Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scott Adams Quick-Fisk.

Oh lord, he's like a kid who's just discovered that yelling "fuck" makes everyone look at him and make a big fuss. (Analogy stolen from LabRat's excellent post here.) Scott Adams is still at it.

No point-by-point, but a few things that were just so egregious.

Take the question of equal pay for equal work. If you see it as a gender issue, aren't you leaving out a few dimensions that are also important? I saw an interview the other day with the woman who is the lead plaintiff for the class action suit against WalMart. Her complaint is that WalMart discriminated against her for being a woman. The thing that fascinated me is that somehow she managed to discern that the discrimination she experienced was because of her gender and not the fact that she's also obese, unattractive, and African-American. Based on the interview, she also seems to have a sketchy command of grammar. I couldn't judge her height or personality, but those are two more factors that have a big impact on career advancement.
Classy motherfucker, ain't he? And then he goes on to acknowledge that he's a "a short, hair-challenged, nearsighted, unattractive, over-the-hill individual" so he's faced discrimination too ya know, plus even more discrimination for being a white male... while somehow missing the part where he's rich and famous.

I don't really get the point here, though. It's a huge class action lawsuit, so presumably there are some skinny pretty white women in the class too. And if Wal-Mart was "only" discriminating against her size/appearance/race, that would be... okay?

(In fact, here's a picture of some of the plaintiffs in the Wal-Mart suit. Three are white, at least one is definitely not fat, and "attractive" is subjective but c'mon, they're definitely not "too ugly to promote," whatever the fuck that would even mean in what wasn't exactly a glamor industry to begin with.)

So I propose a simple test to determine if you, individually, are a victim of gender unfairness. If a genie gave you the chance to magically switch your gender, and become a member of the other sex, would you do it? And let's say the new you would be about the same as now on the scale of attractiveness, intelligence, ethnicity, circumstance, and health. The only real change would be gender. Do you take the offer?
If your answer is no, then maybe fairness isn't what you really want. Maybe what you want is all the advantages you have now plus the good stuff that other people have. I totally understand. I want the same thing.

Actually, yeah. I do want all the advantages I can possibly get. Um... how terrible? I want women to have all the good stuff available to men and vice versa. That actually sounds just dandy to me.

The whole point of feminism (at least my feminism, blardy blah) isn't that men have it so much better than women. The point is that gender roles screw everything up for everybody. I don't want to be a man. (Well, I'd like to try it, but this isn't about me.) I want to be a person.

I apologize to anyone who was offended by this post.
I repeat: classy motherfucker.


  1. It really sucks that Scott Adams has turned out to be such an idiot.

  2. That last point bugs the fuck out of me. Like, above and beyond how much Scott Adams is generally annoying me right now.

    I don't particularly want to be a guy. I just want to be treated like a person, and I don't see what having a vagina has to do with that.

    Also, what fucking 'advantages' do I have now? Men holding doors open and pulling out chairs for me? OMG, THAT IS TOTALLY BETTER THAN EQUAL PAY (also, they don't).

  3. Wait, I'm confused. So because I'm secure in my gender identity, women aren't discriminated against? I didn't realize the two were related.

    And yeah, I love how he basically says it's ok if the discrimination was based on race or attractiveness.

  4. "If a genie gave you the chance to magically switch your gender, and become a member of the other sex, would you do it?"



  5. @Juliet yep, I would love to look male, a cis like Dick and no need for to have injections for the rest of my life, yes please. Does that mean I am allowed to believe in feminism

  6. Lisette - I think he's kind of implying that discrimination is "just life, suck it up," which is one of those phrases that's rivaled only by "why are you worrying about this instead of the economy/children starving in Africa/my problems" in its multipurpose utility in shutting down discussions.

    Cheshire - I think it makes you the only kind of person who's allowed to believe in feminism.

  7. I'd do it in a hearbeat. But I'm trans. Which has NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, SCOTT.

    Jeezum. Just another example of the Orson Scott Card rule: sometimes artists can create really nifty stuff and still be idiots or batshit crazy.

  8. "while somehow missing the part where he's rich and famous."

    That makes it sound as if he's always been so. He hasn't. He made it through a combination of some small talent (not for drawing, but for illustrating absurdity in the workplace), hard work, and luck. There's no White Guy Wealth Vault that you're given a secret key to at a certain point in your life. If there is, I somehow missed out on receiving my secret key.

    Having said that, Adams is not the first nouveau riche individual to come to the mistaken conclusion that wealth + fame = wisdom.

