Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Brilliant Bees »« When the phrase “out-of-touch” is too mild…

Some people don’t know how to handle bad weather

It’s cold out there. So cold that last night, I got this weather alert:

The Stevens County Sheriff is advising NO TRAVEL in Stevens County. It is unsafe to travel and roadways are blown closed with hard packed snow. The County plows will not go out until the wind goes down. Again, NO TRAVEL ADVISED IN STEVENS COUNTY until conditions improve.

That’s right, it was so cold and blizzardy that the snow plows weren’t running. So we waited to hear what the university was going to do. And we waited. And waited. UMM’s official policy is to send out notices about any class cancellations due to weather by 5am on the day of the affected classes, so of course we get notice at…5am this morning. The university is opening 2 hours late, so morning classes are cancelled (which doesn’t affect me or my students at all).

I can understand the dilemma. University schedules are tight; unlike the public schools, which can simply add extra days to the end of the school year to make up snow days, any lost classes are just that, lost. Students are paying good money for those classes, and our curricula are often fairly tight, so losing a day without a makeup can mean some critical subject isn’t as well covered in lecture.

On the other hand, dying or getting injured on hazardous roads blows an even bigger hole in the learning experience.

I think university administrators are quite aware of the conundrum. You’d think students would be aware, too — they’re paying $12,000/year for these classes, you’d think they’d express some resistance or at least hesitation about wanting classes shut down.

Not at the University of Illinois. Some students really, really wanted a snow day. What do they think this is, sixth grade? They got so irate about the fact that the chancellor did not cancel classes today, that they took to Twitter to complain bitterly about having to go to school…and very quickly the complaints descended into sexist and racist remarks about the chancellor, who is a woman of Asian descent.

Don’t do that, children.

College students are adults. You weigh the consequences. UMM is largely a residential school, so it’s not a big deal when we have to stay open during bad weather…but some students do commute, and are going to have a more difficult time. I say, think about your personal circumstances and do what you have to do; you can’t make it to class without putting yourself in peril, then don’t. I have students who’ve written to say that they can’t make it, and that’s all right, I understand and won’t penalize them. I’ll help them go over the material if they stop by my office later.

That’s how adults handle these little setbacks.

But if you’re pissed off because the university tells you that you don’t get a day off from school, a day you’ve already paid for, so pissed off that you start ranting like this:

@goombatoomba
Asians and women aren’t responsible for their actions #FuckPhyllis

@AndreiAndreev33
It’s going to be -27 without wind chill tomorrow morning and I have class at 8 #FuckPhyllis #Cunt #Bitch #Whore

@kimiskis
phyllis can go shove tomorrow’s weather up her wideset vagina. #fuckphyllis

@kelsbear9
In a room with Phyllis Wise, Adolf Hitler, and a gun with one bullet. Who do I shoot? #fuckphyllis

You know, I don’t think the university would be out of line to add an additional requirement that you take a course in Remedial Humanity before they allow you to graduate.

Comments

  1. says

    Uhm, seriously, adults could just take time off class if they wanted to. Of course they might suffer consequences from that, but that’s what being an adult is like.

    I wonder how life in the work force is going to work out for them. Posting tweets like that about a boss or an executive is a shortcut to a new career.

    That said, I do think it’s reasonable to decide to stay home in bad weather. The potential medical costs, plus replacement costs for a car or damage to a car, can be very high. Is it worth risking your health and your assets? Tough decision. A couple weeks ago I tried to make it to a meeting 120 miles from home, by leaving early and I hit black ice and nearly wrecked my jeep at speed. It could have been a very expensive meeting if that had happened. As it was, I stopped urinating in my pants and went and hung out at a truck stop until the sun came up and melted down the ice. I’m not a participant in any meetings that are more important than my life.

  2. Artor says

    I think it might be time for the school newspaper to do some naming and shaming. I hope these ignorant shitbags catch some blowback for their misogyny & racism.

  3. says

    When I worked for Cornell we once had a storm that started mid-morning and was so bad that people had to go home.
    Several days later the University announced that they were closed retrospectively. (There was a rumor that they did this so the hourly-type employees wouldn’t lose pay.)

  4. barbara4 says

    Years ago, our university town was hit by a flood. The university, dorms, and homes of most administrators and many professors were located on a hill, so the university stayed open — for one day. The administrators learned that a great many instructors and teaching grad students (and undergrads for that matter) were stuck in the poor part of town, cut off from the university and the rest of the world by floods on the river and on creeks that closed even circuitous routes to town. A huge number of classes closed, and attendance was spotty in those that were open.

