Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Jul 11, 2013

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Hope everyone had lovely 4ths of July last week. 

We'll start at 2 -- the chat's only "live" now so I can make some chat topics public. 


Unless you were trapped under a heavy object this week, you probably saw Dustin Hoffman's much forwarded video on the Internet, in which he discusses how he used to overlook stereotypically unattractive women. If you haven't see it, go look now -- it's only three minutes.


To start:

What is the single most important factor that makes this video clip compelling?

1) The unique message (including eloquent wording or phrasing, etc).

2) The fact that it is a famous celebrity delivering the message. (The message itself would not be compelling if it were delivered by a non-famous person).

3) That it reveals something unexpected and poignant about a classic piece of American culture.

4) I do not find this clip compelling.


Now. I think this is a beautiful clip. It makes me love Dustin Hoffman a tiny bit more. But I would like to do a thought experiment. Imagine that it's not Dustin Hoffman delivering this clip. Imagine its Allison Janney. Or Christine Lahti. Or another epically talented woman of a certain age, delivering the same message. Do you think that the video would have been forwarded with quite the fervor and devotion that the Dustin Hoffman video has? 


I don't. Again. I think this is a fantastic video, and message, and so carefully and beautifully put. But I think Dustin Hoffman gets extra credit for making this video because society frequently gives men extra credit for recognizing something that women know or live with every day. In the same way that the dad who picks up his kids from school is a super star, and the mom who does it is just a mom. (Lean In, everybody!).


I'm curious to know if anyone else had this reaction -- which, again, shouldn't take anything away  from Dustin Hoffman's grandness. Just something to mull.

For me, the video clip is compelling because it allows Dustin Hoffman to see a viewpoint that he had never and would never experience in his "normal" day to day life. It reminds me of the documentary "Becoming Santa," which follows a man on his journey to becoming a mall Santa for one holiday season. After he grew and dyed his beard, he noticed everyone smiling, waving, and saying hello when they saw him. He said something like, "This must be what it's like to be pretty."

I agree with that. I also find it somewhat annoying when it happens in the inverse. I remember one episode of Tyra Banks dressing up in a fat suit, and then tearfully announcing that she'd discovered it was hard to be overweight and ignored. And I just thought -- really? It took this personal experience for you? Anyone who can't tell that fat people/short people/gay people/etc are discriminated against -- and understand that that hurts -- gosh, it seems like you either don't have a great empathetic imagination, or you haven't been paying attention to the world around you.

What do you think about movie boycotts? I am a bit torn in regards to "Enders Game". I thoroughly enjoyed the book decades ago when I read it. I always thought that there was potential for an interesting movie. Now it is happening, but Orson Scott Card is an unabashed homophobe. I know many people who have vehement reactions to his name. I don't want to support his views, but I still want to see the movie. In some ways this gets into the question of liking an author's writing if not their views and if reading their books is support for their views. As i've heard said, bad people can create great art.

I think Orson Scott Card is wildly talented and fascinating. I've wanted to interview him for a long time. But I do think you bring up something really interesting, which is: When we deeply identify with a book, do we assume we must deeply identify with the author? Do we feel betrayed if we realize we don't?


I've met several celebrities whom I'd thought should be my friend soulmates, based on their work. And then in person, they were perfectly lovely, but it's not like we started hanging out and having barbecues. We pour a lot into famous people and I think it's really  jarring when they're not what we want them to be.

What are your thoughts on the op-ed published in the Post a couple of weeks ago, which argued that the world would be better off if the Internet was shut down?

Are you talking about Robert Samuelson's column? (If you're talking about something else, can you find it?)

My thoughts are that it is preposterous. Turning off the Internet might prevent cyber attacks. We could also prevent attacks by not allowing anyone to fly in airplanes, drive in cars or leave their houses.

I love the guy, and I love his movies. i think the reason the video was compelling was because he was so real and honest. But I have to say, I've heard him say the message before, in an interview with Fresh Air in January. I don't want to say that his tears weren't genuine in the video--I think they were--but I felt maybe, slightly less emotion, because I'd heard it from him before. And I don't know which interview came first, and I don't want to discredit his feelings, but as I watched the video, I found myself thinking "I've heard this before..." Overall, I think it's an important message from a great actor. I've just heard him say it before, is all.

