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March 2, 2004

How the machine works. What a surprise that the guy whose company sells this turns out to be a major contributor to folks like this. (Via this guy.)

The extent to which hip irony serves the needs of power is well known, but you don’t usually see it illustrated quite so blatantly. On the bright side, I’m reminded of Beth Meacham’s notion that some people should simply be required to wear large signs reading “LEGALLY STUPID.” “Oh, I’m sorry I kept you waiting at the cash register for twenty minutes while I finished a phone call, I’m legally stupid.” “Oh, well, that’s different then.” This T-shirt could fulfill the same function, pretty much. [08:59 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on How the machine works.:

aha ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2004, 10:42 PM:

...and on the back,
"War is for young people"

bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2004, 11:59 PM:

Sisyphus Shrugged offers some T-shirts of her own in response to this inanity.

It was suggested that the message was intended ironically, but wouldn't it be been stronger to say something like "I'm too dumb to vote" instead?

hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2004, 12:12 AM:

Pig bastard.

To actively discourage his mostly young clientele from voting is just plain awful. And yeah, you can play it off as hip irony, but the Abercrombie & Fitch chinky-chinee T-shirts were hip irony, too.

There's a point at which it's not funny anymore, and they both shot right over it. Which is why these designers should have professional humorists as consultants. Your Adam Felbers and Margaret Chos should get major scratch for telling them what's "edgy" and what's offensive.

And it's not so much that these t-shirts are offensive so much as they're truly harmful. Why encourage un-civic-mindedness when there is so much already?

Unless...well, I was on the staff of a Republican Congressional campaign once. And they were cheering the crappy weather, because it would suppress voter turnout.

They knew the Republicans would turn out no matter what.

Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2004, 08:47 AM:

The youth of today must be so pleased: They've FINALLY found something that'll piss off their hip, libertine elders.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2004, 10:29 AM:

"I'm ready for my Vice Magazine photoshoot now, Mr. Demille."

*mumbles* Trucker caps? Ironic trucker caps are so 2002.*/mumbles*

MC Square ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2004, 11:07 AM:

Al Jourgensen (he of Ministry and LARD) has a rebuttal which is available at PunkVoter.com. You can read it here. He also voiced his opinion on the matter on NPR's All Things Considered (available here).

My Old School Punk Rock Indian Scouts (OSPRIS) keep their ears to the ground.

BTW, check out this shirt.

Zizka ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2004, 11:33 AM:

I really think that rebellion now is just an obligatory phase of normality. People who don't do some sort of rebellion ages 15-25 are not normal. And marketing is geared to figuring out / deciding what the normal form of rebellion is going to be.

I remember awhile back at a family visit when my 17-y.o. niece from Fargo was showing her CD collection to her cousin from Kansas. It was Smashing Pumpkins type alternative stuff. Over $500 / worth. My 24 year old alt-country musician son was along and he realized that he was already too old and un-fucked-up for that marketing demographic. Which is the BIG marketing demographic for music.

From a libertarian POV it's not so bad. The market works. The Beatles, Stones, Sex Pistols, Elvis, all had their money men behind them.

And Jimi Hendrix too, except that his money man basically killed him.

(I guess this is another one of my Have A Happy Day posts.)

I realize that it's my fault for using IE, but your site is displaying weird today.

"Must preview before posting": Good Idea.

jim bodie ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 05:31 AM:

Oh my god, a successful and dedicated businessman. The horror, the horror.

Doug Muir ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 08:30 AM:

Hum. You do realize that, according to the article, the guy doesn't have any input, at all, into what gets sold in his stores?

It's all done by twentysomething fashion consultants. All the Big Boss does is set general rules ("Don't be afraid to fail") and count his money.

Which makes sense, nu? It's a ~$400 million dollar business. He couldn't micromanage if he wanted to, and apparently he has sense enough not to try.


Doug M.

Doug Muir ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 08:31 AM:

As to him being a vile ranting dog of a conservative, that didn't actually come across. He seemed confused about the Santorum contributions... and let's try to keep some perspective, folks: if you're worth nearly half a billion dollars, thirteen grand is easy to overlook.

No, I'm perfactly serious. It's three-one-thousandths of one percent of his net worth. At those wealth levels, that's the sort of money you have your secretary handle. It's petty cash. Did he really forget it? Quite possibly; it's like me forgetting about a quarter that I gave to a panhandler in the park last summer.