    The university closed for the rest of the week, and closed immediately a decade later when a second flood cut us off. :-)

  5. says

    I walked a half a mile here to lecture at 8:30am. The weather isn’t really that severe. Winds are calmer than usual. I don’t know where all this frustration is coming from, but it’s embarrassing.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    You’d think students would be aware, too — they’re paying $12,000/year for these classes, you’d think they’d express some resistance or at least hesitation about wanting classes shut down.

    Problem is, a lot of students aren’t paying $12k/yr for classes. They’re paying for a fancy hunk of sheepskin, acquired with as little effort as possible.
    However, you can’t place all the blame on the students. Far too many employers make a Bachelors degree a mandatory requirement for hiring without giving any thought to checking if the prospect actually has a BA/BS’s worth of education.

  7. scenario says

    I have some sympathy for the students. I have had too many professors that paid lip service to office hours but were never there. They were usually adjunct professors who worked at 2 or 3 different schools to try to make a living. They show up 5 minutes before class and leave 5 minutes after and you never see them on campus otherwise. The commuter students are at a real disadvantage in situations like that.

    I’ve also worked in business that have a policy of no absences no matter what. In 1978, we had a blizzard in my state and the roads were closed by government order. The governor declared a state of emergency. The company I worked for fired a bunch of people for not coming to work. At another company I worked for, they fired a person for going to his wifes funeral. She was being buried in her home state 3000 miles away. According to the companies interpretation of the contract, that made her a distant relative.

  8. ImaginesABeach says

    The U of M Twin Cities closed due to weather today, but U of M Morris did not? You are a hardy bunch.

  9. freemage says

    Why did I read the comments? There’s a dudebro in there explaining that this reaction is justified because students have to walk to class, while “90%” of people who have jobs get to park right next to their building and just dash inside.

    Which is true, so long as you’re privileged enough that you can get away with not regarding the vast majority of the work-force as ‘people’.

  10. nich says

    Around here it is the opposite. They’ll close schools at the drop of a hat, and it isn’t exactly an area that is unfamiliar with cold and snow. It’s a huge district that includes both very affluent areas and poorer areas so it amuses me when people who can afford to have one parent stay home with the children take to social media and chastise us poor working stiffs for using the school “as a babysitter” because we can’t exactly afford to sit at home with children for an entire week because there was a little snow on the ground. And of course it’s our fault anyway that they close the schools because all us losers are just itching to supplement our crappy paychecks by slapping the school with a lawsuit when little Johnny slips on some ice.

  11. ChasCPeterson says

    Hoaving done six winters at Michigan State (aka the Red Cedar Tundra):
    No sympathy for these juvenile assholes.

  12. chigau (違う) says

    holytape #12
    Yes.
    —-
    I wonder how many of the tweeters are Staff?
    Are there janitors and electricians saying “I don’t wannaaa!”

  13. David Marjanović says

    I have to say I’m a bit surprised someone with a Russian full name complains about -27°. Where’s he from, Sochi?

    She was being buried in her home state 3000 miles away. According to the companies interpretation of the contract, that made her a distant relative.

    I’m sorry, I laughed. Emphasis added.

  14. Cuttlefish says

    Cuttlefish University was once famous for never having snow days.

    Then… lost a colleague from our department, a recent hire from California, with no experience driving on snow.

    We have more snow days now.

    And holytape, yes it would be.

  15. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    If most people won’t be able to come, then holding a class is useless anyway. I would expect individual professors who assess that losing a lecture will put them too far behind to arrange an extra lesson at some other time.

    At least that’s what would probably happen at my uni. (It’s situated close to the main cemetery, so we usually closed down before All Saints’ Day. People would have a difficult time reaching the uni because of the crowds heading to the cemetery)

    In any case, students’ reaction is completely out of line. Both in the proportion of anger and the way it’s expressed.

  16. says

    I say immediate expulsion for those tweets. Nothing pissed me off more than the jackasses at college who didn’t want to be there, they detract from the professor and the students who are there to learn.

  17. methuseus says

    @moarscienceplz at 6:

    Problem is, a lot of students aren’t paying $12k/yr for classes. They’re paying for a fancy hunk of sheepskin, acquired with as little effort as possible.
    However, you can’t place all the blame on the students. Far too many employers make a Bachelors degree a mandatory requirement for hiring without giving any thought to checking if the prospect actually has a BA/BS’s worth of education.

