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Aug 14 2011

Fairly nightmarish

After reading the responses to this article, I’ve reconsidered and decided it was too easily misconstrued, so it’s gone.

I will leave a link to the original news story, however.

361 comments

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  1. 1
    Charlie Foxtrot

    That reminds me – I’ve still got a whole series of ‘V’ to catch up with…

  2. 2
    Phillip IV

    Too bad her husband isn’t running a clinic for straight reparative therapy – that pic would probably be a great help with that.

  3. 3
    Kichae

    I don’t care if the “-ORN” in the background doesn’t actually say what my mind filled in, I still laughed.

    “Foot long” and “-inks” got me, too.

    The foreground, on the other hand, makes me want to curl up in a ball on the shower floor.

  4. 4
    fcaccin

    Maybe it’s just me…

  5. 5
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    You had me barking with laughter after the fold-totally didn’t see it coming. Then you made a joke Bachmann snake jaws and I really lost it.

  6. 6
    Inaji

    Aauggh, you should warn a person, PZ! Yikes. Am I the only one who is more than a bit creeped out by the avid interest on the man’s face?

  7. 7
    Chakolate

    Look, everybody, there’s plenty about Bachman (both the he and the she) to criticize, without taking cheap shots. Just my NSHO.

  8. 8
    Philip Legge

    I suppose this is the Bachmann photo that people have been talking about; a nice bit of misdirection to conceal it that way Poopyhead, but do we really need to poke fun in this way, rather than taking on objectionable utterances like:

    I support the federal marriage amendment, because I believe that we will see this issue at the Supreme Court someday, and, as president, I will not nominate activist judges who legislate from the bench. I also want to say, when I was in Minnesota, I was the chief author of the constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man, one woman. I have an absolutely unblemished record when it comes to this issue—man-woman marriage.

    I’m sure my concern will be noted. (Don’t bother telling me.)

  9. 9
    OakWind

    Did not see that coming!

  10. 10
    'smee

    I am totally grossed out by this! WTF is she pulling from her mouth?

    And what is with the Tone Trolling Twins (Chakolate, Peter Legge)?

    Rules of teh interwebs:

    IF: Public Figure + Stupid Photo THEN: BEGIN Snark-fest!

    IF Pretentious Public Figure + Stupid Photo THEN: BEGIN Uber-Snark-fest!

  11. 11
    The Panic Man

    And so it is, Philip. (Your request to have your trolling go un-noted is denied, by the way.) If you were paying attention, you’d realize we take on the inhuman shit that come out of Bachmann’s mouth quite frequently.

  12. 12
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Philip,

    “Rule #32. Enjoy the little things”

    :)

  13. 13
    Philip Legge

    Peter Legge

    Who, `Smee?

  14. 14
    Contented Reader

    I am totally grossed out by this! WTF is she pulling from her mouth?

    The traditional midwestern US fair food includes batter-dipping and deep-frying just about anything that can be batter-dipped and deep-fried. But if I had to guess, based on the object and also on the signs behind her, I’d say that she is eating a foot-long corn dog. If you are unfamiliar with our midwestern cuisine, that is a hot dog, batter-dipped and deep-fried.

    They are actually delicious. Um… for certain definitions of ‘delicious.’ And you really only need one a year. So they are much like penises in those respects.

    Even at midwestern fairs, penises are not traditionally batter-dipped and deep-fried.

    Yet.

  15. 15
    'smee

    ‘smee must pay obeisance to Typos!

    But Philip – you knowed it was you, all along!

  16. 16
    'Tis Himself

    I will not nominate activist judges who legislate from the bench.

    When a conservative talks about “activist judges” they mean “judges who make rulings I don’t like.”

  17. 17
    Patricia, OM

    It would have looked worse if it had been deep fried butter on a stick. That’s just gross.

  18. 18
    Ragutis

    smee says:
    14 August 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I am totally grossed out by this! WTF is she pulling from her mouth?

    You think that’s gross?

    Ahem… (a stick of) deep fried butter on a stick @ 5:50

  19. 19
    A3Kr0n

    Oh my Pink Unicorn, you actually read our comments?
    Ya, I emailed that photo yesterday to the three people on my email list.

  20. 20
    Midnight Rambler

    Here’s some more detail about fried butter. It’s 1/8 pound, a whole half-stick. I’ve actually joked about southerners/midwesterners eating “deep-fried fat” for a long time, but didn’t think I’d actually see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXJ2jdar13s

  21. 21
    cyberCMDR

    Ah, something unwholesome on a stick… with a corndog on the other end.

  22. 22
    Midnight Rambler

    Also, in terms of eating things, check this out (disable the sound first, the guy who posted it is a jerk but other versions are worse video quality): goblin shark

  23. 23
    Kamaka

    @ Chakolate

    Look, everybody, there’s plenty about Bachman (both the he and the she) to criticize, without taking cheap shots. Just my NSHO.

    You, sir/madame, are a poopypants, in my NSHO.

    Go to the humor store and ask them for a sensa.

    Yeesh.

  24. 24
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I’m with those who don’t think making a har-har over a pic of a female public figure eating a phallic-looking item of food is appropriate (even if you don’t mention the obvious conclusion we’re supposed to draw).

    This person is prime for many other forms of ridicule.

  25. 25
    Non-Biblical Paul

    @ Phillip IV:

    “Too bad her husband isn’t running a clinic for straight reparative therapy – that pic would probably be a great help with that.”

    I beg to differ.

  26. 26
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Argh! I just ate! No I think I’m gonna be sick. :(

  27. 27
    Cosmic Snark

    Awesome. I was expecting a detailed biological lesson under the fold… and I guess I got one.

  28. 28
    Cosmic Snark

    smee must pay obeisance to Typos!

    I dunno about you, but I pay obeisance to Tpyos.

  29. 29
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I dunno about you, but I pay obeisance to Tpyos.

    Ype.

  30. 30
    Chakolate

    kamaka @ 23, Your use of the word ‘poopypants’ definitely made me laugh, and also made me realize that I was being an adult in a roomful of 3rd graders, which justifies calling me ‘poopypants’. Sorry about that.

  31. 31
    Great American Satan

    I tend to agree w/ StewBeef that we should get back to making fun of her words. I feel icky making fun of the way ladies look. This pic’s humor is at least partially based on sexual suggestion too, so… icky.

    But yes, mockery must happen. We have to send this freak back to the sticks where she belongs. Or maybe Arkham Asylum, if that was real.

    What’s a better super villain name or her? “Madame Theocrat” or “The Gender Traitor”?
    -

  32. 32
    Marella

    If she’s stupid enough to pose like this in public she deserves all she gets. She must have known there were people with cameras about. Presidential candidates need to take care what they get photographed doing and she is usually very careful not to sully her image. Eg she doesn’t allow photos to be taken of her in casual clothes IIRC. This is just poor judgement.

  33. 33
    ImaginesABeach

    Interesting that she is using this:

    I also want to say, when I was in Minnesota, I was the chief author of the constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man, one woman.

    as her talking point. Given that Minnesota doesn’t actually have a constitutional amendment to define marriage as anything. Seems like that would just be further evidence of her inability to actually get work done.

    We are currently fighting an attempt to put bigotry in our constitution, but I think it’s going to fail.

  34. 34
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Rather than giving her her own supervillain name, I always just compare her to Dolores Umbridge. *shrug* And Marella, eating and posing are not actually the same thing. It’s hard to eat in such a way that no one will be able to snap an undignified photo of it.

  35. 35
    DLC

    now, I have to confess a weakness for certain fried foods.
    But really… Michelle Bachmann just makes me lose my appetite.

  36. 36
    Carlie

    Philip – the one most people have been talking about is the cover of Newsweek, which shows “crazy eyes”.

    I also don’t like making fun of people based on pictures; with someone in the public eye, there are so many photos taken that some are bound to look stupid.

  37. 37
    Non-Biblical Paul

    I don’t see anything erotic going on when I see Bachmann in that photo…or when I see her in any other photo. I think we can criticize her platform and yet with her, there’s still a lot of room to criticize her looks. You know, “To everything turn, turn, turn!”, and all that – this is definitely a time to criticize her ugliness.

    When Chris Rodda posted a picture of Bachmann’s ugly husband up on her blog, comparing him to Benny Hill (posted on this very website), I laughed then, too. Same when she posted a picture of John Boehner next to Droopy Dog. Nobody protested then.

  38. 38
    Duce

    Goodbye Erections! See you in 6-8 weeks!

  39. 39
    Carlie

    Ah, relevant post from feministe: Damn you, Newsweek, for what you make me do.

    Quote from same:

    And thus I am pissed off: I find myself in a position to have to defend Michele Bachmann. I hated having to face off against the sexist attacks on Sarah Palin, and I hate having to do it now in defense of Bachmann. There are so many things to attack besides her appearance. On the list of things that are wrong about her, those glazed, kind of disturbing eyes are way down toward the bottom. To quote Jon Stewart last week, “You want a photo that makes her seem a little off? Make it out of her words.”

  40. 40
    joed

    @14
    that is really funny–thanks!

  41. 41
    Cuttlefish

    There is also a picture of her husband taking the first bite of that same corndog, which will completely dispel any rumors of his possible Narnian residence.

    http://deadspin.com/5830719/future-first-man-marcus-bachmann-eating-a-corn-dog-future-first-man-marcus-bachmann-eating-a-corn-dog

  42. 42
    Kamaka

    OK. I guess the joke needs explaining.

    This woman claims a moral high ground. She thinks she knows what god thinks. And of course, her god thinks that what she thinks is what god thinks is best for all of us.

    Bachmann is a fucking christian dominionist. So what she thinks she knows of what god thinks is that we all to bow at the altar of her and her god’s moral proscriptions.

    All right, that’s the set-up.

    In this photo, she looks like an ape doing an ape-like thing, something less than moral according to her thoughts about god’s thoughts.

    Since she is indeed an ape who makes shit up about “god’s morality”, in this photo she has made a monkey of herself.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with being a monkey.

  43. 43
    Non-Biblical Paul

    It’s cool the way her eyes roll back in her head when she’s eating, just like a shark.

  44. 44
    shaxanth27

    Man, that sausage has ZERO standards

  45. 45
    Cuttlefish

    Ok… I regret my comment #41. Frankly, the “closeted gay” taunting of Marcus Bachmann is offensive, and only serves to perpetuate a “gay = insult” meme.

    What is more, the Michele Bachman corndog pic is also frankly unfair, and represents an additional burden that any female candidate bears unfairly.

    Yes, I wrote #41; I’ll have to live with it. But I can at least point out what an asshole I was when I did.

  46. 46
    Midnight Rambler

    The thing is, that Newsweek pic isn’t a fluke; she has crazy eyes all the time. It meshes with what she says: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoH-ITFjbZg

  47. 47
    shaxanth27

    @chakolate #7:

    There sure as hell is! And there are also cheap shots to be taken.

    What’s your point?

  48. 48
    stan

    Dear Newsweek. This photo is better.

    Love, Stan.

  49. 49
    Philip Legge

    Carlie, thanks; I meant the corndog photo, assuming that most people had already seen the Newsweek one, which at least was posed for even if it is way beyond unflattering. As others have pointed out, there’s not much dignity in being photographed eating, which makes it a very cheap shot. I’d just seen your post over at B&W on unflattering photos of Hillary Clinton, which seems to be a stock in trade of Getty Images.

    Non-biblical Paul, the resemblance between Marcus Bachmann and Benny Hill is actually fair to Bachmann – maybe the facial features are dissimilar but the coiffing of his hair helps considerably. The later threads by Chris however are distinctly unfair – Michelle versus Batboy, for non-existent-heaven’s sake: again, cheap shots.

  50. 50
    Algernon

    My bite circumference totally pwns hers, but I like the way her eyes are all winky and rolling back. To be honest, having a chuckle at a stupid looking picture is pretty much a part of human life. I have many an ugly and stupid picture of myself that people have laughed at and I’m not even famous.

    Meh… if some one were saying that this image of her is representative of why she is a poor candidate then I would have a problem with that. Having a laugh at a grandstanding holier-than-though public figure’s craptastic snapshot seems pretty mild comparatively.

    The sexuality of it (hotdog fetish?)is only dangerous to me if it were being used to shame her, which perhaps some people are doing for all I know (I’ll be the first to admit that recently I have really just withdrawn from the world at large) and that would be annoying, but I don’t really see that here.

  51. 51
    shaxanth27

    @Cuttlefish #45:

    I understand what you mean, but for me it also highlights the
    “Gay Conversion Therapist = closeted gay/detestable, damaging hypocrite” reality, eg. Richard Cohen. I’m fully in favour of constantly harping on that.

  52. 52
    Nom de Plume

    ‘Tis Himself @16: When a conservative talks about “activist judges” they mean “judges who make rulings I don’t like.”

    Even more ignorantly, conservatives don’t realize that the most “activist” judges tend to be GOP-appointed ones, in that they are the ones who most overrule existing law.

    But mostly they don’t like anyone who’s not white and male.

  53. 53
    Alan Macphail

    Well, that’s one way to stop her from saying something stupid.

    Unfortunately… it’s what comes out of her mouth that is dangerous.

  54. 54
    Ragutis

    IMHO, it’s not that it’s an unflattering photo of Bachman that makes it funny, it’s the look on the dude’s face behind her. It couldn’t be more obvious if you photoshopped a thought bubble over his head saying :”Oh yeah, baby! Take all of it.”

  55. 55
    Non-Biblical Paul

    Maybe there’s a lot of truth to what those of you protesting our making fun of Bachmann’s looks are saying. Maybe being viewed just as an object is something a female candidate (or any female professional) could suffer. However, I think there’s good evidence that men are judged similarly unfairly, such as when a candidate like JFK won for looking best in the televised debate. Or what about when Dean lost the primary for that high-pitched scream?

    People have been making fun of politicians forever, and when it comes to Democrat and Republican candidates, they really deserve it, because they’re in charge of our lives, they are horrible, and we can really do nothing about them otherwise, save for casting meaningless votes for 3rd party leaders. So, American presidential elections have been incredibly brutal for a long time, to make a special exception just for one candidate because of their sex could also give that candidate an unfair advantage.

    Going back to how women are viewed sometimes unfairly, I can see how a woman might justifiably reserve the right to assume someone is sexist when they see a post like the one with this photo. Or, at least until they know otherwise about that person. But if you already know that person isn’t sexist, I think that’s a bit strange. The entire issue is whether a person is being judged unfairly.

    Ann Coulter, for example. Her eye makeup makes her look like Skeletor’s girlfriend or something. I said that earlier and someone called me sexist.

    Bachmann’s husband looks like Benny Hill and Ann Coulter looks like Skeletor’s girlfriend or something. John Boehner does look a bit like Droopy Dog in the jowls (although I’ll admit, it’s subjective), and Michele Bachmann is completely crazy looking with that damn corndog. Whatever!

  56. 56
    magistramarla

    Hey guys,
    I’m a woman and I’ve always considered myself a feminist.
    I have absolutely no problem with you making fun of Bachmann with this picture. She is so disgusting and her candidacy is so dangerous for this country, I believe that we need to keep showing her in all of her stupidity and hypocrisy for all to see.
    Don’t be gentlemen – let her have it, guys! I’ll join you.

  57. 57
    coyotenose

    Cuttlefish @45,

    Cuttlefish’s maturity and self-awareness reminded me of something. I have never seen a “conservative” retract a statement (with or without apology) without adding a backhanded insult or passive-aggressive comment about how they were “right after all”.

    Are they out there, and I’m just missing them? Or is this a nearly omnipresent expression of the rather bizarre meme to which they ascribe that admitting to mistakes is a weakness rather than a strength?

  58. 58
    cyberCMDR

    Much of the discussion here has revolved around whether we should observe PC etiquette in discussing Bachmann. While she is definitely Political, there is very little to her that is Correct. She will always provide a target rich environment for ridicule, for anybody who can rub more than two neurons between their ears to spark a thought.

  59. 59
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Sigh.
    Paul, someone not being “a sexist” doesn’t mean they can’t do or say sexist and damaging things. In fact, the question of whether someone is “a sexist” is actually not terribly useful. Intention: Not fucking magic.
    magistramarla, feel free to give everyone all kinds of cookies, but you don’t actually get to be the Voice of Feminism here and give people permission to do things on behalf of feminists. Merely “considering yourself a feminist” doesn’t give you any cred around here.
    cyberCMDR, until you offer a coherent definition of what “politically correct” means, I’m going to assume you’re like everyone else who bandies that term about – or to put it more precisely, that you are being disingenuous or thoughtless and therefore your opinion has little value.

  60. 60
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    The problem is that when women are judged so much by their looks, then addressing a woman politician’s appearance and not her arguments is, well, awkward at best. It’s hard to avoid the sexist tropes. Not impossible, but it’s a minefield.

    @Cuttlefish, the point is absolutely not that gay is bad! The point is that virulent homophobes have a well-documented history of being outed as gay. There’s just an endless stream of them; given that history it deserves to be as much a cultural meme as the “priest=child molester” equation. If rolling our eyes and observing that “the gentlemen do protest too much” gets the homophobes to shut up, then that’s a bonus for all gays.

  61. 61
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    The problem is that when women are judged so much by their looks, then addressing a woman politician’s appearance and not her arguments is, well, awkward at best. It’s hard to avoid the sexist tropes. Not impossible, but it’s a minefield.

    And honestly, I think PZ did avoid those tropes, so far as they can be avoided when the discussion is appearance-based. The comparison to a reptile unhinging its jaw is actually a fairly creative and non-gender-based approach to the picture. If there is a good way to make fun of a picture of a politician who is a woman, that’s probably it. Commenters, however, have drawn in the whole disgust-sexual-rejection nonsense, as well as overtly sexualized the picture, and that’s both less good and totally expected when this kind of conversation comes up.

  62. 62
    andyo

    If she’s stupid enough to pose like this in public she deserves all she gets.

    Stupid enough to eat, stupid enough to blink, or both? This photo is absolutely, 100% not her fault.

