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106 Responses

  1. TimmyTwinkles
    TimmyTwinkles October 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm |

    Just a quick thought on your point number 5. While I generally agree with your thoughts on criticizing clothing styles, any practical career training for a low-income community HAS to include instruction on how to dress professionally. That does NOT mean criticizing what anyone chooses to wear in their own time, or passive aggressively putting it down by suggesting that stuff white people wear is superior (it’s not, clothes are clothes). However, while it is arbitrary and classist, a professional dress code does still exist for a number of professions; not just in the US but all over Europe and Asia per my own experience. I’ve had the honor of working quite a bit in the inner-city, and our ultimate goal was to help people get jobs. Period. The best jobs they could get. And this often means suit, tie, slacks, button-up shirts, etc. Social theory is great (not being sarcastic), but it doesnt help people get jobs. First things first.

    1. Wiley
      Wiley October 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

      Agreed, but there’s nothing in this piece about making good quality “professional” clothing in realistic sizes at affordable prices available. Just a whole lot of judgement.

      There’s a lot of hoops to jump through to be hired that are unavoidable at the moment. You can acknowledge that and try to equip people to handle them without judging them, and recognize that the hoops are arbitrary. Acknowledging that certain things are based on racism or classism is an extremely important part of creating a really equal, non-discriminatory workforce in general.

  2. TimmyTwinkles
    TimmyTwinkles October 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |

    100% on the no judging. That’s a huge thing for me; white people/rich people dont get to tell everyone else how to dress, or what the right way to dress is. I’m thinking we’re pretty much on the same page here. I just think its so important that when you’re working with poverty in the trenches, everything be done as much as possible in a practical results-oriented way

    1. Wiley
      Wiley October 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

      Yup. Another thing, though, is that policies that make “professional” clothing a requirement of employment need to go. Not just because one group of people is setting the fashion standard, and that’s fucked up, but because clothing is expensive and requires upkeep and replacing. I’d likely be fired from the job I have now if they didn’t have flexible wardrobe requirements because I can’t afford the kind of business-wear that’s standard for my position. And I have a washing machine, a place to store my clothing, and relatives who give me professional clothing as gifts on holidays from time to time.

      I do think we’re on the same page, but I think it’s very, very important not to forget that getting a person a job is the first of roughly a million steps to improving that person’s life, especially if they live in poverty. Changing unrealistic policies is more important, and more sustainable in the long run than making sure every American has an interview suit.

      1. ldouglas
        ldouglas October 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm |

        I agree as a matter of principle, but that’s a huge change that will be pushing against hundreds (probably thousands) of human culture. Every culture that has ever had clothes used/uses them to denote things like status, rank, wealth, occupation, and so on- I honestly don’t think there’s a single counterexample. So I’m totally on board with “this norm is classist and oftentimes racist,” but it’s also a norm that is so fundamentally ingrained in our societial DNA (much more so than, say, white supremacy, which has a history that’s only about 350 years old) that our short-term efforts to help people can’t be predicated on getting rid of it.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm |

          years of* human culture

        2. Wiley
          Wiley October 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm |

          Right, but it’s a big leap from “You have to wear this exact thing or no one will take you seriously at an entry level position” to no one ever using clothes to convey anything. There’s middle ground.

        3. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

          Right, but it’s a big leap from “You have to wear this exact thing or no one will take you seriously at an entry level position” to no one ever using clothes to convey anything. There’s middle ground.

          I don’t know- the reason some jobs require suits, or business casual, or whatever clothing, is because companies want to present their employees in a certain way, which is pretty inextricably tied to the larger issue.

          What I really objected to was this:

          Changing unrealistic policies is more important, and more sustainable in the long run than making sure every American has an interview suit.

          Because this is basically saying people should stop doing things that actually work in favor of pie-in-the-sky solutions. The people making sure poor and working class Americans have suits are doing a lot more to improve people’s lives than people complaining about how suits shouldn’t be required. It’s not that the latter group is wrong, they’re just not helping much.

        4. Andie
          Andie October 3, 2013 at 8:26 am |

          It’s not an either or though.. You can provide people suits for job interviews while still reminding people in hiring positions that just because candidates aren’t dressed to your specifications (outside of jobs where safety is a concern) doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified for the job and that having dress codes is often based on racist, classist and sexist standards.

          You can acknowledge the reality of a situation, while still acknowledging that the situation is bullshit.

          It’s bullshit that because of rape culture, I have to watch my drink at the bar at all times, lest I be blamed for getting drugged and assaulted. It’s absolute bullshit. And I am vocal about how bullshitty that is. However, I still watch my drink at the bar. (I hesitated to make this analogy, so I apologize if I’ve hurt or triggered anyone with it)

        5. Andie
          Andie October 3, 2013 at 8:27 am |

          This was supposed to be in response to ldouglas

        6. Andie
          Andie October 3, 2013 at 8:28 am |

          I think the reply thing is borked.

        7. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 3, 2013 at 10:29 am |

          Robert Borked

        8. Wiley
          Wiley October 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |

          Yes, this is the point I was trying to make. Thanks!

        9. Wiley
          Wiley October 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

          Dude, no. Changing bad policies is not a “pie in the sky” solution. Do you understand the point I’m making? Dress codes are BAD and giving a poor person a good suit doesn’t solve anything but a tiny temporary problem.

          I got a job through a friend once, and I was *fired* because I wore one outfit to the job three times a week. They didn’t pay me enough to get another one. It was the only “nice” clothing I had. I needed them to relax on the policy or pay me more. I didn’t need someone to give me an interview outfit.

          This is true for a LOT of lower-income people. If you think that changing policies that are BAD FOR LOWER INCOME PEOPLE is a “pie in the sky” solution, you are the one who’s “not helping much.”

