News You Can Really Use

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In a new study, researchers at Ohio State University found:

When men and women are angry, they both choose the news media articles they read with the goal of regulating their moods, a new study suggests. But, in some circumstances, men choose to read articles that will fuel their anger, while women choose articles that will dissipate it.

The Ohio State researchers designed the experiment to provoke anger against the experiment's supervisor and then give a chance for some of the subjects to retaliate against the supervisor by giving him or her an evaluation. Before the evaluation, the subjects were given the chance to read a variety of news articles.

They report:

Results showed that men given the chance to retaliate against the supervisor were more likely to choose negative news over positive news, while women chose the positive news.

Perhaps this study sheds some light on the occasionally intemperate blogging comments here at Hit & Run? You know who you are.

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  1. I dunno, the only person that I know of here who gotted (temporarily) banned for intemperate comments claims to be female, and is extremely credible on that (and many other things).

    Probably the post thing for temperance would be to have everybody ditch their anonymity. However, honesty and candor is probably more important than temperance.

  2. Best thing

  3. So, is the thoroughly inadequate server part of an experiment in getting posters pissed off?

  4. “Not-Jennifer”

    Your belief in anonymity is, let us say, touching; even perhaps child-like. You believe, also, one suspects, in Santa Claus. Hmmmm?

  5. o rly?

  6. “So, is the thoroughly inadequate server part of an experiment in getting posters pissed off?”

    That would explain a lot!

  7. I dunno, the only person that I know of here who gotted (temporarily) banned for intemperate comments claims to be female, and is extremely credible on that (and many other things).

    But I never claimed to be a typical female. In fact, I take pride in not being one.

    I would rather be photographed with a bald head than be photographed reading a typical “woman’s” novel, or “woman’s” magazine, or purchasing any product which claims to be “for women” in that godawful pink script they use.

    Investment tips–for women! Defensive driving skills–for women! Drug war news–for women!

    Bleah.

  8. By the way, Linguist also got temporarily banned, for making fun of Reason Pillow Girl. So women make up one percent of Reason posters, but sixty-six percent of Reason posters who have ever been banned.

  9. You know who you are.

    SCREW YOU! SCREW YOU!!!

    Hmm, I feel better already. Wow, it works.

  10. I don’t see how anonymity could be reliably ditched unless someone at Reason were to research every poster to make sure they are who they say they are.

    If this post goes through, it’ll be the first time three posts in a row have gone through for me in ages! Go squirrels!!!

  11. I must have missed it. What did you do to get banned?

    The squirrels don’t like me at the moment.

  12. I think it’s a given that women who regularly post here are outside the norm. Obviously we enjoy reading bad news just as much as the guys.

  13. Jennifer. Lol and good show. No, you are way better than typical. You are the only person on this site that I should have been more temperate with than I have been.

  14. Trust me, the vicious server squirrels hate Reason staffers too. Probably comes from paying them with the same sorts of peanuts we Reason staffers get. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Probably the post thing for temperance would be to have everybody ditch their anonymity.

    Says the man who hoped Phil would get raped by a rottweiler for calling him by his last name.

  16. Perhaps men are trying to deal with the proximate cause of their anger by displacing it onto a distant target. That is, they get madder, but at something else entirely.

    Incidentally, I never read the posts that got anyone banned. Considering some of the posts I have read, they must have been white-hot incandescent with rage.

  17. guys, we’re libertarians. 95% of news makes us mad.

  18. Considering some of the posts I have read, they must have been white-hot incandescent with rage

    No–I simply suggested that our president might be less blase about certain mass murders committed by one of our freedom-lovin’ totalitarian allies if his own daughter had been among the dead.

  19. I wasn’t banned for being angry, but for being annoying. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I wasn’t banned for being angry, but for being annoying. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Were that policy applied consistently, there would only be about three people here.

  21. I only ever found out about the Jennifer suspension (b4 my time) because I wanted to know what the whole Gunnels things was about. Never did track down too much on that and gave up.

  22. I found out the hard way that calling Tim Cavanaugh an idiot is a pretty good way to get banned.

  23. I sometimes I wonder if it’s just me and one other poster with lots of pseudonyms. Kind of a solipsism for two ๐Ÿ˜‰ If that’s true, then the server REALLY sucks.

    My most intemperate moment was probably yesterday when I got tired of our newest troll and said, “Trollum delenda est“. That’s a rude way to treat our guests, I suppose.

  24. I got banned for impersonating a Gunnels alias in the thread where the Gunnels ban was discussed. I posted a message as “Jean Bart”, saying something like “I’m out of here!” and Cavanaugh thought I was Gunnels. So it was all just one big mix-up.

