THE RATIONAL ANIMAL'S LONGINGS: New film said to have "man problem"...

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2020 logical problems arise:
How good a film in the new Little Women?

Presumably, opinions differ. But even before the film was released on Christmas Day, we were told it was facing a problem.

The report appeared in Vanity Fair, with Anthony Breznican doing the honors. The "public screenings" to which he refers seem to have been industry screenings.

Headline included:
BREZNICAN (12/17/19): Little Women Has a Little Man Problem

The first public screenings of Little Women were filled to capacity, but the distributors and awards-season strategists behind Greta Gerwig’s new film were worried nonetheless. The audience was overwhelmingly comprised of women—and the voting memberships of various Hollywood awards ceremonies are obviously not.

That trend may account for why the critically beloved adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel had an underwhelming showing in last week’s awards nominations. The team behind the film hopes to reverse that by the time Oscar nomination voting opens on January 2.

“It’s a completely unconscious bias. I don’t think it’s anything like a malicious rejection,” said producer Amy Pascal.
Still, she doesn’t believe men gave the movie a shot. RSVPs for the first screening in October, as well as many others that Sony Pictures hosted around Los Angeles in recent weeks, were skewed about two to one in favor of women. ”I don’t think that [men] came to the screenings in droves, let me put it that way,” Pascal said. “And I’m not sure when they got their [screener] DVDs that they watched them.”
Pascal was doing a lot of mind-reading, but also perhaps a bit of selling. Vanity Fair played along.

At that time, Little Women hadn't done especially well in the early award nomination chase—specifically, in nominations by the Golden Globes and by the Screen Actors Guild.

A few weeks later, the film would do much better in the Oscar nominations, where it racked up nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards.

How poorly was Little Women doing when Breznican wrote his piece? Consider its total shutout among the SAG nominations.

The Screen Actors Guild only gives acting awards. That said, it didn't nominate any individuals from Little Women, and it didn't nominate the cast of the film for its ensemble acting award.

Did this result from the gender bias Pascal described as "completely unconscious?" Or is it possible that SAG members simply thought that five other casts had done a better job overall?

In these latter days of our nation's experiment, such questions are no longer asked. Instead, the children take numbers and stand in line, waiting to repeat the highly speculative bias claims which routinely emerge from us on the floundering cultural left.

Panic invaded our tribal ranks in the wake of Pascal's complaints. On December 21, Janet Maslin tweeted a call to arms.

Maslin said she knew three men who didn't want to see Gerwig's film. The alarm went exactly like this:
MASLIN (12/21/19): The “Little Women” problem with men is very real. I don’t say that lightly and am very alarmed.

In the past day have been told by 3 male friends who usually trust me that they either refuse to see it or probably won’t have time. Despite my saying it’s tied for #1 of 2019.
So read Maslin's first tweet. Given the dumbness of our tribe, three no longer seemed like a comically tiny "N."

Inevitably, the New York Times jumped into the fray with its own report about the film's alleged man problem. Inevitably, the internal logic of the Times report may have been even dumber than Maslin's.

The essay was written by Kristy Eldredge. Online, it appears beneath these headlines:
Men Are Dismissing ‘Little Women.’ What a Surprise.
The rejection of the latest screen adaptation of the beloved novel echoes a long-held sentiment toward women-centered narratives.
Who but the Times writes piddle like that, in which "men" are said to have "dismissed" and "rejected" Gerwig's film?

Who but the Times writes such foofaw? And sure enough! In the body of Eldredge's piece, Times subscribers were soon invited to swallow logic like this as Eldredge advanced Maslin's claim:
ELDREDGE (12/27/19): One of its producers, Amy Pascal, told the magazine she believes many male voters have avoided it because of an “unconscious bias.”