        10. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah October 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm |

          I get what you are saying and I agree that dress standards are classist and racist. The author of the post should absolutely have addressed that and noted it as a major barrier to job applicants. But, I’m wondering what sorts of changes you would ultimately like to see in a professional workplace. I mean, standards in dress vary based on location (firms in the south sometimes still unofficially demand skirt suits for ‘lady attorneys’) and type of work. I wear ‘modest’ (based on an in house dress code…ugh) casual dress to the office, but my DH has to wear a suit to work everyday. His suits are not expensive, whereas the partners wear uber expensive suits, and it is true that dress really delineates status in the office. The paras and the secretaries wear business casual. It really sets them apart and I think that solidifies the perception of a class and educational barrier between them. Would your proposed solution be to have everyone wear business casual? Honestly, those making the policies are most benefitted by the “clothing shows status” b.s. anyway, so I don’t know what their motivation would be to change the policies. Why would they change that when it benefits them? I don’t think they would. They do not WANT to hire someone who can’t find business casual clothing to wear every day. They do not usually want to hire someone who would wear a ti shirt and jeans to work everyday. Unless what you are looking at is more of a semi-business casual look being acceptable…rather than just any clean clothing…I just really don’t see how that dress standards will change in a business setting. I think the argument from the people in charge would be that if standards are not set, people would come to work wearing things that are really inappropriate. And…I’ve totally seen this. I’ve seen people wear the most outrageous things to work and to court (a ti-shirt with a gun on it). HOWEVER, I see the standards for “proper grooming” slowly changing every year. Tattoos and piercings are becoming more acceptable (although not totally mainstream) and different types of hair style are being considered alright for a professional setting. I think racist grooming standards are a real problem and I think it is an area in which things can change. As more women in prominent positions rock different natural styles and talk proudly about them, I think what is considered “professional” can evolve in regards to hair style.

        11. Wiley
          Wiley October 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          Are you familiar with the problem where poor kids with great academic records get into college and then drop out? This is a similar thing. KEEPING a job is the important part. Having professional clothing is definitely a real barrier. But removing obstacles to poor/unemployed people getting and keeping jobs is about way more than buying them a couple articles of clothing. That’s like treating chicken pox with a band aid.

  3. Brittany Touris
    Brittany Touris October 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |

    Thank you, especially for the part about teaching low income people how to dress. Classism is exactly what it is. I’m sick of this “dress for success” mentality. Sure, how you dress is a reflection of who you are, or at least who you want to be, but that is not always a rich, white business man.
    I mean, this has even expanded over genders barriers as well with pantsuits. Dressing like a white man doesn’t make people equal; it holds them on a pedestal and sends the message that we want to emulate them.
    Let’s listen to Bob Marley from his song, “Babylon System.” He says, “We refuse to be what you wanted us to be.”

    1. TimmyTwinkles
      TimmyTwinkles October 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

      Yeah its totally classist, but if you’re an activist and you’re trying to help low-income individuals find work, you have to play the hand you’re dealt and this is the way it will be in many professions for the foreseeable future. To my mind, at a certain point it becomes a tad bit classist to NOT teach professional dress, as if the only jobs a low-income person should shoot for are blue-collar or minimum wage type gigs. Not that there’s anything wrong with those jobs, but I dont want to limit anyone’s options by not preparing and encouraging them to go for white-collar professional jobs as well. It’s about what works on the ground vs. how things should be. I do think wiley as I understand her point is suggesting a middle of the road stance, which I agree with. I think we can do activism that gets real results while pointing out as much as possible that alot of standards or codes are classist and arbitrary.

    2. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm |

      Dressing like a white man doesn’t make people equal

      What exactly is dressing like a white man, Brittany?

      1. EG
        EG October 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

        Open a J Crew catalog.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 3, 2013 at 11:36 pm |

          I don’t even know where to start.

  4. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve October 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

    YES ANDRE PERRY, TEACH THE PEOPLE TO LOVE TONI MORRISON. I just found out you can’t access lifetime book sales without contacting a publisher, but the woman is worth $24 million dollars. I think some people probably bought her books.

    The number of people who have read any of Toni Morrison’s books since she began getting published in the 70’s is far smaller than the number of people who watched TMZ last week. The number of all the people who have seen Shakespeare’s plays EVER is smaller than the number of people who have watched TMZ last week.

    1. EG
      EG October 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

      But so what?

      And I speak as an English professor.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

        But so what?

        And I speak as an English professor.

        So what? So he’s wrong to dismiss the idea that more people watch popular TV than read African-American fiction. I can’t believe that wasn’t 100% clear from my comment and the bit I quoted above it.

        Have people here forgotten that when you blockquote a bit of text you are responding to that specific assertion?

        1. EG
          EG October 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

          I read that block quote. Nowhere does it make the claim that you’re saying it does.

        2. SkyTracer
          SkyTracer October 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

          For fuck’s sake, Wiley’s point was that Toni Morrison (whose reported net worth is actually more than twice that of Harvey Levin) isn’t exactly wanting for social influence. Your comment above is boring pedantry.

          EG’s “but so what?” should have been your cue to contribute something meaningful to the conversation, but instead you decided to passive-aggressively suggest that a published professor of English was too stupid to grok some radio personality’s perfect writing.

          I’m pretty sure EG could impart more meaning to her students with a burp than you imparted to Feministe’s readership with your comment above.

        3. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

          Wait what are we arguing about? I’m down to argue that American pop culture (particularly reality shows) is sucking the brains out of an entire generation. But I dig Toni Morrison. But she’s not pop culture. So confused…

    2. KittySnide
      KittySnide October 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm |

      Is there really such a difference between TMZ and some of Shakespeare’s plays? It’s not like “Shakespeare” was highbrow.

      1. Wiley
        Wiley October 4, 2013 at 8:59 am |

        YES THIS 100% THIS.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 12:47 am |

          YES THIS 100% THIS.

          @Wiley
          I was merely disagreeing with your assertion that Toni Morrison has anywhere even close near the audience of popular TV shows, not making a qualitative comparison. I was using Shakespeare as an example as his plays have been performed for over 400 years, so it’s not unsurprising that Toni Morrison, who has been writing since the 70’s has a much smaller audience than a daily TV show.

      2. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

        Is there really such a difference between TMZ and some of Shakespeare’s plays?

        I don’t even know how to respond to such an obnoxious, off-topic and disingenuous response. I make one comment about publishing figures and am attacked as some sort of literature elitist.

        Reading comprehension really suck nowadays.

        1. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

          I was responding to what I thought was a value judgement, that somehow people watching more TMZ than Shakespeare is negative, based on a common assumption that Shakespeare’s plays are some sort of “better/smarter/etc” entertainment.
          If that’s not what you meant, I’m sorry. It was a knee-jerk response.

        2. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

          but in a discussion about classism and racism surely you can see how comparing “Shakespeare” and “TMZ” can come off as pretty classist.

        3. SkyTracer
          SkyTracer October 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

          I make one comment about publishing figures and am attacked as some sort of literature elitist.

          You’re a literary fiction fan who couldn’t resist the opportunity to complain about the stupidity of the common man, and now you’re throwing a fit because we’re not indulging your smug cynicism.

