Using Poetic Devices in Politics

“Hockey Mom” – Sarah Palin

I love, and teach, Lakoff’s consideration of “The Nation as Family” in which we typically view two forms of government via metaphors: The Strict Father Family vs. The Nurturant Parent Family.

My students understand these metaphorical models easily, and they’re good viewfinders for working through the coded speeches and political nuances that make up this overload of “platforms”, “issues”, and information the media throw our way everyday. Speaking of what’s happening on today’s presidential battleground, George Lakoff has taken the time to dissect the selection of Sarah Palin as the VP choice for the Republicans.

Excerpt from Lakoff: Palin Appeals to Voter Emotions — Dems Beware:

The Democratic responses so far reflect external realities: she is inexperienced, knowing little or nothing about foreign policy or national issues; she is really an anti-feminist, wanting the government to enter women’s lives to block abortion, but not wanting the government to guarantee equal pay for equal work, or provide adequate child health coverage, or child care, or early childhood education; she shills for the oil and gas industry on drilling; she denies the scientific truths of global warming and evolution; she misuses her political authority; she opposes sex education and her daughter is pregnant; and, rather than being a maverick, she is on the whole a radical right-wing ideologue.

All true, so far as we can tell.

But such truths may nonetheless be largely irrelevant to this campaign. That is the lesson Democrats must learn. They must learn the reality of the political mind.

The Obama campaign has done this very well so far. The convention events and speeches were orchestrated both to cast light on external realities, traditional political themes, and to focus on values at once classically American and progressive: empathy, responsibility both for oneself and others, and aspiration to make things better both for oneself and the world. Obama did all this masterfully in his nomination speech, while replying to, and undercutting, the main Republican attacks.

But the Palin nomination changes the game. The initial response has been to try to keep the focus on external realities, the “issues,” and differences on the issues. But the Palin nomination is not basically about external realities and what Democrats call “issues,” but about the symbolic mechanisms of the political mind — the worldviews, frames, metaphors, cultural narratives, and stereotypes. The Republicans can’t win on realities. Her job is to speak the language of conservatism, activate the conservative view of the world, and use the advantages that conservatives have in dominating political discourse [emphasis mine]

Continue reading Lakoff: Palin Appeals to Voter Emotions — Dems Beware

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LAST NIGHT

By the way, I heard some Wall Street fellas on the train home last night discussing this latest VP selection. One guy bucked against another who emphatically declared, “I’m not voting for her; I’m voting for McCain!” The other dude spit back, “But we’d be just a heart attack away from that woman running this country!!” So it seems not all Republicans are for this latest selection, no matter how “soccer mom” or “hockey mom” conservative she appears to be. In fact, they don’t like the idea of any kind of “mom” getting in the driver’s seat of this country. The only driving she should be doing, according to last night’s men on the train, would be toting their assess home after a night at the game. Let Sexism Ring!

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I can’t resist. More from Lakoff: Palin Appeals to Voter Emotions — Dems Beware:

The Republican strength has been mostly symbolic. The McCain campaign is well aware of how Reagan and W won — running on character: values, communication, (apparent) authenticity, trust, and identity — not issues and policies. That is how campaigns work, and symbolism is central.

Conservative family values are strict and apply via metaphorical thought to the nation: good vs. evil, authority, the use of force, toughness and discipline, individual (versus social) responsibility, and tough love. Hence, social programs are immoral because they violate discipline and individual responsibility. Guns and the military show force and discipline. Man is above nature; hence no serious environmentalism. The market is the ultimate financial authority, requiring market discipline. In foreign policy, strength is use of the force. In fundamentalist religion, the Bible is the ultimate authority; hence no gay marriage. Such values are at the heart of radical conservatism. This is how John McCain was raised and how he plans to govern. And it is what he shares with Sarah Palin.