If the guy was a serious, two-fisted red meat Republican, the amounts involved would be a lot larger than that. Read... say... volume IV of Robert Caro's Lyndon Johnson bio to see what happens when conservative businessmen really get engaged with a candidate. (Hell, read it anyway, and the other three too. They're great.)

From the interview -- which is well written, but more hostile than it appears at first glance -- he doesn't come across as anything worse than a typical self-made man. I don't see that as bad. More to the point, he's got zip to do with the silly t-shirt.

So, while all this is mildly diverting, I'm really not seeing it as a great example of "how the machine works".


Doug M.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 08:35 AM:

Yes, that's exactly what was being criticized.

Indeed, we're implacably opposed to "successful and dedicated businessmen" hereabouts. This is why Teresa and I have spent the last fifteen years in a Maoist commune.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 09:18 AM:

Uber-liberal communist wimp talk show host Glenn Sacks, whose fathers' and mens' rights website features enthusiastic endorsements from prominent ascetics and anti-capitalism fanatics Rush Limbaugh, Dr Laura, and Michael Medved explains why he started a boycott crusade on his radio show which got all the products of a company one of whose tshirts offended him removed from 3,500 stores across the country.

He is proud to say that he has taken away 90% of the shirtmakers outlets.

The shirts, he said, may hurt the delicate feelings of boys, who are (as nascent men) at the very bottom of the pecking order in our society.

Try again.

Patrick, do you know yet if the abbot will let you out for a few hours this weekend?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 09:19 AM:

Doug Muir's comments slipped in while I was typing; I was responding to the prior comment.

As to the business about how aware Richard Hayne is of the particulars of the T-shirts he sells, well, I don't necessarily believe guys like him are as disengaged from the details as they often find it convenient to claim to be. I certainly don't think for a minute that he was actually "confused" about his contributions to Senator Santorum.

But if you think I was alleging some kind of earnest conspiracy, in which guys in silk top hats snort cocaine off the chests of supermodels while cackling "Har har! Nice bit with that T-shirt! That'll depress the young-urban-cynic vote!", then you've missed the point.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 09:21 AM:

Parenthetically, Mr. Sacks and his followers are still boycotting Urban Outfitters.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 09:50 AM:

Julia, I never heard of Sacks before your post, but in all honesty I have to say that I noticed those shirts independently of this story, and thoroughly loathed them on my own steam.

Rich white guys may be at the top of the heap, but that doesn't mean it should be okay to make five-year-old boys feel like shit about themselves.

Indeed, while I doubt Sacks or his right-wing supporters would agree, I daresay that part of how we make five-year-old boys into adult monsters is by coarsening them up with stuff like this.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 10:09 AM:

Actually, Sacks' opinion on the shirts is one of the few things I agree with him on. I just think it's interesting how we decide which protests are politically correct and anticapitalist and which are appropriate.

It certainly doesn't seem less respectful of the profit motive to disapprove of the Urban Outfitters shirts.

Doug Muir ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 03:07 PM:

well, I don't necessarily believe guys like him are as disengaged from the details as they often find it convenient to claim to be.

[shrug] The article gives no support for this view.

Is it possible you might be extrapolating from your own industry? A publisher might bring out a couple of hundred books per year, and read every one of them. But the clothing industry isn't like that. We're talking thousands to tens of thousands of different clothing items each year.

Googling, I find there was a modest kerfuffle a year or two back when Urban Outfitters sold a shirt with "CCCP" on it. Do you think Hayne personally picked that one, too?


Doug M.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 03:26 PM:

"Do you think Hayne personally picked that one, too?"

I dunno, Doug Muir. Have you quit beating your wife? Tendentious much?

Perhaps you missed this comment, in which I said pretty clearly that I don't think the "machine" I was referring to requires that people stand around and plot lots of evil details. But you know something, I don't think you missed it.

Doug Muir ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 03:27 PM:

I certainly don't think for a minute that he was actually "confused" about his contributions to Senator Santorum.

I think you're reading that article with a remarkably uncritical eye.

Pause for a moment and ask: what other contributions did he make? None are mentioned. Do you think that the writer would have neglected to bring them out? Googling doesn't show any, either.

That makes me suspect we're talking about one contribution, not a pattern of them.

Is one contribution to Santorum everything we need to know about Hayne? Well, fifteen seconds with google bring up that he gave a laboratory to Drexel University in Philadelphia last year. Also that he pays himself about $300,000 per year -- an almost absurdly low figure for the CEO and Chairman of a half-billion dollar company. But I'm unable to find that he's ever made any other contributions to conservative organizations, nor that he's otherwise active in supporting Republican candidates. There's the Santorum contribution, and that's it.

