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Pulling The Cord
November 24, 2010 4:22 AM   Subscribe

Some people in the thread about a woman confronting a flasher on the subway seem to prefer discussing the etiquette behind pulling the emergency cord. Here's a place you can do that, so those who want to discuss the main topic can get back to doing that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos to MetaFilter-Related at 4:22 AM (383 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Theoretically, I don't think Metatalk is a dumping ground for derails but rather a place where site policy or etiquette with regard to those derails is supposed to take place?
posted by Justinian at 4:33 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, derails belong in desubway.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:48 AM on November 24, 2010 [94 favorites]


I don't see how it's a derail—they're discussing something that happened in the course of events described by the links in the post. It may be a minor aspect of the post compared to the sexual assault issue, but it's not like they're discussing recipes or anything. The etiquette behind pulling the emergency cord on the NYC subway is a valid sub-topic of that particular post, and IMO discussion of it doesn't need to be quashed.
posted by carsonb at 4:53 AM on November 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


This can be a hate thread for @people instead.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 AM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


The appalling part of this is how few people seem to know that you're not supposed to pull the emergency cord. Every fucking train in the NY system has a big sign saying like "Police emergency - notify a conductor, don't pull the cord. Fire emergency - notify a conductor, don't pull the cord. Medical emergency - notify the conductor, don't pull the cord." There isn't even a section that says when you can pull the cord.

How can a someone spend a significant portion of their life on subways and never ever ever ever be bothered to notice the signage?
posted by a young man in spats at 5:03 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


The thread has sort of devolved into an orgy of victim-blaming and "should she have or not" regarding the emergency cord. I'd say it's straddling the derail line, so to speak. Still on topic, but pretty distracting from the meat of the discussion.

It's been an educational discussion. For instance, thanks to a deleted comment in the thread, I've learned that Pastabagel knows the exact force and angle needed to rip a man's balls off.

On an unrelated note, I'll be wearing a cup and body armor to the next meetup.
posted by zarq at 5:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I don't understand the purpose of this Meta. Blue topics always kinda sway from the original topic. News stuff turns into ethics in journalism, drug stuff turns into legal issues, etc...

I give this meta the thumbs down. Why? Because I judge.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, now the same discussion's just going to be taking place in two different threads.

I don't know that the cord discussion really qualifies as a derail, since it's relevant to the incident described in the post. If people started ranting about the ever-lovin' TSA in the thread, THAT would be a derail.

(I thought it was a crappy outragefilter post to begin with and am not the least bit surprised to see what it devolved into, but there we are.)
posted by Gator at 5:11 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only mention of pulling the emergency cord in the Salon article is in a quote from a creep at the flasher site.
posted by gubo at 5:11 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it a derail if I ask about what the hell is going on in "The Office"?

I'm in NZ, and I just saw the episode where Pam doesn't want to go to the hospital (I'm behind like a season). Is every actor on the show trying REALLY hard to be absurd funny?

Whats up with that?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:23 AM on November 24, 2010


MeTa posts should only be made when the FPP will be dragged to its death.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:32 AM on November 24, 2010 [22 favorites]


Yeah, derails belong in desubway.

I know we're all about to throw down on some NYC etiquette issue that I don't care about, but this joke deserves more accolades.

Bravo sir.
posted by Think_Long at 5:51 AM on November 24, 2010


Theoretically, I don't think Metatalk is a dumping ground for derails but rather a place where site policy or etiquette with regard to those derails is supposed to take place

Meta FPP's are frequently used to create an area where debates/discussions/arguments that are derailing threads can continue to happen. The mods don't seem to have a problem with it. They've said that Meta is a place where people can let off steam.

The thread has become sidetracked. That's normal. But personally, I'm finding the victim-blaming in the thread a bit distracting.
posted by zarq at 5:52 AM on November 24, 2010


Off-topic comments in thread - flag the conductor. Do NOT pull the emergency Meta cord.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:53 AM on November 24, 2010 [26 favorites]


so those who want to discuss the main topic can get back to doing that.

Do you want to discuss the main topic? The only thing you've had to say so far in either thread is "don't talk about the cord". Well, actually, I guess that was only what you wanted to say in this thread. In that thread you just wanted to link to this thread. Wait, I guess you didn't really say "don't talk about the cord" in this thread either, but rather just mentioned that some people were talking about the cord in that thread and here is another place to do. Ok. Noted.
posted by Dano St at 5:54 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ohh, I think I get it now... you want to talk about what people "seem to prefer" to want to talk about and perhaps what conclusions we can make about such people based on these preferences?
posted by Dano St at 6:00 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, derails belong in desubway.

I believe that is one of Stephen Foster's lesser known songs.
posted by horsemuth at 6:04 AM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


The topic in that thread is the response to sexual assault. Pulling the cord was part of her response. I don't see how that's a derail.
posted by DU at 6:05 AM on November 24, 2010


She shouldn't have pulled the emergency cord, for a number of reasons cited, but let's give her a pass. We can educate people (both the person being attacked and society at large) on other ways to handle these situations. Meanwhile we'll throw a party over the fact that a criminal got what he deserved.
posted by nomadicink at 6:09 AM on November 24, 2010


The appalling part of this is how few people seem to know that you're not supposed to pull the emergency cord.

I don't think most of the people in the thread are from New York, though.
posted by enn at 6:10 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people seem really annoyed by the emergency cord derail for whatever reason, but we figured that thread might wind up here for some reason.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:16 AM on November 24, 2010


>>Yeah, derails belong in desubway.

>I believe that is one of Stephen Foster's lesser known songs.


I think you have him confused with Debussy.
posted by Forktine at 6:16 AM on November 24, 2010


I think you have him confused with Debussy.

That's silly. Dere's no emergency cord on debussy. De cord on debussy just makes de widdle bell wing.
posted by The Bellman at 6:21 AM on November 24, 2010 [58 favorites]


It's not a derail.
posted by John Cohen at 6:25 AM on November 24, 2010


What is this, I don't even.

I'm from SF, not NY, so the "don't pull the cord" thing is new to me. I figured she did what she felt was necessary at the time. If it wasn't the right thing maybe you can chalk that up to her being in the process of being victimized by a sexual predator? I dunno. What a weird thing to focus on. It's like pointing out someone was jay walking when they ran for their life and crossed a street without waiting for a green light.
posted by cj_ at 6:26 AM on November 24, 2010 [17 favorites]


I wish we could have a temporary ban on certain charged words — "derail," "troll," "fighty" — so we'd have to articulate the specific problems we have with what someone is saying. It's too easy to use those words to try to shut people up without any clear reason.
posted by John Cohen at 6:29 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Derail is one of the flag options so it's not really going anywhere. We try to show up when we think people are getting too aggressive calling people trolls and honestly fighty is shorthand for a combination of aggressive and assholish behaviors that seems better than saying "assholish" which some people don't seem to like.

So, I hear what you're saying, it can be easy to call people trolls as a silencing technique, but I think people do this in a pretty limited fashion here. I'll personally take the blame for the rise of fighty myself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:32 AM on November 24, 2010


Jessamyn, I know what the words mean, and I know they refer to real things. That's why I said I'd like to see a "temporary" ban. I know that isn't going to happen; I was just trying to make a point about how the words are misused. Certainly there are actual derails and trolls and fighty comments that should be called out. But if our threshold for using these terms is so low that they're often used to mean "I don't like what you're saying for some reason and I wish you'd stop talking," there could be a boy-who-cried-wolf effect.
posted by John Cohen at 6:37 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the "should you pull the cord" line of discussion is a derail because whether or not it is true, it's extremely irrelevant. She was being assaulted and reacted. Focusing on whether her reaction was appropriate or not is about a half step away from victim-blaming. I think it's telling that this is the aspect of the story people want to discuss the most.

Would this same group of people have the same reaction to similar story if it were a man who didn't, say, have his seatbelt on while fleeing a threatening situation? Would anyone give a shit? I doubt it.
posted by cj_ at 6:37 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


the rise of fighty
Good title for a Shaw Brothers' martial arts flick.
posted by Abiezer at 6:38 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


fighty is ungood, that's truthy.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:38 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Discussing the safest way to respond to an assault on the subway is not a derail in a thread about an assault on the subway. It's fairly insulting to accuse people who were discussing the pros and cons of pulling the cord of victim-blaming. We're not all Mayor Curley.

A lot of people genuinely didn't seem to know that pulling the emergency cord isn't the fastest way to get help. I don't know how many of them were from New York, but it's a good thing to know. I was on a train once with a woman whose baby stopped breathing. It would have been horrible if someone had unknowingly delayed medical help by pulling the cord. In this case, the victim didn't seem to be at risk of increased harm by being trapped with her attacker, but it's something people should be aware of if they ride the NYC subways.
posted by Mavri at 6:41 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll personally take the blame for the rise of fighty myself.

Really? I use "fighty" in my real life now like it's normal english. Heh, pernicious influence.
posted by ServSci at 6:41 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, 'fighty' is a better word than most alternatives. Jessamyn can be blamed for many good words.

"Fighty" does have a certain modly ring to it, though. It can sound like someone is trying to make some official declaration about another's contributions, so it's easy to come off as pretentious when using it. I've likely done so myself.
posted by Dano St at 6:43 AM on November 24, 2010


modly rings are, of course, *not* pretentious when worn by mods, if that wasn't clear
posted by Dano St at 6:47 AM on November 24, 2010


No; see, her behavior would have inconvenienced Mayor Curley if he had been on that train. You're not thinking enough about the Mayor.
posted by Curious Artificer at 6:49 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd hate for this type of MeTa post to become a regular thing. You can either close this one now and set a precedent or deal with the many that follow.
posted by rocket88 at 6:49 AM on November 24, 2010


1) where does she pull the emergency cord? I'm bewildered. I think that never happened!
2) so how can one reach the conductor? The lady was asking the same in the video.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:50 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Derails on Debussy just go round and round.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 6:53 AM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think the "should you pull the cord" line of discussion is a derail because whether or not it is true, it's extremely irrelevant.

Aside from the fact that this is a stupid MeTa, since your point is brought up in it I'll address it here: It's somewhat irrelevant to the single incident, but was not at all irrelevant to the discussion. People in the original thread were advocating for doing this every single time anyone sees a dick waved on the MTA. Doing so would not only cripple travel, but it would actually increase dramatically the response time to deal with these incidents.
posted by rollbiz at 6:55 AM on November 24, 2010


modly rings are, of course, *not* pretentious when worn by mods, if that wasn't clear

Three Rings for the mod-kings under the sky,
Seven for the minecrafters in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men People doomed to flameout,
One for the Spammers on their punk ass throne,
In the real world where the shadows lie.
One Ring to root them all, One Ring to flag them,
One Ring to callout them all out, and in the grey, bind them,
posted by nomadicink at 6:55 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


She was being assaulted and reacted. Focusing on whether her reaction was appropriate or not is about a half step away from victim-blaming. I think it's telling that this is the aspect of the story people want to discuss the most.

I don't think it's really the same thing as victim-blaming at all. Victim-blaming means blaming a victim specifically for his or her victimization and that is why it is problematic. But no one is doing that here. I don't think there is or should be a blanket prohibition on taking issue with any aspect of someone's behavior simply because he or she has been a victim. And I don't think any of the people saying that she shouldn't have pulled the cord are saying she's a terrible person because she did, though some seem to be reading it that way.

And people are entitled to discuss whatever aspect of the story most interests them. I've certainly been frustrated when posts of mine result in discussion of what seems to me an inconsequential detail, but that's the nature of the beast.

Would this same group of people have the same reaction to similar story if it were a man who didn't, say, have his seatbelt on while fleeing a threatening situation? Would anyone give a shit? I doubt it.

With all due respect, that seems like a poor analogy and one that was chosen to provoke rather than to illuminate this particular situation.
posted by enn at 6:59 AM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think the "should you pull the cord" line of discussion is a derail because whether or not it is true, it's extremely irrelevant. She was being assaulted and reacted. Focusing on whether her reaction was appropriate or not is about a half step away from victim-blaming. I think it's telling that this is the aspect of the story people want to discuss the most

I don't think it's a derail, as it it's completely relevant to how assistance gets to the woman in question. I think people want to discuss it the most because while there may be some in-thread NYC people who are pissed that someone's incorrectly dragging the entire subway system to a stop, most of the folks discussing it are completely stunned that there's a cord on the train, dangling there, shiny and red and reserved for emergencies, that one should paradoxically NOT PULL in like 95 percent of emergency situations. It's a weird thing for the MTA to do, and it's led to a lot of discussion on Metafilter when it's been brought up before.

As for shouting back at the flasher, there's just not quite as much to discuss there; she was clearly right to shout him down, he was clearly wrong to sexually assault her and should be punished. I think the cord thing is getting attention because it's so much more of a grey area with some really strange logic behind it.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:00 AM on November 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


I don't think there is or should be a blanket prohibition on taking issue with any aspect of someone's behavior simply because he or she has been a victim.

Nor do I, actually. I'm not in favor of a blanket prohibition on anything at all. But I stand by my opinion that people focusing on this totally irrelevant detail of the story constitutes a derail.

I don't think it's really the same thing as victim-blaming at all. Victim-blaming means blaming a victim specifically for his or her victimization and that is why it is problematic

Well, that thread skirts pretty close to that, actually. There's quite a few responses that suggest her reaction would cause him to escalate, and therefore was a bad response. But that's another topic already addressed in the thread itself.

With all due respect, that seems like a poor analogy and one that was chosen to provoke rather than to illuminate this particular situation.

Yes, it was chosen to provoke. You got me there. Why is it a bad analogy though?
posted by cj_ at 7:08 AM on November 24, 2010


What else is there to talk about in that dumb post? Outrage about flashing? I'm surprised that post didn't get deleted early on. Oh well.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:08 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have the impression that there are several thoughts that are already really dangerous, mefi-culturally, to express in that thread, so I'm hesitant to label the cord thing a derail.

For instance, there's this sort of unquestioning acceptance that what actually happened is "man rubs naked penis on woman; woman pulls cord" when we're presented really pretty vague evidence of either being the case. It's even unquestioned that dude was wearing a condom when you never even see his junk. Mefites aren't usually such non-skeptical bunch, but for some reason skepticism just doesn't happen in a thread like that.

Another thought I had while reading the thread was about the three times I've been yelled at on the subway. All three were women, one of them falsely accused me of frottage. While women's anecdotes about being victimized were shared in the thread, I don't think there's room for my anecdotes about verbal abuse on the subway. Or any man's really. There would be accusations galore of false equivalency because someone shared an experience.

And, you know, maybe there are good reasons behind both those omissions. I actually agree the cord discussion went way overboard and distracted from the main point. But, god, I dunno... let's be real careful about saying what a discussion can't include.
posted by Dano St at 7:15 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is it a bad analogy though?

I think most people were criticizing her (alleged? imaginary? I guess now we are not even sure if it actually happened?) pulling of the cord either because of the inconvenience to other commuters or because they thought it would delay or prevent the flasher's arrest and/or her getting away from him. Not wearing a seatbelt doesn't inconvenience anyone and it doesn't prevent the guy in your scenario from getting away.

I don't know. I agree it is kind of fascinating that this is what people have focused on. I think part of the reason is that there aren't really any terribly good options in that situation, besides yelling at the guy, which is a good idea but may or may not cause him to stop. The normal responses to a flasher in other situations — to flag down the police, to force him to leave, or to yourself leave — don't work in a closed subway car. Physically escalating the situation by taking a swing at the guy or whatever seems like a pretty terrible idea to me, and I think to most people in the thread, with a few exceptions. But people don't like to imagine themselves or anyone else so helpless in such a common situation, so they get a little obsessed with the details of what little there is that can be done — in this case, using the various buttons and levers inside an MTA subway car.
posted by enn at 7:18 AM on November 24, 2010


Yes, it was chosen to provoke. You got me there. Why is it a bad analogy though?

There's a big difference between an emergency cord on a train and a seatbelt.
posted by nomadicink at 7:19 AM on November 24, 2010


The emergency cord?

You pull it if somebody's caught in the door as the train's pulling out of the station, or the driver has somehow lost control of the train.

Otherwise, you should probably post to MeTa first to make sure that it's ok to pull the cord.
posted by schmod at 7:26 AM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


For me, the most interesting thing about the thread was not the event itself -- it's true that we can't know what actually happened, as the video footage shows nothing but an angry woman. There's very little about the additional details of the event, and we don't even know for certain that she pulled the cord.

For me, the most interesting thing was discovering that there is an online community of like-minded flashers who are using this as a teachable moment, and that this is supported by a relatively mainstream adult publication. I wonder if this discussion didn't get somewhat buried because it's below the fold.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:26 AM on November 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


For instance, there's this sort of unquestioning acceptance that what actually happened is "man rubs naked penis on woman; woman pulls cord" when we're presented really pretty vague evidence of either being the case. It's even unquestioned that dude was wearing a condom when you never even see his junk. Mefites aren't usually such non-skeptical bunch, but for some reason skepticism just doesn't happen in a thread like that.

There's skepticism in the face of implausibility, and then there's skepticism in the face of what has been, in god I don't know how many conversations at this point, established to be shit that actually happens every day in countless ways to actual living breathing women, many of whom use this website.

It's fine to acknowledge the possibility of a gulf between what is shown on the video and implied in the surrounding commentary and what in fact happened. There are plenty of unbalanced people of all kinds out there; I haven't seen anyone in the thread swearing by the impossibility of that. But barring some clear specific reason to think that something is up in this case, bemoaning the absence of vocal skepticism seems more like devil's advocacy or injecting a counter-narrative for its own sake than a practical appraisal of the actual situation.

That's not a "what the discussion can/can't include" thing, in any case. I think it's just as important to be mindful of complementary "what the discussion must include" things; the discussion musn't always include the argument that someone is lying or misrepresenting themselves or is actually a crazy false-accuser, etc. It can, sometimes it's relevant, but the failure to go there is not by definition some failure of the conversation or even particularly a bad thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on November 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


It can, sometimes it's relevant, but the failure to go there is not by definition some failure of the conversation or even particularly a bad thing.