        4. SkyTracer
          SkyTracer October 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |

          Reading comprehension really suck nowadays.

          Feministe deserves better than that, no?

          We need a giraffe here.

          [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

        5. tigtog
          tigtog October 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm | *

          SkyTracer, Feministe does indeed deserve better than snide putdowns coming into play after a virtually pointless nitpick.

          Steve, your original nitpick was right on the edge of on/off-topic. Defending it in post after post is definitely a thread-jack. Take it to spillover if you absolutely must.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

          SkyTracer, Feministe does indeed deserve better than snide putdowns coming into play after a virtually pointless nitpick.

          Steve, your original nitpick was right on the edge of on/off-topic. Defending it in post after post is definitely a thread-jack. Take it to spillover if you absolutely must.

          Fine, it is, as you say, an unimportant point. I don’t need to bring it to spillover.

          However, tigtog, I feel it’s only fair to point out that none of my ‘defenses’ contained the sort of personal attacks SkyTracer exhibited in EVERY post directed at me. Feministe doesn’t deserve THAT either…both EG and Kitty managed to agree with me vociferously without one personal insult.

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm |

          *disagree

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

          I feel it’s only fair to point out that none of my ‘defenses’ contained the sort of personal attacks SkyTracer exhibited in EVERY post directed at me

          Yes, well, them’s the breaks when you go around being habitually and professionally snotty about The Value Of High Literature on a public forum.

        9. SkyTracer
          SkyTracer October 8, 2013 at 7:41 am |

          Steve, one reason that you (specifically) shouldn’t go around criticizing people’s reading comprehension is that you seem to have an elementary school student’s appreciation for rhetoric and the psychology of communication.

          I called the giraffe on both of us. I was losing my temper, and I knew it. I stand by my assertions, but I’ll happily cop to having the spine and wit to frame those assertions with proper invective where you’d use the passive aggressive bullshit of someone who has too much time on his hands, too few thoughts in his head, and the narcissism to believe otherwise.

          But alas, you’re a regular commenter and I’m a mere long-time lurker. If it’ll make you feel safer, Steve, then I’ll gladly volunteer for automod. I won’t hold it against anyone. Feministe does deserve better than my displaced anger.

        10. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 8, 2013 at 11:13 am |

          I dig your command of the written (typed) word S. Tracer, you should post more.

        11. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 8, 2013 at 11:33 am |

          But alas, you’re a regular commenter and I’m a mere long-time lurker. If it’ll make you feel safer, Steve, then I’ll gladly volunteer for automod. I won’t hold it against anyone. Feministe does deserve better than my displaced anger.

          ST, if you want to have further discussion about this, I’m happy to do it in Spillover, but not in this thread as I’ve already been advised by a giraffe not to continue it here. So, let me know if you want to do so and please don’t view my non-response as more evidence of my immaturity.

        12. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm |

          Just to answer is there really a difference between Shakespeare’s plays and TMZ- I’d say yes. TMZ is nothing but body shaming, mental/ emotional problem gossiping, bullying “entertainment”. At least you can learn something constructive from Shakespeare. ( faking your death is a bad idea, blood on your hands doesn’t wash off etc) So far there’s not much redeeming value to be found in humiliating Amanda Bynes, or speculating that every actress who gains 2 lbs is sporting a baby bump. Shakespeare may have been lowbrow, but TMZ is scraping the bottom of the sleaze barrel. Sometimes, it’s a matter of degrees and sometimes degrees matter. By the by- people watching sons of anarchy are watching Shakespeare. Many just don’t know it. But, back to the topic, I have no problem with teaching people the secret passwords to the elite clubs. Shaming them for not knowing the sooper sekrit handshake is a problem. That an elite club exists is a problem too, but it’s one I don’t see ever going away. So infiltrate, but don’t become a member.

        13. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm |

          I think you’re right, pheenobarbiedoll. I was mostly responding to the idea that Shakespeare’s plays are “high entertainment” or elite. I think there’s similarities between some of his plays and things like TMZ ie taking common tropes/stories/myths and retelling them for “the common person”. But that’s as far as the comparison goes, and thanks for calling that out!

          and I agree. It doesn’t look like Shakespeare etc-as-shorthand-for-elite is going anywhere soon. I like what you say about the “secret passwords to the elite clubs”: I think that’s why Fat Steve’s comment kinda got my hackles up: it didn’t look any different from any other elite/pseudo-elite handwringing about Smart People Read Proust, Why Is The Television On And Why Are You Laughing?
          It’s one thing to go “Yup, this is what gets called ‘the canon’, *sigh*. and an entirely other thing to go “You’ve never read Hamlet/Paradise Lost/Ulysses? *sniff*.”

        14. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm |

          It’s one thing to go “Yup, this is what gets called ‘the canon’, *sigh*. and an entirely other thing to go “You’ve never read Hamlet/Paradise Lost/Ulysses? *sniff*.”

          Would it help if I admitted that I have watched far more episodes of 2 Broke Girls this year than seen Shakespeare plays?

          I hope this is not derailing but I was not talking about content. I was reffering to the medium itself. About how individual creative works such as the works of Toni Morrison and Shakespeare (and I would put a local hip hop artist in the same category, or the sort of fanfic that people on this site read and write,) which take some effort to seek out and to fully comprehend and require active interest, are not as financially rewarded or widely appreciated as passive media which is piped in to your living room. I do think that both things have a place and it’s not necessarily that plays/live music/reading/fine arts are better than mass media, but I think there should be equal opportunities for both.

        15. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm |

          “You’ve never read Hamlet/Paradise Lost/Ulysses? *sniff*.”

          Fun activity: in a room with many people who are Proud Of Their Giant Throbbing Intellect, refer to Paradise Lost as “Bible AU fanfic”. Watch for who looks like they want to throttle you. Giggle evilly on the inside.

        16. EG
          EG October 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm |

          I’ve been known to refer to the New Testament as fanfic, myself. That didn’t go over too well with the more devout kind of Christian, either.

