NYT down the rabbit hole again: dumb op-ed stereotypes nerds as misogynists, jocks as woke people

What the bloody hell is going on at the New York Times? As I’ve claimed repeatedly, my theory (which is mine) is that the Times has made a conscious decision to become more social-justice-y, and reflects that in both the articles and op-eds it is publishing—with the op-eds often worthless pieces of tripe that would never have been published when the Times had more gravitas.

Here’s a new one, which uses six anecdotes (two nerds, four jocks) to show that nerds are misogynists and jocks (athletes) are woke good guys. And that’s all it is: cherry-picking examples of women-bashing “nerds” (she doesn’t define the term) and upright anti-patriarchal athletes to buttress her thesis. Author Jennifer Wright happens to be the political editor of Harper’s Bazaar and a writer.

Look, I’ve disagreed with many NYT editorials, especially by conservatives like Ross Douthat. My beef here is not that the Times shouldn’t publish anything they want, but that this editorial is so thin, so tendentious, and so mindlessly SJW-ish, that it should never have been published in any good newspaper, much less the NYT. It’s just a rant based on anecdotes. And the paper is increasingly publishing this species of pap.

Wright begins by expressing her disillusionment with nerds, which seem to be geeks more interested in computers and comic books than in women. She used to like them, she avers, but now has discovered that the whole lot of them are raging misogynists:

I used to love nerds. Or at least, I loved the idea of nerds. In the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, there was an endless stream of movies and media, from “Revenge of the Nerds” to “Spider-Man” to “Beauty and the Geek,” dedicated to telling women that they’d be better off with nerds than with the arrogant jocks who would grunt cavemanlike in response to anything women said, before kicking sand in a nerd’s face.

Nerds were smart and decent underdogs who just needed a good-hearted lady to notice them and maybe get them a pair of contact lenses.

Boy, that stereotype does not hold up in 2018.

These days, stories of misogyny in nerd-world — and allegations of sexual harassment in tech companies — have become incredibly common. If I see someone in a Batman T-shirt, I no longer assume they’re a sensitive soul. Instead, I wonder if they harassed women during Gamergate or hang out on incel message boards talking about how Elliot Rodger was right to kill “blonde sorority sluts.” The most realistic part of “Revenge of the Nerds” now seems to be the creepy scene where the nerd protagonist tricks a woman into sex.

A bit extreme, no?

Wright then gives two—count them, two—examples of nerds who are said to be misogynists. They come, of course, from the tech industry, and I’m surprised she doesn’t include James Damore among them.

I wasn’t that surprised, then, when Chloe Dykstra, the ex-girlfriend of the Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick (whom Rolling Stone has called “King of the Nerds”), wrote in an essay that her boyfriend of three years had emotionally and sexually abused her. (While she did not name him, the piece is understood by everyone in the industry to refer to him. He denied the abuse.)

Women aren’t the only victims of bad behavior by nerdy guys. Another “King of the Nerds,” Elon Musk, didn’t improve nerds’ image when he tweeted that a diver who assisted in rescuing 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand was a pedophile. Mr. Musk later apologized, and said he had been angry with the diver for criticizing Mr. Musk’s design of a mini-submarine to rescue the boys.

The notion of nerds being kinder than other men fades faster every day.

Note that Chris Hardwick hasn’t been named, and denies the charges, but that doesn’t matter at all to Wright, who finds him guilty as charged. And Musk may be a boorish man, but I’m not convinced he’s a jerk. And even if he is, all Wright uses to prove her thesis about misogynistic nerds are these two people whose behavior has disillusioned her. But what about other “nerds” who are nice guys? One is Bill Gates, who’s giving away billions of dollars to help those far less fortunate than he. By all accounts, he’s a nice guy, and I’m pretty sure he counts as a “nerd.” Another nerd who’s a pro-feminist and has a nice guy image? Neil deGrasse Tyson (see this video for proof). Another? Tech billionaire Gordon Moore, who is giving away his money to charity. I could add Carl Sagan as well. I could add others, too, but I’ll stop here.

I’m sure you can think of others but I’ve made my point: Wright is cherry-picking. It’s not clear to me that even the nerds in the tech industry are not as nice as the average man, for we hear about the cases of misogyny or sexual harassment (Damore is NOT one of these) but not about the many nerds who are nice guys who treat women with respect. And is tech really as plagued with abusive or sexist men as are other organizations? Look at the entertainment industry these days.

Well, Wright thinks that athletics is far better, because she can name four “jocks” who are pro-woman or “woke”:

On July 30, the N.B.A. star LeBron James opened a school in Akron, Ohio, that promises free lunches, bicycles and tuition to all its students, as well as guaranteed tuition at the University of Akron for all of its graduates. Many on Twitter pointed out that this might be a more generous use of wealth than attempting to fund space travel, as Mr. Musk hopes to do.

Last week, another N.B.A. player, Stephen Curry, raised over $21,000 through a live-streamed event to help benefit the family of Nia Wilson, a young woman who was stabbed to death at a train station in Oakland, Calif.

In June, the former N.F.L. player-turned-actor Terry Crews gave Senate testimony in which he spoke about having been sexually assaulted and warned against the “cult of toxic masculinity” that led him to believe he was more important than women.

And of course there’s Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, who drew national attention to police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

She gets in a few licks at Trump, saying that the President went after Kaepernick and Curry, but that’s irrelevant to her thesis, though it may have helped her mushy piece get published. She concludes like this:

None of these guys sound like the heartless, monosyllabic brutes pop culture made jocks out to be. They sound like the kind of men who would patiently listen to you and commiserate after a nerd sexually harasses you.

To be sure, some nerds are nice, and some jocks are still jerks — like Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers and Sean Newcomb of the Atlanta Braves, who recently apologized for old racist and homophobic tweets. But they’ve been overshadowed by people like Mr. James. Maybe it’s time to readjust stereotypes accordingly.

These jocks are deeply decent men standing up to bullies in power. Just like nerds in old movies used to do.

