Catholics really do despise women »« Completely unrealistic and more than a little misogynistic

I think I’ll pass on This vs. That, too

Skepchick earlier reported on This vs. That, a poor man’s version of Mythbusters that was actually more like a reanimated version of the thankfully deceased Man Show. The creators have since turned to twitter in a manic campaign to get people to watch their awful show. Take a look at their feed — it’s spam city. I’m surprised it hasn’t been taken down already.

They sent me a couple of tweets offering a discount code and HUGE SAVINGS and urging me to watch their show. I turned them down, rudely, saying they were cheesy sexist shit. They replied.

@thisvsthatshow: @pzmyers I’m now aware you’re a cantankerous fuck. You’ll find my response to your baseless allegations, here: http://ow.ly/oMXXB

Hmmm. I find your approach enticing. Who’s in charge of your PR?

I did check out their response. It’s actually a reply to Phil Plait, who said exactly what I said, but much more politely, because he’s Phil Plait.

Thank you for the note. However, I have decided not to watch the show. I watched the trailers, and found them to be off-putting, to say the least. I know they were trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but the sexism in the trailers completelye dissuaded me from wanting to see the show. Also, the use of “booth babes” at Dragon Con (and the tweets promoting them) pretty much sealed the deal for me.

I have written several times about sexism – and sometimes outright misogyny – in the skeptical and scientific communities. I want to promote getting more young girls interested in these topic so they can grow up to be scientists, and not have to deal with institutional and cultural sexism. Given the way you promoted the show (as well as only having men as guests, apparently), I don’t see “This Vs That” as furthering this cause, and in fact would appear to impede it. For that reason, I won’t be promoting it.

That Phil. He’s a pretty good guy. Seeing his email is the only thing of worth in the This Vs. That reaction.

Hotchkiss’s (the creator of the show) response is complaining that he needs to parade around booth babes in skimpy outfits (with two of them wearing lab coats!) because it’s the only way to get his show noticed. He really wants to get more women in science.

But…when he lists his participants and advisors, they are all men. He has an excuse!

@thisvsthatshow: @futilityfiles We invited more than a dozen women scientists to appear on This vs That. ALL of them turned us down!

Yeah? I wonder why. Maybe we can see part of it in his twitter campaign.

@thisvsthatshow: @rickygervais Finally, a TV series that will help you get laid. Promise. http://ow.ly/oFWso

And he denies that he’s a sexist. Right. This is the approach that will get more women in science — tell the men that it will get them laid.


Oooh, not cool. He must have pulled the letter. But hey, I had it open still, and here it is!

hotchkiss1

hotchkiss2

hotchkiss4

hotchkiss5

Comments

  1. biogeo says

    Hotchkiss also showed up in the comment thread of the Skepchick article in the first link. His behavior there makes it pretty obvious why he had trouble finding women scientists willing to work with him.

  2. pHred says

    As a female scientist I’m sure that I would view an invitation to be on that show with about the same level of enthusiasm that I have for the times that I have been invited on late night radio shows about the paranormal. Actually I would be much more likely to end up on one of those radio shows. I would certainly be more willing to volunteer for a root canal.

  3. says

    Props to PZ and Phil for speaking up. “Fan service” (where ‘fan’ is assumed to be strictly hetero boys) has long been a turn-off for me, even though I’m hetero and male. I find the assertion that it’s the best/only way to get viewers insulting and it tells me that they’ve got no creative talent behind the show. Even if it’s tolerable, I usually find it distracting. If sex appeal is their only tool, I’d prefer it if the higher-ups would just dump those people on some porn studio and hire some real talent to replace them.

  4. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    having read all of the creator’s comments at Skepchick, I’m left to wonder if he has anything to do with the skeptic movement whatsoever. He condescplains Confirmation Bias – to SKEPCHICK commenters – right before (after?) completely melting down and bringing up frigging elevatorgate for no other reason than to throw a complete wobbler.

    he’s horrifically bad at PR and is condescending to actual skeptics. Skipping this show is basically a given.

  5. says

    So, I replied to Hotchkiss’ tweet about how all the women scientists they approached to be on the show turned them down. I said, “And this is the show that promises to “help you get laid”? Color me skeptical.”