    She is so disgusting and her candidacy is so dangerous for this country, I believe that we need to keep showing her in all of her stupidity and hypocrisy for all to see.

    And this photo shows she’s stupid and a hypocrite?

  63. 63
    andyo

    It’s cool the way her eyes roll back in her head when she’s eating, just like a shark.

    She’s just blinking. Seriously people, you’ve never taken such a photograph of anyone you know?

    I think we can criticize her platform and yet with her, there’s still a lot of room to criticize her looks.

    But why criticize her looks? She looks just like a perfectly average woman. Same as Ann Coulter, she looks just fine. That people transfer their kooky words into their looks is the problem here.

  64. 64
    Non-Biblical Paul

    I’ve already decided against Bachmann just on the basis that she’s a Republican and a conservative, and a member of the religious-right. Any one of those three distinctions alone would have been enough for me to vote against her. Apparently, by the things she says, she would stop at nothing to destroy me, so at this point the proverbial gloves are off.

    I don’t think that when people make fun of Michele Bachmann’s husband, they are really making fun of him because he is gay. Instead, they are making fun of him because he persecutes gays, and often, as the saying goes, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. So, people aren’t belittling him for homosexuality, they’re belittling him for being so damn twisted. I’m gay; I understand that. The minute you know someone is homophobic, let them have it.

    With Michele Bachmann, it’s a very similar situation to the one concerning her husband. Albeit, I think the reason why people have decided to verbally emasculate him, when people don’t seem to be questioning Michele Bachmann’s sexuality simultaneously, has to do with him being mainly associated with just that one issue, while she (being a candidate) naturally has publicized her views on all the issues, and (more importantly) has therefore been found to be all-over-the-place, fucked-up crazy.

    I think a lot of people similarly decide against a candidate’s platform first and then make jokes about them. Undoubtedly, there are some people who watch the TV debates and vote for the guy with the best teeth and hair, but I’m fairly certain Professor Myers isn’t someone who would do that, and that’s not the way it works for me, either.

    Really, the politicians who get to have their looks made fun of are the lucky ones. 3rd party candidates don’t make it onto the same stage, neither figuratively nor literally.

  65. 65
    Midnight Rambler

    But why criticize her looks? She looks just like a perfectly average woman.

    I think some of the commenters here have conflated two aspects under “criticizing her looks”. One, which might be called her attractiveness, is about how pretty/ugly she is, which I agree is stupid and irrelevant (although I think it’s weird that quite a few Republican men seem to slobber over her). Certainly women have to deal with a lot more of that crap than men.

    But the other side might be more appropriately termed “appearance”. The crazy eyes. The robotic/Stepford smile that seems incongruously fixed to her face as she’s spouting out vileness. The combination of the two to produce an expression like she’s might go for your throat at any second. That, I think, is perfectly up for criticism.

  66. 66
    RobertL

    What gets me about the photo is that, even though she is straining her mouth to fit a very large and hot corndog* into it, she still hasn’t managed to crinkle her forehead.

    That botoxed-beyond-belief look is very creepy and unattractive – in both men and women. She has about the worst case of it that I’ve seen for a while.

    (Probably still not as bad as Paul Hogan – for the Aussies reading here.)

    * How does a “corndog” differ from a “hotdog”?

  67. 67
    Non-Biblical Paul

    @ RobertL:

    The corndog is really nature’s perfect food. It’s a cornmeal battered hotdog on a stick, deep-fried. And you don’t have to put anything on them – the best way to have a corndog is plain, just the way God intended. They usually aren’t a foot-long, though.

  68. 68
    Jafafa Hots

    disappointing post.

  69. 69
    SteveV

    I saw this at the point where the heading read

    69 Responses to “Fairly nightmarish”

    Nnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  70. 70
    Paul W., OM

    And honestly, I think PZ did avoid those tropes, so far as they can be avoided when the discussion is appearance-based. The comparison to a reptile unhinging its jaw is actually a fairly creative and non-gender-based approach to the picture.

    IMHO that argument doesn’t come close to working.

    The interpretation of the picture as looking like she’s sucking a great big cock—a brown one, no less—is just too obvious, and the reptile jaw gag is both strained and substanceless anyhow. There are much better things to ridicule Bachman for.

    Beyond a certain point, what PZ “means” by the picture is less important than what he should know that it will predictably mean to many others, whether he actually means it that way or not—you just can’t expect people not to take it the “wrong” way.

    It’s like calling a woman a “bitch.” You may not mean anything sexist by it, but you should know it nonetheless means something sexist whether you mean it to or not, and you should care enough to aim your insults. (As a wise man recently said.)

    Bachman is a nice-looking woman, and you can make anybody look ugly and/or silly if you catch them at the wrong moment.

    But you shouldn’t.

    It’s cheap and it’s mean, and the audience deserves better, even if the victim herself doesn’t.

  71. 71
    Mr Ed

    So it is agreed, she is actual an H.P. Lovecraft character. I don’t know what each of you saw but I see a primordial terror.

  72. 72
    Bernard Bumner

    Beyond a certain point, what PZ “means” by the picture is less important than what he should know that it will predictably mean to many others, whether he actually means it that way or not—you just can’t expect people not to take it the “wrong” way.

    This is a fairly poor argument; you’re just abrogating responsibility for your own dirty mind. PZ doesn’t need to protect you from your own smutty thoughts.

    When you write things like:

    The interpretation of the picture as looking like she’s sucking a great big cock—a brown one, no less—is just too obvious…

    Then you probably need to examine your own thought processes, rather than projecting them onto others. I certainly didn’t think that interpretation was obvious. The image only evoked the idea of cold-hearted gluttony for me. The reptile imagery was entirely apposite – that brand of republicanism that would swallow little vulnerable mammals whole, without so much as chewing them.

    It’s like calling a woman a “bitch.” You may not mean anything sexist by it, but you should know it nonetheless means something sexist whether you mean it to or not, and you should care enough to aim your insults. (As a wise man recently said.)

    This is even worse, I’m afraid. Bitch in reference to a human is simply sexist, regardless of the intent of the speaker.

    A puerile joke about someone devouring an oversized food item doesn’t carry any of the baggage of systematic discrimination embodied by gendered insults.

    She looks funny! is in no way equivalent to She is a bitch.

    Bachman is a nice-looking woman, and you can make anybody look ugly and/or silly if you catch them at the wrong moment.

    Be careful not to loose a few toes with that kind of scattershot argument.

  73. 73
    Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis

    What I find objectionable is that above the comments, I now get an advertisement of a website called Fl*rtCafe on which hosts of barely 18 year old webcam beauties are home alone and really want to spend some quality time with me. Does the ad provider have some sort of image recognition going? Me no likey

  74. 74
    Cath the Canberra Cook

    If you want to see examples of the real ugly side of the way women’s looks get used instead of valid criticism, go look at the comments on Ann Coulter at Ed Brayton’s place. Or about how ugly Rebecca Watson is, over you-know-where. By contrast, this thread is kind of borderline.

  75. 75
    DLC

    I didn’t see anything sexual about it. Just an awful person eating a fairly unhealthy foodstuff. I would have said the same (e.g)”That makes me lose my appetite” had it been Rick Perry eating a bowl of soup.

  76. 76
    Carlie

    I see Paul W’s point (because really, it’s a heh…wiener joke), but still agree with Classical Cipher that the reptilian interpretation is a more innocuous one. However, I really, really don’t want to see this touch off a week of debate over whether a wiener is a wiener.

  77. 77
    Graculus

    the reptile jaw gag is both strained and substanceless anyhow

    Go watch V. Go read some David Icke. Google “Denver Airport Aliens”. FFS, get out some more, stop reading porn, whatever it fucking takes. I’ve been making jokes about waiting to see Stephen Harper swallow a live rat whole on air since forever, and it ain’t because of his gender.

    Not everything is about sex or gender, no matter how badly you want it to be. And this in one of those cases. Although I think we do a great disservice to evil reptiloid aliens with the comparison.

  78. 78
    Tim DeLaney

    IMO, publishing that photograph is in poor taste (no pun intended). If she deliberately posed for it, I’d change my mind, but that seems unlikely. PZ tried to make light of it, but the picture has obvious implications that cannot be ignored.

    Her words are what we should be mocking–and there is much to ridicule. We don’t need a religious nutjob in the White House, especially a bigot like MB.

    Cuttlefish @45 has my respect and admiration, even though I didn’t find his post @41 particularly offensive.

  79. 79
    Izzy

    Ezekiel 23:20

    What else is there to say?

  80. 80
    Quodlibet

    I’ve read through all these comments and tried to set aside my loathing for Michele Bachman’s beliefs and politics and goals in order to think about this objectively.

    Would we react differently to this photo if it were a male public figure, rather than a woman? Probably not. We’d still see the corn-dog as penis; only the jokes would be different, especially if the the subject were male politician who has spoken out against same-sex anything.

    Does this have anything to do with her personal appearance? Not really. Anyone would look stupid with that thing going in. Or out.

    Does society have a habit of mocking public figures who have odd physical attributes? Yes. Bachmann’s eyes and facial skin, Trump’s hair, Obama’s ears, Boehner’s skin, etc. etc.

    Do we enjoy mocking public figures who are obsessed with suppressing other people’s sexuality, yet manage to present themselves in compromising situations, whether real (rent-boys, etc.) or suggested (corn-dog)? Yes, and I think that’s what’s probably at the root of the collective “guffaw-ewwwww” when we see this picture. Bachmann has made it a point to try to closet and suppress other people’s sexuality, yet here she is in a very suggestive pose, howsoever unintended.

    —-

    People who place themselves in the public eye should expect to be looked at, from all angles, at all times, during any activities they do in public. I understand why she was eating the corn-dog; it’s a local specialty and she was trying to connect to people at the fair. Fine. But she ought to be smart enough to know that biting it THAT WAY would result in an indelible image that would be circulated and mocked widely. She should have been smart enough to nibble it from the side, or in a way that was less suggestive. She is responsible for how she looks in public, and at this point in her career (presidential aspirant!) she ought to know better.

    Anecdote: My mother used to take a lot of snapshots at family gatherings and managed to get scores of really ugly shots of people eating. She wasn’t being malicious, just clueless as to timing. I figured out early on to keep an eye on her when she had a camera in her hand, and she never got any more ugly pictures of me. If Michele Bachmann is smart enough to be President (ugh) she can figure that out, too. There must have been dozens of photographers clustering around – either she did not think about how she would look with that huge cylindrical object going into (or out of) her mouth, or she did not care.

  81. 81
    'smee

    Maybe I’m just not focused on the penis, but I did not see the picture as Paul W above is saying. Maybe I don’t watch enough porn, or something, but I honestly thought ‘what the fuck is she pulling from her mouth’.

    To me, this was simply:

    1) an ugly person (note – ugly is as ugly does, and she is seriously ugly)
    2) a photo op (you are a public figure – what you do is ‘be in public’, and that means every grimace is fair game)
    3) stupid (but hey, it’s Bachmann, so par for the course)

    Gender has nothing to do with this.

    Politics and personal stance has everything to do with this.

  82. 82
    theophontes

    It seems that the original image might have been cropped: Link.

  83. 83
    ManOutOfTime

    So Pawlenty wasn’t the only one who “went down” in Iowa … ?

  84. 84
    Dhorvath, OM

    Bachman does enough that we don’t like, I just don’t see the attraction of mocking her doing something that we would actually do ourselves.
    And please, can we stop using ugly as a term to describe women we don’t like? Our language is rife with adjectives surely it is possible to let that one go.

  85. 85
    Bernard Bumner

    The more I look at the picture, the more I’m convinced that Bachmann has nictitating membranes.

  86. 86
    'Tis Himself

    It’s an unflattering picture of a middle-aged woman doing something unintentionally sexually-suggestive. Meh.

  87. 87
    'smee

    Dhorvath@85

    using ugly as a term to describe women we don’t like

    I fully agree. I see Bachmann as ugly because of her policies and personal statements, not because of how she looks. Her ugly is inside, and is non-gendered.

    When I didn’t know who she was, I thought she looked fairly innocuous in a mid-western way. As I have come to know her politics and her background, she has grown increasingly ugly.

    She is the same person, but my perception has changed.

    How should I then express my disgust at the ugliness of this person’s public position? That position *is* ugly. And that makes the person *ugly* to me.

  88. 88
    Didaktylos

    How long before somebody Photoshops Rocco Siffredi in to the pic?

  89. 89
    Pierce R. Butler

    Contented Reader @ # 14: … penises are not traditionally batter-dipped and deep-fried. Yet.

    You set me to visualizing different meanings for those terms, in ways that may cause me to lose sleep.

    Thank you!

  90. 90
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Atheist men are always loudly complaining that women never want to participate, and we just had a weeks-long battle over this Elevatorgate shit, and I thought maybe at least PZ got it. Then you post something like this so you can go “HA HA MICHELLE BACHMANN’S UGLY AND OLD AND SHE’S STICKING SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE A DICK IN HER MOUTH HA HA IT IS TO LAUGH!”

    Un-fucking-believable.

  91. 91
    Quodlibet

    RahXephon, where did you get “ugly” and “old” from PZ’s post? Yes, he inferred a reptilian capacity to unhinge the jaws, but I can’t find anything else in his post. Can you be more specific?

    And do you think reptiles are ugly? Why are you down on reptiles?

  92. 92
    amethystt

    The punchline here is “look how hideous she looks in this photo.”

    We have more than enough legitimate things to criticize Bachmann on – why the hell are you resorting to focusing on how she looks? (hint: because that’s what we do to women. but I got the impression you were somewhat anti-sexist, PZ.)

  93. 93
    Other Becky

    PZ, after the whole Rebecca-Watson-elevator thing, I expected better of you than this. Much, much better. Demeaning a woman, posting unflattering and sexually suggestive pictures of her, and implying that she’s subhuman — those things don’t magically become okay when she’s someone whose views are abhorrent. I loathe virtually everything Michelle Bachmann stands for, but there’s a better way to convey that than this.

  94. 94
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Quodlibet, this isn’t about fucking reptiles, and you know it. Nobody can be so dense to think this was all just set up to make a stupid reptile joke. The reptile shit isn’t the punchline, the picture of Bachmann is, and what do I call reducing a woman to her appearance, picking an unflattering picture to do so, comparing her to a reptile, which is the kind of casual dehumanization we hear about several of the Women We Don’t Like (like Ann Coulter being a grasshopper or preying mantis), and yes, the sexualization? I call all of those things sexist.

    Let me say that I don’t think PZ necessarily intended it as such, I think he just didn’t see it the way women would see it. The message this would send to me as a woman would be that if you’re not in our in-group, not one of us, you’re fair game. That is not how feminism works. We don’t defend only the women we like from sexism.

  95. 95
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Now that someone else broke the ice and mentioned that dreadful elevator affair I can say that this has been reminding me of the discussion about innocence of “coffee” offers.

    Saying that only those of us with dirty imagination see anything sexual in this picture is like saying that one sees sex offers everywhere when they point out that an invitation for coffee sometimes isn’t just for coffee. In the same way, it’s ridiculous to say that this picture is only about her unfortunate expression while eating. Yes, it is a very picture of gluttony. It’s also an invitation for sexually suggestive jokes, with that huge phallic shaped thing she’s putting in her mouth, the one some are pretending not to notice. Kudos to those who didn’t jump on the obvious joke, but the set-up for sexual jokes and innuendo is perfect and I can’t believe PZ wasn’t aware of that when he posted the picture.

  96. 96
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Now that someone else broke the ice and mentioned that dreadful elevator affair I can say that this has been reminding me of the discussion about innocence of “coffee” offers.

    I was thinking the same thing, Beatrice. People saying “a coffee’s just a coffee” and “a reptile joke is just a reptile joke” are taking the same tack. They’ve been criticized for a common interpretation people would make, and so they’re claiming a more innocuous interpretation is the only one intended and to interpret otherwise is uncommon and rude and makes you a weirdo. The fuck it doesn’t. A woman with a large phallic object going in her mouth is not going to be sexually suggestive only to dirty-minded pervos.

  97. 97
    Quodlibet

    Hi RahXephon,

    Thanks for your reply. I should have added “/snark” to my comment, and I realized that as soon as I hit “submit.” Sorry for that.

    Still, did you read my comment at #81? I don’t think this has anything to do with Bachmann’s gender. I really don’t. It has to do with a public figure looking foolish. If it had been a photo of a male politician, I think it would have inspired the same reaction.

    What’s the name of the senator who people compare to a turtle? McConnell? People compared W to a monkey all the time. That doesn’t make it nice, but it’s nothing new.

    I agree that it wasn’t “nice” to make fun of Bachmann, but I just don’t see it as a gendered mocking. However, your comment includes some context that can make me see it from a different perspective, so I will think about it again.

  98. 98
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Still, did you read my comment at #81? I don’t think this has anything to do with Bachmann’s gender. I really don’t. It has to do with a public figure looking foolish. If it had been a photo of a male politician, I think it would have inspired the same reaction.

    I don’t think people should be attacked for their appearances at all, but if they’re going to be, then I would agree with your sentiment if it was done in the same ways and in the same amounts to male and female politicians alike. It’s funny that you mentioned Obama’s ears. People on both sides have… “gently mocked” the President’s ears, but the purpose in doing so, the message it sends, isn’t “he has big ears, thus he is totally unfit to lead or to even have run in the first place”, and it also didn’t displace discussion of his actual voting records and policy positions.

    Women politicians, on the other hand, nearly always get criticized on their appearances alone. Hillary Clinton’s done a lot of important things, including running for Prez, but what was the coverage about her saying? “Look at her stupid pantsuits! She doesn’t smile enough, what a grumpy bitch! Oh, she just laughed! She’s obviously frivolous and unserious!” If I were her, the sheer amount of invective alone probably would have driven me underground, not to mention the hypocrisy women face that I pointed out. Men don’t face any of this. That’s the imbalance that’s important here, and that’s why attacking a female politician for her appearance is not the same as doing so for a man (and as I said, I don’t think we should be engaging in that either).