    It’s also the fact that so many individuals without said degree have the knowledge but not the paper. Especially in plenty of areas where the paper means absolutely nothing anyway.

  18. Alverant says

    Do you know how far they have to walk, freemage? I have to walk to the train station from the parking lot (which due to the layout are several blocks apart) and from the station to the office (also a fair distance) and do it again after it gets dark. Those guys are wimps. I bet they’d have no problem walking to the bar in this weather. (Yes I know that’s a strawman, but I think I’m not far off the mark.)

  19. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    At least most of the comments coming in now are positive.

  20. ludicrous says

    “Don’t do that, children.” , is distrespectful. Most children are sensible and not up for the stunt you describe and ought not to get this stereotyping. . I think it’s in everyone’s interest that children do not find secular blogs to be places of gratuitous insult.

  21. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    These students do realize that in a couple years they’ll be out in the workforce and very, very few jobs shut down due to weather, right? I can understand not attending if you live off-campus and public transport isn’t running, but otherwise, deal. Going onto social media and describing your boss in sexist or racist terms will be a fast-track to career suicide.

  22. Anthony K says

    I have to say I’m a bit surprised someone with a Russian full name complains about -27°. Where’s he from, Sochi?

    Possibly Illinois, since having a Russian full name does not necessarily indicate being a Russian emigrant.

  23. nrdo says

    Wow, those tweets are disgusting, but I would suspect that some of that is explained by the fact that people are willing to say things under (perceived) online anonymity that they never would to a person’s face.

  24. Anthony K says

    Wow, those tweets are disgusting, but I would suspect that some of that is explained by the fact that people are willing to say things under (perceived) online anonymity that they never would to a person’s face.

    I’m dead certain women and non-whites get said all sorts of sexist and racist shit said to them in person all the time.

  25. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Besides, even if they wouldn’t say it to her face, they would probably say exactly the same things at the after-classes coffee or beer, or while chatting in the hallway.
    Twitter just provides them with a wider audience.

  26. jefferylanam says

    When I was at the U of I in 1978, classes were cancelled because of an ice storm. Not because the students couldn’t get to class, although walking was hazardous. Because the professors, who mostly lived driving distance away, couldn’t get there.
    It would be frustrating to slide your way to class only to find no instructors. However, as an alum, I’m disgusted by some of the comments. Nothing can excuse that.

  27. barbarienne says

    And yet I suspect these same students (if they are students–someone upthread pointed out they might be employees) have probably cut classes due to foreseeable circumstances such as hangovers, staying up all night, or taking a road trip.

    (Unless college has changed a lot in the last 25 years.)

  28. says

    These students best not come to the University of Saskatchewan via an exchange program. It would probably take a multi day power outage to result in classes being cancelled in frigid weather.

  29. ck says

    scenario wrote:

    I’ve also worked in business that have a policy of no absences no matter what. In 1978, we had a blizzard in my state and the roads were closed by government order. The governor declared a state of emergency. The company I worked for fired a bunch of people for not coming to work. At another company I worked for, they fired a person for going to his wife’s funeral. She was being buried in her home state 3000 miles away. According to the companies interpretation of the contract, that made her a distant relative.

    Reason #42,836,271 and #871,921,302 why labour laws for these kinds of things need to exist.

  30. zenlike says

    27, nrdo

    Wow, those tweets are disgusting, but I would suspect that some of that is explained by the fact that people are willing to say things under (perceived) online anonymity that they never would to a person’s face.

    A lot of those tweets are with an account bearing the name and photo of the racist scum-bag. Anonymity has nothing to do with it, they (rightly?) think they are protected by the general disinterest of casual racism in our society.

  31. nrdo says

    @ zenlike – Yeah, some of them seem to have personal info, but there may still be some crowd mentality going on. Regardless of that though, we can only hope that the backlash is strong enough to teach some of them how disgusting and childish they look.

  32. Olav says

    Changerofbits #19:

    I say immediate expulsion for those tweets.

    Expulsion strikes me as harsh and vindictive. Suspension would perhaps have a
    better educational effect. A couple of weeks or so, and then how they catch up is up to them.

    If they don’t like it they would of course be perfectly free to expel themselves instead.

  33. Owlmirror says

    The misogyny is worse than the racism, and the violence/murder fantasy is worse than the misogyny.

    Feh.

    I bet they’d have no problem walking to the bar in this weather.