Well, it’s more than just two athletes who apologized for bad tweets: many athletes and coaches have been accused of sexually of physically abusing women in the last few years. Here’s a video, for instance, of ten NFL (National Football League) players who beat and abused women. And that’s just football.

I don’t know whether nerds are as woke as athletes, but my default hypothesis is that nice guys—guys who respect women—are as common among geeks as among athletes. (In reality, given “jock culture”, I’d marginally favor the nerds.) That is the null hypothesis that Wright tries to disprove by using a few anecdotes. And that’s the whole basis of this stupid op-ed: anecdotes.  Frankly, I think that Wright’s piece stinks to high heaven, and it’s puzzling to me that the Times found it worthy of publication. But welcome to the new social justice Times.

h/t: BJ, Grania

152 Comments

  1. BJ
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    This is the kind of thing you’re supposed to get published in Buzzfeed, not the NYT. Sigh. Jeong, this, Bari Weiss’ colleagues trying to run her out on a rail…there’s no going back now, is there?

    • Historian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Jennifer Wright’s article is composed of anecdotes and, therefore, proves nothing. Likewise, saying that Bari Weiss’ colleagues are “trying to run her out on a rail” is based on a criticism of her by perhaps a dozen NYT employees. Are these opinions representative of the hundreds of NYT employees? I don’t know and neither do you.

      A daunting problem in trying to get to the “truth” of a certain matter is that we have often nothing more than anecdotes to go on. I see this situation all the time in history books where historians have nothing more than the statements or writings of a few individuals and extrapolate from this that the individuals represent a larger whole. Since we can’t have scientific polls or analyzes about everything, we fall back on anecdotes or the statements of a few to explain a matter. As a result, we get satisfying narratives, but whether they are the “truth” is unknown. The bottom line is that we often render judgments based on limited and suspect “data.” That has always been the case and is unlikely to change soon.

      • mikeyc
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        There really is nothing wrong with using anecdotes in a piece like this. The problem is when a thesis, rather than being illuminated by anecdotes, depends on them. That was the case here. Dr PCCe is right, this has no place in the old NYT. The new one? I’m not sure where it’s going but the signs are not good.

        • Historian
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          “The problem is when a thesis, rather than being illuminated by anecdotes, depends on them.”

          I agree fully with this statement. The problem is that for many issues the only “data” that exists is anecdotes. This means that many theses would have to remain unstated since only anecdotes exist to support them. As a result, there would be many fewer things we discuss. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

          • Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            Yes, the real problem is when a reader takes an article like this seriously. IMHO, it is worthless fluff.

          • mikeyc
            Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            I dunno, if Wright had framed her piece on the dangers of stereotypes (not all nerds are nice guys and not all jock misogynistic boors) then these anecdotes might have worked. Of course, that isn’t the piece she wrote.

            • BJ
              Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

              That would have taken, like, at least 1/2 hour more work. She’s not superwoman!

              • Patrick F
                Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

                Easy there with the nerdy superhero reference pal…are you some kind of misogynist?

      • BJ
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        This is a weird response. I merely alluded to the event of several of Bari Weiss’ colleagues trying to ruin her/get her fired over a single innocuous tweet. I never said it was all of them. I never did anything but include it in a (what could have been much longer) list of things I think demonstrate the continuing decline of the Times’ quality.

        I don’t know if those at least thirteen colleagues of Bari Weiss have opinions representative of all NYT employees — probably not. I said “Bari Weiss’ colleagues trying to run her out on a rail,” and that’s what happened. I didn’t say “all.”

        • Historian
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Since we don’t know who these NYT employees were then their views say nothing about the alleged decline of the paper’s quality. For all we know, they may have nothing to do with the selection of what the paper chooses to post or even if they are writers themselves, we don’t know if what they think about Weiss influences the content of their articles.

  2. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    “nerds […] seem to be geeks more interested in computers and comic books than in women.”

    Really?

    Doesn’t she know what you find overwhelmingly in computers (aka the Intertoobz) and comic books? Wimmin, that’s what. Hordes of wild wimmin. Show me a nerd who doesn’t have a gigabyte of pr0n on his hard drive…

    😎

    cr
    (what, stereotype? me?)

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Before someone misinterprets that, I’d better note that not all interest in women is necessarily healthy or desirable…

      cr

    • darrelle
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Gigabyte? This is the 20-teens man! A gigabyte ain’t nothin. I’ve got at least 32 gigs of just music on my phone.

    • caracal
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      I play computer games, lots of my on-line friends are women (of all ages). The interesting thing about women, if you’re nice to them, they’re nice to you back! Funny how that works.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Yesssss! I like that! Some of my best friends are women! Couldn’t have said it better (or could?) 😁

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          My mother’s a woman, so are both of my sisters.

          In fact some of my closest relatives are women, so I can’t be sexist.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Exactly!

        The reason women want nothing to do with the Incels is that they’re clearly a bunch of a$$ho£€$ when you look at the way they write/think about women. That’s the reason none of them have girlfriends.

  3. darrelle
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I can’t but agree. This op ed is about as deep as single layer graphene. And, Elon Musk is her example of a bad guy nerd? I’m not impressed. And readjusting stereotypes? Is that supposed to be a joke?

    I really think, no doubt about it, that my 14 year old daughter could have written a more insightful, thoughtful, compassionate and sophisticated piece than this. My son as well, for that matter.

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Of Wright’s two examples, I know nothing of Hardwick, but Musk may be arrogant and was certainly obnoxious and probably libellous in tweeting that the diver was a pedo – but that has nothing to do with misogynism.

    cr

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      I know *something* of Hardwick, and the report seemed really questionable at best.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Yes, it certainly looks like the Times has moved to the shallow end of the pool. Besides, attempting to determine abuse of women by type is just stupid as well as making no sense. It is the abuse that should be written about in society not creating a contest about what type of guy does it more. Really shallow stuff.