  99. 99
    'smee

    RE: all the elevator comments

    While I see exactly where you are coming from, and agree with you in general, in this particular case I don’t (and I can speak only for myself) The images I got were

    (1) projectile vomiting
    (2) horrible politician in a public photo op

    It wasn’t til I read the comments I thought of anything even vaguely sexual (and had to go scrub my mind… not a positive image, thanks)

    Some of us have moved on (or try to). Denigrating a politician is, in this case, non-gender specific. (I agree with Quodlibet @98 in that regard)

    Having said that I will re-examine my thought process, as well as my language. I don’t agree with or support gendered bias and try to eradicate it wherever I find it – including in myself.

  100. 100
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    (1) projectile vomiting

    Almost. Especially after I learned what exactly it was she was eating and subsequent allusions to even worse things you could deep fry. *shudder*

  101. 101
    Non-Biblical Paul

    @ Cath:

    “If you want to see examples of the real ugly side of the way women’s looks get used instead of valid criticism, go look at the comments on Ann Coulter”

    That would only be valid if the people involved didn’t criticize men for the same reasons – speaking of “valid”.

    I think the problem is that there are people here who actually consider voting for Michele Bachmanns, and consider what Ann Coulters have to say. Some people here actually still see Republican and Democratic politicians and pundits as some form of respectable life. That’s scary.

  102. 102
    Quodlibet

    RahXephon,

    I did not mock her appearance; I tried to point out that PZ had not called her old or ugly, as I thought you had implied.

    I said she looked foolish; this is a comment on her behavior, not her physical self. My post at #81 said, in part:

    Does this have anything to do with her personal appearance? Not really. Anyone would look stupid with that thing going in. Or out.

    Does society have a habit of mocking public figures who have odd physical attributes? Yes. Bachmann’s eyes and facial skin, Trump’s hair, Obama’s ears, Boehner’s skin, etc. etc.

    In fact, I expressed no opinion on her appearance, only on her behavior and on her lack of judgement. I think that’s fair.

    I agree with you entirely that we place far too much emphasis on how people look, and I agree with your observations about Hillary Clinton; I felt the same outrage. That’s why I choose to get most of my news from the radio (NPR), where I can listen to people’s ideas without knowing what they look like. In fact, I only found out this morning that the Republican candidate Cain is African-American.

    On the other hand, I think that Rick Perry’s candidacy will be made easier by the fact that he has regular features, a lot of hair, and a conventionally handsome face. I don’t find him attractive, per se, but he will appeal to the people for whom appearance is a factor.

    I appreciate having had this exchange with you. I realize that I was being a little too glib about the whole thing. I loathe Bachmann’s politics and religion and agenda, and it was just too easy to be nasty.

  103. 103
    Dhorvath, OM

    ‘Smee,
    The way that you are using ugly, why not use offensive?

  104. 104
    TCC

    Please include me among those who are disappointed with this post.

    All of my objections have been stated above better than I could state them.

    As PZ has said in the past: “No one is perfect.”

    And that applies to PZ as well as this post illustrates.

  105. 105
    'smee

    Dhorvath

    The way that you are using ugly, why not use offensive

    Because it is much more than simply offensive. It is truly repellent. Ugly is offensively offensive (if you understand me).

    I use ugly in the majority of its senses. The word is onomatopoeic with regards to Bachmann and her stance. It has a visceral quality lacking in more polite terminology.

    Definition of UGLY (per Merriam Webster)

    1: frightful, dire
    2
    a : offensive to the sight : hideous
    b : offensive or unpleasant to any sense
    3: morally offensive or objectionable
    4
    a : likely to cause inconvenience or discomfort
    b : surly, quarrelsome

    Origin of UGLY

    Middle English, from Old Norse uggligr, from uggr fear; akin to Old Norse ugga to fear
    First Known Use: 13th century
    Related to UGLY

  106. 106
    Quodlibet

    ‘smee, I read your use of “ugly” in the broader sense, too; thanks for the several definitions and the etymology. Our modern usage gives short shrift to the fuller senses of our common words.

  107. 107
    Esten

    The important thing to note: Mr Bachmann had first dibs and took the tip, but somehow managed not to be photographed with that in his mouth.

  108. 108
    'smee

    Quodlibet

    modern usage gives short shrift to the fuller senses of our common words.

    and common words are generally much more accessible to a wide audience.

    In my business writing, I restrict myself (other than specific technical vocabulary) to 6th grade comprehension levels. It’s the only way I’ve found to ensure my communications are not garbled or misunderstood (despite my audience being pretty much 100% college graduates*).

    It often means I need 20 or 30 words where a single abstruse word would otherwise suffice!

    It does not, however, end willful misunderstanding, nor does it end ‘confirmation and amendment by phone’.

    I hates me them back channels, I does!

    * Palin being a prime media example of a college graduate who requires grade school communications support.

  109. 109
    DW

    I’m disappointed you went there, PZ. That’s not very feminist ally of you no matter how many readers say it is and however you want to spin this. Your woman readers deserve more.

    Bachmann is loathsome because of her politics. Pictures that are chosen to portray her as less than human OR that are sexually suggestive (really? you didn’t notice?) are demeaning and prove what, exactly? You can do better. You’ve made me believe that I can expect that from you.

  110. 110
    Dhorvath, OM

    ‘Smee,
    I don’t deny that ugly has those meanings, my contention is that it also has a very common use associated with appearance and is regularly used to put women down. You can’t escape that the word has multiple meanings and when you use it to describe someone who is judged based on their appearance as well as their performance so regularly as a prominent female politician I think the risk outweighs the benefits.

  111. 111
    'smee

    Dhorvath – I hear what you are saying, and – not defending my position here – I can’t be responsible for irresponsible people.

    But, as someone in the reality based community I do recognize that word usage slips… and ugly does have broad connotations more commonly associated with ‘less than attractive female’.

    And so… another common word bites the dust, making the reality based community even less able to communicate pithily to a mass audience.

    Sorry if I sound bitter, but I *am* extremely pissed off that we simply GIVE IN! The word only has those connotations BECAUSE WE ALLOW IT TO HAVE THEM and do not ACTIVELY work against such stereotypical and narrow usage.

    FUCK!

  112. 112
    chmsjm

    I am so disappointed in this post. I know that Rep. Bachmann is a despicable figure, but did you really need to use a stupid candid photo, why a strong sexualized element, to make this point?

    Imagine if you had this hanging up in your office when some of your female students walked in. Do you think they would feel welcomed in your office, at your school, or in the sciences in general, when their professor, who seems to ‘get it’, posts something like that?

    Labels of humorless bitch and poppypants still doesn’t change the fact that another human was reduced to a sexualized object in order to belittle her. That this is what happens to any woman that puts herself out there in any way. This is misogynistic, sexist, and should not be tolerated, period.

  113. 113
    Dhorvath, OM

    ‘Smee,
    I hear you. It frustrates me as well, language doesn’t exist in a vacuum and sometimes the perfect meaning is conveyed by a word which has extra connotation that renders it inappropriate. Still, the language is large and resilient, which is why I favour moving on.
    I can ill imagine how to hold a word to a single meaning, although I guess some groups have success with reclaiming derogatory terms used against them. It’s beyond me in any event so I dance as carefully as I am able.

  114. 114
    ChasCPeterson

    It’s an unflattering picture of a middle-aged woman doing something unintentionally sexually-*suggestive.

    Yes, that’s exactly what it is, objectively.
    For that reason alone, it’s funny, imo, and here it doesn’t even matter that it’s a woman in the photo.

    Also, the object is a ‘corndog’.
    Extra funny.

    The woman, it turns out, is a well-known wingnut. So now it’s political satire as well as funny on the face of it.

    I disagree that publishing the photo demeans Bachmann as a woman. The exact corndog shot would be funny, for the same reasons, if it was, say, Pawlenty instead.

    Here, make the following substitutions:
    W for Bachmann
    ‘turkey’ for ‘corndog’
    retain the vibe of sexual-to-a-juvenile-slash=dirty-mind.
    see?
    funny for the same reasons.

    imo
    your sense of humor may vary

    *no hyphen after an adverb ending in ‘-ly’.

  115. 115
    Non-Biblical Paul

    PZ didn’t make any sort of sexual joke out of it, he made a joke about her maybe being able unhinge her jaw like a reptile. Can Michele Bachmann suck a mean dick? Yes, I think it’s quite possible that she can, now that I look at the photo differently. But what self-respecting man would actually let Michele Bachmann near his dick? Nobody. Think about it. What if she bred?

    She’s crazy as hell and she LOOKS crazy as hell. When someone looks crazy as hell, it’s not something most people find attractive. “Unattractive” is synonymous with “ugly”. Given that she’s a bigot, “ugly” is the most comprehensive summarization for Michelle Bachmann. I stand by it; Michelle Bachmann is ugly.

    I’ve yet to hear anyone make a worthwhile argument against this post. PZ isn’t sexist; you had great evidence for that with the elevator fiasco. Someone who isn’t sexist doesn’t do sexist things, they can however do things that are misconstrued as being sexist. Therefore the only argument you have is that perhaps he and some other people aren’t sensitive enough. But at this point, to do so, you would also have to admit that you a mistake, because you made the wrong argument.

  116. 116
    strange gods before me

    For that reason alone, it’s funny, imo, and here it doesn’t even matter that it’s a woman in the photo.

    But such comments as

    Can Michele Bachmann suck a mean dick? Yes, I think it’s quite possible that she can, now that I look at the photo differently. But what self-respecting man would actually let Michele Bachmann near his dick?

    are less likely to emerge when it’s a man in the photo, assuming that a similar photo of a man is even as likely to be passed around, which is itself probably not a wise assumption.

    The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.

  117. 117
    Dhorvath, OM

    Non Biblical Paul,
    This:

    Someone who isn’t sexist doesn’t do sexist things

    Is troubling. It is the not doing sexist things that allows us to label someone as not sexist, and it only applies so long as not sexist things continue to be what are done by a person.

  118. 118
    Non-Biblical Paul

    @ Dhorvath:

    I’m sure that like me, PZ can prove that he makes fun of how male politicians looks just as often.

    Now where is your argument?

  119. 119
    Dhorvath, OM

    Did you read my comment? I will not say that because of something PZ did in the past that was strongly feminist that he can’t or won’t do something in the future which is sexist. Would you care to defend the statement I took exception with?

  120. 120
    strange gods before me

    The exact corndog shot would be funny, for the same reasons, if it was, say, Pawlenty instead.

    But the reason is not non-sexist, in a culture where putting a phallus into one’s mouth is a degrading and humiliating act (one that makes a man lowly, like a woman).

  121. 121
    Non-Biblical Paul

    @ Dhorvath, OM:

    Yes. I already did defend against your comment.

    Again, would you care to address this:

    How come every time PZ or I make fun of how a man looks, it doesn’t count?

  122. 122
    strange gods before me

    Jesus, Paul, you are such a dumbass.

  123. 123
    Non-Biblical Paul

    I think you’ve got it backwards, Strange Gods Before Me.

  124. 124
    Dhorvath, OM

    Paul of the not bible,
    No, you didn’t even address my query let alone defend against it. It is dangerous to say that non-sexist people don’t do sexist things, the causation is backwards and leads to propping people up based on past performance while excusing current or future behaviour. This is true regardless of the current context given by PZ’s post. You said something which I object to, I would like either for you to retract it or defend it, not try and change the topic.

  125. 125
    'smee

    Paul, non biblical: in this you are not even wrong

    Strange Gods phrased it best, but to summarize:

    Men are default, dominant, privileged.

    Women are lesser, non-dominant, non-privileged.

    Sucking dick is seen as demeaning, because (to an alpha ‘hetero’ male) it is demonstrating power over the person sucking dick.

    Females sucking dick are demonstrating and reinforcing that dominance position.

    A male sucking dick would be demonstrating their ‘womanly, non-dominant’ characteristics.

    In both cases, the dominance comes not from the act but from the embedded and implied power-relationship.

    In the past I would have said, Paul, that you are being a dick – but that would again be demonstrating the same common and ubiquitous misogyny that you showed in your post.

    So I won’t.

  126. 126
    Tethys

    Criticizing how someone looks does not automatically mean the criticism is sexist.

    Mrs Bachmann has crazy eyes. She has always had crazy eyes.

    Mr Bachmann is KNOWINGLY closeted. He receives quite a bit of federal funding to perpetuate hate and intolerance.
    They are the epitome of crazy religiosity and proud of it!

    Did all you people who are crying SEXISM do so when this person was called “crazy eyes”?

  127. 127
    strange gods before me

    You’re not going to get an honest answer out of Paul. Classical Cipher tried explaining it way upthread. He is deliberately obtuse.

    Sexism is a continuum anyway, nobody who lives in a sexist culture is entirely devoid of sexism. Even for women, internalized oppression is the norm; women learn sexist ideas which come back, especially in times of stress, as self-degrading put-downs.

    To be absolutely non-sexist at this time in history, a person would not only have to be raised by wolves as an only (human) child, they’d also have to live exclusively with the wolves all their life.

  128. 128
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    They are the epitome of crazy religiosity and proud of it!

    So then attack them for that. It’s things they chose, things they espouse, and things that can be criticized. Bachmann can’t help being a woman, or the way her eyes look, or anything else, and they don’t look that way because you think she’s “crazy”. There’s no gland that makes your eyes pop out when you experience mental illness.

    People who defend this are simply going for the facile argument. It’s easier to call a woman you don’t like a crazy bitch, rather than doing the work to refute her positions, to show she’s wrong, and to advocate against her politically. We have an election coming up, volunteering at your local Democratic party office or with some other advocacy group would actually accomplish something. Calling her a crazy bitch does nothing to stop her and reinforces a sexist culture.

  129. 129
    Non-Biblical Paul

    No, no, no. The entire issue is unequal treatment. If someone treats a women worse than they treat men, then and only then can they be sexist toward women. That is not the case with PZ, nor with me. In fact, as I wrote earlier, check out Chris Rodda’s blog on this very website. She posted some pictures of male politicians making fun of their looks, I laughed with her. What is strange is how none of you showed up then to protest. It’s almost as if you’re treating the issue differently when men are being made fun of or when it’s a woman making the jokes. So there’s really more of an argument to support that all of you sanctimonious people protesting here are the actual sexists.

    You could’ve made the argument that I am insensitive, but, as I wrote, to do so, you would now have to first admit you made a mistake, because you made the wrong argument. Not only that, but at this point, if you tried to argue that I am insensitive, you’d have to be audacious to the point of hypocrisy, because your arguments are disgustingly evil.

    Here is where you argument disappeared to:

    You now want for me to be sexist so that you can still have an argument.

    I’m not going to address it any more, because it isn’t even worth addressing.

    I will admit in parting that in my life I’ve treated politicians like shit, but I do believe in equal reciprocation.

  130. 130
    Dhorvath, OM

    Paul,
    Who is this in response to? If it’s directed in response to me, I don’t read Chris Rodda’s site, I can barely keep up here, so your point is a non-starter. Why would I go there to argue about behaviour I find inappropriate when I have people right here exhibiting actions that I object to?

    My issue with you is simple: you have several times on this thread said that being a non-sexist is something that we know about PZ and therefor his actions aren’t sexist. You have been called on this and continue to act as though history informs the impact of current actions to the exclusion of the present response. If you don’t think that is the case, a little clarification and an apology for poor phrasing is in order. If you do think it is the case, why?

  131. 131
    Tethys

    RahXephon

    The moment that “bitch” is added to “crazy eyes” it becomes a gendered insult. (and then I have to defend Ms. Bachmann, ew)

    But the link I provided has this to say about “crazy eyes”.

    “You can see the whites of the eyes both above and below the iris. It’s been associated with diseases like hyperthyroidism and with psychiatric diseases such as paranoid or acute psychosis.”

    Humans are visual. Appearance is not always misleading.
    Tiny details in body language are important. Words lie, but its very difficult to make your body language lie.

  132. 132
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    If it’s directed in response to me, I don’t read Chris Rodda’s site, I can barely keep up here, so your point is a non-starter. Why would I go there to argue about behaviour I find inappropriate when I have people right here exhibiting actions that I object to?

    Because if feminists don’t vocally object to every single instance of unfair criticism anyone receives, even instances we’d have no way of knowing about, then we’re rank hypocrites.

    In other words, this is a “What About This?” game. Paul can keep trying to pull up examples and go “what about this? You didn’t say anything about this!” all fucking night. It’s a tactic to waste time and effort on something intellectually vacuous and irrelevant to the topic at hand.

  133. 133
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    What is strange is how none of you showed up then to protest. It’s almost as if you’re treating the issue differently when men are being made fun of or when it’s a woman making the jokes.

    Or, I don’t actually read Chris Rodda’s blog, I read Pharyngula. Alternatively. But hey, since you’re showing a really common and stupid fallacy here, let me just address that for you while I’m at it. Doing the same thing to a man and to a woman does not necessarily constitute equality. Similarly to how “cracker” is not just like other racial slurs. Context matters, and equal actions in unequal contexts have unequal results. For instance, making fun of a woman’s appearance happens in a context in which physical attractiveness is often used as the sole or most important measure of a woman’s value, and women are under tremendous pressure to present in a way that conforms to conventional notions of attractiveness. The same does not apply to men.

  134. 134
    strange gods before me

    No, no, no. The entire issue is unequal treatment. If someone treats a women worse than they treat men, then and only then can they be sexist toward women.

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

  135. 135
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    The moment that “bitch” is added to “crazy eyes” it becomes a gendered insult.

    Right, because women are never called crazy to discredit them simply because they disagree. Feminists have never been called crazy for disagreeing with patriarchal culture. Suffragettes weren’t called crazy for wanting to vote. “Troublesome women” were never institutionalized to shut them up and get them out of the way. Nope, never happened.

    Just because the word “bitch” or some direct reference to gender isn’t included in an insult doesn’t mean it’s not a gendered insult.

  136. 136
    Klatu

    Some here have asserted that sexism isn’t the issue here.
    So if Bachmann was male this picture would carry the same connotation?
    Maybe. The punchline would simply shift from “lol she’s a slut! What a hypocrite!” to “lol he’s gay! What a hypocrite!”.
    Not an improvement.

