Chatological Humor update

Jan 16, 2018

You asked for it and you got it. Gene will now be holding weekly mini-chats, where he takes your questions about what's happening in the country -- and anything else you want to discuss.

Gene will still have regular monthly chats, for a fuller chat and poll experience. The next one is Tuesday Jan. 30 at noon.

Good afternoon.  

Many of you are asking about the Aziz Ansari contretemps, and the alleged #MeToo pushback that supposedly has arisen from it.   I'd like to briefly address it. 
It's all based on  this article  , which appeared on a website called  babe.net.  (Note, do NOT confuse it with babe(dot)com, which I initially clicked on.  Babe.com is mostly pictures of young ladies.)
The original story is an interview with a woman (given a pseudonym) who describes a terrible date with Ansari, in which he came on to her relentlessly, all gropy and worse, even after she says she signaled him with body language that she didn't like what was happening.  
This article resulted in a wave of pushback, such as story in the NYT headlined  "Aziz Ansari is Guilty.  Of Not Being a Mind Reader." NY Post: "The #MeToo Movement Has Officially Jumped the Shark."     and Fox News: "Does the Aziz Ansari Sexual Misconduct Story Signal the End of the #MeToo Movement?" 
To answer the last headline first:  I sure hope not.  Nor should it.  But I hated the piece.  As an editor, I would not have published it, or anything like it.  You read it and feel soiled. You dislike everyone associated with it, including the alleged victim, the alleged perp and the alleged editor.  
Here's my reasoning:  
1.  For an article like this, the author should not have been granted anonymity.  That is something you offer only rarely, and for a distinctly defensible reason.  This woman was essentially exacting public revenge on a public person for what certainly seems to be a very disagreeable evening.  It might conceivably be a story, but at the very least we need to know who she is.  We can't give her cover of anonymity for a story this ambiguous, where the truth is and has to be open to interpretation, where perspective counts as much as it does here.  The article says that they gave her anonymity because she is "not a public figure."  This is not a reason.  It suggests that private people should be free to smear celebs with impunity, from the shadows.  No.  
2.  I do believe that what she said happened, happened.  If she were making this up, she would not have made herself look as complicit as she did. And Ansari, to my knowledge, has not contested the facts.  And if what she says happened happened, well, he's a boor and a pig and/or a disingenuously clueless man about sex and romance.  Men SHOULD heed signals. Ideally. And that fingers-in-the-mouth thing he allegedly did is unfathomable and revolting and makes me dislike him immediately.  
3. Near the top of the article, we get an idiot anecdote in which she complains that he gave her white wine instead of her preferred red-- though she doesn't indicate she TOLD him she perferred red or ask if he had any; this is the start of a theme -- ridiculous, tentative, non-communication.    It sets a really stupid, nasty tone, right from the get-go.  And it suggests (perhaps unfairly to her) that she is about to be even more unfair to him.   This is an editing error.  A good editor would have deleted that. 
4. The article described a terrible date but one in which conflicting signals were thrown around constantly.  The very first thing that happens is that they both get naked and he goes down on her, an apparently quite consensual moment.  This kind of suggests the strong possibility an acquiescence to subsequent sexual congress, no?  At least he is entitled to believe that he is about to get lucky.  It is true that he then behaves like a rat in heat, to her apparent extreme discomfiture, but after she makes it clear this is too hard and too fast, they then don their clothes again, and make out on the sofa, again apparently quite consensually.  She doesn't claim she said "no" at any point, exactly.  Should he have known she wasn't having fun?  Almost certainly.  Should a man with that knowledge proceed vigorously?  No.  But I do believe that subtle semaphors are not what should happen if a woman wants a man to stop.  The woman says she gave "verbal and non-verbal clues."   No clues.  Say no.  Then say it five more times. 
5. He asked her to perform fellatio on him.  She did, apparently without complaint.     Then they watched Seinfeld together.   
6.  C'mon.    I have sympathy for her.  I don't think she did anything "wrong" (other than agree to do this piece.) I am not faulting her for, you know, "tempting" him.  I think no means no, at any point during an encounter, including a very intimate point.  I just wish she'd said it. 
7.  Does Ansari have a right to feel aggrieved?   This is a complicated one.  If she is telling the truth, he behaved badly on a date.  It's maybe a short gossip item in a tabloid, without all the graphic details. Should this have been made public in the way it was?  I think not.  And for that reason, I think he has a right to feel aggrieved.  Though I like him  less now than I did before. 
We start at noon sharp. 

