Women of the Daily Show speak

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby zombie_monkey » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Unless I woke up this morning to find that the word "feminism" completely changed meaning, personal criticisms of a given woman are in no way anti-feminist. Maybe the Straw-Feminists decided that it is unfeminist to criticize a woman, ever, but the rest of us aren't on that boat.

What they said. I'm a feminist myself, by the way.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby sje46 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:11 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:
sje46 wrote:It's quite possible that job applicants are exactly 40% female, or maybe even 20% female (assuming that women are equally qualified), and that the Daily Show actually gives women 200% preference. We can't really know without context. And maybe I'm naive, but...40% really does seem like a high ratio to me for that kind of job. Women are simply more attracted to different jobs than men are. I mean, would you complain if a construction company was 40% women? Maybe you should, but it certainly isn't the hirer's fault for not reaching out or blatant sexism or anything...it's society's fault for having gender roles.

Yes it is. You don't sit around and passively wait for women to come to you in a massively misogynist field. You actually have to recruit. You don't get a pass on sexism for just passing the buck on structural problems.

I don't just link things for my health, sje. You might have found some feminist responses to your post if you'd read them.
Jesus Christ, way to not read my post. I didn't say passively. I'm saying that we can't say whether it's sexist or not without the context of knowing the employee pool. The hirer dude could be bending over backwards for all we know to hire as much women as possible. Which is why I said what if it's only 20 percent women applying for jobs at the Daily Show, and they gave women 200% preference. But no, because it's not exactly 50% women, the hirer is clearly a sexist prick. This is why I also asked about the CONSTRUCTION WORKER. Unless you actually think a construction company with 40% women is actually normal. I expect 5%, at most. If I see a construction company doing this, I wouldn't say the hirer failed because it's not 50%, I would say he succeeded a lot. Because if you affirmative action too much, your company will probably suffer. I'm not saying that any affirmative action will hurt the company...in fact it may help. But the hirer himself may get fired if he tries to make the company represent the general population as evenly as possible. Which is why I'm opposing to you saying they shouldn't be proud to have 40% women, which may be an extraordinarily high number for show business.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Nordic Einar » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:49 pm UTC

Yeah, a 60/40 split isn't... nearly as bad as it's being made out to be. Especially if the employment pool has discrepancies in it's split based on sex.

I've worked at construction where it was almost entirely white, but who used predominantly black sub-contractors. The reasons for this are simple - the General Contractor was based in an almost entirely white neighborhood, and did most of it's work in deep urban centers. The subcontractors at the urban centers recruited from an almost entirely black pool of applicants.

I wouldn't suggest either of those two companies were racist. As an aside, there were *no* female general laborers - which I would guess has more to do with the number of female applicants than the sexist attitudes held by the contractors.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby General_Norris » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Yes it is. You don't sit around and passively wait for women to come to you in a massively misogynist field. You actually have to recruit. You don't get a pass on sexism for just passing the buck on structural problems.

So either you are with us (Positive discrimination) or you are against us (Sexism). Not fair.

If you hire people based on their skills no matter what the results are, they are not sexist.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:25 pm UTC

Okay, kids, let's clarify something, because there's a strawman numbers game being played here. The 60/40 split is in the entire show. If you look at who signed the letter, most are in production and support (makeup, tech, etc). That's because there are only two female writers and one long-term correspondent. At all. What Jezebel and other feminists have consistently had problems with are the lack of women on the creative and performance side.

Those are both nowhere NEAR 60/40. It's not like TDS is hurting for applicants for comedy writing and correspondents, people. Regardless of the proportions of the applicant pool, there are more than enough people of both genders applying, and with shittons of talent. And yet there are few of them because comedy writing at TDS and Hollywood writing in general is a boy's club. It's a structural problem. You counteract structural problems by hiring to ensure better representation of women on your creative staff. Unless, of course, you want to suggest that women just aren't as funny, and that's why they're not getting hired?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:56 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Unless, of course, you want to suggest that women just aren't as funny, and that's why they're not getting hired?
Do we not want to suggest that because it's impolite, or because there's reason to expect the humor types and distributions among women and men are exactly the same?

It wouldn't surprise me if men spend more on comedy and have different tastes in humor than women, leading to a "boy's club" that selects performers just because of their content without requiring women to be less funny.

(Do I suspect there's no sexism in comedy? No, I think it's probably rampant, given the number of comedians who make a living saying things you can't say with a straight face. But I would expect racism from Mencia rather than sexism from Stewart.)