        17. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 9, 2013 at 1:53 am |

          Whoa whoa whoa, so now mass media is equally as valuable as fine arts/literature? Come on people, thats taking relativism to a whole new level isnt it? We can all agree that PEOPLE are equal and share the same inherent value and worth, without having to pretend that the same is true for all other phenomena (in this case media, art, literature,etc). It was a sad day for the Enlightenment when the PC crowd hooked up with the relativists along with just enough deconstructionism to be dangerous. Anti-intellectualism is anti-intellectualism, and sadly it’s not limited to Sarah Palin and the Christian Coalition hordes. An appreciation for the literary and artistic masters (NOT just euro-centric literature and art, get up off me) isn’t inherently elitist. It is arguably at least partly classist, but only because access to a classical education was historically quite limited. The problem is not elitism but access, due to historical socio-economic and racial inequalities. I submit that the solution is to improve marginalized community access to education that provides access to the arts, whatever the medium or cultural/ethnic background. Since time immemorial this has been true: ART IMPROVES THE LOT OF MAN. I understand that it’s a hell of a lot easier to just say to hell with it, TMZ or MTV can benefit mankind just as much as Kant or Titian depending on the individual’s experience. Shadow puppets on the cave wall baby. BTdubs, i despise intellectual snobbery/elitism more than most. But pop culture relativism destroys souls.

        18. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 9, 2013 at 2:04 am |

          I posted the above while stuck in a lucid dream, aka the writing is embarrassing. But its a good faith argument: improved access (the bane of elitism) so that everyone can party with the Muses, instead of trying to drag the Muses down to the level of One Direction, Big Brother, and Miley Cyrus.

        19. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 9, 2013 at 10:52 am |

          The problem with this is that the “masters” didn’t become the “masters” just on account of their skill. There are ugly reasons why the majority of the people who are considered literary and artistic masters are white men. Our current definitions of “fine art” or “fine literature” are pretty damn classist and exclusive.
          I haven’t seen anyone advocating anti-intellectualism, just poking fun at people who are Proud Of Their Giant Throbbing Intellects because they “appreciate the masters”.
          Why do people need to appreciate the “masters”? Besides knowing the keys to the club, as pheenobarbiedoll said, if they don’t enjoy whatever “master” it is you’re pushing, why do they need to develop an appreciation at all? It’s not anti-intellectual to say, “Not really my thing”.

          The problem is not elitism but access, due to historical socio-economic and racial inequalities. I submit that the solution is to improve marginalized community access to education that provides access to the arts, whatever the medium or cultural/ethnic background

          I’d say elitism and access (and racism! so much racism) go hand-in-hand: “People like you don’t get the keys to our Special Smart People Club.”
          and while I think better access to the arts for marginalized communities is great in theory, many of these marginalized people historically have had their art *stolen*, appropriated, or made illegal by oppressors/colonizers. “Access to the arts” still tends to mean “access to white people’s arts and arts they’ve stolen”. I don’t know. It rings a bit “tame the savage through our art and music”.

          Since time immemorial this has been true: ART IMPROVES THE LOT OF MAN.

          Sure. But what is art? Who decides? Why is your art better at improving people’s lot than my art?

          I understand that it’s a hell of a lot easier to just say to hell with it, TMZ or MTV can benefit mankind just as much as Kant or Titian depending on the individual’s experience.

          I’m not advocating that everyone start watching TMZ or MTV. I’m advocating that we stop making judgements about people’s intelligence, education level, or class on account of the entertainment they choose. judging how much of a bigoted asshole someone is because of the entertainment they choose is a whole other matter (and one I’m definitely in favour of).
          And when is the choice ever literally “Watching TMZ or reading Kant”?

          Shadow puppets on the cave wall baby.

          Yes. because people who enjoy mass media (which means what exactly?) are just misguided souls who don’t realize what else is out there!

        20. EG
          EG October 9, 2013 at 11:14 am |

          Yep. The idea that it’s impossible to enjoy pop culture and appreciate other kinds of art as well is a false one, as is the idea that the “fine arts” are intrinsically valuable to everybody. Ballet was a low-class pursuit appreciated mainly by upper-class men who liked to watch the pretty women show their legs. Now it’s hard to garner an audience under 65 that isn’t rich and white and it’s considered rather stuffy. Did ballet become more valuable over the past couple hundred years? Jazz was low-down and degenerate; now it’s held in very high esteem by the arbiters of culture.

          Classical music does little to nothing for me, with the exception of Chopin’s Nocturnes. I’d far rather listen to the Spice Girls than Brahms. So what? I appreciate lots of other kinds of music and art. Why is it important to teach students to appreciate Brahms rather than, oh, I don’t know, Augustus Pablo, or some other musician who works in a genre that does nothing for my grandfather?

          I think there is good art and bad art, though not, I’d say, bad forms of art–I think a good artist can do fascinating things with any form ze works with. But the quality of the art does not correlate with the social esteem in which its genre is held and rather than “introduce” marginalized people to dominant culture’s art, we in the dominant culture need to make space and resources for the art of marginalized people to be recognized.

        21. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 9, 2013 at 11:32 am |

          so now mass media is equally as valuable as fine arts/literature

          First off, no one said that. Improve your reading comprehension before you come in to tsk at EG (who’s an English professor, btw) before you Bee Tee Dubya at us.

          Second: I’d rathertrust the wisdom of JK Rowling than fucking Aris-Doesn’tKnowHowManyTeethWomenHave-totle. I’d rather read Seanan McGuire than Sir Walter Scott, because McGuire can actually construct a clever sentence and has something going for her in literary merit compared to a dude who’s basically only still relevant because society hasn’t collectively realised that all old dead white cock isn’t worth sucking.

          when the PC crowd hooked up with the relativists along with just enough deconstructionism to be dangerous

          Oh please. Because I think some mass media is better than some fine art/literature, I’m a PC-relativist-deconstructionist-threat-to-society? Are you REALLY going to look me right in the eye and say that the Tenant of Wildfell Hall is better than the entirety of the BBC’s production history (to take random examples)? Is Rikki Tikki Tavi structurally, stylistically or imaginatively better than Game of Thrones? I could go on indefinitely but I wouldn’t want to be half as tedious as you were.

        22. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 9, 2013 at 11:34 am |

          Oh, and:

          I posted the above while stuck in a lucid dream, aka the writing is embarrassing.

          The writing isn’t what’s embarrassing, honey.