While the box office numbers following its release on Wednesday suggest the movie has found a decent audience—it placed third, behind the new “Star Wars” and the latest “Jumanji,” on opening day—that unconscious bias has seemed to trickle down to the casual male viewer as well, if Twitter is any indication. The New York Times critic Janet Maslin recently tweeted her surprise at the “active hostility about ‘Little Women’ from men I know, love and respect.”

She also described the movie’s “problem with men” as “very real.” Someone tweeted in response: “It’s not a ‘problem.’ We just don’t care.”
Pascal had diagnosed an "unconscious bias" in industry types. On what basis was Eldredge now willing to say that this bias had "seemed to trickle down to the casual male viewer?"

On what basis did Eldredge make that statement? Simple! That seemed to be true, Eldredge said, "if Twitter is any indication." And then, explaining what she meant, she cited a single tweet in response to Maslin, in which one person had said that men "just don't care" about the new film.

Maslin had employed an "N" of three. The New York Times was now willing to roll with an "N" of one! The sheer stupidity put on display exemplifies the "very stable dumbness" to which future anthropologists now routinely refer as they describe the events which led to the global conflagration they refer to as Mister Trump's War.

Sad! Liberal and mainstream reporters and pundits have been behaving this way for decades. When cultural guardians are routinely this dumb, can a Trump be far behind?

Experts insist that this exquisite dumbness stems from a basic longing of the so-called rational animal. At times of tribal conflict, these celebrated experts say, we humans wanted to tell the simplest possible stories—stories in which members of our own group or guild were pitiable innocent victims, and The Others were just extremely bad.

Future experts say we descended into an "identity Babel" during the decades which eventually led to our Trump. Strange as it seems, they say the punditry surrounding Little Women offers a window into the way these identity bubbles worked.

The dumbness was general, these experts all say. And it wasn't all found Over There!

Next week, we'll turn to the pixels of Vox to explore the rational animal's values. Scribes at Vox have gone all in on the greatness of Gerwig's well-reviewed film. Their logic, and the values they've revealed in the process, give us a look at the era's brainpower, and at the era's soul.

Coming next week: Marmee's anger, Professor Bhaer's girth and the cultural values of Vox

Along with an N of two: Maslin ran with an N of 3. Eldredge went with an N of 1 as she diagnosed the mistreated film's man problem.

Yesterday, we discussed a somewhat similar report in the Washington Post. How did Ellen McCarthy know that female candidates pay a price for employing humor?

Simple! She scrolled through a list of YouTube comments, then went with an N of 2! She had found two (2) different men making critical comments about a joke one (1) candidate told!

At the upper end of our national press, rational animals have been playing the game this way for a very long time. According to despondent future experts, this left us with no lines of defense against the appearance of Trump.


  1. Mao, I shouldn't have to be the first one to post here. That's your job. Everyone looks forward to hearing from you about how libs are zombies. C'mon do your job!

    1. Triggered, eh?

      There are dozens of safe spaces where I'm permanently banned. Try MoJo or Rawstory or something. Enjoy zombie comradeship in places reliably safe from infidels.

    2. Mao,
      MoJo and raw Story are permanently banning suckers, who like to get played by politicians, from their websites?
      No worries. The National Review, America's most respected journal of white supremacy, is still welcoming the entire modern Conservative movement.

    3. what's your problem, Mao, I was only bemoaning your slackness in not being first. But I guess I shouldn't hold it against you for being a little slow in your clicking for one day. No interest in "Mojo" or "Rawstory" whatever they are, but thanks anyway. Also, no interest in zombie comradeship, insofar as I've learned from viewing Walking Dead, they eat live humans. Also, kudos for getting a "zombie" slur in there, that really helps.

    4. Mao,
      Even if zombies were real, you'd still have nothing to worry about. Zombies eat brains. You have nothing they want.

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  2. Enough of Little Women, dear Bob, please.

    Seriously. No one cares about Little Women. Not a single person in the whole world. Not a single person with a pulse and functioning brain, that is.