  9. I made myself go back and read the original article, expecting to be pissed off more, but now I'm just confused. Fat women don't deserve promotions? Accepting an offer to change into to a body that gives you more advantages means you don't deserve any?

    This hasn't been any kind of constructive comment. Just WTF?

    When can we start ignoring him?

  10. I like the "Apologise if this offends".. by like I mean that anyone ending a post that way butchered and sent in parts to all seven continents as a warning that it's not okay.

    It's not okay. It's on the same level as "no offence, but.." and "not to be judgemental".

    If you don't mean to be offensive, don't be. Refrain from offending people instead of using a stupid disclaimer that basically means "I'm about to be incredible offensive, but I can't be bothered to not be so, but because of my disclaimer you don't get to call me out on it".

    If you mean to be offensive, be offensive and own up to it.

  11. Bob - No, being a white dude isn't a ticket to fame and fortune (although it does help the odds), but someone who happens to be rich and famous is just in a really bad position to be pulling the "I'm a victim of prejudice too, but do you see me complaining?" card.

  12. "If a genie gave you the chance to magically switch your gender, and become a member of the other sex, would you do it?" Well, most people strongly identify with their gender. They wouldn't want to change it even if the unfair advantages given to the other gender were glaring and outrageous. (People who want to change their gender are transgender... they're a small minority that Scott Adams probably considers pretty weird.)

    Similarly, most black people probably wouldn't want to become white... they just want the discrimination to end. And victims of religious persecution don't want to change, they just want to practice their religion in peace. And most gay people don't want to become straight, they just want the same rights straight people have. For fuck's sake it's not that complicated. The whole point of women's rights is that we get to REMAIN WOMEN, yet receive THE SAME RIGHTS MEN DO.

  13. In regard to the switching gender thing: like Emily H. has already pointed out, a lot of people identify with their gender and don't want to change regardless of the circumstances. But, I would acknowledge that the disadvantages faced by women (or people who aren't white or heterosexual) definitely don't give me much incentive to want to be a woman (or black or Asian or gay or whatever).

    What that doesn't mean (contrary to what Scott Adams seems to suggest) is that I want to uphold the status quo. I want everyone to have the advantages I totally acknowledge that I have as a white male (although, once everyone had them, I guess they would cease to meet the definition of advantages--but that's none of my concern).

  14. Hang on. Isn't the fact that most cis women wouldn't change their sex just to obtain male privilege proof that most cis women have a strong subconscious sex that corresponds to the subconscious sex of trans women? Yes, some people don't have it, but seriously, wouldn't we have seen a hell of a lot more transitions to male if it were about privilege? And probably zero transitions to female?

    Scott Adams, stop talking out your ass.

  15. I seem to recall a comment on a previous post here that there was some talk show where the guy asked the studio audience how many of them would switch genders (instantly and painlessly) for a million dollars - and almost nobody raised their hand.

    So obviously the urge to stay the same is about gender identity, not wanting different advantages, since a million dollars would be a pretty fucking huge advantage in life.

  16. If you had the genie, would you be able to that only once, or three times (as in a traditional gene-wish arrangement, but the only wish you get is gender-flipping)? Cuz I don't know if I'd go all-or-nothing (I tend to be a cautious cat), but the option to flip, flip back and then have the option flip over once more on the gender spectrum sounds like a pretty good deal.

  17. I am fortunate that I haven't suffered enough brutal indignations as a result of being female in a sexist world that I'd vote to become someone else - but that's kind of like saying the Japanese earthquake victims haven't *really* suffered if they haven't all immediately clamored to move to America. Hunkering down and making the best of the hand you were dealt is a pretty widespread human trait.

  18. @Bob Actually, Adams went over the key to success in The Dilbert Future! Due to a misunderstanding of what "observer" means in the context of quantum mechanics, Adams believes that writing your goal one hundred times a day will influence the universe to become what you will it to, which is why he is now a syndicated cartoonist. (The dude has been a fountain of this stuff for a decade.)

  19. Though I'm not going to take back my defense of Adams' previous comments on the last post about him, I do take back my assertion that I don't think less of him.

    Though his core observation (that gender isn't the only reason people are discriminated against) is not wrong, the assertion that means it doesn't matter is really just stupid. Obviously, if everybody thought the way he did about any kind of discrimination, nobody could ever pin down why they were being discriminated against and so nobody would ever do anything about it.

    Not every situation is as clear cut as we'd like it to be, but that doesn't mean it's better to be paralyzed with indecisiveness than to just risk being wrong sometimes.