        23. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 9, 2013 at 11:47 am |

          Good points Kitty. I would disagree that the masters (its an awkward term but I’ll stick with it) didn’t become so entirely because of their skill. Certain masters (those of white european stock as you pointed out) have gotten much more recognition and exposure due to euro-centrism and outright racism. However, every culture has its own preeminent artists as well; many of them just aren’t as well known or given their proper due. I think art is overwhelmingly judged on merit and always has been: if you cant write for shit or sing on key, you’re no great artist and it doesnt matter who your father is or what color your skin is. I think art, in the abstract/universal, is pretty darn egalitarian, which is why great art and timeless ideas really do transcend cultural, economic and ethnic lines. It’s why we as humans have always found it worthwhile for many of our brightest minds to spend their lives in pursuit of something with little practical value.
          I’m digressing fast.
          Deciding what actually constitutes “merit”, and how you measure it, is a tough one and I’m not nearly smart enough to substantively remark on it in the confines of a blog comment. But let’s look at literature and philosophy quickly. I would argue to you and pheno that people should appreciate “the masters” in these disciplines because therein lie the world-changing, transcendent ideas and prose (and poetry and pursuit of meaning, constructs some of the world’s greatest minds left behind to add to the collective understanding).
          Again, your point on “what is art, who decides” is well-taken. It’s a tricky debate to have; usually becomes circular fast. I’m tempted to throw out the Justice Stewart quote regarding how one defines hard-core porn, “I know it when I see it.” J/k on that, that would be incredibly pretentious and/or lamesville. I think history over the long-term has proven to be a good judge of whether a work or artist ultimately enriched humanity. And while in the US our historical narrative is extremely ethnocentric, every culture and people has its own history and its own collection of magnificent artistic contributions. The shame is that its all there if people take the trouble to look. I’ve been greatly enriched by the literature, poetry and philosophy of other cultures, and awed by how, despite all our differences, we all possess this innate drive to capture and preserve beauty in the form of art.
          Haha you’re right about the kant vs TMZ choice, that was a dumb remark (of mine)

        24. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 9, 2013 at 11:50 am |

          To Macavity, I wasnt trying to call-out EG. Just making a rambling point on art and whatevs. I don’t recall EG saying anything I particularly disagreed with anyhoo

        25. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

          compared to a dude who’s basically only still relevant because society hasn’t collectively realised that all old dead white cock isn’t worth sucking.

          I just let out the loudest laugh-snort my neighbourhood has ever heard.

          I hate the Allegory of the Cave so damn much, oh my goodness. Or I just hate the Baby’s First Philosophy Class attitude that tends to accompany it, not sure which.
          and it’s such a ridiculous place to try to apply it: it’s not like if you take away my copy of “Score! A Hockey Musical” I’m going to instantly be interested in the recording of “Die Fledermaus” you’re dangling in front of me. Just because something is “a classic” doesn’t mean people have to like (sorry, “appreciate”) it or they’ve got some intellectual or cultural deficiency that needs fixing.

        26. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm |

          Kitty I replied to you, comments still in mod. The plato ref was pretty lame I’ll grant you. I wont dignify macavity’s remarks on dead white men with a response. Okay I am dignifying it with a response. No I’m not.

        27. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 9, 2013 at 1:03 pm |

          @Mac-FEED!!! Best zombie books evar!!

        28. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm |

          The idea that it’s impossible to enjoy pop culture and appreciate other kinds of art as well is a false one

          Well, then why is it that I’m considered hostile to pop culture just for making one or two positive comments about ‘literature,’ such as using that term to describe books in the established canon rather than ‘dead white guy fiction’?

          When we were all talking about what we’re ‘fans’ of, I mentioned the Clash, I think John Waters, comedian Stewart Lee, and possibly the football team I support. I’m sure I didn’t answer Mahler, Bergman, Rabelais,and the Metropolitan Opera.

          My show that I work on is nothing but popular entertainment. We are still playing ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk and we talk about X-factor and stuff like that.

          The reason I loathe shows like TMZ which invade people’s privacy and shame them equally for crimes and foibles has nothing to do with the fact that they are popular, it has to do with the way they treat people.

        29. EG
          EG October 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

          Well, then why is it that I’m considered hostile to pop culture just for making one or two positive comments about ‘literature,’ such as using that term to describe books in the established canon rather than ‘dead white guy fiction’?

          Because you did so by implying invidious distinctions between your exemplar of pop culture and your exemplar of high literature.

          Pop culture, by definition, is always going to be more popular than any niche culture. That’s what pop culture means, for goodness’s sake. So why is it some source for woe and worry? Pop culture was more popular than “high” culture 100 years ago, and 200 years ago, and 300 years ago, and it’ll be more popular 200 years from now, too, because the “pop” stands for “popular,” and if it’s not massively popular, we don’t consider it pop.

        30. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm |

          @pheeno Feed was fucking brilliant!!! ♥

          I was so thrilled when I found out Seanan McGuire wrote zombie books… and her tumblr’s a collection of squee, it is. I actually found her books because someone linked me to an epic livejournal rant on rape by her, and I have to say, she’s an awesome writer and an awesome human being from what I can tell.

        31. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

          Because you did so by implying invidious distinctions between your exemplar of pop culture and your exemplar of high literature.

          I don’t think I did. But if you would explain how I did, I’m willing to listen.

        32. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

          Good points Kitty. I would disagree that the masters (its an awkward term but I’ll stick with it) didn’t become so entirely because of their skill. Certain masters (those of white european stock as you pointed out) have gotten much more recognition and exposure due to euro-centrism and outright racism. However, every culture has its own preeminent artists as well; many of them just aren’t as well known or given their proper due.

          Yes. And this is because of racism. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that all of the examples you’ve given have been white men.

          I think art is overwhelmingly judged on merit and always has been: if you cant write for shit or sing on key, you’re no great artist and it doesnt matter who your father is or what color your skin is. I think art, in the abstract/universal, is pretty darn egalitarian, which is why great art and timeless ideas really do transcend cultural, economic and ethnic lines.

          And yet the most famous pieces of art/the art we consider “canon”, don’t follow that.
          Timmy, don’t assume any of us aren’t aware that brilliant art can be found in all cultures. We *know* this. and we’re pissed off that it’s been stamped out or hidden away or disregarded by oppressors, or we’re frustrated that excellent books/movies/music are disregarded because they aren’t [insert pretentious pseudointellectual wanking here]

          I would argue to you and pheno that people should appreciate “the masters” in these disciplines because therein lie the world-changing, transcendent ideas and prose (and poetry and pursuit of meaning, constructs some of the world’s greatest minds left behind to add to the collective understanding).