    Now, Unborn Angel, on the other hand, that guy had it coming! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Pro L, anyone who can post an insult in Latin should win a prize. If you ever want to vent spleen for something here, please feel free to insult me, whether or not I’ve actually said anything. I don’t know how that will help, but it’s the only thing I can do to reward a fellow classics buff. Vale, kjc

  26. Amateur classicist that I may be, it’s bastardized Latin at best, Karen. I suppose that my crowning moment in muddling out something in Latin was probably when I helped a friend with a certain phrase for a toga party he was going to at Fantasy Fest in Key West (an extraordinarily decadent event, by all accounts). But I only did that with the Internet’s help. It didn’t matter, anyway, because it turns out that women overly impressed with beads don’t speak Latin. Who knew?

    In any event, I refuse to insult another lawyer here. We’re self-insulting.

    Vade in pace.

  27. Terrible news. I love it.

  28. PL:

    back around 2002, some British woman wrote a pom in the form of a fake patent application on herself. I think she was called Diana something. they printed it in Harper’s and other places. Tried to track it down for you, but couldn’t. Worth reading.

  29. whoops wrong thread.

  30. Thanks for the effort, anyway, Peege. I think copyright is the better claim, since there’s a lot of prior art out there. And the human mechanism lacks nonobviousness ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here’s what you were talking about (sorry everyone else for the long post–didn’t see a complete page of this to link to):

    I AM THAT I AM.(excerpt from British woman’s application to patent herself)(Brief Article). Harper’s Magazine 301.1803 (August 2000): p18.

    Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2000 Harper’s Magazine Foundation

    From an application submitted to the British patent office in February by poet and waitress Donna Rawlinson Mac Lean.

    Biotechnology companies have requested and received patents for different plant and tree species, and human genetic material has already been patented. The behavior of such biotech companies has led me to wise up to my own inalienable rights. Can I be described as the owner, the sole proprietor, of MYSELF, my being, both physically and metaphysically? Is it possible that a corporation might legally claim ownership of MYSELF, in whole or in part? Do my inalienable rights as an individual have any real meaning unless I can translate them into monetary terms, or determine and protect them in a hard-headed, businesslike manner? Very briefly, I came to the conclusion that no, they do not. I am therefore applying to patent MYSELF, Donna Rawlinson Mac Lean, in my entirety; that is, my physical reality including my genes, which are me, and all the other less tangible elements which constitute the wonder that is me.

    If it is not absurd that a company can be said to own a species of plant or a tree, or breast-cancer genes, then it is not absurd for an individual to patent herself. It has taken thirty years of hard labor for me to discover and invent MYSELF, and now I wish to protect my invention from unauthorized exploitation, genetic or otherwise.

    With reference to the guidelines, I can state:

    I am new. I have led a private existence and I have not made the invention of MYSELF public. I have not yet appeared as MYSELF publicly. I have remained hidden.

    I am not obvious.

    I have taken several important and inventive steps in order to come up with MYSELF.

    I have many industrial applications, not only in terms of the things I can make, do, or produce as a multiskilled human female but also in terms of my parts. For example, my genes can be used in medical research to extremely profitable ends. I therefore wish to have sole control of my own genetic material.

    I may be industrially reproduced by suitably knowledgeable persons in the form of clones of MYSELF, in whole or in part. I wish to give MYSELF full protection from such an eventuality.

    I am not merely a discovery or an aesthetic creation. I am more than the sum of my abstract aspects. And quite clearly I have physical features.

    I do not find MYSELF in your definitions of “excluded inventions.”

    Briefly, I could describe MYSELF as an invention engaged in the continual process of solving the problem of its own existence–both physically and phenomenologically. During this process I have succeeded in solving the problem of my parents, whom I have now over-come. At thirty years old, approaching the middle of life’s way, I am now my own invention, wholly responsible for and to myself, a fully realized individual. In the next two decades, I look forward to resolving a larger parenting issue, involving the problem of the presence or absence of an interventionist God. I also anticipate the dawning of certain eschatological truths–though I cannot provide a time frame for this.

    On a day-to-day basis, I solve a variety of problems ranging from the elevated to the mundane. I function tolerably well as a member of a group of friends, as a member of a family, as a member of a workforce, and as a member of society generally. As a human female, I am also able, with the assistance of something I scraped from a gym sock, to propagate the species, should I choose to do so.

    I am a single, human female, without children, five feet and three inches tall, with blonde hair. I was born in Canada on, as I was informed recently, “almost the same date as David Bowie.” I am around eight and a half stones in weight, and I have a weak right eye.

    Source Citation: “I AM THAT I AM.(excerpt from British woman’s application to patent herself)(Brief Article).” Harper’s Magazine 301.1803 (August 2000): 18. InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale.

  31. You know who you are.
    And I know where I live, too.

    “For women, it is not seen as appropriate…” said Silvia Hyphenated-Lastname,
    The passive phrasing says: BULLSHIT ALERT! The name is a little icing on that cake.