    His response:

    That is a joke. Clearly. It’s too bad you didn’t get it. Most people do.

    Oh, I see. It’s a joke. Whew! For a minute there I thought they had a stable of sex slaves, or were giving out gift certificates to brothels or something! THAT would be offensively sexist. Joking about it, on the other hand? Clearly the opposite of sexism.

    Look what else Hotchkiss finds to be HIGH-LARIOUS: A Guide to inform the “staggeringly unknown percentage of women” that tweeting back and forth with internet strangers does not mean you’re in a relationship.

    I didn’t laugh while reading it, or even crack a smile, but that’s obviously because I lack a sense of humor entirely.

  6. Onamission5 says

    So he’s surprised that no women wanted to be on his show, huh?

    It’s not like when you get unexpected results you could examine your methodology to see if your methodology is flawed in some way and change your approach to see if you get different results. They are scientists and that’s not how science works, you guys.

  7. iiandyiiii says

    I’m ashamed to admit I would have laughed my ass of at this show (as I did for stuff like The Man Show) when I was a college age dude (15 years ago). And at the time, I thought I was the progressive, enlightened type because I rejected frat-boy douchebaggery.

    What changed my mind was actually finding out, from women, what women actually felt, thought, and experienced. I have hopes that other young idiots like the past version of me will have the chance to learn how the world actually works, and how this kind of stuff actually affects women.

  8. ysoldeangelique says

    I didn’t laugh while reading it, or even crack a smile, but that’s obviously because I lack a sense of humor entirely

    I seem to be lacking the same exact sense of humor

    Possibly because it pretends I’m a stupid idiot. Well I have a few anatomically impossible suggestions for what they can do with themselves . . .

  9. Ingdigo Jump says

    People seem to miss the idea that FAN service means a) it’s a service to your fans and b) you have to first have fans.

    Cheap t&A exploitation isn’t proper fan service. Marvel going and giving people MOAR LOKI is fan service.

  10. says

    Gee, what clueless gits these guys are. I don’t think much needs to be said, their behavior and their replies to people pretty much speak for themselves. I hope their show crashes and burns.

  11. A. Noyd says

    Illuminata (#7)

    having read all of the creator’s comments at Skepchick

    I can’t be bothered to actually read all his word vomit, but the replies are great. I did catch enough to know that the stupid fucker thinks people taking exception to his advertising scheme still owe it to him to watch the show before commenting on anything about the show including the advertising.

  12. I've got the WTF blues says

    Someone already did this show:

    “MANswers is the ultimate survival guide for men. This SPIKE TV show will teach you how to pick up women, how to survive dangerous situations and more…”

    I feel badly for Hotchkiss. How sad to be this trite. <—- That's a joke… I wonder if he'd get it? Most people would….

  13. says

    Yeah… I work in marketing. This is shitty marketing.

    I worked for a lot of places (like non-profits) who have no money to advertise. Surprisingly we found ways to advertise that didn’t only focus on lowest common denominator.

    Also, if he has no money to advertise, how did he pay the boothbabes?

    Gross. Gross and ew.

  14. skemono says

    A. Noyd @ 18

    I can’t be bothered to actually read all his word vomit

    Oh, it’s great! He tries to show that he’s a gen-yoo-wine scientist by pointing out that one of his YouTube videos has 12,000 views. Just think about how many Pulitzers Nyancat must have by now!

  15. demonhauntedworld says

    He probably pulled the response because it contains a coupon code that allows you to watch everything for free.

  16. chimera says

    1) If you’re the type who mass spams people, you don’t have much right to complain about what sort of responses you get, short of violent threats and prejudicial language. If you can’t handle a conversation, then don’t start one with someone who never wanted one to begin with!

    2) “We needed to advertise with scantily clad women to get attention.” Has this guy been living on the moon his whole life? Near-naked women are the status quo. They’re everywhere: advertisements, music videos, album covers, billboards, awards show ceremonies. They’re not surprising, they’re not edgy, they’re not getting anyone’s attention. Not only is he sexist, he’s boring. Why would anyone watch such a crap piece of programming?

  17. buddhabuck says

    miserlyoldman@23

    None of you understand. HE IS LIKE SISYPHUS.