          I can see the stars in your eyes from here.
          Nice coincidence then, that it’s generally white men who present your world-changing transcendent ideas.
          This summer I helped a friend with a reading list for a “Women’s Travel Narratives” class she’s teaching this semester. We found a lot of brilliant options, options we thought were going to be at least known: A Lady In The Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird, Dakota by Kathleen Norris, Go Girl: The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure edited by Elaine Lee, contributors included Alice Walker and Maya Angelou. September hit, the syllabus was handed out, aaaand crickets. Also a couple “I thought we would be reading ‘Eat, Pray, Loves’.” Maya Angelou is probably the most famous name on that list and yet hardly any student knew who she was.
          That’s because of racism. And sexism. It’s because the words and the art of women, particularly women of colour, aren’t taken seriously, aren’t seen as possibly worth as much, and are dismissed as “niche”. It’s not like women just suddenly started being brilliant 100 years ago and their art was suddenly worth being noticed.

          your point on “what is art, who decides” is well-taken. It’s a tricky debate to have; usually becomes circular fast. I’m tempted to throw out the Justice Stewart quote regarding how one defines hard-core porn, “I know it when I see it.” J/k on that, that would be incredibly pretentious and/or lamesville.

          Maybe lay off the ableism.

          I know the “what is art” discussion becomes circular, that’s why I brought it up. When you make huge statements about the value of art, but are being pretty clear that what you consider art is going to be fairly “canon”, we’re not going to get anywhere. It’s like when I took Experimental Poetry during undergrad and read Derek Beaulieu’s “Fractal Economies”, which includes poems like this
          Students were up in arms about “That’s not a poem! A poem is, like, sonnets! or Paradise Lost!” They were unwilling to question whether their narrow view of what counted as “art” might be, truly, too narrow or woefully uninformed.

          And while in the US our historical narrative is extremely ethnocentric, every culture and people has its own history and its own collection of magnificent artistic contributions. The shame is that its all there if people take the trouble to look.

          You’re assuming that the artist in question has access to broadcasting/self-promotion tools. That’s the thing about oppressed people: the dominant culture *actively* works to suppress any art or beauty they might create and lay claim to. You’re assuming that people know what to look for. You’re assuming a hell of a lot for someone who doesn’t seem to know very much.

        33. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 12:42 am |

          Oh lordy. Regarding your closing salvo, though I’m hardly the elevated post-colonial scholar you are, PLEASE dont call me out on assuming and then assume right back at me that I’m blissfully unaware of how imperialism and neo-colonialism work. They’re not hard concepts to grasp. The problem is we’re coming at this from really different angles; goodness knows what I’m talking about at this point, but I’m definitely receiving quite the lecture on White Privilege and Erasure 101. Not that I disagree in theory mind you. My main argument was untenable from the beginning anyway. I truly have no use for pop culture, but charging in dictating to everyone what is or isnt art never works out. And it shouldnt.
          I shall withdraw and leave the field to you.
          One more thing though, I most definitely did not mean to imply that only art produced from Dead White Men has value. In fact, I think I recall mentioning how much I’ve personally benefited from exploring the works of other cultures. But don’t think I didnt notice your little cheap shot on race. I mentioned (2, 3?) white names? How damning. I’ve never said anything racially out of line on this site, I dont intend to, and I didnt appreciate your inference.
          I’ve had some fun with experimental poetry in the past, but believe it or not I cant stand Milton. No use for him.

      3. KittySnide
        KittySnide October 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm |

        Fat Steve, I agree that local arts should be more accessible, though I don’t think Toni Morrison is the best example of that (which I think was the point the OP was making). I’m still not a huge fan of the dichotomy of “bad” vs “good” forms of entertainment. I’m not sure that’s what you’re trying to do but it’s definitely how it comes across. You still seem to be making a case for why certain kinds of similar entertainment (books, television, movies, plays) are inherently better than others.

        macavitykitsune,

        Fun activity: in a room with many people who are Proud Of Their Giant Throbbing Intellect, refer to Paradise Lost as “Bible AU fanfic”. Watch for who looks like they want to throttle you. Giggle evilly on the inside.

        that’s hilarious!
        I actually did read a lot of Shakespeare in highschool and college (theatre nerd, y’all) and so there were lots of POTGTI’s who were all “You’re one of us!” who would then be Super Duper Offended when I’d mention that Romeo and Juliet is a story about the consequences of being stupid and selfish. Because apparently that’s not super obvious?
        love the fanfic thing. I will probably be using that soon.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm |

          You still seem to be making a case for why certain kinds of similar entertainment (books, television, movies, plays) are inherently better than others.

          I’m not, I’m merely saying that having a wide range of these types of entertainment is important, and therefore should subsidize the types of entertainment which the mass media outlets don’t feel it is cost-effective to represent. Which does not necessarily pertain to ‘kinds of entertainment’ but includes all sorts of minority views and voices. I felt like the original article by Mr. Perry used Toni Morrison as an example of black female authors not having their voices heard, therefore it seemed the OP was using Toni Morrison’s $24 million to refute that. Perhaps I misunderstood, but that’s not just a nitpick.

        2. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm |

          I read the OP as making fun of the cited author being all “LET ME TEACH YOU ABOUT THIS INCREDIBLE UNKNOWN ARTIST YOU GUYS” when it comes to Toni Morrison. It’s not that Toni Morrison shouldn’t be read, it’s that Morrison *is* read and has been fairly successful and doesn’t need the idealistic dude teaching the poor black people Who you Should Be Reading Instead Of That Show You Are Watching.
          and when you go from that misreading of the OP to what appears to be moaning that not enough people are experiencing your beloved Shakespeare (maybe not what you intended, just how it kind of came across), it ends up looking pretty elitist/classist.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 8, 2013 at 11:47 pm |

          I read the OP as making fun of the cited author being all “LET ME TEACH YOU ABOUT THIS INCREDIBLE UNKNOWN ARTIST YOU GUYS” when it comes to Toni Morrison. It’s not that Toni Morrison shouldn’t be read, it’s that Morrison *is* read and has been fairly successful and doesn’t need the idealistic dude teaching the poor black people Who you Should Be Reading Instead Of That Show You Are Watching.
          and when you go from that misreading of the OP to what appears to be moaning that not enough people are experiencing your beloved Shakespeare (maybe not what you intended, just how it kind of came across), it ends up looking pretty elitist/classist.

          Ok, I will not deny that I did take it as read that everyone would agree that going to see Shakespeare play would have more educational value than watching an episode of TMZ (for reasons vaguely similar to the ones stated by pheeno in her above comment.) Perhaps that makes me elitist, but surely not outrageously so.

          Note to tigtog: I haven’t ignored your comment, it just seems the conversation has become more productive.

        4. tigtog
          tigtog October 9, 2013 at 4:24 am | *

          Steve, I appreciate you checking in, and I agree that the conversation has drifted into more productive areas.