    After all, OCD is a mental disorder, dear Bob. Do you see the irony? So, try to control your obsessions.

    1. Nothing can even begin to compare in beauty, artistry, or genuine emotional content with Mervyn LeRoy’s great MGM technicolor version in 1949. But that doesn’t stop them from trying.

    2. Mao, here I have to agree with you, TDH has said his piece about the movie and should move on. However, people can care about a good book or good movie, in some sense. Lots of people like to talk about movies, though TDH is over-flogging it; there must be something more worthy to move on to. I never read the book, but I did go see the new version with my wife and son. The theater was packed. I think there were a fair number of guys present. I enjoyed the movie. I didn't really notice any significant "woke" stuff in it, though maybe I missed it.

    3. OCD is a psychiatric disorder. A mental disorder refers to dysfunction or inability to process information. Dyslexia is a mental disorder.

      But we have to cut Mao some slack. English isn't his first language.

  3. “New film said to have "man problem"...

    Janet Maslin was concerned that men *who are Academy voters* were refusing to see the film, as she said in a later tweet:

    “It matters only at year’s end when awards voters are refusing to do what’s required of them. Which is to watch all possible contenders whether they feel like it or not.”

    “Did this result from the gender bias Pascal described as "completely unconscious?"

    Pascal didn’t use the term “gender”, now did she? Here’s how she described it later on:

    “I think it’s kind of the same thing. It’s a different bias,” Pascal said. “[Voters think], These kinds of stories are important to me, and these kinds of stories are less important to me.”

    She, like Maslin, is talking about *Academy voters* who refuse to watch the movie because of a bias against that type of movie.

    If Academy voters refuse to watch certain kinds of movies, then they are not doing their duty as Academy voters, to the detriment of those kinds of movies and the people who make them.

    “How did Ellen McCarthy know that female candidates pay a price for employing humor?”

    She cited several groups plus a study that confirmed that people react differently to women telling jokes than to men telling jokes. One of the groups was a conservative women’s group that often recommends women avoid jokes altogether. It sounds as though it’s simply a fact. Whether it shows sexism is unclear. It clearly shows gender bias, which isn’t the same thing as sexism.

    Perhaps it’s a fact of life for women, but, if it is, it seems as though it’s something women should know about and discuss. If it does involve sexism, then that’s also useful to know. For everyone.

  4. Re-posting from yesterday:

    “You see, we read the Post's lengthy piece, in which Ellen McCarthy essentially offered zero evidence in support of this pleasing claim.”

    Somerby’s use of the word “essentially” should set off alarm bells for his readers.

    In fact, McCarthy cites the following:

    1. ‘“We often say that when women run for office they face a likability tightrope. They have to be so nuanced — and humor is a really good example of that,” says Amanda Hunter, director of research at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.’
    2. “women can be punished for their jokes, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Applied Psychology. [led by Jon Evans, a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona] Researchers asked a man and woman to each give two versions of a speech to employees. When the man included humor, he was rated higher in terms of status, performance evaluation and leadership capability. When the woman included the exact same jokes in her speech, she was rated lower on all three fronts.”
    3. “At Maggie’s List, a political action committee that works to increase the number of conservative women elected to federal office, humor is seen as so risky for women that the group advises female candidates to tell jokes that would be appropriate only for a grade-school audience — or forgo trying to be funny altogether.”

    That’s three citations, and, yes, the study is linked to in the article.

    1. 1 and 3 also consist of people, like McCarthy, making similar unsupported assertions. From that we can conclude only that McCarthy's view is shared by others.

      2 might be evidence if it were a compelling study....but your description does not seem particularly reassuring on that score. (How many men and women? How well did the men and women [or woman and man] deliver their jokes? Were the jokes, on average, more in the comfort zones of the men [or man] than the women [or woman]? Put another way, why do we believe that the outcome is caused simply by the gender of the speaker without any other confounding differences?). Can we be confident that this study is not part of the reproducibility problem that is drawing so much current concern in Psychology?