  6. Ty Gardner
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I think the author is missing a big detail. Colin Kaepernick is hated by those, at least by most white sports fans, who identify as jocks. LeBron is not exactly someone they love, though it is impossible to deny his talent (though Trump might try). The thing is, people who love sports and identify as jocks are often willing to let things like abuse slide, so long as their team wins. As a geek, I’ve largely ceased following sports, though I played them as a youth and followed them intently as a young man. I ceased following them largely as a result of rampant cheating and a the turning aside to unsavory behavior. The backing of (apparently) racist owners of Kaepernick sealed the deal. The athletes she mentioned are those I look up to, as activists and/or philanthropists. However, as you point out, this puts them in the same class as Gates, though I don’t think he was as respectable at their age.
    The thing about stereotypes is that things are generally more complicated. That is certainly the case here, and would remain the case even if the stereotypes weren’t prematurely drawn from a small sample of cherry-picked anecdotes.

    • BJ
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      A lot of people hate Kaepernick because he’s one of the most sanctimonious people on earth and because he loves jumping to conclusions and getting into twitter fights with anybody and everybody. He has basically become a twitter troll over the years. When he came out in support of gay marriage, I had never heard of him (I don’t follow football) and thought he seemed like a cool guy. When he was let go from his team, that upset me (assuming it was because of his support of gay marriage and not, say, other players on the team hating him). Then he started speaking and writing more and I was quickly dissuaded of my admiration for him. He’s part of that same twitter circle that involves people like Arthur Chu.

      I like LeBron and other sports figures who do a lot for their communities and charity, (many hockey players are famous for this, which is one reason I love hockey so much: hockey players are often really great people). But I can’t stand Kaepernick.

      • Ty Gardner
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        To each their own. He did push an uncomfortable, but necessary, conversation at personal risk. A perfect example of an activist? Not at all. An important one? Absolutely.

        • mikeyc
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          To be honest, he isn’t much of a quarterback, either. At least, I’d worry if he played for my team.

          TBF, I’m not much of a football fan anymore, so maybe he’s not such a stinker behind the center.

          • yazikus
            Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            From what I’ve seen of his playing stats, he is very much on par with other NFL quarterbacks, and not a lesser player.

        • BJ
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          I’m really sorry, I was thinking of Chris Kluwe. I apologize unreservedly.

          • Diane G
            Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:26 am | Permalink

            Whew!

      • yazikus
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        When he was let go from his team, that upset me (assuming it was because of his support of gay marriage and not, say, other players on the team hating him).

        Are you perhaps mistaking him for Chris Kluwe? I thought he was the one let go for supporting gay marriage.

        • BJ
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          Yes, and I’m really, really sorry. I know almost nothing about football. I feel really bad about saying all that now. I did not mean to direct that at Kaepernick.

          • yazikus
            Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            Lol- I don’t think apologies are necessary! I was just scratching my head trying to remember as well. I only began following football as an ‘exercise in tribalism’ (friends were very into it – needed to find out what the deal was). That, and where I used to live it came in very handy if you could speak football.

            • BJ
              Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

              Even though Kaepernick will never see my comment — hell, maybe only a few dozen people will, at most — I still feel the need to apologize. I publicly denigrated someone for something they did not do. I can’t help but feel terribly about that 😦

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

                We’ll let QB Kaepernick know you spent the day in sackcloth and ashes.

              • JezGrove
                Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

                Trump could certainly learn something from you, BJ.

              • Diane G
                Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:29 am | Permalink

                You could email Jerry and ask if he’d edit your comment to make it clear it was a mistake. For a while there I was getting so disillusioned regarding Kaepernick!

              • Diane G
                Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:43 am | Permalink

                I’ve done the same when I’ve inadvertently posted something hugely embarrassing. Jerry to the rescue!

          • Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Women, look out! We have here a guy confusing football players, apparently a nerd!
            (Joking, of course.)

      • BJ
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Oh god, I’m SO SORRY. I was thinking of Chris Kluwe. I know nothing of football. I’M SO SORRY EVERYONE

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Colin Kaepernick is by no means an elite NFL quarterback. But he is certainly among the best 100 quarterbacks in the country (or at least was, the last time he suited up to play), and thus should have a spot on an NFL roster, were he not being blackballed by NFL owners.

      I don’t agree with what Kaepernick has to say with his National Anthem protest, but it’s only the worst kind of reactionary, ostentatious, phony goddamn unpatriotic “patriotism” (driven by Donald Trump) that keeps the man from exercising his right of conscience to say it.

  7. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The interesting feature—maybe the only interesting feature—of the Grey Lady’s current evolution is its academic epidemiology. The contemporary campus culture of “woke” pop-Leftism/recreational victimhood started off in bogus programs like “Gender Studies”, but has since crept into such soft targets as Schools of Education and Departments of Communication. The college background of decision-makers at the NYT (and those at NPR) might tell us something about the trajectory and consequences of the contagion.

    • Historian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      You could say that the field of gender studies has been distorted from a field of serious intellectual pursuit to one of propagandizing a particular point of view. However, this does not mean that it is inherently bogus.

      • mikeyc
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        I was trying to think of a way to say exactly this, Historian, but you beat me to it.

        +1

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        +1 as well.

        An example is a paper I did called Medieval Women. It was extremely worthwhile. I did it as part of a History major, but it could also be taken as part of a Women’s Studies major. It was one of the best papers I ever did.

        • Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          Is it accessible?

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted October 7, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            The paper number at Massey University was 148.330. The professor who taught it no longer works there, and the paper is not in the History Department’s list of papers. I don’t know for sure whether or not it’s still taught by someone else, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

    • Diane G
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      I think that’s the real problem and it’s very unsettling. It sometimes seems as if journalism as we knew it won’t even exist in the near future. So Orwellian.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Oh-Em-Gee, that may be the silliest thing ever to appear in our nation’s newspaper of record. Silly enough to be funny, though unintentionally so, since The Times has never had much of an institutional sense of humor, particularly about itself.

    What troubles me more than the NYT’s slide into regressivism is its slide into mediocrity, although I suspect the former is a symptom of the latter.