Palin is the mom in the strict father family, upholding conservative values. Palin is tough: she shoots, skins, and eats caribou. She is disciplined: raising five kids with a major career. She lives her values: she has a Downs-syndrome baby that she refused to abort. She has the image of the ideal conservative mom: pretty, perky, feminine, Bible-toting, and fitting into the ideal conservative family. And she fits the stereotype of America as small-town America. It is Reagan’s morning-in-America image. Where Obama thought of capturing the West, she is running for Sweetheart of the West …

Yes, the McCain-Palin ticket is weak on the major realities. But it is strong on the symbolic dimension of politics that Republicans are so good at marketing. Just arguing the realities, the issues, the hard truths should be enough in times this bad, but the political mind and its response to symbolism cannot be ignored. The initial Democratic response to Palin — the response based on realities alone — indicates that many Democrats have not learned the lessons of the Reagan and Bush years [emphasis mine] ...

Continued Lakoff: Palin Appeals to Voter Emotions — Dems Beware.

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15 thoughts on “Using Poetic Devices in Politics

  1. Your writing is very engaging. Even though I don’t agree with hardly anything you wrote, I still found myself compelled to finish the entire article. Your presentation and logical flow are almost flawless. You’re really a good writer. Too bad I can’t say the same for your ideology.

    First of all: you say Palin is an anti-feminist – while lamenting that men won’t vote for her because of the possibility that she might be one heart attack away from being the leader of the free world. Sorry – but you can’t have it both ways, no matter how hard you try to dodge the failure to reconcile these two intertwined points.

    She didn’t decide to not have an abortion with her Downs Syndrome son just to be Ronald Regan’s poster-girl. She did it on principal, without ever knowing that she would someday be John McCain’s pick for veep. In other words, she walks the walk – even when walking the walk is difficult. By portraying that decision as nothing more than a political opportunity to make herself the poster-girl for the Reagan Revolution is a hit below the belt, if you don’t mind me saying so.

    If she would have had an abortion – then ran on a “family values” platform, you’d be howling – and rightfully so. Which is worse: the fact she sticks to her beliefs even when no one is looking – or being a hypocrite? I think we both know the answer to that.

    To say that anyone who supports abortion is actually for less government intervention is a red-herring falacy. Apply the same logic to other planks in the left’s platform to weed out hypocrisy.

    Why is it that by and large, the left is all about keeping the government out of the business of making decisions regarding reproductive health, but “It takes a village” any other time? What does, “It takes a village” actually mean? It means Big Brother is there to provide for you (whether you like it or not) from cradle to grave. This business of responsibility to others is simply code for communism. Any time the government becomes involved in trying to compensate for the evils of society, in all of their good intentions, the government’s cure, is oftentimes worse than the ailment itself.

    Sara Palin is scary, but not for any of the reasons people have talked about. She’s scary because she talks about “balancing the budget” as though that’s a good thing. If she’s from the party of “less government,” then why would balancing the budget be a good thing? If they truly want less government, wouldn’t it be better if government was constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, so it can’t grow, even if it wanted to?

    Let’s face it: the Republicans are the party of big government; the Democrats are the party of bigger government. The blur between distinguishing characteristics doesn’t stop there: in reality: they’re the same party! We get so squirreled-up over what we call, “hot buton issues,” that we forget one thing: how many actual differences are there, in the way the 2 parties are administered? Doesn’t that make you wonder right there, if they’re run the same – maybe they are the same!

    Before we get all teary-eyed over comparisons of Bill Clinton to JFK, let’s not forget who pushed for NAFTA, and let’s not forget – he not only pushed it – he signed it into law – enthusiastically.

    If Bill was the “champion of the middle class” as he likes to portray himself, why didn’t he use that natural gift for speech-making and his smarmy personality to charm NAFTA out of existance? It’s because the Democrats and Republicans are the same party, after the same things – and the thing that prevents us all from seeing this, is what magicians like to call, “misdirection.” This misdirection comes in the form of “hot-button issues” that keep us forever yammering on and on about issues that are so deeply engrained in our own personal psyches, we’ll never change the other person’s mind about them.