    2. You can find the Journal of Applied Psychology and that particular study via PsycInfo, the psychology database, at any university library (including community colleges). You can then see how many subjects were included and all of the details you want. However, this is an accredited, recognized journal in the field and most researchers would assume that if the article passed peer review (which it must have done in order to be published), then it meets the necessary sample size and other criteria to take the findings seriously.

      But this is an example of the tendency to be ridiculously critical of findings you don't wish to acknowledge, because they don't fit your preconceptions.

      That approach is inherently anti-scientific. Scientists follow the data, not their cherished beliefs, and when the two conflict, they allow their beliefs to be changed by the data. They are open to being convinced by facts, in other words.

      Neither you nor Somerby has much of a scientific attitude. When men hate a movie without even seeing it, they aren't being fair or open either, and that is the essence of bias.

    3. There are more women voters than men voters - apparently, not enough of them want to vote for women candidates.

    4. Are you talking about the presidential election or the Oscars? There are far fewer women on the nominating committee for Best Director. It is a little better when the entire Academy votes on those nominees, because actresses are included. Women are not the majority.

      In terms of the presidential election, being female doesn't inoculate you against gender bias. I don't know why any woman would want to be Republican, but many do. Given the craven behavior of Republicans with respect to Trump, how can you be surprised that there are women who pander to and follow power?

    5. political elections. Maybe they have their own reasons for voting the way they do, just like you do. You don't like it when men belittle women, but you don't mind belittling women who don't agree with you.

    6. Let's make sure we vote a man in.

    7. I belittled Republican men too.

  5. It hasn’t been all that long in our history since women began taking positions at the highest levels of politics and business. They are still massively underrepresented there. So, whether or not it’s important to Somerby (and apparently it isn’t), it is important to women who want to have a public career in politics or business to know about the difficulties and the pitfalls that are specific to them because of their gender. And he can talk himself blue in the face to try to convince himself otherwise, but it is a fact that *all* women, liberal *and* conservative, feel these same pressures. Treating it as solely a liberal concern is an insult to all the conservative women who face these same issues. And his sneering and mockery show his utter disinterest in women’s concerns, if not outright hostility.

    1. Maybe you can have a public career in politics or business when they let you out of the insane asylum.

    2. A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.

      Kurt Vonnegut

      Insanity -- a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.

      R.D. Laing

      Pardon my sanity in a world insane.

      Emily Dickinson

    3. Disagree, 1:14. You can look far in the past for female rulers. True, they may be outliers, but it has been theorized by some anthropologists that our evolutionary forbears were matriarchal in nature, just as many mammals are today. Not to mention spiders and mantises. Yeesh, glad we got beyond that.


    4. Far in the past, like Queen Victoria 1837-1901, Margaret Thatcher 1979-1990, or Angela Merkel 2005-present? The problem isn't that they don't exist but that women are underrepresented (should exist as leaders in higher numbers).

      You might want to read this about matriarchies:

      It examines the myth of matriarchy. Your suggestion that women rulers ever killed men is ridiculous, also sort of Freudian (see vagina dentata).

    5. @7:27 Do they take men away from their children when they make them boss?

    6. 7:32 Yes, of course. they take the men away from the children. Fathers used to spend all day with their sons and teach them life. Industrial society ripped that away and it has ruined men. Look at the male children of successful men and they are all ruined drug addicts. Your desire is backward. You want women to be "boss" and you don't understand men who are "boss" are insane and have horrible lives. Motherhood and family is totally where it's at. Listen idiot, women are far, far, far above men. It' not even close. You don't want to be like men dummy! You want men to be like women. You're lost in postmodern flim flam and commercial materialism, keeping up with the Jones's. You have been fooled into these insane beliefs. It's gross to see and read. But good luck. Maybe you'll have to learn the hard way. You want to be 40 and "boss" and no kids? Go for it. It's clear you're already a crazy bitch - you would probably make a great "boss". but you will be unhappy as hell lady!