  32. You know who you are.
    And I know where I live, too.

    “For women, it is not seen as appropriate…” said Silvia Hyphenated-Lastname,
    The passive phrasing says: BULLSHIT ALERT! The name is a little icing on that cake.

  33. LeMur, are you for real? You big kidder!

    You’re not threatened by the fact that a woman hyphenated her name, now are you? Gosh, you had me going there for a second.

    And what’s with the passive phrasing? Women use it more often, that’s true, but that’s because we’re more empathetic and don’t want to sound accusatory. Silly goose!

  34. You forgot “nurturing”, linguist.

  35. By the way, Linguist also got temporarily banned, for making fun of Reason Pillow Girl. So women make up one percent of Reason posters, but sixty-six percent of Reason posters who have ever been banned.

    Give me time, ladies.

    I think it’s a given that women who regularly post here are outside the norm. Obviously we enjoy reading bad news just as much as the guys.

    True, dat.

    guys, we’re libertarians. 95% of news makes us mad.

    True dat! >:(

    I love getting into a big, frothy rage.

  36. Linguist, I think the comment about passive phrasing is just that people often use passive to be weaselly and avoid attributing responsibility to anyone in particular. It’s no one’s fault, no one did it, but it happens. As in, “X people are killed by guns every year,” or “all people should be provided with medical care and a reasonable annual income,” as opposed to “criminals [and idiots] kill X people with guns every year,” or “you should spend your money providing all people with medical care and a reasonable annual income.”

  37. smacky: I like my women free, like my coffee.

  38. Jadagul,

    Good point about the passive voice. I had a writing prof in college who advised us to avoid it whenever possible and to look askance at writing that neglected that advice for just the very reason you identify: avoidance of responsibility. This, of course, is not a gender issue.

  39. fyodor,

    They taught us that in college, too. All of us corporate drones know how incredibly useful the passive voice is, though. Things just magically happen, without human intervention! It lets you avoid certain difficult issues, like naming the parties responsible for the screw-ups. Especially when they outrank you and will be approving the report…

  40. Uh, yeah, thanks for schooling me on the passive voice, guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Use of passive voice is not necessarily a “no-no” nor is it automatically an intentional act of hiding the agent.

    Therefore, LeMur’s claim that it’s a “bullshit alarm” is, well, BULLSHIT.

  41. Let me elaborate.

    The agent in a passive construction is not overt. However, if the speaker has good reason to think that the hearer knows the agent, because of context, or previous sentences, then passive is perfectly acceptable. This “confidence” is part of linguistic empathy. Women do use it more often. They also use “tag questions” more often than men, i.e., “I should do the dishes, shouldn’t I?” This is another form of linguistic empathy. The tag question is an attempt to get a response from the hearer, even though the speaker is really making a statement. It keeps the conversation going in both directions.

    The reason high schoolers are told to NEVER use the passive is because it takes a writer who knows what he/she is doing to build up the right context so that the agent is clear.

    Examples of passive sentences where, depending on context, a speaker can reasonably assume who the agent is:

    1. This prescription was written on 3/10/06. (by whom? a doctor)
    2. Congress voted to pass the bill, and it was signed into law yesterday. (by whom? the President)

    Was miss hyphenated name using this properly? Dunno. But taking it out of context and dismissing the statement because it’s passive is just, well, silly.

  42. Go linguist! It’s yer birthday!

    Ok, it’s not your birthday. But it can be your metaphorical birthday, can’t it?

  43. Yeah, sorry. I know the passive voice can be used completely appropriately ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I figured you knew why it’s often a bad idea. The impression I got from your comment, which was apparently inaccurate, was that you took the complaint about phrasing as an attack on women, since they use it more.

    And I have to say, the phrase ‘it is not seen as appropriate’ generally sets off alarm bells in my head. Who sees it as inappropriate? Everyone? If so, that probably includes me, and I’ll support it. If I think it is appropriate, the question is who doesn’t, and the answer is not always obvious, and sometimes troubling.

  44. Mr. LeMur’s comment is still way off base. I did RTF, and here is the full quote:

    Women faced with the same situation, however, chose to read more positive news to help dissipate their anger before a possible confrontation.

    ?For women, it is not seen as appropriate for them to retaliate when they?re angry, but it is OK for men. And that?s reflected in their selection of media content,? said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.

    In other words, the “it is seen” is how the women themselves see it. Translation: women (in general) don’t feel it’s appropriate to express anger, whereas men (in general) do see it as appropriate.

    I would venture a guess that the actual published study gave citations to previous studies bearing that out.

    So…no real problem with her use of the possessive there. The agent is “women in this study”, which are taken to be a statistical sample to be generalized to “women”.

  45. err…”possessive” should be “passive”

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