You can't really blame actors for repeating themselves. They have to give so many interviews, and there are only so many answers they can give to, "Tell us about a role that changed your life." Unless they're having life-changing experiences every day. (Lucky them!)

I pick 3) That it reveals something unexpected and poignant about a classic piece of American culture. What I found most compelling was the backstory that Dustin H provided about the creation of "Tootsie," and his story about how he needed a makeup test to ensure that he could absolutely pass as a woman, and if he couldn't pass, then the movie wouldn't get made. That was news to me. I don't think it would pack any punch AT ALL if a woman was the speaker. That's the whole point of the video: Men have no idea how much/often they disregard women who aren't physically attractive, but women, probably since adolescence if not earlier, are VERY aware of this. Dustin Hoffman has always seemed like a mensch to me, someone married to his wife for a long time, kept his kids out of the spotlight, etc -- though if I'm not mistaken there are stories out there of the shall-we-say challenges that his coworkers have during production, due to his perfectionism. This video doesn't actually make me like him more -- even though I know men are clueless about this situation and I appreciate that he learned something, it did make me sort of roll my eyes and think, "yeah, whatever dude, welcome to my world." His line about telling the makeup artists, "OK, now make me PRETTY," was amazing, though. To realize that men think that women who aren't attractive to them ARE JUST NOT PUTTING ON MAKEUP CORRECTLY. Gah. Sorry for the length of this post.

I think it was less about putting on makeup correctly, and more about him honestly not understanding that he may not be physically attractive.  And that this really hurt him. It might have been the first time he'd had that realization -- after all, he was getting leading man roles in movies and probably had a lot of female fans.

Mr Bergstrom was always nurturing that hidden talent in unconventionally attractive females, like Lisa.

Do you know how many  levels of geekery I had to plug through in order to get this reference?

I loved the Dustin Hoffman clip, and, no, it wouldn't have worked if it had been delivered by a woman. This is the same reason I'm sick of attending "Women In [Business/Defense/Technology/Whatever]" meetings where a bunch of women just sit around talking to each other about "work-life balance" and nodding heartily in agreement. Nothing will change until *men* get involved. *Men* have to help women and men equally in the workplace, and *men* have to take responsibility for violence and sexual assault against women. I like to quote Baratunde Thurston, who wrote the smart, insightful, and funny book 'How To Be Black': he says it's time for black people to cede solving the racism problem over to white people. Well, I'm also ready to cede solving sexism over to men. It's time for white people to finish the work to solve racism, and it's time for men to finish the work to solve sexism. Dustin Hoffman is another beautiful piece of the puzzle.

Sheryl Sandberg totally agrees with all of this.

You were discussing how Tyra Banks should have know that is tough to be fat. I see sort of the same feeling towards liberals agonizing over art produced by non liberal artists. They seem to see this as a struggle, when conservatives have to think about it in terms of most of the current art that is produced. Tyra in the fat suit reminds me of the liberals agaonizing over conservative artists.

I'm...not sure I understand what you're saying. Is this related to Ender's Game? Sorry -- I think I'm just missing something here. Can you rephrase or give examples?

I think it is more compelling coming from Dustin Hoffman. But I think it’s not just that he’s a man, or that he’s specifically Dustin Hoffman, but rather that he had this epiphany when he was contemplating the Tootsie role/character/concept. He didn’t just want to – play – a woman. He wanted to have some understanding of what it is like to - be – a woman. Actors often seem to adopt a persona in any particular role, but for him this became quite powerful and even life-changing. I think that makes this even more compelling. And yes, you are right that men do get extra credit for recognizing what we as women experience every day. But still I think this is a pretty good clip. Makes me despise even more all the idiotic ads about smoother skin, removing dark circles, eliminating wrinkles, etc., all of which are aimed at women. Cuz gawd forbid we should age. Right George Clooney?

Even the well-intentioned Dove ads, which have the premise of, "Women. You are prettier than you think you are." They still start from the supposition that the goal is to be pretty.

Thoughts on the calls to boycott the upcoming movie because of the author's homophobic views? Not surprising given the uproar over the author's involvement in a Superman project but what do these boycotts seek to accomplish? To get the author to embrace homosexuality? To encourage celebrities to keep their views to themselves? To spark public debate?