    “The church is near . . . but the road is icy. The tavern is far . . . but I will walk carefully.”

    (Old Russian proverb, allegedly — according to Google, one form of the original is:

    Церковь близко, да идти склизко, кабак далеко, да идти легко)

  34. Usernames are smart says

    College students are adults. — PZ

    In name only. Their opinions are based upon little to no life experience, untempered by years of scratching, struggling and coping.

    ~ they’re paying $12,000/year for these classes, you’d think they’d express some resistance or at least hesitation about wanting classes shut down.

    Which is why I consider them just a bit older than babes: they’re focusing on the parsley when the main entree is sitting on the plate getting cold. If my choice was blowing $120,000 or having a strong chance of getting maimed or killed, please take my bank account. I can always make more, no matter how long it takes. Stuff and cash is meaningless to the dead.

    Uhm, seriously, adults could just take time off class if they wanted to. Of course they might suffer consequences from that, but that’s what being an adult is like.
    — Marcus Ranum (#1)

    Done in one.

    But if you’re pissed off because the university tells you that you don’t get a day off from school ~.
    — PZ

    As Marcus said, no one’s forcing the students to go to class. They’re just being whiny little punks about it.

  35. says

    Could we please have a moratorium on declaring that online anonymity is some kind of magic shield that encourages people to be bigots and assholes? Seeing as there’s all kinds of racism and misogyny offline and all kinds of racism and misogyny spewed out by people online using their real names, it’s probably not true and it’s definitely unhelpful.* It suggests somehow that if everyone were to just stop using pseudonyms, the world would be full of rose-scented unicorn rainbow farts singing kumbaya at each other asking us to join in. These people are just not ashamed to be asshole bigots, anonymity or lack thereof notwithstanding.

    *Not to mention, annoying for those who use pseudonymity as legitimate protection from abuse, on- and offline both.

  36. digibud says

    Locally in Fairbanks, AK we’ve held school at -40F and colder. People ride bikes to work at -27F and are known to comment how nice it is “now that it’s warmed up to -40F”. However, it recently warmed up to +35F and rained. THAT caused schools and the University to cancel classes. Give me -40F instead of a sheet of rain on an icy road any day.

  37. moarscienceplz says

    #20 methuseus

    It’s also the fact that so many individuals without said degree have the knowledge but not the paper.

    Absolutely. The lazy ass hiring personnel let those people with lots of relevant experience but no degree be filtered out by machine algorithms and then they can’t understand why all their new hires are so clueless.

  38. ChasCPeterson says

    Could we please have a moratorium on declaring that online anonymity is some kind of magic shield that encourages people to be bigots and assholes?

    I don’t see any reason to doubt that it encourages <i<some</i people who otherwise would not to express their bigotry and assholosity in public.

    Seeing as there’s all kinds of racism and misogyny offline and all kinds of racism and misogyny spewed out by people online using their real names, it’s probably not true

    Doesn’t follow. Some people know they’re being assholes and fear the consequences of ID IRL.

    It suggests somehow that if everyone were to just stop using pseudonyms, the world would be full of rose-scented unicorn rainbow farts singing kumbaya at each other asking us to join in.

    It doesn’t suggest that at all. It merely suggests that there would be less (far less, it seems to me) of such objectionable speech online if everybody had to have the courage of their convictions.
    It’s basic to human nature to have socially enforced inhibitions, and it’s straightforwardly empirical that people behave differently when they think they cannot be identified. Why else masks for Carnival and bandits?

    These people are just not ashamed to be asshole bigots, anonymity or lack thereof notwithstanding.

    Overgeneralization. Some relatively few people aren’t ashamed; many more are, without the mask.

    And none of this has anything to do with the good reasons for psudonymity online. It just acknowledges that there are bad reasons, too. The tiniest bit of nuance.

  39. says

    Our university – North of the UofI – pre-emptively closed today and tomorrow. I’m at a loss to explain why. Yes it’s windy and cold, but the roads are clear. I hope there’s something I don’t know.