Another possibility is that the returns to humor are higher for men than women, leading to more men developing their talent for comedy then women- and so while you might call that 'sexism' I'm not sure it's society's fault (or something society should give up other things to fix).
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby sje46 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:14 am UTC

According to Wikipedia, Olivia Munn is an official correspondent, of which there are six. Two of the six correspondents are female (33%), and may I remind you that that is a VERY small sample size. One of five (20%) contributors 1 is female, which is low. 11 out of 28 (39%) of the former correspondents are female. Only 3 former contributers/one time correspondents out of 22 were female (13.6%). Only 2 out of 17 current writers are female (11.8%). 4/13 (30.8%) of the former writers are female, but the list on wikipedia is incomplete.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Th ... ow_writers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Th ... espondents

To be honest, though, I just feel like they hire those who they think are funniest/best for the job, and that there's simply a lower number of females who try out, and/or the women who do try out don't have the right sense of humor for the show. And yeah, women as a whole definitely tend towards different types of humor, judging from watching standup specials all day, so the amount of top-tier commediennes who do the appropriate style of comedy will probably be lower than top-tier male comedians doing the appropriate style. Most likely though, it's unconscious discrimination that's doing it, because generally women =! not funny to the general American public.

I don't think the Daily Show is a boy's club in regards to the employees of the show as a whole, because 40% is a pretty sizable minority, and really don't think 10% difference will really change the atmosphere that much. They probably have their say. The creative side is different, as there's definitely less women working, which I suspect is the result of three factors: 1. less women apply for creative positions at the Daily Show, 2. Women may tend towards styles of comedy that are not appropriate for the show 3. Unconscious discrimination amongst either the hirers or the general audience who may feel like the women are less funny, and thus lower ratings.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:15 am UTC

Unconscious discrimination among the general audience can't explain hiring decisions, though, because the general audience isn't making those decisions.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby sje46 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:11 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Unconscious discrimination among the general audience can't explain hiring decisions, though, because the general audience isn't making those decisions.

Either unconscious discrimination on the part of the people hiring, or the people hiring are aware that the audience won't like female correspondents (for unconscious discrimination or whatever). But I think you got my point anyway.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:07 am UTC

So either they're unconsciously discriminating or they're...consciously discriminating? So then they're sexist.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby sje46 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:50 am UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:So either they're unconsciously discriminating or they're...consciously discriminating? So then they're sexist.

You forgot the other possibilities.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby General_Norris » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:00 am UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:What Jezebel and other feminists have consistently had problems with are the lack of women on the creative and performance side.

And that is not a problem if your hiring practises are not sexist. It's that simple.

You counteract structural problems by hiring to ensure better representation of women on your creative staff.

Or by being fair and not discriminating by sex.

Face it. You say that you are sexist if you do not apply positive discrimination. That is a fallacy. If your system doesn't allow you to threat men and women the same way and not be sexist there's something very wrong with it.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:09 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:
Chai Kovsky wrote:So either they're unconsciously discriminating or they're...consciously discriminating? So then they're sexist.

You forgot the other possibilities.

sje46 wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Unconscious discrimination among the general audience can't explain hiring decisions, though, because the general audience isn't making those decisions.

Either unconscious discrimination on the part of the people hiring, or the people hiring are aware that the audience won't like female correspondents (for unconscious discrimination or whatever). But I think you got my point anyway.
Those are the two options you presented. Unconscious discrimination, or not hiring women on purpose. What other possibilities are you talking about?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:30 pm UTC

Numbers 1 and 2 in the post before I singled out number 3.

General_Norris wrote:If your system doesn't allow you to threat men and women the same way and not be sexist there's something very wrong with it.
Not necessarily. Treating men and women the same way can be equivalent to sitting there and doing nothing about a very obvious problem in front of you. As such, it is not a neutral action.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:04 pm UTC

Okay, I was going by his most recent post, which listed two options. Let me try again:
sje46 wrote:1. less women apply for creative positions at the Daily Show, 2. Women may tend towards styles of comedy that are not appropriate for the show 3. Unconscious discrimination amongst either the hirers or the general audience who may feel like the women are less funny, and thus lower ratings.
As I mentioned in my post, the applicant pool for a top comedy show like the Daily Show is tremendous, far too big that "there isn't a large enough talent pool" could be a legitimate concern. There is weeding out of the applicant pool, which is why this is a structural problem to be counteracted rather than an individual problem of TDS being, like, the only sexist comedy in the business. But even accounting for the weeding out, you have to be shitting me if you think that until this year there was not a single woman in the entire applicant pool, in all of Hollywood, who was appropriate. Remember, both women joining the writing team joined last fall. That means it was entirely men before that. You have to have your head stuck in the sand to think that this is because the applicant pool is sooooo teeny-tiny or that women for some reason I can't even fathom can't or don't write political comedy and media critique.

Comedy is sexist. It hires in a sexist way, it conducts business in a sexist way. The women who even get a foot in the door--and there aren't many of them, remember-- are lower down on the totem pole and are frankly treated like crap. Jon Stewart's show does not do anything differently or better than any other comedy show in Hollywood. Do I have to break out some Aristotelian logic or something?

