Toward a More Humble Modesty

Why is Wendy Shalit, author of Girls Gone Mild, “in a good position” to talk about the dire state of American modesty? Well, explains Pia Catton at The Wall Street Journal, “as an undergraduate at Williams College, she caused an uproar by objecting to the school's coed bathrooms.” This would seem to be Shalit’s modus operandi: Choose an unusually sexually progressive pocket of American culture, declare it indicative rather than exceptional, and launch a heroically irrelevant crusade for change.

And the most modest among us, apparently, will rope in others. It is not enough to not fornicate in your dorm room; Shalit offers strategies for frustrating the lustful intentions of your roommates. (Wouldn't the modest thing to do be to feign ignorance and gracefully leave the room?) Thus, the massively ineffectual missionaries of modesty attempt cultural rollback. Imposing your bathroom preferences on others doesn't strike me as modest, exactly, but here's an idea that should please libertines and good girls alike:

A box called "A Recipe for Pleasing With Integrity" asks: "Is there a way for a young woman to impress others, without having to be mean or compromise her value system?" Why, yes: Bake an apple pie!

I would almost certainly be more impressed with scolds if they stuck to baking pies.

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  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    I have a question for Canadian Readers. Have there been any real problems with canadian "Necesarry Rooms"? This is not a sarcastic question. I honestly do not know.

  • dhex||

    oh, she's a killjoy. gotcha.

  • ||

    When I was in college, I would have rolled around in glass if a woman brought me an apple pie.

    That's a pretty good strategy.

  • Jennifer||

    When did Warren change his name to Joe?

  • ||

    Coed bathrooms. I assume (always dangerous, but I still do it) that they are all stalls and no urinals. If so, Get over it you anal retentive prude! I figure no urinals so a woman of decorum would never have to accidentally see a weewee.

  • ||

    So, wanting to be able to spend the night in your room, without having a couple of people fornicating above or below you, is a sign you're "immodest," or at least not "humbly" modest.

    Why doesn't it occur to you that fornicators should show some courtesy to roommates who don't fornicate? It seems you have very little patience for non-fornicators, but I would think you'd recognize that having sex in front of another person isn't normal, and forcing your roommate not to sleep in a room his/her parents, or he/she personally, has paid for isn't nice.

    Blecch.

    Stan Greer
    Fairfax, Va.

  • ||

    Getting laid in college is a million times easier than getting a fresh baked apple pie.

    Wait, wasn't there a scene about this in American Pie?

  • VM||

    wheee! wheee!

  • ||

    While this woman sounds like she needs to relax. She does have a couple good points.

    Co-ed bathrooms are pretty nasty.

    Getting sexiled sucks, and any strategies for reducing their likelihood makes good sense.

  • dhex||

    "I would think you'd recognize that having sex in front of another person isn't normal"

    well, not any more it ain't. it used to be (stories of frontier living families are really fucking creepy in this regard) but the real, adult, and modest answer is "talk to your roomate and explain that some kind of code needs to be worked out so both of you can get on with your lives and still have the sort of sexual experiences one chooses to have."

    whereas her thing seems to be more in the killjoy/regressive mores type thing. to each their own of course, and no doubt there is plenty of support for her cause in many quarters. it just doesn't drown out outre sexuality entirely, which often seems to be the problem.

  • thoreau||

    Choose an unusually sexually progressive pocket of American culture, declare it indicative rather than exceptional, and launch a heroically irrelevant crusade for change.

    Welcome to the culture wars, Kerry.

  • ||

    what's so great about apple pie? Now pumpkin pie. That would be impressive.

  • ||

    Huh, I won't drop 2 in earshot of a woman. Guess I'm modest.

  • ||

    I'd think the biggest problem with coed bathrooms would be that males would complain about not having the quick convenience of urinals, and having to lift up the seat every time, and females would complain that men don't lift up the seat.

    But, I don't see anything inherently immodest about men and women using the same restroom at the same time. I'd be creeped out about it but I'll chalk that up to cultural conditioning.

  • VM||

    "Co-ed bathrooms are pretty nasty."

    preference. I didn't think so. Nobody on our floor thought so.

    Went to a school in Williams's conference. Just ask anybody who went there, they'd say Williams was our biggest rival. Ask Williams, and they'd say a different school.... How we did it was to vote (secret ballot), and if there were one "nay" none of the bathrooms on the floor were coed.

    It was no big deal.