  40. stevem says

    My own experience of show-days is maybe extreme. MIT *never* has a snow day. Even in extreme snow; no snow-day. Only the “Blizzard of ’78” resulted in MIT closing for a week (when Gov. Dukakis closed all the roads); the very first week of the Spring semester. I was amazed when earlier this year, watching the scrolling under-bar of the TV announcing the closings for the next day during a snow storm, MIT was included as closed! MIT seemed to always expect the professors and staff to battle the snow, while the students all lived on-campus and just had to walk through the snow to get there. And all the MIT buildings are connected to avoid having to walk outside from building to building. But I haven’t been a resident of MIT for quite some time, maybe their “snow-day” policy has loosened quite a bit in the meantime. But even so, it is incomprehensible that students would complain about a snow-day. Conceivable that they would complain about a professor not showing up just because of snow on a “non snow-day” when the students are required to be there. But if the student doesn’t have to go there, why complain that the professor isn’t there ???? Why complain that the Dean is telling the students to stay in the dorm and not go to class??? They’ll still get credit, and ultimately the ‘sheepskin'; so what are they complaining about, to get so misogynistic and vulgar about???

  41. U Frood says

    You know what? If you don’t want to go to the class you already paid for, don’t go! You don’t need the school to declare a snow day to skip class. I’m not proud to admit that I know this from experience.

  42. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    In name only. Their opinions are based upon little to no life experience, untempered by years of scratching, struggling and coping.

    Narrower brush, plz.

  43. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    These tweets were discussed in class this morning.

    And the class consensus was that if we have to dig out of a nor’easter and walk to class when it is -12 and snowing sideways, then those punks can handle it.

    One of the tweets I saw referred to the risk of male students’ penises freezing. Now, I am not an expert on male genitalia, but is that actually a thing that can happen? And, um, pants exist. I know, I grew up 70 miles from Champaign-Urbana.

  44. Dhorvath, OM says

    If your shrinkage is so extreme that you lose parts, you could benefit from some remedial clothing classes.

  45. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One of the tweets I saw referred to the risk of male students’ penises freezing.

    Actually, what those misguided males need is the proper thermal pants, to go under their regular pants. Which is what I will do tomorrow when the low is -18 F. Every male in the snow belt should have a one, for just such occasions.

  46. says

    @Chas

    I don’t see any reason to doubt that it encourages some people who otherwise would not to express their bigotry and assholosity in public.

    I do see reason to doubt it encourages anyone. So if that’s the claim, provide some evidence.

  47. says

    @Esteleth @52: Yes, but if it were that cold there would be more than ten times as many cases of frostbite of fingers and toes, and also a bunch of cases of cold injuries to ears and noses (at least according to the frostbite section of my first-responder reference books). As you said, pants are a thing.

  48. Pete Newell says

    I think it might be time for the school newspaper to do some naming and shaming.

    What good would that do when PZ is just going to steal all the papers anyway?

    Say, do chloroform and Science help unstick papers that are frozen to the ground? Is that where they come into this?

  49. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Say, do chloroform and Science help unstick papers that are frozen to the ground? Is that where they come into this?

    Gee, anybody that knows anything about science, would realize you need to depress the freezing point of water. You don’t do that with chloroform, which is essentially insoluble in water; a water soluble solute is needed. Do your homework before you make yourself look bad.

  50. regina says

    Maybe they should move to Texas. My office is closed tomorrow because the forecast predicts that it will probably be below freezing and it might snow.

    On second thought, no. The last thing Texas needs is more misogyny, racism and violence.

  51. jaybee says

    Not to minimize or excuse the shitbag comments, but keep in mind that U of I has more than 40,000 students. There will be no shortage of assholes in any population of that size.

    (U of I EE, 85)

  52. Pete Newell says

    Sorry, Nerd. Knew about chloroform, but have never worked with pure Science as a substance. Wasn’t sure what the effects would be. I was kind of thinking the right mixture might be slightly exothermic.

    I bow to your superior experience.

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was kind of thinking the right mixture might be slightly exothermic.

    Like a lower alcohol/glycol and water, like whats in my car?

  54. says

    Suddenly I’m kinda sorta ashamed to have graduated from there. Know how many “winter weather cancellations” we had in the early 90s? ZERO. And I remember one day when I slipped and fell on the ice at least three times between ISR and the Quad. That ain’t very far.

  55. David Marjanović says

    Церковь близко, да идти склизко, кабак далеко, да идти легко

    :-D :-D :-D

    One of the tweets I saw referred to the risk of male students’ penises freezing. Now, I am not an expert on male genitalia, but is that actually a thing that can happen?

    As long as conditions don’t at least reach those described in comment 56, no.

    Well, mmmmmmaybe if someone wears extremely baggy jeans, no underpants, sits there for hours with spread legs (you know, the way so many men sit on public transport: to take up as much space as possible), and is a rather extreme shower with a very long and thing one.

