Home / General / McConversations with McAssholes

McConversations with McAssholes



This is what happens when you have you have a tiger by the tail, but you made the tiger. And you made it out of poop-flinging piranhas. How do piranhas fling poop? I don’t know. I’m not the one who Dr. Frankenmcardled the piranhatiger. Please quit asking me stupid questions.

What I’m saying is that Megan McArdle gets the commentariat she deserves, the one she created. And so when she wrote an inane advice column telling eminently rapeable and deaththreatable feminists to man up and expect abuse also liberal men are mean too, she got pushback. Why, I don’t know, as her column basically boils down to “guys, could you maybe not be so mean, even if feminists are kind of legitimately awful?” But she did. Because her readership is, well, her readership. So she had to write this in response.

Let me sum it up for you in case you’re too afeart to click: She basically says it’s conversation-stopper to call people sexist. To which I say, No, it’s not. Sweet fancy Moses, I wish it were, but it’s not. It never is. Furthermore, I really don’t care if calling people sexist is a conversation-stopper. If people are that sensitive about the label, perhaps they need to man up*.

The comments are vile. Enjoy!


*I loathe the phrase “man up” and am using it satirically



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Thin Air

    I doubt if Ms McArdle will see this post or the one linked…

    • This is relevant how?

      • Wrye

        + Lots

      • Jennifer Steel

        It’s the flea and the elephant story. You’re the flea.

        • Hogan

          Or from another perspective, bspencer is the elephant and you’re the flea.

    • who cares? McMegan is richly deserving of mockery. I only wish she was a huge Neko Case fan, so Neko could write a scathing song about Mee-gan like Springsteen did for Christie.

      My fervent wish is that McCardle starts writing home improvement columns, like the time she remodeled her kitchen. THAT was spectacular.

  • I loathe the phrase “man up” and am using it satirically

    It has its uses:

    Q: Has the penalty ended yet?
    A: No, the Canadiens are still a man up.

    Q: Does he really mean that?
    A: No, he’s just trying to manupulate you.

    Q: When’s the hanging?
    A: You missed it. We’re a man up.

    • Lee Rudolph

      One might try saying “boy up”, which, depending on one’s (or one’s interlocutor’s) dialect, might or might not be homophonous with “buoy up”, increasing the likelihood that Hijinks Would Ensue.

      • How about we use “bunny up” every time you need to pick up a chainsaw?

        • Downpuppy

          How about you pony up when the bill arrives?

          • well, I will have the chainsaw, so go ahead and ask.

            • Ahuitzotl

              zombies and chainsaws, well that’s not going to end well.

      • One might try saying “boy up”

        You appear to have mistaken me for a priest.

        • Warren Terra

          I assumed it was “buoy up”, meaning you should lift your spirits.

    • njorl

      It could be used as stage direction in porn.

    • Witt

      Eons ago in Internet time, Bitch Ph.D. popularized the phrase “skirt up.” I’m still fond of it.

  • whetstone

    Things that happen in this column—a troll writes to McArdle, as follows:

    Further, those on the left seem to encourage this “racist” / “sexist” “defense” (“you’re just attacking me because I’m a women”). Which often causes this reply to come to mind: “no, I’m attacking your ideas because they suck, as I said. I’m attacking you because you’re a dishonest whiny feminist who refuses to engage in honest intellectual discussion.”

    That’s not all he wrote, but you can guess the rest. McArdle reacts:

    I suspect that the writer and I disagree about the general prevalence of racism and sexism in society. Nonetheless, I think he has a point worth drawing out

    This is the kind of person whom McArdle says that the ladies should be kind and respectful towards, because calling them “sexist” is “a very powerful weapon.”

    • I’m reminded of that old line “If you say you will die if X happens, why aren’t you dead already?” Jeebus christ on toast points not only is calling someone a sexist not THE DEPLORABLE WORD it does’nt even make these guys draw breath. They just keep ranting on.

      • whetstone

        OTOH, I have some sympathy; it must be difficult to function when, if you get a loathsome troll comment, your first reaction is “I think this vicious creep makes a legitimate point.” Mine is “what a vicious creep,” though I guess it should be “there is a problem with vicious creeps in society, not that I am saying you are one.”

        • Actually, what she should have said is

          “See, this is what women are talking about. You couldn’t just say “I disagree” politely (engage with the ideas) you had to fucking slam me and the entire sex of us as whiny, dominating, stupid, bitches.”

          She couldn’t say that because she is always servile, first, to her commentators and to people on the conservative side. She is literally incapable of not sucking up to them. Ideas/schmideas-she is always a kiss up, kick down type and she knows that if she took a hard line with her commentators they would swarm her and drag her down with death and rape threats.

          • Meg and other professional anti-feminists have a vested interest–but also a strong emotional interest–in not seeing what is in front of their faces. If you believe that sexism just doesn’t exist anymore, and all the meanies and trolls are lined up on the other side, you are defenseless against sexists. You laid down your sword.

      • STH

        My experience has been that they LOVE it when you use the word “sexist” because then they can just dismiss anything you say from then on. You’ve outed yourself as one of those evil feminazis and therefore nothing you say is worth consideration.

  • How do piranhas fling poop?

    water-borne piranha-poop trebuchet.

    Actually, I think it will work with any fish poop; it’s just that piranhas are the only fishy bastards vicious enough to develop the technology.

    • Bill Murray

      I think they can just use a properly timed and calibrated flick of the tail

    • vogon pundit

      They’re worse than sharks with lasers.

    • Dimsdale used sarcasm.

      • Fred Fnord

        DiNsdale. Please. Have some respect for the classics.

  • Barry Freed


    Stop giving the SciFi SyFy channels ideas.

    • They passed. Send it to Animal Planet.

      • Too late, its been optioned for Motherfucking Piranha Trebuchets on a Plane.

        • DrS

          It sat in turnaround too long, so the History Channel picked it up as “Secrets of the Luftwaffe: Hitler’s Piranha Trebuchets”

          • stickler

            I don’t think the History Channel has done anything on the Nazis since 1998. Now it would be “Ancient Aliens: Mysteries of the Piranhatiger,” or maybe Barry would find a Piranha trebuchet in a locker on “Storage Wars.”