    And - you gotta talk with yer roommate about sex, smoking, drinking, drugs, etc in the room. If you're such a fucking religious zealot who's been raised to ignore things that make you uncomfortable, and you don't want to/ can't discuss those arrangements, well... never mind.

  • ||

    If anybody offers me a slice of homemade apple pie (and a cup of coffee), I will gratefully listen to whatever they have to say while I eat it.

    I'm glad I never lived in a dorm. A roommate's sex life would only serve to make my involuntary celibacy more painful.

  • Randolph Carter||

    The co-ed bathrooms at my college (Middlebury, pretty much a clone of Williams) were one-room affairs, they were co-ed because the halls were co-ed and there were only 2 bathrooms per hall. But there were people in ROBES! Their naughty bits concealed by naught but a thin layer of Terrycloth! And some wore only towels! Oh noes, the prurient horror!

  • ||

    "If anybody offers me a slice of homemade apple pie (and a cup of coffee), I will gratefully listen to whatever they have to say while I eat it."

    It might be wise to watch them eat a slice first.

  • VM||

    Randolph Carter -

    Hamilton here... heh.

  • highnumber||

    I was a skinhead (well, not really - I was going to college - not a real skinhead thing to do, but the older skins did encourage me) when I went away to college. Not the Nazi sort, but the skankin' two-tone, anti-racist sort. Still I had a shaved head, and wore steel toed docs. My first college roommate was a body builder who joined the Nation of Islam right after school started. Safe to say, we were one of the oddest couple of roomies on campus. Anywho, I still have a very vivid memory of him walking in one afternoon on me and my punk rock girl. He had the decency to get an eyeful and walk right out. I had the sense to get a better idea of what his schedule was. It's all part of growing up.

  • Randolph Carter||

    VM,
    Interesting, I was the drunkest I can't remember one of the times my rugby team played Hamilton. They had a bad-ass all night diner right on campus.

  • ||

    I had co-ed bathrooms where I went to college. No, there were no urinals -- which was a bit annoying.
    For females uncomfortable with the situation, there was an all-women dorm available. Guys had no such choice -- an all-male dorm would obviously be sexist.
    The whole co-ed bathroom set-up was kind of weird at first, but you got used to it pretty quickly. Besides, it made it easy for me and my girlfriend to shower together.

  • CLICHE||

    Society is in decline! Morals are evaporating! These kids today.....!

  • ||

    ..but I would think you'd recognize that having sex in front of another person isn't normal, ...

    C'mon Stan, you make it sound like you didn't patronize Plato's Retreat when it was open. ;-)

  • VM||

    Randolph Carter (also the name of History of Art Prof at Hamilton (terrific prof, terrific person))-

    cool!

    We had fun swimming M'bury. Cept for the drive, of course. The worst was SUNY Siberia (Potsdam)...

    lemme guess - you also lament that you "wasted" your undergrad on something as "useless" as Liberal Arts...

    *strikes jaunty pose

  • ||

    At Purdue we had "CoEd" Dorms. They were CoEd in that the dorm was technically one building. Nevermind that there was a women's tower and men's tower separated by a huge common area. I only did one year in the dorms. After that I moved into a fraternity. Now that's a CoEd experience.

  • ||

    One early afternoon, after coming back from back class, I went back to my dorm room and as I walked in and sat at my desk I realized my roommate was in the room as well. He was laying in bed reading a magazine and didn't say anything at first. Then he proceeded to pull his pants up, get out of bed and announce to me :"it's a good thing you showed up when I did, I was almost late for work."

    It took me about a minute after he walked out before I realized what I had just walked in on. From that day on I made sure to make lots of noise whenever I was going back to our room?

    Is this at all relevant to the post?? I dunno, but I just wanted to let you all know that in college I walked in on my roommate jerking off.

    I dunno what the proper or modest thing way to approach him would have been, but I didn't really want to have the "listen dude, next time you wax the old dolphin lock the fucking door"

  • ||

    Anyone who is ever had a fat roommate in college with a really fat girlfriend that loved to screw would not find objecting to sex in your dorm room prudish. I am all for public displays if it involves Katie Homes and Tom Cruise or some hot college chick showing her tits for beads in New Orleans. But that unfortunately is the exception not the rule. Its kind of like lesbian sex. In the movies it is Elle McPherson and Kate Capshaw. In reality is it Janet Reno and Billie Jean King. Sex should kept in private and not for moral but aesthetic reasons.