Either TDS is perpetuating the structural problems through inaction, or there isn't a problem because women just suck (presumably to do with their uteruses or something). I honestly can't see how having two female writers and none until this year can somehow not be sexist.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Accipiter » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
General_Norris wrote:If your system doesn't allow you to threat men and women the same way and not be sexist there's something very wrong with it.
Not necessarily. Treating men and women the same way can be equivalent to sitting there and doing nothing about a very obvious problem in front of you. As such, it is not a neutral action.

In my opinion ignoring a problem is a neutral action. If actions leave something like it would be if the person weren't there then I consider the actions neutral. If a situation isn't my fault, not changing it doesn't make it my fault.
(Before someone tries reductio ad absurdum: Yes I would consider it morally neutral if you are a trained lifeguard and see a kid drowning in a lake and you let it die because you are on vacation or something like that. Sure I would judge your character for it, but that is something else.)
But I guess discussing if you are morally obliged to fix a problem if you recognize it is a bit tangential to the topic.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:19 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Either TDS is perpetuating the structural problems through inaction, or there isn't a problem because women just suck (presumably to do with their uteruses or something). I honestly can't see how having two female writers and none until this year can somehow not be sexist.
Presumably to do with their uteruses? Maybe you should read your own post again: if there's sexism against women at the bottom rung, and no sexism anywhere else, women will be underrepresented at the top rung because their bad experience at the bottom rung propagates upwards.

The strongest possibility is that TDS does not want to sacrifice its quality to advance the careers of a few particular women*- and thus women are treated just as harshly as the men, leading to fewer women who have the experience necessary to survive. Also noteworthy is that they do get jokes from anywhere on staff- it wouldn't surprise me if the production crew comes up with a number of the jokes, but none of them try to advance to the writer stage, because right now they have a low-pressure job that allows them to supply jokes when they have them instead of a high-pressure job that requires them to supply jokes when the show needs them.

*This is the problem I have with "sexist through inaction," or "doing nothing isn't neutral." Why is it the company's responsibility to produce social justice instead of the product they're being paid to produce? What makes us think they'll be getting the right feedback for the social justice they produce, allowing them to do it efficiently?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

Accipiter wrote:If a situation isn't my fault, not changing it doesn't make it my fault.
Actually, it kinda does, if it was easily within your power to change it. Because now part of the explanation for the unchanged situation is going to be, "Accipiter just sat there and didn't do shit." When you sit idly by and watch something bad go down, you have made a decision to sit idly by and watch something bad go down. That decision is now open to moral judgment.

Chai Kovsky wrote:Remember, both women joining the writing team joined last fall. That means it was entirely men before that.
No, strictly speaking what that means is that any women before that aren't still on the writing team. (You may be right that there were no women before that, but the join dates of current team members doesn't tell us this.)

Vaniver wrote:if there's sexism against women at the bottom rung, and no sexism anywhere else, women will be underrepresented at the top rung because their bad experience at the bottom rung propagates upwards.
That's only true if the total Daily Show applicant pool is so small that they can't help but hire exactly in proportion to the qualified applications they get. What Chai Kovsky has been arguing, though, is that the applicant pool is *huge*, and thus that even if you get ten times more men applying for a position than women, you still might get a few dozen really qualified women, and can thus hire one of them in an attempt to make your writing team not almost entirely male.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

Gmal, I used ambiguous language. I meant that, prior to the recent hiring, the team was completely male. There have been previous women on the writing staff, including the original co-creators.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:That's only true if the total Daily Show applicant pool is so small that they can't help but hire exactly in proportion to the qualified applications they get. What Chai Kovsky has been arguing, though, is that the applicant pool is *huge*, and thus that even if you get ten times more men applying for a position than women, you still might get a few dozen really qualified women, and can thus hire one of them in an attempt to make your writing team not almost entirely male.
Let's say women are discriminated against such that they only get resume-quality jobs for 60% of the time that men do, and 'years of experience' is a good proxy for skill. When you look at two 30 year old good applicants, the male one will have 10 years of experience and the female one will have 6.* Particularly at TDS and other high-value high-pressure companies, there isn't an ability to pick the woman and say "ok, we're going to train you up to the level of our other hires because we like your sex" because that lost time and effort will result in lower output quality. In business, sexism is a handicap.

Again, "really qualified" is a mistaken way to look at it. TDS doesn't say "we want someone with 10 years of experience," they say "we want the best." The only way to be the best is to be better than everyone else, not to be really good.

*So, the woman will end up at a job where she's working with 26 year old men, which will get her less experience than working with 30 year old men, which will perpetuate the gap without anyone besides the bottom rung actually having a bias against women. Now, comedy is a creative field where skill helps but talent helps too- I don't know how good a proxy years of experience are for writing ability on a show like TDS.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:55 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Gmal, I used ambiguous language. I meant that, prior to the recent hiring, the team was completely male. There have been previous women on the writing staff, including the original co-creators.
Okay. I didn't know if you were going on other information, or just the join dates of the current women on the team.