    • Historian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Serious journalistic publication are often in serious financial jeopardy. Consequently, they are trying to find ways to attract new customers and retain old ones. Articles such as the one under discussion represent one such effort. The issue is whether these frivolous articles “crowd out” the more serious ones. I don’t know the answer to this. On a website, as opposed to print, in theory at least, the NYT can post an unlimited number of articles at any one time. It would be interesting to know if the number of serious hard new articles and op-eds have increased or decreased from, say, twenty years ago. If the former, a reader could be as equally as informed as one twenty years ago, but has to be discerning as to what to read. If the latter, then we have a sad commentary on what renowned publications need to do to survive. In either case, the repute of a great institution has been diminished.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        I have a digital only NYT subscription & there’s far more daily content than it’s possible to consume & still have a Real Life. In my account settings I can choose what subjects I want to be notified of & thus it’s become fairly manageable. However I’ve noticed that I’m not learning much that I can’t pick up for free from a combo of the Daily Intelligencer [New York Media LLC] & the free version of The Atlantic.

        Gradually I’m switching over to following particular journalists/writers rather than publications or subjects. By choosing good writers I don’t have to worry so much about about the dying trades of fact checking, editing & sub-editing [though I DO still fact check trustworthy sources, but the fail rate is low]

        • Diane G
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:42 am | Permalink

          I have a digital subscription, too, but still pick up a hard copy of the Sunday NYT, a habit of mine since at least the early 70’s.

          I find there’re still top notch, long-form articles in the front section on subjects domestic & foreign…There may still be–no doubt are–many more articles online but I just don’t find myself reading as seriously there (well, here 😉 ) as I do with the actual paper itself. Too many distractions online, perhaps.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

            re long form journalism: Aaaaagh! No! The number of journalists who get given loan of a whole page & don’t summarise in the lead paragraph or who lead one one way in the opening as a tension device, but gallop off in another by the end…

            All we want are the facts, ma’am. ~ Sgt. Joe Friday

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            But I do like some long form journalism – such as in a narrative style – so long as description doesn’t take over [don’t need to know it was cloudy the day the journo knocked on the blue speckled door on the porch with da windchimes]

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

              Not a fan of the New New Journalism, Michael?

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

                That link is a blank with the book art displayed – no words at all. Or is that your point? 🙂

                I like a bit of this embedded, deep journalism that you’re alluding to, but not the slow pacing, wordiness & extended picture painting of some practitioners [probably the ones who think they have a novel in ’em]. Slap in a few photos to show how toothless & rusty the rust belt is & get on with it dammit!

                Approximately this is the style I like: Elmore Leonard’s TEN rules of writing

                I love the [loosely speaking] rust belt genre – it’s fascinating to read about the coal country collapse of basic services & hope or the waves of people that spread out from Katrina to a country not so willing in places to take them in. To compare the New Orleans catastrophe & Houston’s own dance with the devil & of course Puerto Rico.

                That sort of thing doesn’t need coloured up language – it speaks best in simple, direct statements & it opens the door to me on the mystery of the fragmented USA that doesn’t care for its own. Out of sight, out of mind.

                Haven’t figured out why I love the US yet though!

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

                Each of the author names at that website is a link to an author profile with embedded links to examples of that author’s long-form journalism. For example, here’s the embedded link for William Langewiesche, one of my favorite new new journalists.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

              Yes I found the various author pages by googling your link earlier, BUT your link: https://www.newnewjournalism.com/ loads a blank page for me in my waterfox browser – this is because the graphics in it are flash-based methinks & I’ve set Waterfox to be highly secure. OK in my insecure A.N.Other backup browser though. Thank you. Reading.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

                Careful, Michael. You start reading those articles, they can turn into a massive time-eater. 🙂

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

                I’ve bought the paperback even though I only recognise five names, there’s no sample writings & it’s a 2005 pub.

                Go from there.
                Cheers my dears.

  9. Robert Ryder
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    It’s so easy to cherry pick these sorts of things. Here’s an example: Jameis Winston was accused of rape while the quarterback at Florida State, is now a quarterback in the NFL, and on a three-game suspension: https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2018/6/29/17518964/jameis-winston-buccaneers-three-game-suspension

  10. Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    My experience, being both an athlete and nerd, is that there are good people and bad people. My experience strongly suggests that athletes are worse, statistically, than nerds.

    Why is that so many other news organizations are running articles based on data and science and the NYT appears to run these kinds of articles on low number statistics, i.e., five people they can think of off the top of their heads?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I spent my life at school being a bit too sporty, loud and popular with girls to be a nerd but a bit too weird, solitary and neurotic to ever be a proper ‘jock’. It was the in-between world. And from my relatively neutral vantage point the nerds were by far the gentlest creatures on the plains.

      But the internet really is like handing every nerd a bottle of vodka and then ushering them into a room with a therapist and a recording device. The side that lay buried at school and in social situations emerges, and people you thought were shy sweethearts turn out to be terrifyingly resentful of women and anyone else they perceive of as threatening.

      I don’t really think that kind of venom and toxicity is more evident in nerds, it’s just that nerds tend to congregate on the internet rather than in the real world like jocks, and thus they doxx and they harass, and they vote-bomb, and they make rape threats, because the internet is a social shitshow and people behave like lunatics when they’re safely ensconced behind an anonymous username and picture. Jocks are no better, but because they don’t generally gather online they tend to be constrained by the social norms of, that thing, what’s it called?…reality, that’s it.

      • Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if anyone has used the plea: The internet made me do it. If so, does that actually work?

        Ah, determinism and the world wide web.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        I think that’s a good theory of Jocks vs Nerds.

        And remember the phrase, “…locker room talk.”!

      • Diane G
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

        Exactly! It’s SO disheartening! (To say the least!) It may be that we didn’t need to have a Trump to destroy our society–we were already doing quite well ourselves…

        • Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          And seemingly more people willing to jump on the Trump Train every day.

