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August 21, 2003


Friedrich --

* Steve Sailer, as down-to-earth and fearless as ever, reviews current theories about what causes male homosexuality here.

* You say you're curious to see what all the movies-being-projected-digitally fuss is about, but have no idea where to find a DLP-equipped theater? Click here.

* Budget-busting Republicans? Deficit-hawk Dems? Jerry Taylor and Peter VanDoren at NRO marvel at the bizarre D.C. goings-on, here.

* Edward Said (and cultural propriety generally) be damned: Orientalism is something to be savored and enjoyed, at least where cheesy, exotic, sexy paintings are concerned. Here's the best site I've found for fans of this kind of art.

* What makes a work of art great? For some reason the question is in the blogging air. Tim Hulsey (here) and Terry Teachout (here) are of the I-know-it-when-I-feel-it school. Aaron Haspel most certainly isn't; he has a whack at the question with a scythe here. Blessed with no sense of timing whatsoever, I cranked out my own, much more pedestrian thoughts a zillion months ago here. Short version of the Michael Blowhard p-o-v: since it's got nothing to do with you or with me (it's something history, whatever that is, decides on and then may or may not change its mind about), why worry?

* In the NYTimes here, Katie Hafner visits with three women tech geeks whom the paper first checked in with 10 years ago. What's become of them, their dreams, and their lives? Are they still world-slaying fem-geeks? Nope, nope, and nope is the answer: one's become a lawyer, one's a professor, and one came out of the closet and now works in "business development." Hafner never quite says it in so many words, but you're led to understand that if these women haven't had the careers the Times once envisioned for them, it's the fault of Evil Sexism. Much progress, as ever, remains to be made. Nonetheless, I found it an absorbing article.

* Sometimes a blogger rides a beautiful wave of inspiration. Lynn Sislo (here), whose deadpan, soulful tone -- a mixture of calm and quirkiness -- I love, is showing what that's like at the moment; her recent postings have been full of ideas and feeling, and have been even more generous with links than usual.

* Evan Kirchhoff (here) and Brian Micklethwait (here) have been mulling over digitization and art, money and copying, and the economics of CDs and DVDs. They're smarter and funnier than anything you'll read on the topic in the mainstream press.



posted by Michael at August 21, 2003


*blush* Aw shucks... you say such nice things about me. :)

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Lynn S on August 21, 2003 10:05 PM

Re: Steve Sailer's discussion of the evo-bio issues raised by homosexuality. In his piece, Steve claims that there are more hard core, "exclusive" homosexuals than bisexuals. A few years ago, when there was a flurry of statistics on the gay and bisexual populations, my memory is that bisexuals outnumbered gays by a factor of 3 or 4 to 1. If this is true, theories that "exclusive" homosexuality is a sort of overshoot of the evolutionarily valuable state of bisexuality would seem to make sense. If Steve's numbers are true, these theories are obviously nonsense. Does anybody know the latest on the numbers of bi's vs. gays?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 22, 2003 01:48 PM

Katie Hafner has a vested interest in something besides her bad analysis being responsible for the magic land of Internetness not being quite the wonderland she loudly and insistently anticipated.

Her take confuses the heck out of me. I've hopped around quite about and tech geekdom, which seems to be the case in industries people with engineers, refreshingly free of sexism. Except for MS, the land of stupid white men.

M. Blowhard, putting "business development" in quotes - sweet. Would you agree that "business development" is a job title for those who are too cowardly to sell, too stupid to analyze, and yet lack the skills to design or build products?

Posted by: j.c. on August 22, 2003 07:50 PM

Lynn -- My pleasure, and fun to see you blush.

FvB -- Bisexuals outnumber gays? Really? I'd always assumed it'd be the reverse. Most of my gay male friends claim that 9 out of 10 men who claim to be bisexual are really gay. But then they would claim that, wouldn't they?

J.C. -- Most guys I know in most fields love having gals around. (Even if we do need to gather in filthy dens and fart and tell dirty jokes for a few minutes every now and then before rejoining the official world.) I always wonder who the weirdos, er, guys are who don't enjoy the presence of gals. Any thoughts? I guess I figure the "sexism on the job" thing is about half a matter of a small number of idiot guys who really are jerks, and half a matter of a certain number of females who make projections and assumptions and who are shocked, shocked to discover that the biz world isn't a nice and caring place. What's your hunch?

I put "business development" in quotes because ... well, wouldn't you? And, heck, I wish I had a position in business development, whatever it is.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 22, 2003 08:10 PM

Sorry, Blowhards, ol' Steve has never struck me as a rigorous thinker.

Several reasons, this time, and the first is his dear friend Prof Bailey. Personal ads? Uhm.... it's not at all uncommon for personal ads to describe someone as "straight acting," which means "if that PI your wife hired photographs us together, it won't be entirely obvious you were picking up a male hustler."

"As a child I often felt that I had more in common with girls than boys." Adults who have identified themselves as gay or straight reporting, years after the fact, on themselves? Yeah, sure, that's an accurate picture of history.

