As I pointed out, Shakespeare transitioned fairly seamlessly from low to high brow as it became much less accessible due to language changes, and additionally many things became regarded as high brow solely because easier forms of entertainment replaced them (Live theater in general, for example.)

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                          • And it’s worth noting this is, at some level, fractal.

                            American culture, in general, regards cartoons as very accessible and, in fact, so accessible they aren’t even fit for adults to consume at all. (Basically they’re the lowest-brow.)

                            However, there is a subculture of adults that know cartoons can be for adults, such as anime, and within that culture there are definite hierarchies. Dubbed is low-brow, subtitles are higher brow, and watching them in the original Japanese is highest.

                            Not because those are better (For actually following the plot and action on screen, a good dubbing is probably the best. Subtitles mean you miss a lot of the action, and the people who think they can follow Japanese usually cannot and learning a language is completely absurd to do to watch a TV show), but exactly because that order is an increasing level of skill.

                            Likewise, ‘reading the book’ instead of ‘watching the movie’. It’s not ‘high brow’, per se, to read a book, but it’s more respected than a watching the movie, because it takes more time and effort.

                            Every single classification of how well regarded art is, is basically based on how much effort it is to deal with, or at least how much effort the general population thinks it is to deal with. Subcultures might have slightly different understanding of the effort, and thus rate specifically things differently, but it’s the same system.

                            And let me be clear, by effort, I do not mean just ‘time’. Watching a TV show takes time, but can be done with little effort. (Although you will note that the best respected TV shows are ones that are hard to follow. It’s fractal all the way down.)

                            The high brow stuff takes effort, and/or time outside of the enjoyment. I.e, you normally cannot follow the plot of an opera by watching the opera, you have to read the plot also.

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                              • So it’s not nonsense?

                                The concept of ascribing worth to art merely because it requires prep time is, indeed, nonsense. (If anything, that art is, objectively, less artful.)

                                I am describing a real social thing, that really is how we divide high and low brow art. We actually do that.

                                I’m just saying that us dividing things in that manner is complete nonsense.

                                Society can have real, mostly easy-to-follow rules for complete nonsense, you know. I mean, racism springs to mind as the most obvious example. Not only is deciding that one race is better than another nonsense, but the concept of different races itself is nonsense….and yet, despite that, it’s pretty easy to explain most of the rules how we decide what race someone is, or to explain which race is better. It’s nonsense, but it’s well-defined nonsense.

                                Likewise with the idea of ‘high brow’ and ‘low brow’ art, and high brow being better, is equally nonsense. I’m not saying those divisions are as harmful as racism, of course, just equally stupid and are also arbitrary things we decided to judge things by.

                                My point was that, despite people not realizing it, the rules of what counts as ‘high brow’ is pretty easy to decipher: It’s any entertainment that the lower and middle class do not have time to screw around with learning the rules of.

                                I.e., it’s just class-ism.

                                After that, we can get into the extent to which that which you’re describing is, kinda, political.

                                You can try to claim it correlates to politics, but I suspect if you control for wealth, almost all correlation would instantly disappear, and any remaining correlation is simply that artistic venues are rarer in non-cities. (Because a lot more ‘high brow’ stuff requires a specific venue..because, again, that requires more prep work.)

                                Rich conservatives that live in New York see Broadway plays, just like rich liberals. They might see different Broadway plays than liberals, but they go see Broadway plays.

                                Poor liberals that live in rural areas…watch TV, just like everyone else. Again, the might watch different shows, but they’re watching TV.

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                                  • It’s just that I think that this makes this sort of thing not nonsense and, on top of that, political as hell.

                                    It’s political in the sense that people talk about it as if it was political.

                                    It’s not political in the sense of different ‘classes’ of art having anything to do with politics. (Because they don’t even really exist or have any meaning at all.)

                                    I’ll be the first to admit that there probably are some differences between conservative and liberal brains in the most general sense, but none of them are even vaguely related to ‘whether you enjoy high or low brow art’. Those differences could possible affect what themes people like, but you can find all themes across all ‘classes’ of art.’