            • Barry Freed

              maybe Barry would find a Piranha trebuchet in a locker on “Storage Wars.”

              I can’t stand the show for reasons I’ve ranted about here in the past. But I might be seen taking my family’s heirloom Piranha trebuchet in for appraisal on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow.

              “This is not actually a piranha trebuchet, Mr. Freed, what you have here is a much rarer pacu trebuchet”

              “Wow, really? I guess I should have brought in my candirú ballista too.”

              • *snort*

              • so, wait, PBS stands for Piranha broadcasting system? I had no idea.

                • *double snort*

                • Hey, you guys remember how I wanted to make t-shirts that said “Minotaurs of Oppression” on them? Well now I want to make one that just says “PIRANHATIGER!” on it.

                • If you were to start marketing this stuff you’d totally be the new Blogess.

                • Hogan

                  Needs less Dinsdale and more Doug.

                • zombie rotten mcdonald

                  I am STILL waiting for the Minotaurs of Oppression tour shirt.

                • Well now I want to make one that just says “PIRANHATIGER!” on it.

                  I am partial to the Piranhamoose shirt myself.

                • DrS

                  I am STILL waiting for the Minotaurs of Oppression tour shirt.

                  Oh hells yeah I want one of those.

              • Trollhattan

                Antiques Roadshow seems a little highbrow for something redolent of its piscine passengets. I’d think it needs the Pawn Stars treatment.

                • Origami Isopod

                  ITYM the “PrawnStars” treatment.

                • Barry Freed

                  Too highbrow, eh?

                  *hefts candirú ballista, aims*

                  “Say hello to my little friend.”

                • Trollhattan

                  Perfect! Hosted by Mr. Crabs from Spongebob.

            • I don’t think the History Channel has done anything on the Nazis History since 1998.

              And obviously the HC show would be PiranStars.

              • Warren Terra

                But the A&E show would be what, Piranha Patriarchy?

                • zombie rotten mcdonald


          • Discovery Channel is competing by airing “Piranha Chunkin”. Hosted by Kari Byron, of course.

            • I would watch that.

              • zombie rotten mcdonald

                Who wouldn’t?

            • What!?!

              No love for Piranha Dynasty?

              • Will your girl pick the piranhas, or will the piranhas pick her???

            • Bill Murray

              TLC would run Piranha Boo Boo

    • Bimler is going to be upset that we started teh trebuchet jokes without him.

      • But he’s just fine with us starting the papyrus jokes without him.

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          He loves him some Comic Sans.

      • Barry Freed

        That’s his fault for living in Middle Earth.

      • herr doktor bimler

        You seem to have managed perfectly well without me.

        starting the papyrus jokes without him
        Fortunately I am in my happy place right now. All the typography in my happy place is Frutiger and Zapf Melior.

  • wengler

    I’m not going there. I don’t want the NSA to think that badly of me.

    • Ahuitzotl

      That ship has sailed, my friend. In fact you can’t even see the tops’ls from here.

  • CaptBackslap

    “Ice up” is the improved, sex-neutral version of “man up.” If your interlocutor happens to be male, you can add “son.”

    • Schadenboner

      Duly noted. Lexicon: updated.

    • Ha. I love “Ice up.” A family friend wants to get a t-shirt that says that.

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        Ice Ice up, baby.

      • Ahuitzotl

        so does Tracy Marrow

  • carolannie1949

    I like best the comments that women are just stupid and using YouTube as proof (by which standard cats and dogs can talk, etc). This has a sort of Larry Nivenish quality about it, where all the women are stupid inferior gross and disgusting but menz haz their needz.

    • Nobdy

      You’re just lucky their using Youtube and not phrenology. I have seriously seen people on the Internet defend phrenology and/or declare women to be of inferior intelligence because they have smaller brains.

      Since brain size and body size are closely linked this also means that Shaq is smarter than Einstein was.

      • carolannie1949

        Phrenology on YouTube. Sounds perfect. Also get me a measuring tape so I can see if my brain is smaller or bigger than yours. We won’t mention bone density.

        • Yes, I think all LGM commenters should post information about the size and weight of their branes.

          Skull bone density information would be useful also.

          • Don’t fall for it, people–it’s a trap!

            • I’m not scared. He couldn’t handle my huge throbbing brane.

            • Bill Murray

              I’m not worried. My parents were retro-phrenologists and one of the bumps they put on my head concerned not falling for traps

          • Emily

            Stephen Gould wrote about brain size and I learned that the only way to measure it accurately is after you’re dead.

            • BigHank53

              I’ve got a Sawzall. Line ’em up.

            • Rigby Reardon

              Leela: Is this some sort of brain scanner?

              Professor: Some sort, yes. In France, it’s called a “guillotine”.

            • Ahuitzotl

              isnt that what ZRM had in mind?

          • herr doktor bimler

            In the course of a misspent youth, mine skull has come into abrupt contact with several other people’s teeth, and proven to be stronger than them. Also into contact with bottles and the occasional length of rebar.

        • DrS

          The internet is already rife with bone density conversations

        • Robert M.

          Phrenology on YouTube. Sounds perfect.

          Not until we can convince them to supplement their phrenology with self-trepanning.

          • NonyNony

            Have you read YouTube comments?[*]

            I’m fairly certain a good 1/3 of commenters there have already self-trepanned. And another 1/3 tried but missed their own skulls.

            [*] Note: not to be taken as an endorsement of reading YouTube comments. Do not read YouTube comments. They are the second lowest form of comment scum on the internet, trailing only “local newspaper comments” as horrible cesspools of the worst parts of humanity.

    • sharculese

      Okay, so I’m reading The Mote in God’s Eye right now, first time reading Niven, and this comment kind of helped, because I’ve been really struggling to figure out if the novel the setting is sexist for narrative/symbolic reasons or if Niven is just a huge dick.

      • BigHank53

        Niven’s a dick. He inherited family money, which is not in itself causative of dickishness. But there’s an extremely strong correlation.

        In my case, however, it was a face-to-face meeting back in the eighties that confirmed his dickitude.

        • postmodulator

          Corrupt family money, even! A fortune stolen from the taxpayers.

      • postmodulator

        That’s a toughie.

        First of all, Niven’s collaborator on that book, Jerry Pournelle, is an ex-Communist ex-seminarian who apparently likes to describe his current political beliefs as 13th-century liberalism: “The king is taking too much power away from the nobles.”