Vaniver wrote:Why is it the company's responsibility to produce social justice
See, the funny thing about a company is that it isn't a person. As such, the company as a whole entity doesn't have moral responsibilities at all. The individuals working for the company, though, exist in multiple roles, most of which have nothing to do with the company. For example, they are members of a society that, presumably, they care about. Presumably most of the views expressed on the Daily Show represent the views of at least some of the individuals involved in the Daily Show. And as individuals, maybe those people should try to produce a bit of social justice in addition to producing a television show. After all, I'm sure most of them are capable of caring about more than one thing at a time.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:05 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:The strongest possibility is that TDS does not want to sacrifice its quality to advance the careers of a few particular women
Don't you see Gmal? If they hired women, the quality would go down, because women aren't as funny.

Even allowing that distasteful premise, it is more important to perpetuate a patriarchal meritocracy than to do anything to change it. It will change by itself, or maybe it won't. I mean, the status quo isn't that bad, especially not enough to change our not-really-meritocratic system.
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Chai Kovsky wrote:I can kill you with my brain.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:53 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Don't you see Gmal? If they hired women, the quality would go down, because women aren't as funny.
I find interpreting posts with charity much more helpful than the alternative. When TDS finds a woman they want to hire, I imagine they hire her without much hesitation.* If there's meaningful sexism on TDS's part, it has to come in there- when looking at a woman that's better for the job than a man, they decide to go for the man.

But that's not what it sounds like we're talking about. What we're talking about is when TDS finds a man ready to hire, and a woman with potential: they have the option of hiring the woman and expending effort on improving her to the level the male hire would have been at originally, or hiring the man and expending effort on improving him from there. Your argument, as I understand it, is that because the woman has potential to be as good as the man, she should be considered as being as good as the man- if TDS really cared about sexism, they would hire the women and expend the extra effort.

And, I agree, if they really cared that's what they would do. But their job is to make a humor show, not to strike a blow against the patriarchy; I'll expand on this a bit below.

*A study of sexism in academia provided hiring committees with different CVs; a male and female CV with stellar records, and then a male and female CV with mediocre records. The committees responded equally positively to the males and females with stellar records, but were far more suspicious of the female with the mediocre record than they were of the male with the mediocre record. It would not surprise me if similar kinds of sexism are widespread- in which case a place only looking at stellar records, like TDS, doesn't resort to it much.

gmalivuk wrote:And as individuals, maybe those people should try to produce a bit of social justice in addition to producing a television show. After all, I'm sure most of them are capable of caring about more than one thing at a time.
I agree that they care, and that it would be difficult for them to not produce social effects. They are manufacturing culture, after all!

But then we get to the question of: how good are they are producing social justice? What feedback do they get on the quality of their social justice? They get all sorts of feedback on the quality of their show- ratings, reviews, exec opinions- but feedback on the social justice they produce seems more structured as PR events than anything quantitative or useful. A gossip column calls them a boy's club; the female employees write and sign a letter that says "no, it's not. We would know." If I were Jon Stewart, and I didn't instigate that letter, I would consider the case closed and go back to doing my job. A joke offends a group; they respond, and the show decides whether or not to continue making those jokes and whether or not to apologize. But overall Stewart seems to be a modern Will Rogers (There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you), and a price of being the political class is accepting you will be the butt of jokes.

So, since they don't get good feedback on the quality of their social justice, can they really focus on making good social justice?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby General_Norris » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:31 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
General_Norris wrote:If your system doesn't allow you to threat men and women the same way and not be sexist there's something very wrong with it.
Not necessarily. Treating men and women the same way can be equivalent to sitting there and doing nothing about a very obvious problem in front of you. As such, it is not a neutral action.

And the obvious problem is that they are not judged according to their skills. A problem solved by being fair and not treating them differently because they happened to have a penis or breasts. The problem is that women are treated unfairly, the solution is fairness. Seems fine to me. Now you may disagree with my arguments but I don't think you will label those who oppose positive discrimination as de facto sexists because they don't discriminate based on sex when it is not relevant.

Being fair is not "ignoring a problem". .

If my pool of applicants is A, B, C ,D, E and I think that A and B are the funniest I should hire them. Hiring E because she is female is not fair and quite sexist*

*Unless you need a woman to portray some characters of course.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:29 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:Being fair is not "ignoring a problem".
Sure, but the disagreement is what counts as being truly fair. The idea of positive discrimination is that one group already has a huge disadvantage, and ignoring that disadvantage would be to perpetuate it.

Imagine a game where for the first half the refs were incredibly biased and so now one team has 100 points and the other has 0. Is it ultimately fair to remedy that in the second half by simply getting replacing the refs with unbiased ones, so the final score can be 120-20 or something? Obviously the sport analogy isn't perfect, but the point is that it's not necessarily fair to to let one group of people remain behind another because the other group got an unfair head start.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby General_Norris » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Sure, but the disagreement is what counts as being truly fair.