                                    I find it much more likely that people like the sort of art they are exposed to as children, very rarely changing types, and almost never changing into dealing with complicated high brow stuff unless they have entered the world of the super-leisure. (And even then it’s the next generation, usually.)

                                    However, because the American people have self-segregated geographically based on politics, a few, very specific sorts of art that don’t make appearances outside of cities have turned into signifiers. (1)

                                    Talking about how high brow art is political is exactly like talking about how complicated coffee orders are political, i.e., it’s complete bullshit, but for a while everyone pretend it made sense…and then every street corner got a Starbucks, and it suddenly seemed a bit dumb. But when only cities had Starbucks, visiting Starbucks was surely a sign of being a liberal!

                                    But just like what sort of coffee you like has literally no bearing on your politics, neither does what ‘class’ of art you like.

                                    1) Which, again, returns to my point that things are relative. Going to museum when you live in a city is…nothing, and isn’t regarded in any particular way. It’s moderately expensive, but so are movies, and you can get discounts for both. Going to a museum when you live 2 hours from the city is rather more complicated, and hence is must be ‘high brow’, or at least ‘medium brow’.

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                                    • David,
                                      Highbrow art, as you have it defined, is most definitely on the rise. And, going by what you say, it should be increasingly more popular.
                                      After all, didn’t we all watch The Simpsons as kids?

                                      Nevertheless, we see orchestras closing and museums closing… (I honestly am going to say that most Art in Museums by your definition is lowbrow.)

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                            • David,
                              I don’t miss action because of subtitles. And PARTICULARLY not in anime, when mostly all I’d be missing is lipflaps that don’t sync properly anyway.

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                  • First, by definition, ‘mass’ culture does not need any support.

                    People who would live to consume it do. NEA doesn’t subsidize subsidize Blake Shelton concerts but does subsidize the San Francisco symphony orchestra.

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                    • Blake shelton is not playing the classics. As soon as he takes up a violin as opposed to a fiddle he can have some art money.

                      Bet he would not take it anyway, independent American hero
                      That he is

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        • Calling someone a snob and also a cancer on the country seems to lack some insight. It seems like you are fine with harsh insults either because the other side is so bad they deserve or it’s that they are just plain bad. In either case what makes your judgment better than that of the “snob.” Both are making value judgments about someone else.

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            • Dan,
              I tend to restrict “cancer on the country” to people who recklessly murder, rape or do other things that pretty much everyone despises.
              … you know, like the Kochs.*

              *this is a personal grudge. got precisely jack all to do with the present liberal “oh no!s the evul kochs”

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            • For Davey Duke i’d go with racist douchebag, but that’s just how i roll. I tend only call actual malignant tumors cancer but maybe i’m being pedantic.

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  9. Ge6 – ‘However, in elementary and high school, I read books from the Western literary canon – which mostly consists of white men.’

    And is mostly entirely overrated.

    I have made my position clear on how I think reading ‘plays’ (By which people means ‘scripts’.) in school is akin to having students read typographical instructions of books in Literature, or dumping paint on them and throwing blank canvases at their head is a lesson in Art History, so I will skip that for now.

    But it’s important to note that a lot of the actual pieces of Literature studied in school are…complete crap, or have serious things wrong with them.

    Take a Tale of Two Cities. A story I am halfway convinced that students are made to read so they can be given a secret history lesson in the French revolution, but it is arguably an important read. Too bad it was clearly paid for by the chapter so has the most absurd amount of padding I have ever seen in a work of fiction. It’s as well-written as you can expect such an over-padded book to be, but it’s a 200 page book hiding in a 450 page book. Sadly, the same is true of most of Dicken’s writing, but he did write short stories.

    Or A Separate Peace, a completely idiotic book from top to bottom, and poorly written, totally emo, and a book that absolutely no one likes. Why are we reading it? No one knows.

    Twain is, at least, funny. If I have to pick someone who is currently read in American schools who should be read there, I’d go with Twain.

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    • David,
      I’m tempted to send you some works by a nobel prizewinning author.
      I’m sure you’d consider them to be… interesting reads.
      (No, this isn’t the American who says n!gger a lot.)

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