I'm going to see it. For several different reasons. One scattered one that may or may not resonate with you is that movies aren't like paintings, created by one author. They're not even like books, which employ an author, an agent, an editor and a publicist. They are massive endeavors that employ hundreds of people, of whom OSC is only one small part. The other three-hundred people who chose to make this movie did so because it's a brilliant book and a great story, which has nothing to do with homophobia.  I don't know. That's one way to think about it. Others?

Ryan Davis, an editor/host/personality from a video game website that I frequent suddenly passed away recently. It was less than a week after his wedding and very sudden.


His death has really affected me more than I would have expected. The site is very interactive with its fans/community and produces many hours of video and podcast content each week. I have spent at least several hundreds of hours listening to or watching this man talk and have fun with people. So, even though I never met him, I have a real feeling that I know this guy's personality. I came to admire him and think he was an all-around awesome person. It's almost like a friendship through a one-way mirror, if that makes any sense.


I know I wasn't alone at all in mourning him. His name trended on twitter for a good portion of the day Monday (which he would have thought was hilarious). The tributes from other people that never met this guy (not to mention his IRL friends and family) have choked me up a couple of times this week.


Despite these very real emotions I've been having, I just can't shake the feeling that this is weird. I know people have been always been affected when famous people pass away, but this feels more personal to me somehow. Now that I write it, maybe that's not quite right. I'm remembering what happened when Michael Jackson died. Anyway, does "internet celebrity" actually get us closer to the people we watch, allowing us to form closer bonds, or is that just an illusion formed out of the amount of content we get from people that are active on the internet? Sorry this is so rambling. I'm just trying to sort out if it is crazy for me to be so affected by Ryan's death.

I really don't think it's weird. Not any weird than being emotionally impacted by a good book, or by a moving speech, or by anything else.


You're mourning him because he revealed his personality in the same way that a friend would, and now that friend is gone. And you're mourning the fact that this great creative presence is gone. His creativity will no longer be a part of your life. That's a real loss, not weird.

I've got the same ongoing dilemma regarding a prolific author whose work I really, really love and who has some really distasteful views, IMO. Like, the kind of views that in my little world make someone an evil person. (I'm not at all B&W about most things, BTW.) But I *really* love his books! Do I continue to buy them? My response so far has been to keep reading his stuff and to feel like a guilty, dirty hypocrite about supporting someone, who, if he wasn't so entertaining, I'd completely revile. Which is probably no help to the OP at all, except in a you're-not-alone kind of way.

Please, please, tell us what these books are and what views you find repugnant.

...implies not just a lack of empathetic imagination, but also that fat people's words are not worth trusting when they say that how they are treated is hurtful. Also, Tyra's foray as a fat person was totally gimmicky. DH stumbled onto his revelation by mistake, making it seem much more genuine. Why would Tyra put on a fat suit if she didn't already know what would happen?

Actually, it would have been far more revelatory if Tyra had put on the fat suit, had a blast, and said, "You know what, Hollywood and media? We need to stop treating fat people like sad-sack objects to be pitied. Because men thought I was hot, I rocked my wardrobe, and I'm still as sassy and sexy as ever."

Wait, I like the idea of expanding the bucket of who gets to be "pretty" rather than saying that "pretty" doesn't matter. It's like when rich people say "can't buy happiness." Uh... when a family is behind on the rent or student loan payments or driving a junky, unreliable car, I bet money COULD buy some happiness. Anyway, I like feeling pretty. I don't think there's any shame in it.

You're right. I worded it poorly. The problem with the Dove ad as that it still supported stereotypical views of beauty rather than expanding them.


I cannot explain how much I dislike Bruno Mars's "Just The Way You Are" video, because its whole conceit is "baby, you don't need to change, you're great!" but the woman starring in the video is a thin, gorgeous supermodel. Made even more attractive to him by being all demure and bashful and feminine, pretending that she doesn't think she's attractive.


That video would have been so much more powerful if it were a montage of lots of diffferen looking and differently shaped people.

Hi! I think I remember a book being recommended on this chat. They plot was something along the lines of in the future, all kids will be separated into one of seven specialties, but some kids don't fall neatly into the categories. any idea what it was? I need some more reading material!

I don't think it was mentioned on this chat, but I think the series you're looking for might be the Divergent books, by Veronica Roth. Except there, it's four specialties. Anyone else think of another book this might describe?