    Hopefully Palin is just what this country needs – a reformer who doesn’t know that she shouldn’t try to shake up the status quo, and start making the distinctions between the 2 parties real again!

    Bottom line: Palin might just be the one to turn this one-party monopoly into a two party system, once again!

  2. Thanks for the compliment on “my writing” Marvin the Martian. Unfortunately, your reading isn’t so hot. That isn’t my writing you’re responding to, but instead, it is that of the linguist, George Lakoff, who I clearly note I’m excerpting the entry from. The only writing above that is mine is under “LAST NIGHT”. Also, I’m no Dem. I have issues with the “two party” system. It’s crap. You might note in an earlier post that I appreciate the wedge McKinney throws into that system.

  3. Point taken. Great blog. How’s that? I really mean it. I’m kind of new to this whole blog thing, but yours is interesting. I like to see what the other side is thinking. Who knows? Maybe they’re thinking the correct thing. I haven’t seen it yet (or more accurately, very few instances) but that doesn’t stop me from looking altogether.

    If Palin was ugly, would the Left hate her less? I’ve noticed something about CNN: unlike Fox, they do hire commentaters who aren’t beauty queens. That’s not to say they don’t have beauty queens, but they don’t hire beauty queens exclusively, like Fox does.

    What if Palin’s looks were in the same league as Janet Reno’s? Would that make her more beloved – or is it strictly the politics?

    I know it sounds like a petty question, and maybe on the surface it is, but when you show Sara in a bikini toting some kind of gun and the caption is, “take the top off sweetie,” I wonder. Yes, you said that was actually a comment posted by a Republican – and that doesn’t surprise me that a Republican would say something like that.

    Which brings me to my last point: is she hated because she’s attrative, and the whistles from the gutter don’t seem to bother her?

  4. She’s not exactly my version of “attractive” considering she presents herself as a gun-toting hockey mom who is really just a pit bull with lipstick. But to answer your question, would she be hated less if she ‘less attractive’? The problem with that question assumes that a) people hate her, rather than her politics and b) looks are the only basis by which we judge women. Of course, you’re assigning all of those presumptions to the left and how they think, while ignoring the right and how they think.

    If she were ‘less attractive’, she couldn’t tout herself as so aggressive, that’s for sure. But Americans only like women to be aggressive for fun also — not in the big male world of business and politics. Once women show themselves to be ‘aggressive’ for themselves, meaning they are out to gain power (something men do on the daily), then women are suddenly subjected to being called bitches, etc. Why? Because women can’t *actually* be aggressive for their own gain; they can be pretend aggressive if it’s a “gossip” thing or if they’re protecting their children, but true aggression in women, fighting for some rights or some personal gain, somehow negates their ability to be nurturing too. That’s why folks hate Hillary. She was vying for the highest office, the most symbolic and highest seat of power, without playing mommy and sex object. She didn’t even bake cookies! And boy, was she damned for it! She didn’t play her cards right, but Palin sure is trying. Here’s what I just wrote on another listserv when asked what does it mean to be a “conforming woman” —