  6. Trump called Bolton's book "nasty and a pack of lies".

    In other news, Republican voters are looking to nominate Bolton's book as the Republican nominee for President in 2020.

  7. I hate it when Somerby starts talking about sample sizes (n's) because he doesn't understand research at all. For one thing, he doesn't understand the difference between qualitative research and quantitative research. He doesn't know what sample sizes are appropriate for these two complementary research methods.

    No one does in-depth interviews with hundreds or even dozens of subjects. Nor do you recruit random samples. You define your target population and look for a representative subjects, then do structured interviews with them (that means you decide in advance what questions you will ask and then ask all of the subjects the same questions). You don't do statistics on the results. You compile the answers and look for patterns, similarities and differences, and you describe the range of views expressed, with quotes demonstrating the themes that emerge. You can do this with a handful of subjects -- you need enough to be sure that the full range of possible responses will have been given a chance to emerge. You aren't looking for statistical significance and you won't be graphing the responses. You are trying to fully understand a phenomenon, trying to form a picture of it, so you want to know everything relevant to it. You can get this with as few as 5 subjects, if they are the right people (most knowledgeable informants).

    In product testing for business purposes, you do usability studies with 3-5 people. That's all you need for any problems with a product to emerge. Focus groups of consumers do not exceed 10 because it is too difficult to have a discussion with too many subjects. Court juries are limited for the same reason. You need enough to have all points of view emerge, but not too many to make discussion unwieldy -- that results in juries of 6 to 12 people.

    So, Somerby continual insinuations that sample sizes are insufficient, applied to statements about qualitative inquiry (formal or the informal ones done by reporters) are ignorant, and constitute harassment. Kevin Drum has the same blind spot about sample sizes -- he applies the sampling requirements for surveys to experiments (in which a dependent variable is manipulated) without understanding that sampling requirements are not the same in these different kinds of research. His commenters explain this to him endlessly, but he doesn't listen. The problem in his case is inadequate graduate education, not an intent to use criticism to attack liberals (as with Somerby), but he is similarly stubborn about fixing a mistake he makes several times a year (usually when attacking some study in psychology that he considers intuitively inconsistent with his own common sense or life experience). In his case, a little learning is a dangerous thing. In Somerby's case it is fatal.

    But no one would ever accuse Somerby of dispassionately pursuing truth. Whatever he writes is aimed at bashing a chosen target.

  8. Bob - I am less concerned with the statistical validity of the complaint being made, and more concerned about the nature of the complaint itself.

    It seems plausible to that "Little Women" is a story that is not just focused on women, but whose narrative appeals to women more than to men...and that seems to be the complaint:

    "MASLIN (12/21/19): The “Little Women” problem with men is very real. I don’t say that lightly and am very alarmed.

    In the past day have been told by 3 male friends who usually trust me that they either refuse to see it or probably won’t have time. Despite my saying it’s tied for #1 of 2019."

    Is Maslin shocked that men disproportionately prefer movies that focus on violence, about struggle against oppression or injustice, achieving dominance, car chases, explosions, firearms, sexual conquest...and that women disproportionately prefer movies that focus on interpersonal social conflict, family relationships, courtship, marriage and Christmas? Presumably not. Either that, or she needs to find a more congenial line of work.

    If you have trouble with the distinction between the nature of the narrative and whether its protagonists are women, consider examples such as "Red Sparrow" and its many siblings about female killing machines....films with female protagonists and narratives that appeal to men.

    So what is my problem with Maslin's comment? It's exactly that she has a "problem" with this difference....that she is "very alarmed". Maslin will not permit men their own choices of preferred movie narratives. No, they must like female-appealing narratives too! Big Brother would have approved....well, perhaps only Big Sister, but the sentiment is no less Orwellian.