    Bernard Bumner @ 73

    This is a fairly poor argument; you’re just abrogating responsibility for your own dirty mind.

    As has been said before, this is the same bullshit that was spouted in defense of Elevator Guy: “He was just offering coffee! True story.”
    Yeah right. The subtext exists even if you pretend it isn’t there.

    And even if it wasn’t sexist in the sense that the intended humor concerns her humanity not her gender, that makes it A-OK how?
    The problem is still the same as it is so often with misogyny; the dehumanization of a person for shits and giggles, which directly goes against everything humanism stands for.

    Marella @ 32

    If she’s stupid enough to pose like this in public she deserves all she gets.

    Wow. Just wow. Let’s start with the basics.

    PS: I hate to be put in a position where I have to defend Bachmann btw…

  137. 137
    'smee

    RahXephon: Wot? So now “crazy” is a gendered insult?

    methinks you go a little too far.

    Bachmann has “crazy eyes”. period. end of story.

    Lots of delusional fuckwits have crazy eyes.

    Does not mean, imply, suggest, or indicate that said fuckwits are female, nor that said fuckwits are being compared with females in a negative connotation vs males.

    sheesh.

  138. 138
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    RahXephon: Wot? So now “crazy” is a gendered insult?

    Can be. Disproportionately applied to women in certain types of situations, and perhaps disproportionately affecting women in some contexts. I’m not sure whether politics would be one of them – I’d have to look into it more. But hey, depending on the context, it stands a pretty good chance of being an ableist slur.

  139. 139
    'smee

    Then fuck me sideways with a freshly laundered porcupine, but I needs me a new vocabulary to describe the right wing.

  140. 140
    lupinella

    Consider me another person disappointed with PZ’s publication of this photo.

    There’s a lot of cultural baggage that goes into why using this picture of this particular candidate is a bad choice. Mocking a woman in this way isn’t, sadly, atypical or edgy. Feel free to laugh at her beliefs, her stances & her supporters – those are actually relevant.

    It is repulsive to be forced to defend anything about Rep. Bachman. That is, however, one of the facets of social justice – understanding that even THIS woman does not deserve this sort of tone-deaf slight.

  141. 141
    Dhorvath, OM

    Well, I thought right wing was a pretty nasty thing to call someone now.

  142. 142
    strange gods before me

    new vocabulary to describe the right wing.

    Evil.

    Pro-death.

    Pro-suffering.

    Hateful.

    Bigoted.

    Dangerous.

    Against a fair shake.

    Anti-science.

    Anti-reality.

    Economic elitists.

  143. 143
    Pierce R. Butler

    Esten @ # 108: Mr Bachmann had first dibs and took the tip, but somehow managed not to be photographed with that in his mouth.

    Alas, no.

  144. 144
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Violent, murderous, genocidal, anti-freedom, ignorant, thoughtless, lacking empathy, narrow-minded, willfully obtuse.

  145. 145
    strange gods before me

    Puppy-kickers.

    Baby-shakers.

    Satanists (true enough: while there are some left-wing Satanists, the leaders of the Church of Satan are notoriously right-wing libertarians).

  146. 146
    Qwerty

    I always get creeped out by Backmann’s tilted head and beauty queen frozen smile you see in most of her photos.

    She actually looks quite human (or apelike as someone mentioned) in this picture.

    That said, I have no problem with homophobes like Bachmann getting “corn dogged.”

  147. 147
    Tethys

    RahXephon:

    Observing a fact is not sexist. Michelle Bachmann is a crazy-eyed religious nut-case. She also happens to be one of MY duly elected representatives. (sorry america, I didn’t vote for her)

    People seem to be under the impression that the photographer just choose a photo that portrays her as crazy eyed on the Newsweek cover.

    She ALWAYS looks like that! AND she just won the fricking straw poll!

    The ramifications of that are terrifying, and alienating those who are your allies by accusing them of sexism for a VALID criticism helps nobody but Ms Bachmann and the Teaparty.

    Politics is like making sausage…sad but true.

  148. 148
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Pro-child-abuse (therefore anti-child), anti-family, anti-marriage. Pro-slavery, pro-poverty, oppressive, heedless, reckless, ruthless, cruel, fanatical, morally monstrous.

  149. 149
    strange gods before me

    The ramifications of that are terrifying, and alienating those who are your allies by accusing them of sexism for a VALID criticism helps nobody but Ms Bachmann and the Teaparty.

    Rubbish. No one is going to start supporting Bachmann because of RahXephon’s argument.

  150. 150
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Observing a fact is not sexist.

    Can be. Depends on the fact and the context. And you so know that, Tethys – my goodness.

  151. 151
    KG

    The sausage looks far more like an enormous turd being extruded from Bachmann’s mouth than like a penis being taken in. Since what actually comes out of her mouth is far more disgusting than mere excrement, the photograph is flattering rather than otherwise.

  152. 152
    strange gods before me

    Hahaha

    I just got to thinking, “who would Satanists vote for?”

    “Ron Paul, surely.”

    And, yes: the600club.com/topic51653-1.html

  153. 153
    Tethys

    Agreed.

    Observing a fact is not necessarily sexist. Better?

  154. 154
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Observing a fact is not necessarily sexist. Better?

    That’s true. Will you also acknowledge that engaging in sexist, ableist attacks on a person whose politics and religious beliefs you don’t agree with does nothing to keep them out of power, and serves only to alienate feminist allies who would like to see women, of any creed, judged on their merits and their opinions and not their appearances?

  155. 155
    Tethys

    The moral high ground is all well and good, but the results of the Democrats taking the supposed high ground is that people like Bachmann got elected at all.

    To win a general election, you must appeal to the base.

    Republicans excel at this. Democrats are just awful at it.

    A large portion of the population is not capable of critical thought, so you are wasting your energy by focusing on the sexism.

    Steven Levitt has a great TED talk about this perception and leadership concept.Weak and shit

  156. 156
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    The moral high ground is all well and good, but the results of the Democrats taking the supposed high ground is that people like Bachmann got elected at all.

    Right, because who cares about principles, eh? Winning’s all that matters. Hey, if the current political climate is any indication, the best thing Democrats could do to win elections would be…become Republicans! And hey, we’re already halfway there!

    A large portion of the population is not capable of critical thought, so you are wasting your energy by focusing on the sexism.

    How’s about I make the decisions about what I “waste” my time on, eh?

  157. 157
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Yes, better.

    A large portion of the population is not capable of critical thought, so you are wasting your energy by focusing on the sexism.

    This is assuming that our only goal is winning elections. Especially given we’re extremely screwed in this election, I have more important priorities, longer-term priorities, which include making politics a safer arena for women to enter. Liberals have to know that punishing women who disagree (even profoundly evil women) with sexist attacks is not acceptable, because it reinforces a culture that silences women and shuts us out.

  158. 158
    Tethys

    RapXephon

    Crazy eyes is an excellent tool to discredit her, and I fully intend to use it as such. If you decide to read sexist overtones into an observable fact, that is your right, but its not particularly pertinent seeing as how she just won the straw poll.

    She blatently states I have no right to exist, or eat, or be treated like a person, but I should accord her respect?
    Huh-what?

    If you want a world with less sexism, I think the first order of business is to discredit these crazy religious people that are winning elections.

  159. 159
    Tethys

    I can’t eat principles. They aren’t very warm in the winter either, and do nothing to keep off the rain.

  160. 160
    RockSci

    Disappointing, PZ, especially after your great response to Elevatorgate. There’s plenty to criticise about Michele Bachmann without resorting to posting unflattering, sexually suggestive photos of her. Sexism is sexism, whoever the target is – I hate having to defend someone whose policies are so repulsive, but I will, because that’s how feminism works.

  161. 161
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Thanks for the response, PZ. For what it’s worth, I still think your own approach was comparatively high-road, but it did offer an opportunity that certain commenters rapidly and idiotically jumped on.

  162. 162
    Tethys

    And so Tina Feys “bitch” sketch on SNL is proof that Tina Fey is sexist?

    Or maybe it was an excellent weapon?

  163. 163
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    She blatently states I have no right to exist, or eat, or be treated like a person, but I should accord her respect?
    Huh-what?

    You should when the alternative is to give credibility to sexist attacks on women.

  164. 164
    Quodlibet

    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire,

    This thread, and the differing opinions expressed here, really stuck with me throughout the afternoon, though I had to step away for a few hours to run some errands. And the strength and passion in your posts really stuck with me, too, RahXephon, and made me realize that this issue is important to you, and to other people, and that I might be missing something.

    I had to go out to run errands with my daughter, and have only just had a chance to go back and read what I missed. And that time away, especially with her, turned out to be really important.

    She’s almost 18, reads Pharyngula and other progressive blogs, and is an ardent feminist. I asked her to read PZ’s original post and all the comments to date, and asked her what she thought. She expressed many of the same objections that you did, RahXephon, and since we had the luxury of a half hour’s time together, we could really discuss it.

    I don’t need to repeat it all, since it echoed much of what you and others said, but I wanted to let you know that I realize that I was not being kind or fair, and that I may have been being sexist without realizing it. Perhaps it’s a generational thing – she’s almost 18, I’m 52 — we see things differently. And BTW, I am a woman, and have crashed into the glass ceiling and dealt with vicious sexual harassment and sexist-fueled career erosion over the years, so I’m not a neophyte. But many of the issues which concern feminists these days are more subtle than I have known. Suffice it to say that I am learning, and becoming more openly feminist as I mature. I credit reading and participating here with much of my progress as a feminist. This conversation has been another step forward for me.

    Anyway, thanks for prodding me to think more deeply, and for responding to my posts. That’s why I come to Pharyngula: not just to hear what I already know, but to hear what others have to say and, often, to grow.

  165. 165
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    And so Tina Feys “bitch” sketch on SNL is proof that Tina Fey is sexist?

    Tethys, right now you are saying things you yourself know how to refute, and I have confidence that you know better. I don’t know why, but I suspect it’s because the notion of Michele Bachmann becoming president is profoundly terrifying to you, as it is to all of us, and you’re posting over-hastily due to this completely understandable emotion.

  166. 166
    Quodlibet

    BTW, my post @ #165 has nothing to do with Michele Bachmann – I loathe her. My comments at #165 had to do with my own thinking about things on a larger scale, as prompted by this conversation.

  167. 167
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    @Quodlibet

    Thank you, Quodlibet. It’s posts like yours that make me think there’s a point in banging my head against this particular wall over and over.

  168. 168
    strange gods before me

    And so Tina Feys “bitch” sketch on SNL is proof that Tina Fey is sexist?

    Or maybe it was an excellent weapon?

    I haven’t seen the sketch, so I’m not commenting on whether or not that instance is sexist, but you’ve presented a false dichotomy here.

    Sexism can be an effective weapon.

  169. 169
    David Marjanović, OM

    Bad vertebrate anatomist, PZ. Baaaaad.

    The jaw joints of that particular reptile are right next to its ears. Not the slightest dislocation necessary.

    BTW, snakes do not ever dislocate their jaws either. They use other tricks: extra joints in the skull that allow the jaw joints to be placed farther away from the braincase, and the lack of a solid connection between the left and the right lower jaw.

    And I hereby jump on the “the gentleman doth protest too much” bandwagon. Yes, it is dangerously easy to move the goalposts into “gay = bad” territory, but the point of “public homophobe = hypocrite” is by no means impossible to maintain.

    What gets me about the photo is that, even though she is straining her mouth to fit a very large and hot corndog* into it, she still hasn’t managed to crinkle her forehead.

    I can really strain my mouth, and it still doesn’t affect my forehead. Have you tried that yourself?

    is a nice-looking woman

    I still don’t understand why anyone ever states such subjective preferences as if they were objective facts.

    When you write things like:

    The interpretation of the picture as looking like she’s sucking a great big cock—a brown one, no less—is just too obvious…

    Then you probably need to examine your own thought processes, rather than projecting them onto others. I certainly didn’t think that interpretation was obvious.

    Seconded.

    Saying that only those of us with dirty imagination see anything sexual in this picture is like saying that one sees sex offers everywhere when they point out that an invitation for coffee sometimes isn’t just for coffee.

    It was an invitation to someone’s hotel room at 4 am. With or without the coffee, that was a pretty obvious sex offer.

    I, for one, am not saying it’s “dirty” or otherwise bad to think of penises and/or oral sex often enough to associate that with this picture. I’m merely saying it’s projection to believe everyone or almost everyone does.

    Comment 113 makes it sound like it’s a miracle anyone ever lets themselves be seen eating any sausage at all!

    I can’t believe PZ wasn’t aware of that when he posted the picture.

    Well, I can.

    [rewritten after refreshing] It’s still good he reacted as he did, though. While I am at it, he should finally correct the spelling of Polycotylus latipinnus on both blogs.

    And so Tina Feys “bitch” sketch on SNL is proof that Tina Fey is sexist?

    Well, probably – in the sense that probably all of us have some sexist cultural prejudices lingering around in our minds.

    I haven’t watched it, though.

  170. 170
    TCC

    PZ, I apologize for thinking maybe you weren’t perfect after all.

    I am humbled by your integrity and ability to say “I have further considered this.”

    Leading by example as you often do.

  171. 171
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    After reading the responses to this article, I’ve reconsidered and decided it was too easily misconstrued, so it’s gone.

    Seriously, PZ? We just “misconstrued” it? We can’t possibly have had a point?

  172. 172
    Eddy Spillane

    Linking the original story is funny enough on it’s own. Sometimes all you have to do is present something to people — TADA!! — and it’s all the more funnier simply because you let people laugh or say what they want on their own.

    A successful blogger WOULD post something controversial and then withdraw it after further consideration. Good job, PZ, at doing what you do.

  173. 173
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Seriously, PZ? We just “misconstrued” it? We can’t possibly have had a point?

    Perhaps PZ was referring to the people who took his posting the picture as an invitation to overtly objectify Michele Bachmann by posting sexualized comments about the picture. That’s how I read it.

  174. 174
    Cyberwulf

    Kudos to PZ for not admitting he was, you know, WRONG or anything.

  175. 175
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Thanks for removing the photo, PZ.

  176. 176
    Tethys

    CC,

    Tina Fey -bitch is the new black.

    We live in a sexist society. I have been fighting it my whole life, and do try to take the moral high road.

    But parody and sarcasm are often more effective at illustrating the point and raising consciousness.

    I will not refer to Ms Bachmann as a female dog, but I also don’t feel the Newsweek cover was sexist. Its an accurate portrayal of what she looks like.

    PZs picture up there is creepy and unflattering and unkind, but not intended as sexist.

    I am interested in what the horde thinks of Tina Feys use of the word bitch* as a weapon. It raises some interesting points, and its a great come back if the term is being applied to you. It makes them think.

    Unfortunately, pointing out sexism often makes the sexist person become defensive and shut down communication. Taking their sexism and using it as a weapon against them has been a far more effective technique in my experience.

    *It’s a nasty sexist insult which I don’t use, and WILL react quite aggressively to. I am in no way condoning this term.

  177. 177
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Tethys, I assume you meant to respond to someone else? That actually doesn’t respond to anything I said. You asked if someone saying something proved they were sexist, and I pointed out that you know better than to try that. Anyhow…

    I am interested in what the horde thinks of Tina Feys use of the word bitch* as a weapon. It raises some interesting points, and its a great come back if the term is being applied to you. It makes them think.

    Reclamation (right word?) of oppressive language is a complicated thing and can be kind of a high-wire act. It’s more complex certainly than just using someone’s sexism against them. I tend to think that owning the term “bitch” is too facile, and pays too little attention to the ways that it’s destructive. I don’t think it’s powerful, and I don’t think it serves feminism well. I don’t generally reject people attempting to reclaim words, and I have seen it used in interesting ways, but I don’t think it’s a useful project. Nor do I think that any of this conversation is actually relevant to the picture of Michele Bachmann, or to sexist responses to it.

  178. 178
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I don’t think owning “bitch” in the way Tina Fey attempts to do is a useful project, to be clearer.

  179. 179
    Carlie

    Thank you, PZ. I know you didn’t intend for the post to be sexist, but it was easy to take that way, and thank you for recognizing that and pulling it to avoid that interpretation rather than telling everyone they were oversensitive (which a lot of other people would have done).

  180. 180
    PaulG

    Classical Cipher: Yes, I think “reclamation” is correct. Where I disagree with you is:

    Nor do I think that any of this conversation is actually relevant to the picture of Michele Bachmann, or to sexist responses to it.

    I think that Myers saw the same sexual imagery in this picture as all the dumbass sexists. I saw it, and did not like it. You saw it, and did not like it. Myers saw it, and somehow thought this gender-aggressive image was funny (enough to hide below a fold, as the punchline to his gag). It remained funny until his readers pointed out…the obvious.

    I really love his writings on atheism and science. He has an elegant, flowing style which somehow makes failing to learn impossible as one reads. But I think his opinions are fluid, and susceptible to influence by the fans/controversy/money.

    Just my nickel, please don’t flame me.

  181. 181
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Sorry, I must be writing really obscurely today :( I meant that the conversation about Tina Fey wasn’t relevant, not that the whole series of comments about sexism wasn’t relevant. I agree with you about the image, generally, though I think PZ’s opinion is actually being influenced by evidence rather than “the fans/controversy/money.”
    [Why are there so many Pauls in this thread?]

  182. 182
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Wait, is it possible that you just blockquoted the wrong stuff? At any rate, the responses of people like David M demonstrate that it’s very possible to look at this image and not see anything sexual, and I’m willing to give a consistent, proven ally like PZ the benefit of the doubt with regard to why he posted the image, especially given that he’s now chosen to retract it.

  183. 183
    PaulG

    Classical Cipher #183: I quoted the right sentence; it made the point in my mind, though I’ve heard no two are alike.

    I understand (given the recent weeks) your trust in Myers, that’s fine. I see it differently; for most of us, expecially with families, money is a huge – even if not admitted to oneself – powerful force in decision making.