Mid-40s female here and I agree with your intro completely. It appears there may be a generational split on this issue and I'm looking forward to the discussion.

Me, too! 

Yeah, the babe dot net story isn't a model of journalism, or a clear illustration of assault. But the writers from outlets like NYT and Atlantic to jump on it are clearly punching down, no? They were just waiting for some perceived over-reach to tag on an important movement (which, aside from the editorial decision making of babe dot net, seems to have not overreacted to the Ansari story). I'm sick of obvious bad faith critics being able to hijack conversations. All the NYT and Atlantic writers were doing is preening. At the very least, they should have actually waited to gauge the reaction to the Ansari story--which, again, has been appropriately muted--before opining.

I agree with this.  I think they've been waiting to pounce, and I think that is wrong.  #MeToo has been a really healthful thing for this country.  And this story is not emblematic of the movement. 

Gene, yesterday's column from Gary Abernathy was the most egregious pile of Trump apology horsecrap I've seen on the Post site. What am I missing from this guy? Has anybody from the Post tried to actually engage this guy in a WTF conversation? Are you ready to?

This is a terrible column that totally misses the point, deeply disingenuously.   Let's say Trump called Gary, Indiana, East St. Louis, Ill. , Albany, Ga., Detroit, Mi., and Birmingham Alabama America's "shithole cities."   That would be deeply racist, inasmuch as they are all majority black cities.   That's what he did singling out Africa and Haiti.    He made it about race. 

It's a complex movie that is funny and makes significant commentary on current society while scaring you. The closest cousin I can think of is Dr. Strangelove which does all those things and ends (spoiler alert) rather horrible with the destruction of the Earth. Please don't pigeonhole it by trying to say its a comedy or a horror movie or a diocumentary. It's like a dessert topping that is also a floor wax.

I would contend that the situation in Get Out -- literally, what the family is trying to do to him -- is so preposterous it can ONLY be taken metaphorically, and on that level it can't really be described as horror.   Horror needs to present a plausible storyline, to seem legitimately scary.   Metaphorically, though, the movie is brilliant.   No one who has seen it would call it a documentary, obviously. 

Origin and Etymology of willy-nilly alteration of will I nill I or will ye nill ye or will he nill he

Right.  I didn't know this.  I'd contend, however, the second meaning is the one that is mostly used. 

Given Gary Abernathy's most recent column, do you think the Post is providing any value to the it's readers by continuing to provide him with a forum?

Hard to answer that.  I think the Post op-ed page is deeply concerned with not publishing a persistent anti-Trump drumbeat.  I think they erred in the choice of columnist.  I'm not supposed to say this, I suspect.  

I have a friend who has worked for the federal government for more than 20 years. She's been in administrations she liked and didn't like. But, this one is putting her to the limit. She loves her job and used to think she was doing good but now she's not sure. She's considering quitting and I'm trying to convince her that we need her to stay and fight from the inside. I told her that if she leaves her replacement won't care as much, won't want to make the difference she wants to make. She said the idea that she works for the racist on Penn Ave is weighing too heavy on her. She feels like she is part of the hatred and that she can no longer carry that burden. What do you think she should do? And, why?

Depends on her position. 

If she is a cog, she should leave.  Cogs don't matter that much, in the sense that they can't really affect policy or actions. 

If she is a higher-up, she should stay and fight the good fight. 

Grace: “It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she told us. “I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.” Both sexual assaults and awkward sexual experiences are "actually bad," but this makes it sound like it was Grace's friend group that talked her out of merely characterizing this to herself as an awkward sexual experience, which is what it looks like to me.

Yeah.  Thought I think the observation is not invalid -- I can see how your emotions can blind you to the truth, and that it might take an outsider to help you see something in the proper light. 

Too many people act aggrieved because someone could NOT read their mind. My wife is mad because I didn't know she wanted me to take the kid to his piano lesson on Tuesday. My son is mad because I didn't ask if he wanted ice cream after the lesson. The teacher is mad because I checked messages instead of sitting in on the lesson. No-one asked if I could take my son, get ice cream, join the lesson. A few years ago, I resolved to not get mad because someone couldn't read my mind, and not accept blame because I can't read theirs. My life has become a happier place (for me anyway).