Sorry, I don't undesrstand this sentence. Could you paraphrase?

Imagine a game where for the first half the refs were incredibly biased and so now one team has 100 points and the other has 0. Is it ultimately fair to remedy that in the second half by simply getting replacing the refs with unbiased ones, so the final score can be 120-20 or something?

No, but its better than giving them a victory because the judges were biased ,specially since those judges are not related to you and they are not biased because of something you did (Like a bribe). It is not fair to say "Hey, you are the best but you don't have breasts so you are not hired" in the very same way that "Hey, you are the best but you don't have a penis so you are not hired" isn't.

Also, how biased were they? What would the result be? 120-40? 60-80? We can't know unless we play that game again. The problem is that you can replay a game but you can't go back 30 years in someone's life so they can get into University as an 18 year old. The time is already lost and we can't help it. A worse worker will be a worse worker and you will not change the fact by letting them in. They are still worse, you did not solve anything. Currently no woman in Spain has the neccesary experience to become a General. How will you solve that? You can't, because you can't go back in time and kill Franco so women are able to get in the Army.

Perfect justice is something only the gods can achieve and we are not. The best we can do is preventing it from happening again and be fair now.

You can't adress any problems with positive discrimination because it is not possible. Who gets a job is based on who is the best and claiming how it will advance society will not change they fact that someone who gets in due to positive discrimination is not the best. If a team wins because they had more women instead of because they had more points they didn't win a tournament based on skill. The only way you can be fair to women and give them what they deserve is not discriminating by sex and treating them like people not like women.

In fact, one of the problems women have right now is that they are looked down as worse workers because they are female. Getting worse workers will only worsen the issue.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby nowfocus » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Sure, but the disagreement is what counts as being truly fair. The idea of positive discrimination is that one group already has a huge disadvantage, and ignoring that disadvantage would be to perpetuate it.


First off - how can we be so certain that the disadvantage women have in the comedy industry is due gender discrimination? A population discrepancy in and of itself is not evidence of discrimination. Relative to baseball, basketball has a very small number of jewish people. Is this because basketball coaches are biased against jews? Or is genetics? Or is it culture? I'm not sure - but you can't make the conclusion that its social injustice so easily.

Now - lets suppose that the lack of female comedy writers is due social injustice. Even if TDS was interested in rectifying this injustice - what cost should it be willing to pay to attain it? How is social justice for 10 or so writers worth reducing the quality of the show for the millions of people who watch it?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:25 pm UTC

Chai, could you answer a hypothetical question for me?

Say that I'm hiring for an engineering company (which is a field which is known as having an imbalanced gender ratio). In an effort to prevent any sexism from leaking into my decisions, I (and I make the decisions on who to hire, and on who to interview) have other people do all the interviewing, receive only resumes and transcripts of interviews (with completely standardized questions, to prevent interviewer bias) with all things that would lead to gender identification removed (someone who has no contact with me would replace, say, a reference to time spent in girl scouts with a reference to time spent in a "youth association" or some such, and assume for the sake of argument that there's a way to do this while retaining information relevant to how good the candidate is likely to be at their job). I then end up hiring, say, 70% men (while having no way of knowing that they're men), because the imbalance in the number of total applicants means that there's likely to be an imbalance in the number of applicants who fall into the category of "the best". Am I sexist? I just want the people who are the best at their jobs, and I hired those who were the best. Should I go over the list of people that I want to hire, and decide to not hire some of the men, and instead go through the pile of people who didn't quite make the cut until I find enough women to have a perfect 50:50 split?

Where in my decision process would sexism come into play?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:59 pm UTC

It could inform your questions and how you see answers ("I then took a year off to look after my kid" is a fairly gendered response no matter what you want to do with it).

You asked "Am I sexist?" and the answer is yes. No matter what, you're in a sexist society. Acting like you've somehow managed to not be a part of that is like pretending that you've been carbon neutral since birth: given where and when you are its just not believable.

Also, here.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:22 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Sure, but the disagreement is what counts as being truly fair.

Sorry, I don't undesrstand this sentence. Could you paraphrase?
I meant that, sure, we both agree that being fair isn't being sexist, but we disagree about what is truly fair.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Black » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:39 pm UTC

You asked "Am I sexist?" and the answer is yes. No matter what, you're in a sexist society. Acting like you've somehow managed to not be a part of that is like pretending that you've been carbon neutral since birth: given where and when you are its just not believable.


I have a problem with this criterion. If you took a person from a random culture and observed their behavior and evaluated how sexist they were, you would get a different answer than if you know a priori which culture they came from, if your assertion is valid. Unless you mean it probabilistically, that people from our culture are more likely to be sexist and more egregiously sexist than a hypothetical culture where gender discrimination never existed?