  11. Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    In the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, there was an endless stream of movies and media, from “Revenge of the Nerds” to “Spider-Man” to “Beauty and the Geek,” dedicated to telling women that they’d be better off with nerds than with the arrogant jocks

    Revenge of the Nerds is a bad example. I remember watching it soon after it came out on VHS back in the day and thinking it was a mildly amusing copy of Animal House. I watched it again last year with a couple of friends (one female) as we were all astonished by the misogyny.

    As an example, there’s a scene in which the nerds rig a female frat house with hidden cameras so they can see the occupants naked. It’s played for laughs and apparently good because they got their own back on the mean girls.

    We sat there open mouthed wondering how we ever thought it was any good.

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Not to mention, one of the nerds in costume is mistaken by one of the desirable women for her boyfriend and they have intercourse while he remains in costume. So, effectively rape?

      Animal House does have Belushi peeping on one of the coeds.

      The article is ridiculous, as Jerry states, and for the reasons given, and is certainly not worthy of a newspaper purporting to be the paper of record.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Not to mention AH ends with the professor played by Donald Sutherland doin’ the horizontal slide with the toothsome young coed played by Karen Allen. Doubt that would pass muster in today’s PC version of the old Hays Code.

      • barn owl
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        There was a “woke” analysis of Animal House in a recent U Oregon alumni magazine (much of AH was filmed on the UO campus), and Belushi’s peeping was perhaps one of the lesser offenses in the movie. I don’t know how much a university might receive for allowing such filming on its campus, but it certainly wouldn’t be acceptable currently.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          I thought Animal House was hilarious, in a thoroughly subversive-of-authority way. Don’t know if I still would, humour is a capricious thing.

          But it was NOT made as a PC vehicle to be enjoyed by the (ugh) ‘woke’ tribe.

          cr

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        From the time I first saw that movie I was horrified by that scene, and yes, it’s rape. It turned out okay, because that’s what happens in such movies, but it’s still absolutely appalling imo. It’s also almost the only part of the movie I still remember because of that.

    • BJ
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I doubt she’s ever even seen those movies. Those movies were in no way meant to convince women to date nerds. They were made for nerds to laugh at. They were comedies for nerds and nothing more. The idea that they were pieces of propaganda meant to convince women to ditch the jocks and throw themselves into the loving arms of nerds — like some kind of nerdiarchal conspiracy — is utterly, pants-on-head retarded.

  12. Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The definition of nerd on both sides is questionable. Maybe Bill Gates is a nerd because he understand technology and looks like one but he did run a huge company and had to talk to industry groups, boards, etc. Nerds don’t do that. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, and Carl Sagan are way too handsome and confident to be considered nerds. Chris Hardwicke merely plays a nerd on tv and is only a nerd because he calls himself one. Sorry but you guys just don’t know a nerd when you meet one.

    You are right that the article is full of it. Technology companies employ nerds and non-nerds, and abusers of women, just like non-technology companies. They aren’t staffed only by nerds, regardless of nerd definition. The whole thing is rather silly and disgusting considering the seriousness of the subject.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Bill Gates is not a nerd, and probably never was, he was a very smart businessman.

      In his younger years in charge of Microsoft he made old-time robber barons look like pussies. In retirement he has transformed into a philanthropist. He can certainly afford to; but on the other hand, he didn’t have to, so credit to him for that.

      cr

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Probably the smartest man I ever dated was a top rugby player. He did things like quote Shakespeare to me. There was a lot about the real man underneath the public persona that was very nerd-like, according to the stereotype.

      • Diane G
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:59 am | Permalink

        I was blown away by this basketball player answering reporters’ questions* in three different languages:

        https://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2018/4/15/17240116/serge-ibaka-post-game-questions-3-different-languages

        Yes, I know, some people just have a knack for languages, but still…

        *the first version I saw of this clip included the reporters’ question–3 different journalists, 3 different languages.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          The footballer Paul Pogba is another example: not just a fantastically elegant and graceful player, he also speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian fluently:

          If all you know about him are his daily changes of haircuts, or his constant dabbing when he celebrates a goal, this kind of video can be quite surprising.

          My mum always used to tell me that pretty much everyone is interesting if you look closely enough, and I think she’s right.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          A lot of Europeans are like that, especially top sportspeople. I think Roger Federer speaks five or six, and he can conduct interviews where he makes jokes etc in at least five.

          A top sportsperson these days often needs to be pretty intelligent to be able to understand all the tactics etc. I notice most of the best international players are reasonably intelligent. So it might be that because people have had to get better and better at a sport to compete, and these days so much of sport is about mental stuff, and some of that mental stuff is easier if you’re smart.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Couldn’t’ve been that smart, Heather, or he’d’ve never let you get away. 🙂

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          Aww, thank you.

  13. Mark Reaume
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The Chris Hardwick story was a little odd, he did admit that the story by his ex-girlfriend was about him but he denied the allegations. AMC initially suspended his show and after an investigation they reinstated him – he came back last night in fact.

    I’m really not sure what to make of the allegations.

  14. yazikus
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    A more interesting article would be one focusing on professional athletes who are bucking the ‘jock’ stereotype to do good philanthropic work. I can think of several offhand (Doug Baldwin, anyone?).

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      But that would require effort.

      • Diane G
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:01 am | Permalink

        Not really. She could find a lot of it right in the Times’s sports section itself.

  15. Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    If I see someone in a Batman T-shirt, I no longer assume they’re a sensitive soul. Instead, I wonder if they harassed women during Gamergate….

    Fascinating how, in the leftist mythology, GG was transformed from justified criticism of the ethics of a pretend game developer and the five game reviewers who traded favorable reviews of her pretend game in exchange for sex, into some misogyny-fest against women for daring to enter the field of gaming.

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      flip those tags.

  16. Sastra
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Interesting that she wrote “adjust stereotypes “ instead of “eliminate stereotypes.” Pandering much?

  17. Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    What it looks like is that feminists have realised they like the same kind of men that most women do and are now looking for reasons to say that’s okay. Nerds have been despised for years because of their lack of ‘macho’ qualities, and for a brief period feminists treated them as an antidote to ‘toxic masculinity’, but at the end of the day they want somebody with pecs bulging from their shirts, not a calculator.