  184. 184
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    The fact that money influences decision-making would seem to be far insufficient here – to begin, which financial incentive are you claiming is provided to PZ for which action, here?

  185. 185
    PZ Myers

    I saw the picture as I’d already described it: I’d been sent a link to it, I saw the comment by Marjanovic about Polycotylus, and that was the connection: you’d be surprised at what people stuff in their mouths, especially around county fair time in the midwest.

    When I got back from a busy day in Oslo to see the wild interpretations people were making, then I saw how easily it was being twisted into something sexual, so I got rid of it.

    It’s weird to think it’s about money. Sorry, but this new blog is entirely experimental, I have no idea how we’re doing commercially (the cheesy ads suggest…probably not great, yet), and traffic at the old reliable Sb site is down to about half what it was — so I’ve probably cut my revenues from the blog in half with this move. And if I wanted to increase traffic fast it would be a better move to institute a daily photo feature highlighting naked female hairless bipeds.

    And sorry, David, I got the spelling directly from the Science paper, which in four different places spells it “latippinus” — two “p”s, one “n” — which I agree is odd, but that’s what it says.

  186. 186
    PaulG

    PZMyers @186: accepted.

    You propbably don’t want to get to the google images page I got while searching for a suitable image for this. “I bleach my brain so you don’t have to“. But here is an addition for your proposed revenue-reaping site:

    http://www.stlzoo.org/images/chimpanzee21.jpg

  187. 187
    Chakolate

    Good for you, PZ, in taking it down. Thank you.

  188. 188
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    Yowzers…

    This thread makes the bumper stickers on a biodiesel VW Bus on Berkley’s campus read like Mein Kampf.

  189. 189
    Greg Laden

    Oh give me a break. When I wrote my thoughts about the Iowa Caucus ( http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/08/i_am_iowan_i_am_barn.php ) I went to find a picture of the winner and this is all Google Images gave me.

    I have absolutely no concern about how a photogaph makes Michele Bachmann look. It’s really her problem that she has no clue how to campaign to become leader of the free world.

    But it will be interesting to compare the complaints about Bachmann eating a corn dog to Obama being depicted as a lawn jockey. Compare, mainly, with respect to who is making them and why.

  190. 190
    strange gods before me

    I have absolutely no concern about how a photogaph makes Michele Bachmann look. It’s really her problem that she has no clue how to campaign to become leader of the free world.

    Greg, I don’t think anyone here is concerned for Bachmann’s sake.

  191. 191
    upupdowndownleftrightleftrightBAstart

    I can’t believe I’m delurking for this, and to make a long, arrogant, and unneeded post at that.

    I did not read the original post. I read all the comments and inferred what the original post was about. Then, I viewed the picture.

    I do not believe the picture is sexist.
    I believe there is sexism in this issue.
    I do not believe the post, as I infer it to have been, was sexist.
    I suspect that PZ’s post took the heat because it was convenient to the actual issue.
    I believe that addressing the sexism in this issue is the best possible outcome.

    The picture. As I read these comments, I was trying to imagine just what parameters would apply to a picture like this to determine if it is sexist. One might think that spending 15 minutes intentionally imagining a despicable person eating a corndog in increasingly Freudian ways would be worse than just looking at the picture itself – but NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That picture easily outperformed my imagination. The reason why (and why I don’t think it is a sexist picture) is because she is posing. She isn’t eating a corndog, she is trying to be photographed eating a corndog — and she is doing a terrible job of it. She looks awkward and confused and in need of others’ approval.

    The sexism. Women trying to be photographed while putting things in their mouths, possibly looking awkward and confused and in need of others’ approval is a decent summary of most mainstream porn. I don’t believe that the corndog-as-phallus is nearly as powerful an allusion as has been suggested here — I was almost ready to admit PZ had been sexist when I first saw the expression on her face, but the corndog seemed so out of place in that context (long and thin, lumpy, weird angle … did I mention i spent 15 minutes imagining this before I saw it? and I still couldn’t suspend disbelief) that I had to wonder if anyone unfamiliar with modern mainstream porn would have drawn the “obvious” conclusion.

    The post. As I infer it to have been, the post sounds like it was trying to describe the weird expression on her face (I would not have noticed the jaw) rather than draw pornographic parallels. PZ has seen science where we see sex many times before, but this time I suspect it is an artifact of our sexist culture that leads us to see porn where others see weird.

    The heat. How they choose to show candidates is the strongest political tool the Media have — this goes back to at least Taft, and I suspect much farther. Since JFK, the taller candidate has won the Presidency with only one exception. It is not simply discretion, but leverage the Media have over candidates. Sexism is a component of this imaging. Progressive feminists are already among the most poorly imaged political groups, and not by Media accident. If we are going to fight on behalf of bigots, we should be sure that we are fighting sexism and not just the unjust right of unaccountable Media to portray people as they wish — we can’t win the second fight, yet, and only our enemies will benefit.

    The issue. Does Bachmann have crazy eyes? Yes. So does Rudy Gulianni, as an example. Is crazy often gendered? Yes. Crazy also references a set of stereotypes that don’t represent the disorders it supposedly identifies. I don’t know how to deal with these issues. I suspect that crazy is a significant term as it applies to Bachmann/Gulianni and not as it applies to gender/depression. Porn is now pop culture. Porn is often sexist, but pop culture references to porn are often meant to be ironic and anti-sexist. I don’t know, but I think we’re smart enough to talk about these things and that we have to make ourselves talk about these things. We can’t be so afraid to correct ourselves when we do something wrong — which we will — that we fail to think, and talk, these things through. Sexism is a part of our culture and thus it is a part of us — and that is at least preferable to a total ignorance of sexism and leaving it to develop unexamined again, because we can reference it and document the ridiculousness of it. I know that many of the people with the most meaningful experience on these issues are often exhausted by repeatedly correcting common misconceptions, or are the most hurt by these issues and thus unable to engage –but demanding allies voluntarily proscribe themselves sounds about as popular as Calvinball. You’re creative people, help me make fun of Bachmann’s oblivious mannerisms without being sexist. For science.

  192. 192
    Greg Laden

    Strange gods, I don’t think I implied they were. I simply don’t see the arguments as convincing.

    I am a corndog positive person. A lot of us Minnesotans are.

  193. 193
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I have absolutely no concern about how a photogaph makes Michele Bachmann look. It’s really her problem that she has no clue how to campaign to become leader of the free world.

    If you think this is relevant to the arguments being provided here, Greg, you don’t understand them well enough for me to care whether you find them convincing. And what do you mean “this is all Google Images gave” you? I just google image searched Michele Bachmann and, well, no?

  194. 194
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Shorter Greg Laden: bitches ain’t shit, and that goes double if they’re women I don’t like.

    Thanks, Greg, for your total lack of substance on this issue, other than adding another fart of privilege to the flatu-chorus.

  195. 195
    Muse142

    Longtime lurker, only occasional poster – wanted to join in the chorus of thanks for reconsidering the post. Bachmann is as contemptable as the next Christian Dominionist, so there’s plenty of substantial things to mock her for, way above and beyond noticing that she looks funny while eating phallic foods.

  196. 196
    lupinella

    Thank you for reconsidering the post; also, thank you for your blog.

  197. 197
    Dahmer, Jeffrey Dahmer

    The Naked Emperor just keeps getting more naked. There isn’t a single shred of integrity or decency in your entire rotten carcass is there? Can’t even stand by what you post. Not that the trained baboons will notice inconsistency. Too much to hope that you’ll retract any of your other accumulated slander.

  198. 198
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    You’re a fucking moron, Dahmer, not that your screen name left a whole lot of question about that. If you’re convinced that posting something was a bad idea, it’s a sign of integrity and intellectual honesty not to stand by it.

  199. 199
    Tim

    Has anyone asked the offended whether or not they would be offended had the photo been a photo of a male Republican politician in the same predicament?

    Or is it just because Bachmann is a woman that it’s sexist..

  200. 200
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Tim, my advice is to read the damn comments and make a sincere effort not to be such a useless fucking idiot next time you feel the need to post.

  201. 201
    Tim

    It was just an observation. I don’t know why you need to get so personal with the insulting.

  202. 202
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    It was a stupid and tiresome “observation” based on ignorance of information readily available to you, and I’m heartily sick of idiots.

  203. 203
    Tim

    I saw you post above that it all had to do with context, and that “Doing the same thing to a man and to a woman does not necessarily constitute equality” which basically means that if you make the same joke to both a man and a woman, it’s more offensive towards the woman because of the context behind it, like in Bachmanns case, that women have been called frequently called crazy for whatever reason in the past.

    Which is fucking ridiculous.

    It either is offensive for both, or it isn’t. If you preach equality, then act it. Racism, sexism, ableism, other -isms, are bad no matter who they are directed at, and they shouldn’t be given priority based on context.

  204. 204
    Tim

    (Just like how rape is bad no matter the gender of the person being raped. Rape is rape. One isn’t worse than the other.)

  205. 205
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Which is fucking ridiculous.

    Your bare assertion is noted. Your attempt at arguing it is pathetic. My advice about not behaving like an idiot stands.

  206. 206
    Tim

    I find your belief that things are worse towards certain people/genders is pathetic.

  207. 207
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    Thank you for reconsidering freedom of speech/press.
    I think this blog is redifning what is a free press. And I’d hope you would side with freedom of press.

    A strike through the original post might of been more approriate with the addition of whatever info you felt might be nessacary. I’d like to decide for my own with the original post in some form but it is your blog.

    I’d hate to see this blog go the way of a Stalin/Trotsky photo revision.

  208. 208
    andyo

    Same as nigger=cracker. EQUALITY FTW!11!1!

  209. 209
    Lucy

    Once again, more shining examples of the following:

    Woman #1: This is hurtful to me, as a woman.
    Men: No, no, no! You’re totally MISCONSTRUING it! Let me explain the joke!
    Woman #1: You’re not listening to me.
    Men: No, you’re not listening to me explain the joke! Let me just explain to you why you’re being so silly as to be hurt by something I don’t think is hurtful!
    Woman #2: I don’t find it hurtful, as a woman.
    Men: SEE?!?!?? I know way more about your level of hurtness than you do, and see, there’s a woman who’s not hurt. Hence, I am right.
    Woman #3: Hey, maybe you should listen to a woman who’s trying to tell you why this is hurtful to her.
    Men: No, no, no, see, you don’t get the joke either. *sigh* Let me spell it out for you, but hold on while I go find my bag of “humorless feminist” tropes.

    This is why I left online atheism.

    Incidentally, what infuriates me the most is an early comment wherein a rational protest was expected to be called out as trolling–and was not disappointed.

    And you people consider yourself thoughtful, rational skeptics?

  210. 210
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I find your belief that things are worse towards certain people/genders is pathetic.

    Your lack of substance is astounding. Try making an actual fucking argument, numskull, for why context is meaningless and results don’t matter. Otherwise, your baseless opinions are noted and dismissed.

  211. 211
    Lord Setar

    Tim #207:

    I find your belief that things are worse towards certain people/genders is pathetic.

    What is pathetic is your implication that all forms of institutionalized discrimination were magically wiped away sometime in the 1960s.

  212. 212
    MudPuddles

    @186
    Disappointed that you felt he had to reconsider this post, PZ. You will always get those wild interpretations, regardless – a shame you had to justify your post at all. I would have thought your record on the elevator thing would make it pretty clear how aware you are of serious sexism in the atheist community, and that whole thing was also about someone’s web post (i.e. Rebecca Watson’s video) being wildly misinterpereted and taken out of context. Its a bit sad really.

  213. 213
    MudPuddles

    *sorry, felt you had to*

  214. 214
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Mudpuddles, someone having a record of anti-sexist work doesn’t magically prevent any sexism from getting into their future behaviors. And you know it. Christ, what is it with people making arguments they can easily refute in this thread?

  215. 215
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    @ Lucy

    Yeah, we don’t all agree all the time on everything but we do agree one thing all the supernatural claims that have been presented to us as individuals has not been met. All the other claims whether they be natural, material, social, political, philosophical we are still working on… we’re only human, it’s what to be expected by primates descended from apes.

  216. 216
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    worse on line grammar ever

  217. 217
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    A strike through the original post might of been more approriate with the addition of whatever info you felt might be nessacary. I’d like to decide for my own with the original post in some form but it is your blog.

    You do realize that the picture was offensive, not the text accompanying it? A strike trough the picture wouldn’t really have the desired effect.

  218. 218
    MudPuddles

    @ Classical Cipher #215
    Calm down Mr. Uppity, re-read my post. I said its a bit sad that PZ’s original post was given over to wild interperetations and it ended up being reconsidered over a silly brawl, when the reason and humour behind the post was evident and clearly stated. That nonsense will happen regardless. Its particularly sad since PZ is the last person who would be considered overtly sexist. That’s not an argument, its a statement. But it is also sad that people get so het up in here that they feel some pathological need to create an argument where one doesn’t exist. Jebus, why the hell am I now defending my post? That’s sad.

  219. 219
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Mudpuddles, I think it’s deeply pathetic that you’re hiding behind “I think it’s sad” as an inarguable statement of fact rather than actually defend the reasoning behind it. That’s just a statement, not an argument, and if you feel the need to complain about it, I’ll act like my posts should be above criticism. Oh, and misidentify your gender and use silencing language while I’m at it. How’s that sound?

  220. 220
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ UpAgainstTheRopes #208

    I’d hate to see this blog go the way of a Stalin/Trotsky photo revision.

    And if PZ wants to maintain a certain standard and position wrt his posts? Surely he can correct himself as and when he sees fit.

    Perhaps the modus operandi should be along the lines of Urban Dictionary:

    Entries can document discrimination and slurs but not endorse it.

    If he feels that the post has been construed as endorsement and not documentation, why would he not be justified in removing it in toto?

    ………………………………………….

    Speaking of Urban Dictionary:

    Repuberty:
    The period in a male’s [sic] life, typically between age of 27-39 when he succumbs to republican ideology. Signs of repuberty include listening to talk radio, unprompted remarks about social programs such as welfare, professing a love for rich people and low taxes, ranking of other people’s patriotism levels.

    Eg: “He didn’t listen to Glenn Beck until he hit Repuberty.”

    “Alfred suffered from early Repuberty after he was mugged.”

  221. 221
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    I was speaking to the original text in PZ’s post which is no longer accompanying, unless it’s somewhere else on this blog that I overlooked. The picture and article is still linked. The original text by PZ is not in the posting, he admits it is gone if you scroll to the top. I’d like to decide for myself regardless of what you or anyone thinks whether or not the original post is/was offensive and I’d rather see any alterations alongside the original post, comrade.

  222. 222
    MudPuddles

    @ Classical Cipher
    How does it sound? Like you have some anger ssues and maybe need a hug.

  223. 223
    MudPuddles

    *issues*…. damn, must proof read…

  224. 224
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Lovely evasion, Mudpuddles, but if you don’t feel the need to back up your posts, I don’t see much point in your making them or anyone else’s reading them.

  225. 225
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    , comrade

    Subtle.

    Other than that, what theophontes said.

  226. 226
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    @ theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    ahhhhh… so cute we accuse the opposition of quotemining. Did you miss the part where I mentioned that it’s PZ’s blog and he can do what he wants?

    Thanks for demonstrating that totalitarianism and the want to enforce “right” is beyond religious and political aspirations and is ingrained in the human spirit.

    You’re not a fan of democracy are you?

  227. 227
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    UpAgainstTheRopes, stop being a fucking idiot. Theophontes is under no obligation to quote your post in its entirety, and merely stating the obvious fact that PZ can do what he likes with his own blog – as though it’s some kind of concession, no less! – does not change the meaning of the rest of what you said. Maintaining standards in one’s own posts is not fucking censorship.

  228. 228
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ UpAgainstTheRopes

    You’re not a fan of democracy are you?

    Democracy: “When seven wolves and a lamb decide on what’s for dinner.”

  229. 229
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Ups, I didn’t read theophontes’ whole name so I thought “comrade” was referring to previously mentioned communist censorship.

  230. 230
    Lord Setar

    MudPuddles #223:

    How does it sound? Like you have some anger ssues and maybe need a hug.

    Actually, it sounds more like you have some logic issues and maybe need a re-evaluation. But go ahead, pass the buck and act like the problem is everyone else and not you. Hope you’re happy to contribute to the death of society in the most effective way possible.

  231. 231
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    Hai Beatrice, c’est moi!

    *waves*

    Aux Barricades!

  232. 232
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    @ Classical Cipher
    gofuckyourself.com I wrote a concise post, Theophontes knew what they did, don’t make excuses.

    @ Theophontes
    Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. -…ahhhhh not me

    but methinks you’re an anarcho-capitalist…

    proving once again, all us atheists have in common is lack of belief in of all the god claims presented to us.

  233. 233
    Non-Biblical Paul

    Haven’t you guys learned yet? Scroll back about 100 replies: Not treating women better than you treat men isn’t actually treating men unfairly, it’s simply what’s required to treat a woman as an equal. Actually treating a woman as an equal doesn’t cut it – you have to treat women better than equal. Doing so doesn’t actually create a problem where unfair treatment of men is concerned, because you are not supposed to acknowledge that men can be treated unfairly. Also, even if a guy defends women passionately and repeatedly doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be cheerfully, eagerly, lightly called a sexist, and that’s because someone’s past performance doesn’t matter, forget what you heard about keeping statistics on anything. And that’s just the way it has to be, otherwise they wont have an argument against PZ. So, just play along.

  234. 234
    Lord Setar

    UpAgainstTheRopes #233:

    gofuckyourself.com I wrote a concise post, Theophontes knew what they did,

    And you just expect us to read theophontes’ mind for the explanation that would back up this lofty claim?

  235. 235
    Lord Setar

    Non-Biblical Paul: Please substantiate the claims made in your comment #234 with quotations and explanations ere you are called disingenuous by someone with a happier trigger finger than I, for the smell of burning straw does not make for a kind introduction.

  236. 236
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ CC

    Why does it want you to visit “Adult Webmaster Resource Message Board”?