  • ||

    Maude Flanderism - If I'm not doing it, I will not allow anyone else to either.

  • ||

    If comes down to the pie-baking chick and the salad-tossing chick, I think we know the way most guys are headed.

    Hell, I can buy a fucking pie for $5!

  • ||

    John,
    You need to expand your aesthetic appreciation.

  • ||

    A box called "A Recipe for Pleasing With Integrity" asks: "Is there a way for a young woman to impress others, without having to be mean or compromise her value system?" Why, yes: Bake an apple pie!


    What if she uses an all-butter crust? Or gasp, transfats?

  • dhex||

    sadly nothing can be done to stop those roomates who cannot read the sign that says "[first name] - don't come in!"

  • dhex||

    [obligatory crisco joke here]

  • Timothy||

    You cannot make pie crust without lard, all butter crusts get soggy. Jeebus.

  • dhex||

    timothy lies, unfortunately: an all butter crust can be made quite delicious and enjoyableso long as one takes the necessary precautions.

    [obligatory crisco joke here, again]

  • ||

    Omg, this site is such a sausage fest.
    I'm reminded of this whenever there's a post about anything remotely sexual (see the post about circumcision preventing AIDS)

    On this subject I too have an anecdote.
    When I was in college, I lived in a dorm that had 2 bathrooms, one was co-ed, and one was strictly girls (we agreed to this arrangement for the girls who were too bashful). The problem, however, was that the water pressure in the coed bathroom was superior to that of the girls bathroom, so it was almost impossible to take a shower when you wanted to (a minor inconvenience.) It was the first time I really realized that the whole stereotype that guys have poor hygiene and smell bad, and that girls have good hygiene and everything is a sham. SHAM!

  • ||

    Timothy -
    You can make a delicious pie crust with vegetable shortening. Nice and flaky.

  • ||

    While I may be dating myself, we had co-ed bathrooms, behind the school buildings. The girls always went in pairs so one could be a look out for the other. No showers, though.

  • ||

    It's my understanding that most houses have coed bathrooms.

    It is also my understanding that multi-room houses are fairly recent, from a historical perspective, and that kids used to learn the facts of life from their parents in a much less roundabout way.

    So... I think Prudy McPruderstein might have her notions of "normal" all backward.

    PS: Apple pie is as boring as Mom and baseball.

  • ||

    PS: Apple pie is as boring as Mom and baseball.

    Baseball is boring only to boring people.

  • highnumber||

    Reinmoose,
    I managed a furniture store that had separate men's and ladies' rooms. The ladies left the restroom in much worse shape than the men. This would explain many ladies' aversion to public restrooms.

    Jimmy smith,

    While I may be dating myself [...]


    Juh?

  • scofflaw||

    I've seen Kerry Howley on Fox's Red Eye a couple times and she comes across as a slut with a lot of miles on her who's probably been passed around the Reason staff a few times.

  • I\'m Back!||

    Back when I was a backstop at Backhouse U., I was coming back to my room from back class, and I saw my roommate on his back pulling the covers back up and putting a stroke book back where he got it. I backed slowly out of the room and went back to where I'd come from.

  • Ellie||

    Oh, please, John. Nobody looks good having sex in real life. All the sweat, and hair in your face, and having to switch around to get in the right position, and the funny faces, and the weird noises, and the jiggly bits, and the bony bits, and the soft ... tender ... okay, EVERYBODY looks good having sex in real life. Excuse me, I'll be in Stevo's bunk.

    I like having coed bathrooms for ease for transguys and -girls, but of course private institutions can have whatever bathrooms they want standard libertarian disclaimer blah blah urinal cakes.

  • highnumber||

    I'm Back!,

    What song was playing?

  • ||

    Wow, funky stuff happens when you put a bunch of 18- and 19-year-olds in the same building. I'm shocked.

    In my experience, non-coed bathrooms in college have a way of becoming very coed, especially on Friday and Saturday night.

  • ||

    Kerry Howley referring to others as "scolds" certainly is puzzling.

  • ||

    managed a furniture store that had separate men's and ladies' rooms. The ladies left the restroom in much worse shape than the men. This would explain many ladies' aversion to public restrooms.

    Huh, I was just about to say coed bathrooms are a raw deal for the ladies. Men's restrooms invariably have pee all over the floor (c'mon guys, it's not that hard to hit the target...), making it hard to get near the toilet without stepping in it. If I were a woman, I'd vote against.