Agreed and I didn't say it was. I said they were culturally dangerous things to say and so I'm hesitant to decry the cord discussion as a derail or victim-blaming lest it too become an example of what isn't brought up around here.
posted by Dano St at 7:38 AM on November 24, 2010


In movies & TV shows, if the hero is ever on a train, they will end up pulling the cord in about 98% of cases. In fact, a train is nothing more than a device for containing an emergency cord for pulling; it has little reason to exist otherwise. Small wonder that people think emergency cords are some kind of get-out-of-jail-free ripcord for their own personal use.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:41 AM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


there's this sort of unquestioning acceptance that what actually happened is "man rubs naked penis on woman; woman pulls cord" when we're presented really pretty vague evidence of either being the case.

Can you cite anything claiming this was not what happened? The case is getting pretty wide coverage, so if that's a matter that's in question, . Skepticism is really only as useful as whatever results or new info it produces. Skepticism purely for its own sake, on the other hand, results in what I'd consider to be about 95% of the useless or assholish comments on this site.
posted by hermitosis at 7:50 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


She was being assaulted and reacted. Focusing on whether her reaction was appropriate or not is about a half step away from victim-blaming.

I've noticed that the phrase "victim-blaming" shows up very often in certain kinds of Metafilter threads, as if this were a big problem to be weeded out. But I'm hard-pressed to think of any comment I've ever seen on Metafilter that actually did place the blame on a victim of some crime or offense that should have been placed on someone else. No one is saying that victims of flashing or sexual assault are to blame for that crime.

The discussion (not the whole thread, but one discussion in the thread) was about how a crime victim should react. Is it unfair that the victim has a responsibility to react well? Of course. The fact that she was victimized at all is unfair. But life is unfair; crime does happen. What's wrong with having a discussion of how an innocent victim should react? Anyone who finds the discussion boring or uninformative is free to move on, but some other people might find it useful. Talking about the emergency cord issue could actually help people respond to subway crime more effectively in the future.

I think it's telling that this is the aspect of the story people want to discuss the most.

Just because people talk about one aspect of a story doesn't mean they find other aspects of the story less important.
posted by John Cohen at 7:52 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I pulled the emergency stop/door open lever once on the CTA (Chicago). The Red Line was really crowded (it may have been a Cubs/Cardinals day, I don't remember), and a little girl got stuck behind in the crowd on the train after her grandparents had already gotten off. I happened to be standing right by her when the train started moving and they started to shout and pound on the door. So I pulled the emergency stop.

No one was getting dragged, still the right decision.
posted by phunniemee at 7:53 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Can you cite anything claiming this was not what happened? The case is getting pretty wide coverage

No, I can't. The only things I've seen are what has been linked here to date on metafilter. I would welcome, though, any further evidence you can share. We don't all live in New York.
posted by Dano St at 7:57 AM on November 24, 2010


I pulled the emergency stop/door open lever once on the CTA (Chicago)

Does that actually stop the train? I always assumed it only opened the door, and that the driver would probably see the alarm and stop. I didn't think it was actually hooked up to a brake. (I've only seen it pulled when the train had already been stopped for the better part of an hour and people were trying to get out.) I don't think it's really the same thing as the New York emergency brake.
posted by enn at 7:58 AM on November 24, 2010


"culturally dangerous"? This sounds like you're just putting a sheen of pretension on what may be more accurately termed "baseless," "irrelevant," and/or "properly subject to valid criticism."
posted by chinston at 8:00 AM on November 24, 2010


> I don't think it's really the same thing as the New York emergency brake.

I think it's pretty clear that this discussion is derailing into Chicago style versus New York style. They're both delicious pizzas, people.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


In other words, hermitosis, please understand that I'm not saying it didn't happen as the woman described. I'm especially not claiming it doesn't happen ever. Those are not the points I'm to make, which is about the discussion here.
posted by Dano St at 8:03 AM on November 24, 2010


The case is getting pretty wide coverage

I've only seen it here on Metafilter, no joke.

But I've seen multiple references to Charlie Sheen being sued by the adult porn star who was with him during his lately drug freak out. Hurray for news.
posted by nomadicink at 8:10 AM on November 24, 2010


I think it's pretty clear that this discussion is derailing into Chicago style versus New York style. They're both delicious pizzas, people.

You go straight to hell.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:10 AM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I've only seen it here on Metafilter, no joke.

It's been on local network news this morning here in NY as well as Boing Boing, HuffPost, NineMSN, Salon.com, Slate and Jezebel.

I daresay your experience is not universal. :)
posted by zarq at 8:17 AM on November 24, 2010


I would have to imagine it would be pretty upsetting if a man accosted me on the subway and pulled out his penis.

I mean, from the thread yesterday and this thread and the coverage on Jezebel I've come to realize that this is a frequent occurrence for women, and that's really unfortunate. And I guess I can't even begin to imagine how upsetting that would be, really, as I lack any frame of reference.

However, there is still a certain level of accountability in how we respond to things, and that's a completely reasonable part of the story. I think EmpressCallipygos is trying to use coded language to try to make it out that people who are concerned with that aspect of the story are somehow being inappropriate - that, as Dano St says, "she wants to talk about what people 'seem to prefer' to want to talk about and perhaps what conclusions we can make about such people based on these preferences?"

That's ridiculous.
posted by kbanas at 8:20 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


They're both delicious pizzas, people.

I had a 30 min layover in St Louis last week and was mortified to find they had only Sbarro pizza, no local Imo's. So sad; I miss that freaky cheese.
posted by nomisxid at 8:23 AM on November 24, 2010


I daresay your experience is not universal.

Yeah, I kinda said that already when using the word "I" in the original statement. But hey, props to you for posting direct links to the stories, as proof it's getting wide coverage, that helped.

Interestingly enough, Google doesn't contain many of those links. So much for universal.
posted by nomadicink at 8:25 AM on November 24, 2010


Chicago style versus New York style. They're both delicious pizzas, people.

But, New Haven pizza is the best!
posted by ericb at 8:29 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just because people talk about one aspect of a story doesn't mean they find other aspects of the story less important.

forgive me, for i've just woken up and haven't had coffee yet, but... isn't that exactly what it means? there are many aspects to this particular news story, but the one that most people in the thread have latched onto is the emergency cord issue. to any reasonable person reading that thread, it appears that that's the most important issue to come out of this story.
posted by palomar at 8:30 AM on November 24, 2010


I guess I can't even begin to imagine how upsetting that would be, really, as I lack any frame of reference.

I'm curious in a nerdy number-crunching way how universal it is cross-gender. Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction? Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot? Are there women who haven't seen a stranger's penis in this sort of situation? It's only happened to me once or twice, but that's more than how often this should happen, which is never.

There is no way to make a MeTa thread in such a way that people won't jump all over it. My feeling is that EC was just trying to get people to talk about the main point of the thread and shift the subway derail here. Not usually what people do in MeTa but it's definitely something people can try to do here. If you think she's doing something else, or you think there's something else going on, come out and say it outright.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 AM on November 24, 2010


C'mon, saying the victim did a thing incorrectly isn't the same thing as "blaming the vicitim", nobody is suggesting that pulling the cord is what caused the bad guy to pull his johnson out or caused the bad situation.

How do the rules work for starting a MetaTalk for a discussion you don't want people to have on a blue post? Once this exists and isn't deleted, does that mean it's against the rules to further discuss the topic in the original thread? Discussing protocol for emergency situations on a subway on a post about an emergency situation on a subway doesn't seem off-topic to me.
posted by floam at 8:35 AM on November 24, 2010


isn't that exactly what it means?

It may mean instead that regardless of whether subtopic A is more Important than subtopic B, subtopic B may be better seeded for argument/discussion/parsing.

For example, whether it's okay for pervs to wander around jacking off on strangers on the subway is probably more important in a basic how-we-deal-with-each-other-as-human-beings sense than what the proper use of the emergency stop cord on the NY subway system is, but the weird unexamined implications of and disagreements about the the use and abuse of that cord may make for fertile argumentative ground for folks. Maybe in part because it's something they've on average argued about less in the past than pervo flasher bullshit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:36 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why don't they just call them "drag cords," and eliminate the "emergency" part?
posted by klangklangston at 8:36 AM on November 24, 2010


thanks for clarifying, cortex. off to find coffee (and my elusive pants).
posted by palomar at 8:39 AM on November 24, 2010


I'm curious in a nerdy number-crunching way how universal it is cross-gender. Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction? Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot? Are there women who haven't seen a stranger's penis in this sort of situation? It's only happened to me once or twice, but that's more than how often this should happen, which is never.

I have never, ever seen another man whip out his penis, or anything of the sort - directed at me or anyone else - but I live a pretty boring life and I am a tiny sample size and I realize my experience (or lack there of) does not in any way mean that it does not happen, because it obviously does.

I just asked me wife if she had ever been flashed, and she also answered in the negative.

I get the general impression from this conversation, however, that she's in the minority, and most women have been flashed at least once. Is that accurate?
posted by kbanas at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2010


Interestingly enough, Google doesn't contain many of those links. So much for universal.

Um... that's where I got all of the above links from. I searched for "subway flasher," just as you did. I see that I missed the New York Magazine link though.
posted by zarq at 8:41 AM on November 24, 2010


"Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction?

Nope. I think in part because a guy doing this to another guy is much more likely to be on equal physical grounds, and thus much more likely to get the ever-livin' shit kicked out of him.

Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?"

I've never been accused of flapping my dick at strangers.
posted by klangklangston at 8:44 AM on November 24, 2010


I'm curious in a nerdy number-crunching way how universal it is cross-gender. Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction? Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

I'm a dude and I've seen three, but none of them were jerking off, and two of the three were drunk homeless dudes that I don't think even knew they were flashing me. The third one was a weirdo getting something out of it. None of these occured on public transit, were just guys walking down the sidewalk. All three cases were not traumatizing and were simply "what the fuck, wonderful" moments, but that might have been different if I felt like I was in some kind of danger of if I had to witness jerk-offing.
posted by floam at 8:45 AM on November 24, 2010


or if I had to
posted by floam at 8:46 AM on November 24, 2010


Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

I'm trying to think of circumstances in which someone would be falsely accused of baring their genitals to a stranger.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:46 AM on November 24, 2010


pulling the cord. heh heh.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:46 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about something. This quote from grouse; was this for real?
Remember when Spider-Man didn't stop that flasher from getting to the elevator and later that same flasher jizzed all over Uncle Ben? That's why you should care.
You should only care because a man might be the victim eventually instead of a woman?
posted by grouse at 8:38 PM on November 23 [+] [!]
So was that a parody, or was grouse being serious? It seems almost unfathomable someone could have that as a legitimate reaction, and not as some Limbaugh-esque parody of a feminist's stock response.

If it's a real response, I mention it as an example- because if you want to talk derails, I think there are a vocal minority who will lash out in threads relating to gender to essentially attack with hyperbolic glee any comments not sufficiently deferential to a specific viewpoint, or to aggressively misquote and misrepresent other people in the thread. It started to happen in that thread with me until cortex stopped it, and I think it's a little of what Dano St and to some extent John Cohen are talking about above. Like other charged topics, there seems to be a use of meta elements- accusations of trolling, excessive flagging, misquoting or almost comical misunderstanding like with grouse above, etc- that are themselves a form of derail in attempt to control the conversation or silence certain types of commentary.

In that thread and now this MT, it seems to be happening and while this MT is a perfect place for Empress and others to vent, this stuff occurs unchecked in the regular threads all the time.

And I guess I don't understand why that's okay.
posted by hincandenza at 8:49 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have never seen it not been accused of doing it, despite the fact that I used to quite regularly walk around parties with my pants down, crying out "Where are my pants!"

Never took my undies down, though. There's a thin cotton line between comedy and oppression.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:49 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


kbanas, i'm not sure if your wife's in the minority or not, but i and most of the women i know (let's say a sample size of 40) have been flashed.

in my case, i wouldn't exactly call it "flashing", because that seems so cute and harmless on its face. i was at the public library working on a paper for a class and a guy sitting near me hit on me a couple of times until i put in my headphones so i could continue working. after a few minutes i noticed movement in my peripheral vision, and i looked up... and there he was, staring right at my face (glaring, really -- he was a big dude and looked scary as shit) and jerking off at me. his penis was fully out of his sweatpants and he was just cranking away like he'd get a big cash prize if he spooged in time.
posted by palomar at 8:52 AM on November 24, 2010


Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction? Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

Purely anecdotally, it's rare but not unheard of. Perverts are perverts, and although the majority seem to find women more enticing or more vulnerable, some are quite happy to wave their penis at a dude. I've had it happen once definitely, and once where I was pretty sure of what he was doing but I wasn't real motivated to go over and confirm. (And then there's the even more ambiguous situations, like at some nudist hot springs and beaches I've been to, where the line between gay cruising scene and naked hanging out scene can get pretty blurry, but at least there everyone has agreed to be naked.)

The big difference, maybe, is that those events were icky but not threatening because I'm big enough and mean enough that if a flasher dude tried to get touchy he'd be in a world of trouble. So the same situation (creepy dude with his wang hanging out) is experienced really differently, over and above the numerical count of how often it has or hasn't happened.

I'm not sure what you mean by "accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot." As long as I keep my pants on, it's hard for me to imagine being accused of flashing someone or of jerking it in public. Accused of leering, sure, that is easy to imagine. But no one I've ever known has ever been accused of flashing (except for getting yelled at for pissing in public.) I really don't think it's a situation you can "accidentally" end up in, like those guys who end up in the ER because they "accidentally" sat down and found a large object in their rectum.
posted by Forktine at 8:54 AM on November 24, 2010


For the record, Spider-Man's Uncle Ben was never jizzed upon.

At least, not in the canon.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:57 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


this stuff occurs unchecked in the regular threads all the time.

Where?
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2010


Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction? Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

No dude I know has witnessed this. Rather, has witnessed this in a way that it wasn't clear it was aimed directly at them. I've definitely seen my fair share of homeless/crazy-cock. Every single woman I know, howeverm has seen cock being primed and ready to go off in their direction.

Why don't they just call them "drag cords," and eliminate the "emergency" part?

No, no. The "drag cord" is what you pull after the train departs the West Village at 4 AM. It shuts the light and brings down the disco ball and the speakers.
posted by griphus at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2010


And by "Where" I mean, "You're accusing us of something and I'd appreciate it if you would provide links to concrete examples, please."
posted by zarq at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2010


Oops, left a category out. It should read:

where the line between gay cruising scene and naked hanging out scene and the creepy dudes can get pretty blurry
posted by Forktine at 9:00 AM on November 24, 2010


And I guess I don't understand why that's okay.

My guess is that it's okay because of the giant feminist conspiracy to unfairly punish men.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


kbanas:
I get the general impression from this conversation, however, that she's in the minority, and most women have been flashed at least once. Is that accurate


In my experience it is more likely in an urban setting. I have never been flashed in a suburban shopping mall; I have been flashed in NYC more than once and on a Boston campus once.

I consider it a fairly normal (though unwelcome and deeply... bad...) reality and an extremely aggressive sub-set of standard street harassment.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:10 AM on November 24, 2010


First, in a real, adrenaline-rushing, panicked, hyperventilating emergency, sometimes you become icily rational. Sometimes you become all instinct, and instinct often says, Lucy Ricardo-like, "Pull the cord pull the cord pull the cord pull the cord pull the cord!"

Second, I was under the clearly mistaken impression that IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE FUCKING DOORS TO CLOSE WITH YOU BETWEEN THEM AND DRAG YOU TO A HORRIBLE GORY DEATH.

Christ almighty, NYC needs to take the money it's investing in big Do Not Pull the Cord signs and put it into door safety improvement.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:12 AM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


For me, the most interesting thing was discovering that there is an online community of like-minded flashers who are using this as a teachable moment, and that this is supported by a relatively mainstream adult publication.

Can I propose a corollary to Rule 34? No matter how niche, immoral, illegal or physically impossible the paraphilia is, there is a thriving online community devoted to it, no exceptions.

Without looking at that forum, or having any particular desire to, I'm sure there's a certain banal familiarity of the community mechanics - people chewing newbies out for not reading the sticky posts about which subforum to post to, signature lines that explain exactly which sub-type of flasher the poster is, and what brand of trenchcoat they use, etc.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:12 AM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction?

I've been on the receiving end of this, as have some of my friends, but the same-sex aspect of it makes it VASTLY different.

When a guy discreetly groped himself on the train so that only I could see, I didn't discourage him. I didn't feel threatened by him. I wasn't particularly attracted by the gesture, but I admit I was excited by the novelty of the experience. My very first subway pervert! Then a woman unwittingly intervened by sitting down next to him, intercepting our sightline, and he immediately covered up and got off the train, which I thought was pretty funny.

Another time I definitely felt some guy pressing up against me on a crowded train -- like, erection-ally -- and again I didn't feel threatened or disgusted, just sort of curious about what was happening.

A similar thing happened to a friend of mine and it actually nearly resulted in their going home together.

Gays are so used to hiding in plain sight that there are so many different codes and signals, and typically guys tend to err on the side of being quite bold, with the understanding that if their attention turns out to be unwelcome, they'll just move on to someone else. No harm, no foul, sorry to have wasted your time. And so on the receiving end of that unsolicited attention, all it takes is one dismissive gesture and they get the point. No need to shout or hurt or shame, you just shake your head or say, "Sorry, dude." I'm sure sometimes they pick the wrong guy, and it goes very badly for one or the other of them. Being on equal footing with a sexual aggressor -- physically, socially, etc. -- in a public place where you both know that they have everything to lose from taking such a risk, completely changes the power dynamic.

I'm well aware of how different that is from anything a woman experiences, and I would personally never hesitate to intervene if I saw a woman being harassed or perved on. I have talked about this with straight guy friends before and they were horrified, because this is the kind of thing they would never want to happen to themselves or their girlfriends/sisters/mothers.
posted by hermitosis at 9:16 AM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm curious in a nerdy number-crunching way how universal it is cross-gender.

Googling for the phrase "Reports of males being flashed" produces results of women being flashed.

Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction?

I have never, ever had this happen to me. I am unaware of this happening to other males I know, to the point where I was hesitant to act, 'cause it sounds so ridiculous, a man randomly flashing other man. Asking three men produced confused looks and/or laughter and questions of "What are you talking about?"

side note: one did mention being hit on heavily by a gay male, which he sorta viewed as weird/strange/kinda assualty, but he really didn't seem to have words or concepts to put in that way. It was just "weird and gross".

Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

Well, I haven't do it at all and have never been accused of it. I can't speak those who have done it but not a lot.

Are there women who haven't seen a stranger's penis in this sort of situation?