        5. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm |

          Maybe we move to #spillover? I’d really like to continue this line of conversation! but I’m not sure this is the best thread? Why don’t we head on over there? I’ll start something off.

        6. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

          or here’s fine, ha.
          I think part of it is that “Shakespeare > TMZ” is too basic/broad for this kind of discussion? It’s like a long-ago Feministe thread I read about health and fat acceptance, and one commenter kept needling at “But a SALAD is always healthier than a BIG MAC, right?” and people kept going “Sigh. Yes. If you’re doing a very 101 ‘Eating Healthy’ thing. Sure. But for this discussion, Salad vs Big Mac is too grade-school level.”

          I think it’s the same with “Shakespeare vs TMZ”. TMZ sucks, for all the reasons pheenobarbiedoll listed and more. But there was no indication in your original complaint that your issue with TMZ is that it treats people like shit. It sounded more like “People are watching television more than Shakespeare’s plays!”
          If you’d have said “There’s lots of great entertainment choices that don’t include objectification and exploitation and I wish they were more accessible” or something similar I don’t think you’d have gotten the response you did.

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 10, 2013 at 12:56 am |

          I think it’s the same with “Shakespeare vs TMZ”. TMZ sucks, for all the reasons pheenobarbiedoll listed and more. But there was no indication in your original complaint that your issue with TMZ is that it treats people like shit. It sounded more like “People are watching television more than Shakespeare’s plays!”
          If you’d have said “There’s lots of great entertainment choices that don’t include objectification and exploitation and I wish they were more accessible” or something similar I don’t think you’d have gotten the response you did.

          That’s not really a summation of what I was saying, though. I was merely correcting the OP’s assertion about media audience figures which is something that I do actually know something about. Being a college dropout who has worked the media for 15 years I feel comfortable talking about how many people use a particular type of media yet I don’t feel comfortable arguing the value of Shakespeare with an English professor, especially one who greets me with that credential in the thrust of her blanket dismissal of my comment and then proceeds to accuse me of elitism. In fact, everyone who accused me of elitism in some way evinced my lack of education (“an elementary school student’s appreciation for rhetoric and the psychology of communication,” indeed.) Yes, even you Kitty, your comment on Shakespeare being low entertainment, with it’s implicit ‘How dare you have an opinion on Shakespeare when you clearly don’t know the mores of Elizabethan-Jacobean culture?’ was just dripping with elitism as it accused me of elitism.

      4. KittySnide
        KittySnide October 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm |

        I’ve been known to refer to the New Testament as fanfic, myself. That didn’t go over too well with the more devout kind of Christian, either.

        I’ve done that too! with the New Testament (is there something better to call it? the best I’ve found is Dawn’s “2nd Testament’ which is still problematic?) and the Book of Mormon. it frustrates many, and easily!

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 8, 2013 at 11:58 pm |

          Well, aren’t there good and bad forms of entertainment? I consider old western with horrendously stereotypical Indians to be pretty bad entertainment, and shows that glorify sexual violence towards women as fun times…those types of things aren’t what I’d consider good, since they contribute to a mentality that leads to real harm. Saying there are no bad forms is kinda like saying there are no bad jokes.

        2. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 9, 2013 at 12:05 am |

          Well, aren’t there good and bad forms of entertainment? I consider old western with horrendously stereotypical Indians to be pretty bad entertainment, and shows that glorify sexual violence towards women as fun times…those types of things aren’t what I’d consider good, since they contribute to a mentality that leads to real harm. Saying there are no bad forms is kinda like saying there are no bad jokes.

          absolutely!
          I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to imply that “good” and “bad”entertainment are meanless ideas! I was trying to push back against the idea that “good/valuable” is a specific (white European, from a certain time period) thing and that anything outside of that isn’t “good” literature/poetry. I’ll work on making that clearer!

        3. KittySnide
          KittySnide October 9, 2013 at 12:06 am |

          *meaningless ideas

    3. KittySnide
      KittySnide October 10, 2013 at 12:14 am |

      I would argue to you and pheno that people should appreciate “the masters” in these disciplines because therein lie the world-changing, transcendent ideas and prose (and poetry and pursuit of meaning, constructs some of the world’s greatest minds left behind to add to the collective understanding).

      You’re assuming that canonical works have some sort of inherent value on account of their canonical status, and that these works have stayed around because of their value not because of a system dedicated to preserving the livelihoods of white men above everyone else. This is so naive it’s actually kind of sweet, in a “my teeth itch” kind of way.

      1. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 12:55 am |

        Haha oh man, I’m not going to touch this with a ten-foot pole. While I agree whole-heartedly on the existence and pernicious influence of race and class privilege, maybe privilege shouldnt be the end-all be-all through which to analyze the world. I find it equally sweet that you think you’re teaching me things. Though I dont want this to devolve into a snarkfest, this exchange was valuable to me as a reminder that talking about art often makes one look like an ass (i’m referring to myself)

        1. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 1:17 am |

          And I’m well-aware that my saying this will be seen as an overweening example of my privilege. Maybe it is. And maybe I’d see value in the whole exercise if I thought the “check your privilege” meme was contributing to any meaningful change. I’ll stick with IRL activism, though I dont want to downplay the tremendous amount of self-satisfaction and back-patting I’ve seen come out of it.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 10, 2013 at 1:33 am |

          I for one am sure no one in this conversation thinks they’ve managed to teach you anything.

        3. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 1:55 am |

          You do realize that privilege, intersectionality, the patriarchy, etc are not difficult concepts to grasp, right? Well, except for Jill and a few other notables i dont gather that the average education level is very high around here. I know why you’re pissed though Mac. And I assure you, fan fiction has value too.
          I’m out of here my peoples. I think there may be a reason the mainstream Left keeps you ground-breaking online activists confined to a dusty corner of the blogosphere except for when they trot you out a few weeks around election time. The discourse here would drive a crazy person daft.
          Peace in the Middle East,

          Timmy the Twinkles

        4. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 1:55 am |

          You do realize that privilege, intersectionality, the patriarchy, etc are not difficult concepts to grasp, right? Well, except for Jill and a few other notables i dont gather that the average education level is very high around here. I know why you’re pissed though Mac. And I assure you, fan fiction has value too.
          I’m out of here my peoples. I think there may be a reason the mainstream Left keeps you ground-breaking online activists confined to a dusty corner of the blogosphere except for when they trot you out a few weeks around election time. The discourse here would drive a crazy person daft.
          Peace in the Middle East,

          Timmy the Twinkles

        5. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 1:59 am |

          Sorry mods I accidentally posted twice. You have actually been quite kind and magnanimous mods, and i thank you.