        In another of their collaborations, Mussolini is revealed to have been a much-misunderstood figure who started out with good intentions.

        Then there’s The Burning City…but never mind. l have an encyclopedic knowledge of Niven’s work for my own reasons. Suffice to say there’s no question he’s a right-winger and so is Pournelle. Both of them have stated political opinions I find to be beneath contempt.


        One of the most important themes of The Mote in God’s Eye is a pushback against the idea that history is an always-rising improvement of the human condition; that instead history can be cyclical, and things can revert. One of the ways in which they tried to show this was to construct a society based on certain technology which would exist, and show that the society would follow from the abilities and constraints of the available technology. Hence, a hereditary aristocracy, Victorian social mores, etc.

        It is also worth pointing out the only major female character does at times in the novel push back against sexism, but at other times she is shown to be a product of her very sexist society, so harder to judge there.

        Finally, in the sequel, The Gripping Hand, there is some sign that the smoothly-functioning aristocracy of the first novel is actually becoming decadent, and that some of the black-and-white morality portrayed in the first novel actually had some shades of gray. (It’s also not as good a book.)

        Finally finally, the book was published in 1973 and I imagine they started writing it around 1970. This is the tail end of the Mad Men era. There was stuff people did when they were trying not to be sexist, back then, that’s embarrassingly sexist now.

        I danced all over your question. I think Niven is probably a giant dick who would never put anything in a text for symbolic reasons, but at least some of the sexism of The Mote in God’s Eye has valid in-universe narrative justification.

        • Malaclypse

          Suffice to say there’s no question he’s a right-winger and so is Pournelle.

          Also, too, this on Pournelle.

          • postmodulator

            Oh yeah. You could get a pretty decent alternate-universe story where Pournelle prevents the creation of the Internet as we know it. All it would take would be Pournelle being as, um, important as he thinks he is.

            • Ahuitzotl

              a quarter as important, would be sufficient.

              But calling him right-wing is unkind to the right wing, who are merely deranged gibbering fools. For Pournelle, I have no words.

          • Cheap Wino

            That was awesome.

            ” I’d rather recycle his account for some bright 12-yr-old…”

            • FMguru

              I also notice that, like all bullies, he talked a big game but wussed out in the end.

        • Pournelle’s daughter, J. R. Pournelle, of all people actually wrote an excellent sequel, Outies, to both these books, explaining more of the background of the Moties, drawing on her own professional background as an archaeologist.

          Worth getting if you liked Mote.

          • Ahuitzotl

            That sounds tempting

      • Warren Terra

        As I recall, tonally The Mote In God’s Eye is far, far more Pournelle than Niven. The most famous Niven books are the Ringworld novels, but by far my favorite of his is the short stories he wrote in his Ringworld universe; the more space and especially the more characters Niven has, the more his defects take hold.

        • Yeah, I read a lot of Niven as a kid, but managed to avoid, mostly, the sexist stuff. Short stories, Gil the Arm, that sort of stuff. Didn’t seem any more sexist than Heinlein…. and I didn’t take it much to heart, thanks to other inputs.

          • Origami Isopod

            Didn’t seem any more sexist than Heinlein….

            A low bar to clear.

            • Fred Fnord

              Fairly subterranean.

        • herr doktor bimler

          tonally The Mote In God’s Eye is far, far more Pournelle than Niven.

          Also too “Oath of Fealty”, which makes the case that libertarianism is a great political philosophy because it will lead to a neo-feudal society as nature intended.
          Thanks for spelling that out, guys.

      • sharculese

        Thanks to everyone who answered this.

      • CL Minou

        Spoilers Below

        What’s nuts about The Mote in God’s Eye beyond the fact that pseudo-mammals can’t possibly have some sort of birth control is the absolutely nutty idea that the only way to get the effects of pregnancy is to carry the fetus to term. (One of the humans claims that their only alternative to sterilization is infanticide.) Apparently the Motie ladyparts are magic in an extra especial way.

        • delurking

          Yes, this. Even at fifteen, when I first read the book, I couldn’t see why hormonal birth control was not a solution for the Moties.

          I have to guess that Niven and Pournelle just know nothing about biology?

          • ding. ding.ding.

          • They don’t know much about they French they took, either.

          • herr doktor bimler

            Recall that in Ringworld there is no need for hygiene because bacteria and viri have been removed from the ecosystem.

            • Unlike the less-successful social experiment, Ringwormworld.

              • Hogan

                Worst theme park ever.

                • Barry Freed

                  “Shoes optional”

          • Biology is the redheaded stepchild in science fiction, always coming to school with black eyes and suspicious bruises.

        • FMguru

          Another SF classic from around the same era, DUNE and its sequels, has similar problems. A shadowy society of women who have been running a sophisticated human breeding program for thousands of years, and which relies on a galaxy-spanning network of seduction and extortion and strings-pulling, and which almost runs completely off the rails when one of its cleverest, most highly-placed concubines falls in True Love and disobeys orders. None of which would have been necessary if someone had remembered that [i]turkey basters[/i] existed. Abortion and birth control are also totally absent from the series – they’re apparently higher tech than psychically-driven starships, antigravity fields, and perfect cloaking devices.

          • Hey, waitaminute, I actually love Dune, at least the first one.

            • FMguru

              DUNE is great, but the whole Bene Gesserit plot falls apart once you realize that people have been artificially inseminating animals since 1930s, and humans since 1884 (and probably earlier).

              There are other problems, too – the climax involves multiple attempts to poison Paul (Thufir’s cupped needle, Feyd-Rautha’s hidden weapon) and are supposed to be high-stakes near-misses. Except that Paul has already shown the ability to neutralize poisons and adapt his biochemistry to them with his mind. Oops.

              • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

                Actually, the point of Feyd-Rautha’s poisoned needle is to immobilize Paul for the split second it would take for F-R to deliver the killing knife blow, rather than killing him outright. And you can hardly blame the characters you cite for not knowing what Paul (presumed dead years ago FYI) had been up to in his Fremen wilderness. You are confusing your readerly omniscience of the situation at that point in the novel with the knowledge available to the characters in question.