A quick question to five women I know reveal three have had this occur.
posted by nomadicink at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2010


zarq, in the most recent thread they were actually deleted by cortex et al, which is cool because even I could tell it would have been flameworthy and unproductive each way. So that subway thread is quite civil- resulting in this MeTa thread because it was civil and not, presumably, a non-stop condemnation of this particular flasher, or flashers in general.

What I'm referring to are comments like the grouse one- which I quoted- as a synecdoche for the comments in other threads relating to gender issues, rape, or sexual assults, which imply asking alternate or even skeptical questions is a sign of being a) ragingly sexist or b) a sexual predator one's self. While the subway thread itself is quite moderate, this MeTa and some of the comments in there from folks like DarlingBri and emjaybee or even AstroZombie still trot out the "victim blaming" accusation.
posted by hincandenza at 9:20 AM on November 24, 2010


Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction?

I, a man, have never had schlong waved at me unexpectedly. I have had borderline creepy things said to me by other men on a subway. I have been touched about the groin and ass in curious ways by men and women but always on packed trains where the most plausible explanation is simple proximity.

My wife has had schlong waved at her unexpectedly. Once that I know of. It was on a subway.

Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

Aww, come on, I haven't done it at all. :) But about the false frottage charge:

Packed but not squished train. A stop where many people get off. I'm standing in middle of car in front of a door. I lean to the right to make room for people leaving. After a moment, I hear a woman loudly saying behind me "EXCuuuSSE ME!". I turn and she's looking directly at me and says something I didn't quite catch but was loud and angry and clearly implied I had touched her inappropriately. I muttered something about making room for people leaving, but was too mortified to do much else but stand there and try not to notice all the people looking at me. I am sure no part of my body touched any part of hers. I had a messenger bag at my hip that may have. My zipper was up. I looked a lot like the guy in the video.

I understand that her reaction was more the fault of creepy men she may have run across than it was hers. I understand that it's not nearly the same thing as what women experience. I'm just saying that's an anecdote I would not feel comfortable sharing in thread despite a certain relevancy. It wouldn't be worth the grief.
posted by Dano St at 9:22 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've noticed that the phrase "victim-blaming" shows up very often in certain kinds of Metafilter threads, as if this were a big problem to be weeded out. But I'm hard-pressed to think of any comment I've ever seen on Metafilter that actually did place the blame on a victim of some crime or offense that should have been placed on someone else.

You must have missed the whole "young black guy assaults old white guy; old white guy retaliates, MeTafilter convicts old white guy of being in the wrong for being white" thread.
posted by rodgerd at 9:38 AM on November 24, 2010


I have seen crazy and or drunk dick, but never brandished.

Also, once I was out canvassing and made it half the day before I started walking to lunch and realized that my fly was open and I was peaking out of my boxers ("Wait, what's that draft? Oh shit!"). But I raised, like, over $600 that day from both men and women, so either no one noticed or it wasn't a deal breaker.
posted by klangklangston at 9:40 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


How can a someone spend a significant portion of their life on subways and never ever ever ever be bothered to notice the signage?

Maybe if subways weren't wallpapered with thousands of signs and instead just had a map and a "what to do in case of emergency" sign, this wouldn't be an issue.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:43 AM on November 24, 2010


Dano St, forgive me, but if you didn't catch what the lady said to you, how do you know she was specifically accusing you of touching her in a sexual way?

I ask because I have gotten that exact same treatment from other people on crowded public transit, more than once. (data point: I am a woman.) People are mashed in together which is sort of a feature of public transit, and everyone knows it's sort of unavoidable, and yet everyone gets pissy when their personal space is invaded, resulting in a lot of sighing and eye-rolling and "well excuuuuse me!"-ing when the doors open and people shove their way out.
posted by palomar at 9:43 AM on November 24, 2010


hincandenza: What I'm referring to are comments like the grouse one- which I quoted- as a synecdoche for the comments in other threads relating to gender issues, rape, or sexual assults, which imply asking alternate or even skeptical questions is a sign of being a) ragingly sexist or b) a sexual predator one's self. While the subway thread itself is quite moderate, this MeTa and some of the comments in there from folks like DarlingBri and emjaybee or even AstroZombie still trot out the "victim blaming" accusation

To clarify, it was not my intention to imply any commenter in that thread was either A or B. I'm not happy with the scepticism for reasons Cortex articulated but I didn't touch that topic in my comments.

Nor am I arguing that pulling the cord was the correct choice. I am arguing that it is labelled an Emergency Cord, this woman was experiencing an emergency, and it's understandable that in an irrational situation like facing an erect penis on a subway, someone reacted irrationally and, you know, hit the emergency button.

When responses to the narrative comprise "I hope she didn't pull the emergency cord" with no other commentary, that leaves me as a reader with several possible interpretations:

1) She shouldn't have pulled it because it wasn't an emergency.
2) She shouldn't have pulled it because one woman being sexually abused in a public space is not worth several thousand commuters being delayed by 20 minutes.
3) She should not have pulled the emergency cord because that actually delayed her getting the help she needed.

Obviously, when someone actually says #2, it relieves me of the burden of having to interpret.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:54 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


But I raised, like, over $600 that day from both men and women, so either no one noticed or it wasn't a deal breaker.

Or you have a very attractive penis.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's fairly insulting to accuse people who were discussing the pros and cons of pulling the cord of victim-blaming. We're not all Mayor Curley.

Where did I blame the fucking victim? Show me where I said "she shouldn't have been on the subway" or "she was asking for it in that sexy beige coat." For the record, I said "She was violated, but she didn't take the best course of action."

What kind of person are you that you assign the worst possible, demonstrably false motives to someone when they disagree with you? I took pains to be very polite and reasoned in crafting my initial response in the interest of keeping discourse civil, and you pissed on it. I expect a public apology.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:58 AM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be?
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:54 PM on November 23 [+] [!]


I believe this is probably the comment in question, Mayor Curley.
posted by palomar at 10:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think you blamed the victim, Curley, though when I read your comment that said, "Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be?" I did gasp audibly. But then I saw who wrote it and my shock immediately vanished.
posted by hermitosis at 10:10 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I expect a public apology.

Does "I'm sorry you appear to be suffering from a lack of self-awareness." count?
posted by kalessin at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


No; see, her behavior would have inconvenienced Mayor Curley if he had been on that train. You're not thinking enough about the Mayor.

Jesus fuck. It's not about me, it's about literally thousands of people. Of course on an average day I would, if asked, stand in a subway station for two hours waiting for the mess to clear if it meant that someone like that dude would be apprehended. But we're talking about changing the plans of the population of a large town at least. There are people who are going to visit a loved one in the hospital, people who just got off a plane and want to see their kid before she goes to bed, people who are miserable sick and need to get home, people in anguish who just lost someone and need to get home, even people who need to get home to their dogs. Thousands of people. Most people are going to be merely inconvenienced and that's fine, but a couple hours on the subway is misery for a subset of people and there are many, many of them.

My position isn't selfish-- I reiterate: As things are right now I would gladly do the wait. But I've been the lost soul on the subway who NEEDS to get home so I think about those people when I hear that the train was stopped for something that was terrible but not life-threatening.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, once I was out canvassing and made it half the day before I started walking to lunch and realized that my fly was open and I was peaking out of my boxers ("Wait, what's that draft? Oh shit!"). But I raised, like, over $600 that day from both men and women, so either no one noticed or it wasn't a deal breaker.


"Oh God his fly is open...this is gonna be awkward...Fuck it I'll just give him money so he goes away..."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:13 AM on November 24, 2010


Admittedly, I've seen klang in his underwear. But in my defense, so did a lot of people on the internet.
posted by nomadicink at 10:20 AM on November 24, 2010


>Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be?

I believe this is probably the comment in question, Mayor Curley.


Perhaps you can demonstrate to me how that's blaming the victim for the exposure.

Does "I'm sorry you appear to be suffering from a lack of self-awareness." count?

You might be correct in my lack of self-awareness. Because I can not for the life of me read any of my comments as "it's her fault." In fact, by my reading it looks like I took pains in my initial comment to say that it was terrible that it happened and that the perpetrator would ideally be punished. Do you see that? I must be hallucinating or something because it sounds like I wrote something akin to "stupid bitch was asking for it" and I don't see it and I don't remember writing it. If I did, then I apologize and would never think or say that if I were in my right mind.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:22 AM on November 24, 2010


Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be?

I think that the gap here between your conceit of whether or not this was blaming the victim and a lot of your audience's conceit of whether or not this was blaming the victim.

I, among many other audience members, seem to have taken this as a strong implication of you having a lack of sympathy and compassion for the victim that was in turn strongly correlated with the common argument that uses the rhetorical mechanism of blaming the victim as its primary tactic.

As hermitosis has noted, you did not actually blame the victim in these words, and I can totally concede that. But I do still think that with self-awareness, you are responsible for the effects of your words, not just the literal meaning. As a rhetorician, I hold you responsible not only for the literal meaning of your words but also to some extent how they are consumed.

I build a bridge of trying to assume good intent with you and I get halfway and then you do your half by making sure you try not to come across as a compassionless turd burglar in your phrasing and terminology. If you don't do your half (which is what it seemed like went down there), then it becomes hard for me to continue building that bridge and assuming you actually give a shit about the victim.
posted by kalessin at 10:27 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: try not to come across as a compassionless turd burglar
posted by Burhanistan at 10:29 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Perhaps you can demonstrate to me how that's blaming the victim for the exposure.

I suspect the thinking is that you are more concerned with everyone else but the person actually being assaulted.

I get that you're bringing up important questions. After all, if anyone could stop a train by pulling the cord, you'd get jerks who would get off on doing that. So several questions spring up, like what is the proper response in this situation, which of course causes a sort of reverse question i.e. "why does the woman have to respond in specific way while being assaulted in order to be taken seriously."

Basically the situation and the way the thread went touch on issues with a lot of baggage (and I don't mean this in the negative sense).
posted by nomadicink at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2010


Are there women who haven't seen a stranger's penis in this sort of situation? It's only happened to me once or twice, but that's more than how often this should happen, which is never.

I've lived in everything from tiny towns to big cities, but I've only taken the subway once.. I have, however, been flashed a number of times. The first time I was, like, shocked and embarrassed. After that, I pointed and laughed or ignored the perv -- both seemed to work in putting the penis out of sight.
posted by patheral at 10:31 AM on November 24, 2010


While the subway thread itself is quite moderate, this MeTa and some of the comments in there from folks like DarlingBri and emjaybee or even AstroZombie still trot out the "victim blaming" accusation.

Whatever your up to here, I ask you to reconsider it. I have said nothing about victim blaming, and you seem to be lining up those you think are on some opposite side of you. I only oppose you, at this moment, in that I would prefer you not do this.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:33 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mayor Curley, I was pointing out that that was the particular comment that most likely upset people, since you were saying you didn't understand which of your comments people were upset about. Please notice that I did not attack you, shame you, cast aspersion in your direction, nothing. Just a simple cut and paste job and a "hey dude, here's the comment in question."

Not looking for a fight from you, so maybe you could dial down the grar you're pointing at me.
posted by palomar at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2010


Perhaps you can demonstrate to me how that's blaming the victim for the exposure.

I think it's kind of hairsplitting to suggest that "victim-blaming" only occurs if you're specifically blaming the victim for the crime, and nothing else. But maybe "victim-shaming" is a more precise phrase for what you (and a handful of others) were doing. You're not blaming her for the assault, true, but you are blaming her for inconveniencing "thousands of people" in her insistence upon getting immediate attention from the authorities so that the perp couldn't escape. Like telling someone not to "waste the police's time" by reporting harassing phone calls, for example. Blaming, maybe not, but certainly shaming.

Like I said in the thread, it's not the victim who's the real cause of the inconvenience, it's the lawbreaker. In addition to the other charges already before him, I'd be happy if he also faced some sort of fine as a result of that massive inconvenience he caused by assaulting a woman on the train. I don't know if NYC does that sort of thing, though. (I certainly hope she doesn't face any penalties for pulling the cord. Do they do that?)
posted by Gator at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Or you have a very attractive penis."

Paypal me a dollar and you can judge for yourself!
posted by klangklangston at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2010


When I read Mavri's comment and clicked through to the FPP, I was sort of confused. Mayor Curley has a reputation for being an insensitive crank at times, but it's pretty clear here that he went out of his way to get his point - a valid one, I think - across without sounding like he was attacking the victim. And now people seem to be saying that because he didn't express compassion for the flashee with enough volume or frequency he may have brought the accusation of victim-blaming on himself? Sort of silly.

If participation in that conversation requires that people clearly establish (Or maybe 'conspicuously establish' would be more apt) their compassion for the victim or risk being identified as a victim blamer, I say shut the post down. Sounds like OutrageFilter.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's blaming the victim for inconveniencing others. But the person who caused the trouble is dick guy; if dick guy hadn't pulled out his dick the cord wouldn't have been pulled by anyone, and neither would the dick. The real message here is don't pull your dick on the subway.
posted by taz at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


you having a lack of sympathy and compassion for the victim that was in turn strongly correlated with the common argument that uses the rhetorical mechanism of blaming the victim as its primary tactic.

It was strongly correlated because everyone likes to turn people who disagree with them into villains. Why should anyone be obligated to meet your expected level of sympathy in order to not have their position blatantly misattributed? I never said that she was asking for it, I never said anything approaching it. Any attribution of that sentiment is intellectual laziness on the part of people who would like for me to have said that so that they could rebuke me more effectively.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:50 AM on November 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


If participation in that conversation requires that people clearly establish (Or maybe 'conspicuously establish' would be more apt) their compassion for the victim or risk being identified as a victim blamer, I say shut the post down.

I think this is the point that hincandenza and Dano St were both trying to make.
posted by proj at 10:51 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


And now people seem to be saying that because he didn't express compassion for the flashee with enough volume or frequency he may have brought the accusation of victim-blaming on himself?

A person committed a crime that resulted in the train system being temporarily tied up. Curley's failure to express compassion for the victim isn't what drew ire, it's his conferring the responsibility for outcome of this incident onto the victim instead of on the assailant where it belongs.

Surprise -- people make questionable decisions when they're in a panic because they're in the midst of having a crime perpetrated upon them! Sometimes those reactions are really grossly disproportionate to whatever it was that triggered them, and sometimes in those cases victims ARE held accountable. Most people seem to think that this woman's reaction, while practical, was pretty understandable under the circumstances.
posted by hermitosis at 10:56 AM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


while IMpractical, sorry.
posted by hermitosis at 10:57 AM on November 24, 2010


Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be? (emphasis mine)

Maybe it doesn't qualify under the strictest possible interpretation of victim-blaming, but it sounds like "Hey, be sure to think of other people while you're being assaulted, because you don't want to inconvenience people when you defend yourself or ask for help."
posted by rtha at 10:57 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think it's kind of hairsplitting to suggest that "victim-blaming" only occurs if you're specifically blaming the victim for the crime, and nothing else

"blaming the victim" has a pretty specific meaning, and one that's well understood by most Americans at least, especially in the context of sexual assault and harrassment. It definitely means assigning some amount of blame to the victim of the crime for the crime, and it's not some small technicality.
posted by floam at 11:00 AM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Good thing I said some more stuff after that, then.
posted by Gator at 11:01 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are there women who haven't seen a stranger's penis in this sort of situation?

I haven't. Luck and spending probably less than my personal quota of time on public transportation, I guess.

Though I was flashed once on a school bus by a kid who was three years older. (I was 12, he would have been 15.) I guess he was a flasher prodigy. I was more confused than offended. It was really hard to tell if he was just having an XYZ* problem or if it was intentional.

Since then, the only penises I've seen personally have been encountered intentionally.

*eXamine Your Zipper
posted by sonika at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2010


PDQ
posted by Babblesort at 11:08 AM on November 24, 2010


turd burglar

This is a homophobic term of abuse where I live, is it used differently elsewhere?
posted by biffa at 11:11 AM on November 24, 2010


Anyone who has anal sex can be a turd burglar. Also, anyone who steals poo and says "rubble rubble."
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 AM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


And now that I remember, I actually was a victim of flashing.

I was a freshman in high school and I was unpopular and working for the "AV Club" and we would go into this little like mock production studio and do these really awful news casts, and there were a group of seniors who would kind of hang out in the corner and be mean to everyone else and one of them was a girl and one day she was up on this ladder talking to some guys and I was near by doing something, I don't even remember what, and she said, "Hey! Hey Kyle! I want to fuck you like an animal!" and then she flashed me and I got very embarrassed and scurried away very quickly, even though I'm pretty sure she was wearing underwear and tights and the whole nine yards.

That pretty much encapsulates high school for me, I think.

I'm pretty sure she did not actually want to fuck me like an animal.
posted by kbanas at 11:15 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It means you steal turds.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:16 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Alvy Ampersand: When I read Mavri's comment and clicked through to the FPP, I was sort of confused. Mayor Curley has a reputation for being an insensitive crank at times, but it's pretty clear here that he went out of his way to get his point - a valid one, I think - across without sounding like he was attacking the victim. And now people seem to be saying that because he didn't express compassion for the flashee with enough volume or frequency he may have brought the accusation of victim-blaming on himself? Sort of silly
I don't know about you, but I giggled at the irony of that- blaming Mayor Curley for bringing the attacks on him on himself, because he wasn't sufficiently clear about not... victim blaming.

This seems so cut and dried: yes she was assaulted, and her response to loudly denounce the guy, and seek out the authorities, was a good one. That doesn't mean she should have pulled the cord, since apparently that's not what it's for- any more than it's for when someone gets stabbed, or has a heart attack, or any other number of emergencies.

It'd be like saying you can shout "Fire" in a crowded theater when someone flashes their weenus at you. No, actually, you can't, and all the cultural and gender baggage doesn't mean you can shout "Fire". Even if you think in your heart of hearts that the only way to get through the thick skin of an uncaring society, ignorant to the plight of flashees, is to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater... it really isn't the right thing to do. You can even believe it's the wrong thing to do without believing that flashees encouraged being flashed, or must silently suffer under the weight of a thousand dangling exposed weeni.

And pointing that out doesn't make Mayor Curley, or anyone, a misogynist, or sexist, or a "victim-blamer" or "victim-shamer". And to do just that is, well, mean, unproductive, and intellectually dishonest.
posted by hincandenza at 11:17 AM on November 24, 2010 [19 favorites]


Dano St, forgive me, but if you didn't catch what the lady said to you, how do you know she was specifically accusing you of touching her in a sexual way?