    Say, do chloroform and Science help unstick papers that are frozen to the ground? Is that where they come into this?

    Gee, anybody that knows anything about science, would realize you need to depress the freezing point of water. You don’t do that with chloroform, which is essentially insoluble in water; a water soluble solute is needed. Do your homework before you make yourself look bad.

    1) Would you please repair your sarcasm detector?
    2) Science can tell you how to transform chloroform into water-soluble chlorides. I bet chloroform and sodium hydroxide make salt and a lot of heat.

  56. nrdo says

    @ Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    I do see reason to doubt it encourages anyone. So if that’s the claim, provide some evidence.

    There seems to be some indirect evidence that online anonymity dis-inhibits hate speech:
    University of Houston Study showing that anonymous comments are more vulgar, on average

    Obviously, this doesn’t excuse any of the racism or misogyny on display; but it suggests that combating them may require a different educational approach.

  57. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I bet chloroform and sodium hydroxide make salt and a lot of heat.

    Actually it makes dichlorocarbene, a reactive intermediate, that is converted into molecules like tetrachloroethylene, or cyclopropane hexachloride.

  58. chigau (違う) says

    David Marjanović

    Would you please repair your sarcasm detector?

    Now, that’s funny.

  59. rogerfirth says

    0 F temperature and a -20 F wind chill? Boo fucking hoo. Quite obviously UIUC students are a bunch of pussies. I completed two degrees at UW Madison, routinely riding my bicycle from home about 3 miles off campus all winter. There were many days the high temperature was well below zero. A good pair of mittens, a neoprene Masque, and ski goggles and I was quite comfortable. A bunch of my friends got around the same way and we never thought twice about it.

  60. Alverant says

    I’m not sure if this will help or not but a lot of people stayed home from work today. The train had a lot of empty spaces and I know of at least one business in the building that closed early. There were even fewer people on the train going back so I know other places closed early.

  61. ChasCPeterson says

    Ibis 3 @#55:

    [me:] I don’t see any reason to doubt that it encourages some people who otherwise would not to express their bigotry and assholosity in public.

    I do see reason to doubt it encourages anyone. So if that’s the claim, provide some evidence.

    so…wait…you do see reasons to doubt that it (pseudonymity) encourages expressions of assholosity online, but fail to provide any, and you want me to provide evidence why I don’t doubt it, whereas your assertions can stand without evidence? I think that’s right. But OK, I’ll play:

    The positive relationship between anonymity and aggressive behaviorise well known in both real-life (e.g. driving, psychology experiments) and online (see first sentence and its nine references here (pdf)).
    I’m not aware of examples that are specific to online sexism or racism, but the general pattern ought to apply so I didn’t look that hard either. If you wanted, you could g**gle-scholar search “toxic online disinhibition” or “disassociative anonymity” (because these phenomena are so well known that they even have jargonous names).

    Or if you’re not feeling that sciency, here’s a webcomic.

  62. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Or if you’re not feeling that sciency, here’s a webcomic.

    Peer-reviewed?

  63. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    It occurs to me that even granting that anonymity has a disinhibiting effect in at least some circumstances (and this does seem plausible to me, and apparently has some studies that appear to support it – though so does the pseudo-religion critiqued here, so salt time), this cannot possibly explain the overrepresentation of misogynistic and racist sentiments in the quoted commentary. Why those, specific, forms of undecorousness, if there’s merely a “loosening of inhibitions” with regard to discourteous behavior? If the issue was merely anonymity and immaturity, we’d expect a lot of “YELLOW SNOW LOL” and less of…this.

  64. gmacs says

    I wonder if this is why Iowa State felt the need to issue a statement on their Facebook page saying that classes would be meeting today and that, because the students are adults, they would have to determine for themselves whether it was worth it to try to make it to class or to work out something with instructors.

  65. wcorvi says

    Student Consumerism is an oxymoron. Students are the only consumers who try to get the least for their money.

  66. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Students are the only consumers who try to get the least for their money.

    Narrower brush plz.

  67. says

    I don’t give a fuck if that specific behaviour is encouraged by anonymity. It’s not an excuse. You could even argue that it is actually more indicative of their actual ideas about women and POC.
    It’s like saying somebody becomes an asshole when they’re drunk:
    It’s not true, they’re assholes all the time, only that alcohol removes the thin layer of self-control they have because they fear for themselves.

  68. birgerjohansson says

    ..and the summer of 1982, we got some brief snowfall on June 6th. But I still like living here.