I love the Jack Reacher series of novels and was happy to hear (a while ago) that one was being made into a movie. Then I saw that Tom Cruise was cast as Jack Reacher (I think he also produced it so no surprise he got the role). I cannot stand Cruise as a person (from what I've read/seen/etc) so I won't give money to the movie company to see it. Similarily, no more Mel Gibson movies for me.


uh, best case scenario right there. i'm a size 16 woman--bad treatment is more likely to be hostility, judgements about my general character, moral fortitude, and worthiness as a human being. sad sack to be pitied is quite rare.

Right, thanks.

On separating the work from the creator: The Card-as-homophobe question is very similar to the classical composer question of whether you can separate Richard Wagner's utterly amazing musical works from the fact that he was an unabashed anti-Semite, and later (after his death) he was a favorite of Hitler's Third Reich. If you can separate the art from the artist, then by all means, go see the movie, listen to the music, read the book, and so on and so forth. If not...well, there's your answer.

It's a topic that's come up from time to time in this chat, and I always think it's fascinating.

Well...yeah, but don't put that all on men. Women notice more miniscule imperfections on themselves - fine lines and wrinkles, pimples, cellulite, a gray hair - than men ever notice on them. The only men who notice those little things are gay or porn addicts.

I know that what you write is the conventional wisdom ("Oh, women notice other women much more than men notice these things.") But I really don't think it's true. And even if it is true on the micro level, i.e. a man not noticing the pimple that his girlfriend is obsessing over, the logic falls apart on the macro level. It's still men casting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, or voting on the Most Beautiful Woman in Maxim, or any number of other beauty judgements that happen in pop culture every single day. And they're not choosing women with cellulite.

"I've met several celebrities whom I'd thought should be my friend soulmates, based on their work. And then in person, they were perfectly lovely, but it's not like we started hanging out and having barbecues. We pour a lot into famous people and I think it's really jarring when they're not what we want them to be." Yes! I agree!!! It so crazy how alike we think!!!! The barbeque is on Sunday if you want to come over and hang out.

Cool, I'm bringing deviled eggs.

Melissa McCarthy got upset when that slimmed-down image of her was made public.

And good for her.

Is it George RR Martin? He is apparently not a particularly likeable person.

Really? I've always found him to come across as likeable in his interviews. Except when he's being asked when the next book is coming -- and my god, wouldn't that question put you on edge, too?

For the poster who felt guilty buying the books of an author with repugnant views - are the books available at a local library? That way you could read them without directly contributing to this author in a monetary way. And bonus, support your local library!


Of course people who are viewed as unattractive get grief for it. But when I recently lost weight, got a new hairstyle, started dressing fashioniably, I found out how much grief attractive people get as well. Because if you're attractive, your life can't be anything but easy and perfect.

Yes, Yes, I know this. It's still not an equal amount of grief.

I vote 1) a unique message. The message is unique because DH had an opportunity to experience something that most men would not. It's true that many women (can't say all or most, for sure) know this to be true, but it would be much easier for a woman to dress up or down to experience life as another 'type' of woman. It is also unique because men get a much wider berth when it comes to defining "sexy" or "good-looking." Dustin Hoffman is not particularly good looking, but it never occurred to him that he would be limited in some way because he is not as conventionally good looking as, say, George Clooney. At least, not in the way it would be for women in the same situation.

You know, I really don't find George Clooney good-looking at all. I don't know why. I think it's a diagnosible disease. I'm Clooney-blind.

Michael Crichton?

Oh right, he's come up several times in this chat.

I liked the video. It made me like Dustin Hoffman more. Then I was irritated with my own response. NO. GOLD. STARS. EVER! (to be read in a Mommie Dearest voice) to someone famous who has finally "seen the light" on what it must be like for us normals. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he saw it. He just doesn't get a pat on the back. What struck me as odd, and what makes me a total and perhaps hypocritical jerk, was that when he was telling the story, I thought to myself, "Wait a minute, is Dustin Hoffman classically attractive?" Not in my opinion. Does he fancy himself an attractive man? He must, or he wouldn't be so shocked at his feelings about unattractive women. It was very strange to me.

I think he does (or at least did at the time) fancy himself attractive. I think -- broad stereotype here -- that it's traditionally been easier for men to fancy themselves attractive because, as an earlier commenter pointed out, we take many more things into consideration when deciding whether a man is "attractive" than we historically have with women.