    I don’t have much to add, except that I initially read that last word as Syphilis, and didn’t necessarily see the analogy as inapt. I’d want to avoid both.

  18. monad says

    None of you understand. HE IS LIKE SISYPHUS.

    Seducing his niece as part of a plot against his brother, right?

  19. sarah00 says

    In the spirit of fairness I just watched their trailer. I’m speechless. Putting aside the misogyny for the minute, that was so bad it felt like it was a parody. I half expected Troy McClure to pop up with Nick Riviera (hi, Dr Nick!), the over-sell was just so forced. Plus for something that claims to be science-based it was practically a gish gallop of conspiracy theories. And none of the quotes had citations. I know they were only “hailed as the #source unbiased fact” and similar but I have no reason not to think that it’s the people who made this show who are hailing it thus because they provided no external source for this praise.

    And now, the misogyny. It’s there, and if the producers can’t see it that’s only because they have normalised it. I’m taking time-stamps from their video ow.ly/oMrCP (sorry, I don’t know how to make that clickable).

    1min 15 – the words “not puritanical” over two women in bikinis followed by a voice-over saying “well, hellooo” over a shot of their bums.
    1min 36 – another shot of their bums
    2min 11 – a wide view of the women in bikinis
    2min 17 – a wide view of the women in bikinis from behind
    2min 23 – a pan from the feet of a woman (in a bikini) to her head with the voice-over saying “. . . and might just get you laid”.
    2min 31 – a woman dancing on a racetrack (voiceover talking about testing car efficiencies)
    2min 56 – a woman in a bikini lying on her back in a swimming pool (while the guys in the pool are full clothed); followed by a shot of her from beneath

    So in 5 minutes and 1 seconds there are 7 instances of women being objectified. But it’s not misogynistic, honest(!)

  20. kellym says

    having read all of the creator’s comments at Skepchick, I’m left to wonder if he has anything to do with the skeptic movement whatsoever.

    Having also read the creator’s comments at Skepchick, I will be very surprised if he isn’t a featured speaker at TAM next year.

  21. futurechemist says

    As a chemist, my personal experience is that wearing an unbuttoned lab coat and exposing your bare torso is in fact not particularly scientific nor safe.

  22. Denverly says

    Holy shit, this guy loves himself. As quoted from skepchick:

    Our episode about highway traffic and the fastest way to get through it will reduce America’s hostility, hypertension and blood pressure. And that’s not a joke.

    I am truly in awe of this person’s infatuation with his own ego. An episode about highway traffic will reduce hostility, hypertension, and uh, hypertension. Isn’t high blood pressure called hypertension? Picking nits, I know but still…

  23. spiralling says

    Not sure he should really be advertising his HuffPo with such gems as “Revealed: Can a Man Poke the Baby in the Head During Sex With His Pregnant Partner?”. Classy.

  24. Ichthyic says

    I will be very surprised if he isn’t a featured speaker at TAM next year.

    good one…

    oh, wait. Sadly, that really isn’t much of a joke. In fact, it’s easily envisioned. :(

    *sigh*

  25. Fern says

    Two of them are wearing scientist lab coats.

    This sentence is so gloriously clueless, it’s almost genius.

    spiralling @36: So classy, right? “The one and only thing men fear during pregnancy is that during sex, they will poke the baby in the head with their penis.” Putting aside the vast numbers of men who have enough understanding of anatomy to get that, HEY, CERVIX ‘N’ STUFF, every father-to-be that I’ve known has had plenty of concerns about pregnancy beyond, “Rut-roh, might poke babby in head with boner!”

    sarah00 @31:

    Putting aside the misogyny for the minute, that was so bad it felt like it was a parody. I half expected Troy McClure to pop up with Nick Riviera (hi, Dr Nick!), the over-sell was just so forced.

    Yes. Spot on. “Just ask this scientician!”

  26. PatrickG says

    I am like Sisiphus… only I don’t just have to push the rock up a hill. I am battling nearly insurmountable obstacles:

    First, what is up with this constant self-comparison to heroic (and in this case tragic) characters?

    Insurmountable obstacles, yo! Respect Mah Burden!

