Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is Naomi Oreskes Hot?

I recently found an opening at Rabett Run to make what I thought was a timely point by posting a comment that included delicate subject matter (at least to the PC bunnies). At Eli's blog, Judith Curry is often referred to by commenters as "Aunt Judy", which refers to a porn site (hmm, should I include a link?) featuring older women. Rajendra Pachauri has just had to step down as head of the IPCC due to charges of sexual harassment. In this post about the movie, Merchants of Doubt, a commenter included "I think Oreskes is kind of cute myself" in a comment. So I made this comment (with the previous commenter's name x'd out):

Canman said...

xxxxxxxxxx: "I think Oreskes is kind of cute myself."

As someone who really dislikes her, I would say that I have to agree. She does have a slightly scowly look that can make for some bad pictures and I really find it embarrassing when commenters at blogs I read deride her appearance. But she can also take some very good photos. For a middle age woman, she looks very fit, trim and attractive in her mountaineering getup for her book stills. Some of the dresses she wears to events accentuate her full figure. There is also a YouTube video with her sitting on the stage at a conference, showing some skin in a short skirt and soaking up the attention. She looks absolutely glamorous at her TED talk in a dress that looks like it was sustainably made with the leftover material from her furniture upholsterer.
Am I sexualising her as a ... well there is a vulgar acronym and a term for a large wild North American cat? Am I committing the environmental equivalent of Jimmy Carter's "lusting in my heart" from his preelection Playboy interview? I believe she is a nasty, controlling, tyrannical, intellectually conceited ... word that rhymes with "glitch". Maybe that's part of the turn on. I'm a man and I understand that we are all pigs. But I don't think this is as bad as calling Judith Curry "Aunt Judy", which refers to a porn site catering to enthusiasts of those two referred to terms.
11/3/15 4:33 PM
This comment was deleted along with the one I quoted. I suppose this might have been a bit retrograde. I used the paleolithic verb accentuate along with the neanderthal full figure as the object of the sentence. The plural subject included a blue dress. All the pictures and videos are easily found with Google and YouTube. A moderator responded:

Brian said...
Canman - watch it, please. Women have to put up with enough on the Internet. This blog is very freewheeling and lets lot of less-than-pleasant statements go by, but even the worst of them so far haven't made women feel treated any differently from the men.
13/3/15 11:16 PM

I responded with a comment that was deleted:
I'm truly sorry if I've offended anyone, but I did have a point I wanted to make and I thought it was timely due to the Pachuri allegations. I did think long and hard about posting it. I decided that since I did put some effort into it and I was really curious what the reaction to it would be, that I would go ahead with it. I feel that I am saying pretty much the same thing that xxxxxxxxxx was in a bit more elaborate way, although it probably came off as a bit Mad Men eraish patronizing. I was trying to be tasteful and humorous and well, a bit snarky. I was also trying to be a bit tabloidish which I feel fits right in with the climate food fight. As for criticizing her, well I respectfully attacked her as a person. As for her looks (and maybe some other things such as mannerisms), I figured I was agreeing with xxxxxxxxxx. 
I will have to say that there is something about commenting on a woman's looks in this day and age that I just can't put my finger on. As I said, I thought long and hard about posting it. Willis Eschenbach got a big reaction for what I thought was a rather innocuous remark about Marcia McNutt, although it was in an open letter addressed to her. I remember PZ Meyers deleting a bunch of comments about Ann Coulter's appearance. One commenter, who did not like her, said he thought she was fantastically sexy. I don't think he was deleted.
My main point was that I think progressive liberal's have a double standard, when it comes to things like calling Judith curry a juvenile and derogatory name.
14/3/15 3:05

Two other commenters (I'll y and z them out) then responded and were later deleted:

yyyyyyyyyy said...
Gee, xxxxxxxxxx and canman, I've never heard you weigh in on whether you think Mike Mann or Erik Conway are hot. 
Dudes, please learn from this. The fact that Oreskes is female is not germane to her thesis. Frankly, the fact that you feel it appropriate to reduce your feelings about a serious woman researcher to her attractiveness is sufficient for me to dismiss everything you have to say on any subject.
14/3/15 6:11 AM

zzzzzzzzzz said...
I had to double check the year of this post. Reading that description of Oreskes by Canman made me wonder if I'd accidentally opened up something from the wayback machine....except I was pretty sure there was no internet in the 50s and 60s. That someone would think it was okay to talk like that even in a snarky sense demonstrates how far we have yet to go.
14/3/15 8:23 AM

I responded without being deleted:

Canman said...
zzzzzzzzzz. Where is it that we have to go. What do you have to say about the Sopranos? Two and a Half Men? Music videos by Stevie Ray Vaughn? Adam Ant? Prince? Madona? Lady Ga Ga? Beyonce? Is there an academic Burka for female intellectuals or do we have to stamp out every last vestige of heterosexual titillation? Are we moving from, "You can look, but don't touch" to "If you see something, don't say something"? I suspect It's politics. People who express outrage at the least minor transgression will overlook the ugliest stuff when it's done by someone on their own side. It's all one big stupid game!
14/3/15 10:50 AM

And also without being deleted:

Canman said...
yyyyyyyyyy, zzzzzzzzzz. I'd guess you could find reasons to denigrate Bob Hope. How about Groucho Marx? Or Alan Alda on the 70's TV series, MASH?
14/3/15 3:09 PM

 The moderator said:

Brian said...
Canman, we're happy with vigorous debate and we encourage use of the scalpel instead of the club in debates. Comments about looks don't fall into the scalpel category - they could hardly be less germane - and comparisons to female entertainers is even more ridiculous. If you feel like you need to comment about the looks of female entertainers, there are more appropriate places to talk about it, and that has nothing to do with Oreskes.

yyyyyyyyyy said without being deleted:

yyyyyyyyyy said...
First, this is not the '50s or the '70s or the '90s. It is 2015. Maybe you need to check your watch. Try watching the Honeymooners--what was funny then is cringeworthy now (or at least it should be).
Second, do you really not get it that when we are talking about a serious academic work, commenting on appearance is off topic. It's like discussing the tenure of Hilary Clinton and bringing up the fact that she wears pantsuits.
Third, if in any statement you make about Naomi Oreskes, you find that you would be at all uncomfortable substituting Erik Conway, that ought to be a red flag.
Fourth, I am all for women being able to express themselves freely as sexual beings. For them to be able to do that, though, they also have to be taken seriously in their opinions without being sexualized. 
Fifth, f*cking grow up.
15/3/15 7:02 AM

The wascowy wabett said:

EliRabett said...
New rule, no mansplaining allowed.
15/3/15 7:06 PM

 A commenter remarked on how Judith Curry panned Merchants of Doubt. Commenter snarkrates responded:

snarkrates said...
Gee, if Aunt Judy hates it, it might be worth seeing.
16/3/15 2:53 PM

Was All This Worth It?

The moderator then commented:

Brian said...
Until recently, I was blissfully unaware of the "Aunt Judy" cultural reference, and that's probably true in some cases of people who have used it reference Judith Curry.
The term is inappropriate and has to stop.
16/3/15 4:22 PM

List of Links


  1. Thanks for publishing this exchange. Was pleased to see that Brian got the point.

  2. Friend, you need new glasses and a bagel transplant.