Kulantan wrote:Pandas, the best argument against intelligent design and survival of the fittest.
With less less elliptic snark, evolution (mementic or otherwise) doesn't actually optimise everything well enough to allow that argument hold any water.
Yeah--something that always seems to get lost in those sorts of arguments is that the operation of natural selection isn't concerned about the happiness or prosperity of its memes; it parses 'success' as persistence of a meme
, nothing more, nothing less. Ideas that persist over time don't persist because they're necessarily good ideas; they persist because they contain features that perpetuate their persistence. It's reasonable to believe those features cause more problems than they're worth--or in more extreme circumstances, may even lead to the eventual inevitable destruction of the object in question.
Ormurinn wrote:Hey hippo. I really like debating with you, I always feel like I've learned something by the end, and I completely agree with what you're saying here. I can see fringe situations where your examples could be construed as offensive, (dont wear a crucifix to a Blot, dont wear orange in Northern Ireland etc.) but I see what you're saying. That said, I'm sure if you talked to to some of the people who are interpreting hairy legs in public as disrespect, they'd immediately soften. If you're expecting everyone to realise that you're not violating norms just to cause friction though, you're being unrealistic. Again, theres alternatives to shaving, like covering your legs, so you need a confluence of factors to get a situation where a misinterpretation takes place.
Well I'm glad to hear that, since my goal here isn't to frustrate or insult you, but rather encourage alternate perspectives (and to be encouraged toward alternate perspectives in turn!)
That being said, the point of all language is successful communication. The argument here can be boiled down to a basic language problem: We have X. Group A likes X, because it means less pain and effort. Group B doesn't like X, because to them, it translates into an insult. Which group is responsible for ensuring proper communication takes place?
Group A doesn't even want
to communicate; they just want X because X is nice and makes their lives easier. Group B insists that X is an insult; not because X has a 'history' (see 'faggot' or 'nigger' for relevant American-centric examples), but because... why? Because they don't find X attractive? Is that even a relevant factor?
I'm sure that if I explain reasons why someone might not want to shave their legs, some people will soften on the issue; I'm also sure that some people won't. That isn't the point, though--the point is that someone wants to have unshaven legs, and someone wants to get angry with them because they cannot parse this as anything but an insult
How can I understand this as anything except
a mistranslation on Group B's part?
Ormurinn wrote:I'm not only choosing situations where people are making the choice to violate norms to be intentionally disruptive - when I went into work with a long beard, everywhere else I'd been had viewed it as acceptable. In this situation I was informed it wasn't, and shaved.
You seem to want everyone in the world to assume that despite what they see as evidence to the contrary, you aren't violating their norms out of disrespect, but due to individual circumstances - which is fine. But all the other women on that bus have shaved their legs, all the men in that lift have short hair. They've conformed to their assigned norms. I'm not saying it's fair, but it makes sense that they might be a bit miffed.
I think that the world would be a nicer place if we did that more often, yes. But that's not really what I'm saying; I'm saying that when evidence exists that you're clearly trying to communicate disrespect, we should take it at face-value--but that evidence isn't provided in the example of unshaved legs. If you take unshaved legs as a sign of disrespect, that's because you are misinterpreting a non-signal
What evidence is there that I'm not shaving my legs as an insult to you? Why is it more reasonable to assume that my decision to not shave my legs is a way of showing disrespect, rather than a decision I made based on not wanting to shave my legs?
Ok, your woman at a job interview hasn't shaved her legs. It's not as severe as her wearing a sweat-stained wifebeater, but she's still violated a norm of dress, and one she could easily have sidestepped by wearing trousers. In my mind, it's reasonable to infer that she's less bothered about the job than someone who has gone to the effort, assuming all other things are equal.
To clarify something: I think that most social norms about appearance are stupid. The 'FUCK' T-shirt is an easy one because it carries a very explicit message written right on it. I think that an office making its members shave their beards is dumb (how does 'beard' translate to 'disrespect'?).
That being said, communication is about clarity, and the more nebulous the medium, the more clear you need to be. We're not dealing with words here--we're dealing with how someone presents themselves. The details aren't important. It's the big, obvious stuff that matters.
A sleeveless sweat-stained shirt is pretty clear and unambiguous. There's no working around it; you decided that a sweat-stained shirt was a 'good' choice here. Either you're hopelessly clueless about social norms (very, very unlikely) or you're trying to send a message ("I don't care about this job"). I might ask you 'why are you wearing that?' and get some clarification, but when the message is that
clear, I don't feel any distress in just assuming you're trying to say precisely what it looks like you're trying to say. If someone says "FUCK YOU HIPPO!", I don't ask for clarification.
But unshaved legs? We can imagine any number of scenarios that lead you to not shaving your legs for reasons other than sending a message
. And even if we assume you're sending a message, that message could vary--when you don't shave your legs, you're legs are always unshaved. You can't 'turn off' your unshaved legs. Maybe you don't shave your legs because it's some form of breast cancer awareness thing (they had something like this a few months ago where I live for prostate cancer, with men growing mustaches). Maybe you're protesting against the social expectation of unshaved legs (but hey, even protesters gotta eat, so you're here for a job). Maybe the message has got nothing to do with me. You say they should cover it up, then--but why? Why is it their
responsibility to ensure you
don't make a silly mistake like that?
There's very few reasons why you'd wear a sweat-stained sleeveless shirt to a job interview--there's a lot
of reasons why you might have unshaved legs at a job interview. It's ambiguous--and assuming that it's supposed to be a message to me, the interviewer, is pretty arrogant on my part. It might have nothing to do with me. In fact, it probably doesn't
have anything to do with me, and assuming otherwise is silly.