A sane response!

This piece is really worth reading. “A lot of men will read that post about Aziz Ansari and see an everyday, reasonable sexual interaction,” tweeted the feminist writer Jessica Valenti. “But part of what women are saying right now is that what the culture considers ‘normal’ sexual encounters are not working for us, and oftentimes harmful.” 

I read it.  But there is another, also feminist, conclusion: 

Don't rely on semaphores.   Don't "send signals."   Talk. 

There is a restaurant in New York City that makes a lobster roll with cucumbers in it.

Don't see the sin. 

Have you ever had peking duck with cucumber strips?  Perfect.  Better than scallions. 

I had a tough time with this because the underlying assumption is that women are afraid to say no outright because they fear for their personal safety because the situation could escalate. OK, I am a woman and have been sexually assaulted and harassed in multiple ways...but I've never been afraid to say no. So she was afraid to say no because she might end up being assaulted so she went along with getting naked and engaging in sexual activities which ended up feeling like an assault anyway? What's the difference? Again, this is complicated, I get it, but women have the right and even responsibility to say no. This idea that she didn't say YES (how does "will you blow me" and then doing it NOT say yes??) and threw out non-verbal cues (men DO NOT get those!), I am just having a hard time with it. Maybe it's my age (50), maybe it's the fact that I was raised by a lot of ball-busting women and men who dug that so I don't give a rat's fart about fragile male feelings, maybe I've always been good about trusting my instincts, or maybe women need to go back to the days when you don't just knee-jerk go back to a guy's apartment on a first date. Did I really say that? Wow, I am old.

Okay, wait a minute.  You made an assumption that I don't think is valid.  This woman does NOT seem to fear for her personal safety.  As I recall, she makes no such claim.  That is really central to this case.  

If a woman is legitimately afraid something will escalate into violence, acquiesence becomes a different matter altogether, judged differently.  That just wasn't the case here. 

Actually, the Norway bit really made it about race.

Yep, both did. 

You used to spend a lot of time nit-picking the comics pages. It was boring, by the way. But now that I've decided Hagar the Horrible is the worst use of ink short of pouring it directly into Flint water supply, I miss your critiques. Did you stop once you started creating your own strip?

Yes, the Post syndicate asked me to stop once I was a competitor to the others.  I miss it too. 

Hagar has been sleepwalking for 20 years. 

I think the closest parallel in blurring the two was "An American Werewolf in London," which had genuine laugh-out-loud moments but was scarier than "Get Out," IMO

Never saw it.   I think the scariest movie I ever saw was an early one, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.    Also, and earlier one: El Topo.  Horror all seems a yawn after those. 

As poorly written as it is, there is so much merit to this piece as an example of A, something almost all women have encountered and B, the way that rape culture sets up this sliding scale of assault. Because there is a question of legality sexual assault is presented as almost black and white: it meets the legal standard or it does not. But what we have here is someone who walks the line just shy of the legal definition, but still has a deeply damaging impact on this woman. It to me is a clear example of how badly the cultural norms need to shift from "no means no (and anything less is yes)" to "enthusiastic consent is necessary at all stages."

I do think that's a valid point.  

Easy for men, or people in power, to say. Women, even or especially some might say in this reactionary time, have been conditioned to put up with things, to not say no or make waves, not to own and value their own sexual nature, and then throw into that an awkward social overlay, and it is extremely hard to say no. I have been forced into performing sex acts by a BOYFRIEND and never said a thing to him, and even now, years later, feel embarrassed and disgusted with myself. Your saying "talk" really evidences a position of privilege and lack of understanding that is pervasive.

Okay. 

Oh, that reminds me.  If Aziz Ansari winds up publicly apologizing, the headline should be "Aziz: I'm Sorry."

of another Post story that irritated me: last Sunday's Date Lab. Obviously it's not in the same league as the Ansari date, but the female kept saying that she expected the male to read her mind about asking for her phone number, offering to pay, etc. He suggested splitting the overage of the cost evenly and she was offended -- but she didn't say so, didn't offer a justification other than to trash him in the Date Lab published interview. I'm a 63-year-old woman and I wanted to smack that girl.

I missed this one.  Date Labs frequently engender deep emotions! 