                • Have to agree with, uh, Dread Pirate Hierarch Piranha scrotum? Paul’s abilities were not known and wouldn’t have protected him from the killing thrust.

          • DEKH

            There are contraceptives in Dune. They play an important role in the second book where Paul’s wife is secretly feeding birth control drugs to Paul’s fremen lover, Chani.

            The explanation for why the Bene Gesserit don’t use “turkey basters” is that they view any type of mechanical/artificial interference with reproduction to be an abomination.

            This becomes important in the later books in the series when the Bene Gesserit learn that the Tleilaxu cloning techniques rely on lobotomized, cybernetically augmented females.

            • Every Mens Right’s Activist Ever

              lobotomized, cybernetically augmented females.

              Where can I get one of those? Or two. At least two. And can they cook?

              • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

                More important, will they let you watch football while they mow the lawn?

              • DEKH

                In the books they are basically just gestation devices. And it’s pretty strongly suggested that the Tleilaxu are descendants of some really nasty branch of Islam.

                Oh…now I get the joke. Clever name.

              • You can get them in Stepford.

  • Nobdy

    Ah yes the conservative war on calling them out for their bigotry.

    Conservaties think that if they can just make the labels racist and sexist taboo they can go on being racist and sexist to their heart’s content and because nobody will be able to call them out on it they will not be challenged. It’s like the various political leaders who think that declaring their countries free of homosexuals will mean that homosexuals no longer do homosex there.

    The best way not to be called racist and sexist is to stop saying or doing racist and sexist things and to stop associating yourself with racists and sexists.

    Before anyone tries to argue with me…YOU’RE A SEXIST. Conversation stopped. Babamn!

    • Patricia Kayden

      Yet conservatives have no problems calling people “Marxist”, “communist”, etc. Why don’t they stop with the name calling?

      • Ahuitzotl

        Because they’re brave truth-tellers to the awesome power of the CommunoLiberal Monolith?

      • Most of the time it is what I call “playground insults”. They have no effing clue what labels like “Marxist” or “Communist” mean, but their talk radio role models said it, and it sounds cool. They also appear to think that if they get a negative reaction from the targets of their name-calling, it must be true or they have “hit a nerve”. They are seemingly too dumb to realize that perhaps the negative reaction has something to do with the fact that the recipient thinks that they are a moronic parroting wanker.

    • Fred Fnord

      The best way not to be called racist and sexist is to stop saying or doing racist and sexist things and to stop associating yourself with racists and sexists.

      Alas, not the easiest. The easiest, in most areas of the US (world?), is to only associate with racists and sexists.

  • I don’t know which is worse:

    . I know from experience that liberal women tend to believe that they are getting vile abuse not just because . . . conservative men are virulent sexists who oppose their bold truth-telling about sex and the patriarchy. Conservative women . . . can attest that this is not true. They wonder if this isn’t something about liberal men not having any norms of civility about how to treat women. It’s a bipartisan vice.

    Or the suggestion in an even earlier paragraph that men would be right to protect women from writing online because most women just aren’t “tough” enough.

    • I guess she is just too young to remember that consciousness raising was the original feminist activity and it took place pretty much without the help and support of the fantasy liberal male. Q: What is the place of a woman in the movement, comrades? Answer: on her back.

      The other other thing about McMegan is that she has the shortest time horizon, the most impoverished intellectual heritage, the least information about her own culture and society that it would be possible to have and not be essentially a bone structure stuffed with cottage cheese.

      I like to contrast her to TNC not for the obvious black/white, male/female thing but because, damn, that guy loves to think. He loves to read. He loves to challenge his own presumptions (even deeply cherished ones or inarticulate ones). Whatever he reads, or sees, or talks about gets thrown into a marvellous hopper where newer ideas can be generated and old ideas discarded. Megan has had literally every benefit life can give her and yet she is not only resolutely incurious, she is almost devotedly stupid while having an ego that is astonishing given the paucity of her accomplishments. Sometimes I read her stuff and I just despair–she isn’t even a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like. She’s like one of those placeholders that a writer might stick in to the text “there will be a very stupid person here. Doesn’t matter what they say. Total Cardboard. Blah blah. I’ll just put X here until I figure out some way for them to dissapear from the story.”

      • Anna in PDX

        This exactly describes her! And is a very good writeup of why I like TNC. Even though he often rambles. What keeps me coming back is that sense of wonder, of joy in learning and growing. Whereas I can’t understand what is appealing about reading McMegan, who seems to be really oblivious to the idea of ever learning anything at all. She’s not even really *against* it, from what I have read of her – she just can’t conceive of ever growing or developing a better understanding of anything. What she does get wrapped up in is consumerism (the stupid things about pink salt or kitchen appliances and whatnot). She is sort of the quintessential “you are what you buy” representative.

        • Origami Isopod

          TNC’s comments are terrific as well. I don’t always agree with the modding decisions, but collectively they’ve seemed to have resulted in one of the most erudite and good-faith places on the net to have conversations about politics and history.

          • Actually, since I”m posting over there right now, I find the comments incredibly bizarre–people fly off the handle cautioning each other not to overreach in their comments, but routinely make sort of teenage dorm room style claims for the nature of history or humanity that I would have thought were defunct. Maybe its just me.

            • Origami Isopod

              Yeah, that’s my issue with the moderation; one can say nearly the most patently ridiculous things there, with a few exceptions, so long as one says them politYeah, that’s my issue with the moderation; one can say nearly the most patently ridiculous things there, with a few exceptions, so long as one says them politely. I understand that he’s trying to do outreach across the political spectrum, so some of this is necessary, but it’s irksome.

              Regarding broad, sweeping claims about the nature of humanity, my impression is that at least some of them arise from sheer despair. If you consider the orphanage anecdote from Bloodlands that one commenter shared recently, it’s understandable.ely. I understand that he’s trying to do outreach across the political spectrum.

              Regarding broad, sweeping claims about the nature of humanity, my impression is that at least some of them arise from sheer despair. If you consider the orphanage anecdote from Bloodlands that one commenter shared recently, it’s understandable.