    And yeah, the whole roommate sex thing is just like anything else roommates have to work out, it has less to do with morals than with learning to get along with people.

  • ||

    highnumber -
    As far as the mess that we'd find in our co-ed bathroom, I need only say 3 words:
    Feminine Hygiene Products

    *shudders*

  • ||

    See? This is what I get for living next to the state U and commuting to college. I got no dorm stories.

  • ||

    Does she have any strategies for stopping your roommate from leaving the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack on repeat? My response, bashing his head in with an empty Cuervo bottle, was frowned on by campus police.

  • ||

    In the movies it is Elle McPherson and Kate Capshaw. In reality is it Janet Reno and Billie Jean King.

    Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

    While I may be dating myself...

    You mean like ChicagoTom's roommate?

  • ||

    I don't understand the not-putting-the-seat-down thing.

    You only have to fish your toothbrush out once to realize that toilets come with a lid for a reason.

  • I\'m Back!||

    I'm Back!,

    What song was playing?


    It's coming back to me now ... Our stereo was back at the shop for repairs, but in the background I could hear the guys back in the lounge watch "Welcome Back, Kotter."

  • ||

    The ladies left the restroom in much worse shape than the men. This would explain many ladies' aversion to public restrooms.

    I managed a bar and found the same thing to be true. The mens restroom was predictably moderately, nasty. The womens restroom... gross doesn't begin to describe it. You never knew what to expect.

    The whole hover over the seat so I don't sit in pee thing baffles me. The pee wouldn't be there if they didn't hover in the first place. It's a vicious, disgusting cycle.

  • ||

    I don't understand the I-can't-put-the-seat-down-myself thing.

  • highnumber||

    Damn. I owe ProGLib $10. I had the Beatles "Get Back."
    VM had $20 on Sir Mix-a-lot "Baby Got Back."
    jimmydageek had $50 on anything by the Back in the Saddle Band, which of course could have been only "The Curly Shuffle," and who would whack off to that, anyway?

  • ||

    I don't understand the I-can't-put-the-seat-down-myself thing.

    I'm more sympathetic to that. If you have a routine it's hard to break. Say it's the middle of the night and you're expecting a downed seat- an ice cold splash down in the bowl is an unwelcome wake-up. I discovered this myself during a bout of Turista. Ever since then I have been very conscious of seat positioning.

  • VM||

    /kicks k-tel 8 track.

    brilliant, joe!

    ..."The Curly Shuffle," and who would whack off to that, anyway?

    um.

    LOOK OVER THERE!!!!! [points dramatically]

    [runs off]

  • robc||

    A roommate's sex life would only serve to make my involuntary celibacy more painful.

    Most of my roommates were as involuntarily celibate as I was.

  • dhex||

    you can get around that involuntary celibacy thing by fucking your roomates, right?

    "You only have to fish your toothbrush out once to realize that toilets come with a lid for a reason."

    joe, i appreciate thrift as much as the next guy, but sometimes if you love a brush you have to let it go.

  • ||

    The toilet seat thing is one of those memes that never made much sense. I note that men, on occasion, sit themselves. And manage to handle it adroitly, despite only doing it on occasion.

    And joe, why are you brushing your teeth in the toilet, anyway? I'm dubious about the sanitary conditions of any toilet, however well maintained.

  • ||

    I think scofflaw is being rude and ungentlemanly, but it is true that Ms. Howley seems to have a visceral hatred of traditional sexual morality that exceeds that of her colleagues (although most of them do hate it to varying degrees). Alas, her attempts to express this contempt in a witty fashion invariably fail.

  • ||

    I'm dubious about the sanitary conditions of any toilet, however well maintained.

    On a tangent - I've never had a dog who was suspicious of the commodes sanitation. They've got this phenomenal sense of smell, and still consider it the best place to drink. One of life's little mysteries, I guess.

  • ||

    Cats do it, too. We have one that also drinks out of the pool, regardless of its condition (we had a bad filter recently, meaning that nasty fungi and overabundance of chemicals were involved).

  • Jennifer||

    it is true that Ms. Howley seems to have a visceral hatred of traditional sexual morality that exceeds that of her colleagues

    The impression I get isn't that she has any issues with traditional sexual morality, but with those who would try to force it on everybody else.

    Incidental note: personal experience has taught me that the guys who refer to pretty women as sluts, or assume said women must be fucking all their male colleagues, are almost never guys who have managed to bed pretty women themselves.