    Second, those obstacles basically center around:
    - I have no money
    - I have no experience
    - I have no contacts
    - Did I mention I don’t have money?
    - Therefore: advertise with sex! Sex sells, baby!

    My personal favorite among the Obstacles™:

    Point 12 (emphasis mine):

    The women I hired to help promote the show — while it may not be to your taste — where[sic] no more provocatively dressed than most of the other women in attendance at DragonCon. In fact, I’d say they were modest by comparison. Two of them were wearing scientist lab coats.

    Spleen. Needs help. Laughter. Too much. He even provides the picture, which apparently requires that the Modest Scientist Lab Coat™ be worn open with bare midriff and garters.

    But then we come to His Theory:

    Here’s my guess: Once a woman gets to a position of high regard (no matter the field) — then, once she becomes an active media personality — she is suddenly no longer judged by the quality of her intellect, rather, she is judged on her looks, her sex appeal, her ability to convey science — She becomes a performer. And that’s a big come down and a let down… and a disappointment. (i[sic] can only assume, of course). And it’s the wrong way to look at people… And Science isn’t the only profession where this is an issue.)

    I have no words. Fortunately, he does (emphasis mine):

    That’s why I asked for your help. To spread the word about a series that investigates the science within arm’s reach — the science we all run into day in and day out — the actual science — not our marketing efforts.

    Bwahahahahahhaah. Yeah, not going to watch this, though I enjoy the highlights from people who did. :)

    P.S.: I quoted only a few things from his screed. Typos and misspellings I noticed are rather obviously marked. Punctuation peccadilloes are faithfully reproduced to the best of my ability. Any other failures at grammar or spelling are likely the result of my own transcription.

  27. teejaykay says

    …err… could I just… okay, somebody give a nerfbat. I think I’ve said this before, somewhere, but here’s how my wife sees it: men are perceived to be sexy when they get grey hair or lose their hair, but women who age are considered not very photogenic.

    Cultural thing or not, hello, double standards. Appearance is everything? No. Not it is not. Cheap parlour tricks like hiring near-naked women in labcoats to promote your stuff (oh, btw, grats on 15k views, very impressive, sir) is just boggling.

    In my ideal world, people’d just want to learn and call out those who are wrong, no matter what gender, no matter what age and have civilised, non-ego-wanking monologues. The best and politest putdown I’ve ever read was by Lenski when a certain Schlafly went gabonzawoohoo!

  28. says

    Our episode about highway traffic and the fastest way to get through it will reduce America’s hostility, hypertension and blood pressure. And that’s not a joke.

    And yet so blithely unconcerned with the mass amounts of hostility and hypertension* this absolute shit show will produce. Amazing!
     
    *Apparently, genius douchebro doesn’t understand what hypertension means. Words, so complicated!

  29. Ichthyic says

    First, what is up with this constant self-comparison to heroic (and in this case tragic) characters?

    Galileo Syndrome.

  30. teejaykay says

    Caine:

    I believe I just coined a new word! (Also, ratty hilarity today. Who knew that a rat can climb up a metal pole meant for pole dancing, get up to six feet up and teach the same trick to six others in the span of fifteen minutes? Nobody taught the first one, but the rest soon figured out food was forthcoming if they climbed.)

  31. says

    I am like Sisiphus… only I don’t just have to push the rock up a hill. I am battling nearly insurmountable obstacles

    well, he’s got a point. Sisyphus’ obstacle was not “nearly insurmountable”, it was entirely insurmountable. By design.

    Greek mythology fail
    Analogy fail

  32. says

    I dealt with this guy on Twitter, too. When he complained that he asked a dozen different women scientists to be on the show and they all declined, I asked him if he thought it was possible that something about his marketing was off-putting to them. He asked me eagerly whether anything in his marketing was offensive to me, and I told him he should listen to the women who’d already voiced their opinions to him about it.

    Well, that occasioned a near-immediate change in tone, as he sneered, “oh, so u don’t make up your own mind?” Because, of course, when you’re trying to get guests to appear on your show, and people give you advice on how to do that, the best response is to insult and belittle them.