All Hispanics eat tacos, listen to salsa, and wear sombreros?

I really think they don't work b/c they can't be evenly applied. You don't know the political/social beliefs of the guy that picked the apple or even owns the farm that you're buying. Also, trying to cut out people that don't conform to all of your beliefs can't be good for the world. Get along and appreciate each other when you can. Then, maybe, you get the opportunity to change their minds.

Posting and clapping.

I think I said something similar a few months ago when a poster had just learned that their favorite blog was written by someone who had quite different political views than she did. I argued that retreating back further into her private cultural silo couldn't possibly be doing anyone any good.

(How many questions are we at so far? I feel like we've answered a lot today).

I think it must be his "Killing" series. Right? Right?!

Related: I visited the set of "Killing Kennedy," which they were filming in Richmond, a few weeks ago. Rob Lowe is uncanny.

I totally agree Cupcake! Don't get the attraction. At. All.

You can come to the barbecue. Bring a bundt cake.

you need polls like Gene's chat. Then you can also tell us the correct answer, like he does.

I know. As I've explained, I'm a one-woman shop over here. (Weingarten has a producer who builds his chats for him). You have to make do with my janky discussion points.

I'm a 54 year old man, so to 20 something women I'm either an uncle, a mentor, or invisible. I was in a Starbucks in DC recently, and I overheard a young pretty women tell her (male) friend, "Oh, I'm so fat." Of course, she wasn't in any way. Three answers to this--she had very low self esteem, she was fishing for compliments from the guy, or she lived in the circus and only had those weird funhouse mirrors that make the average person look like Fatty Arbuckle. As a woman, your thoughts please?

Not having been in this particular situation  in this particular Starbucks, I couldn't begin to imagine. Except to say that sometimes "fat" is used colloquially not to mean "overweight," but rather, "Whoa, I just ate a burrito the size of a bowling ball and its in my tummy."

29. Now 30 (2:40pm ET)

Oh man. Why did I feel like we had more? Have we covered a lot of ground? Are we all smarter?

" That way you could read them without directly contributing to this author in a monetary way." I was thinking this is a good solution (Netflix for the Reacher movie) but by borrowing the book (or getting the DVD), you are showing the library that there is a demand for books by author X and therefore the library will purchase his/her next book - and the author gets money. If an author is rarely checked out of a library, the library computer system knows to allocate less money to that's author's future book(s).

So, the solution if you really want to read a book but you really hate the author is to go to a library, get in one of the squishy chairs in the children's section, and read the whole thing. But do NOT actually check out the book. Correct?


The other option would be to tax yourself for reading the "bad" material. i.e: You are very pro-choice. Your favorite author is vocally anti-abortion. Every time you buy a book from your favorite author, you also donate $5 to Planned Parenthood.

I was okay until he said he had been brainwashed. No responsibility until that point in his life?

Well, society does sort of brainwash us, just by living in it.

me like janky what's it mean?

It's because we're actually posting written screeds instead of just links to memes.

It's true. Everyone is thinking really hard today. I am proud of us.

What's the record? What do we need to beat?!?

Oh, we're not going to beat it. The record is over 100. I don't know what we were all taking that day, but It would be hard to replicate. Ever.

I'm curious how spending money on seeing ENDER'S GAME the movie allows one to " maybe, you get the opportunity to change their minds." We shouldn't confuse people you associate with IRL with people you give money to through seeing their movie.

I'm just going to post a few self-contained responses without comment.

The way I look at boycotts is that when I have a lot of choices on how to SPEND my money then I factor in how character issues as I make my decision. When I am at the food court I can decide to choose someplace other than Chik Fil A and so not give money directly to a homophobic CEO who then spends a share of his profits on discrimination efforts. Similarly, I can vote in terms of the movies I pay to see, and so instead of giving money and tacit approval to Mr. Card, there are so many other worthy works out there not produced by bigots. I don't try to make any one else make MY CHOICE, I just factor it in to my decision.

While I agree you can't know the beliefs of everyone in your life, when it is thrust upon you, once you know, you have to make a conscious choice. In the case of the movie, is supporting the others not OSC more important than not supporting OSC. I have chosen not to buy books by authors I have seen at conventions who are just plain rude/mean. Conversely I've bought some books by nice people that aren't my cup of tea because I like them. I've met GRRM and he's pretty nice in person and I'll see him this fall in MD.