  • joe||

    dhex,

    If brushes were flushable, I wouldn't still have nightmares.

  • ||

    Incidental note: personal experience has taught me that the guys who refer to pretty women as sluts, or assume said women must be fucking all their male colleagues, are almost never guys who have managed to bed pretty women themselves.

    Jennifer, don't you know that besides being sluts, they are also bitches and lesbians if a loser can't get into their pants. Guys, we've all heard it, haven't we?

  • ||

    I understand Jennifer's point and agree to some extent, but to deny the existence of crazily promiscuous women is pointless. They exist and are one of the greatest dangers to civilization today. Well, maybe in the bottom five, but still.

  • scofflaw||

    Talk like a slut and celebrate sluttishness and you may just be perceived as a slut. I reserve the word for celebrants like Howley, not those who can't control themselves or those who have made mistakes or even those who are having fun being promiscuous but still have enough shame or "modesty" to be discreet about their sluttery.

    Since Jennifer has seen fit to counter my reasoned arguments with ad hominem Freudian suspicions and Nietzschian stereotyping:
    I admit to bedding a little over a 100 women in my approximately five drunken years of free-swinging bachelorhood, now over and subsumed in several subsequent years of staid monogamy. About a third were quite pretty, a third were okay looking, and probably a third looked like Jennifer. Most of them were "fun" (even the ones that looked like Jennifer). But I was pretty disgusted with myself most of the time, am not proud of and do not "celebrate" those years (though despite myself still recall some of those encounters "fondly"), and do not pretend that that was a good way to live. But during that time, I was a total slut, probably worse than Howley even.

  • ||

    Wow. I was about to post that commenter "scofflaw" is an undicked dickly dickless dick on gilded lace with oak cluster, and then I hit "refresh" and found another reason for thinking so.

    Go find another place to pursue your hobby of picking on chicks.

  • ||

    "Incidental note: personal experience has taught me that the guys who refer to pretty women as sluts, or assume said women must be fucking all their male colleagues, are almost never guys who have managed to bed pretty women themselves."

    The other men still think you are a slut, they are just smart enough not to tell you until they get in your pants.

  • scofflaw||

    "Go find another place to pursue your hobby of picking on chicks."

    But then I'll just come back as the familiar commenter persona you all know and love.

  • ||

    scofflaw -- I am not surprised.

    John -- Unlike our friend, you fortunately have a history of being something other than a total dick, but that last was still pretty dicky.

  • ||

    Anyone remember the magazine article a few years ago (I forget which mag - Vanity Fair?) on The Women Of The Right? In addition to sexy shots of Virginia Postrel among others, I seem to recall a most immodest head shot of a bare-shouldered Shalit.

    Or is it just me?

  • Jennifer||

    I admit to bedding a little over a 100, said the person who thinks maybe Kerry's a little too promiscuous.

  • Jennifer||

    (By 'a little too promiscuous' we of course mean 'writes articles suggesting sex might not be as filthy as it's made out to be')

  • scofflaw||

    Jennifer,

    I owe you an apology. Contrary to my assumptions about your looks based upon your comments, after accidentally clicking on your website I see that you're in fact somewhere between "quite pretty" and "okay looking." I'd do you. Friends?

  • ||

    This guy's too smart to be Dan T.

  • ||

    I'm the only person I know whose mother complained that my clothes were too conservative when I was in high school, but I still think Wendy Shalit has some, er, issues.

  • dhex||

    "They've got this phenomenal sense of smell, and still consider it the best place to drink."

    they also treat their balls like an ice cream treat that won't ever melt.

    perhaps not the best guide to good taste (and things that taste good!)

    also scofflaw asl / pix plz. you sound like a good time gal.

  • highnumber||

    No offense to any ladies, but as a joke, scofflaw is a good one.

    That "Hey, you ain't that ugly. I'd do you. Friends?" line: Hi-freaking-larious.

    But it will get old fast.
    [sigh]

  • ||

    I think this is where Jennifer agrees to "do" scofflaw and lures him to a hotel room, where Jennifer's boyfriend leaps out of a closet with a taser and a large spiked mallet, as he and Jennifer have previously arranged. A happy ending ensues.

  • ||

    And not in the sense of a massage.

  • Fluffy||

    Did Scofflaw just seriously offer the argument that actual promiscuity doesn't make you a slut, but writing an article making fun of a prude DOES?

    This guy needs a regular column so we can benefit from more of his wisdom, his amazing logic, and - of course - his unique definitions of common concepts.