              • Origami Isopod


                • No, its ok. I got you. Yes, I read that section of the commentary on Bloodlands and it was very,very, hard to deal with. Right now I’m sort of getting slapped around by a couple of people for not being appropriately happy that colonialism ended or that women have been elected into high office. My point, which I don’t really think is controversial, is that its a mistake to imagine that history is at all progressive, even if we like to imagine that societies and social institutions are. This seems to make people wring their hands and accuse me of no-hopism or being a debbie downer or something. I don’ tknow the commentariat at all so I can’t figure out if this is just natural give and take or if the person who told me that “peak oil is just a fantasy” is seriously under the impression that we don’t, in fact, face some kind of ultimate energy crisis which might put our (rather imaginary) political gains at risk.

                • Origami Isopod

                  The commentariat is a mixed bag, politically speaking. I haven’t seen the thread in question so I don’t know whom you’re arguing with, but there are definitely some who prefer platitudes and “positive thinking” to realism.

                  I don’t like blithe generalizations about “the arc of the universe,” either. Here in the West, at least at certain socioeconomic levels, our perception of progress is skewed by how much gross inequality, violence, and bigotry is hidden from us.

                • Yes, exactly.

            • Waingro

              No, it’s not just you. There’s a weird self-congratulatory tone there that I find kind of nauseating. There’s a critical mass of commenters there who pretty just meta-comment on how oh so thoughtful and erudite the TNC comments are.

              I appreciate moderated comments because I’ve seen the shitshow that Kevin Drum’s comments have become, but the TNC crowd has disappeared up its own asshole.

        • Yes, Megan, she’s not evenwrong, although she is also wrong. She doesn’t evenrise to the level of meaningful argument. And she is all about consumer choices and a kind of consumerist positioning in the world. If she were worth thinking about I’d say that she makes me think about “class” in the sense of an attributed social status. In Bourdieu’s Distinction he argues that although you can learn to ape another class one of the things you will never have is true facility and ease, the ability to know just what others of your class know and no more. Because you’ve had to study what they absorbed effortlessly–you will know too much or too rigorously what should be worn lightly. Thats Megan, but she’s cunning enough to know that the class she wishes to be in prizes the effortless as a sign of itself.And so she works very hard at pretending to never have to work, at being self assured, at knowing what is “good” or high class, at consuming or buying things that are expensive. But its all so shallow and imitative and trivial. Its possible for anyone to right enthusiastically about kitchen renovations or cooking–only Megan could do it in such a transparently fake and joyless and social climbing way. I don’t have a link to it but susan of texas used to have an incredible deconstruction of just how vile her Macaroni and Cheese was–just how crazily disconnected from reality you’d have to be to cook that mess in that way.

          • BigHank53

            McArdle’s writing is weaponized complacency.

            • This explains why I always feel like I need a hazmat suit to read her.

          • FMguru

            Megan’s Kitchen is always funny. She’s so desperate to pass as a sophisticated foodie, but all she can do is rattle off the names and prices of the kitchen equipment she owns. Making basic sauces is like Basic Cooking 101, but she’s so bad at it she had to buy a $3000 robot to make them for her, and she brags about it like it’s a feather in her cap instead of a marker for what a complete klutz she is when it comes to food. She recommended buying some $20 gadget to separate eggs, even though your mom showed you how to do this with the shells themselves in like three seconds. At one point she was bragging about some fancy rice cooker and said that sometimes she just makes a big pot of rice, and the next for leftovers she melts some cheese on it. Melted-cheese-on-day-old-rice is the sort of sad hobo chow that even the laziest bachelor wouldn’t eat. She gap between who she is and who she imagines herself to be is wider than the Grand Canyon.

            • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

              It took your mom three seconds to separate eggs? Man, that’s slow. My mom could do it in 2.9 seconds!

            • Hey, now! Cheese on rice happens to be one of my favourite snacks, and I’m married to a dang fine cook!

              Hmm…. I suppose I am rather hobo-esque, but not particularly sad. Unless you mean metaphorically, in which case all bets are off.

        • FMguru

          Megan doesn’t need to learn anything, she already knows what she needs to know already (namely, a bunch of crap regurgitated from Ayn Rand’s First Primer For Tots). It’s why she replicates that scene where Sideshow Bob steps on a bunch of rakes every time she tries to engage in a real argument about something, and why 80% of her writing is complaining about how mean and nasty her critics are to her. She knows the truth (Just World libertarianism), she tries to explain the truth, and when people push back it must be because they’re acting in bad faith.

          Her shallowness is always hilarious, especially combined with her Real World Adventures, when her sheltered libertarianism comes into contact with the way things actually work. It’s pure uncut crystal meth comedy every time she writes about visiting her doctor, or buying a house, or planning her wedding. She’s the world foremost expert in everything, so why are all these people acting in ways that make no sense to her?!? It’s so maddening!!!

      • Karen

        Exactly. She reminds me of a couple of debutantes I knew in college. They had expensive and excellent private school educations, several trips to Europe, chances to study overseas, and they did zilch with it. They got Mrs. degrees and dropped out at 22. I couldn’t imagine being that lucky in life and being that dim.

      • McLorem Ipsum

      • Bruce Baugh

        TNC wants to know how everything works, so that he can decide what to do about it. McCardle wants to know how anything can work for her; if it can’t, it doesn’t matter.

        Really, truth is the one taboo in American conservatism. Every kind of vileness can be rationalized away – you can come to Jesus or blame it on liberals or whatever. But sticking to something inconvenient to the agenda of anyone important, that mustn’t happen, ever.

        • Witt

          +10 and thank you, Bruce.

      • Megan has had literally every benefit life can give her and yet she is not only resolutely incurious, she is almost devotedly stupid while having an ego that is astonishing given the paucity of her accomplishments.

        For some reason, when I read this, I thought of George W. Bush.

        Maybe there’s something about the entitlement that fosters a certain complacent incuriousness.

        Goes well with the conservative notion that if you are privileged, it’s because a benevolent god has recognized your innate superiority, and justly smiled upon you.

        • Ahuitzotl

          If you’ve never had to try, you don’t realise what trying is like

          • If you never _wanted_ to try, perhaps? I do know a reasonable wide range of economic classes, including some who were born to wealth; they’re more vulnerable to the Gatsby Curse but it’s not a direct correlation.