"Likewise, Richard Green of UCLA followed into adulthood a group of effeminate boys and a control group of masculine boys. He found massive differences in the likelihood they would become homosexuals." Has this man never been in a gay bar? Heard the term "closeted." Talked to someone who worked at an AIDS clinic in the late eighties when married men from the suburbs somehow tested positive?

Also put off by this misstatement in his discussion of the February, 1999 Atlantic Monthly: "For example, peptic ulcers were shown in 1983 to be caused by germs—and easily cured by antibiotics." Peptic ulcers are only possible when the bacterium Helicobacter (H.) pylori is present (by the way, this bug is also associated with certain tumors in the stomach and further along...) However, far more people have this critter nesting in their tummy than will ever suffer any ill effects. And "easily cured" ignores the fact that since the discovery many people have chronic, although more easily managed, ulcer problems. His slant does promote his argument that everything wrong with us is a one bug, one pill issue.

And I'm not entirely certain that being queer would be an issue after we got to the hut-building stage. Being socialized means doing a lot things you'd rather not.

Posted by: j.c. on August 22, 2003 08:24 PM

Oops, we were typing at the same time, M. Blowhard.

Enjoying female company and treating women with respect is not the same thing - don't strip clubs make money because men enjoying being in a room full of women?

My hunch is that less quantifiable job goals lead to sexism and cronyism and racism and any other ism you got. A lot of guys are jerks, and bullies are common in the office, but at this point it seems women get the worst of it.

It is true that the two times I saw the lawyers brought in, the women in questions were, and this is an understatement, utterly and completely full of shit.

On the other hand, with the exception of my high school jobs and a couple of small freelance projects with a tightly-knit group, I have NEVER, not once, held a job where there wasn't at least one decision made because of blatant EEOC violations. The women didn't say anything because, because it happens all the time and because you can't go to a man who is all buddy buddy with his ass-kissing protégé and show him some damning emails.

Or, she didn't say anything because she went along with the guy and took the payoff. Fortunately for my mental health, I've only been sure of the latter scenario twice.

I'm looking to do a project with some organizational psychologists... just so I can dig through their data for kicks.

Posted by: j.c. on August 22, 2003 08:39 PM

Per Orinetalism. My friend Jen Caban (A good, if emerging artist, she'll be great in a few years...) is a opium-addict of Orentialism. She's snuck into countries, traveled as a man, just to be buildings and mosaics (is it a surprise her hero is Sir Richard Burton) Anyway, her nascent site is check out the Travel and Oils section. She's an amazing lady, and just a few years work away from being an amazing artist.


Posted by: JLeavitt on August 22, 2003 10:37 PM

"Enjoying female company and treating women with respect is not the same thing - don't strip clubs make money because men enjoying being in a room full of women?"

You go, J.C.

"Enjoying having women around..." shouldn't have anything to do with it, EITHER! Who gives a shit if you DON'T enjoy it? Women aren't in the workplace to be entertainment for their co-workers any more than men are. And, trust me, there are plenty of not-very-entertaining men out there doing well in the business world. The very fact that a man would look at it that way means he's still installing the entitlement perogative to the men.

Posted by: annette on August 24, 2003 11:21 AM

J.C. -- Oh, aren't you being just an eensie bit hard on me? When I wrote that I know few men who don't enjoy having women around, I was clearly saying that, in my experience, I've run into very little sex-based on-the-job resentment. (Actually, now that I spell it out that way, on the job I've run across a lot more sex-based resentment among women than men.) Maybe you've run into a lot, and if so I'm interested in hearing about it. But (unless I'm misunderstanding your point), ain't it a little unfair to switch gears and start talking about strip clubs? Interesting point about quantifiable-type jobs vs. unquantifiable ones, by the way. I work in a very unquantifiable one, which if anything it tilts anti-male at this point. But I do think you're right that cronyism and herd behavior generally thrive in places where performance can't be objectively measured.

Annette -- I think you're being a little harsh, given that I largely agree with you. J.C. had been writing about her experiences with sexism; I was just responding that in my day-to-day work experience I see very few examples of it myself. As I say, I've certainly seen a handful of jerk males (some of whom, btw, are just as jerky to other guys as they are to women), but I've also run across a handful of women who see sexism everywhere they look. Nothing wrong with making that observation, is there?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 25, 2003 06:45 PM

Nothing wrong with it, just as long as it's stipulated that women don't get to exist harrassment-free in the workplace just coz "men like having them there." As I point doesn't matter if they do or don't. However, your last comment is interesting to me in that it sounds like your environment, which I have the impression is the New York mag or culture biz, does in fact operate differently for women than the environment that I'm occupying---financial services. That is actually very interesting.

Posted by: annette on August 26, 2003 08:01 AM

I thought the Sailer article was entirely obnoxious. This post explains why.

I'll bet j.c. wrote S.S. an even harsher email than I did.

Posted by: Alan Sullivan on September 2, 2003 01:53 PM

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