Are you being skeptical of my version of events? Heh. Honestly, "something I didn't quite catch" was shorthand for it was about 18 months ago and I have, uh, certain memory issues, but there was definitely some form of "touch" in there, and I thought there was a "perv" at the end but was never quite sure. Mostly, though, the clues were non-verbal. The look on her face, the look of the other people. I met eyes with one other woman in particular whose smirk seemed to indicate she enjoyed my comeuppance. This felt quite different to me than mundane rush hour grouchiness.
posted by Dano St at 11:19 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a homophobic term of abuse where I live, is it used differently elsewhere?

I noticed it too, but I think it's pretty clear that kalessin thought it was a light, "ass-clownish" negative term and I didn't want to derail by pointing it out. For the record, it's an unacceptable term, but we can assume that the person who used it didn't know that so lets not worry about it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:21 AM on November 24, 2010


turd burglar

This is a homophobic term of abuse where I live, is it used differently elsewhere?


Unless you are following the second burglar, yes. I've never heard it other than as a homophobic term. Here's a definition, with usage examples from books.
posted by Forktine at 11:23 AM on November 24, 2010

me: While the subway thread itself is quite moderate, this MeTa and some of the comments in there from folks like DarlingBri and emjaybee or even AstroZombie still trot out the "victim blaming" accusation.
Astro Zombie: Whatever your up to here, I ask you to reconsider it. I have said nothing about victim blaming, and you seem to be lining up those you think are on some opposite side of you. I only oppose you, at this moment, in that I would prefer you not do this
I was referring to this comment when I lumped you in, which seems to be part of the "Why are we talking about the cord thing/victim-blaming" current.

Although yes, to be honest I do think of you as historically being a little to quick to display his sensitive-third-wave merit badge in these kinds of threads, currying favorites from the usual posters. But in this case I was scanning that thread in response to zarq's request and your name stuck in my head as part of the example I was proffering.
posted by hincandenza at 11:24 AM on November 24, 2010


This is a homophobic term of abuse where I live, is it used differently elsewhere?

I never encountered it in the context of any sociosexual charge when I was growing up, it was just a funny-sounding insult with the internal rhyme and such. I wouldn't be surprised if that's a lot of folks' experience with it. Doesn't make its use with actual homophobic intent any less shitty when that does happen, and these days I pretty much try to keep my silly insults neutral when I can because really why go there if it might bother someone and doesn't get me anywhere.

Occasional silly Youtube videos excepted.

It means you steal turds.

Copyright infringement != theft, goddammit.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:25 AM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hey, I was curious about "Ghost Rider" after that Cage thread from yesterday...
posted by Burhanistan at 11:26 AM on November 24, 2010


Turd infringer sounds even more homophobic, though.
posted by hincandenza at 11:26 AM on November 24, 2010


Falsely accused of flashing men have been. At least once.

I could not find the link, but a man in my neighborhood was accused of masturbating in public. The case went to trial and he was found innocent.

Turns out he lives in his car and he was taking a leak next to a dumpster. He did his best to be hidden from people, but anyways someone saw him and reported him.

His doctors testified that he has a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to urinate, it takes a very long time, and the man has to manipulate his penis and push on his bladder with his hands in order to urinate.

This man was very very close to being put on the sexual offender regustry. What did happen to him is that the neighborhood paper published an article about the case, saying he was definitely not masturbating, since the doctors testified that he has been unable to achieve an erection for the last 15 years.

***

When I was 17 years old I had very long hair. A dude approached me in his car from behind and called me "hey baby" with his dick in his hand. The look on his face when I turned to face him and he saw my beard was very satisfying to see. I guess that is the kind of looks he enjoyed getting from his female victims.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mayor Curley, I apologize if it I gave the impression you were blaming her for the attack. You clearly didn't. You were blaming her for the way she reacted to the attack.

It definitely means assigning some amount of blame to the victim of the crime for the crime, and it's not some small technicality.

People also blame victims for their reactions to crimes. For example (not from this situation): Why didn't she report it? Why didn't she fight back? That was the way I was using the phrase "victim-blaming." It's not the same as blaming the victim for the actual crime, but it's a pretty unsympathetic way to react to a crime victim.

What kind of person are you that you assign the worst possible, demonstrably false motives to someone when they disagree with you?

We were using the phrase "victim-blaming" in slightly different ways (blaming victim for crime vs. blaming victim for consequences of crime), but I don't think I misunderstood your point or assigned false motives to your statement. People who have one particular understanding of the word "victim-blaming," including you, thought I was saying something I wasn't. It happens.
posted by Mavri at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2010


Turdfeasor, perhaps.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Turdtorrentor. Hawt.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:28 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Turd Pirate Bay?
posted by hincandenza at 11:30 AM on November 24, 2010


Shit wants to be free. Or people want free shit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:30 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can I start a new thread on MeTa for people who want to discuss turd burgling and its many legal and linguisitic variants, so that this thread can remain pure to the task at hand- which is derailing from the subway thread?
posted by hincandenza at 11:31 AM on November 24, 2010


Are you being skeptical of my version of events? Heh.

just trying to get clarification. thanks for responding, i'm sorry if i offended you.
posted by palomar at 11:33 AM on November 24, 2010


That doesn't mean she should have pulled the cord, since apparently that's not what it's for

I think really the big thing is that virtually no one knows that isn't what the cord is for, so yeah maybe you can sit her down and say 'In the future, the cord is just for X or Y circumstances' and be done and not have to go on and on and argue and complain and grumble and whine about it because it's really not a large part of the story, which is that a woman was sexually assaulted.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:37 AM on November 24, 2010


Although yes, to be honest I do think of you as historically being a little to quick to display his sensitive-third-wave merit badge in these kinds of threads, currying favorites from the usual posters.

Yes, that's precisely the sort of shit I am asking you to cut out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:38 AM on November 24, 2010 [14 favorites]


I never encountered it in the context of any sociosexual charge when I was growing up, it was just a funny-sounding insult with the internal rhyme and such. I wouldn't be surprised if that's a lot of folks' experience with it.

This thread is actually the first time I've heard of it being related to sexuality in any way. If it was a term I would ever come within ten feet of using, I would now stop.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:41 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious in a nerdy number-crunching way how universal it is cross-gender. Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction?

Never in my experience. However, I've heard that it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn. I know that is only sort of topical, but.. To me, it is an extraordinarily personal thing, so the fact that some guys see it as something to share seems relevant.

Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

A woman accused me of trying to physically hit on her when I was actually just trying to figure out which way I should be walking down a sidewalk. It happened when I was around 12 or 14. It feels silly to say, but it was actually very humiliating and a formative experience.
posted by Chuckles at 11:42 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dano St: I understand that her reaction was more the fault of creepy men she may have run across than it was hers.

I don't know about that.. You were victimized in that encounter by her inappropriate behaviour. Justifying or minimizing the offence that woman committed against you is exactly what Gator, for one, would rail against if the genders were reversed.
posted by Chuckles at 11:44 AM on November 24, 2010


it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn

what
posted by shakespeherian at 11:45 AM on November 24, 2010 [20 favorites]


People also blame victims for their reactions to crimes.

Yes they do. But that is not what "blaming the victim" means, at least not in any discussion I have ever encountered. Holding the person who was wronged accountable for their misfortune is blaming the victim:

"Why did you leave your car unlocked? Of course stuff got stolen."

"She shouldn't have been walking alone"

"Well, he must have wanted to get shot to go to that neighborhood."

I can see where you take exception to my position, but at least in my dialect of English it doesn't meet the criteria for blaming the victim. But we'll have to disagree about that. Thank you for clarifying and I accept your apology.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:45 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, will this be the contentious MeTa for the holiday weekend or will there be fresher turds to burgle?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 AM on November 24, 2010


Never in my experience. However, I've heard that it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn. I know that is only sort of topical, but.. To me, it is an extraordinarily personal thing, so the fact that some guys see it as something to share seems relevant.

WHAT
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 11:49 AM on November 24, 2010


1. He shouldn't have showed her his penis.
2. She shouldn't have pulled the cord.
3. This MetaTalk post shouldn't have been made.
4. People shouldn't have been mean to each other in it.
5. I shouldn't have made this comment without having something more important to say.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:50 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've heard that it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn.

Is this a Pee Wee Herman joke?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:50 AM on November 24, 2010


I'm just gonna go ahead and say 'what' again.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:51 AM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I've heard that it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn.

WHAT3
posted by nomadicink at 11:57 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn

"Uncommon" is probably the tricky word here. I fully believe it happens. I'm not sure what the actual proportion of the straight male population actually subscribes to that method of socialization. It would freak me out a little if any of my friends tried to go there.

I've had guys put on porn in a Guys Just Hanging Out context a couple times. I've never had a guy put on porn and pull his dick out. But that's just me and my friends, I may live a pretty low-incidence-of-dick-surprises lifestyle in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm just reporting what I've heard. From one person at least, but I think confirmed at least one other time. Ya, I find it completely bizarre too...
posted by Chuckles at 11:58 AM on November 24, 2010


what: Resurrection
posted by shakespeherian at 11:59 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's true, my straight male friends and I just sit around watching porn, jerking off. It ain't no thing. Sometimes we play call of duty.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:59 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure this has been expressed yet...

what
posted by found missing at 11:59 AM on November 24, 2010


a pretty low-incidence-of-dick-surprises lifestyle

An underrated Biggie track, IMO.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:59 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


what vs. Predator
posted by Gator at 12:00 PM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


It happened when I was around 12 or 14. It feels silly to say, but it was actually very humiliating and a formative experience.

You remind me of an awful experience I had in middle school that I must have blocked out. A girl classmate was sitting on a desk next to mine. My backpack was on my desk and one of the straps was on her desk a little bit, she was sitting on maybe the last inch or two of the strap. I grab the backpack, the strap gets tugged out, and she freaks out and shouts "<my name> just touched my butt!" At first I thought she was playing around or giving me a hard time, but she meant it! It was just my word versus hers and it was terrifying. The kind of lousy/strange thing is that this girl was convinced I'd groped her, but nothing bad actually happened to me. The female teacher overheard the accusation and gave me a dirty look, but that was all that happened from the school. Good for me because I did nothing wrong, but nobody actually thought that. This giant (by middle school standards) guy that was a friend of the girl hit me and ripped my shirt later though.
posted by floam at 12:00 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


> To me, it is an extraordinarily personal thing, so the fact that some guys see it as something to share seems relevant.

What questionably straight individuals do behind closed doors isn't really germane to the discussion about a guy displaying his penis in a subway, is it?

This is a rhetorical question.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2010


I'm just reporting what I've heard

Sorry, I'm not believing this until it hits the NY Times style section.
posted by found missing at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


when
i mean where
i mean what
posted by naju at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2010


And.. When I say 'heard' I mean as close to 100% reliable as you can get from hearsay. When I say not uncommon.. Well, we all know that subway flashers are not uncommon, but we all think "WHAT3" to that too, right?
posted by Chuckles at 12:02 PM on November 24, 2010


I have only on one occasion had something like this happen to me, in a bus terminal. The man in question was staring right at me, and feeling himself up through his front pocket. I averted my eyes, though, and he eventually moved on. It was a singular experience that made me feel pretty icky, definitely.

I have, however, been accused retroactively of this behavior, when I brought up the story of Moby's Knob Touch game. I was at a party at the time, talking about how bizarre the whole story was, when someone chimed in, "What, you think that's funny or something? Eh? You've probably done it, too, haven't you? HAVEN'T YOU?" I tried explaining that no, I'd never even consider doing something like this, and that it turned out Moby was kidding, but no, everyone arrived at the conclusion that I am an unrepentant Knob Touch fiend. And it's stuck with me to this day.

My friends are bastards.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:03 PM on November 24, 2010


Michael Pollan's next book: In Defense of (Totally Straight) Guys Whipping It Out And Jerking Off To Porn Together
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 12:03 PM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


> When I say not uncommon.. Well, we all know that subway flashers are not uncommon, but we all think "WHAT3" to that too, right?

You can't equivocate yourself out of this what, mister.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:03 PM on November 24, 2010


it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group

You may have a more... flexible definition of "straight" than I do.
posted by dersins at 12:04 PM on November 24, 2010


I don't even whip it out and play with it when I'm home alone!

Because there may be ghosts watching.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the circle jerk trope is about as popular with straight males IRL as the teenage lesbian nude pillowfight slumber party is with straight females IRL. Which is to say, not very.

alas
posted by elizardbits at 12:06 PM on November 24, 2010 [14 favorites]


I'm a guy and I've been "flashed" by a guy.

I was walking my dog in riverside park. It was well past dusk and very dark. A man standing in the shadows asked me for a light. As I lit his cigarette I could see by the flame of the lighter that with his other hand he was jerking off.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:06 PM on November 24, 2010


You may have a more... flexible definition of "straight" than I do.

It's still totally straight behavior if you put a bottle cap over the tip and start singing the Mexican Hat Dance song while you're flogging it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:07 PM on November 24, 2010


From now on I will refer to this behavior as "pulling the emergency cord"
posted by found missing at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2010


I've had guys put on porn in a Guys Just Hanging Out context a couple times. I've never had a guy put on porn and pull his dick out. But that's just me and my friends, I may live a pretty low-incidence-of-dick-surprises lifestyle in general.

So when you're watching porn with your buddies, do you guys talk during the movie or is it totally silent? Does someone make popcorn? How close do you all sit on the couch? Does this mean one of your friends buys a porn DVD and says, "You guys gotta see this!" or is it like, "Oh, hey, I bought this. Let's all watch it together." and then you guys discuss the quality of it afterwards? Is this like a regular night with your friends, like Tuesday night is porn night at Bob's house? Or is it spontaneous?
posted by anniecat at 12:14 PM on November 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


It is sort of like a film discussion group.
posted by found missing at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I show porn to friends all the time, in order to make fun of it. I know that this was one of the activities Sontag listed in her "notes on camp," so sue me. I'm campy.

Also, I just quoted Sontag, which is probably even more annoying.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2010


I know a group of straight male roommates who would do the collective jerk thing. Regarding their straightness, there were really strict rules. No eye contact, no touching, no talking, not looking at the other guys junk. Because it would kill the mood.

This same group of guys thought it was a hilarious practical joke to take a shit on someone else's sock drawers, they would leave the door to the toilet open to share their aroma masterworks and they tried to show me videos they had taken of themselves banging their girlfriends.

I met them while hitchhiking, spent a night on their couch and moved on as soon as possible.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:18 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, EmpressCallipygos -- is this thread going about the way you hoped it would?
posted by Gator at 12:20 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


spent a night on their couch

eww
posted by found missing at 12:20 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


> is this thread going about the way you hoped it would?

The first rule of MeTa is never post to MeTa.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


People did stop talking about emergency cords in the original thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:23 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


So when you're watching porn with your buddies, do you guys talk during the movie or is it totally silent?

I don't actually watch porn with my buddies, but I have been buddies with a couple guys who apparently at least thought they might like to watch porn with their buddies, which I found out the first and only time it happened in any given case. I'm a fairly polite and tolerant person in ad hoc social situations generally speaking but I think I give off a pretty strong "did you really just casually throw on some porn, like, what, hey let's all watch some porn now?" vibes even if I'm being a sport, and the feeling I've gotten is that the putting-on-the-porn thing was in its own right sort of a self-conscious social experiment that suggests maybe they weren't sure about it either.

So I'm not much of a source of info here, really.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:23 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Notice how the camera pans, in a clear nod to Kubrick, as the pizza delivery guy steps into the living room."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:24 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Notice how the camera pans, in a clear nod to Kubrick, as the pizza delivery guy steps into the living room."

"Wow! Look at the size of that monolith!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


The only time I've ever watched porn with a group of guys was at my bachelor party, because there weren't strippers.

The porn wasn't very entertaining, though, so we all played jenga instead. That was a lot of fun.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:29 PM on November 24, 2010


"Playing jenga" is an even better euphemism than "pulling the emergency cord."
posted by dersins at 12:33 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah, I've played "Jenga" with male friends before. We were all a little drunk and, heh heh, you know, things got a little crazy. We don't need to ever mention it again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:34 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


i've been around groups of mostly guys who would put on girls gone wild (during their mostly softcore days) or playboy/skinamax type porn. it was treated like mtv - occasionally a joke would be made or the hotness of a girl would be discussed - but mostly we just sat around and talked about monty python and linux.


as to flashing - i honestly don't remember how young i was the first time it happened because my first crystal clear memory has me as a 12ish year old, thinking "oh god, not this again." the flashing isn't so bad, i guess - it's that you never know if it's just a flasher or if he's going to try to jizz on you or touch you or take pictures of you or follow you. for me, it's not that i'm terrified by a wrinkly surprise cock, it's that the situation has gone from weird to aggressive in the matter of seconds before so now i'm on alert.

and as some seem to suggest that this only happens with regularity in the big city - i was raised in northwest arkansas.
posted by nadawi at 12:34 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


but I have been buddies with a couple guys who apparently at least thought they might like to watch porn with their buddies

This happened to me once, when in I was grade school or so. This was back in the '80s, before anyone had heard of the internet and it was raining that particular day, so no porn in the woods.

Somebody had a porn tape. How they acquired this was never really defined, but dammit they had one. It was after school. We headed over to Chris's house, 'cause we were 13 year old males and hey BOOBIES AND STUFF. Five boys plop on a couch, love seat and other couch, which is in semi circle around the tv. The play button is pushed. We laugh and giggle about the cheesy music and opening, badly acted and non porn scene. Then things begin to happen on the screen, silence ensues and after about 5 minutes of that, Marshall pipes up with "This is really weird to be watching porn with a bunch of guys." The rest agreed, the stop button was pushed and briefly argued about how to pass the tape around to everyone individually. Eventually, it was decided the owner of the tape would choose, but he would give it to the person next week. Three of us went our separate ways. The other two went to go play basketball. I always wondered them and never saw that tape again.
posted by nomadicink at 12:38 PM on November 24, 2010


i watched porn with a bunch of guys once (we were having a LAN party shut up), and after two or three healthy bong rips one dude put on a clip of a girl attacking herself with a giant dildo and said, "you guys, look!" he clicked on the little progress bar on the quicktime video and dragged it back and forth. "she's SHIFTING herself! hahahahahahahaaaaaaaa first gearrrrrrrr" and then he fell off the couch and just lay there tittering like a schoolgirl.

the rest of us left and went to taco bell.

we never spoke of it again.