It makes both parties look bad. I would also expect that most women have similar stories of overly aggressive, wear-them-down-types of dates that are unpleasant, but not quite assault. I do believe there's a line between pestering and assaulting. I think Aziz was on the (creepy) side of pestering. I think the story hurts his image either way and THAT was the purpose of the revelation.

Right.  I do think she was exacting revenge.  Is this right?  That's a reasonable issue to discuss. 

"If a woman is legitimately afraid something will escalate into violence, acquiescence becomes a different matter altogether, judged differently. That just wasn't the case here." The part you miss is that women are ALWAYS afraid for their safety. We're never not thinking in the back of our minds that somethin could go badly. But we're also cultured to go with the flow. A man you like invites you up, you go. You go along with things because that's how you make him happy, even though you think you're clearly showing your lack of enjoyment. Maybe you don't really want to, but you don't say no, because that's rude and can get you killed. I can't say I'd publicize one of my many, many lousy encounters with a guy in my own apartment, but talking about this thing that happens to pretty much everyone who dates, especially in the city, is important.

Okay.  I won't pretend to be able to discuss a woman't state of mind.  I accept this.  If she had felt threatened, or even potentially threatened, shouldn't she have written it? 

You have your own comic strip? Where? How did I miss that?

Barney & Clyde.  It's in The Post among other papers. 

was one of a group of women interviewed by Oprah recently about #MeToo and #TimesUP. Oprah asked about what should happen to these men, whether there should be some sort of reconciliation. America Ferrera had a good response I thought. She said for so long no one listened or believed women, and now there's a push to rush through the believing and listening to women right to rehabilitating the perpetrators. She thinks, and I agree, that is more than okay to stay in this middle phase of listening and letting the stories be heard. This would include some stories that are like this one about Ansari's that IMO is marginal at best.

How fair is that to the men, in cases like Ansari's?

Correct, she didn't specifically say it, but it's what women deal with every day. Men are bigger. If you say no to them, they might get angry and lash out,, and not just physically. Harvey Weinstein wasn't a fluke. Still, when a guy asks for a BJ and you do it, that is a big screaming non-verbal cue of YES if I ever heard one.

This was a story that should not have been published, for exactly that reason.  Just too much lack of clarity in what he should have known or expected or felt. 

Half of us who take offense are taking offense for the wrong reason. These places are crapholes. In condemning Trump's characterization of Haiti, Anderson Cooper described why Haiti is a craphole. Fine. What makes Trump's comments racist is his implying that people coming from crapholes are crappy. People coming from Norway, however, are not. Trump's characterization of countries isn't racist; it's his characterization of the countries' people that is.

Yes. 

I started typing in IROL a few years ago, and now my problem is that I can't stop doing it. I have to remember to punctuate my sentences when I'm being serious, and when I write business emails it's like switching from one language to another. On the + side my Twitter following is booming tho

Are you a female millennial?  Did I get the demographic right? 

It is the photograph that did it for me. He was always going to be a distraction as a result. Plus, his response to that incident was very telling - there were the same undertones of hostility and anger that were evident in the photograph itself.

Well, it was a jackhole goofing off.  He wasn't touching her and she was wearing full body armor, like a breastplate.  Clearly he was showing off for the guys.  No, I don't like it, either. 

You have often told the story of the newspaper editor who, seeing your wife in a mini skirt, told her she was sitting on a gold mine and wasting her time as a reporter. But I don't think you've ever said what her reaction was at the time. Was she bothered by it? Or did she accept it as normal, and only later realize how outrageous it was?

Well, this was 1974 or so.   I think she found it funny, but you HAD to find it funny to survive as a woman in a newsroom.  Obviously, today she'd kick him where it hurts. 

This was a wonderful article. But would you write and your paper promote such a feature in light of the President's alleged "sh-thole" comment and its aftermath?

Absolutely.  You have to read through to the end.  I do a U-Turn in my thinking. 

"Have you ever had peking duck with cucumber strips? Perfect. Better than scallions." This isn't unusual. I won't swear to it, as it was a decade ago, but I believe the duck I had in Beijing came with cucumber, and Wikipedia says, "Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber sticks."

Yep.  I make Peking Duck. And have moved to cucumbers. Perfect taste collision with the (gloriously) fatty duck. 