    Maybe the ideal conforming woman is the notion of a sort of ‘modern woman’ who embraces traditional views of womanhood while giving a pseudo-nod to the progress women have made. Society-in-general can only tolerate so much outside of our familiar & secure comfort zones. Right now, I’m thinking about Sarah Palin. Off the top of my head, she would be symbolic of a conforming woman, esp versus Hillary Clinton. Palin embraces, no, touts her ‘soccer mom’ role while also giving nods to ‘progress’ (she belongs to some right-wing ‘feminist’ group) for women (her nods resemble that of a pit bull gearing up for the lunge, seeing’s how she’s a self professed pit bull with lipstick. Oh how we do love our aggressive woman images, for fun only though!). I mean, she has no problem seeking power, but she’s careful to do so under the traditional rhetoric of what it means to be a woman. She’ll get more covert sexist flak than H. Clinton got, for sure. Hillary didn’t conform well enough; she didn’t even bake cookies and was damned to hell and back for it! Just google image search her name and see what comes up. At least Palin knows what she has to do to make her own kind of selfish progress (i.e. sell out more ‘progressive’ or ‘nonconforming’ women for the payout). Conform. Hillary didn’t play those cards right (i.e. she’s slightly nonconforming in terms of her womanhood– too many ‘male’ behaviors like thinking aloud, demanding she be taken seriously, didn’t play up her nurturing side, etc — yikes!).

  5. Case in point, Marvin — watch this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPtUNNyc9G4&eurl=http://www.dailykos.com/

    He boils it down. Palin has to be sexy (available to men as a ‘woman’, he emphasizes), appear in a skirt, be mom-like, etc. She’s a product to be oogled and looked to for comfort and security.

    Unfortunately, he’s right in that’s the big sell. He points out that when she talked about issues, as Lakoff pointed out, most people likely glazed over. And he notes, as Lakoff did, that the Left is going to try to argue the intellectual, the issues. He knows this election is going to be won by the family model that makes people feel more secure and comforted. Who better to do that — someone who sounds like a teacher or journalist trying to argue the details or mom, who will rub your feet and bring you the cookies and defend you from that very teacher? Who wants to think when mom is in the room?

    I don’t know — politics play out in more than just who has a better platform on the issues.

    See Drew Westen on The Political Brain — http://www.thepoliticalbrain.com/videos.php

  6. There were no menu options to comment on Lakoff’s links on the “Strict Father Family,” and the “Nurturant Family,” so if you don’t mind, I’ll put them here – since you excerpted them – they are kind of like your text – by proxy.

    Could it be possible, that there are people who strive to have the best of both models? Is soceity inherently good? I don’t know. Take all your clothes off on a hot summer day, and attempt to walk to the subway, and see how far your get. Better yet, put an open suitcase full of $20 bills on your lap on the subway, and see if some type of frenzy doesn’t take place.

    He does say some things that I agree with, however. The system is elitist, and it is classist. But the thing that kind of cracks me up about his “nurturant” philospophy, is the “do no harm” mantra that he wants the “it takes a village” lefties to adhere to. This begs the question: who defines harm, and under what criteria? Who decides the criteria?

    This is what’s wrong with our political system: the left is so far left, they’re right; and the right is so far right, they’re left. That’s why in my opinion, both parties have gone so far from center, they’re indistinguishable.

    What would motivate the King of the Dems to sign NAFTA into law? Probably the knowledge that lower-paying jobs means increased reliance on the government programs that need increased space in our wallets to fund.

    Why would the elephants go for this? Pure greed! Lower wages mean bigger profit margins without the messy business of continued innovation to justify – the bigger profit margins. They’ve effectively hi-jacked what many think made this country great: Yankee ingenuity! They’ve taken Yankee ingenuity out of the profit formula, and simply made it this: make everyone weaker, so we can become richer! “As long as I remain on the correct side, I don’t need to think about what will make our product better – I just need to play golf with the right people – and that’s my only worry.” Then, we wonder why everything is falling apart.

    Between the Republican’s greed and the Democrat’s desire for more power (in the form of more social programs) both parties are responsible for cutting the middle-class off at the knees and selling this country down the Rio Grande River, lock, stock and barrel.

    Both parties have their spin-meisters to make this process seem like it’s being done for all the right reasons.

    I applaud your skeptism of the two-party system, although I haven’t read your reasons why – but I’m going to, right now.

  7. OK – I just read your post to my comment. Palin isn’t a real feminist, because she’s too “mom-like” in the “traditional” sense. I admire and appreciate your honesty.