            But yeah: it’s really weird to have a conversation with someone who isn’t at least curious about things! You just end up staring at each other wondering why there’s no connection there…

  • DrS

    Also too…sometimes conversations do have to stop. Like pretty much every conversation I’ve had with sexist, homophobic, gun nut, fundamentalist dipshit conservatives.

    I should probably just start yelling “SMOKE BOMB” and then run away.

    • wjts

      I prefer to yell, “What? Nothing! I’m just a hologram! Bzzt!” before running away.

    • This kind of goes back to McAllen and Incontinentia Buttock’s very good point on some thread today that the issue isn’t always, or doesn’t have to be, the feelings/intention of the person who is being accused (this was on the rape thread but it applies here, too.) Even if telling someone that their argument was sexist, or that they were a sexist for making an unbroken string of sexist statements (rather theway I might say to someone who said everything in French “Oh, you speak French” why is that wrong? If someone is saying something hurtful to another person, or incorrect, you’d think they would want to be warned. I know I would (I hope).

      This is why I pretty much don’t call people racists or sexists in a discussion but I do what IB and McAllen’s point leads to which is to shift focus and say “What you just said is hurtful for X reasons, or doesn’t work for me and other people in my category for X reasons.” Then the speaker has to choose whether to continue a bheavior which has been flagged as abusive, or to stop. They can’t turn themselves into the injured party (though people will try).

      • Hogan

        If someone is saying something hurtful to another person, or incorrect, you’d think they would want to be warned.

        But they already know that. They just want you to be cool with it, and if you’re not, you’ll be the next target.

        Which is one of the things McArdle is resolutely refusing to get. She approvingly highlights some clown’s observation that any criticism of Obama draws accusations of racism, which is exactly the reverse of how that dynamic works in the real world: any criticism of Obama opponents draws sarcastic howls of RAAAAAACISM. Conversation stopper my ass: it’s already part of their script, to the point where they hear it even when no one is saying it.

        • Yes, its actually part of the predetermined conversation that they insist you have.

          He’s the real racist
          No, we’re talking about policy
          Now you are calling me a racist!

        • Karen

          Yeah, the Brave Teller Of Unpopular Truth (see: evolutionary psychology, every white person who ever expounded on test score gaps between blacks and whites) probably doesn’t care that what they said was hurtful; it was, in their minds, true, and we should be grateful for their courage. Noting the factual errors in their statements is, however, completely unfair and entirely the product of our hurt feelings.

    • Anna in PDX

      It is the reason why the [BONERS] thing in the Tiger Beatdown “Freddie de Boear” discussion was so effective. It’s just, why should I engage with you? I am refusing to engage. Other moderation tactics like disemvowelling or kittening are sort of similar, and I think they’re a great idea. A refusal to engage a jerk is just fine, and he’s not allowed to appropriate the “silencing” terminology (another thing that really burns me up about misogynists is that they gleefully try to appropriate feminist terms of discussion, at the same time as they are trying to dismiss those same terms as meaningless or irrelevant).

      • Origami Isopod

        (another thing that really burns me up about misogynists is that they gleefully try to appropriate feminist terms of discussion, at the same time as they are trying to dismiss those same terms as meaningless or irrelevant).

        Wingnuts project like that on a variety of issues. Not letting fundie xtians proselytize in schools and everywhere else is “discrimination.” Not devoting ample air time to how HITLERY MURDERED VINCE FOSTER is the “liberal media” “silencing” the tinfoil hatters. And so forth.

        • There’s a line in Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind that comes to mind in instances like these:

          Conservatism adapts and adopts, often unconsciously, the language of democratic reform to the cause of hierarchy.

          It’s pretty much everywhere. The example Robin was discussing in that passage was Phyllis Schlafly “rail[ing] against the meaningless and lack of fulfillment among American women” in opposing the ERA. But the story’s the same whenever, say, the NRA starts to sound like the Black Panthers claiming they need guns to protect themselves from being the victims of a hostile government.

          • BigHank53

            Right, now I’m going to have to track down a copy and read that. Thanks.

      • herr doktor bimler

        disemvowelling or kittening are sort of similar

        Laughing at the mixed metaphors works for me.

  • brad

    And yet McMegan’s go-to self defense back when I started FMM was that I was being sexist.
    Even, y’know, without doing anything but calling her an asshole, for being an asshole.

    • brad

      Much as I hate to link to myself, this is as good an example of it as any.

      I’m not claiming or pretending to be a Nice Guy, but she defaulted to sexism based criticism for a long time whenever called out on her shit. I credit Susan of Texas for finally taking that excuse away, tho I think FMM’s general policies helped a lil.

      • brad

        And, since I’m going down memory lane and this will make some here laugh, here we see McMegan using a comment from Freddie’s boners as a springboard to discuss the patriarchy. Apologies for no links in the post, it was early in my probably too long career as a blogger.

        • sharculese

          That’s cool. Not linking to Freddie’s boners is always a plus.

        • Origami Isopod

          Freddie’s boners as a springboard

          I’m sorry, this hilarious phrase just happened to catch my eye and I thought I’d point it out.

          • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

            For some reason, the phrase “your flexible friend” comes to mind. But it’s probably just my advanced age showing.

        • This is a great example of why McArdle is such a lazy hack. She likes to just point out reasons that what liberals want might not necessarily be so, but makes no effort to weigh the alternatives. So she says:

          This is why many feminists prefer to focus on institutional outcomes rather than how you, a successful member of the patriarchy, feel about things. The problem is, institutional outcomes have many possible determinants; even if there were no institutional discrimination at all, pregnancy would make outcomes different, in ways that are harder to make justice claims for remedy than cases of straight bigotry. But the other extreme doesn’t work either.

          Well, no shit that outcomes aren’t monocausal. Life is complicated. People who might have something useful to say find that to be a starting point, not a conclusion. McArdle just leaves it at that, implying that whatever straw-liberal she’s conjured up is the simplistic one, and her response of “well, it’s complicated” is a serious retort.

          Liberals want to expand Medicaid. McArdle says “well, that might not help as much as you’d think. It’s complicated.” Liberals think Walmart can treat its employees more like Costco does. McArdle says “well, here’s a bunch of differences between Walmart and Costco’s business models. It’s complicated.” Thanks for the insight.

  • And so when she wrote an inane advice column telling eminently rapeable and deaththreatable feminists to man up and expect abuse also liberal men are mean too

    Tex Antoine laughs.