    (I have a sprig of mistletoe you might like to borrow… ;)

    @ UpAgainstTheRopes

    Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. -…ahhhhh not me

    but methinks you’re an anarcho-capitalist…

    Rubbish. Are you saying the highly discriminatory form of “democracy” practiced in USA is “least bad”? There are far superior ways to run societies. You could consider reading and traveling more…

  237. 237
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    *waves back at theophontes*

    Heh, not so long ago PZ was being accused of censoring comments. But now the truth is revealed – poor fellow is under his readers’ steel boot, forced to censor himself when his posts diverge from our opinions.

  238. 238
    MudPuddles

    @ Classical Cipher #225
    My opinion was pretty well explained within my first, and second, posts – you agree or don’t with the opinion expressed, simple as that. Either way, you’re the one looking to create an argument over something minor. I’m just not arsed enough to rise to that bait. Particularly since my opinion was actually inspired by something you said on this very page – I read your comment @ 61 (“Commenters, however, have drawn in the whole disgust-sexual-rejection nonsense, as well as overtly sexualized the picture, and that’s both less good and totally expected when this kind of conversation comes up”) and had to agree – and so I said that its a shame that PZ had to justify his post against nonsense interpretations, which unfortunately are to be expected.

    @Lord Seatar #231
    …. eh? What problem, specifically? And how is that problem (whatever it is) me? and where did I say it (whatever it is) was everyone else? Make sense, and I’ll be pleased to respond. If on the other hand you’re trolling for an argument, then grow up.

  239. 239
    bluharmony

    Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. -…ahhhhh not me

    Churchill.

    There’s no reason to think that a democracy within a socialized welfare state wouldn’t work. And it is true, of all forms of government that have been tried, socialized democracy has been the best for the most, at least as far as I know.

  240. 240
    Lord Setar

    …. eh? What problem, specifically?

    That you think an acceptable response to an argument is to accuse the arguer of having anger problems and nothing more.

    And how is that problem (whatever it is) me?

    Well, you’re the one who thinks that it’s okay to not provide a substantive response because you think the poster has anger problems.

    and where did I say it (whatever it is) was everyone else?

    You ignored substantive criticism in favor of accusing the criticiser of having anger problems.

    Make sense, and I’ll be pleased to respond. If on the other hand you’re trolling for an argument, then grow up.

    The one who should grow up is the one who acts as though they can dismiss an argument on the basis of perceived tone.

  241. 241
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    There is a post on Feministe titled Woe Is She: A Mainstream Liberal Gotcha Media Guide to Michele Bachmann. (linky)

    I’m quite fond of the first proposition for valid criticism:

    The valid alternative: Christian wifely submission

    The headline: Love, Honor, and Obey: Who would run a Bachmann White House?

  242. 242
    Non-Biblical Paul

    Sorry guys. Lord Setar made a great argument a few post back, pointing out that I should also be willing to be refute my own argument against them, should I dare to make one. So, you must also must refute your own arguments, otherwise they wont be able to pretend to be feminists. And this post, of course, is a post wherein half the people pretend to be feminists and the other half play reluctant sexists. It’s like playing cowboys and Indians.

  243. 243
    Lord Setar

    Non-Biblical Paul #243:

    Sorry guys. Lord Setar made a great argument a few post back, pointing out that I should also be willing to be refute my own argument against them, should I dare to make one.

    Please quote where I said this in your next response. If you do not, I will be forced to conclude that you are either unable to read (highly unlikely given your skill with the English language) or lying about having read my post.

  244. 244
    John Morales

    UpAgainstTheRopes @189,

    This thread makes the bumper stickers on a biodiesel VW Bus on Berkley’s campus read like Mein Kampf.

    upupdowndownleftrightleftrightBAstart @192, nice delurking.
    (Welcome to the commentariat)

    MudPuddles @213,

    Disappointed that you felt he had to reconsider this post, PZ. You will always get those wild interpretations, regardless – a shame you had to justify your post at all. [...] Its a bit sad really.

    What makes you think this is the only post PZ has reconsidered? It is merely one of the rare cases where he acts.

    UpAgainstTheRopes @208:

    [1] Thank you for reconsidering freedom of speech/press.
    [2] I think this blog is redifning what is a free press. And I’d hope you would side with freedom of press.

    [3] A strike through the original post might of been more approriate with the addition of whatever info you felt might be nessacary. I’d like to decide for my own with the original post in some form but it is your blog.

    [4] I’d hate to see this blog go the way of a Stalin/Trotsky photo revision.

    1. PZ has been consistent in this regard.

    2. This is not “press”, though it is a mass medium. It’s a blog.

    3. That would vitiate the entire point of correcting the problematic issue.

    4. Did they replace the missing images with a bold disclaimer regarding their expurgation? :)

    Beatrice @238, :)

  245. 245
    John Morales

    Erk! @289, that was a good’un!

  246. 246
    MudPuddles

    @John Morales #245

    What makes you think this is the only post PZ has reconsidered?

    Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.

  247. 247
    Lord Setar

    Anyone attempting to complain about PZ violating freedom of the press or democratic values should take the same complaint to the editorial boards of every newspaper ever.

  248. 248
    John Morales

    [meta]

    MudPuddles, heh.

    I’m neither disappointed nor elated regarding the proximate issue, but nonetheless impressed by PZ’s flexibility of mind and decisiveness regarding self-correction.

    (Perhaps what you find a flaw I find an asset)

  249. 249
    Erica

    Beatrice, thanks for that Feministe link!

  250. 250
    Carlie

    You will always get those wild interpretations, regardless –

    “Wild interpretations”? Searching just for “Michele Bachmann deep throats corn dog” gives almost 4000 hits on said picture. There’s a specific reason that picture is all over the internet, and it’s not because of the reptilian jaw-unhinging one PZ described. No, I don’t believe he was thinking of the sexual interpretation when he was posting it, but thousands of other people sure as hell did, and it was good of him to take it down to avoid all of that crashing in.

  251. 251
    Paul W., OM

    David Marjanović:

    I, for one, am not saying it’s “dirty” or otherwise bad to think of penises and/or oral sex often enough to associate that with this picture. I’m merely saying it’s projection to believe everyone or almost everyone does.

    Well, I for one was not saying that everyone or almost everyone does automatically see it that way. Just that many people inevitably will see it that way—and once they point it out, almost everyone will “get” that, too.

    Sure, many people can see somebody eating a huge corn dog from the end, and not obviously chomping it, and just see somebody starting to eat a big corndog—if they’re not trying to find an alternative interpretation of the picture that’s funny.

    Still, I’m pretty sure that if just show random people that picture, and indicate that it’s supposed to be a funny picture at the expense of the person in the picture, the modal response will be to understand—immediately or after a little thought—that it looks like she’s sucking a big old cock.

    I don’t think that’s just projection on my especially fellatio-oriented part. I think it’s basic familiarity with popular culture. There are simply way more jokes about cocksucking than about amazing reptile jaws, and more visual jokes of very much that sort than about reptiles.

    Worse, the picture doesn’t look like there’s an articulable jaw there, or like a particularly reptilian person eating, say, a small mammal. It better fits the more familiar schema of a human opening a relatively normal mouth wide to accommodate a large object, in this case a sausage-shaped one.

    I think the latter interpretation of the picture is both more likely and more stable, due to common schemas and natural biases due to actual base rates. It’s just not as much of a stretch, so to speak.

    By the way, I’m more familiar than most people with the reptile-swallowing-big-things-whole schema. I have seen some V, though I didn’t watch the whole series, and I used to own a large python, so I saw that sort of thing regularly for years. I was all ready to interpret the picture as looking like that sort of thing, but it just looked more like the other sort of thing.

    I think PZ made a couple of basic errors in joke construction. Part of the art of humor is making one interpretation “the obvious one” in the setup, and a different interpretation “the obvious one” with a punchline. If there’s not exactly one obvious (re-)interpretation that the punchline forces, you have a structural problem with your joke. If the intended reinterpretation is not obvious enough to almost everybody, you too many huh?s and not enough hah!s. If it’s not unique and stable, you get too many whaa?s. It’s a Joke 101 fail.

    Good on PZ for taking it down.

  252. 252
    Paul W., OM

    Oops, that first paragraph was a quote from David. The rest is my response.

  253. 253
    MudPuddles

    @John Morales #249,

    No, I agree with you. As we say here in Ireland “fair play, PZ”. He did the right thing, all things considered. Just a shame that he felt he had to. Though it was obviously a different topic, Rebecca Watson’s comments (about being propositioned) in her first “elevator” video were innocuous, and in the context in which they were raised they were light hearted, understated, totally non-insulting of elevator dude, right-on and quite amusing. She set off a shit storm of protest consisting mostly of nonsense and hackneyed misinterperetations, but no-one (at least no-one rational who understood what she meant) is suggesting she should remove that post (and all her subsequent related ones). PZ’s post, in its clearly indicated and self-evident context, seems to have also brought out the angry, with predictable hackneyed misinterperetations (“a sausage looks a bit like a willy” is neither a newsflash nor a sophisticated complaint). He could have toughed it out and explained the self-evident again and again and again, or ignored it, but since its a minor petty issue (as opposed to a real issue of misogyny) and the image was in hindsight so easily misinterpereted, he has decided “meh, forget it” and removed the post. So, good that he did, bad that he felt he had to.

  254. 254
    Carlie

    He could have toughed it out and explained the self-evident again and again and again, or ignored it, but since its a minor petty issue (as opposed to a real issue of misogyny) and the image was in hindsight so easily misinterpereted, he has decided “meh, forget it” and removed the post.

    Or maybe he thought “Well, I guess it does look like a cock now that you mention it, and I don’t want another MRA infestation going all har-har-har over it, so I’ll take it down”.

  255. 255
    Godless Heathen

    I heard about the original post over on Shakesville.
    It wasn’t misconstrued or misinterpreted. Unflattering photos that are of powerful women (in this case Bachmann) and have sexual subtext are much, much more common than are those same types of photos of powerful men.

    It’s sexist and it’s a way to demean women.

  256. 256
    Lord Setar

    Carlie #255: And that is the exact “I am not the problem” mentality I’m talking about — it is implied that the post was removed because feminists would get mad over it, rather than the opposite and more accurate MRAs will swarm in here snickering about how “lololol it looks like she’s sucking a cock I thought you were a feminist who hated that stuff” and we’re going to have to deal with that shit AGAIN after dealing with it on a more or less constant basis for the past month. Or, even better, the feminist complaints have merit — as shown in this thread — and PZ would be in the wrong if he were obstinate and left it up, ignoring the underlying issue.

    Now, it’s couched so heavily in passive-aggressive language that it looks like he thought he could get away with it (he tried with me). Only problem was he gave the game away when he accused Classical Cipher of trying to start an argument over nothing…

  257. 257
    Bernard Bumner

    Whilst I don’t feel any need to apologise for my own (non-sexual) interpretation of the picture, I do suspect that I may have missed other people (in the US) making penis jokes about this picture. Perhaps I was unduly naive. Mea culpa.

    Being British, PZ’s post was my only exposure to this image.

    If sexual jokes have become commonplace using this picture to attack Bachmann, then it certainly changes my feelings about its use.

    Attacking Bachmann’s selfish and discriminatory politics by making reptile jokes is very obviously different from attacking Bachmann on the basis of cultural standards of beauty and via gendered/sexualised insults. There is absolutely no danger in distancing one’s self from the latter – freedom of speech is not at stake if one chooses to issue a clarification to, or to withdraw, a comment on the basis that it was offensive.

    Once something is effectively claimed by those we should oppose, then there is nothing wrong with abandoning it, and particularly not if it happens to be of little value and consequence to begin with.

    In short, I was mistaken, and PZ has done the right thing.

  258. 258
    Rey Fox

    OMG SOUND THE PENIS ALARM

    It’s looking like a good week to be on vacation.

  259. 259
    greame

    it’s what to be expected by primates descended from who are apes.

    Sorry.

  260. 260
    MudPuddles

    @ Carlie #255

    Or maybe he thought “Well, I guess it does look like a cock now that you mention it, and I don’t want another MRA infestation going all har-har-har over it, so I’ll take it down”.

    Ha! Yes, probably right.

  261. 261
    McWaffle

    @Everybody who goes “Would it be sexist if it was a guy? I’m just about EQUALITY.”

    I’m reminded (somewhat tangentially) of the Anatole France quotation: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

  262. 262
    McWaffle

    Ha! Wikipedia turns up another quote from him that seems relevant to Bachmann: “Stupidity is far more dangerous than evil, for evil takes a break from time to time, stupidity does not.”

  263. 263
    MudPuddles

    @ Carlie #255

    I remember a little while ago the UK Daily Mail showed Michelle Obama eating a carrot on their website…. and were flooded with unoriginal, phallus-related anti-black, anti-Michelle, anti-Obama, anti-liberal nonsense, and others complaining that the Mail was sexist / racist for showing her in a “compromising position” or whatever… the Mail basically said “look at the context, then shut the hell up”, but couldn’t win and eventually removed all comments from the page. (I think the story was about her interacting with kids in a home garden as part of her eat-smart campaign.)

    @ Lord Setar #257

    What I’m stating, a few times now, is that PZ’s intent was misinterpereted, and its a shame. Someone else claiming “oh your post is sexist because that looks like a dong” is unwarranted, but that’s what some people will think despite the fact that his actual intent was quite clearly nothing to do with willies, and more to do with a joke on the reptilian jaws comment. It is a shame – though a fact of life – that people will misinterperet someone’s intent regardless of whether the meaning and context is as clear as crystal, hence my reference to R Watson. And similar to your misinterpretation of my meaning, even though it has been clearly explained a few times now. Go figure. But as Carlie suggests, I guess there are some cretins PZ has to avoid attracting with that image.

  264. 264
    bluharmony

    @MudPuddles and @Carlie:

    I don’t think intent is the issue here, I think it’s the message that gets conveyed.

    There are at least three major reasons that many feminists object to this image:

    1) Because of its sexually suggestive nature, the image can be viewed as sexual objectification (the deleted text specifically referred to the dehumanization of a woman);
    2) The image is a stab at a politically powerful woman based on her appearance, and appearance is often how women in our society are valued, thus it’s not the same as ridiculing an unattractive and/or sexual photo of a male;
    3) Powerful and successful women are constantly criticized for their appearance rather than the work they do (think of Hillary Clinton, for example).

    Not recognizing the above is what’s called “male privilege.”

    Taking down the image was a wise decision. Bachmann provides plenty of reasons to make fun of her without resorting to low blows. What she looks like while eating corndogs is irrelevant to any political position she holds.

    On the other hand, having a sense of humor is not an indictable offense, nor is it misogyny. And, at least to some extent, ridicule is part of the price one pays for being a controversial public figure.

  265. 265
    The Sailor

    IRT Bachmann’s ‘crazy eyes’: I think her crazy eyes are an indication she’s crazy. The same way I would see that look on anybody’s face on the street and avoid contact with them.

    Her words just flesh out that that woman thinks she is on a mission from god and I want nothing to do with it.

    IRT this particular photo: Fuck it, she chose to order a foot long, she chose this stop to be a photo-op. Anyone would look ridiculous eating one, as did Marcus. Is anyone one trying to claim she didn’t know the press was there!?

    The MSM luuuvs them some silly shots, it’s what we have instead of a 4th estate these days. Sad but true. They did the same with Dukakis in a tank. They do the same in words or pix to every presidential candidate.

  266. 266
    strange gods before me

    The Sailor, see 117 and 121 and 255 and so on and so forth.

  267. 267
    strange gods before me

    On the other hand, having a sense of humor is not an indictable offense, nor is it misogyny.

    Disingenuous strawman is disingenuous.

    And, at least to some extent, ridicule is part of the price one pays for being a controversial public figure.

    It doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to pay the price of dealing with an invasion of your MRA friends.

  268. 268
    bluharmony

    @strange gods:

    I’m sorry, but what are you talking about? First of all, I don’t have any MRA friends. Second, I pointed out why the image was potentially harmful, then said that it was wise to take it down, but that it wasn’t a crime for PZ to post it in the first place. What part of that do you disagree with?

  269. 269
    The Sailor

    sgbm, it doesn’t matter what people read into it, it’s what the MSM does, and they do it to men and women alike when they are running (and leading) for president of the US.

    As I wrote: she chose this stop to be a photo-op. … Is anyone one trying to claim she didn’t know the press was there!?

    Claiming victim hood is what every republican does.

    BTW, do you disagree with seeing ‘crazy eyes’ on the street and trying to avoid that person?

  270. 270
    strange gods before me

    I’m sorry, but what are you talking about? First of all, I don’t have any MRA friends.

    Your ERVite buddies, bluharmony.

    but that it wasn’t a crime for PZ to post it in the first place. What part of that do you disagree with?

    It’s just a fucking strawman. It’s not a statement in relation to what people have been saying. You made up a fake argument and argued against it.

  271. 271
    strange gods before me

    sgbm, it doesn’t matter what people read into it,

    Yes, it does matter here who we end up having to deal with.

    such comments as

    Can Michele Bachmann suck a mean dick? Yes, I think it’s quite possible that she can, now that I look at the photo differently. But what self-respecting man would actually let Michele Bachmann near his dick?

    are less likely to emerge when it’s a man in the photo, assuming that a similar photo of a man is even as likely to be passed around, which is itself probably not a wise assumption.

    The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.

    it’s what the MSM does, and they do it to men and women alike when they are running (and leading) for president of the US.

    The media does not treat male and female candidates the same. Don’t be stupid.

  272. 272
    bluharmony

    @strange gods:

    It appears that you don’t know what a strawman is, since I wasn’t making an argument. If you want to condemn PZ go ahead, but I won’t be joining you.

    Also, you obviously have no idea who my “buddies” are or aren’t, nor does that have anything to do with my comment.

  273. 273
    The Sailor

    sgbm, the MSM always sexualize candidates; male Dems get called wimps, they eat argula, they don’t know the right mustard for a fucking Philly cheese dog, and they visit (nonexistent) salad bars at Applebees.