    Wearing a skirt is implied consent to a man’s “on-demand” sexual advances, so dad is always in a good mood – or at least he has fewer reasons for being in a bad mood, correct?

    “Who needs to think when mom is in the room?” “If mom doesn’t defend you from that very teacher, who will?” So, is mom bad? I’m wondering. Aren’t these good qualities?

    I’ve read Lakoff’s texts, and it makes me wonder: just whose job is it in the family? He says it’s both parents, if they’re both present – but he doesn’t explicitly state. He’s implying that it’s the job of both parents to decide, I’m sure. But what about situations where both parents decide on the “traditional” model? Then what? Are they out of touch?

    Also: looking girly and pretty – and being aggressive is only to advance a man’s notion that female aggression is only good when it’s for sex, correct? Any other type of female aggression is wrong – at least that’s how the S.P.s think the elephants view female aggression, correct? If a woman is aggressive to promote her own power &/or agenda, she’s seen as a “bitch,” correct?

    Isn’t it true that men are generally more generous than women? I mean: have you ever worked as a waitress? If so, I’d imagine that it didn’t take you long to figure out that men are far better tippers than women, correct?

    So when a woman pursues power for her own purposes, she’s only doing that for herself – where’s the gain for society as a whole? Just look at the model of voluntary tipping!

    When men seek wealth, as long as you’re their buddy, everyone “in the circle” benefits. But when a women attain wealth, is it my imagination, or do they come off as being a little greedy and don’t they tend to be percieved as hording the wealth they’ve amassed?

    I wonder why child support is such a huge percentage of a man’s income? Could it be, the state recognizes, that if the percentage was “just enough” to adequately contribute his share of the burden, it still wouldn’t be enough, as it could be generally percieved that unless it’s a really huge amount of money, mom will spend the “support” on her habits – on her extravagent lifestyle – and on her boyfriends?

    In other words, it seems to me that the higher-than-needed percentage covers mom’s vices – it if mom’s vices aren’t covered by the support – mom’s vices will be covered – to the detrment of the children, no?

    So men are bled dry financially, because the mom generally hoards the wealth – unless there’s more than enough to go around, and the state recognizes this fact, don’t they?

    So if what I said has even a smattering of truth, then I can’t understand why people complain when women are seen as overly-selfish when they attain power for themselves. Just work as a waitress, and see the difference in how wealth is spread – man vs. woman. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

    I used to be a waiter. Men would tip me for good service – and I’m also a man. Women? Rarely! And only if it was the “company’s” money, and it had to be spent, or given back.

    I’m sure that if any “feminist” has ever worked as a waitress, she would begrudgingly agree with at least some of what I’m saying here.

  8. I disagree with your notion that Palin is anti-feminist.

    Carolina Maine
    PS I’m a feminist, and I share many of Palin’s views.

  9. The inevitable MILF designation. This cracks me up: if a feminist is pretty – and knows her beauty to be an advantage, she won’t think twice in capitalizing on it. But, let someone with a different ideology do the same, and that woman is an empty head who screws her way to the top.

    The inevitable MILF designation highlights the pettiness of the “Ying/Yang” political model of our one-party system. One party, catering to two specific opposites. You have to be one of the opposites; you don’t have a choice. Are they our views, or simply a choice between the lesser of two evils that produces the closest match to our views? Do we define the party, or does the party define us?

    The guy selling the book: The Political Brain. He’s right on the money! Yes! Figure it out, Dems! It’s all emotion! The wholesome, grandfather type who has weathered many storms, lending the wisdom he’s attained along the way to help protect us; who cares if he naps in the afternoon, or lets his wife meddle in national affairs with the help of astrologers? We know that when push comes to shove, he’ll wake up and do what’s right. His hand is on the helm, and that’s all we need to know. “Michael Gorbachov, tear down this wall,” is what we all remember. And it happened – and that’s why we remember it.