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:49 pm UTC

Black wrote:
You asked "Am I sexist?" and the answer is yes. No matter what, you're in a sexist society. Acting like you've somehow managed to not be a part of that is like pretending that you've been carbon neutral since birth: given where and when you are its just not believable.


I have a problem with this criterion. If you took a person from a random culture and observed their behavior and evaluated how sexist they were, you would get a different answer than if you know a priori which culture they came from, if your assertion is valid. Unless you mean it probabilistically, that people from our culture are more likely to be sexist and more egregiously sexist than a hypothetical culture where gender discrimination never existed?


I meant that cultures themselves can be sexist, in much the same way that economies can be carbon intensive, and that somebody in that sexist culture will have some amount of that sexism imprinted on their actions and beliefs, much as someone who has participated in that economy will have put some carbon in the atmosphere.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Black » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:22 pm UTC

But not all aspects of an economy that is net carbon emitting produce net carbon emissions. I am from the United States, so I am part of one of the most carbon intense economies on the planet. But if someone else spends most of their time planting trees, say as part of a charity, and is incredibly conscious of their emissions, their net carbon emissions might be negative.

The point I'm making is that it is always a probabilistic argument based on generalization, and although it is often right, I think it is as unethical as discrimination based on an irrational generalization. I think an individual must be evaluated completely on their own, on their own behavior, on their own opinions. To do anything more would be to some extent unfair to the individual. In my mind, the crux of any discrimination issue is that a judgment based on some set of criteria is being made of an individual on the basis of a generalization, regardless of the correlation of that generalization with that criteria.

Obviously, if you took this admission to its extreme, then no judgment could be made except of immediate circumstances. For example, it would be wrong to evaluate someone's future performance based on their past performance because that is a judgment based on a generalization (future performance is correlated with past performance).

But, I think we can all agree that is is always unfair to an individual to judge them based on irrational (uncorrelated) generalizations. This is what discrimination such as sexism is. However, at what point is it unfair to judge them based on a rational correlation? Is it ok to judge an American as a net carbon producer because most of them are? I think we should try to evaluate our criteria as closely as possible without introducing too general generalizations.

... that was long winded. tl;dr; I think it's unfair to make the assumption that someone is sexist based on the fact that they are from a sexist society, because it does not even evaluate the individual, it evaluates a generalization.

Here's a question: Why is it sexist if the Daily Show does not strive to correct endemic biases that may be caused by sexism? It seems to me that there is a lot of evaluation of an individual (used in the sense of a localized entity) based on factors that extend far outside of the individual, global factors if you will. It's like some sort of spooky action-at-a-distance of morality. That someone else being a sexist jerk makes me sexist if I don't change my behavior to ameliorate theirs.

(this post may or may not be coherent and is provided as is with no warranty or guarantee)

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby nowfocus » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:44 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:You asked "Am I sexist?" and the answer is yes. No matter what, you're in a sexist society. Acting like you've somehow managed to not be a part of that is like pretending that you've been carbon neutral since birth: given where and when you are its just not believable.


Taking the context of CIs post into account, it was clearly asking whether the action being taken was sexist not if he personally was sexist. Also - pointing out that everyone is sexist doesn't really advanced the debate - unless your applying that we all need to now repent because parents don't give building blocks to girls.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Taking the context of CIs post into account, it was clearly asking whether the action being taken was sexist not if he personally was sexist. Also - pointing out that everyone is sexist doesn't really advanced the debate - unless your applying that we all need to now repent because parents don't give building blocks to girls.


Actually, I think it does advance the debate because it points out the exact point of difference between the groups arguing. One group sees sexism as an action of individuals, the other sees it as that and also a property of cultures and institutions. I contend that even if everyone is well intentioned and not apparently sexist, but the institutions that form their interactions are, then the outcome will be biased against women. So you have to take steps that actually attack the structural base from which the sexism emerges if you want to end the sexism. Especially if you want to be seen as not just talking the progressive talk but walking the progressive walk.

@Black: your model ignores the possibility of the criteria themselves being sexist.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Black » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:12 pm UTC

I don't want to touch that because whether or not a given criterion is sexist depends on how it is justified. And justification isn't trivial to reason about. For the sake of simplicity, assume the set of criteria under consideration make no mention of sex.

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby nowfocus » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:18 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Taking the context of CIs post into account, it was clearly asking whether the action being taken was sexist not if he personally was sexist. Also - pointing out that everyone is sexist doesn't really advanced the debate - unless your applying that we all need to now repent because parents don't give building blocks to girls.