Aziz was being an ass, but #metoo worthy? I don't think so. to me, this shouldn't be part of the #metoo movement stuff -- he's not using his power over her, he's not coercing her in any way to have sex with him in any quid pro quo. he's just ... I dunno, being a pushy guy who wants to get laid. it's fine for her to get upset with that, it's fine for her to call him out (via the text), but the article is too much IMHO. there's a reason it was printed where it was printed and not a reputable media piece. then again, the reputable media were fine talking about the controversy. but c'mon. every guy should know that pushing down a woman's head is a no-no. and repeatedly shoving his fingers into the girl's mouth as a precursor to putting them elsewhere? that's just a wee bit much IMHO. he comes across as a bit of an ass in her story (and granted, it's one sided -- and we'll likely never hear his side of it). but there's nothing criminal about being an ass on a date. two people got naked together and their styles didn't mesh. so be it.

The fingers-in-the-mouth thing particularly bothered me.  Of everything described, oddly enough. that's what I found most rapey. 

One good thing that came out of that racist remark was that I learned a whole lot about the history of Haiti and how the US and France basically screwed it over for centuries because of racism. Thanks, Washington Post (and to a lesser extent, the Intercept)!

I know a photographer (I don't have her permission, so I won't use her name) who feels the Haitian people are the finest people on Earth.  She loves them. 

Yes. This. Look, I am female and I totally get the way women are socialized to acquiesce to men and I fight it wherever I can, but the way to end a date when the guy is being gropy and icky is to leave.

Again, and I don't mean to dwell on this: If a guy is acting so creepy that you think he might kill or hurt you, that's a whole different calculus.   Then "no" may be impossible.  But there is just no evidence in this case that it happened. 

Ooooh, I love you, and that is the wrong question right now. How fair has it been to women, for years and decades and centuries?

Nonono.   Hold on a minute.  We should not let the pendulum swing far in the other direction.  We need to deal with this comeuppance sanely.  This is not the Reign of Terror.   Men who have behaved badly should be punished.  But men who have not should not be.  

I am embarrassed to ask this, but is Get Out at all gory? How much horror is there? I really want to see it for the social commentary (and to see Bradley Whitford as a bad guy), but I'm not great with horror and I hate blood and guts. (I can barely watch TV anymore because of the latter. Showing someone being tortured on primetime broadcast TV is okay, but a boob or a curse word is going to bring down society? But I digress...)

It's fine. You might be freaked a couple of times but it is not a "horror movie."

I am an unreconstructed conservative and yet I like your chats, last week’s included. I am writing to try to get you to change something you do that is, in my mind, unintentionally dishonest. I am weirdly confident I will succeed because I think you are a good person. You are not "pro-choice." You are "pro-abortion." "Pro-choice" is a brilliantly shrewd political term, but that is what it is -- a political term, invented by pro-abortion advocates to make their advocacy seem more inclusive. Who ISN'T pro-choice? Who could possibly be "anti-choice"? Autocrats! Elitists! Screw them. And so I resent your calling me that, by implication, every time you label yourself pro-choice. It would be like those who favor capital punishment calling themselves "Pro Population Control." Technically defensible, maybe, but simplistic to the point of profound dishonesty. It is literally begging the question. Like most conservatives, I am pro-choice and also pro-life. I love life. I celebrate life. I am for the improved life of a woman in desperate straits, financial or otherwise. Since I strongly feel that a fetus is a human life and cannot think of a reasonable way to define the creation of human life other than at the point of conception, I am for the improved life of that fetus, regardless of its situation. I do not feel that any one human being has the right to choose to end the life of another human being except in self-defense or in the defense of the life of another. I recognize that many women (and couples) face difficult decisions during pregnancy and that there are cases when the continuation of a pregnancy can threaten the life of the mother. I think that termination of a pregnancy in these rare cases is justifiable self-defense. I recognize that there are other, equally difficult, cases in which the pregnancy or birth will cause great difficulties and challenges. I do not think that it is right to demonize those facing such a decision who choose as I would not, and I do not think that it is right nor productive to harass or attack them, either. I think it is incumbent upon society – and upon those on both sides of the abortion debate in particular – to focus on reducing the cases in which women and couples feel that they need to terminate a pregnancy. There can be debate about what policies are effective and moral, but the debate should center around which policies are most likely to improve the lives of the parents and children. I understand that you probably feel differently about these things, and I respect your opinion even if I disagree with it. See, but that's the thing: You don't respect my opinion at all. You are saying, by implication, that I am "anti-choice." And here we have reached the crux of the issue. I think the fundamental difference between pro-abortion and anti-abortion people is not about a political disagreement or even an intellectual disagreement. I think it is entirely visceral, almost primitive. I believe that aborting a first trimester fetus is ending a human life. You, presumably, do not. That's where this giant political issue incubates. You state that you are not in favor of "killing babies." I can respect your argument while still disagreeing with it. If I choose a label for my position that emphasizes its most important element – i.e., that abortion is the taking of human life – I think it is no different than you trying to trivialize the issue to a minor medical procedure and accusing me of somehow harming women. If I genuinely think that a 12-week fetus is not a "human life," I am not anti-choice, and I deeply resent your labeling me as such. And sure, if you DO NOT believe that aborting a first trimester fetus is "killing a baby," I do not detest you. How can I not? Because you and I both know this issue is complex. And, sure, the term "pro-life" denies that complexity. And the term “pro-choice” denies it in the same manner And you are better than that. See?