Here's another thought on the Ender's Game question: The movie adds another step between you and the author/creator. So, separating Card's views from the book (which I have not yet read, btw) is one question; but with the movie, you have the director to consider, since, even though the source material comes from one point, ultimately the film is the director's work of art. (For the record, I absolutely hate the fact that Wagner was anti-Semitic...but my God, his music is to die for. I have a two hour Google Play/iTunes playlist of nothing but his music, and it is one of my favorites. Especially the orchestral highlights from the Ring cycle.)

I haven't been to a Tom Cruise movie in years. Likewise Mel Gibson. I just don't want to support them or their beliefs in any way. Of course, nobody but me notices my little protest, but I don't think that bad behavior should be rewarded. About the Dustin Hoffman interview, I think that it wouldn't have gained any traction if it hadn't been a well-known, male actor saying these things. And that's the whole point. I think it's interesting that he's the one saying this, though, because he's a physically short guy and that's probably had an effect on the roles he's been offered over the years. So I think he's suffered from the male equivalent of not being pretty.

"The male equivalent of not being pretty." I like this phrase.

Is that really the way to go? I just feel queesy about spending money to make up for a supposed sin of buying or seeing art from an artist with whom I disagree over a personal or political issue.

I don't know. I was throwing it out there as a suggestion to see what y'all thought.

In this little world we have here, you'd be the celebrity that people expect to be best buds with. What is it like from that side?

Oh man, I thought we'd invited George RR Martin to the barbecue.

Actually, Tom Cruise probably still profits when you use Netflix - the studio (and Tom) are paid because the movie is there and it shows demand for it, just as checking the book out from the library. Plus, then you probably get a "Because you watched Jack Reacher" suggestion field on your Netflix, and you would be constantly reminded...

You know what, nobody should see Jack Reacher, because it is a TERRIBLE movie. I watched it the other week and was just astounded how really very bad it was.

See? Sometimes the quality of the art saves you from having to make any moral decisions.

I don't dig him either! Can I bring the deviled eggs? I do, however, think Peter Dinklage is a smokin' hottie.

No, I'm already bringing the deviled eggs. But nobody is bringing drinks yet. Are you on it?

What struck me about the video was the shallowness of Mr. Hoffman's past experience. I'm torn between feeling sorry for him and being exasperated with people who go through life without the realization that value is often not tied up with a pretty bow. By shallowness I mean what little or no effort it would have taken to see beyond the outside of a person or experience. It's like the Dove advertisements in support of women. How can people not see that pretty is really in the non-conformity, uniqueness of us. I'm glad he's come to the realization but also a bit sad that it's taken him this long.

In his defense: Tootsie was made 30 years ago, and that's when he came to the realization. It's not like 70-year-old Hoffman just woke up this morning and thought, "I've been shallow my whole life."

Guy here (that's probably relevant). It's an interesting piece, but mostly because it is an actor and it is well stated and obviously speaks to a painful self-examination on his part. I think it is the realization that he didn't like himself for the way that he treated women that really gives the video punch. So, I'm not sure it's really possible for the same message to come from an actress. Your opening comments touched on a huge pet peeve of mine (men getting over-praised for child care). I spend several days a week as the caregiver for my toddler daughter. Most of the praise is completely patronizing. I am so annoyed when strangers seem to be astonished that I have not somehow killed my child through negligence in the time since she left her mother's care that morning. It is also really grating when the first or second comment from a stranger is to ask my child, "Where's Mommy?" I am so tempted to tell people that mommy died or ran off with the pool boy. Louis CK touches on some of this stuff in really good ways.

Please try this and report back to us. My prediction: You tell people you're a -single- father, not just an involved father, and you'll start getting marriage proposals.

I found it compelling, but for none of the reasons you cite. I find it compelling because, even decades later, Hoffman seems genuinely moved by his epiphany. As to whether the video had been forwarded if the subject was a different gender, it's hard to know. Our majority culture has historically not only reflected a "man's world", but a heteronormative one. So I think seeing a straight (white) male coming to terms with his privilege is maybe more special than had a female. On the other hand, didn't Ashley Judd's response to the "puffy face" critics get a lot of attention? I would put her "message" and Hoffman's in a similar category (don't get too caught up in looks, and don't get brainwashed by society's idea of beauty), and people seemed pretty interested in forwarding her message around.