Actually, I think it does advance the debate because it points out the exact point of difference between the groups arguing. One group sees sexism as an action of individuals, the other sees it as that and also a property of cultures and institutions. I contend that even if everyone is well intentioned and not apparently sexist, but the institutions that form their interactions are, then the outcome will be biased against women. So you have to take steps that actually attack the structural base from which the sexism emerges if you want to end the sexism. Especially if you want to be seen as not just talking the progressive talk but walking the progressive walk.


Nitpick - sexism is about a bias against a particular gender, not necessarily females. Anyways, how would you suggest that TDS attacks the structural base from which sexism emerges without compromising the popularity of the show? Essentially - what should CI - regardless of whether (s)he has commited the original sin of sexism?
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

Black wrote:I don't want to touch that because whether or not a given criterion is sexist depends on how it is justified. And justification isn't trivial to reason about. For the sake of simplicity, assume the set of criteria under consideration make no mention of sex.


But this is where the rubber meets the road. How the criteria are decided is integral to the operation of your model. Even if you say that they don't have any mention of gender, you can still end up with a sexist outcome. Say you've got two candidates, one a man and one a woman, both equally qualified. The criteria often becomes variations on "Who will fit in best in our work enviroment?" If the team is all male, putting a woman in the mix might put an onion in the ointment so its easier to just go with the man. On the other hand if we say "in the future I want a team that is close to gender balanced, so I'm going to start hiring women that are qualified" you hire the woman. The criteria are key and ultimately consciously ignoring gender might end up with a very gender biased outcome.

nowfocus wrote:Nitpick - sexism is about a bias against a particular gender, not necessarily females. Anyways, how would you suggest that TDS attacks the structural base from which sexism emerges without compromising the popularity of the show? Essentially - what should CI - regardless of whether (s)he has commited the original sin of sexism?


Firstly, acting like sexism has suddenly swung, or might swing, the other way is blatantly counterfactual. Secondly, treating the claim that culture effects the way that people act as supernatural in nature is puerile. Thirdly, CI?

The answer is hire qualified women in creative roles. That's what they've started to do. Its not unreasonable to point out that a start isn't a finish, and that hiring people who seem to think that telling feminists to take sandwiches out of their mouths and walk it off is a joke maybe isn't much of a start.
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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Black » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:06 am UTC

But this is where the rubber meets the road. How the criteria are decided is integral to the operation of your model. Even if you say that they don't have any mention of gender, you can still end up with a sexist outcome. Say you've got two candidates, one a man and one a woman, both equally qualified. The criteria often becomes variations on "Who will fit in best in our work enviroment?" If the team is all male, putting a woman in the mix might put an onion in the ointment so its easier to just go with the man. On the other hand if we say "in the future I want a team that is close to gender balanced, so I'm going to start hiring women that are qualified" you hire the woman. The criteria are key and ultimately consciously ignoring gender might end up with a very gender biased outcome.


But for the first scenario, you are applying a generalization: that a man would fit better in a male-dominated work environment than a woman. You are not evaluating the individual, but the generalization. It may very well be that the woman is more sociable, and particularly enjoys the company of men, whereas the man is socially inept and feels intimidated by other males. We are also ignoring the team. If the team is chauvinist and a bunch of dicks, then the man probably would fit in better (still have to evaluate the individual to be fair). Is it sexist to make this decision? This is a good question. This is sexism by tacit acceptance. You are accepting that someone else's sexism is a valid influence on your decision. If you do not take into account someone else's sexism, then their sexism doesn't infect your actions. But if you do, then you are taking the sexism upon yourself.

The second option, I think clearly mentions gender, and so is precluded from consideration.

Yes, it is hard to clearly define the set of criteria independent of gender. Perhaps there is no easy way. Perhaps this: A set of criteria determines an evaluation 'function' that you apply to an individual to evaluate them. This function depends actually on more than the criteria, but also implicit facts that are known to you. We can say that a set of criteria is independent of gender for you if the evaluation function that they determine returns the same evaluation given two people identical except for gender. This definition mostly expands on the one I gave before because criteria that explicitly mention gender probably can't produce an independent evaluation function given any set of surrounding circumstances.

... this is getting complicated, probably because my opinion isn't precise and coherent enough to be presented tersely.

But, here's something: If someone extensionally evaluates people independent of gender (modify the previous definitions to make this more precise), but has different emotional and cognitive responses to people based on gender, are they sexist? Is someone sexist if they have gender biases that are not observable?

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Re: Women of the Daily Show speak

Postby Ortus » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:43 am UTC

The second page has been almost entirely about sexism in comedy and loosely how it applies to TDS, so... as an aside...

Aetius wrote:
Jessica wrote:I thought that whole segment was fantastic, personally.


I actually thought the segment as a whole was pretty good, but that opportunity was so glaring I'm surprised any comedian missed it.