Ha.  This person took my intro from last week and re-wrote it from the opposite perspective.  It's a clever argument but a specious one. 

I am NOT pro-abortion.  I think a woman has a right to choose abortion or not.  I would not be remotely upset if a woman considers abortion and chooses to have the baby.  My big deal is that she should have the right to make that choice. Would I be upset if a woman I knew chose to have a badly brain damaged baby instead of an abortion?  Yes, probably, but it would just be my opinion.  I would NEVER argue that she shouldn't have to right to have that baby. I would never support a law requiring her to have an abortion.  See, I am pro-CHOICE. 

And the writer is NOT "pro-choice."  Nor are other anti-abortion people.  They NOT want the woman to have a choice, except in the most dire of cases where aborting the fetus is "self-defense."  Otherwise, no choice.   Anti-choice.  Anti-abortion.  

I really liked him as a Senator, but I thought he should have resigned. I might have changed my mind if he ever offered any sort of real defense or explanation, but he didn't, which led me to conclude that he did the things he was accused of.

Oh, I am sure he did the things he was accused of.  On the spectrum of what guys have done, it's lower level.  I agree he had to resign. 

See topic.

Everyone is saying it is likely.  I doubt it only because it hurts everyone, including Democrats.  I think there will be a bitter last minute solution.   But if Trump stands fast on The Wall, maybe not.  

The difference between the Babe article and the Hulk Hogan sex tape which destroyed Gawker. One is video porn and one is text porn? Come on.

Well, the MAIN difference will be that there was an angry billionaire wanting to spend millions to take Gawker down. 

On my second date with my now-wife, we were making out, and she grabbed my hand and pushed it between her legs. I probably should have written a blog post the next day denouncing her, right?

That's funny, but not really parallel, as I think you know. 

You like him less now? Why? Because there are sexual things that he enjoys that you don't? That's sad.

Because he seems like a rabid horndog who is oblivious to a woman's discomfort.  Assuming her account is true. 

I am only speaking for myself, but nope, nope, nope. I disagree with this and I'm a woman who has dated for many years. And many of my friends do not just got up to guys' apartments to make them happy, even if asked. Or ask them up to make them happy. Just as I don't. I'm sorry this person thinks that all women are trained to do that but it just isn't the case.

Thank you. 

I agree, Gene, that this part is one of the more negative ones in the story as written. On the flip side, though, (1) I've done that with a woman before at her request and had it be VERY erotic, and (2) it's written as purposefully creepy -- how it happened/was handled might be completely different. Imagine locking eyes with a woman as she grabs your fingers and slowly and seductively suckles on them as a precursor to a couple different things. Shows, IMHO, how one action can be painted two COMPLETELY different ways.

Agreed!  But she presents it as an unwanted penetration. If she is telling the truth, that is creeeeepy. 

In one of his Nightclub bits, Woody Allen says "I want to tell you a terriffic story about oral contraception. I asked a woman to go to bed with me and she said 'no'."

This would be funnier if it were not Woody Allen. 