  69. says

    @#78 Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “Narrower brush plz.” X2

    Since you are exceptional, you needn’t take it personally. Where the glove does not fit, we do acquit.

  70. freemage says

    georgewiman: I think it’s fair to say Azkyroth is suggesting that he might not be ‘exceptional’, but rather, that using a generic ‘students’ as the group identifier for these particular wastes of oxygen is going to create spillover on students who are fully capable and responsible in their dealings.

    I was a less-than-stellar student, by far–I skipped way too many classes, for one. To an extent, some of these comments could be describing me back then. But many of my peers were dedicated, driven and responsible. And quite honestly, though our campus far from immune to the effects of rape culture, I don’t ever recall any conversation where someone talked about using rape as a punishment, the way these tweets do–though I’m sure they happened in some quarters of campus, I was able to go through 4 years and never encounter that particular sentiment. So yes, I can see where Azkyroth is coming from. “Students” is often just shorthand for “the young”, in which youth is seen as the sole reason for their folly–suggesting, by way of induction, that adults don’t have similar faults.

    While it may be true that some experience can wear away these sorts of things, it’s also true that sometimes people who were impressive and studious in college burn out later in life, and that those who were once generally decent people decide to embrace their inner shitbag.

  71. David Marjanović says

    Actually it makes dichlorocarbene, a reactive intermediate

    So, CHCl₃ + NaOH → H₂O + NaCl + CCl₂? Because that doesn’t contradict what I said.

    Or if you’re not feeling that sciency, here’s a webcomic.

    Peer-reviewed?

    Emphasis added.

  72. says

    “It’s not true, they’re assholes all the time, only that alcohol removes the thin layer of self-control they have because they fear for themselves.”

    By this logic, if someone consents when they’re drunk, they want to consent all the time. No. Just no.

    Our brains are chemistry and electricit, and we are sacks of meat. Our behavior is influenced by external factors. Pretending that people aren’t influenced by substances and situations to behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise is a form of denialism. Morality is complicated by this reality, sure, but we don’t get anywhere pretending there’s a homunculus that represents the True Self living in our heads and runnin the show.

  73. says

    Ryan Cunningham

    By this logic, if someone consents when they’re drunk, they want to consent all the time. No. Just no.

    WTF?
    Being raped while drunk is something that happens to you, not something you do

    Pretending that people aren’t influenced by substances and situations to behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise is a form of denialism.

    Who ever said that? You even quote where I say that alcohol lowers their inhibitions.
    Do you understand there’s a difference between “becoming somebody else” and “doing things you don’t dare to do when sober”?
    That’s why we still hold drunk drivers accountable.
    But this is a derail. There’s absolutely nothing about social media that causes a drug-like reaction in somebody’s brain.

  74. ChasCPeterson says

    I don’t give a fuck if that specific behaviour is encouraged by anonymity. It’s not an excuse. You could even argue that it is actually more indicative of their actual ideas about women and POC.

    in case you’re under the impression that you’re arguing with anything I said?
    you’re not.

  75. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Giliell #79

    You’re mixing up explaining with excusing. No one’s trying to excuse being an arsehole online, they’re trying to explain the apparent concentration of arseholes online.

    My 2p on the subject: what seems to matter is the perception of being watched. This is fairly well documented; I have seen a couple of studies similar to the one I linked to. The perception of being watched by another person leads to a reduction in crime, so it seems logical to suggest that it would lead to a reduction of bad behaviour in general (in fact, the “Watching Eyes Effect” has been documented to improve behaviour and generosity). When on a computer, you obviously do not get that perception.

    If I may offer a bit of conjecture: I would posit that what really matters is social disapproval. The posters all use frowny eyes (there are many of these type of posters in the UK), which gives the impression not only of being watched, but of being watched and the watcher disapproving of your actions. I offer this as an explanation as to why this feeling can be overcome when you have a large group of like-minded morons applauding you for your generally socially-unacceptable actions/words.

    Nb// First link goes to the study (also linked to in the news story), second link to a news story on the subject with less sciency explanations of the general concept.

  76. says

    @83 Freemage – You are surely right that is what he meant. There are terrific students, and some of them work for me. But it is fair to say the majority of them, even my good employees, lack experience in struggling to survive. And, in surviving their own mistakes. Some of them have experience in dealing with the mistakes of others. You really don’t know much about life when you’re 20.