I thought that was kind of the point. The opportunity was there, but Olivia clearly ignored it for a more telling joke. What I got out of that part of the interview amused the hell out of me. I thought her first two segments were "meh"; they had merit but I wasn't clapping on my couch (like I often do for great segments on TDS and TCR). Her most recent segment, on the other hand, was hilarious and right on point. I felt the irony oozing through the television and the absurdity of the whole situation was characterized smoothly by her attacking the organization lobbying to keep those traffic cameras in place. The representative clearly had no idea what was going on in the interview, and that made it even better. The profile shot of him walking out of the building at the end was sprinkles over the icing on a well-made cake.


jestingrabbit wrote:

Olivia Munn wrote:I never tried to use anything besides my own sweat and blood and talent to get somewhere. I think that anyone who’s out there trying to bring down why any woman would get anywhere, or why we’re different, just needs to f***ing turn her f***ing computer off, take the sandwich out of her mouth and go for a god**mn walk f***ing walk. You know what? Just walk it off, b***h. Just walk it off, b***h.


That's not even in the same timezone as funny, to me at least.


I don't think it was supposed to be funny. Using the whole quote, it's pretty obvious she has a great dislike for anybody who sits around talking about discrepancies between human beings and using those discrepancies as an excuse for something. I believe that she holds every person on the same level, ignoring race and sex as it relates to merit because she wants to be known for what she can do, not for what she can do as a woman.

Not so long ago in America, the same statement could have been made to the same effect by interchanging woman with man or woman of color, and I think that point needs to be made.


Jessica wrote:Sady once again is an awesome columnist and write well. I think she is cool.

...
There are women who make their living off the misogyny of our culture. That isn't inherently bad. Is Munn bad at her job? Maybe maybe not. Haven't seen her on the daily show. But, when I see her (and I will, I watch TDS enough to see most of the correspondents) I won't be comparing her to what she did before. Her job before was to be eye candy to nerds. I hope she actually has the comedy skills when I see her.


Ignoring the first and last parts of that article, I have to take a stab at the AotS attack. The meat in that part of the article is almost pure hyperbole to the point where I want to gag (see what I did there?). Okay, maybe I'm not as tactful a writer, but yes: the aim of any particular segment on AotS was to have a bag of meat that happens to please the senses lick the newest electronics to be 'relevant to our interests'. Would fist pumping and orgasmic cries be preferable to the obviously self-aware "creepy" 'ooohs'? I wonder.

Spoiler:
Now: Given that she was playing to an audience of dudes whose expectations of women were primarily informed by ever-more-anatomically-impossible video game heroines, the flying thongs of superhero justice to be found in comic books, and cooing, squealing, saucer-eyed anime girls, did it help that she was pretty? AYUP. It also helped that the show continually cast her in misogynist skits that “proved” to the audience that they could control her and she would like it: Skits that played to the audience’s frustrations with women, their feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, and their continual rage that real-life girls couldn’t be controlled by mashing the buttons on their PlayStation consoles. One golden example of this — so effective, apparently, that they repeated it over and over again — was the comedy/technology news chestnut I like to call “We Can Make Olivia Put Her Mouth On It.” It went like this:

ANNOYING FRAT DUDE HOST WITH BAD RYAN SEACREST HAIR: Guess what, presumed-to-be-male audience members? A new piece of technology, relevant to your interests, has come out today! And now, Olivia Munn will lick it.

MALE LIVE AUDIENCE: (Creepily.) Wooo!

OLIVIA MUNN: Oh, no, I’m not going to lick that!

RYAN SEACREST HAIR: Oh, yes, you are, Olivia! Lick it! Lick it because I am a man, and told you to!

MALE LIVE AUDIENCE: (Extremely creepily.) Woooooooooo!

OLIVIA MUNN: (Licks it.)

MALE LIVE AUDIENCE: (At this point, creepy enough to merit several dozen restraining orders.) WWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

RYAN SEACREST HAIR: Wow, you sure do like to lick it, Olivia!

OLIVIA MUNN: Ha, ha ha ha ha! You are so funny!

[END SCENE.]



...playing to an audience of dudes...
I'll give you that one, demographics don't lie. This next quote is hilarious. Truly, mind-bogglingly hi-LAR-ious.

...Skits that played to the audience’s frustrations with women, their feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, and their continual rage that real-life girls couldn’t be controlled by mashing the buttons on their PlayStation consoles...


Yup, you just summed up an entire demographic spanning multiple ethnicities, backgrounds, and sexes in one all-encompassing statement of derogatory tom-fuckery. After reading the spoiler'd I have to wonder who the sexist is supposed to be here. I also have to point out the glaring misandry, but I won't comment on it because I'm not both a man and a woman, thus my opinion of either side is totally out of line.

Setting all of that aside, is the writer of this article still correct in her dissertation of AotS, Olivia Munn et. al.? Perhaps. The rest of the article was quite good, but very tongue-in-cheek and not entirely honest with how it started.

I know this thread isn't about the spoiler'd article, but I couldn't help myself and felt it was relevant.










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