First the question: will Dr. Gridlock be replaced? After yours, the most useful discussion the Post has had. The comments: first, you've hosted the best discussion on #MeToo I've seen. Other than being a male who was once thrilled, in a disturbing way, when an attractive young woman I scarcely knew placed her hand on my knee during a staff mtg, I have nothing to add to it. Second, I have friends who also say Haitians are the most friendly and generous people they've ever known.

And intelligent, and ambitious.  They just live in a desperately poor country. 

In Miami, I knew several Haitians.  There was not one I disliked.  They took jobs as cabdrivers, and drove at their customary speeds, about 11 miles an hour.  When I engaged one about this, he explained how life should not be lived in a rush.  By the end of the ride, we were both laughing uproariously. 

Thanks for addressing this. As a woman there is pressure to back the woman in any fight. In this case, I feel like she is someone who won’t speak up and then complains about things not going how she likes. It’s a bad date. The wine thing pretty much supports my take on her, instead of using words to get what she wants or voice an opinion, she complains after the fact. This type of person drives me nuts. Also, LEAVE. Once I was hot and heavy making out in a guys bed on our first date. He tugged my pants and said “if I was a betting man, would I bet these were coming off tonight?”. I said “no”. And then they STAYED ON. He turned out to be a loser which I found out on the second date. There was no third. Women need to stop waiting to be asked and need to speak up when they have an opinion, not give out “clues”.

Agreed. 

Isn't it likely that the esteemed editors at babe.net KNEW the article was full of holes, yet published it solely to get the clicks? You fault their editor, but I think the goal was to leave in every detail, no matter how ridiculous, to keep people talking. Mission accomplished. I can't imagine most people heard of babe.net before, but they know it now.

Maybe, but that is crappy, bush league editing.   Haha. Bush league. 

Here's my story: When I was 46 and (mostly) single, I became unexpectedly pregnant. After a big gulp and a gasp (and all the genetic tests), I chose to continue the pregnancy. Some friends told me I was ruining my life, but I said, "my body, my choice." All through, I had the power of having had a choice, through an ovarian cancer scare and MRI to rule it out, pre-eclampsia and bed rest, five weeks in the NICU for my little bean after he was born, etc. The point is: all through these challenges and many others I have not listed, I had the power of knowing I had made the specific and proactive CHOICE to have this kid. Had I lived in a culture without that choice, I don't know what my feelings, attitude or even my actions overall would have been, especially during the two years he refused to sleep through the night. Yes, he is the light of my life, AND every day I know I made a good CHOICE for me. I hadn't felt strongly about the issue prior to my having to face it head-on, and I am now firmly in the pro-choice camp. I know many pro-lifers would regard my story as a pitch for their cause, but my experience is a world different: no one trapped me, I chose. As is my right.

Precisely my point, too.  And good for you.  Good choice. 

It just makes me want to visit them with my American dollahs. Also Norway so I can see why they don't want to come here. I visited Germany last year (my first time in Europe) and WOW, they make this country look like a dilapidated backwater. No run-down strip malls, no suburban sprawl, no McMansions, no crumbling infrastructure, and all those wind turbines and solar panels scattered through rolling farmland were heavenly. I felt like I was in the 21st century.

Okay, a disturbing truth: 

If Trump were elected to a second term, I'd consider leaving the country.  I don't want to live in that country. 

I think the woman's behavior was affected by the fact that it was Ansari. A person she felt like she already knew a bit and who she liked partly because she assumed from his "act" that he wasn't like that. Had it been a first date with somebody she didn't know at all, perhaps she'd have behaved differently, and left promptly. None of this is in defense of the article, which is simply internet trash.

Yeah, a good point.  The article was not published by knowledgeable, experienced people.   Wouldn't hire one of them. 

Someone on the internet (and that I read) stated the babe dot net article was akin to revenge porn. Ansari is a tool; there was miscommunication - neither of these facts are in doubt. I fully agree that Ansari should NOT HAVE BEEN AN ASS. I too, think less of him. BUT, "Grace" was not a subordinate, nor did she fear for her career, nor was her reputation shattered -- to me, this does NOT rise to the level of a Harvey Weinstein or Charlie Rose. This is more akin to the New Yorker story "Cat Person" - and is eliciting the same litmus test response. It is a bad, TERRIBLE date, from which we should all learn how to behave better.