(we also watched xanadu backward that night, which was way more fun than porn.)
posted by palomar at 12:39 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


we also watched xanadu backward that night

That's actually the gayest thing I've read all day.
posted by hermitosis at 12:44 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


but i'm a lady, i thought i was supposed to like xanadu :(
posted by palomar at 12:47 PM on November 24, 2010


Somebody had a porn tape. How they acquired this was never really defined, but dammit they had one. It was after school.

We did this, too, at the same age. I even remember the name of the film ("Hot lips," which IMDB doesn't seem to have an entry for). The difference was that we didn't turn it off, and instead sat there feeling awkward. One of the guys made a joke that wasn't really a joke hinting at how we could all jerk off together, which made the rest of us feel even more awkward and then he was super quiet for the rest of the movie.
posted by Forktine at 12:48 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


There has got to be a least one person on this site for whom that story ended in a gay teen orgy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:51 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


There has got to be a least one person on this site for whom that story ended in a gay teen orgy.


I really like this comment, because I'm imaging it dropped randomly into other threads.
posted by found missing at 12:57 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


imaging?
posted by found missing at 12:58 PM on November 24, 2010


I haven't been flashed on public transportation, and I'm a woman and I used to ride the bus or subway everywhere. I did have some guy masturbate while sitting in the seat opposite me on the bus, but I'm astoundingly oblivious to my surroundings and never would've noticed if a woman hadn't waited until he... uh... disembarked, then gone up to tell the bus driver.

I was annoyed that she hadn't said something while he was still on the bus, as I had a cup of coffee in my hand and I would've found a good use for it. (This was during my angry years.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:01 PM on November 24, 2010


i've had lesbian pre-teen orgies that started after watching tv or music videos, but i don't think porn was ever actually involved.
posted by nadawi at 1:01 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Go on.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:04 PM on November 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've never been flashed, but last month I saw a thoroughly conventional looking guy in the subway with his cock hanging out of his pants. Cock was flaccid, guy seemed boredly unaware.
So I did the only reasonable thing and called my 75 year old mother, so that she could get a giggle out of it, too.
"No way!" she exclaimed in delight. "What pants is he wearing? And don't stare too closely or he might follow you home!"

I love my mom.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:08 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, at the intersection of sexually-awkward teenage interactions and group porn watching:

I was 16, a recently-arrived exchange student on the other side of the world, when I wandered into the living room of my host family's apartment. The scene: draped over the furniture, four teenage girls all focused on a low-quality, dubbed porno featuring a very hairy gentleman and some rather distorted moaning noises. They turned to me and invited, then cajoled and teased, "the American" to come watch with them.

Of course, that sounds like the setup for some cheesy porn, but it was just really awkward. I scuttled back into my room and didn't emerge until I heard the girls leave.

I'm probably disappointing any teenage boys who are reading this and I'm certain that I disappointed those teenage girls (my small-town Canadian self being little match for their fantasy of the cosmopolitan American teenager), but no matter how it comes about, surprise group porn watching is just too awkward.
posted by ssg at 1:10 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie curried one of my favorites once.

It was nice.
posted by Floydd at 1:11 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fact: The Brits introduced curried favorites to the Indian subcontinent.
posted by found missing at 1:12 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just love curry, what can I say?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:12 PM on November 24, 2010


The only time it's acceptable for heterosexual men to watch porn in the company of other heterosexual men is when the porn involves animals, scat or corpses.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:13 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have totally never understood the thing of guys watching porn together. I mean with all the uncomfortable tenting and what not.
posted by angrycat at 1:13 PM on November 24, 2010


It's totally common for str8 guys to watch porn together, esp if theyre str8 and mod hairy, over 8 c, fit, on the dl. sorry, no fems or fats. just a bunch of str8 guys into jo, maybe oral if we click, send pic for more info
posted by Greg Nog at 1:14 PM on November 24, 2010 [20 favorites]


The only time it's acceptable for heterosexual men to watch porn in the company of other heterosexual men is when the porn involves animals, scat or corpses.

The weird thing about getting order is that you forget something and then you're reminded of something and suddenly all the memories come back. Even if you wish they didn't.
posted by nomadicink at 1:20 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


As the person who actually made the post in question:

What else is there to talk about in that dumb post? Outrage about flashing? I'm surprised that post didn't get deleted early on. Oh well.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on November 24


For me, the most interesting thing about the thread was not the event itself...For me, the most interesting thing was discovering that there is an online community of like-minded flashers who are using this as a teachable moment, and that this is supported by a relatively mainstream adult publication. I wonder if this discussion didn't get somewhat buried because it's below the fold.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:26 AM on November 24


Astro Zombie has the right of it. I was shocked to discover that not only are there online communities of such individuals (not really a shock, when I think about it), but they were openly (and, in my mind, arrogantly) posting to YouTube to both attack the woman in question and to inform other flashers how to avoid similar situations. I thought this was fascinating (albeit a little repulsive) and wondering if MeFis could shed some light on this, perhaps discuss the formation of online community dynamics, explore how the internet allows people with otherwise unacceptable tendencies to circumvent the normal societal pressures that would force conformity by allowing them to easily find a community of like-minded individuals who will tell them they're not doing anything wrong, that sort of thing. You know, the usual intelligent and thought-provoking debate that's oftentimes found on this site.

Instead, I got an argument about when to pull the subway emergency cord.

I blame myself. I didn't frame the post in a way to encourage the discussion I was hoping would happen. On reflection, I would have led the post with the part about the flashers.
posted by magstheaxe at 1:21 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somebody had a porn tape. How they acquired this was never really defined, but dammit they had one. It was after school.

Yeah, been there too. It was me and two friends but there was a lot of awkward silence as apparently they couldn't really think of any commentary beyond vague encouragements to the guys on screen to "fuck her brains out." Me, I rarely talk to TV sets, so I said nothing.

For what it's worth, I know these guys later pooled their resources to hire a hooker so they could take turns with her while the other one watched. I feel awkward knowing that, especially as they each told me that separately.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:33 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Playing jenga" is an even better euphemism than "pulling the emergency cord."

Oddly, my neighbor actually does use that as a euphemism.

Neighbor: Where are you off to this evening?
Me: Going to see [guy friend]
Neighbor: Oooh. Gonna play some jenga?
Neighbor's wife: *eyeroll*
posted by stefanie at 1:35 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"This giant (by middle school standards) guy that was a friend of the girl hit me and ripped my shirt later though."

THE SYSTEM WORKS!
posted by klangklangston at 1:35 PM on November 24, 2010


The appalling part of this is how few people seem to know that you're not supposed to pull the emergency cord. Every fucking train in the NY system has a big sign saying like "Police emergency - notify a conductor, don't pull the cord. Fire emergency - notify a conductor, don't pull the cord. Medical emergency - notify the conductor, don't pull the cord." There isn't even a section that says when you can pull the cord. >>

I think you addressed the problem right there. I'll admit: after seeing so many of those signs, I'd sometimes wondered why the cord is there if people are apparently never supposed to pull it. I could not think of a time when it would be good to pull the brake if not for any of the listed things, until it was pointed out in the perv thread that the brake is there for if someone's caught in the train doors. I think that, instead of (or maybe along with) listing a bunch of times when people shouldn't pull the cord, the signs should say when is a good time to pull the cord, e.g. only if someone is in danger of getting dragged and injured by the train's movement.

Aside from that, the subways are filled with all sorts of signs that people see every day but don't really internalize or otherwise ignore. They are really just not very noticeable next to all the advertisements. People lean up against doors that have very clear "DO NOT LEAN ON DOORS" stickers on them, and no matter times the announcer tells people not to hold the train doors, they do it anyway.

Also, thankfully, after living in NYC for 6 years, I still have never seen anybody's penis on the subway and I'm pretty sure none of my friends have either.
posted by wondermouse at 1:36 PM on November 24, 2010


er.......turd-burglar is a homophobic term where I come from , somewhat akin to jobbie-jabber.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:51 PM on November 24, 2010


Three anecdotes about porn watching:

The first time I watched porn in a group of guys, it was senior year of high school and one of the guys had a job at a video store with an epic collection of porn. It was his birthday, and his mother left us alone for the night, after stocking the fridge with box wine. I don't remember the title of the film, but it mostly concerned a guy with a mullet performing cunnilingus with his mouth flapping side to side, making a "brrrrr-buh-buh-buh-buh" noise while shaking his head side to side, which we found hilarious and instantly became an inside joke. My friend Andrew, who was a year younger than us and prone to inviting himself along, had been deliberately excluded, and we all rubbed this in by making the noise and shaking our heads around him. He'd laugh, then we'd ask him if he got the joke, and he'd claim he had. He later became my roommate, but no one has ever let him in on the joke, and it would seem cruel now to do so.

The next time I watched porn with a group of guys, it was at the bachelor's party for a friend, Andy (not Andrew), who was getting married to a fantastic girl who he'd dated since middle school. He didn't want strippers and he didn't really drink, so we were at a loss. We rented a hotel room, bought some booze for us, and played poker most of the night. Because the hotel came with free porn on the TV (which seemed both odd and explicable for one of those Westin Inn businessman suites near the highway that had kitchenettes and everything), we put it on over Andy's objections. Well, to be honest, I think I put it on, because it was the first bachelor's party I'd been to and I hadn't yet gotten hip to the idea of throwing off traditions if you don't like them. The television was pulled up to the table on a little TV tray, and first the volume was turned down, then muted, so it was just a weird, flickering hodgepodge of titties and satin sheets and poor video recording. It was still on in the morning, though someone had turned the TV around to face the corner instead of turning it off. The whole party seemed really forced and laced with weird bitterness on Andy's part (he was really self-conscious about not going to college when his fiance had gotten an art degree, something he shouldn't have felt insecure about but did and talked about constantly). The wedding was really fun, and made up for the shitshow of the bachelor's party.

The third time was after I was working at LFP, and had become the default pornographic supplier for my friends. I went back to Andrew's house, where I used to live, and he had a huge hi-def TV, the only one of my friends that had one, so I brought hi-def porn, because I was curious. After quickly realizing that it's basically the equivalent of how those giant posters at Taco Bell actually make you less appetized if you stare at them, we just kind of left it on and went about talking amongst ourselves. Then Andrew's girlfriend called, and had me make fun of the porn for her on the telephone, which was OK — she's got a good sense of humor, and it wasn't like we were really paying attention past zinging it anyway. Then she comes over, and for some reason, having her there actively paying attention to the porn, even if she was just riffing on it, made it uncomfortable and weird (not least because she's pretty hot and has an incredibly foul mouth), so the rest of us just kind of filtered out and left Andrew and Pam to it. I assume they had sex, but I don't really want to think about it.
posted by klangklangston at 1:52 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


jobbie-jabber??
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:56 PM on November 24, 2010


I know, right?
posted by found missing at 2:06 PM on November 24, 2010


Oh, it's Scottish slang. No wonder it sounds like something somebody would gargle out at four in the morning after having been drunk all night and then getting their teeth punched out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:10 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's silly. Dere's no emergency cord on debussy. De cord on debussy just makes de widdle bell wing.
posted by The Bellman at 9:21 AM on November 24 [33 favorites +] [!]


Eponysterical?
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:14 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


*skims thread, eyes start glazing over*

Guys? Seriously? Don't most of you have a whole lot to be thankful for right now? I know I do.

Here. Here's a rare video capturing the moment Danny DeVito being born into the world.

Yeah, his mom is kind of ugly but it explains a lot about who Mr. DeVito is as a person and why he looks the way he looks.
posted by loquacious at 2:21 PM on November 24, 2010


It is sort of like a film discussion group.

I knew a bunch of guys who did this in college and I always thought it was odd. This was in summer housing, there were six guys and two women and there would regularly be porn on the tv in the living room [videotapes even] and guys just sort of sitting around drinking beer watching it. Not like leering just watching it and talking about whatever with the occasional "She's hot/not hot." It was so far outside the realm of my experience I was sort of fascinated by the whole thing, but this was at an "alternative" college and I guess different people test those boundaries differently.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:22 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I went to a boarding school and uh...
we traded the magazines around a bit, but there was no 'let me give you a hand with that' ifyouknowwhatImean. Well, there were obviously a couple guys who were gay and would have been happy to but everyone was discrete about it. Only years later did I cotton to the whole 'naked calisthenics' in Mr.D's apt. not being maybe 100% copacetic.

I got flashed on the stairway up from the Union Square L, 1990 - I was with my girlfriend, we were a little drunk and she noticed before I did. The flasher was also kind of fucked up and it was all just sad and tawdry.

I also got stuck under the East River a couple years later late late late on a Saturday night/Sunday morning. That kind of sucked but everyone was pretty fucked up and, you know, we went to some party from there when we got out of the tunnel about an hour later. Smoke shot into the cab and that part, I have to say, was kind of unnerving. Then the kids who did it got on the intercom and you know, acted like dopes.

I loved New York.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:40 PM on November 24, 2010


Oh, it's Scottish slang. No wonder it sounds like...

LOL LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY AND REGIONAL STEREOTYPES
posted by Dano St at 2:42 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I understand why some people see the chord-pulling posts as derails. But as a New Yorker (who certainly doesn't speak for other New Yorkers) who rides the subway 2+ times a day, I can't see it as one. Someone pulling the chord is a BIG deal. I can't hear a story about that happening without thinking about it. I don't have to post about it, and I didn't, but I'm GOING to think about it, and I'm GOING to see the chord-pulling as part of the story.

Imagine this story: WOMAN GETS ASSAULTED IN THE LOUVRE AND SMASHES ATTACKER OVER THE HEAD WITH THE MONA LISA. Could you discuss that story without discussing whether or not it was a good idea for her to use Da Vinci's painting that way?

My wife has been a victim of Flashers on the subway. Pretty much every woman I know has been attacked, assaulted or offended in some beyond-the-pale, sexist, scary way. And I've been threatened on the subway, too! I take that stuff VERY seriously. The fact that the woman in this story was assaulted is way more important than the fact that she pulled the chord. But still... she DID pull the chord. I'm not blaming her. I might have done the same in her shoes. But she DID pull it. Are there New Yorkers here to whom that's NOT part of the story? (I can totally understand how it might seem like a trivial detail to non-New Yorkers.)

In the end, to me, it's a multifaceted story. There's the assault angle (the most important angle), the posting-on-youtube angle, the victim-fighting-back angle, the culpability-of-the-MTA angle, the actions-of-the-bystanders angle. And the emergency-chord angle.

Finally, although I think the most important part of the story is the assault, I don't really know what to say about it that hasn't already been said. Guys like the flasher are sick, disgusting and dangerous. Women (and men) who stand up to people like that are heroic. There are going to be a few people in a thread like that who will appose those positions ("Flashing isn't assault", "Victims should just keep quiet"), but they're in the minority. Maybe they're not in the minority in society at large, but they're definitely in a minority amongst the posters here.

Whereas there's real disagreement and multiple views about the emergency chord issue. So I can see why it gets play.

Some people may be doing some sort of passive-aggressive form of blaming-the-victim, but there are other explanations for why someone might want to discuss the chord. Some people think it's prudent to debrief after something like this, so that we can do better next time. Is discussing whether America adequately prepared for the terrorist attack on 9/11 "blaming the victim"?

Here's something worth discussing (and a few people HAVE brought it up in the thread): Okay, if we accept that it's not a good idea to pull the chord in situations like this, what SHOULD you do? A solution that makes it easy for the flasher to run out of the train isn't a good solution.
posted by grumblebee at 2:47 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the idea of an emergency chord.
posted by found missing at 2:51 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


It would have to be E minor, right? An emergency chord would need to be very accessible in a pinch, and E minor is just about the easiest chord there is.
posted by Gator at 2:56 PM on November 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


My horrible mind is awash with images of someone playing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on a massive pipe organ. With their peen.

*weeps*
posted by elizardbits at 2:56 PM on November 24, 2010


I love the idea of an emergency chord.

Tritone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:58 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


He didn't want strippers and he didn't really drink, so we were at a loss.

I can't see why you'd want to share a stripper, or a trip to the strip club any more than you'd want to share porn. Yet a group outing to a strip club is pretty normal..



Anyway, back to the topic at hand, because I just can't help being literal.. I totally agree with the bulk of opinion that the right thing to do is bring attention to the issue: denormalize it, denounce it, even punish it. However, the next step has got to be understanding it. In fact, understanding pretty much has to go right along with punishing.

That's why I brought the whole sharing porn and masturbating with friends thing up in the first place. (some?) Men do seem to have a certain predilection for sharing their sexuality in public. I wonder if the flashing thing isn't a direct result of this, plus an alpha male domination thing, and repressed/distorted sexuality of popular culture. Maybe just a distorted alpha male thing from start to finish.
posted by Chuckles at 2:58 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Depends on the instrument. On the piano, the easiest chord is Cdim8sus11, which is played by mashing your fists against the keys.

It sounds like a drunk Scotsman at two am getting his teeth punched out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:00 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm never going to one of your slumber parties, elizardbits! BOOOOORING.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:01 PM on November 24, 2010


Imagine this story: WOMAN GETS ASSAULTED IN THE LOUVRE AND SMASHES ATTACKER OVER THE HEAD WITH THE MONA LISA.

Wait, what? It's under bulletproof glass and in a climate enclosure. How did she lift it off the wall?
posted by nomadicink at 3:06 PM on November 24, 2010


It was She-Hulk.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:14 PM on November 24, 2010


It sounds like a drunk Scotsman at two am getting his teeth punched out.


Only a fanny merchant would say that.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:23 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Do you want to discuss the main topic? The only thing you've had to say so far in either thread is "don't talk about the cord". Well, actually, I guess that was only what you wanted to say in this thread. In that thread you just wanted to link to this thread. Wait, I guess you didn't really say "don't talk about the cord" in this thread either, but rather just mentioned that some people were talking about the cord in that thread and here is another place to do. Ok. Noted.

Well, the only reason that that was all I had to say in that thread so far was...I had to go to work. Much I would like to have stayed in the game, my landlord would not accept printouts of witty MeFi comments as rent payments. Unless, Dano, you are offering to pay my rent for me?