    In his next column, he will explain to us how a person who writes an article about swimming gets more "wet" than a person who jumps into a pool.

  • M||

    His logic may be that serially-monogamnous promiscuity corrupts only one person at a time, affords subesquent opportunities to compensate the victim(s), the number of victims is numerable, and desisting from sinning terminates the spread of damage.

    Whereas publicly championing dissolution is directed (even if without full awareness) to corrupting an infinte number of victims, who becomes inaccessible because they are anonymous, and with sempiternal social subesquent.

    Just a thought-exercise.

  • M||

    Whoops: Final word "subsequent" should be "metastisis".

  • ||

    I wonder if there is a correlation on this event for people who don't follow the traditional male vs. female stance on this issue... Could it also a good indicator of their political stance, as well?

    I mean, for people who fall into the standard guy view of leaving the seat up and gals who believe the default should be down, it probably doesn't mean a thing.

    But for guys who take the (unocvnentional, for a guy) view that "there oughtta be a law against not putting down the toilet seat" (normally the female view) and gals who believe (also unconvetionally) that it's up to them to check before sitting down (normally the male view) there may be some insight to be gained...

    For example, my wife has never, EVER had a problem with whatever position the toilet seat is in. She checks before sitting just like I do, as does anyone who believes they are responsible for their own actions.

    She claims it's just the rational default - for anyone who wants to use a toilet rather than soak in it.

    My guess for those latter views is, as an evil overlord once said, "the personal is political."

  • Urine the army now||

    the traditional male vs. female stance on this issue

    Traditional? Anatomy as a social construct?

  • ||

    "Traditional? Anatomy as a social construct?"

    Well, for some people it seems to be. That was the point I was actually making...

  • Jennifer||

    I suspect that if I did have sex with Scofflaw he'd view that as proof of my sexual immorality. And in his specific case, he'd be right.

  • ||

    Dude, put down the culture war and step slowly away.

    You've got a bowl of water infused with bits of human excrement in the place where you perform your hygiene functions.

    You cover it up.

    Talk about making the personal political...

  • scofflaw||

    Yay! I've managed to be censored by Reason and have certain of my comments redacted. Guess the truth hurts even otherwise "brave" and "bold" libertarian libertines.

  • ||

    Would somebody please put a lid on scofflaw?

  • scofflaw||

    "I suspect that if I did have sex with Scofflaw he'd view that as proof of my sexual immorality. And in his specific case, he'd be right."

    But you wouldn't know I was the Scofflaw until I was doing a victory dance in your end zone. If you met me at, say, a libertarian convention, I'd be smart enough to keep my views about women to myself until it was too late. Just one danger of sleeping with someone you don't really know.

    Joe: Seriously, you want me to be banned? Why don't you e-mail Reason and ask them to do that? That would really make my day. My work is done here anyway.

  • lunchstealer||

    Y'know, my only real contribution was that my all-male dorm in college (this being the south) where the toilets were on one wall, and the sinks with mirrors were on the opposite walls, and there weren't any goddamn doors or curtains on the toilet stalls. I dunno about modesty, but there are some things you just don't want to see while you're brushing your teeth in the morning.

  • ||

    No, scofflaw, I don't want you banned.

    I was just comparing you to "a bowl of water infused with bits of human excrement in the place where you perform your hygiene functions."

    Close the lid.

  • ||

    Whoops: Final word "subsequent" should be "metastisis".

    I know, I make that typo all the time. The "subsequent" key is right next to the "metastisis" key on the keyboard!

    joe | June 27, 2007, 10:31am | #

    Dude, put down the culture war and step slowly away.

    You've got a bowl of water infused with bits of human excrement in the place where you perform your hygiene functions.

    You cover it up.

    Talk about making the personal political...


    joe, in my experience the war between the sexes is not about lowering the lid, but lowering the seat. In other words, it's not about sanitary conditions, it's about the convenience of the person who always needs the seat lowered vs. the convenience of the person who sometimes needs it lowered but usually needs it raised.

  • highnumber||

    Close the damn lid!
    What is the big deal?

    Close the damn lid already!

    Don't make me grab my belt.

  • Fluffy||

    Stevo -

    I actually didn't think it was even about convenience - it was more about the female being able to avoid touching the seat with her hands. If it's already down, she doesn't need to touch it. Since men are gross anyway, it's OK if they touch it with their hands.

    Not enough effort is involved for it to be about convenience.