    I do want to distinguish here between the issue of awards fairness, and what Big Sister Maslin seemed to say. Big Sister seemed to be telling men what they had to like, which is outrageous. But a well-executed female-appealing film should be as likely to win awards as a well-executed make-appealing film. There are various acceptable approaches to achieving that goal, including seeking gender balance among the voters, but dictating to men what they should like is not among them.

    On a personal note, I have seen Gerwig's Little Women. Like Maslin's male friends, I probably would not have gone, except that my wife loves the book and wanted me to come. I thought the film was excellent. I did not find the chronological jumping about confusing, the acting was excellent, the sisterly conflict was well rendered, the challenges Jo faced as a writer were set well in a mid-nineteenth century context, and the influences of 21st century wokeness were kept well within bounds of reasonableness (the trailers I had seen misleadingly played up those aspects...something that had contributed modestly to my disinclination to see the film). All in all, it was the best Hallmark (heavy dose of Christmas and all) film I have seen. OK....I have never actually seen more than about 10 minutes of a Hallmark movie, but you know what I mean.

    So, yes, I'm glad I saw "Little Women". If I'm going to see a mediocre film, I would probably not want it to focus on such a domestic story....but I thought this was an excellent film, and that made the difference. I think it deserves the considerable accolades it has received, though, like Bob, it is not obvious to me that it has been slighted. It is a story likely to appeal much less to men than to women, but, Big Sister, there is nothing wrong with that.

    1. I don't believe Maslin would have a problem with men preferring male-oriented films, if men did not control the industry to the point of dictating which kinds of films get made (in this case, male-oriented films).

      Further, I believe that it is a good thing for men and women to understand each other and to appreciate each other, on their own terms. Women should not have to become men to succeed in any industry, and men should not have to become women to work in a female-dominated industry either (e.g., teaching, nursing, parenthood, retail and service occupations). But how are men and women to understand each other without making an effort to do so? Watching films about the lives of others is an important way of learning about the unfamiliar. This applies not solely to men and women but to people from other cultures and living in other circumstances.

      Reducing all women's films to "Hallmark Christmas" movies is unfair. Many women's films do not focus on romance or fantasy but can be gritty looks at the struggles of women living in poverty, trying to raise kids without help, and so on. "Can you ever forgive me" is about a successful female writer who has fallen on hard times and uses her talents to support herself in an illegal way. It is witty, interesting, and includes a lot of literary allusions and NYC setting. Men who are well-read will like it. But not if they decide in advance that it is a Hallmark film because it was directed by a woman, and has no car chases in the trailer. The better (more accurate) characterization of women's films is "Indie film" because women's films are often personal, financed via grants and private funding, not widely distributed, and free of the constraints of studios who look only for sure-thing superhero movies and Star Wars sequels.

      It is not a matter of individual preference for films when men lock women out of jobs in the film industry simply because they are women and do not make films that superficially appeal to men. No one tells men what to watch (except their wives perhaps), but the industry tells women they cannot work and that is the problem.

      This jobs issue arises around the subject of awards because simply being nominated for an award means that a nominee will be offered more jobs and will be able to ask for more money. So this is very much an equal pay issue for women. And it applies to all of the behind-the-camera jobs, not just directing.

    2. There are apparently a lot of women who don't like car chase or super hero movies, or Quentin Tarantantino movies. Does that mean they're bigoted against men? I saw Little Women too, and enjoyed it more than I thought. It was just a movie though, not a life-changing experience.

    3. Maslin was talking about male Academy voters who refused to see the film, thus undermining its chances at being nominated.

    4. Is it fair that when a woman wants to go to a movie, all there are in the theaters are car chase films and Quentin Tarantino movies?

      Also, I am curious why Tarantino left the Sharon Tate murder (by the Manson family) out of his film about Hollywood? Having lived in Hollywood in that time period, it colored the atmosphere and everyone knew about it. They also knew about Roman Polanski (who was married to Tate at the time).