    Of course, when I am 70 I will very much wish my idiot 56-year-old self would get off my lawn…

  77. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    But it is fair to say the majority of them, even my good employees, lack experience in struggling to survive. And, in surviving their own mistakes. Some of them have experience in dealing with the mistakes of others. You really don’t know much about life when you’re 20.

    Of course, a nontrivial proportion of students are nowhere near 20, and a significant fraction of them are in fact dealing with significant economic adversity and working to support themselves, but let’s just ignore that.

  78. paulburnett says

    Dhorvath (#53) mentioned “If your shrinkage is so extreme that you lose parts…”

    Nerd (#54) responded “Actually, what those misguided males need is the proper thermal pants”, thoughtfully providing a link to Amazon’s page selling said thermal pants, which includes the statement “Shrinkage control for lasting size and shape”….

    Prolem solved!

  79. David Marjanović says

    By this logic, if someone consents when they’re drunk, they want to consent all the time

    Er, no. It means they find the other person vaguely hot (at least when their vision is impaired). Alcohol, impairs the ability to consider reasons for not consenting to sex with random sexy people.

  80. freemage says

    georgewiman: The point is, precision of language is almost always a virtue. Saying that there’s a significant portion of the student body who are entitled, or just clueless about the real world, is a reasonable claim; likewise would be pointing out that these students often dominate the attention, because the good ones can be safely ignored, while the antics of the bad ones require vigilance and correction. Simply using ‘students’ with no modifier is sloppy discourse, and leads to, among other things, tedious and annoying derails like this one.

  81. says

    #90 Azkyroth

    “Of course, a nontrivial proportion of students are nowhere near 20, and a significant fraction of them are in fact dealing with significant economic adversity and working to support themselves, but let’s just ignore that.”

    Or let’s not: the older the student, the greater the likelihood he/she has had to struggle to survive. Or even more significant, had to struggle to support others for whom they are responsible. When they get old enough, there’s a greater probability they have to figure out what to do about their parents. Each is a learning experience. Hence older people, on average, knowing more about life than younger people.

    Any large set you talk about contains atypical members. One approach would be to assume everybody already knows that, and is probably talking about the typical rather than the exceptional. Instead of getting into tedious derails or insisting everyone else account for all possible variables in every sentence. That’s when precision of language is not always a virtue.

    Unless you want to get into a “We’re Not All Like That” with every issue you discuss. Not every Christian votes Republican, not every priest diddles children, not every capitalist screws the poor, etc.

  82. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    When it takes adding exactly one word to your sentence to be saying what you mean, and given the well documented effects of elision on the understanding of the reader…yeah, precision of language is a virtue..

  83. says

    I just ran across the most wonderful essay about the derailing insistence on adding “some” to every social observation, lest some individual or group be falsely maligned in the eyes of people who take everything exactly literally: Why some of you are shitty allies.

    Serendipity, really. But not everyone tries to derail conversations that way. Only some people.

  84. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd (#54) responded “Actually, what those misguided males need is the proper thermal pants”, thoughtfully providing a link to Amazon’s page selling said thermal pants, which includes the statement “Shrinkage control for lasting size and shape”….

    Which I did use yesterday, when it was -12 F actual to about 1 F actual. Today, I didn’t need the insulation, nor did the Redhead who wore some silk pants yesterday, but not today, for extra warmth.

  85. carlie says

    There would be no derail if people would use precise language in the first place.

    A derail would be short if the person who spoke sloppily responded to the correction with “ok”.

    The only way it becomes a derail is if the person who spoke sloppily gets all offended and starts arguing like a petulant child.

  86. says

    carlie:
    Why, it’s almost like you’re making an argument for being precise with our language. Surely you’re not doing *that*. There can’t possibly be any benefit in such precision, can there?

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    (Yes, I am currently in possession of the Snark Hat)

  87. says

    Shall we remember this conversation the next time a Christian drops in with the tired “Not all Christians are like that!” argument? No? Probably won’t. Even though it is a form of tone trolling.

    Stipulated, some people really get uptight if their every blogversation isn’t as precise as computer code, or carefully written law.

  88. twentysomethingnerd says

    Glad to see that my blog post resonated with someone, and that it found relevance so quickly.

    I live really close to this school (about 30 minutes away) and it was super discouraging to see this happen. It’s like, guys, Christ, it’s 2014, can we stop being racist jackasses already? No? Great. Fine.

    That being said, the Chancellor wrote a pretty fantastic response.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/tanyachen/university-of-illinois-chancellor-responds-to-hate-comments