    I’ve noticed a lot of feminists turning on men with Asperger’s too recently, associating lack of social skills with misogyny. Somehow feminism has lead women to embrace stereotypes of men as physically attractive and charming – just like a Disney Prince. These are the same people who think a black American marrying a real prince is a victory for equality.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but you’re doing the same as she is by using the word “feminists” here. Surely it should be clear from the comments so far that there are plenty of feminists, including this one i.e. ME, who do NOT agree with this article and the stereotypes the author creates.

      And I would NEVER turn on a man with Asperger’s. My beloved nephew has Asperger’s. When he was a child, his mother told me I was the ONLY person she felt he was emotionally safe to be left with. So you know what you can do with that comment.

    • Diane G
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:04 am | Permalink

      “Somehow feminism has lead women to embrace stereotypes of men as physically attractive and charming…”

      Well, turnabout is fair play.

  18. Adam M.
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    An anecdote about Bill Gates being a nice guy (not that I’m really saying he isn’t here). Back in the day, important pieces of software at Microsoft got reviewed by Bill Gates, known as a “billg review” (after his email alias, “billg”). What isn’t so widely known, since rather few people ever wrote anything of enough prominence to have it reviewed by billg directly, is that the way of judging how well you came off in a billg review was to count the number of times he swore. Four “fuck!”s or fewer was considered a very good review.

  19. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the central thesis of jocks being any more sensitive than nerds is correct. It seems manifestly untrue from my personal experience in the real world, and it seems pointlessly contrarian. But there is, again, more than a grain of truth in the issue she addresses, which is the incredible toxicity of many ‘nerdy’ areas of culture.

    I’ve grown up with video games all my life. Along with music and football it’s been one of the three cultural constants in my life. And while growing up, my default assumption about gamers was that we were generally quieter, more sensitive and gentler than average. I thought of the culture as a liberal one. And I have had a _very_ rude awakening over the last decade or so. The venom of Gamergate was just a particularly obvious manifestation of the insularity and solipsism of a big chunk of gaming culture, and I kind of despair at the ubiquity of vicious, entitled male gamers complaining about the tiniest step forward in representation or diversity. I can really only speak for games, because I don’t read comic books, or religiously watch superhero movies or any of the other ‘nerd’ cultures out there, but there is a problem with the toxicity of many gamers, of that there is no doubt.

    On the other hand, and contra the thesis put forward in the article, if I venture online and read comments on football articles the same kind of loathing and hatred of anything vaguely liberal is endemic. These people are, I guess, the jocks mentioned in the article, and their political views are bloody horrible.

    And most importantly, my suspicion is that none of this has much to do with gaming or sports being either liberal or conservative in and of themselves. It’s more to do with one of the two, gaming, existing online to a far greater extent than the other, and thus being far more shaped by the internet and the generally horrible way it invites us to interact with one another.

    • Diane G
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      You have such a knack for putting my thoughts into words.

      I have a close family member who’s addicted to games. Sometimes I wish the internet had never existed.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Thanks Diane.

        I get the same queasy feeling about the internet on a regular basis. I think in the long-term it’s a good thing, but it has brought about such huge changes in the way humans interact, and we’re kind of scrabbling to keep up with it politically and socially. It’s a wave that’s moving forward and the best we can do at the moments is tidy up the disorder that’s left in its wake. The scary thing is that the wave doesn’t seem to be slowing, or even moving at a constant speed: it actually seems to be getting faster.

        I think it has been enormously successful in giving voices to people who previously were nervous about saying things that might be deemed offensive, and to a certain degree that’s a good thing, but the internet doesn’t do degrees, and online spaces have become close to colonised by resentful people who use it as a means of saying things they wouldn’t have the courage to say in real life. Because of the anonymity and the general lowering of inhibitions it’s by definition favourable to toxic voices.

        I always try and bear that in mind when I’m reading stuff online and everyone seems to be completely insane: there’s a selection effect going on, in that normal, non-partisan people don’t tend to go on the internet and scream at each other in the first place.

  20. Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t Elliot Rodger a jock, rather than a nerd, in any case?

    Didn’t he hang out at gymnasiums rather than play games online?

  21. caracal
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, I couldn’t agree more about the NYT. I started reading it in collage (oh so many years ago, when it was $1). It was a great paper then, not so much now. I still sometimes read the science section and maybe glance at the headlines. My SJW daughter (she’s 25) also thinks it’s a rag not even worth wrapping fish.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I cancelled my on-line subscription recently.

  22. Jeff
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    “my theory (which is mine)”

    Monty Python reference?

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Not anymore. It belongs to the ages.

      🙂

    • Diane G
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:28 am | Permalink

      But yes, and a favorite of Jerry’s… 🙂

  23. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    She could have written I met these jocks who pleasantly surprised me by breaking a cultural stereotype and probably had a much better article.

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      She turned a story about how she’d unjustly stereotyped jocks into how jocks had broken their stereotype.

      She’s basically doing what sexist men do when they are surprised that a woman is smart and say they are a credit to their sex.

      • Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Kinda like the time Bill O’Reilly was blown away that a black restaurant was like a normal restaurant.

  24. SweetPeavey
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    A few points about Chris Hardwick.

    Many people have pointed out that his claim to nerdhood is risable given that he is a handsome, personable guy who has been working in media as a TV host since the 90’s and has had an abundance of bombshell girlfriends.
    There is more to being a nerd than liking comic books, I thought nerds were those with high intelligence but low social status due to awkwardness.

    Also, the claims against him appear to have been mostly bogus as his network has reinstated him after an investigation and those who know him have spoken out in support of his character.

    So he’s not even really a nerd and he’s not really a harasser.

    If the point of the article was that we need to dispense with nerd/jock stereotypes entirely rather than flip them around, it might have been worth a read.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      This flipping stereotypes around reminds me of a Jerome’s character who broke with the old superstition and now wouldn’t travel on any day other than Friday.