  • LarryA||

    I think scofflaw is being rude and ungentlemanly, but it is true that Ms. Howley seems to have a visceral hatred of traditional sexual morality that exceeds that of her colleagues (although most of them do hate it to varying degrees).

    There is a tendency for people to believe that the way they grew up represents the way things have always been. Historically private bedrooms and sexual privacy are very recent inventions, c 1950, and still don't exist in large parts of the world.

    Why 1950? Air conditioning. Before that you couldn't go into your bedroom and shut the door and windows. Remember The Waltons on TV? At the end of the episode they would lay in their beds and tell each other, "Good night." If they could hear each other speaking, guess what they could listen to shortly thereafter.

    A box called "A Recipe for Pleasing With Integrity" asks: "Is there a way for a young woman to impress others, without having to be mean or compromise her value system?"

    Case in point. By "her value system" Shalit means not "the value system of the young woman in question" but Ms. Shalit's value system, which should invariably apply to the young woman in question. There's no recognition of the idea that different women may have different value systems.

  • M||

    Stevo - You caught me out. It wasn't an error; it was deliberate.

  • ||

    "Dude, put down the culture war and step slowly away." - joe

    Culture war? What the hell are you talking about?

    "You've got a bowl of water infused with bits of human excrement in the place where you perform your hygiene functions."

    Not if you flush - maybe you should try that. Can we both agree that you should flush after using the toilet?

    "You cover it up." -joe

    Covering it up doesn't help - not even if you work for the CIA. Flushing it does.

    "Talk about making the personal political..." - joe

    Geez, did I hit a nerve, joe? Is your tribal drum circle nick-name "Man-Who-Sits-To-Pee" or something?

  • lysanderspoonerjr||

    The e-mail below was sent to the Reason webmaster. Apparently it was heard.

    Hi,

    Apparently my mentally retarded younger brother has succeeded in getting
    everyone in our household who uses the computer banned from posting comments on
    Hit and Run by posting certain comments under the moniker "scofflaw." I'm not
    sure what specific comment caused him and the IP address we use to be banned.
    He said in one comment that Kerry Howley came across as a slut on Fox's Red Eye.
    The intemperateness of his terminology was no doubt in part due to his mental
    disability. But aside from that, he only said that she came across as one, not
    that she is one. Any reader of the comment would understand the distinction, as
    he of course has no personal knowledge of her personal habits. In using such a
    colorful term he doesn't deny that he was trying to get a rise out of people, in
    much the same way as Howley was trying to put her views "out there" in people's
    faces by joking on Red Eye about performing abortions in the back seat of a
    moving car while violating many other moral law
    s blah blah blah. Is what's good for the goose not good for the gander? My brother is as much of
    a libertarian as anybody at Reason, is in fact a full-blooded, tax-protesting
    mentally-retarded anarchist, and does not believe that prostitution, drugs, or
    acting like a slut should be outlawed or regulated. On the other hand, he does
    believe that people should govern themselves (to reduce the perceived need for
    government by force and to make the resulting free society better, more
    peaceful, and more viable and self-sustaining) and that culture has a role in
    encouraging free people to govern themselves, in order that by acting in accord
    with their natures and truest desires they may be truly free. My brother
    doesn't appreciate the project of gratuitously mixing up in people's minds on
    national television the principles of libertinism with the honorable principles
    of libertarianism. People may understandably be turned off by what they
    incorrectly perceive to be libertarianism as a
    result. My brother tried with his own puny comments to counter Reason's grand efforts in this direction by putting the
    shame back in shamelessness. Granted, he recognizes that sometimes society has
    and does attach shame where it does not belong, but this is something that each
    individual must inevitably sort out for himself or herself, usually by absorbing
    whatever influences from society ring truest for him or her. Surely Reason is
    big enough to withstand competing views about what is and what is not shameful.

    The above-mentioned comment by my brother was removed but he was not banned
    until later, so it's still not clear which subsequent comment was the cause of
    his banishment. Subsequent comments were largely in response to the comments of
    others. E.g., one commenter assumed that my brother was unable to bed pretty
    women, so my brother playfully counter-assumed that the commenter was an ugly
    woman, for which he later apologized when confronted with proof that she was not
    in fact ugly.

    Also, note that while some commenters on the post were offended by my brother's remarks, others recognized in them the effort to say
    something significant and substantial and even "smart" (assed?), albeit in a
    politically incorrect and irreverent and not especially respectful way.