          See you at Kos,

          TT

        6. Ledasmom
          Ledasmom October 10, 2013 at 8:16 am |

          While I agree whole-heartedly on the existence and pernicious influence of race and class privilege, maybe privilege shouldnt be the end-all be-all through which to analyze the world.

          And who is saying it should be?
          I enjoy older science fiction but I have to make a lot of allowances in order to read it (had a most amusing conversation the other evening, or possibly a two-headed rant, regarding SF authors who Cannot Write Women, or possibly Wrote One Woman Once). It’s like being continually poked in the side by someone; once is mildly irritating; repeatedly makes you want to throw breakables. Now take that irritation and multiply it for every degree to which one is removed from the “standard” white guy. At some point there’s not enough allowances in the world.
          In other words, it’s not that one sits down and determines exactly how much privilege the author has (oh, give him a point for male, take off one for depression, let’s see, four? Four is too high). It’s that the privilege leads to writing stuff that spends a lot of time insulting people who aren’t privileged, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes intentionally. It is also that, if the “classics” are preponderantly written by people in one demographic, the probability that you’ve actually produced a list of the best stuff ever is low.
          I mean, I like Shakespeare as much as the next person, but let’s not pretend that mistaken identity is the absolute apex of comedy, okay?

        7. GallingGalla
          GallingGalla October 10, 2013 at 8:20 am |

          Wow, Timmy, that’s quite a spectacular flounce. With a spectacular level of ableism at the end.

        8. EG
          EG October 10, 2013 at 9:32 am |

          i dont gather that the average education level is very high around here.

          What an asshole. Some of the smartest people I’ve known never had the opportunity to go to college. If you think this is an acceptable way of insulting people, or, worse, that this is actually a legitimate measure of somebody’s worth or understanding, you can fuck right off.

        9. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 10, 2013 at 9:45 am |

          Pretty difficult to share the profound human experience with someone who doesn’t view you as human.

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |

          Yo dawg, I heard you like to flounce, so I got you a flounce so you can flounce while you flounce. ;D

          Also this. Which may be unrelated, but was definitely more entertaining than you.

        11. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 10, 2013 at 10:44 am |

          To EG, et al,
          Wondered back in cause the education/lack of comment was low. I would take that back, and I’ve known a tone of people with spectacular raw intelligence that never went to college and I’ve known Yale grads who can barely tie their own shoes. But i stand by the rest (not that it matters). I dont think I was contributing much here anyway, so let me just grab the rest of my things and ride off into the e-sunset.

          Flouncin’ on out,

          Twinkles, Timmy

        12. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |

          FLOUNCE BACK TO FLOUNCE WHILE YOU FLOUNCE IN THE FLOUNCE

          ‘CUZ THE FLOUNCE, O THE FLOUNCE, IT WAS GOOOOD

        13. Tyris
          Tyris October 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |

          The discourse here would drive a crazy person daft.

          As crazy people who haven’t got any dafter while being here, we would like to refute your claim.

  5. a lawyer
    a lawyer October 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

    Are you sure that the “Pragmatic alternatives” was not satire? It certainly reads that way to me.

    1. Wiley
      Wiley October 4, 2013 at 9:00 am |

      Oh man, that would be trolling me hard :)

      But I don’t think so, sadly.

  6. The Real Pope
    The Real Pope October 4, 2013 at 6:13 am |

    these are all good points but I still don’t know whether I’m supposed to hem my pants for the length they are when they sag or if I’m supposed to hem them for regular wear and bunch them up as part of the look. Is there a style guide I could reference?

    1. Wiley
      Wiley October 4, 2013 at 9:00 am |

      I’d go with the pants in the flyer wagon look myself.

  7. katharina
    katharina October 4, 2013 at 8:19 am |

    Reading is strongly correlated with academic success

    Sorry but this is serious BS.
    In fact, high income of the parents is correlated with a) more reading than in low-income families and b) higher academic success in the children.
    Statisticians call this an “illusory correlation”, because the ‘true’ causes are disguised. Reading does NOT cause academic success; parents’ income does.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan October 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |

      Reading certainly helps though, unless you want to tell me that dollar bills give you a decent vocabulary that isn’t brand names. :p

    2. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 7, 2013 at 11:43 am |

      Except that low-income families that practice reading with their children see greater academic success than those that don’t. So no, actually, BS it is not.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

        Except that low-income families that practice reading with their children see greater academic success than those that don’t. So no, actually, BS it is not.

        Maybe Katharina was just prefacing her comment by informing us that the comment was BS.

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune October 7, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

      Don’t want to pile on, but I’m just really fascinated by how anyone could come to the conclusion that reading isn’t correlated to academic success. I really hate those cries of “PC gone wild!” but… this is PC going wild.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

        Don’t want to pile on, but I’m just really fascinated by how anyone could come to the conclusion that reading isn’t correlated to academic success. I really hate those cries of “PC gone wild!” but… this is PC going wild.

        More like statistics gone shit.

        Funny, I’ve always heard the term as ‘PC gone mad’…’PC gone wild’ sounds like a really boring Spring Break movie ;)

    4. SkyTracer
      SkyTracer October 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm |

      Every other thing you said was wrong.

      An illusory correlation is a perceived correlation that isn’t a correlation at all. You’re using the word “cause” there. Stop it.*

      *The daily rise of the sun in Earth’s western hemisphere correlates with my rise from sleep every morning. Am I a wizard?

      1. Donna L
        Donna L October 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

        This is bullshit. Of course there’s a direct correlation (and causation, too!) between reading in early childhood and academic success. Within economic classes, so it’s an apples to apples comparison.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L October 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

          Sorry, this wasn’t meant as a response to you; it was meant as a response to katharina.

        2. SkyTracer
          SkyTracer October 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |

          No need to apologize; there’s a perfect correlation between the suggestion that I’m a wizard and you accidentally responding to my post. Ipso facto, I am a wizard, ergo my wizard powers compelled you to respond to me rather than katharina, hence I shall soon receive my belated invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

          Quod to the erat to the demonstrandum.

  8. Weekend Links #9 | quiteirregular
    Weekend Links #9 | quiteirregular October 12, 2013 at 6:15 am |

    [...] Sagging Pants Do not Cause Inequality – Wiley Reading at Feministe responds to Andre Perry’s “pragmatic” programme for social justice.  There’s some interesting pushback to all sides in the comments. [...]

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