Another obvious question: just when did he make the contributions? Santorum has been in Congress since 1990 and the Senate since 1994, and he's moved steadily to the right throughout -- he was always conservative, but he didn't "come out" as a home-schooling gay-hating hero of the Christian right until after 2000. Plenty of people supported him in 1994 and later came to regret it.
Is Hayne one of them? We have no idea. But the fact that he doesn't seem to support Republicans generally makes me inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The article is, basically, a hatchet job. A polite and well-written one, but that's what it is. Notice that in an interview that lasted over two hours, Hayne gets about three minutes of air time. Also that, as soon as he starts defending himself, the topic shifts to his hairline and his "Cheney-like gravitas". (Isn't that nice? I guess Vadania just couldn't think of a Democrat with enough gravitas to support comparison.)

Pause for a moment to consider the possibility that Hayne made the contribution years ago, just like thousands of other people did; that he never gave it much thought, nor involved himself with Santorum otherwise; but that he's now catching hell for it -- to the point (google again) where a San Francisco group is trying to keep one of his stores out.

That doesn't seem fair.

I hold no brief for conservative Republicans. But by the end of that article, I found myself more than a little sympathetic to Hayne.


Doug M.

Doug Muir ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 03:45 PM:

I dunno, Doug Muir. Have you quit beating your wife? Tendentious much?

I dunno, Patrick. Snarky much? Oh, wait, yes. Never mind.

Let me rephrase. Do you really think that Hayne, the sixtyish CEO of a half billion dollar company that pays fashion consultants large amounts of money to pick its purchases, personally and directly influenced the choice of the "Only Old People Vote" t-shirt?

Because that's what it looks like you're saying; it's basically the whole point of your post.

Yeah, you subsequently added that you don't think "the machine requires that people stand around and plot evil details". But at the same time, you said "I don't necessarily believe guys like him are as disengaged from the details as they often find it convenient to claim to be". Which is it -- are they disengaged from the details, or not?

My point is, I'm maintaining a healthy skepticism. Just because this story might fit nicely into my constructed world-view doesn't mean I'm gonna swallow it whole.

You wanna call me "tendentious" for that, shrug; it's your blog.


Doug M.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 04:25 PM:

Oh, nonsense. The point of my post was that it's pretty obviously in the interest of rich right-wingers to encourage apathetic cynicism among the young.

You're the one who's spent several thousand words coming up with increasingly elaborate arguments that Doug Hayne doesn't oversee all of his product designs, probably didn't remember his Santorum contributions, and can't possibly be held responsible for what his company does. Also, he once sold a T-shirt with "CCCP" on it. Right.

Ultimately, these Ptolemaic contortions all flow from the widespread idea that big business, unlike every other social form ever created by human beings, is uniquely disinclined to try to promote particular values over other values. This is of course the biggest whopper of all, and yet it's the people who strenuously promote it who pat themselves on the back for their "healthy skepticism." Well, the world is a wonderful place.

James Angove ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 04:48 PM:

Doug Muir: Why do you think that that selling a t-shirt with CCCP on it is *not* going to encourage and then prey upon this apparently hip disengagement?

Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 08:15 PM:

So, uh, what's CCCP?

James Angove ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2004, 08:45 PM:

Mike Kozlowski: CCCP stands for Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (upon preview, it seems that the block of cryllic text I expropriated from wikipedia may not show up correctly. If this is the case, I apologize.

Doug Muir ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2004, 05:37 AM:

The point of my post was that it's pretty obviously in the interest of rich right-wingers to encourage apathetic cynicism among the young.

My point is that we don't know that Hayne is a "right-winger". One contribution does not a right winger make.

He gave $13,000 to Santorum. He also gave a room full of Apple laptops to undergraduates. In the absence of further information, to which fact should we give more weight?


You're the one who's spent several thousand words

Um? [quick check using WordCount] Nine hundred and some words. Though I suppose this post will put me over a thousand.

And you an editor.


increasingly elaborate arguments that Doug Hayne doesn't oversee all of his product designs, probably didn't remember his Santorum contributions, and can't possibly be held responsible for what his company does.

[mildly] The arguments are fairly straightforward, I think. And you're misrepresenting them, and I think you know it.


the widespread idea that big business, unlike every other social form ever created by human beings, is uniquely disinclined to try to promote particular values over other values.

Now you're just putting words in my mouth, plain and simple. Do you really think I think this?