  33. says

    oh: mythology fail also because sisyphus is a metaphor for working hard yet treading water. not for trying to overcome (nearly) insurmountable rocks

  34. says

    Seems to me he should have asked Phil Plait for advice *before* he started his promotion efforts. Or filming, for that matter.

    What boggled me is how he could not be aware of the Skepticism community until now. I mean, he’s certainly been aware of the Mythbusters. Did he not study them at all? It’s not like Adam Savage is shy about appearing at skeptics conferences or something.

  35. PatrickG says

    @ Ichthyic:

    Galileo Syndrome

    Funny, I thought that involved telling the truth and facing execution (or at least going to jail*). Or at least, so a quick google informs me. Somehow I don’t think “my videos won’t be popular” meets the standard.

    Oh but wait. I forgot about the pinkbooted feminazis. Objection withdrawn. He’s clearly in mortal danger! (/snark)

    * I hadn’t seen this term applied to Republicans before, though it came up 4th. Very apt.

  36. A. Noyd says

    @PatrickG (#39)
    He’s so indignant that people are choosing not to watch his show based on the way he’s trying to market it. Like, we’re not supposed to judge his show for that reason, even though that’s exactly what advertising is for: giving people who haven’t seen something yet the chance to decide if they’re interested. Such a massive failure to comprehend the most basic aspect of marketing doesn’t inspire confidence in his ability to scientifically investigate anything more complicated than chewing with his mouth closed.

  37. transenigma32 says

    *Me seeing the title*
    The voiceless dental fricative verses the voiced dental fricative? What the hell is going on in the linguistics community? I’m so confused…

    *Me clicking and reading post*
    Sigh. Just when you thought Braniac was gone for good and it was safe to hope for legitimate science shows on TV…

    I came in with questions and I left with more questions:

    *sob* “Is this why we can’t have good things?”
    “Insulting your customers is bad marketing, yes?”
    “Someone actually thought this was a good idea?”
    “Someone actually signed off on this?”
    “If people wanted to see science abused, why don’t they just watch CNN?”
    “Is this crowd-sourced by certain sub-reddits?”
    “What’s their degree, a MBA?”
    “I can’t be the only person thinking someone really should take that thesaurus away from them before they hurt themselves, right?”

    And, the most important question:
    “Is Cosmos on yet?”

  38. Ichthyic says

    I thought that involved telling the truth and facing execution

    yeah, they should rename it:

    Imaginary Galileo syndrome.

    the clowns suffering from like to pretend they are Galileo.

  39. Fern says

    One other thing you all are missing if you don’t watch the promotional video (linked in sarah00′s post) is the sound effects. Every five seconds or so, over the irritating music and the irritating narrator, there’s a loud “SHWOOOOONG!” noise. Nothing screams “professionalism” like using the sound effects from a motivational speaker’s PowerPoint presentation circa 1997.

  40. PatrickG says

    @ A Noyd:

    If you have advice on getting people to share clips, let me know.

    I am not part of some “skeptical community” — although thanks to DragonCon — I am now aware such a thing exists

    I agree with you… science has a public relations problem in terms of who its “popular” stars are

    Pause to absorb these three pearls of wisdom. Then move on to:

    5. As you know, advertising science, in and of itself, is a near impossible task. And yet, I am doing just that.

    My Gawd. He admits he knows nothing about social media, is unaware of existing social groups, then goes on to disparage the media problems of science and claims applying advertising (a highly studied area) to science is yet again Sisiphyean?

    Paging Mr. Dunning. Paging Mr. Kruger.

    In short, I liked your comment so much that I delved back in for special quoting.

    @ Ichthyic: Word. :)

  41. spiralling says

    So, watched a couple of his promo vids and … wow. Not only isn’t it science (no surprise), it really just comes off as a locker room conversation (obligatory bully the other men for non manly man men manly thing, no you are not a man feel ashamed) then manly do action things doing. Just another sexist, women in science are for bra shots t.v. show like the deplorable Richard Hammonds’, Brainiac: Science Abuse.

  42. Ichthyic says

    Perhaps they’re going for the SHWIIIIIIING! of Wayne’s World.

    …but they just couldn’t quite get it up right?