    5. AC/MA: I see a lot of films about black people but I am not black. I like Ballywood, so I see a lot of films about India but I am not myself Southeast Asian. I like Jackie Chan movies and quite a few of the martial arts actors (but not Kill Bill or anything with violence against women), but I do not do martial arts myself. I think Mad Max: Fury Road should have won Best Film, but I dislike superhero and comic-book based movies (except Stumptown). I am female but I dislike Hallmark movies and Harlequin romances, but I love Jane Austen, Dickens, Thackery, Trollope, Brontes, and Alcott, but also Melville, Cather and Dreiser, because I don't choose my movies or my authors by their gender.

      I suspect many movie goers are like me. But studio executives think in terms of stereotypes so we get garbage and have to search for something worth watching, whether we are male or female.

    6. I don't know how studio executives think, though I imagine its a lot about making a profit. Customers probably like stereotypes

    7. Have you heard of a high concept pitch? It reduces the entire film down to 25 words or less consisting entirely of stereotypes. "It's Butch Cassidy meets Rocky only set in Hawaii among girl surfers."

    8. @Anonymous 4:24pm:

      "I don't believe Maslin would have a problem with men preferring male-oriented films, if men did not control the industry to the point of dictating which kinds of films get made (in this case, male-oriented films)." I hope that's what Maslin meant....but it's not what she said. The quote is an initial tweet in its entirety.

      "Reducing all women's films to "Hallmark Christmas" movies is unfair." I agree. It would have been unfair if someone had said it.

  9. Here is another mistaken idea Somerby has about knowledge. He thinks that the less time out of school someone has, the less they know. He is always pointing out how young someone is, how few years since their graduation.

    In any academic field, undergraduate degrees are considered to be equivalent to those broad survey courses you take in a field, such as Introduction to Biology, or Principles of Psychology. They equip you to go into the world and understand it in terms of whatever field you majored in.

    Graduate study at the Master's level usually prepares you for a specific profession requiring advanced training. You need a Master's degree to be a Physical Therapist or a Computer Scientist or Nurse or Special Ed Teacher. The equivalent, despite being called a doctorate, is CPA's, dentists, physicians (with M.D. degrees), lawyers. These are professional degrees.

    To generate new knowledge and hold an academic position at a university, you need a PhD (or equivalent research doctorate). You must complete a dissertation that demonstrates your ability to conduct original research that adds something new to the literature in your field. The person with a Ph.D. must also complete a comprehensive literature review that describes and summarizes all relevant previous knowledge on the chosen research topic.

    Because someone with a new doctorate has recently reviewed the literature and has just learned the most current methods for studying a specific topic, they are considered better trained and more knowledgable than people out of school for a much longer time. The more current your degree, the more expert someone is assumed to be on their specialty.

    So the respect is backwards compared to Somerby's formula. New academics know more than older ones. The olders ones acquire experience and a broader view of their field, and are perhaps more adept at data analysis and forming theories, but they are less up on new data analysis techniques, software and equipment, and they typically are not as aware of new developments, even in their own fields. Younger, more recently trained people are more expert. To some extent this is also true in technical fields and professions.

    Somerby seems to believe that the only relevant skill held by journalists is life experience. That may have been true back in the 1940s or even the 1960s, but there is a great deal of technical skill required now to begin to research a topic, and familiarity of relevant technology is essential. I suppose Somerby, like previous journalists, is proud to be unable to type and considers his speed at hunt-and-peck to be the mark of a writer, but journalists don't work that way any more. These young people have skills and knowledge that Somerby cannot begin to describe and that puts them ahead of the game wherever they find work. Times are changing so fast in our world that the younger you are, the more you know and the better you can function.

    Somerby thinks he is mocking these young people by citing the recency of their graduation, but he is validating their skill instead.

  10. The film has a "man problem" because it is called "Little Women." But they have to call it that or women would not realize that it is a remake based on the book of that title. It is why Lady Gaga's movie had to be called "A Star is Born," to preserve continuity with the previous versions.