Is big business essentially amoral? Sure. Stop there, I'd still be nodding in agreement.

But when you sex it up by putting a human face on it -- /this/ guy is a bad guy -- then I pause. Is this guy really so bad? I hesitate to condemn someone based on a single and obviously hostile article.

Didn't "giving the benefit of the doubt" used to be one of the liberal virtues?


This is of course the biggest whopper of all, and yet it's the people who strenuously promote it who pat themselves on the back for their "healthy skepticism."

And now you're just being cranky.

I would point out that we've been around this particular barn at least once before, on the "tall and beautiful Serbs" thread.

A third time: shrug. The last word is yours, if you want it.


Doug M.

Zizka ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2004, 05:52 PM:

That Doug is a diligent one, isn't he?

One contribution to Santorum is a lot. It's sort of like fucking one pig. It gets you a reputation.

Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2004, 07:45 PM:

Patrick:
"The point of my post was that it's pretty obviously in the interest of rich right-wingers to encourage apathetic cynicism among the young."

That may be true (although I don't know that it's fair to assume "the young" would be liberals, which you seem to be doing). But the point of Doug's posts was he's not sure that the CEO of Urban Outfitters qualifies as a right-winger or was somehow behind the release of the shirt, and since that was your specific example of the illustration of this point, I think Doug had reason to argue the interpretation of the example.

(I will lose all respect for anyone who uses the argument: "He contributed to Santorum, therefore he's a right-winger". I donate to Jewish and Catholic organizations, but I'm neither.)

It seems to me the closer we get to the elections, the less likely people 'round here are to be reasonable about deviations from the party line. I hope this isn't going to turn into one of those blogs I feel a need to avoid.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2004, 10:27 PM:

I'm not sure that "deviations from the party line" is quite the same thing as having different goals, aims or imperatives.

You might want to take a quick tour of the Urban Outfitters website (where this tshirt does not appear). The tshirts they sell are in favor of sports teams, casual sex, alcohol and Jesus.

Of course, that is mostly the boy shirts. The girl shirts are mostly in favor of boys.

Edgy, that.

Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2004, 10:58 PM:

Hey, did I come out in support of Urban Outfitters' clothing line? No. Did I give any reason for you to assume I must be ignorant of it? No, but you did anyhow. Why?

All I said is that Doug made some good points that were worth more than the dis he got.

As to the rest: sorry, whether you like it or not, it seems to me there is a party line around here, or maybe I more mean a line in the sand. More and more often, it seems like (and please note the word 'seems' there; this is only opinion) that if someone goes against majority opinion, they don't just get disagreed with, they get hounded or dissed, and also that they get words put into their mouths. I actually do think it's a deviation from the usual open-mindedness I've seen here, or I've not had said anything, and I do suspect that some people's hackles are currently permanently up due to the overall political situation. Since I can understand that, I figured it couldn't hurt to point out feeling that way, since I'd also suspect people aren't really totally aware they're coming across that... hrm.... dismissively snarky?

But hey, if people want to snark and play conclusion hopscotch, I can't stop them. But I can choose to not participate.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 12:44 AM:

It certainly is wicked for anybody to notice that we're in a fight. Gosh, and "liberals" were supposed to be nice, amiable pushovers! Not fair! Not fair!

Oh, and also, there's that "party line." Indeed, what Bolsheviks we are here at wicked nielsenhayden.com. Our opponents are brave but doomed, and the show trials will commence momentarily. Beware the power of Dismissive Snarkiness! It moves mountains, raises valleys, makes the rough places plain.

Alternately, perhaps the pity party is just a bit much.

Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 01:20 AM:

Tina: As to the rest: sorry, whether you like it or not, it seems to me there is a party line around here, or maybe I more mean a line in the sand. More and more often, it seems like (and please note the word 'seems' there; this is only opinion) that if someone goes against majority opinion, they don't just get disagreed with, they get hounded or dissed, and also that they get words put into their mouths.

Oh, saints preserve us. I'm sorry, but this particular complaint is so hoary its shape is indistinguishable under the frost. This is an argument people pull out when they want to jump topics.

It's no particular surprise that this is a left-leaning blog. A glance at the front page tells you that. Guess who tend to read liberal blogs? Good heavens, liberals! Can you imagine that? So, conservative views are likely to be a bit outnumbered. No surprise, no conspiracy, nothing but natural selection. Moreover, since the blog has been going on for a while, it's gathered together a readership that enjoys the topics and discussion here, which means that while there's some diversity of opinion, it isn't as broad as all outdoors. This is the way connections, coalitions, and common causes are made.