  43. A. Noyd says

    @ PatrickG (#55)
    Y’know, if it were some deal where Hotchkiss was deliberately trying to capitalize off of bad publicity—like, rile up a certain demographic to draw in an audience of troll-lovers—that would be one thing. Alienation for its own sake is still shitty marketing, but it’s definitely a thing. However, the folk who go the trolling route don’t expect those they’ve alienated to show up in the audience. Hotchkiss apparently does.

  44. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    I agree with Ibis3 @57.
    ****
    If we had a weekly Pharyngula Inspired Science & Skepticism show with you folks here providing well sourced info and snark, the creators of shows like This & That would be pissed.

  45. says

    He’s so indignant that people are choosing not to watch his show based on the way he’s trying to market it. Like, we’re not supposed to judge his show for that reason, even though that’s exactly what advertising is for: giving people who haven’t seen something yet the chance to decide if they’re interested.

    Indeed.

    The maxim, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” rings a bit less convincing when it’s coming from the guy in charge of book cover design.

  46. beardymcviking says

    Kinda off topic, but a thought I had reading this, and I’d like to get opinions on it.

    “Is there any way a ‘Man’s show’ can be anything but sexist crap?”

    When reading about these kinds of marketing (and just conceptual) fails, I often consider how it could have, should have been done. How I would do it better. So I tried to imagine how I’d create a ‘Man’s TV show’ or even a ‘Man’s magazine’ or whatever. What kinds of topics to cover? Cars? Crafts? BBQs or Baking?

    Really I couldn’t think of anything that wasn’t sexist and patronising at best, and I’m not sure it gets better. Is gender-specific marketing just doomed to be horrible, only differing in degree?

    (It goes without saying I’ll be avoiding this show, it and the people behind it sound awful)

  47. beardymcviking says

    Oh, one more thing, regarding the response to PZ:

    I want to grow up to be a ‘cantankerous fuck’ like PZ!

  48. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    The tone of his letter is whiny and irritating, not to mention self-aggrandising (he compares himself to Sisyphus, for fuck sake) and exhibiting a hyperbolic “Woe is me!” attitude, not dissimilar to believerskeptic’s (remember him?) attitude to his shitty little video.

  49. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    You know your kids watch too much Nickelodeon when every time you see the words “This vs. That,” you add “equals Sam and Cat!”

  50. buddhabuck says

    When reading about these kinds of marketing (and just conceptual) fails, I often consider how it could have, should have been done. How I would do it better. So I tried to imagine how I’d create a ‘Man’s TV show’ or even a ‘Man’s magazine’ or whatever. What kinds of topics to cover? Cars? Crafts? BBQs or Baking?

    Urology[1]. Prostate health. Prince Albert piercings. Baritone singing. Fashion[2]. I’m sure I could come up with more.

    [1] OK, this one is not exclusively a “Man’s” topic, but a substantial chunk of it is.
    [2] I have found the blog “The Suits of James Bond” to be a very man-oriented blog without being anti-women.

  51. ledasmom says

    My favorite part?

    “As a TV creator, I am NOT plugged into the infrastructure of the science community – and thus don’t have the connections or access to people and institutions that could help promote the series”

    combined with

    “In fact, I have made several science shows. . . and take the work seriously, partnering up with only the very best I could find, including (list of science-type people)”

    So, what happened to those doctors, scientists, etc. with whom he partnered up? They aren’t connections?

  52. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @ledasmum

    Judging from this, I’m gonna guess they just didn’t like him enough to do another show with him.

  53. A. Noyd says

    Thumper (#73)

    Judging from this, I’m gonna guess they just didn’t like him enough to do another show with him.

    Or even admit they know the guy.

  54. beardymcviking says

    @Buddhabuck #71

    OK, clearly I just didn’t think it through hard enough. A TV show about tailored suits and urology could succeed, I guess? :D

    In my very limited experience though, *interest* in Prince Albert piercings has seemed fairly gender-neutral ;-)

  55. says

    That bit at the bottom of the second image seemed alright, but it’s hard to relate to a mindset where you wouldn’t expect female scientists to think they were walking into a particularly intense bout of that after a cursory glance at the advertising.

  56. says

    I know a bunch of people who work for GoDaddy, although it’s no big secret that even they gave up having scantily clad women in their ads. This guy is an idiot.