How did I forget about Ashley? I think that her response level was partly her fame, partly her message, and partly the $2 words she was hurling around right and left.

Men are too busy looking at/for "beautiful" women, to notice how rude the other men are when THEY are looking at/for "beautiful" women. Only when that happens can they possibly realize the spectable they're making of themselves. Then, if they just get past the superficiality of "beautiful", they have a chance of realizing how desirable all women can be. But most of us are too stupid to get there. (m/55)

Man, in reading these generalizations of the male gender, I realize how lucky I must be to know so many great guys.

I've chimed in before, but I see a difference between supporting living people vs. dead. I'll listen to Wagner with no regrets, but I am more torn with someone who's still around to benefit- fr'instance, I will NOT see anything by Roman Polanski until he, at very minimum, admits that what he did was wrong.


I can't stand it when women who are in clearly good shape complain about being fat, not pretty, etc. I think it's a verbal habit that needs to stop right now. I spent last year going through chemo and I lost all my hair (including eyebrows and eyelashes), my skin felt terrible, and I was puffy because of steroids. Talk about not feeling pretty. Most of us do not appreciate our good looks/good health enough (and they often go hand in hand).

Posting. (And congratulations on finishing chemo. So glad you're here.)

It's 2:54 and no one has brought up what they think sharknado is going to do to meme-ing.

It's the greatest tagline I've ever seen for a movie.

Why not? People who "need" to drive gas guzzlers can purchase carbon offsets or plant trees. If you "have" to do bad, do good to make up for it. If I ate Chik-Fil-A (which I won't), I'm sure the bigotted CEO would be $0.01 from my meal. But if I donate $1.00 to a marriage-equality organization, more good is done. And I still won't add the Reacher movie to my Netflix queue for the same reason stated by the 2:50pm post. But thanks for telling me it was terrible so I don't feel conflicted about not watching it. The books are so darn good.



And, I should mention, that I don't have to weigh the same should-I-spend-money-on-this-book/movie concerns that a typical person does, because frequently I'm writing articles about these books or movies, which means I'm consuming them via a free review copy or a free press screening.

I love the "Tootsie Clip" poster's comments. The problem partially stems from the many fathers who call childcare "baby sitting." As in, "I am babysitting while my wife goes out with her girlfriends." No mother ever says, "I am babysitting because my husband is golfing." The time you spend with your children is parenting!!! Babysitters care of children other than their own and get paid for it!

If I ever have kids, I'm totally going to say that I'm babysitting them for 18 years until the World takes over.

My wife had a job where she often works on Sunday mornings. One morning, I took our (then) little boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, to the Old Pancake House in Bethesda for breakfast. Not sure if it's still there, but they had a large open patio for people to wait to be seated. I was continually hit on by what I assume were single mothers. Later I found out this was in effect a singles bar for the toddler set.


I am an unnattractive dad who does much if not most of the childcar duties to 2 children. Never once has any approached me in public about what a good dad I am or asking where the mom is. I am invisible to others.

Or, you are just not hitting up the right pancake houses. (Because if you've learned anything from this chat, it's that everyone is attrative to some demographic. You're obviously attractive to your wife, which is really the most important thing, after all. Right?)

Thank you. And I just wanted to say that I posted my comment about going through chemo not to get pity, but to make the point that so many of us (myself included) complain about things that are not really worth complaining about.

Oh, I didn't think you were seeking pity. But I wanted to congratulate you anyway.

I'm the book boycotter OP. You have totally just solved my crisis. Seriously, you have no idea how much I've agonized over this, especially since I'm usually so very very good at rationalizing. I can't even believe how much angst I've had about this, because, let's face it, it doesn't really qualify as a real problem. ...And no, I'm not telling who it is or what my beef with him is, except that nobody's hit it so far. (grin)

My work here is done. One hour, 60 questions, meaning-of-life debates, and at least we have solved one small problem in one small corner of humanity. Yay, us.

Okay, I think that's all for today. I'll see you next week.



(That's God Save the Duchess of Cambridge, for you royal baby watchers. Now I've got to get back to my article about the impending bundle of joy).

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Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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