  • e.a.f.

    so saying someone is a sexist stops conversations? sometimes that is the intent. the verbge coming out of someone’s mouth is in fact sexists and I’d like them to recognize it and just maybe shut up.

    • As you say, sometimes it’s right to stop a conversation. (Calling out sexism/racism/etc. can help e.g., to counter micro aggressions and generally improve a climate as well as stopping crap directly.)

      Sometimes it can start conversations (e.g., if someone calls me out on privilege grounds, I try to figure out what’s going on, why they did, why I did what I did, how to fix things, etc. this often involves talking to people though not always the person who called me out; similarly, as calling out can build solidarity, etc. it can lead to more conversations).

  • Stopping a conversation is the sin of sins to people who are nothing but bundles of mannerisms stuffed into a skin.

    • Pat

      It’s not a conversation if nothing changes in their minds. It’s merely a play in which they say their lines to some bit-part actor.

      • Very good! Now you say “Oh, you sexist pig” and then I’ll say “Dear lady, if you had a wit the size of your bustle, you would be in a very good position in this dialogue, but alas!…” Then you run out of hte room crying, and I’ll turn to everyone else and give them a broad (get it?) wink….

        Its cosplay without the costumes and without any of the good humor.

    • That’s quite poetic.

      some people are but
      bundles of mannerisms
      inter tubes are full

      • Oh no, not McCardle Haikus! That could lead to all sorts of silliness, including …

        There once was a lady named Megs.
        Who wanted pink salt for her eggs.
        But no salt could she find,
        So she sat down and whined.
        And berated humanity’s dregs.

        • That is revoltingly good.

        • Anna in PDX

          Oh well done.

          • herr doktor bimler

            Sunny side up for me, please.

        • herr doktor bimler

          There once was a lady named Megs.
          Who wanted pink salt for her eggs.

          In whom was she intending to lay them?

        • Fred Fnord

          I might also note that with very little adulteration, ‘Megan McArdle’ becomes a double dactyl. I can’t quite scrape together a poem with it, but I submit that ‘Mental anemia’ would fit nicely.

    • brad

      McMegan is a new model queen of passive aggressive attempts to force others to abide by her definition of “manners”. It’s a standard Village self-defense technique, like dismissing people Thers because they say fuck.

      • brad

        *people like Thers…

        • They do. They really do.

      • I agree with everything except calling it self-defense. I see it as a spirited attempt to silence and control others.

        Because McGurgles would love to hear what you have to say but if you could just lower your voice, and not be so strident, and please don’t swear and no offense but your accent ha ha ha, sometimes it is hard for her to understand you…

        And on and on and on.

        • brad

          Self-defense in the sense of shielding their precious minds from the ugliness of what their beliefs actually entail or any appropriate response, I meant no kind of justification for it.

      • FMguru

        Trying to change the discussion to one of tone and appropriateness and civility is pretty much Defending Privilege 101.

        • CaptBackslap

          That’s true at the professional level, but the standard of interpersonal interaction on the internet* is abominably low (to the point that if you don’t threaten physical violence, you’re at least not below the curve), and it’s fair to say that could be improved.


    • sharculese

      Since brad is vanity posting above (just kidding, brad) I’m gonna go ahead and recycle my favorite comment I’ve ever made over at Roy’s place: Megan McArdle is the larval form of whatever it is that grows up to be Peggy Noonan.

      • timb

        [loud applause and curtain call]

      • whatever it is

        The Alien Queen lays the eggs, John Hurt incubates an egg…

      • I’m pretty sure that’s Sippy Cupp.

  • Origami Isopod

    Sweet fancy Moses, I wish it were, but it’s not. It never is.

    Aside from all the flapmouths who insist that it’s worse to be called a bigot than to actually be one, there are still men who wear the epithet “sexist” as a badge of pride.

    I don’t have enough alcohol in the house to help me endure McHimalayanSalt’s comments section, even when she’s not talking about sexism.

    • It manages to be worse than even, like, National Review. It’s pretty impressive if you think about it.

      • Origami Isopod

        The Atlantic has no shortage of repulsive conservatives and libertarians in its comments, and presumably other shitbag bloggers have linked approvingly to McMegan’s column, so I’m not surprised.

        • I’m always amazed at how many RWNJ are in the comments section of Rolling Stone.It’s kind of surreal.

          • brad

            They cluster in comment sections of highly random things. It’s about that epistemological closure; in RS or local newspaper stories that report facts they can’t accept it makes em feel better to have a chorus of “dissenting” voices directed there by the likes of Jim Hoft to circlejerk with.
            In a sense it’s probably as much an internet phenomenon as political, subcultures will do that same basic kind of thing across the spectrum, if atavistic enough in core nature.

            • Origami Isopod

              I don’t think it’s random. Usually Drudge or The Colonel or someone of that ilk links to an article, whether approvingly or otherwise, and the flying monkeys take off.

              • brad

                Random in the sense that often the stories seem fairly commonplace and hard to see as part of any greater frame. That’s not the case in Taibbi pieces or similar, of course, but as often as not when I find myself at a “controversial” story via memeorandum or the like I find myself wondering why they care. Sometimes the racial angle is obvious, but sometimes I’m also just lost in the weeds.

                • Origami Isopod

                  On local newspaper sites, I’d put it down to the site having a regular crew of knuckledraggers. That’s pretty common.

                  As a general rule, there is no story, no matter how innocuous or mundane, that wingnuts can’t soapbox about somehow.

                • witless chum

                  Newspaper sites have the stupidest, least articulate humans on the internet on every subject. Read an article about college football and you’ll get the stupidest take on that in the comments.

              • FMguru

                Yeah, there are a couple of conservative link platforms that act like a batsignal for wingnuts to swarm a comment section. Drudge is one, and I think one of Malkin’s products (Twitchy?) is another one. They shine a spotlight on some liberal-leaning article somewhere, and the flying monkeys race in.

                It’s funny to see RS get its articles swarmed because RS hasn’t had any cultural cachet since about 1983 or so. I figure its a bunch of boomer-age wingnuts who still think RS is a major counterculture media enterprise and the living heart of the beast.

        • Malaclypse

          True, but she has fallen upward to Bloomberg.