There isn't a party line. Haven't you ever noticed how many people have changed their mind in the course of a discussion here? Haven't you ever seen somebody (say, me) suddenly make an abject apology for being, like, totally wrong? How does this resemble a party line, much less a line in the sand?

Hounded? Dissed? Caution: sarcasm used on this website. Free discussion and argument here. (Personal attacks will be disemvoweled.) There are times and places where you will hold a minority opinion. This happens in any place where free discourse is permitted. If there were never a sharp word here, I'd be a lot more concerned.

As for the donation to Santorum... If I donated money to Satan, I wouldn't be shocked or surprised to discover that people assumed I was a Satanist, you know? I might care enough to attempt to explain. "I was only supporting comprehensive sex ed in the schools!" Why would someone with reasonably liberal views give money to Santorum, even early on?

Re: the t-shirt. I don't think that the issue is whether or not the CEO _knew_ about the t-shirt. I think it's about whether or not he should be held responsible for the actions of his company. I also think that it is not out of place, nor conspiracy theory, to point out the positions that particular slogans support, and even note that this is to the advantage of the people with the money. Shouldn't _somebody_ notice? Is there really no reason to wonder about what effect it might have?

Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 01:29 AM:

For what it's worth, I like reading the Nielsen Haydens' weblogs in part precisely because I can count on a fair hearing. Patrick will tell me if he thinks I'm being a bozo - or for that matter overlooking something important in good will. Teresa will swoop down like a swoopy thing on factual errors and misuse of data. But they'll also both say "hey, I like that" or "I disagree, but that's a good way to put it" or whatever's appropriate, when it's warranted. There's as little pre-judging of ideas here as any place I can think of.

Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 02:47 AM:

Teresa will swoop down like a swoopy thing...

Which makes her the thing with feathers, right?

(The sudden image of a peregrine, stooping on a cluster hapless vowels, conflicts horribly with Emily's hope. More sherry, please—)

Zizka ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 02:05 PM:

The actual topic of this thread might have been whether or not edgy, nihilistic youth culture is effectively ("objectively" in my preferred Stalinist dialect) right-wing or not. I agree with Patrick that it often is. It seems to team up with hedonistic, defeatist middle-aged apolitical liberalism. The right wing often seems to care more and try harder than the left, though there's a lot of money sloshing around on the right that the left doesn't have.

Tina, if you want give your dudgeon mojo a workout, come to my blog. I show no mercy on the pigfuckers there. Patrick is actually quite civil.

Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 02:49 PM:

(Digression: I wonder how much of my early dislike of "objectively" rose from a sort of nascent postmodernism in my brane.)

I agree with Zizka and Patrick that "edgy" often translates into "right-wing". It takes available energy and pushes it into channels where it can't matter to the society at large, and therefore endorses the status quo. Not that I think every waking thought and deed must go toward world-changing, but if none ever do, then it's acquiescence.

Howard ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 03:31 PM:

A coupla points:

1) It seems to me that Haynes's implicit promotion of voter apathy is entirely ancillary to his cooptation of "hipness" as consumerism (a process that has been going on a long time, admittedly; c.f. the "Hey, Dad, don't be square, get your bebop sunglasses," ad for Rayban knockoffs c. 1950). It's part and parcel of a larger process.

2) The shirt itself reads like satire.

3) It may not be the case, but Doug Muir reads like a sock puppet.

Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 05:02 PM:

It's no particular surprise that this is a left-leaning blog. A glance at the front page tells you that. Guess who tend to read liberal blogs? Good heavens, liberals! Can you imagine that? So, conservative views are likely to be a bit outnumbered.

Except we are not talking about "conservative views" -- or at least I'm not. It's not a "conservative view" to point out that, actually, no, someone does not necessarily agree that a particular thing illustrates a given point. It's merely a disagreement. And this is, actually, exactly what I'm talking about.

It's not "us or them". There are more than two sides on any issue. This one included. But it's become more and more sharply us or them lately around here, in my opinion, as if, if you disagree, you must be supporting the opposite viewpoint instead of, you know, just disagreeing with a particular point.

If I'd always thought it was that sharp a line, I would never have kept reading here in the first place. I am saying this is a recent thing, this tendency for the most vocal posters to jump on anyone who disagrees with even part of their point and snark on them even when they're not being snarked at, instead of discussing the actual issue. "Obviously you're just a moron" is the subtext (and occasionally not-so-sub) in some recent comments, and it bothers me precisely because I hadn't seen this behavior until recently.