    Gender politics may be the business some of us are engaged in – and for those whose business gender politics is, it’s extremely, extremely important. But what about the rest of the nation? Do they view things in terms of gender politics, or do they know the only reason the pig has all the food it can eat, is that some day, it will be slaughtered, and the heavier the pig, the more money the farmer gets? Does the pig know this? Of course not! Do all the people who want to live off the fat of the government – are they aware they’re no different than the pig on the farm? They have no more of an idea of what they’re actually for, than the pig does – and they will both suffer the same fate.

    “Well, what do you mean? People aren’t pigs on a farm? How could you possibly say the two are the same – and will suffer the same fate?”

    I don’t like Republicans any more than I like Democrats, but I think Ronald Reagan said it best: We are the shining city on the hill. Don’t take my word for it. Ask any Mexican or Cuban, or anyone from an Asian country who paid dearly and risked his or her life to come over here. Why would they do that? Is it because they have dark skin and don’t know any better, or do they recognize what we take for granted? We are the shining city on the hill – and that makes us a prize.

    In international maritime parlance, a shot across the bow is the international signal to “heave to, and prepare to be boarded.” Don’t forget what happened on 9-11. That was our shot across the bow, in every sense of the word.

    So when we become dependant on the government to feed us, while we hold down jobs where we “ring bells, and listen to bells being rung,” don’t be surprised when we get really fat -and really dependent – that we aren’t boarded, and suffer the same fate as the pig on the farm, because just like the pig on the farm: we freely eat from the trough, with no thought or expectation of having it any other way – but we have no idea the REAL reason we’re being fed – or what we were bred for – and neither does the pig.

  10. marvinthemartian,

    I worked as a waitress, and I was generally tipped better than the males I knew. You sure write a lot of comments. Ever get bored much?
    Oh, and by the way, I worked at a country club as a waitress. My evaluation from a table read exactly:

    “We were so very fortunate to have such a nice looking waiter and waitress.”

    The waiter was a handsome gay man. There was nothing mentioned of our service.
    PS I studied political science; it was my major. I don’t need a lesson in gender politics. Thanks, but the pigs were a little much–especially when you compared people needing assistance to pigs. Save your ignorance for someone else.

  11. There’s a difference between those who need help, and those who think of a life-time of assistance as an entitlement – like air or water, or something. It seems like we have had multiple generations in this country who feel if someone is rich, the rich person owes them. Kind of like the classic, “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine,” type of thing, you know?

    Those who need help should definately get it. Those who need their fat, lazy ass kicked off the couch – need that too. There’s a HUGE difference between the 2.

    In the Midwest: people around here are smarter that those on the coasts think. We don’t need a Disney cartoon to tell us in song, about the “cycle of life” or whatever, we see it on the farms everyday.

    Here’s my point about the pig: the pig has no idea why the farmer is feeding him. These people who spend generation after generation on whatever public assistance they’re handing out at the time – have no idea why the government is doing that for them. They think it’s because “Uncle Sam” is benevolent. Yes – any and all governments engage in benevolent behavior – but not for the reasons the free-loaders think.

    Get generation after generation to vote for a “benevolent government” and what the socialists have, is a guaranteed electorate of free-loaders.

    Also: in a country full of freeloaders, just how seriously do you think our enemies will take us? This whole country is turning into the cast of “Dude – where’s my car?” and we think it’s funny. So do our enemies – but for a different reason. (Our enemies help fund every endeavor that helps us turn into the cast of “Dude, where’s my car”!)

    So we get Middle-Eastern royals to help fund far left advocacy groups who demand more and more socialism – and they get it – and we don’t know why the pig is allowed to eat freely from the trough. The pig thinks the farmer is benevolent. The farmer is benevolent alright – but in his own interests – not the pig’s. The pig just can’t figure that out – and it doesn’t matter.