    So, what is wrong with men who look at a title that has the word women in it and decide it isn't going to be good? If it were titled "Naked Women" would they go? Did they go to see "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death"? Would they have gone if the title were "Big Women"? Just to see how big they were?

    It may be that experiencing emotion is the primary reason women go to films, whereas fantasy wish fulfillment may be the primary motivation for men. If you were to compile a list of films well-liked by men, I'll bet they are ones that evoke an extremely limited breadth of emotion (and no, excitement, lust, feeling powerful and dominant, are not emotions). It may not be good for men to avoid emotion, even in their choice of entertainment. Being able to feel your feelings is mentally healthy. At some point, letting men confine themselves to only certain films may be akin to letting them smoke, vape, drink to excess, and similarly ruin their lives and health. Sexism is bad for men too, not just women.

    1. “So, what is wrong with men who look at a title that has the word women in it and decide it isn't going to be good? If it were titled "Naked Women" would they go? Did they go to see "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death"? Would they have gone if the title were "Big Women"? Just to see how big they were?”

      Is there any society where many men would go to see Little Women without the impetus of accompanying a female personage in their lives?

      Somerby would, we know, Good for him. My husband has sat thru many a chick-flick with our daughter and me. Usually fast asleep.

      Can we just accept that there are gender differences and also encourage folks to be mindful of others without bashing everyone over the head all the time?

    2. Girls like dumb, sappy movies. It's just the way it is.

    3. Of course there are gender differences (in this sense: tastes, interest in vocations, political inclinations).

      However, a more interesting question is: are these differences innate or socially constructed?

    4. "So, what is wrong with men who look at a title that has the word women in it and decide it isn't going to be good?"

      It's because they know, from the title (and based on experience), what kind of crap Hollywood would most likely produce.

    5. "Girls like dumb, sappy movies. It's just the way it is."

      Why is it a dumb sappy movie simply because females like it? Or an especially profound one? Does Little Women break new ground?

      Are there men out there who say they like action films or comedies for their socially redeeming value?

      Men have no trouble admitting that they enjoy movies starring The Rock. Why must women pretend that our favs films are full of profundities just so you can accuse men of sexism for not flocking to them?

    6. This version does break new ground.

      No one said it was full of profundities. It was especially well made, innovative and interesting. Men are being accused of neglecting it during awards season because they either didn't see it or consider only men's films worthy of an award. Most of the quotes Somerby has posted have accused me of not seeing it, so how can it be judged fairly.

      By the way, Somerby never said he went to the film by himself.

      No one is saying men have to like women's films. The argument is that women like women's films, so those who make women's films should get the chance to make them. To do that, they need to be fairly considered for jobs and the jobs come to those who get nominated for awards, so directors who make women's films need to have their films viewed and fairly evaluated.

      Men are welcome to whatever crud they want to watch. Consider this -- men are the biggest consumers of porn. Shall we make that part of the awards shows? Best actress in a porn film -- Stormy Daniels? There is a whole genre that men watch, entirely ignored.

      Most likely it is because they know that teens are huge in the film going audience and they know parents wouldn't stand for it. It isn't all men that are determining what films get made. It is the ones who buy the most tickets. So lets not be coy about this.

    7. 6:32 PM

      They are just dumb sappy boring movies. Get over it. Get over yourself. You turn everything into an identity issue.

    8. "Men are being accused of neglecting it during awards season because they either didn't see it or consider only men's films worthy of an award."

      Yes, I saw the link to a tweet accusing male Academy Voters of shying away from it. I've not seen anything that substantiates that other than an attempt via an argument that men in general don't like it therefore it's plausible that men within the film awards industry ignored it too. Or is that if they did go they probably lost all professionism and played computer mahjong during the screening?

      So many men. So many ways to garner outrage publicity for a movie.

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