Now, as to the actual meat of the matter -- I haven't made up my mind one way or the other. I thought Doug brought up some interesting points that were worthy of being addressed in a less dismissive fashion. The CEO of a given company probably doesn't have a whole lot to do with what items get designed and marketed. He probably was not the driving impetus behind the design. Now it may turn out that he supports the attitude, but it may just be that he, like many other people, think it's just a firmly tongue-in-cheek joke.

As far a single donation to a Republican candidate, that doesn't make one a raving right-winger. Doug pointed out that this guy has donated to causes most people would see as liberal, too. But rather than address that valid point, and the question that went with it, people just dismissed that, too.

Why would people who aren't interested in touting an inflexible party line do this? Why be so dismissive and snarky, instead of saying something to actually refute the point, and attack the poster instead?

My answer, obviously, is that people have their dander so far up that they're jumping on anything that disagrees instead of giving it consideration. And that really does bother me, because up until recently, it's not something I would have thought of the people here, who generally have struck me as the type to think out their positions. I'm disappointed.

Feel free to not care. *shrug*

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2004, 09:01 AM:

Tina: It's not "us or them". There are more than two sides on any issue. This one included. But it's become more and more sharply us or them lately around here, in my opinion, as if, if you disagree, you must be supporting the opposite viewpoint instead of, you know, just disagreeing with a particular point.

Tina -- I don't see anybody saying you're a Bush Republican in disguise because you sound like you'll probably vote for a 3rd-party candidate over Kerry. (Note the conditionals.) What has been argued, with increasing vigor, is that what you say you approve of is tantamount to walking off a cliff because you think the ground isn't solid enough under your feet -- and I don't think people here would even care about your doing so if we weren't worried that there were too many people with the same thinking.

I can't argue your perception of the tones of the comments, but I suggest you read again, and compare the reaction to your position with the reaction to some of the don't-confuse-me-with-facts comments that have come in recently, and ask yourself which responses were snarky and which at least accepted that you were a rational person (albeit taking action that most of us see as irrational) -- which is about all anyone is entitled to in a debate.

To return to the original argument: how do you know Hayne isn't involved with this particular choice? I will accept that corporate executives are, as a group, way too ignorant about the goings-on underneath them -- but that certainly leaves room for both specific cases(*) and a general attitude of what will be thought well of and what won't. As for what else Hayne has supported -- what has he done recently? (I shouldn't have to say so, but that is a genuine question, not snark; the comments as I skim them are unclear about what he gave to when.) People do shift their opinions, and not always in the direction we'd like them to.

(*) How many minutes of music fit on a CD? ~70. Why ~70? According to a common story, because somebody in a position to force the decision wanted to get Beethoven's 9th on one disc. (Which has its own irony: B9 took more like 60 minutes until well into the 20th century, and there's been a movement the last 20+ years to get back to that.)

Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2004, 09:54 PM:

First of all, despite my enormous admiration for Beth, I believe the "legally stupid" concept was coined by my brother, David Notkin. It seems very likely to me that I brought it with me to Tor when I worked there in 1987 and 1988.

Secondly, without feeling the need to jump into the did-so-did-not fight, I want to say that I wholeheartedly object to the t-shirt in question. In the interests of free speech, I support anyone's right to sell it, but I also support my right not to shop anywhere where it is sold.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2004, 02:31 AM:

Am having a bit of trouble with contextual derivation of the meaning(s) of "snark/y/iness". Is it a bit like carping? Sn[ide rem]arks?

Wikipedia not all that helpful, despite several meanings mentioned there ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snark )

(Also working on 'bark'. Barking mad? Yellow Dog Democrats? Warning? (perhaps could be 'honk' for the famous Roman geese))

An example of the dangers of context: for quite a few years I thought mazeltov meant 'so what' or 'I don't care', because of the way the only person I knew who used it used it. It wasn't in the average English dictionary at the time.

tomb ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2004, 03:16 AM:

People make what they think are reasonable decisions, without fully thinking about the consequences. Nobody is responsible, and bad things happen. That is how the machine works.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2004, 09:08 AM:

Feeding "snarky" into Google yields this link on the very first page:

snark·y (P) Pronunciation Key (snärk)
adj. Slang snark·i·er, snark·i·est

Irritable or short-tempered; irascible

[From dialectal snark, to nag, from snark, snork, to snore, snort, from Dutch and Low German snorken, of imitative origin.] snarki·ly adv.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Not exactly an obscure source.