          • Origami Isopod

            Ah, right, I’d forgotten.

          • Trollhattan

            Maybe now that Bloomberg has time to spend with his billyuns, he’ll take notice and chase her ass out of there, as well. At some point, she needs to be directly on the Koch payroll, if only for clarity’s sake.

        • brad

          I’m happy to say that the shambling corpse of The Atlantic canned her ass a few years back.

          • Did you have to drag ZRM into this?

            • zombie rotten mcdonald

              Hey now. I have nothing to do with the killing of the Atlantic.

              • brad

                I have never seen you and David Bradley in the same place at the same time….

                • timb

                  If you are in the same place, could you tell him he killed a fine magazine

                • actually, I am willing to pound that into his skull, letter by letter.

  • sharculese

    Megan McArdle may suck at a lot of things but she is extremely gifted at making J. Jonah Loadberg look like a rigorous and careful thinker by comparison.

    • D-dayum! If insults could kill there would be a smoking crater marking McGargle’s last terrestrial location.

      Remind me to never annoy you.

    • NonyNony


  • The title told me who this was about. Sadly true.

    This gives me the second opportunity in less than 24 hours to offer this advice to an internet friend.

    Do yourself a favor, and don’t read McMegan. Ever!

    It’s bad for your blood pressure and your spleen, and doesn’t do you digestive system any good. Plus, there are far more pleasant ways to kill brain cells.

    “Don’t read McMegan” should be as axiomatic as “Don’t feed the trolls.”

    • zombie rotten mcdonald

      Maybe we could combine them and feed McMegan to the trolls?

      • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

        Insufficient caloric content for it to be worth their while.

  • Aaron B.

    I prefer “McArglebargle.”

    • TribalistMeathead

      That just makes me think of The Tommyknockers.

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        HIMALAYAN PINK Tommyknockers…

        • TribalistMeathead

          Late last night and the night before/Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking on the door of my townhouse in a gentrifying neighborhood, where I’m OK with the gentrification because a black man on a bus told me it’s OK for white people to move in.

          • Ahuitzotl


  • gorillagogo

    The phrase “man up” used to suck donkey balls, but it became awesome once it was turned into a musical number in The Book Of Mormon. Once you hear Arnold sing “I’m gonna man up all over myself!” you will never be able to hear that phrase again without snickering.

    • zombie rotten mcdonald

      Donkey up?

  • Anonymous

    In our society, accusing a specific person of sexism is now a very, very powerful weapon. And there is no such thing as a “conversation” at gunpoint.

    Maybe McArdle could come up with a figurative human wave assault to deal with these people with figurative guns.

    • Never forget. Never forgive.

    • herr doktor bimler

      Is there such a thing as a “conversation” faced with 2-by-4’s?

      • Yes. It’s called “Fox and Friends.”

  • kc

    she wrote an inane advice column telling eminently rapeable and deaththreatable feminists to man up and expect abuse also liberal men are mean too

    Not a McArdle fan, but that seems like an unfair characterization of what she wrote.

    • carolannie1949

      Gimme a fair one o KC

      • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

        I think that was a hypothetical, not a statistic that kc was offering there.

      • witless chum

        “It was taken out of context!”

        “Okay, explain the context that makes it different.”

        “It was taken out of context!”

        A certain species common on the internet thinks things like that are magic phrases you can utter to make someone’s argument go away. Other popular incantations include things like media bias and free speech.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          “What I’m saying is that I think all people are unfairly harder on women and minorities on the other side than they are on opponents who are men. I’m not calling on men to flagellate themselves for what a terrible burden white men are on the human race. I’m pointing out that we have an unconscious and unfair double standard.”

          IOW, man up and expect abuse, rapeable libtards? I think it’s fair for kc to call that a strained reading.

          • Mmmmm. Not really.

            AND I QUOTE:

            If you’re going to be a woman writing about hot-button issues on the Internet, you should be prepared for some abuse. People are occasionally going to tell you that they wish you were dead, and more rarely that they are planning to make that happen. The lazier among them will urge you to commit suicide and spare them the trouble. Others will describe all the ways in which your appearance, mood and opinions could be improved by brutal assault. Your parents, if they read your writing, will inevitably scroll down to the comments and find suggestions being made to their darling daughter that most people would be ashamed to offer in the parlor of a bawdy house.

            there’s more

            And yet, it’s actually not as dispiriting as the broader abuse one gets on the Internet, because the people who write it are just obviously crazy, and it’s hard to get worked up about the fact that an obviously crazy person doesn’t like you very much.

  • jgh

    so she is an idiot, who often cries sexist foul on her critics. A minority on this thread just call her an idiot. A majority imply or outright say she is a female idiot. Shame.

    • She is, in fact, both a female and an idiot. But I’m really going to need some proof that a majority of people in this thread have made her femaleness an issue. Let’s see you try to back up your claim.

      • weirdnoise

        I’ve just read every comment and can say with absolutely certainty that jgh is a troll. Or delusional.

    • witless chum

      How the hell do you even imply someone is a female idiot? “Fellas, there’s an idiot over there. I think that idiot is perhaps not male, if you know what I mean and I think you do.”

  • Pingback: Shut the internets – We have our winners | Sarah, Proud and Tall()

  • Pingback: Shut the internets – We have our winners » Balloon Juice()

  • g

    I really don’t care if calling people sexist is a conversation-stopper.
    IMHO those are conversations that need to be stopped.

    • Exactly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with stopping a conversation.

      • Isn’t stopping the conversationt the same as a stalinist high tech lynching of Chris Christie at a press conference?

        • Probably. I lose track. So many things are so Hitlery, Stalinist, akin to slavery… these days.

  • Fred

    I see mentions of this McMuffin person on left wing blogs who I am assuming is real but really don’t care. The only people who seem to care about her are left wing bloggers. Maybe if you ignore her she will just go away. Who cares if there are some wingnuts that read her blog. They are hopeless anyways.

    There is no such thing as bad press…ya know.

    • Wrong: she’s actually a paid propagandist married to another paid propagandist. She’s not just a blogger and its not nutpicking to focus on her work and criticize it.

      • Dread Hierarch Scrotum-Piranha

        McRetardle is as McRetardle does.

  • Pingback: dating advice for m()

It is main inner container footer text