  25. phoffman56
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    It is very simple to diagnose this, and most other dreadful written and TV so-called debates or ‘contentious assertions’: either the author is an utter ignoramus about quantifiers, or more likely slyly assumes a horde of readers will be such ignorami.

    By quantifiers, I merely mean ‘none’ ‘some’ and ‘all’, and maybe ‘most’ and ‘few’.

    She converts “some nerds are assholes’ and ‘some jocks are great’, using examples which are rather weak in giving any heft to the ‘somes’, — converts them into ‘alls’. NYTimes insultingly seems to think typical readers will fall for it. Or at least, they wish to stimulate debate with such utter crap.

    I’m still more of an NYT admirer than Jerry, but that won’t last long if their nonsense op-ed article selection continues. Maybe Krugman should look for a new outlet.

    But the real problem is pathetic educational standards.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:26 am | Permalink

      “Or at least, they wish to stimulate debate with such utter crap”

      Well they seem to have succeeded in that respect – 94 comments and counting on WEIT alone!

      • phoffman56
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        But not a debate about how pathetic their famous paper is fast becoming, if they don’t clean up the whoevers who now choose these kindergarten-level op-eds.

  26. Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Let us fight anecdotes with anecdotes! Here goes: O.J. Simpson! And in the other corner, Barack Obama!

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Hehehe!

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:27 am | Permalink

      Would you describe Obama as a nerd?

      • Diane G
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        Maybe the point is that he doesn’t fit into (an unfortunately sizable portion of) the US population’s racial stereotypes.

        • Posted October 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          To me, however, he fits well into the lawyer’s stereotype.

      • Kirbmarc
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        • Diane G
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

          Lol!

          QED.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            Oh, yeah? Does a nerd sing Al Green?

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

              That was a sweet little taste of sugar right there…

      • Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        These aren’t cut and dry categories. He’s intelligent, isn’t muscle-bound, is interested in things other than sports, participates in important matters, and enjoys intellectual pursuits. Good enough for government work, I say!

  27. andrewnwest
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/04/17/ssc-survey-results-sexual-harassment-levels-by-field/

    Has data on sexual harassment by industry, notably this graph:

    Not the same thing as misogynist vs. woke, but pretty close. Also no professional sports responses (or not enough to reach sample size).

    I’m reminded of a post on Quillette from last year, which essentially says that ‘nerd’ is often a synonym for ‘neuro-atypical’. Lots of the neuro-atypical are poor at social interaction because their brain didn’t come with those rules built in. That can come across as misogyny, particularly these days with elaborate lists of what you can and can’t say.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. Very interesting graph. I speed read the link & I coudn’t see an answer to this:

      The questions don’t appear to specify the source** of sexual harassment – could it be that the healthcare, law & social science figures are high because more public facing encounters than the inward-facing nerd jobs? i.e. nurses/doctors being harassed by patients, relatives/friends of patients & cops.

      ** I couldn’t see it specified that only co-worker harassment is being asked about, but I could easily have missed that in my reading!

      • andrewnwest
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Questions are here: https://archive.is/LQGCx

        But yeh, they don’t specify if the harassment was inward or outward facing. There’re questions about whether it happened at work or not though, which is kind of a proxy.

        Perhaps if you mail him and ask he’ll change the wording for next year, but perhaps he is mostly interested in consistency for comparison reasons there.

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The nerds are somewhat vindicated! This is no surprise to me. I suspect the focus on mistreatment of women at tech companies is partly due to surprise that this is a problem at companies run by nerds. Of course, the people running these companies are technocrats but mostly not nerds. There are also some false expectations engendered by the tech companies themselves by portraying themselves in the media as enlightened organizations, using slogans like Google’s (since changed) “Don’t be evil.” That was always just PR.

      • Posted October 7, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Also, some seem to think that the reproductive system of nerds is not functional.

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      This is something I alluded to above. Being socially awkward is difficult enough without people reading malicious intent into your failure to respond to social cues in socially appropriate ways. Last year Oxford students were smearing people as racist for not maintaining eye-contact.

    • Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Any defence of nerds that didn’t include a graph would feel inadequate.

  28. Jake
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read the NY Times for decades. I’ve ALWAYS been critical of slanted word choices in many of the news articles, and ALWAYS felt that many of the opinion and news articles were highly anecdotal pieces of minimal value. I quickly scan those and move along. And, I continue to subscribe. I value the NY Times because it brings so much information to the table. It also tells me about parts of the world, and the way it works, that I wouldn’t otherwise know. But my key point: on what basis other than anecdote is there so much agreement that the NY Times has gotten worse in terms of poorly-supported opinion pieces? It would be nice to see hard evidence of this, challenging as that might be to do. Meantime I’ll keep on separating the wheat from the chaff on my own. It keeps me sharp.

  29. Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Please forgive me if this idea has already been mentioned.

    One of the benefits of newspapers and the like moving online is the relatively unlimited amount of content that can be published vs in a paper newspaper. Sure, there are still limits imposed by the need to pay authors and editors. Even a table-of-contents can be much larger by hierarchical structuring.

    In the paper newspaper every fluff piece like Wright’s likely means that some more substantial piece goes unpublished or pushed back to next issue. This is not so much a problem online. Still, fluff can dilute the overall quality but perhaps it also means the newspaper can reach a wider audience.

    This also affects how one reads a newspaper. Instead of reading the NYT virtually cover to cover, one should only read what is interesting. If you don’t like fluff, don’t read it.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Packing an online version with fluff makes a newspaper like a mini-version of the entire Web. I mean, the reader has to browse, search and select. In the good old days, I could rest assured that most of the selection has been done by the editors. The stamp “NYT” meant quality.

  30. JezGrove
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    The headline of Wright’s piece (probably not written by her, but indicative of the aspects of the NYT that Jerry is criticizing) tells you all you need to know about how insightful the article itself will be.