Agreed. 

but believe people should have a choice on whether or not to remove someone from their life because it's inconvenient to keep them around." Of course you, Gene, will see this as not equivalent. But that's the whole point many do. The fact that you can't wrap your mind around it says a lot about your intolerance to ideas you don't like.

Well, as I have said many times, including last week, i feel the main difference between anti-abort people and pro-choice people is whether they viscerally feel a fetus is a "baby."  You do.  I don't.  End of debate. 

She also presents a glass of wine as a sign of what's to come, so I don't fully fly with how she presents it. I would wager Ansari's POV for said move is completely different -- though I wager as well we'll never hear any specific counterpoints from him. At the very least, he's handling this as well as possible, IMHO.

So far.  Let's watch. 

You should read the Date Lab referenced earlier. The woman indicated in the "Your Type" segment that her type was "Between 5-9 and 5-11." Seriously? So only men who are exactly 5-10 can be her type? When defining superficial I think this will work. I hoped it was a joke but reading the entire piece it clearly was not.

Whoa. 

Regarding the previous, what if a man said his ideal woman was a b-cup, with a 22 inch waist and beautiful calves?  HOW WOULD THAT HAVE GONE OVER?

Per his twitter account, Get Out is a documentary, 

THIS.  IS. A. JOKE.  Best proof of all that it is a comedy. 

Useful slang: Sex pest (British), pants man (Australian).

Elegant.   I like "pants man."  ooh, I just remembered a piece I wrote about "nice pants."  Gimme a second.  Trying to find it. 

 

Here it is.  It's about sexual lying.   I wrote it during the Lewinsky thing. 

What would be your top choices for destinations? For me, Canada seems pretty good right now, but then again, things can change. We had a decent head of state until recently.

Canada or Spain, maybe.  I love Spain. 

It's a Science Fiction story roughly equivalent to something that Richard Matheson might have written, akin to The Last Man on Earth/Omega Man.

Sure, science fiction applies. 

Can Trump or any of his cronies honestly believe that he intended a comment on the lack of plumbing in African countries? Can they honestly believe that people will believe them? And sadly, why on earth do Trump's supporters buy into this nonsense?

Wait.  Is someone alleging this?

I've been in situations where I was pressured into doing something I didn't want to do. Could I call it assault? I guess, but to what end? It was an ambiguous situation, and in my view trying include these types of situations dilutes the issue. It's precisely because I think assault and harassment are pervasive and serious that I don't think this kind of debate moves the discussion forward. Not everything is actionable. Not everything requires a remedy.

That's the prevailing sentiment, and I agree. 

I note that it's not easy for an American to move to another first-world country if you expect to work for a living. You, personally, might have the weight to do it, but for most of us, unless we're medical professionals or have unusual skills, we're stuck here.

Really?  This is true?

It's not editing. It's marketing.

Sure, someone else made the same point, but there has to be a middle ground.  I am sure the editors feel they hit the jackpot, but if they do, they are not editors. 

As presented, it is a turnoff. But why didn't she say, "Please don't put your fingers in my mouth."? Absent fear for her physical safety, which she does not describe, women should be responsible enough to clearly verbalize what they don't like. All this "non-verbal" cue stuff is malarkey. And I wonder if she stuck around longer, and was less likely to tell him no, because he's a celebrity and she liked her proximity to him.

Well, honestly, that's the whole bizarre nature of the story.  "Why didn't she...?"

Every Trump defender I've read on my social media has said things akin to, "I often described my workplace as a shithole. Does that make me a racist?" Either they don't get it, or they deliberately don't get it.

They deliberately don't get it. 

I've been thinking about it. I want to do it, but my wife is a Fed and her thinking is that she's needed and doesn't want her slot to go to a dope. Honestly, I think it's the only thing keeping us here. I don't want to live in a country that thinks Trump shenanigans are ok. While I'm at it, the comments that Trump says "what we're all thinking" make me sick to my stomach.

That is why I am specifying RE-election.  I can, with difficulty, understand what happened.  It is not necessarily a reflection of the country as a whole.  If it happens AGAIN, nope.  Outta here. 

First WaPo reporter suspended since #MeToo. Thoughts?

None that I want to share right now.  Joel is one of my oldest and closest friends, and he remains one of my oldest and closest  friends.  

Okay, I copy us down.  See you next week in the updates.   

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

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