    Bachmann deliberately went to a campaign stop/photo op and chose to eat a foot long corn dog in front of reporters. This isn’t a case of Rupert Murdoch invading someone’s privacy.

    Once again, anyone would look ridiculous doing that. and any photographer would have snapped the shot, just like they snapped the shot of Marcus.

  274. 274
    strange gods before me

    It appears that you don’t know what a strawman is, since I wasn’t making an argument.

    You did make the arguments that:

    On the other hand, having a sense of humor is not an indictable offense, nor is it misogyny. And, at least to some extent, ridicule is part of the price one pays for being a controversial public figure.

    The second one has already been dealt with at length. The first one is just addressing a strawman. Such as:

    If you want to condemn PZ go ahead, but I won’t be joining you.

    Who has condemned PZ? Who has said that PZ is a misogynist?

    This is ridiculous bullshit that you made up. That seems to be your modus operandi.

    Also, you obviously have no idea who my “buddies” are or aren’t, nor does that have anything to do with my comment.

    I can damn well read who your buddies are, and it relates to your comment as in: the photo is a problem because it beings people like your buddies around, and we don’t like their kind around here.

  275. 275
    strange gods before me

    male Dems get called wimps, they eat argula

    Notice this is patriarchal sexism, exactly the sort of thing I pointed out at 121.

    Bachmann deliberately went to a campaign stop/photo op and chose to eat a foot long corn dog in front of reporters. This isn’t a case of Rupert Murdoch invading someone’s privacy.

    But, it does matter here who we end up having to deal with.

    such comments as

    Can Michele Bachmann suck a mean dick? Yes, I think it’s quite possible that she can, now that I look at the photo differently. But what self-respecting man would actually let Michele Bachmann near his dick?

    are less likely to emerge when it’s a man in the photo, assuming that a similar photo of a man is even as likely to be passed around, which is itself probably not a wise assumption.

    The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.

  276. 276
    Mr. Fire

    the MSM always sexualize candidates; male Dems get called wimps,

    Sailor, this sounds to me like some version of a tu quoque fallacy.

    Except that the environment facilitated by such comments isn’t even hostile to men to nearly the same degree that analogous comments can be to women (if I am to have license to butcher sgbm’s turn of phrase).

  277. 277
    The Sailor

    sgbm, you keep wanting to point out an anonymous commenter on a blog as proof. It’s only proof that some asshole is an asshole. Sheesh, case made.

    sgbm- “The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.”

    Oh fucking bullshit. Are you saying Bachmann can’t make her own choices!?

  278. 278
    strange gods before me

    Oh fucking bullshit. Are you saying Bachmann can’t make her own choices!?

    I’m saying that there’s a sexist reason why the photo is being passed around so widely in the first place.

  279. 279
    strange gods before me

    sgbm, you keep wanting to point out an anonymous commenter on a blog as proof. It’s only proof that some asshole is an asshole. Sheesh, case made.

    That comment, the several other comments like it (which began at comment #2 in this thread), are evidence that we have a sexist culture, in which we have to be careful that we do not give aid and comfort to the patriarchy. This is why it was thoughtful and helpful for PZ to take the photo down.

  280. 280
    strange gods before me

    Are you saying Bachmann can’t make her own choices!?

    And this is irrelevant to what I said, anyway.

    What I said was:

    #

    such comments as

    Can Michele Bachmann suck a mean dick? Yes, I think it’s quite possible that she can, now that I look at the photo differently. But what self-respecting man would actually let Michele Bachmann near his dick?

    are less likely to emerge when it’s a man in the photo, assuming that a similar photo of a man is even as likely to be passed around, which is itself probably not a wise assumption.

    The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.
    #

  281. 281
    bluharmony

    @strange gods

    Yes, you linked to my description of Sommers’ distinction between gender and equity feminism, which is just one way of dividing various schools of feminist thought and certainly isn’t condoned by everyone. I don’t fully accept Sommers’ position. My beliefs lie somewhere between liberal equity feminist and liberal egalitarian principles. Or, in other words, they’re issue-specific and intertwined with my views on social and economic policy.

    You have no idea who I’m “buddies,” with, and I think you’d be somewhat surprised. But since I wasn’t disagreeing with what anyone said, you’re just arguing with yourself.

  282. 282
    The Sailor

    sgbm – anyone would have snapped that photo whether it was a male or female.

    Repeating bullshit does not make it more real “The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.”

    Bachmann has choices. She chose to eat a foot long corndog in front of the media that covers every presidential front runner.

    Oh, I get it, we can view embarrassing photos of male candidates but not female candidates.

  283. 283
    strange gods before me

    You have no idea who I’m “buddies,” with

    Yes, I do.

    I don’t fully accept Sommers’ position. My beliefs lie somewhere between liberal equity feminist and liberal egalitarian principles. Or, in other words, they’re issue-specific and intertwined with my views on social and economic policy.

    Or, in other words, you think that self-described “equity feminists” present so-called “gender feminism” as anything but a strawman. It is to laugh. And the blog commenters you’ve delineated as “gender feminists”? Good luck finding any of them who say men and women shouldn’t be equal. It’s all straw from the ground up.

    Meanwhile, if you actually acknowledge the existence of male privilege in the West, or especially if you think anything ought to be done about it, most of the self-described “equity feminists” won’t have you among them.

    Back to your bullshit here in this thread,

    If you want to condemn PZ go ahead, but I won’t be joining you.

    This was a strawman.

    On the other hand, having a sense of humor is not an indictable offense, nor is it misogyny.

    This was a strawman.

    That you thought these were even relevant things to say is an example of how you have prejudiced your opponents’ ideas. It’s unfortunate, to say the least.

  284. 284
    strange gods before me

    sgbm – anyone would have snapped that photo whether it was a male or female.

    But the reason is not non-sexist, in a culture where putting a phallus into one’s mouth is a degrading and humiliating act (one that makes a man lowly, like a woman).

    And such comments as

    Can Michele Bachmann suck a mean dick? Yes, I think it’s quite possible that she can, now that I look at the photo differently. But what self-respecting man would actually let Michele Bachmann near his dick?

    are less likely to emerge when it’s a man in the photo, assuming that a similar photo of a man is even as likely to be passed around, which is itself probably not a wise assumption.

    The photo facilitates an environment which is relatively more hostile to women.

    That environment is this thread, and the comments such as began at #2. See, I have evidence for this statement, and it is those comments. You have nothing but your assertion.

    And don’t just focus on me. You’re ignoring Mr Fire.

  285. 285
    The Sailor

    sgbm – “such comments as …
    are less likely to emerge when it’s a man in the photo”

    [citation needed]
    ++++++++++++++++++
    and once again, you used a few anonymous commenters instead of just the one. It’s anecdota, not data.

  286. 286
    strange gods before me

    Oh, I get it, we can view embarrassing photos of male candidates but not female candidates.

    It’s like, even after I told you to read this comment, you are incapable of comprehension. I have a problem with attacks which say a man is effeminate. I have a problem with sexism and heterosexism, categorically. I am sure as fuck not impressed that the media would also like to say Marcus Bachmann likes to put phalluses in his mouth.

  287. 287
    strange gods before me

    [citation needed]

    Dude, my point that patriarchal sexism is at play here was proved by you when you thought that

    male Dems get called wimps, they eat argula, they don’t know the right mustard for a fucking Philly cheese dog, and they visit (nonexistent) salad bars at Applebees

    was some kind of counterargument.

    You have already admitted defeat. You just don’t realize it.

  288. 288
    bluharmony

    @strange gods:

    Do you even know what you just linked to? My argument as to why men must pay child support and women must have the right to choose. I know, that’s just so damning.

    Equity feminism is a default category; it’s not like they get together as a group or exclude anyone. Nor is this relevant to the thread topic.

    You can’t have a strawman unless you’re arguing with someone. Since I had no opponent in argument, there was no strawman, obviously.

  289. 289
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    So, I’m hesitant to add more fuel to the fire, but there seems to be a photo of Rick Perry in a similar situation. I’m not going to link to it, whoever is interested can google it. That would be preferable because it would show what kind of titles come with the picture. The impression I got was of the prevailing attitude along the lines of “Ha! We are going to prove to you that we’re not sexist by making comments about Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s deep throating skills”. Maybe I’m lacking a sense of humor, but I’m not impressed. It just adds a homophobic vibe to the sexist one. I realize that there is something especially delicious in seeing a homophobic bigot revealed as a closeted gay man, but we’re talking about eating corndogs here. It doesn’t reveal anything but more idiots who are going to make jokes in the range of deep throating and cock suckers. Ha ha.

  290. 290
    strange gods before me

    Do you even know what you just linked to?

    The evidence that you are buddies with the vile Justicar, ergo you do have MRA buddies.

    Equity feminism is a default category; it’s not like they get together as a group or exclude anyone.

    Self-described “equity feminists” do make up lies and claim to be the only ones who want equality. Again, the blog commenters you’ve delineated as “gender feminists”? Good luck finding any of them who say men and women shouldn’t be equal. It’s all straw from the ground up.

    You can’t have a strawman unless you’re arguing with someone. Since I had no opponent in argument, there was no strawman, obviously.

    You can have a strawman whenever you misrepresent anything that anyone has said, whether you think you’re “arguing with” that person or not. But even by your notion of what it means, you would at least be obliged to admit that it was a strawman when you told me

    If you want to condemn PZ go ahead, but I won’t be joining you.

    and you ought to admit that when you said

    On the other hand, having a sense of humor is not an indictable offense, nor is it misogyny.

    it was simply irrelevant to the discussion here.

  291. 291
    bluharmony

    @strange gods

    1. An MRA wouldn’t be arguing for men to pay spousal support or for a woman’s right to choose;

    2. The disagreement between equity and gender feminism (and every other school of feminist thought) is not whether one group wants equality but what equality means;

    3. A conditional statement (“if”) is not an argument;

    4. The last sentence in my original comment is relevant because it’s an acknowledgment that even if some deem the Bachmann photo to be offensive, it was posted in jest, and it’s not an egregious error in judgment (though as I explained previously, I think PZ was right to remove the post);

    5. PZ has full control over who may or may not comment on his blog entries, thus he probably does not need to worry about whom he attracts with his posts.

  292. 292
    bluharmony

    @Beatrice:

    It just adds a homophobic vibe to the sexist one. I realize that there is something especially delicious in seeing a homophobic bigot revealed as a closeted gay man, but we’re talking about eating corndogs here.

    I think that’s right. When a homophobe is revealed to be gay, some humor can be found in the irony and hypocrisy, but when it’s a homophobe eating a corndog, he’s just a garden variety bigot.

  293. 293
    strange gods before me

    1. An MRA wouldn’t be arguing for men to pay spousal support or for a woman’s right to choose;

    MRAs take various stances—for sure there are pro-choice MRAs—but I wasn’t calling you an MRA anyway. Justicar is, as evidenced by his behavior here at Pharyngula.

    2. The disagreement between equity and gender feminism (and every other school of feminist thought) is not whether one group wants equality but what equality means;

    I am not ignorant of the subject, bluharmony. If we get past your strawmanning and have nothing left to talk about, I wouldn’t mind discussing the intellectual failures of self-described “equity feminists” at length. At the moment, you are adopting the propaganda stance of referring to the opponents of “equity feminists” by a term advanced by those “equity feminists”, so I’m sticking with the scarequotes and dismissiveness for now.

    Self-described “equity feminists” generally propose that their opponents desire female supremacy, not simply a different understanding of what constitutes equality. That would at least be a fairer starting point for discussion, but it’s unfortunately not the starting point you’ve taken.

    3. A conditional statement (“if”) is not an argument;

    LOL. If you say so. (Actually it would just be a conditional argument. It is in fact an argument to say that “if X is true then Y follows”; that is most definitely a very common form of argument”.)

    Even by your own misunderstanding of what constitutes an argument, you still should acknowledge that your statement to me was an irrelevancy, as there was no reason for you to believe that I might “you want to condemn PZ”. If you cannot acknowledge the irrelevancy, then it’s clear you are poisoning the well.

    4. The last sentence in my original comment is relevant because it’s an acknowledgment that even if some deem the Bachmann photo to be offensive, it was posted in jest, and it’s not an egregious error in judgment (though as I explained previously, I think PZ was right to remove the post);

    Except no, it’s not relevant, because you implied that someone here thought he was a misogynist for it. You had no basis on which to make that sort of suggestion, just as you had no basis for implying that I “want to condemn PZ”. You were in both cases poisoning the well (and presenting a strawman, but you’re so dishonest, you’re apparently not ever going to admit as much).

    5. PZ has full control over who may or may not comment on his blog entries, thus he probably does not need to worry about whom he attracts with his posts.

    Don’t be so disingenuous.

    It usually takes a pretty long time for anyone to get banned around here, and it’s frequently annoying for commenters while we wait for the idiots to take enough rope. Thus it does matter to us who shows up on any given thread and what they say. No-fucking-where did I say that this was all PZ’s worry. The matter is of course relevant to the community here.

  294. 294
    Non-Biblical Paul

    All of you who argue that PZ’s initial post was sexist, are really surprising. I assumed that people who read PZ’s blog know something more about him, such as when he often and passionately argued in defense of the lady involved with the now infamous elevator incident. I know he did, because I argued in favor of her myself. So, if you believe in the value of statistics at all, whether when we considering a politician’s past performance, before voting, or when we consider how well an athlete has performed in the past when negotiating her new salary, or whenever else, then you shouldn’t have so eagerly, lightly, almost cheerfully charged that PZ’s post is in any way representative of sexism. That’s only if you value common sense.

    Probably everyone who frequents PZ’s blog, most especially PZ, realizes that society has women at a disadvantage, and so, frequently, to ensure the equal treatment of women, you have to treat women not as equals, but as superiors. However, you’d have to be absolute clods to not simultaneously realize that the only way to treat women better than men is to treat men worse than you treat women. Therefore, it’s a delicate balance – you have to know when to treat women as equals and when to treat women as superiors, because really men shouldn’t be treated unequally, either.

    I also made jokes about Michele Bachmann’s looks, and I made jokes about Ann Coulter’s looks, and about John Boehner’s looks, and about Marcus Bachmann’s looks (all of which can be verified on this website, if you care to do the research). It makes no argument that I haven’t listened to them and considered what they had to say, nor that I haven’t in the past refuted their words directly, nor that I wont in the future again, but regardless, in insulting them as I did, I’ve treated women equally with how I treated men.

    Politicians treat people like shit, if there’s any lesson humanity might’ve learned by now, it’s that one. So, excuse me if I believe in equal reciprocation, but elections are no times to be delicate with women. You shouldn’t treat female candidates better than you treat male candidates, and I’m sorry, but while some of you see something erotic about the photo in question, that’s entirely subjective and PZ made no sexual innuendo. While Michele Bachmann does suck a proverbial “big fat one” as a person, that however, wasn’t even the joke I made; instead, when someone suggested the photo in question could turn Michele’s husband straight again, I, being a gay man, answered that “I beg to differ.” I also said I see nothing erotic in the photo, nor in any other photo with Michele Bachmann, and I made a comment about how it was cool how her eyes roll back in her head when she eats, just like a shark’s eyes do.

    As I’ve mentioned before, nobody showed up to protest when it was a male politician’s looks which were being made fun of recently by a woman who blogs on this very website. Nobody protested. So you can’t really even charge that PZ nor anyone else making fun of Michele Bachmann, is insensitive.

    You really are just playing feminists and you’re having everyone else(relectantly) play sexists, for your own entertainment. It’s just like playing cowboys and indians, isn’t it? What wonderful sport. Next photo of Michele Bachmann, let’s do it over again, hopefully you’ll learn something.

  295. 295
    strange gods before me

    If you want to kick puppies, then don’t let me stop you. You can kick puppies all day long. Go ahead.

    But I won’t be joining you.

  296. 296
    strange gods before me

    All of you who argue that PZ’s initial post was sexist

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph, it never ends.

    Paul, you really are too stupid for words. Just go away.

  297. 297
    Muse

    Paul – I feel like you’re unclear on the difference between being sexist, and doing something sexist. I don’t think anyone is saying PZ is a sexist or a misogynist. They are saying he fucked up and did something that had sexist implications. Not being a jerk, he appears to have realized this and pulled the post. That’s not saying he’s a bad person, it’s saying that he, like all of us, is a product of his society, and our society is profoundly sexist.

    That said – feminism doesn’t require you to treat women as superiors – and I doubt anyone here would accept your assertion that it does.

  298. 298
    Jadehawk

    All of you who argue that PZ’s initial post was sexist

    learn the difference between doing something sexist, and being sexist; it would help you avoid writing such long screeds that completely miss the point.

  299. 299
    Jadehawk

    As I’ve mentioned before, nobody showed up to protest when it was a male politician’s looks which were being made fun of recently by a woman who blogs on this very website.

    “nobody showed up to protest” when Rodda compared Bachmann to Bat Boy, either.

    Thre’s insulting, and there’s bigoted. They’re two different things, and you seem incapable and unwilling to tell the two things apart.

  300. 300
    Non-Biblical Paul

    strange gods before me:

    If you go and brush your teeth, I might let you blow me. Let me know.

    Gotta love Republicans.

    Muse:

    He pulled it because it was too easily misconstrued. It was being misconstrued as sexist, but I don’t think that means there’s any reason to voice disappointment in PZ. It only means that it was too easily associated with an innuendo, that he pulled it. So what is going on here?

  301. 301
    Jadehawk

    oy. just to not make the issue more confusing, let me correct this to be more specific:

    Thre’s insulting, and there’s bigotedsexist.

  302. 302
    Jadehawk

    He pulled it because it was too easily misconstrued. It was being misconstrued as sexist, but I don’t think that means there’s any reason to voice disappointment in PZ. It only means that it was too easily associated with an innuendo, that he pulled it. So what is going on here?

    you’re confused as fuck

  303. 303
    MudPuddles

    @bluharmony #265

    Good points.

    at least to some extent, ridicule is part of the price one pays for being a controversial public figure a delusional, fundamentalist, anti-science, homophobic, lying, dangerous, rabidly anti-choice loon.