  31. KD33
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Yep, had the same reaction when I saw this piece.

  32. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, one could surmise that ‘jocks’, by their very nature, have relatively high testosterone levels (natural or artificially created). Therefore one would expect that ‘jocks’ have higher levels of agression and violence generally.
    The ‘default’ suspicion is therefore that ‘jocks’ would show more aggression generally -but including aggression towards women- than ‘nerds. I know this is thin ice, ie speculative and possibly nonsense, but I could make it even worse by alluding to the influence of testosterone on sexual behaviour. 🤤

  33. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Many on Twitter pointed out that this might be a more generous use of wealth than attempting to fund space travel

    I dislike this all too common sentiment, routinely and thoughtlessly leveled against space research in order to flag own morals. We cannot all invest in the same business, and on fact society suffers when we do.

    Since it was used against Musk it is even more inappropriate. He has been open about his claimed motivations, where he looked at what he could do with his PayPal money after the buyout. Three large problems of humanity caught his interest, fossil free energy, safe travel, and a “plan B” for putting humanity into more than one basket (planet). Musk went for all three. Everything else aside, is that not generous (and thoughtful)?

    [Personally I don’t think a “plan B” is very important since life has weathered 4 billion years, and a mammal species becomes on average 2 million years. But since it is doable, why not eliminate unnecessary risks? And we will learn a lot!]

  34. Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Update to what exactly?
    I rather be touched by a nerd than smashed by a jock…
    It’s not desirable either way but an updated jock might pay for my hospital bills and time off.
    The nerd gets downgraded stereotypically, loses employment or is unemployable in the nerd field and now known as “aqualung” “sitting on a park bench,
    eying little girls/boys with bad intent”
    All and very much a nonsense.

    h/t Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull.

  35. eric
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    my default hypothesis is that nice guys—guys who respect women—are as common among geeks as among athletes.

    Yep. Can we just dispense with the stereotypes? Jerks come in all shapes, sizes, and interests, as do decent guys.

    I’ll buy that a popular guy probably has better inpersonal/social skills than an unpopular guy, if only because the former gets more practice talking and interacting with women (and men). So he may be more polished and make fewer faux pas. But IMO abuse goes to intent, and an intent to manipulate or treat people badly can come from someone who has good social skills or someone who doesn’t.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Well said. I wish this comment was at the top, rather than down here where many will miss it.

  36. chavezgu
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    I can’t understand why most people I see on the left are happy that LeBron James is opening a school. That school is private! (In the sense that it operates itself, not in that it charges money)

    It even says in the article linked:

    “Students were selected for the inaugural class based on their academic history.” SELECTED. That’s the definition of private. You select who gets in.

    I thought people on the left hated charter schools. This is your gently reminder that politics is not about policy. It’s just your high school student election with more money, more stakes and older people.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      [1] SELECTIVE:
      LeBron James’ school is indeed selective. Here is fuller quote than the one you provided:

      Students were selected for the inaugural class based on their academic history.

      “Looking at reading data, we identified students who were a year, two years behind in reading,” Keith Liechty, the Akron Public Schools’ liaison to James’ foundation, told the newspaper.

      James is funding a school for “at risk” children – children not at risk are selected out.

      [2] PRIVATE versus PUBLIC – the definition
      You claim that the use of selection is the definition of PRIVATE schools. This is incorrect, it’s a school funded by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the state. Not all private schools are selective.

      [3] “I thought people on the left hated charter schools”
      The first ever American charter school opened in East St. Paul, Minn in 1992. It was started by a workers’ cooperative organized by teachers! That’s very much ‘of the left’ & shoots down your simplification of politics & education.

      There’s charter schools & there’s charter schools – ‘hating’ charter schools because they’re charter schools is absurd – the motivations behind the setup matter. It might be religious. It might be a reaction to the low standards of available schools. It might be moolah – as in if Trump started a chain of charter schools I’d be following the money all the way – I’d suspect an element of “for profit” in his motivations. If he shook my hand I’d count my fingers afterwards.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Thank you for this. It was a rather grubby misrepresentation of LeBron James’s actions by the OP, and I wouldn’t have known any different if you hadn’t provided the context.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Aw shucks, I can’t handle praise – 7th decade starting & I haven’t cracked that yet.
          Maybe chavezgu went to a religious charter school & ratiocination* wasn’t encouraged?

          * My first use of – it was due.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Being selective is obviously NOT the definition of “private” in this context. A school is public if it gets its funding from the government.

  37. AC Harper
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    …my theory (which is mine) is that the Times has made a conscious decision to become more social-justice-y, and reflects that in both the articles and op-eds it is publishing…

    My more general theory (which is mine and doesn’t clash with PCCe’s theory) is that there are two factors at work.

    The first factor is not particularly startling… increased competition for audiences (to support income from selling advertising space) has fine tuned successful publications output more closely to their targeted demographic. That demographic is mostly the ‘current’ generation with disposable income.

    The second factor is that the older writers and editors are retiring and they are being replaced with cheaper and younger staff, mostly from the humanities. Younger people from the humanities are more likely to have bought into the victimhood/identity politics mindset. Happily (for the publishers) this ties into the demographic of the target audience.

    I offer the decline (in my opinion) of the Scientific American, National Geographic (still great photography though) and the New Scientist as further data point.

  38. Diane G
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Another nerd who’s a pro-feminist and has a nice guy image? Neil deGrasse Tyson (see this video for proof).

    The link in that sentence doesn’t seem to go to a relative site. Perhaps you meant this vid:

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:56 am | Permalink

      No, but thanks. I’ve put the right video in; this one:

    • Diane G
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      Aargh–in my post above, “relative” should be “relevant.”

  39. Gareth
    Posted August 15, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    This NYT is for adults right, not 14 year olds?

  40. Zetopan
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Among the anti-science crowd, the plural of anecdote is considered to be identical to what the scientific community recognizes as “data”. Testing and verification are unimportant details and sound bites are always considered sufficient within the former group. Hence Trump, his theocratic kakistocracy, and their myriad apologists.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      However, the camp of Trump’s opposition is plagued by the same problem.


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