But, hey, it looks like after I set up this thread, that people stopped talking about the emergency cord in that other thread, and went back to talking about flashing, assault, and street harrassment. So it looks like perhaps it may have been a good thing after all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:34 PM on November 24, 2010


Now I've heard there was a subway cord
A woman pulled, and it pleased the hordes
But you don't really care for New York, do you?
It goes like this:
The flash, the filth!
The minor pull, the major lift -
Embattled woman thinking "Hallelujah!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:38 PM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think EmpressCallipygos is trying to use coded language to try to make it out that people who are concerned with that aspect of the story are somehow being inappropriate - that, as Dano St says, "she wants to talk about what people 'seem to prefer' to want to talk about and perhaps what conclusions we can make about such people based on these preferences?"

Actually, no -- I was noticing more and more people saying "would everyone shut up about the frickin' emergency cord already?" and then someone said, "well, maybe people WANT to talk about it" and I thought that it was a good idea for a compromise.

Because, yeah, while it's true that it's not the best idea for her to have pulled the cord, people are very rarely in their right minds when they are scared right the fuck out, and the "she shouldn't have pulled the cord" didn't sound so much like victim-blaming to me as it sounded like really distracting Monday-morning quarterbacking discussion about what was, ultimately, a tangent.

So: two threads. Bingo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:41 PM on November 24, 2010


After reading both threads and scanning through a bunch of news stories about it, I still only see the one quote from a member of the flashers' forum and one comment on Metafilter saying she pulled the cord at all, so it just seems to me all this hullabaloo about cord pulling is wasted pixels ... unless someone has some proof she did so.
posted by Orb at 3:42 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, EmpressCallipygos -- is this thread going about the way you hoped it would?

Actually, yes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:46 PM on November 24, 2010


it's true that it's not the best idea for her to have pulled the cord

Now you're gonna get it. See you in the dog house with the rest of the misogynists and dong-waver sympathizers.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:49 PM on November 24, 2010


Quit while you're ahead.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:52 PM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Now you're gonna get it.

What are they gonna get? If it's an iPad, I want one. If it's pills, I want more than one.
posted by nomadicink at 4:01 PM on November 24, 2010


Well, that was vague- what, specifically, was bad about Mayor Curley's last comment? It's MeTa, and seems entirely appropriate in this conversation.

cortex is at least more verbose about these things, instead of "quit while you're ahead".
posted by hincandenza at 4:01 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would have to be E minor, right? An emergency chord would need to be very accessible in a pinch, and E minor is just about the easiest chord there is.

I'd say A11.
posted by LionIndex at 4:05 PM on November 24, 2010


When I think of an "emergency chord", the first thing that springs to mind is a barred 7th chord, high on the register. 7th chords are normally pretty goofy sounding, I think, but when you play one way down near the body of the guitar, it sounds like something swooping down, about to crash into you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2010


In my long-ago childhood, on a vacation with family friends, we discovered that the drone pipe of a great Highlands bagpipe sounds exactly like the cabin fire alarm at a certain campground at Point No Point, BC. But the drone produces a single note. If it had been the chanter, we could have called it the emergency chord.

"He was just tuning his bagpipe" should be a euphemism for something.
posted by gingerest at 4:47 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


coolguymichael writes "Maybe if subways weren't wallpapered with thousands of signs and instead just had a map and a 'what to do in case of emergency' sign, this wouldn't be an issue."

A a veteran of a couple decades of tech support I can tell you, "ya, that won't help"
posted by Mitheral at 4:52 PM on November 24, 2010


"He was just tuning his bagpipe" should be a euphemism for something.

It's the sound a drunk Scots ...

What, whose that at the door? The Glasgow Warriors Rugby Team and their fans? No, you can't come in. No. NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH WITH ME? NOO NOOOOOOO! WHAT'S THAT, ON THE HILL? A MAN? MADE OF WICKER? OH CHRIST! OH JESUS CHRIST! OH GOD! CHRIST!

PLAY THE EMERGENCY CHORD!
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:53 PM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Quit while you're ahead.

I won't feel ahead until this stupid thread looks like Falujah's ballpark had a Free RPG Night.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:02 PM on November 24, 2010


PLAY THE EMERGENCY CHORD!

*retrieves basket of bees*
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:04 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw, bringing the world together by pretending we're all drow elves and half-Orcs - what a magnificent idea for peace in the Middle East. Would people have to bring their own d20s?
posted by gingerest at 5:06 PM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


But, hey, it looks like after I set up this thread, that people stopped talking about the emergency cord in that other thread

By the time you posted this, the thread had more or less already petered out.
posted by Dano St at 5:07 PM on November 24, 2010


Well, that was vague- what, specifically, was bad about Mayor Curley's last comment?

It's running dismissively with the whole "either you're a hardcore uncompromising superfeminist whateverthefuck in every respect or you'll be treated like a convicted rapist" meme, which is fucking annoying and is a big part of why conversations about this stuff seem to turn into messes in the first place. After a couple people being kinda gracious about explaining and amending their earlier interpretations of his comments over in the blue, not going there in response would be better than going there, is my take.

It's not a capital offense or anything, nor is "quit while you're ahead" more than a pretty mild response.

cortex is at least more verbose about these things, instead of "quit while you're ahead".

We're both pretty verbose most of the time but neither of us has limitless patience and yet another clusterfucky type discussion on yet another Thanksgiving weekend is something neither of us is feeling excited about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:09 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


So it looks like perhaps it may have been a good thing after all.

But perhaps not in the way you did it. Dropping a flame-ish MetaTalk thread—whether your goal is to incite the flames or just funnel them—and then disappearing without further comment for hours is pretty generally frowned upon, I think, and for good reason. There are excuses, but "I had to go to work" isn't really one of them. Presumably you (and your landlord) knew your hours before you posted the thread.

On the Internet, sometimes it's useful to pause and consider, even if you think something needs to be done, "Would it be better for me to leave this for someone else to do?"
posted by cribcage at 5:12 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


So was that a parody, or was grouse being serious?

Are you actually interested in the answer to that question or are you just using it for rhetorical purposes? Because if you were interested in the answer to the question, a better way of getting it perhaps would have been sending me a MeMail, commenting in the thread on the blue I am watching, or even bringing it up here and directly letting me know somehow that you had done so, not leaving me to find out via third parties nine hours later.
posted by grouse at 5:23 PM on November 24, 2010


Dropping a flame-ish MetaTalk thread—whether your goal is to incite the flames or just funnel them—and then disappearing without further comment for hours is pretty generally frowned upon,

Actually, unless the thread is about you specifically, it's fine to raise an issue or send a discussion there without actively participating in it, from what I have seen.

And there doesn't seem anything really flamish about "here's a place to have the emergency cord discussion, which some are finding distracting from the main topic," although that's a paraphrase and perhaps there was something more incendiary in the original language that I am not seeing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:29 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's running dismissively with the whole "either you're a hardcore uncompromising superfeminist whateverthefuck in every respect or you'll be treated like a convicted rapist" meme, which is fucking annoying and is a big part of why conversations about this stuff seem to turn into messes in the first place.

I disagree. I think your description of the attitude is wonderful, ("either you're a hardcore..."), but it is that attitude that wrecks the discourse, not being dismissive about it. There's a group of people who feel that the only acceptable comment about something unpleasant is "I am disgusted. this is horrible." They also believe that conflicts involving race, class, gender or sexuality are automatically black and white and that the information as presented in a post is always 100% accurate and objective. The rest of us have a bit of empathy because that was most of us. In high school. Unfortunately, suggesting that a crime victim acted improperly gets translated from English to Reactionary as "he said that she deserved it." Which is absolutely bullshit and makes me wonder why I keep coming back to this site when it's full with people I met doing Lincoln-Douglas debate at 17.

I tried taking the pleasant, reasoned approach in the original thread and it got me accused of taking a position that I find abhorrent. And yet according to you, I'm "a big part" of why we can't have nice things.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:41 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the time you posted this, the thread had more or less already petered out.

I see what you did, there.
posted by gingerest at 5:41 PM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, suggesting that a crime victim acted improperly gets translated from English to Reactionary as "he said that she deserved it."

Other people managed to suggest this without touching quite the same nerve. But yes, surely the problem is with everyone else who was irritated or disgusted with your comment, and not with you or what you said.
posted by hermitosis at 5:56 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


elizardbits, it is not In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but I have a piano player for you. (NSFW)
(speaking of hitting chords and all)
posted by madamjujujive at 6:06 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


But yes, surely the problem is with everyone else who was irritated or disgusted with your comment, and not with you or what you said.

Yes, I realize that my second comment was terse and didn't express much sympathy for the victim. So the folks who accused me of blaming her for the initial incident (even though I did not) are perfectly reasonable and justified. The problem is absolutely me. Thanks for illuminating my cave wall.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:09 PM on November 24, 2010


Can we talk about me now?
posted by nomadicink at 6:11 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I actually thought "quit while you're ahead" was directed at me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 PM on November 24, 2010


I didn't think it was directed at anyone in particular. I thought it a wry suggestion that everyone stop.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:42 PM on November 24, 2010


And yet according to you, I'm "a big part" of why we can't have nice things.

No, according to me that particular crappy rhetorical tack, one which I know you are smart and careful enough a writer to avoid if you want and yet you chose to take anyway upon the apparently not-totally-high-school basis that someone else was behaving in a way you didn't like first, is a big part of the problem. If you want to take the high road, you have to actually take the high road. Taking an alternate low road and justifying it in terms of "they started it" is bullshit when it happens.

Which, again, this rises about to the level of people who are otherwise seemingly pretty decent folks making somewhat obnoxious choices in how they argue sometimes and not really any further for me in this case, but it is manifestly not a case where only one half of that crappy dynamic is to blame while the other side is righteous. The folks actually in the middle of this are the ones not trying to make that argument from either side.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


As I read this thread, I keep hearing Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood saying, "Pull da string! Pull da string!"
posted by Joe Beese at 7:00 PM on November 24, 2010


Well, at least today I learned that some men have far more control of certain muscles than I ever wanted to imagine.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:03 PM on November 24, 2010


I have literally been riding the New York subways for 30 years (not all at once, of course) and I had no idea about the cord thing. You know why? Because I have never had to deal with an emergency by myself, lucky me. So I've never read the sign* that says "Here is the emergency cord but do not pull it unless someone is being dragged by the train; for all other emergencies, use the intercom" or whatever it says.

I am a hyperverbal person. I am very good at reading English. I am quite observant of my surroundings (thanks to my weird neurology, I beat everyone's ass at "Kim's Game" constantly). But I didn't know when it was OK to pull the cord and when it was not OK to pull the cord, and the woman who pulled the cord (if she even did--apparently that isn't even verified) isn't an idiot for making a mistake in a difficult situation.

If she even did. Which she may not have.


*I pretty much only read the ads for Dr. Zizmor. That guy's amazing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:34 PM on November 24, 2010


" the misogynists and dong-waver sympathizers."

I saw them once at a club I think they were frat ska
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


speaking of hitting chords and all

I am simultaneously disturbed and intrigued by how much he resembles my ex. I am about to send a very interesting txt.
posted by elizardbits at 7:42 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see what you did, there.

If I wasn't a misogynist dog, those would be my favorites.
posted by Dano St at 7:43 PM on November 24, 2010


Watching porn as a group?

In college/grad school I shared an apartment with 5 of my friends. We were 3 girls, 3 guys. We had an apartment porn collection that was put on every dinner time. We'd watch some of a video while we ate dinner and then head off to the med library to study.

I dunno. It was just normal.
posted by gaspode at 8:18 PM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


WHAT6
posted by nomadicink at 8:22 PM on November 24, 2010


...which of course causes a sort of reverse question i.e. "why does the woman have to respond in specific way while being assaulted in order to be taken seriously."

No. I think the question is what is the best way to respond given the circumstances.

Stop, drop and roll might be an analog. No matter how you came to be on fire there is a best course of action once you find yourself in that situation.

I was in the Loma Prieta earthquake and people responded to that novel threatening situation in a variety of ways - some responses were more appropriate than others. I don't think you can fault people for how they respond when they find themselves suddenly in situations where the feel threatened. Any action or inaction is valid. Still, some responses are more useful than others.
posted by vapidave at 8:40 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious in a nerdy number-crunching way how universal it is cross-gender. Like, do men ever see dudes whip it out and jerk off in their general direction?

I don't know how how much my experience generalizes growing up small and in the gay neighborhood of cosmopolitan DC but,
In the bathroom of Union Station a man with large man with large shoes moved one of them into my stall while audibly grunting and masturbating having watched me walk in.
Someone once waited for me to start peeing at a urinal to make eye contact and masturbate.
I've been aggressively hit on by more strangers in their 50's while a pre-teen and teenager than I can count.

These experiences were uniformly unwanted, sudden, terrifying, confusing, cowardly, and left no room for the staircase wit I wish I had.

Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

I'm sure that, despite my best efforts, my general lack of awareness has lead female strangers to conclude at various points that I was following, groping, or leering at them in understandable error, but so far I've never been openly accused of anything.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:43 PM on November 24, 2010


History of the Emergency Cord. (google timeline)
posted by clavdivs at 8:58 PM on November 24, 2010


That will work better if you put "emergency cord" in quotes.
posted by found missing at 9:03 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had straight guy friends somewhere in the lost time between high school and college who pretty much always seemed to have porn on whenever I went over to their apartment. Well, porn or Kung Fu Theatre, either/or. They just ignored it and did bonghits so I, not wishing to be thought of as a prude or anything, did the same. It turned into background noise pretty quickly. And then there was this animated porn video - a totally ridiculous and insane and sort of Robin Hood-esque video with a kind of storm the castle motif featuring medieval guys shooting penises from bows into big round women like shields and giant penis battering rams - which played over and over in the bars in Mallorca I used to frequent as a teenager. It was in Spanish and usually the sound was turned off anyway, so I never figured out the storyline. Those bars had people of every age in them, from the old, old lady who was so incredibly good at Space Invaders to groups of six year olds running around high on chocolate and there, ignored by everyone, was this strange animated vaguely porn, or porn to my naive American eyes anyway, movie right over the bar that seemed to play over and over, all the time.

I think I have told my flasher stories before on Metafilter but I always want to mention the guy in Baltimore with the multi colored flashing presumably battery powered Christmas lights wrapped around his dick. A+ for effort and I still think it was one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen. A guy with Christmas lights just doesn't seem threatening, somehow. At the very least it would take him a while to disentangle himself.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:24 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


it is not uncommon for a group of straight male friends to whip it out and jerk off as a group when sharing porn

what

None of you have ever heard of the game 'Cum Cookie'?
posted by dg at 9:39 PM on November 24, 2010


It would have to be E minor, right?

Oh, no, it's B...minoOoOoOoOoOor...

NOT PLEATED LEMONIST
posted by davejay at 9:39 PM on November 24, 2010


thanks found missing
"Reno Gang Miffed by Train Takeover"
posted by clavdivs at 9:47 PM on November 24, 2010


None of you have ever heard of the game 'Cum Cookie'?

Game?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 PM on November 24, 2010


None of you have ever heard of the game 'Cum Cookie'?

Uh, NO. Please (I guess) tell.
posted by grapesaresour at 10:36 PM on November 24, 2010


Well, I was told about this by a guy I used to hang around with who used to be in the army and, apparently, it's an army thing (Australian Army in this case). For whatever reason (and I don't want to know how something like this is initiated), it was not uncommon for a bunch of guys to get in a circle around a biscuit (guess that doesn't scan well wit 'cum') and masturbate onto the biscuit. Last one to finish had to eat the biscuit...

Well, you asked.
posted by dg at 10:50 PM on November 24, 2010


Well, *I* didn't ask.
posted by Chuckles at 10:56 PM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


I always heard it as "the biscuit game," and it was always suggested by the homophobic guys who later came out as gay.
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 PM on November 24, 2010


Circle and/or group jerking - along with baby elephant walks and Let's See How Many Of Us Can Fit In This Tourbus Bathroom Naked and Frosting The Cookie - is something I associate with hockey players. Which is probably why I am one of the seventeen Canadians who cannot skate.

Do they get accused of doing this when they haven't done it a lot?

One day I got on the bus to go to work. Generally, I would leave early for work to avoid the afternoon crowds, but this bus was already pretty full. As the bus pulled away from the curb, I noticed that while the front of the bus was SRO, the elevated rear area seemed to have some free seats, or at least was slightly less crowded. I began to slowly but politely move towards the rear at each stop on the route, as my balance sucks and it's more considerate than jostling everyone while the coach is in motion. I eventually made my way to the middle of the bus, where the rear door is, thinking 'So long, suckers!' to the cattle crowding the front and anticipating my rightful ascent at the next stop, only to find a young lady of Asian-Canadian descent blocking the steps, holding onto the poles that marked the threshold to the back of the bus. After the bus slowed and stopped, I politely queried "Pardon me, can I get past?"

Possibly I reached for the the threshold pole a little too eagerly, because the young lady suddenly snapped "Be Patient!" Aware that I'm a pretty scruffy-looking guy with a caveman's forehead and can appear somewhat intimidating to some folks, I took a quick step back for the benefit both of the young lady and anyone else within hearing distance who may think I was hassling her. After a loooong tension-filled few seconds, the young lady relinquished her grasp upon the threshold pole, and I moved forward. Unfortunately, the bus started moving as well, and the young lady, eyes widening with fearful realization, started to fall backwards. Conscious of the possible optics, as the wags say, I quickly but gingerly reached out and placed my hand behind the young lady's forearm to steady her, barely touching her, just to brace her so she could get her equilibrium, and

"DON'T TOUCH ME!!!"

She shrieked. The bus went silent, and I felt all the eyes on the bus turn on me.
Oh. Fuck. No.
" I'm sorry," I managed to stammer, feeling my face start to turn the vivid autum red it turns when I am mortified. "I was just trying to help, you were-"
"DOESN'T MATTER!"
My face began to turn the other vivid autumn red it turns when I am frustrated. "Look, I'm sorry, you were falling, it was just a reflex-"
"DOESN'T MATTER DON'T TOUCH STRANGERS!!!
Furious vivid autumn red. Pretty sure that any wannabe heroes who thought I was being a pervert weirdo would've confronted me by now, I walked past her up the steps
"DON'T TOUCH STRANGERS!!!!"
and took my seat, thinking 'Fine, I hope you crack your fucking head open next time, you asshole,' and then immediately feeling bad because the young lady clearly had some sort of anxiety issue.

Eventually I got to work, but only after another run-in, this time with a jerky librarian. But that's a tedious tale for another MeTa.

So, will this be the contentious MeTa for the holiday weekend or will there be fresher turds to burgle?