    Fixed it for you.

  304. 304
    strange gods before me

    I think it’s awesome that Paul has stepped it up to homophobia now.

  305. 305
    strange gods before me

    Well, I suppose that could be straight-up sexism from Paul. It depends on whether he thinks I’m a man or a woman.

  306. 306
    Dhorvath, OM

    Yeah, but Paul is gay so he can’t be homophobic, right? I mean, that’s the defense I am expecting to crap out of his computer if he even replies.

  307. 307
    David Marjanović, OM

    And sorry, David, I got the spelling directly from the Science paper, which in four different places spells it “latippinus” — two “p”s, one “n” — which I agree is odd, but that’s what it says.

    Fuck them and the peer reviewers they rode in on. And the editors, too. Yes, I would say that to their faces. They didn’t coin the name – E. D. Cope did in 1869 or possibly earlier (first page of Google Scholar results). The spelling in the Science paper is wrong. I can quote chapter and verse of the ICZN if you like.

    I don’t believe that the corndog-as-phallus is nearly as powerful an allusion as has been suggested here —

    Much as it surprises me, it clearly is to plenty of people, or we wouldn’t have most of this thread. *shrug* Freud ruuuulz.

    You’re a fucking moron, Dahmer, not that your screen name left a whole lot of question about that. If you’re convinced that posting something was a bad idea, it’s a sign of integrity and intellectual honesty not to stand by it.

    Dahmer probably confuses integrity and intellectual honesty with staying the course. *puke*

    5. PZ has full control over who may or may not comment on his blog entries, thus he probably does not need to worry about whom he attracts with his posts.

    LOL. Yes, he has that control – but only after the fact. Banning people left & right requires lots of time; PZ occasionally sleeps, and he spends much of the year traveling.

  308. 308
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    PZ occasionally sleeps,

    Blasphemy! ;)

  309. 309
    The Sailor

    1) Michele Bachmann is running for president.
    2) Bachmann is the leader of the straw poll she bought.
    3) Bachmann, in a voluntary photo-op, was caught in an embarrassing picture.
    4) ?
    5) Profit!

  310. 310
    strange gods before me

    6) And therefore we should have to put up with sexist comments starting immediately with the second comment in this thread.

    7) Stop complaining about things that aren’t important to The Sailor!

  311. 311
    The Sailor

    It’s not like she choked on a pretzel or was attacked by a rabbit.

  312. 312
    strange gods before me

    The most important thing is to pretend that sexism cannot be directed at one’s political opponents.

  313. 313
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Probably everyone who frequents PZ’s blog, most especially PZ, realizes that society has women at a disadvantage, and so, frequently, to ensure the equal treatment of women, you have to treat women not as equals, but as superiors. However, you’d have to be absolute clods to not simultaneously realize that the only way to treat women better than men is to treat men worse than you treat women. Therefore, it’s a delicate balance – you have to know when to treat women as equals and when to treat women as superiors, because really men shouldn’t be treated unequally, either.

    Sputnik doesn’t hold a candle to the heights the point has achieved over your head.

  314. 314
    strange gods before me

    What I find interesting is how the desire for emotional consistency drives denial:

    Bachmann is bad
    want to hurt Bachmann any way possible
    but sexism is bad
    therefore, deny any implication of sexism
    yay my feelings are consistent now!

    Nobody seems to want to take up the argument that we should use sexism to hurt Bachmann; even though this is at least an intellectually plausible position, it is unsatisfying to the gut, and the more satisfying position is to intellectually stifle any source of dissonance.

  315. 315
    The Sailor

    It’s not like we call her Governor Goodhair.

  316. 316
    strange gods before me

    Are you finally admitting you’re a troll, Sailor?

    I’ve known for a while.

  317. 317
    The Sailor

    Riiight, 315 comments and that’s stifling.

  318. 318
    strange gods before me

    Riiight, 315 comments and that’s stifling.

    What?

    I mean internal emotional dissonance, within the individual. It could be intellectually consistent but would likely be emotionally inconsistent to say “we should use sexism to hurt Bachmann.” Instead it is preferred to be intellectually inconsistent but emotionally consistent, by intellectually denying any implication of sexism. I just think it’s interesting that people prefer intellectual inconsistency over emotional inconsistency.

  319. 319
    Inaji

    The Sailor:

    It’s not like we call her Governor Goodhair.

    What’s that have to do with anything? Commenting on hair is sexist? Or not?

  320. 320
    The Sailor

    sgbm, thanks for the ‘you are a troll’ argument. That really made your point.

  321. 321
    strange gods before me

    It was more an observation than an argument. I’d love for you to one day make me think I was wrong about that.

  322. 322
    The Sailor

    Caine, Molly Ivins made fun of Perry for his hair, the meme has been picked up; the MSM made fun of Trump for his hair; Carter was made fun of for being afraid of a rabbit.

    You don’t think there is a sexist undertone to all of that?

    My point is that all presidents and candidates get made fun of, sometimes for sexist reasons.

    Bachmann was not singled out.

    FWIW, I had no problem with the NewsWeek photo, I thought the headline was sexist. (I didn’t read the article.)

  323. 323
    strange gods before me

    My point is that all presidents and candidates get made fun of, sometimes for sexist reasons.

    Bachmann was not singled out.

    Ah, sexism is okay then.

  324. 324
    julian

    “Nobody seems to want to take up the argument that we should use sexism to hurt Bachmann”

    Don’t want to start up a cross blog war but I noticed a commenter (‘Jillian’) on ERV who argued she’d be willing to tolerate anything to keep people like Bachman out of power (The reason being the net good achieved by preventing the evil she would do outweighs whatever harm or evil might be done in the process.)

    Being Lawful Good, that kind of attitude disgusts me but I can see why someone who felt that their very existence was threatened would hold those beliefs. And as somewhat of a pragmatist I can see why in the short term you’d want whatever weapon available.

    But what about afterwards? You may argue ‘I’m ensuring there is an afterward’ but what kind of afterward are you guaranteeing? Afterall if casually demeaning Michelle Bachman becomes kosher how do we then defend women in politics trying to do the ‘right’ thing? How exactly would you call out someone who says things like ‘That man-eating bitch just needs her pussy fucked’ when you’re guilty of ‘Check out this dumb broad’s deep throating skills! To bad I’d be to drunk to get it up just to consider it.’

  325. 325
    strange gods before me

    And as somewhat of a pragmatist I can see why in the short term you’d want whatever weapon available.

    So, there’s evidence that sexist attacks do work, but the same study finds that the target of the sexist attack can undo the damage with certain responses—basically pointing out that it’s sexist and a distraction from whatever political issues the target is attempting to focus on.

    On top of that, since feminists tend toward the Democratic side, tactics that bother feminists will hurt Democratic cohesion more than they’d hurt Republican cohesion. For this reason it would seem to be a losing strategy for Democrats to use. The calculation for Republicans is not as clear to me.

    (I’m glad someone took up an interesting question.)

  326. 326
    Non-Biblical Paul

    @ Strange Gods Before me:

    Did you brush your teeth yet?

    @ Everyone else still here:

    I know it’s got to be difficult still being here hour after hour waiting for the pseudo-feminists to make even one point, when, all along, you’ve been certain that there are no points to be made against PZ, here. So, in appreciation of your patience, I thought I’d post some more Michele Bachmann humor. Hopefully it doesn’t offend Republican trolls.

  327. 327
    Non-Biblical Paul

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/somebodys-got-to-save-this-country-from-certain-do,21135/

    Somebody’s Got to Save This Country From Certain Doom, And Let’s Face It, That Person Is Me, Michele Bachmann, The Onion

  328. 328
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    @ Strange Gods Before me:

    Did you brush your teeth yet?

    You are disgusting.

  329. 329
    Inaji

    Non-Biblical Paul, fuck off Cupcake. Here’s your decaying porcupine, pound it hard, Sugar. Your brand of idiocy is not needed here.

  330. 330
    strange gods before me

    I think* that is the first time I’ve been targeted for a homophobic personal attack by an internet atheist. I guess I should mark my calendar?

    *just can’t recall any other instance, but I have an incentive to forget

  331. 331
    Inaji

    SG:

    I guess I should mark my calendar?

    I imagine you should, SG. There’s a first time for everything.

  332. 332
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Mark it with two stars, SG. It was from a gay guy, which is worth more for bingo.

  333. 333
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    sgbm: Disgusted to to say it, but this is not the first.

    If you are easily revulsed, do not click the link.

    Non-biblical: There is a pile of porcupines by the door.

  334. 334
    Richard McCargar

    So we’ve progressed from proclaiming that men cannot use the excuse “the woman asked for it,” to “Bachmann asked for it” by being politically disgusting?

    Is that the reason and logic we speak of proudly? Or, is it the nothing more than the excuse we give when we dislike the target?

    It wasn’t misunderstood.

    We wouldn’t accept the article, that excuse, that line from anyone else. It wasn’t misunderstood. We got it. Pretending we didn’t is beneath us. Those are excuses we wouldn’t accept from our children. We shouldn’t accept them from here.

  335. 335
    Inaji

    AE:

    If you are easily revulsed, do not click the link.

    Not going there. Ever.

  336. 336
    strange gods before me

    Ha! You’re right, AE! I totally forgot about that already. (Surprise, Welch is one of bluharmony’s cohorts.) But not because it was hurtful, at least as far as I’m aware of any emotion, in this particular case. I guess it was just banal and forgettable.

    +++++

    Sorry, Paul, I guess you don’t even get to be the stars on my calendar.

  337. 337
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Caine: That’s because you know what’s good for ya. It’s like the Mines of Moria. I wouldn’t go there unless there was no other choice*.

    But, it fucking happened.

    *And they call it a mine!

  338. 338
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    sgbm: That’s when I gave up. I’m not even you, and my feelings were hurt.

  339. 339
    strange gods before me

    Of course. You don’t have decades’ worth of defenses built to protect strange gods.

    (I tend to think these sorts of things probably initiate some low-level fight-or-flight response—as it surely would offline—but if so then I apparently have filters which shut that down before I become aware of it.)

  340. 340
    strange gods before me

    But I expect I would be hurt to see that comment directed at anyone besides me.

  341. 341
    Kagato

    Heh, not so long ago PZ was being accused of censoring comments. But now the truth is revealed – poor fellow is under his readers’ steel boot, forced to censor himself when his posts diverge from our opinions.

    Yeah, the boot’s on the other face now, isn’t it?

    Why yes, I did just go back 100 comments to make a really bad pun. What of it?

    You all seem to have the cupcakes well under control, so I’ll leave you to it and catch up on the rest of my reading…

  342. 342
    Inaji

    AE:

    I wouldn’t go there unless there was no other choice*.

    I know, and I admire your resolve, to say the least. The contrast between the monument peoples and ourselves was brought sharply to mind, as I’m happily re-reading Dune for the umpteenth time and turned the page to see: What do you despise? By this are you truly known.

  343. 343
    Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM

    We are the slaves of the phony leader.
    Breathe the air we have blown you.

    Yeah, I love the bloody Who.

  344. 344
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    [OT]
    Caine: I got Watership Down in the mail this morning. Imma read it to my kid. Dangerous rabbits are dangerous.
    Janine: I was watching some live footage of The Who on VH1 Classic this week. One of the most compelling live bands evah
    [/OT]

  345. 345
    Inaji

    AE:

    I got Watership Down in the mail this morning. Imma read it to my kid. Dangerous rabbits are dangerous.

    Awesomeness. That’s way better than presenting Disneyesque fairy tales.

  346. 346
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    She won’t listen to anything that isn’t about animals.

  347. 347
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    @theophontes
    “237 You could consider reading and traveling more…”
    Surely sound advice, I think we all could use.
    But I think I’ve done pretty well from my humble background. I’ve hit 12 countries on two continents not counting the continent I call home and I’m not gonna name drop authors, but I’ve yet to come up with some of the wonderful little nuggets you and your comrades, comrade, have come up with…
    Such as your thoughts on democracy

    “Democracy: “When seven wolves and a lamb decide on what’s for dinner.”
    And
    “Rubbish. Are you saying the highly discriminatory form of “democracy” practiced in USA is “least bad”?”

    I can’t remember the source but what they said stuck with me when I heard it, it was at a Unitarian church in Philadelphia and the speaker was a humanist… went along the lines of: the indicator of any successful revolution is the amount of televisions in the homes afterwards. I will it admit it’s an incredibly materialist and slightly poetic way of putting it but I found it compelling in it’s pragmatic conclusion and what I drew at the time was the American revolution has produced more TVs in homes per capita then any other. Now I’m not claiming we aren’t without out problems but I will be bold enough to say that you don’t see US citizens boarding inner tubes to Cuba for their education or healthcare system much less the selection of electronics. Not to say we shouldn’t be envious of their literacy rate.

    Or this wonderful sex-negative gem from

    285. strange gods before me says:
    “But the reason is not non-sexist, in a culture where putting a phallus into one’s mouth is a degrading and humiliating act (one that makes a man lowly, like a woman).”

    Hear that ladies and gentleman putting a cock or a cock shaped object in your mouth is a degrading and humiliating act.. Remember that the next time you suck your BF’s cock in a loving and consenting relationship. Am I to think every time I eat a banana and look into a mirror I’m engaging in an act of self-humiliation? How bout if the owner of the cock is tied upside down hanging from the ceiling? Let me be the first to say if you don’t think sex is dirty you’re doing it wrong. I’d love to hear your thoughts on sodomy, is that an abomination or just a humiliation?

    And finally I discovered that not only is “crazy eyes” a pejorative but it’s a historically gender based insult. And here I thought “Crazy Eyes” was a minor hit tribute to Gram Parsons by 70’s AOR soft rock sensation, Poco. You know learn something knew everyday here in the comments section of Phyrangula.

    Oh and to clarify… On the photo in question. Saw it somewhere else and first thought what is that turd doing in her mouth? A cheap shot definitely not the type of beat down I’d engage in. Sexist or sexual overtones , short answer… sexist. Did PZ‘s original post engage in sexism? I don’t know it’s no longer there. I’m not even gonna attempt to build a narrative from the wealth of riches of the comments section.

  348. 348
    The Lone Coyote

    Upagainsttheropes:

    Let me be the first to say if you don’t think sex is dirty you’re doing it wrong.

    I’ve been saying this for years.

  349. 349
    strange gods before me

    worthless duckwit UpAgainstTheRopes, if your head wasn’t full of shit maybe you could read:

    Or this wonderful sex-negative gem from

    285. strange gods before me says:
    “But the reason is not non-sexist, in a culture where putting a phallus into one’s mouth is a degrading and humiliating act (one that makes a man lowly, like a woman).”

    Hear that ladies and gentleman putting a cock or a cock shaped object in your mouth is a degrading and humiliating act.. Remember that the next time you suck your BF’s cock in a loving and consenting relationship.

    Listen, I enjoy sucking cock, so I damn well need to remain cognizant of how society treats me for it.

    And I sure as hell don’t have to love the guy or be in any sort of relationship to do it, so maybe I ought to accuse you of being “sex-negative” for suggesting such prudery.

    For your reading to even be internally consistent, you’d have to claim that I believe women should be treated as lowly and less than men.

    All you’ve done here is provided one more data point toward my hypothesis that the term “sex-negative” is sincerely employed almost exclusively by illiterates.

  350. 350
    strange gods before me

    I will be bold enough to say that you don’t see US citizens boarding inner tubes to Cuba for their education

    That’s because they take planes.

  351. 351
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Hear that ladies and gentleman putting a cock or a cock shaped object in your mouth is a degrading and humiliating act.

    Did you miss the bit just before your comment when Paul attempted to insult SGBM by suggesting that SGBM suck his cock? How fucking stupid are you?

  352. 352
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    UpAgainstTheRopes says:

    the indicator of any successful revolution is the amount of televisions in the homes afterwards. I will it admit it’s an incredibly materialist and slightly poetic way of putting it but I found it compelling in it’s pragmatic conclusion and what I drew at the time was the American revolution has produced more TVs in homes per capita then any other.

    Number of television sets in North America in 1770: 0

    Number of television sets in North America in 1790: 0

    I’d say this criterion seriously underrates the American Revolution. But if we’re talking about really, really long term effects, then the Monegasque Revolution is probably the most successful .

  353. 353
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    I’m walking across the beach and all of a sudden the tide recedes beyond the horizon. I turn my head to the naked western shore where the docked boats’ bow are now buried in the sand and the sea is curled under the edge of the earth. All alone again, I turn to the northern mountains in the distance and dream of the redemtion, pull out a smoke, light it and prepare for the coming judgment…

  354. 354
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    @Forbidden Snowflake and @ strange gods before me says:
    i’m pretty fucking stupid but I’m not stupid enough to except “societies” conclusions on cock sucking as I’m part of society as are you. How stupid are you that you do except it?

  355. 355
    UpAgainstTheropes

    @ strange gods before & Phalacrocorax , me says:
    There’s always room for improvement

  356. 356
    GuLi
    PZ occasionally sleeps,

    Blasphemy! ;)

    Yup. Only correct in the liturgy is PZ fhtagn.
    Burn, heretic.

  357. 357
    SQB

    PZ, in view of the discussion on another thread, would you mind either reinstating the original content of the post (with appropriate disclaimer, of course) or repeating it in a comment?

  358. 358
    Nathan Mccatty

    Car makers are just going to have to produce an automobile that outlasts the payments.

  359. 359
    Ichthyic

    except “societies” conclusions on cock sucking as I’m part of society as are you. How stupid are you that you do except it?

    socities, or society’s?

    except or accept?

  360. 360
    Ichthyic

    “UpAgainstTheRopes”

    are you sure you weren’t trying for “Rope-a-dope”?

    you know, that fight strategy where you let your opponents beat on you round after round to wear them out?

    if so, you’re supposed to uh, actually start doing something after they beat the living fuck out of you…

    no?

  361. 361
    Hortense Teng

    Nice one Bojan
    thanks!

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