    I'm not gonna beg you to lift the ban. This is your privately-owned place, and
    we'll live without being able to comment on Hit & Run, particularly if it turns
    out against all expectations that Reason is prissy and sensitive enough to
    maintain the ban on the above facts. I will say though that my brother is not
    in the habit of openly suggesting that women are sluts, and we do try to monitor
    his computer usage, so it's very unlikely that it would happen again. Something
    just must have gotten into him.

    Lysander Spooner Jr.

  • M||

    Like I said, this guy is smart.

  • highnumber||

    OMG! Like him or not, he's funny.

    For the record, I am not encouraging this sort of behavior. This energy could certainly be applied in a more constructive fashion.

    But that was awesome!

  • highnumber||

    Lysander Spooner Jr.,

    Are you, by chance, a Zappa fan?

    Just asking.

  • Julian Sanchez||

    "Also, note that while some commenters on the post were offended by my brother's remarks, others recognized in them the effort to say
    something significant and substantial and even 'smart' (assed?), albeit in a
    politically incorrect and irreverent and not especially respectful way. "


    Wow. You're a deeply disgusting human being. If you had the slightest shred of basic decency, you would have taken your own life out of self-revulsion long ago.

  • lysanderspoonerjr||

    "Wow." Spoken like a true metrosexual-looking, comic book-loving, retard-euthanizing Reason contributing editor. Guess Reason isn't so reasonable. Guess Reason imagines they have a monopoly on cultural pollution and hate speech.

  • highnumber||

    So you start out with some incredibly offensive comments (I personally found those remarks horrid) about the writer, to shock? gain everyone's attention? Once you get some responses, you make a couple incredibly tasteless remarks about a commenter (again these were entirely out of line), make a couple of jokes (that I may have been alone in thinking were satirical and funny), and go on to get yourself banned. Then you write an email that implies you were using satire to make a point, that you weren't really trying to personally insult anyone, so please don't ban you. I guess you crossed the line for Mr Sanchez by reproducing that email here, but because he felt it necessary to denounce you as unworthy of life. You follow that up with another lame personal attack.

    So that brings us to now.
    You seem to be capable of using humor to make a point, although I found much of your humor also offensive or degrading to someone. Why not rein it in a bit and make your point without intentionally pissing people off? And why do you resort to brutal, baseless personal attacks?

  • lysanderspoonerjr||

    Oh no . . . looks like I lost my last friend by gratuitously insulting comic book lovers. When oh when will I ever learn . . .

    BTW, I never stooped to saying "please don't ban me." I said and implied they were prisses and hypocrites if they did. And in fact I was wrong earlier -- they are banning me (and my brother), just not very effectively.

  • ||

    Stevo - You caught me out. It wasn't an error; it was deliberate.

    M -- Lest you think I am actually picking on you for typing the wrong word, please let me clarify that I was just being goofy.

  • ||

    Dear Mr. Spooner --

    Oh, dear. Sorry to hear about your brother. You should be aware, however, that the Internet can be a rather rough place, especially for young and/or mentally disabled minds such as apparently run in your family. And the tone of online posts, however benevolent in intent, can easily be misinterpreted.

    Sadly, the Internet is the kind of place where saying that someone "comes across as a slut" might easily be misunderstood as a rude personal attack, provoking "retaliation in kind," rather than a clever insightful observation cloaked in witty satire.

    In fact, I fear the Internet crowd -- and specifically we yahoos here at Hit & Run -- may be too coarse and vulgar to appreciate the nuanced and subtle wit of you and your brother. You are wasting your gifts and your time here, I am afraid. "Pearls before swine."

    May I suggest instead that you and your brother (assuming you are not indeed one and the same) devote your energies to becoming a semi-regular on the Howard Stern show? They truly appreciate wit and satire there, and understand that the word "slut" is not necessarily meant to be used in an insulting way. No prisses or hypocrites there.

    Also, apparently they are always looking for more persons of your type to appear on that show.

    Best of luck to you.

  • M||

    I guess I missed what all the fuss is about. Other posts (eg many re Santorum's daughter, to choose almost at random) seemed to indicate thicker skins here; thicker than mine in that thread at least. I'm puzzling a bit over the kind of chivalry appearing now; a sociological novum of sorts. I for one find this guy interesting, but maybe [no sacrcasm] I'm thick. It often seems that good debates pick up as threads age into oblivion.

    Stevo (if you're still here), I goof with thee.

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