THIS ISN'T A HOLIDAY WEEKEND THANKSGIVING WAS LAST MONTH I'LL SEE YOU IN THE GRIM GREY HELL THAT IS META YOU IGNORANT PIG-DOG YANKEE IMPERIALIST
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:45 PM on November 24, 2010


Uh, NO. Please (I guess) tell.

We like to refer to it as Oreo Mediated Bukkake.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:56 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am one of the seventeen Canadians who cannot skate.

I heard about you as a kid - I thought it was just to scare us.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:48 AM on November 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Only discuss whether flashing on the subway is good or bad, but nobody say it's good. Anyone who doesn't vigorously say it's bad will be presumed to think it's good.
posted by planet at 12:50 AM on November 25, 2010


Only talk about pulling the cord. Anyone who doesn't vigorously say it's bad will be presumed to not "get" NYC.
posted by taz at 1:17 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just want to know if Moby's Knob Touch game is for Wii or Xbox.
posted by Sallyfur at 1:23 AM on November 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

Anyone who doesn't vigorously say it's bad will be presumed to not "get" NYC.
I don't see how any reasonable person could defend pulling the cord.
posted by planet at 1:43 AM on November 25, 2010


Is not vigorously saying it's bad the same as defending? Isn't that the exact charge you were making about people who wanted to talk about the incident instead of the cord?
posted by taz at 2:08 AM on November 25, 2010


That's it. I am pulling the cord AND YOU CAN'T STOP ME.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:46 AM on November 25, 2010


*pulls cord*
posted by dg at 3:29 AM on November 25, 2010


So like just to be clear, I did not intend any more than silly jokey offense with my use of the term "turd burglar". I was heretofore unaware that the term was ever effectively used in earnest for the purpose of verbal violence and will update my personal lexicon at once. I am sorry to have diluted my point by appearing to be casually homophobic.

I do wonder though if it's ever safe to try to use silly epithets.

Maybe noun verber?
posted by kalessin at 3:47 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Surely snopes has an entry on that whole soggy sao thing.

Anyway, I watched porn with friends when I was in my 20's a lot, and it mostly involved laughter and it never eventuated in sex, although I did once borrow a video which I took home and masturbated to furiously until I had to give it back.

Life really does involve shades of grey. You can point out the purpose of the emergency cord without it meaning that you consider the person in this case to have overreacted to a case of sexual harrassment. I think it was the whole 'how dare you comment on the use of the emergency cord when this woman was defending herself' and the subsequent 'it's an extremely important thing not to misuse' cross-talking that was the derail, because people* just can't consider a point of view that might consider a melding of the two viewpoints.

Not everything is an argument, people*.

Not every single person, obviously. Just putting that disclaimer out there.
posted by h00py at 4:24 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it might be hard to believe, but just occasionally, in very rare cases, nobody is actually wrong. Well, except for the people saying someone is wrong, of course. But then, they're always wrong.
posted by dg at 4:34 AM on November 25, 2010


The problem, cortex, is that the whole "either you're a hardcore uncompromising superfeminist whateverthefuck in every respect or you'll be treated like a convicted rapist" is an accurate description of the current environment in Metafilter, and one of the reasons people have left or contribute less. If a girl wants to fuck a guy, its get him drunk. If we even got a whiff of that with reversed genders, we'd have knife fighting in Meta. It is often repeated that extremist fundamentalism is never a good idea, but quite a few people never catch on.

Jessamyn's comment was directed at EmpressC, and to see you scramble to justify it in a different context - wait for it - in which you assume she was warning a man, in which you could not even concieve it was directed at EmpressC... well that is my definition of hillarious, and it proves jessamyn is more of a man than you are.

Fuck this.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:34 AM on November 25, 2010


Deary me.
posted by h00py at 4:36 AM on November 25, 2010


"Caution to the wind" indeed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:42 AM on November 25, 2010


That first story that I see from that History of the Emergency Cord google timeline that clavdivs linked above:
Apr 20, 1948 - WINSFORD, Cheshire, Eng. -- Police said today a soldier in a hurry to get home has admitted he pulled a train emergency cord, causing a wreck fatal to 24 persons. The Soldier said he stopped the train Saturday because he wanted to get off at Winsford, an unscheduled stop. Seven coaches of his train were crushed when a speeding mail train struck it from behind.
While I guess the above scenario is unlikely to happen with modern transit systems, it still seems to me to be a pretty good reason not to pull the emergency brake cord during non-dragging-or-stuck-in-door emergencies.
posted by yeoz at 4:48 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a horrible time trying to get to Uni in Madrid when I was 17. I lived in a really cheap neighbourhood, Av Donostiarra, and had to get to the opposite side of the city to Moncloa. So every mornng at about 6am I was the only person getting on at Plz de Toros. Only one but the flasher that is. He would get really close to me as he was getting active and I was completely intimidated. He'd move off as soon as someone joined the train but that could be as long as 4 stops. It was gut-churningly awful.

I tried everything, missed lectures, sat as close to the driver compartment as I could, nothing worked and it was really freaking me out. So the old lady from Ecija I was looking after had a solution. She gave me a spiky wool-carder, one of a pair you put on your hands via a leather strap so the wooden part sat neatly in the palm of your hand with about 12 pins pointing out of it.

As the situation escalated and it was clear he was going to assault me physically one day, I stayed standing and slammed him into the penis with it. I got off at the stop and vomited. I was guilty of an assault on another human being and no, it didn't feel good.
posted by Wilder at 5:08 AM on November 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


...
Jessamyn's comment was directed at EmpressC, and to see you scramble to justify it in a different context - wait for it - in which you assume she was warning a man, in which you could not even concieve it was directed at EmpressC... well that is my definition of hillarious, and it proves jessamyn is more of a man than you are.

Fuck this.
posted by CautionToTheWind 40 minutes ago [+]


Deary me.
posted by h00py at 4:36 AM on November 25 [+] [!]


"Caution to the wind" indeed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:42 AM on November 25 [+] [!]


*runs to kitchen and starts digging through cabinets to find the pop corn*
posted by From Bklyn at 5:18 AM on November 25, 2010


Surely only this can be the only reaction?
posted by h00py at 5:36 AM on November 25, 2010


Only.
posted by h00py at 5:37 AM on November 25, 2010


Twice as many comments in the MeTa as in the original thread!! Win-win, baby!! Also, off-topic:

Happy Inception of White Devil's Genocide Day everyone!
posted by Mister_A at 5:40 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have never seen a flasher on the subway or elsewhere and I take transit about twice a day and live in a large city. I did once happen to walk past a man who was masturbating furiously sitting on a bench directly beside a busy downtown street during rush hour but he was already fully engaged before myself and my friend happened by. It was bizarrely hilarious and sent us into gales of hysterical laughter and we thoroughly enjoyed dissecting this unknown man's motivations over platters of wings and pitchers of beers immediately thereafter.

I've already come to terms with the fact that my own experience as regards gender relations could not possibly be more wildly different from the vocal majority here on Metafilter, however, and I generally avoid commenting in threads having anything to do with feminism in any shape. My experience with this topic on Metafilter has been alienating and frustrating, and while I might not be so accusatory as other commenters upthread, it does sometimes seem to be true that there are people eager to ascribe the worst possible motivation to those who disagree with the party line.

And count me among those who would never dream of pulling the cord unless someone was trapped in the doors or being dragged by the train. When you take as many subway rides with (often cranky) toddlers as I do, you really think about what it means to stop the train. I'd also do everything in my power to track down the flasher though, and enlist the support of anyone who happened to be around.
posted by Go Banana at 6:24 AM on November 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's like, "hmm, celebration of the wholesale slaughter of my people" on the one hand, but on the other, there is a lot of pie. CONUNDRUM.
posted by elizardbits at 6:28 AM on November 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hear you there. There are Iroquois but a couple generations back in my family, and we still had Thanksgiving every year. For us, though, the meal always began by talking about what we're grateful for, so I guess in a way, we co-opted the holiday and give it our own meaning removed from historical context, even if that context impacted our family in a very real way. The power of a well-roasted turkey should not be underestimated.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:32 AM on November 25, 2010


One of my great grandmothers was full-blooded Native American. I would love to know more about her, but because, well, racism, I guess, I could never find out what tribe (Maybe Klamath cause this was out in Oregon).

It was weird finding out about this growing up, because I was all, yay I'm 1/16 Native American or whatever but for the elders of the family this was something that Was Not Talked About.

Also, I am writing this from SEPTA regional rail and fuck is it crowded on this train.
posted by angrycat at 7:15 AM on November 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


For the record I also like Thanksgiving in my own secular humanist turkey-loving family-visiting way. Plus Native American peoples are among the few ethnic groups my Turkish ancestors did not slaughter wholesale, so I've got that going for me today.
posted by Mister_A at 7:20 AM on November 25, 2010


The problem, cortex, is that the whole "either you're a hardcore uncompromising superfeminist whateverthefuck in every respect or you'll be treated like a convicted rapist" is an accurate description of the current environment in Metafilter

Except, no, it isn't. This place remains pretty heterogeneous on this topic as on any number of others; there's a general tendency here (which I think has become more visible in the last few years via some hard, long community discussion) to be less tolerant of some of the casual sexist bullshit that seems to pervade most of the rest of the internet, and as far as that goes something that sounds like it's being dismissive of some basic frustrating facts of systemic sexism in US and world culture is more likely to get objected to here than in a lot of other places, but that's about as far as it goes. People have varying opinions on a lot of the details and on some of the basics, and often state them carefully and well.

Except that, for any contentious topic, there are gonna be a handful of hardliners on the either edge of the given ideological continuum. Loudmouths in one sense or another. It's a fact of life, and we've got a few people on metafilter who go on the attack on either end of those subjects, and everybody else tends to express annoyance at that and as mods we end up doing some corralling of it when it gets out of hand, and sometimes we all as a community end up having a metadiscussion about one dynamic or another. Such is life out here on the internet when we've got tens of thousands of people under one roof.

I'd love it if everybody was always cool and collected and refrained from ungenerous readings of what one another was saying. Barring that, I'd like to see the people who have strong feelings about a given subject that puts them off to one side or another of a moderate stance at least be aware of that and consider either sitting out a given discussion if it's upsetting them too much to participate well or to strive hard to find a way to keep what they do contribute constructive regardless of their feelings, and to strive to keep it that way even if they think someone else is being unfair.

This stuff is always gonna be bumpy. Some people are always going to be uncharitable at times. That's independent of any given topic; it's a human universal. And conversation on a website, constrained as it is by the limits of asynchronous text-mediated communication, only makes that trickier. Everybody, as individuals and not premised on their opinion of how anybody else is doing, pretty much needs to try hard and then try a bit harder yet to make this stuff work. And, honestly, I don't feel that, once you've subscribed to an over-the-top "either x, y, z, or EVIL" description of how most people think around here, you're really doing that.

Because it is not a reasonable description of most of the folks here, and if you're stuck in a cycle of attending to and responding to only those people who most annoy you or upset you or ideologically disagree with you and treating that as some meaningful synecdoche of the site and the community as a whole, you are not being fair to said site and community.

Jessamyn's comment was directed at EmpressC

You base this read on what? I'm basing mine on having been in conversation with my co-worker throughtout the day; hincandenza had the same read, as did Mayor Curley himself. The only person who mentioned thinking it might have been directed at EC was EC herself.

In any case, hincandenza asked about Mayor's comment, I answered the question in that spirit.

and to see you scramble to justify it in a different context - wait for it - in which you assume she was warning a man, in which you could not even concieve it was directed at EmpressC... well that is my definition of hillarious, and it proves jessamyn is more of a man than you are.

Okie doke.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:42 AM on November 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

Is not vigorously saying it's bad the same as defending? Isn't that the exact charge you were making about people who wanted to talk about the incident instead of the cord?
How does it feel.
posted by planet at 8:53 AM on November 25, 2010


to treat me like you do
posted by elizardbits at 9:08 AM on November 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you don't like Pilgrims or Squanto celebrate Franksgiving for all the things Franks have given you.

Also, getting stoned makes the Macy's parade hilarious.
posted by klangklangston at 9:25 AM on November 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm basing mine on having been in conversation with my co-worker throughout the day

Bless you for not calling me a cow-orker.

And yeah I think the issue is that we have some hardline members on both sides of many topics and people (especially hardliners) see the lack of silencing of hardliners on the opposite end of the spectrum as evidence of bias. We try to aim for more or less the middle most of the time and this displeases a lot of people.

I appreciate people taking the time to chime in on my nerdy numbers question. And cortex will always be more of a man than I am which I think is just fine and dandy from both our perspectives.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 AM on November 25, 2010


and to see you scramble to justify it in a different context - wait for it - in which you assume she was warning a man, in which you could not even concieve it was directed at EmpressC... well that is my definition of hillarious, and it proves jessamyn is more of a man than you are.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING MODS!

Seriously, you guys should just shut down metatalk for the day. No new comments, no new threads 'til tomorrow.

If someone has such a pressing issue that it CAN'T POSSIBLY WAIT 18 HOURS!!!!! , they can try to get it resolvedit through one of the non-LOOK AT ME I NEED ATTENTION methods like flagging or the contact form.
posted by dersins at 9:40 AM on November 25, 2010


You know, we talked about shutting the entire site down for the entire day at one point, but decided that we might need an excuse to go hide from our families and that it wasn't fair to everyone in other countries for whom today is no kind of holiday.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:45 AM on November 25, 2010


it wasn't fair to everyone in other countries for whom today is no kind of holiday.

This American expat appreciates this. I'm having chicken teriyaki for dinner. But also, popcorn!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:20 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


But the best thing about being American is imposing your holidays on everyone around you! Anyone who's even moderately uncomfortable with that is AGAINST THANKING PEOPLE!
posted by klangklangston at 10:37 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're right, klang. I'm going to go knock on my neighbors' doors and ask, "What are you having for dinner?" If the answer isn't "Turkey, of course", bam, knee to the groin.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:38 AM on November 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: This American expat appreciates this. I'm having chicken teriyaki for dinner. But also, popcorn

I also appreciate this. Plus I'm listening to the podcast while cooking an ex-pat not-Thanksgiving dinner for two that has turned into homemade stuffing, stuffed whole breast of turkey, mash, roasted mushrooms, greenbeans, and pumpkin pie made with the last can of Libby's outside America, heroically liberated by my husband. I can think of no better company than Team Podcast.

Happy Thanksgiving, MeFi. I'm thankful for youuuuuuuuuuuu!
posted by DarlingBri at 10:49 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: Bam! Knee to the Groin.

SRSLY can that be locked up with the logo?
posted by Mister_A at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2010


we have some hardline members on both sides of many topics and people (especially hardliners) see the lack of silencing of hardliners on the opposite end of the spectrum as evidence of bias.

In case anyone thinks I took the position because it's cool right now, I have always been a hardliner on the "don't stop the train" issue. It might have been all those folk songs that my parents listened to about it. Or the fact that I have seen "Money Train" upwards of 60 times.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2010


"You're right, klang. I'm going to go knock on my neighbors' doors and ask, "What are you having for dinner?" If the answer isn't "Turkey, of course", bam, knee to the groin."

No, if they're not having turkey then you demand candy and set off fireworks.
posted by klangklangston at 1:26 PM on November 25, 2010


... jessamyn is more of a man than you are.
Well, that explains why she's the only remaining unmarried mod, anyway.
posted by dg at 1:35 PM on November 25, 2010


dg: "Well, that explains why she's the only remaining unmarried mod, anyway."

What a weird (and rude) thing to say.

Also, technically incorrect. I believe Jessamyn is not so much unmarried as no longer married. I noted this fact in a thread about insurance that I cannot fine because I am about to be full of pie.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:26 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


h00py: http://www.theonion.com/articles/ironic-porn-purchase-leads-to-unironic-ejaculation,1567/
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:01 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


(NSFW)
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:02 PM on November 25, 2010


You know, we talked about shutting the entire site down for the entire day at one point, but decided that we might need an excuse to go hide from our families and that it wasn't fair to everyone in other countries for whom today is no kind of holiday.


What about just not modding for the day and seeing if the users can work out things themselves ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:33 PM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the very same way that I will often leave a lit candle in a pool of gasoline and trust them not to ignite.
posted by Splunge at 4:45 PM on November 25, 2010


TRY THE NEW MYSPACE
AND FACEBOOK MASHUP
It's true, the new Myspace and Facebook are friends. And now, the new Myspace comes with Facebook Mashup!

Along with our sweet new logo and layout, Mashup turns your Likes into real content on Myspace, creating a personalized entertainment stream full of videos, music, and more just for you.

Mashup with your current Myspace account or start fresh with a new one. We think you’ll dig it.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:08 PM on November 25, 2010


DIG IT
posted by Burhanistan at 6:08 PM on November 25, 2010


What about just not modding for the day and seeing if the users can work out things themselves ?

[Mods stroke their respective chins mullingly]

MODS (Unison): Hmmmm...

CUT TO:

EXT. METAFILTER. DAY.

MODS come running up to the PILE OF SCORCHED TIMBER AND ASHES that was METAFILTER while a CREW OF FIREMEN hose down the smouldering remains.

MATT: WHAT. THE. FUCK. ME?

JOSH: Y'know, this puts me in mind of a Minecraft video. Poor, poor Meffy.

[Audience groans]

JESSAMYN: ME-FIE! FOR THE LOVE OF GRAR IT'S PRONOUNCED ME-FIE!

[Audience cheers, applauds]

Next week, on a very special episode of How Blue Was My MetaFilter, pb is forced to come to terms with a secret phobia when mathowie enrolls in mime classes, while jessamyn and cortex try to steal Lincoln's corpse in an attempt to impress an old war buddy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:04 PM on November 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


The old war buddy will be played by Christopher Walken.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:06 PM on November 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fuck yes he will.
posted by cgc373 at 11:10 PM on November 25, 2010


Ok so there's no way I'm reading 350 comments about emergency cords, but I am posting here to say that U2 played Auckland, NZ last night and thousands of people missed the opening act (Jay Z maybe?) because some guy kept pushing the emergency stop button on the train. Fuck etiquette.
posted by doublehappy at 2:51 AM on November 26, 2010


I imagine he was just getting 'em accustomed to disappointment - the rugby world cup is almost upon us.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:26 AM on November 26, 2010


I've always heard the game referenced above called "Ookie Cookie."

Carry on.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:19 AM on November 26, 2010


What about just not modding for the day and seeing if the users can work out things themselves ?

I can't speak for the mods, but they do a lot more around here than defuse arguments.

The primary focus of moderation on AskMe is to make that subsite as useful as possible to those asking questions. Removing double posts and comments on the Blue keeps the noise level down. Removing spammers keeps this place from becoming useless to those of us who don't want to sift through a pile of crap for actual content.

And yes, they also spend at least some time defusing arguments publicly and privately. Speaking only for myself here: it's appreciated.
posted by zarq at 8:22 AM on November 26, 2010


Well, that explains why she's the only remaining unmarried mod, anyway.

That was pretty fucking rude of you.
posted by zarq at 8:24 AM on November 26, 2010


hey dg that was a really stupid thing to say. In case you don't know, in case you care.
posted by angrycat at 9:09 AM on November 26, 2010


I've always heard the game referenced above called "Ookie Cookie."

Just wanted to second this; that is what I've also heard it called (secondarily, and less frequently: "Cum On The Cookie").
posted by Greg Nog at 9:12 AM on November 26, 2010


That was pretty fucking rude of you.

We hugged it out and we're cool.

What about just not modding for the day and seeing if the users can work out things themselves?

We had a pretty light moderation day yesterday [for which I am thankful] which meant... (in my timezone)

- three deleted posts
- one "edited at poster's request" post
- one "edited for clarity" AskMe post
- 20 deleted comments [13 askme, 7 mefi]
- eight MeTa comments
- one "knock it off" comment in MeFi
- one email reply
- a few MeMail replies [mostly the hugging it out mentioned above]

I don't know what sort of an email day mathowie or cortex or pb had [all the other stats are for the site, not just for me], but that's what a light day looks like around here. As much as we love the idea of people just all taking care of themselves here, it would really change the tenor of the site to do this for a big chunk of time. Whether that would be an improvement or not is something that I'm sure people disagree on, but we do a fair amount of work to make this place seem like it mostly runs itself and that's what people have grown to expect.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:48 AM on November 26, 2010


What a weird (and rude) thing to say.
That was pretty fucking rude of you.
hey dg that was a really stupid thing to say. In case you don't know, in case you care.

Yes, I both know and care. I contacted jessamyn when I realized that I was being a stupid arsehole again, but it was too late, as the comment had been replied to, so my boorishness stands.
posted by dg at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2010


cool dg. sorry to pile on you there.
posted by angrycat at 4:15 PM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


As much as it might piss off cortex and the other mods, this is simply and obviously true:

'The problem [..] is that the whole "either you're a hardcore uncompromising superfeminist whateverthefuck in every respect or you'll be treated like a convicted rapist" is an accurate description of the current environment in Metafilter, and one of the reasons people have left or contribute less.'

I don't adopt the rest of what that person said. But whether or not it pisses off the mods, the fact is that there are frequent contests here to see which Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Guy has the longest ponytail. And critical thinking can be damned when that race starts.

Sorry it pisses the mods off. But it's true. And incredibly obviously so if you just take a step back. Dismissing such observations out of hand with some spicy insults doesn't change the fact that you're completely wrong, cortex. (though i love you anyway)
posted by yo! at 10:24 PM on November 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


STFU, noob.

(NOT SENSITIVE)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:55 PM on November 26, 2010


yeah, this account is totally n00b. But I've been around for 10 or so years. EB had the longest ponytail for a while. Now AZ expresses what EB would say in 7 paragraphs within 3 sentences. But he's go a major ponytail too.

Etc. Account is n00b but i am not.
posted by yo! at 4:45 AM on November 27, 2010


You fucking ponytailer.

Yo, grow that ponytail a little longer, why don't you!

Really, how do you comb out that ponytail?

Man, I've seen some ponytails in my day but yours takes the cake...

I dunno, I'm trying but I don't know if this pejorative really has the meat to stick around.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:01 AM on November 27, 2010


But I've been around for 10 or so years....Etc. Account is n00b but i am not.

So much for the Brand New Day, then.
posted by Gator at 6:01 AM on November 27, 2010


Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Guy

Pointing to one ridiculous caricature as a condemnation of the userbase here while endorsing another one as some sort of defense of your position really doesn't make for a compelling argument.

The problem, again, with this general topic as with basically all contentious topics, is almost entirely with small numbers of people loudly hewing to outlier positions. Most folks here don't subscribe to either of those narratives. Most people here aren't jerks about either of them and understand them to be needlessly dismissive and self-serving ways to frame an argument or to approach discussion with other members of this community.

Folks who are exceptions to those "mosts" are also often unwilling or unable to recognize that fact and instead insist that the dismissive, combative narratives ala Everyone Is Against Me / My Ideas. I don't know what to do for it except say "no" again and not really expect that to be accepted by the hardcore outliers. But a lot of the stuff we do here is more for the large crowd of folks who are actually listening, so that they know where we are on an issue. So, here we are.

Sorry it pisses the mods off. But it's true. And incredibly obviously so if you just take a step back.

It's an essential part of my job to "just take a step back" and take a look at things impersonally, to try and see what's going on on this whole site and not just what's going on that personally annoys or personally gratifies me. And what I see when I step back is a big, complicated, multifaceted community full of different people with different beliefs and preferences and biases and life experiences, who mostly agree on some things and disagree in all sorts of ways on others. There are larger trends and biases and conventions here that have emerged as a whole from those parts over the years, and I'm thankful that most of those are if anything in the direction of decency toward one another.

Reducing that to one or another stupid caricature requires either not seeing or not being honest about the actual scope and complexity and richness of variation in this community. Believe what you like, but if you're going to try and tell me that some thin foolish ungenerous view of the userbase is a reasonable assessment and then tell me that I need to take a step back and get a longer view of this place, I haven't got a lot of productive things to say to you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:03 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yo! So between DickRubGuy and RegularPassenger, only one got on the train with the intention of doing something illegal. Only one entered with the idea of inflicting abuse, only one entered with the intention of assaulting someone. This is the person to blame.

Why ask If your day is ruined, everyone's should be? of the victim, who a) might not have even pulled the cord, b) might not have known about how you shouldn't pull the emergency cord in case of emergency, c) was reacting in the moment to an unanticipated freaky scary thing. Why not ask of the criminal, why should everyone's day be ruined because you decided and planned to commit a crime and sexually assault someone?

If someone was fleeing a maniac trying to stab them to death and ran into traffic thereby causing a pileup, would we say the victim was just too inconsiderate of motorists? Or would we blame the mad stabber?

Or (anticipating objections) let's say it's not a life-or-death situation; let's say that while waiting in line at the bank, you feel someone slipping your wallet from your pocket and turn around to see the person behind you putting your wallet in their bag. That person then walks quickly toward the exit. What would you do? If you demand that security bar the door, some people will be delayed. If you demand that the thief be detained and police called, everyone in the bank is likely to be inconvenienced while this is sorted out, witnesses questioned, etc. Do you really want to make them suffer just because you are having a bad day? Do you think it would be reasonable for people to say that you are responsible for their inconvenience? Or would you blame the person who committed the crime?

If someone starts yelling at you for making them late, would you say, Hey, whoah! I'm the victim! Blame the asshole who committed the crime! It could have been you!

Isn't it possible that most (where "most" means "all") of the people who used the term "victim blaming" when responding to Mayor Curley's comment meant it in this sense, as opposed to the "Wuh; who goes into a bank with a wallet in their pocket unless they're just asking to be robbed?" sense? Or the "she was asking for it in that sexy beige coat" sense?

Nobody has to be a pony-tail-wearing superfeminist freak to figure that out. Telling M.C. that it isn't the victim's fault for whatever delays occurred (if any) isn't the same as treating him like a convicted rapist.
posted by taz at 8:13 AM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Guy
cortex: Pointing to one ridiculous caricature as a condemnation of the userbase here while endorsing another one as some sort of defense of your position really doesn't make for a compelling argument.
Oh sure, I'd expect you to say that, what with your long, flowing ponytail!!! :)

The anti-ponytailist viewpoint, I guess, is that these threads become such a clusterfuck in part because personal attacks are allowed to occur from what seems like one outlier more than another. I suppose from your 10,000 foot view you'd disagree cortex, but what I experience is that the anti-ponytailists will make some comment such as Mayor Curley's asking why she would pull the cord. The response from the opposing outliers- and their ponytail posse- will be implications that "oh no, we wouldn't want to inconvenience the Mayor"!", or ad hominems and accusations of sexism or intolerance or obtusenes, et al, or the Empress spinning up this thread with what I infer as disgust that the menfolk couldn't resist blaming the flashee for stopping the train. These are not equal outliers, and my frustration is that they are equated. It strikes me as South Parkism: the belief that taking the middle between two sides is inherently the most Solomonic choice.

When these kinds of threads show up, like I/P threads etc, either the whole thread should be deleted with a "We don't talk about this here anymore", or the mods ought to just let every last comment stand. Or if you must delete comments it should be for a clear cut reason such as "consists of nothing but a personal attack" and not "I think this comment might make the thread more tumultuous, because some of our high-strung outliers wouldn't like it". It doesn't really cost anything if a fight breaks out in the occasional thread, since as cortex implies the only people left in the thread after the first few hours are the outlying nutjobs like me. :) Everyone else has moved on to happier FPPs like baby monkey riding a pig.


For a good example of modding, in the thread that spawned this meta, I made a comment early on that palomar turned into a personal attack. I responded, she responded, and cortex deleted the whole interchange (except my original comment). I don't mind the deletion, it was an unproductive diversion on both sides, and good riddance. The only thing that rankles at me is that I don't feel it was an equal situation: palomar called me out for no really good reason and I foolishly responded. I guess I resent the idea that we were equal outliers, when I don't think we were equally responsible for that little derail at all.

And I think that's the anti-ponytailists position: that some of us are trying to discuss/debate the posted issue, and there are opposing viewpoints that take it to personal attacks or accusations, or group-flag comments of people they disagree with, or spawn MeTas like this one to change the very course of the conversation itself.
posted by hincandenza at 1:20 PM on November 27, 2010


Isn't it possible that most (where "most" means "all") of the people who used the term "victim blaming" when responding to Mayor Curley's comment meant it in this sense, as opposed to the "Wuh; who goes into a bank with a wallet in their pocket unless they're just asking to be robbed?" sense? Or the "she was asking for it in that sexy beige coat" sense?

Nobody has to be a pony-tail-wearing superfeminist freak to figure that out. Telling M.C. that it isn't the victim's fault for whatever delays occurred (if any) isn't the same as treating him like a convicted rapist.


Other people much earlier in the thread have conceded that "victim blaming" is a poor description, without resorting a bunch of forced analogies. No one is going to think that you're anything less that super-vigilant about defending victims of sex crimes if you just let this go.

The MTA's guidelines say that stopping the train was not an appropriate response to the situation. Why do you want to insist that you know better?

And the "whatever delays occurred (if any)" remark makes you seem really disingenuous. Seriously, are you suggesting that it didn't cause a delay? You're not discussing; you're advocating like a defense attorney.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2010


The MTA's guidelines say that stopping the train was not an appropriate response to the situation.

But the victim didn't know this. She pulled the cord* because she thought that's what you were supposed to do in an emergency. She didn't do it to inconvenience other riders. She didn't go through the calculus of "Hey, here I am being assaulted, I'd like the assault to stop, I better figure out if this is an appropriate situation for pulling the cord," and I guess, from what you're saying, she should have.

*And is there confirmation beyond whatever posting on the flasher boards that she did, in fact, pull the cord?
posted by rtha at 5:39 PM on November 27, 2010


Sorry, Mayor Curley; I honestly didn't feel at all like attacking you, and hoped it wouldn't seem like a personal thing . . . but if your comment (because of subsequent responses) is being held up as the poster child for how the site sucks because of ponytails and feminism, and how you were being treated as a "convicted rapist" then, yeah — I do feel like pointing out ways that is utterly loony.

You've been here a long time, and so have I; I pretty much expect you to be conversationally gruff, short, and contrary. I don't assign malice, bigotry or sexism to that. Because I've seen a lot of your discussion, I just apply a "Mayor Curley" lens, and don't get too worked up; I think you're a good guy. In this case, I wasn't trying to stomp on you, but I find it ridiculous that your comment about how the victim ruined everyone's day is being held up as speaking truth to power. On its own, I took your comment for what it was worth, and how I think you meant it, and it made a real point (though, to me, in a very wrong way). I won't take it for more than that, however. If people want to make it an example of how Metafilter is now teh suck because of the feminazis, then I might say something. So I did.

I have nothing against you, though, and even felt unwilling to drill down that whole thing, because I didn't think you were actually being so hard core when you said it. I apologize to you, but I still think that whoever believes that you're being treated as a rapist is dim. As in rly stoopid.
posted by taz at 5:51 PM on November 27, 2010


taz, I didn't want to sound sharp, but the "blaming the victim" label rubs me absolutely the wrong way because I feel very bad for that woman. I don't even think that her stopping the train in this case is a terrible thing. I don't think that she should have been punished, I don't think she should have even been reprimanded beyond "should this happen again, you absolutely must not pull the brake.

I actually had a little revelation recounting my previous comments, and I'm embarrassed that I couldn't see the need for this distinction earlier. When I said "Why should literally thousands of people get stuck underground for hours because some pervert showed you his dick? If your day is ruined, everyone's should be?" I was directing this at people in the thread who, despite having full knowledge of the situation, continued to insist that pulling the cord was a reasonable response. I realize now (and only just now unfortunately) that it was read as though I was ascribing motivation to the victim. I feel strongly (and have always felt, despite appearances) that she just didn't think it through. I sorely wish I had been able to see outside of my intentions earlier (though I suspect it wouldn't matter.)

For the record, you'll never hear me use "feminazis" or any other Hate Radio canard. The issue as I see it is that some topics, including sexual politics, invite ugly and cynical rhetorical tactics. Anyone who might suggest that something should have been done differently or the facts as presented don't add up is likely to be painted as having a completely contrarian position. It's especially galling because I think of it as a right-wing tactic-- "oh, you're against this war? why do you hate our soldiers?" It has no place here. "Blaming the victim" has an actual and very ugly meaning. I didn't do it, and I am very, very irritated that criticizing one portion of the victim's actions results in being slandered.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:17 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Blaming the victim" has an actual and very ugly meaning. I didn't do it, and I am very, very irritated that criticizing one portion of the victim's actions results in being slandered.

We get that you didn't intend to do it. However, I trust that you now understand why the words you used were interpreted as such.

It happens. Personally, I apologize for the misunderstanding when I do such a thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:15 AM on November 28, 2010


We get that you didn't intend to do it. However, I trust that you now understand why the words you used were interpreted as such.

No. I can see why people were annoyed, and I do apologize for not making myself more clear. There is absolutely no reading of my statements that entails literal blaming the victim, so I will not apologize for doing so. I'm still rather incensed that I was charged with it, despite some concessions from others that I didn't do it.

We get that you didn't intend to do it.

Read this very carefully: I DIDN'T BLAME THE VICTIM. EVER. You're right that I didn't intend to do it, and true to my intentions I never blamed the victim. Your insistence on validating something demonstrably false is really starting to anger me and any further insistence that I am guilty as charged (despite the public record of my statements) will permanently color your character to me. I can see why people took exception, not why anyone would continue to insist that "blaming the victim" is an accurate description.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:17 AM on November 28, 2010


No one is going to think that you're anything less than super-vigilant about defending the strictest literal interpretation of "victim blaming" if you just let this go.
posted by Gator at 9:21 AM on November 28, 2010


No one is going to think that you're anything less than super-vigilant about defending the strictest literal interpretation of "victim blaming" if you just let this go.

We'll know, Gator. You and I. We won't be able to look at each other the same way, and when I touch you it will be a lie. I'm doing this for us.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:04 AM on November 28, 2010


Read this very carefully: I DIDN'T BLAME THE VICTIM. EVER.

Okay, read THIS very carefully: WE KNOW YOU DIDN'T, BUT IT SOUNDED LIKE YOU WERE.

You're right that I didn't intend to do it, and true to my intentions I never blamed the victim. Your insistence on validating something demonstrably false is really starting to anger me and any further insistence that I am guilty as charged (despite the public record of my statements) will permanently color your character to me. I can see why people took exception, not why anyone would continue to insist that "blaming the victim" is an accurate description.

You know, all you have to say is "I'm sorry for mis-speaking, that's not what I meant, and I'm sorry I chose my words poorly". You've made it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that you didn't MEAN to do it, but you still haven't accepted that you lead us to BELIEVE you did because you were ham-handed in the way you said things.

You know what, if you just said "i'm sorry I phrased that badly," then I bet a lot of people in here would also say "i'm sorry we had this misunderstanding too." But you continuing to say "I DIDN'T BLAME THE VICTIM" is just making us all think 'WE KNOW THAT, FOR FUCKS'S SAKE."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:07 AM on November 28, 2010


Honestly, we can probably all STOP WITH THE ALL CAPS and just GO ABOUT OUR DAY at this point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:09 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I say! And a good day to you sir!
posted by carsonb at 10:17 AM on November 28, 2010


You've made it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that you didn't MEAN to do it, but you still haven't accepted that you lead us to BELIEVE you did

Seconding cortex. I'm not sure if you realize, EC, that the allcaps can come across as hollering. We have bold and italics at our disposal. You and Mayor Curley may have to agree to disagree at this point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:20 AM on November 28, 2010


But you continuing to say "I DIDN'T BLAME THE VICTIM" is just making us all think 'WE KNOW THAT, FOR FUCKS'S SAKE."

And yet in your previous comment you said:

We get that you didn't intend to do it.

What's the point of reading my intentions if the implied end clause isn't "...but you did"? However, I am glad that you concede that I did not actually blame the victim, which is all I want at this point. I concede that I fucked up a comment that lead to some anger and I am indeed sorry for it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:27 PM on November 28, 2010


Mayor Curly, I think where we are is that while you do not blame the victim, some people interpreted your comments that way. As you are unable to go back and edit the language you used in your post(s), you have clarified your intent and people are indeed clear that you do not, in fact, blame her.

I'm not sure where else you want to go with this. This seems like the optimum resolution.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:08 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if you realize, EC, that the allcaps can come across as hollering. We have bold and italics at our disposal.

No, I know. He hollered at me first, though, and that cheesed me off at the time.

I admit that was petty, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:49 PM on November 28, 2010


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