  12. Leo Strauss is cackling like Vincent Price in his grave.
    Symbols and shadows to control his “vulgar masses”.
    If the masses only knew what regard they were held in.

  13. Hate to break it to you, Marvin. Women don’t tip less due to biology — women make much less per dollar, so “tipping less” (your arbitrary measure and “evidence” of …what?) comes as no surprise and doesn’t prove your misguided hope in biological stinginess, or didn’t you know women, on average, earn less than those fine men who tipped so well? Even in these “enlightened times” …

    ” * A recent Cornell study found that female job applicants with children would be less likely to get hired, and if they do, would be paid a lower salary than other candidates, male and female. By contrast, male applicants with children would be offered a higher salary than non-fathers and other mothers.

    * A recent Carnegie Mellon study found that female job applicants who tried to negotiate a higher salary were less likely to be hired by male managers, while male applicants were not.

    Then there’s the phenomenon of wages going down when more women move into a field.

    Take human resources, now a female-dominated profession. I asked Thornton if he thinks female human-resource managers today are paid as well as he and his male colleagues were 15 years ago. “Not at all,” he said. He estimates that in inflation-adjusted terms they’re paid about 20 percent less.” –from http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/21/commentary/everyday/sahadi/

    “t’s important to understand, however, that the gender earnings gap is a relative figure. A shrinking pay gap does not necessarily indicate a real improvement in women’s income. Arguably, most of the reason the wage gap is smaller now than it was in 1979 is because men, on average, are being paid less.” –More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male-female_income_disparity_in_the_USA

    IF WE LOOK TO OUR CONTEMPORARY GLADIATORS:

    Top actors out earn female actresses 2 to 1

    “The top 10 earning actors and actresses are as follows:

    1. Will Smith – $80 million
    2. Johnny Depp – $72 million
    3. Eddie Murphy – $55 million
    4. Mike Myers – $55 million
    5. Leonardo DiCaprio – $45 million

    1. Cameron Diaz – $50 million
    2. Keira Knightley – $32 million
    3. Jennifer Aniston – $27 million
    4. Reese Witherspoon – $25 million
    5. Gwyneth Paltrow – $25 million”

    http://astrology.yahoo.com/channel/entertainment/top-actors-out-earn-female-actresses-2-to-1-215000/

    AND Yes, I have waitressed. I was also commanded by male customers to smile (for their pleasure) and was offered many unwarranted sexual advances, overt and “subtle”, by those same male customers who “tipped more” if I smiled and did as they bid. How many times were you propositioned as a waiter, Marvin?

  14. I don’t know about trying to tie biology to benevolence – that’s a little beyond anything I’ve ever been exposed to, but biology wasn’t my point. My point was this: men – generally speaking – are more benevolent. Sure, there are exceptions that go both ways, but by and large, men usually are more benevolent.

    A man is much more likely to “give back,” even if it is only to his cronies – but at least he does that.

    The unwanted sexual advances are clearly a sign that the guy is a pig – unless they were an innocent, hassle-free invitation to a date made by a guy who – for whatever reason – thought you might be interested in going out with him – but that probably doesn’t qualify as a sexual advance as far as I’m concerned – but a rude comment about your body or any touching that couldn’t be qualified as “incidental” (sometimes accidents do happen – but they are rare) but anything besides that is, pig-like behavior.

    How many times have I been propositioned as a waiter? Quite a few, but I never minded – unless it became stalker-like behavior, which happened a few times – but I guess that’s the price you pay for dealing with the public. I’m no worse for the wear.

    The arguement that women don’t tip as well because they make less money: I’d be willing to bet that if you did a study where you had middle-class men and much, much richer women – both groups as patrons in a restaurant, I’d be willing to bet the middle-class men still tipped better than the rich women. I’d almost be willing to bet the ranch on that!

    If women don’t want to be slammed for being ambitious like quite a few women like to complain about, then maybe women should consider making generosity part of a “women’s studies” cirruculum, so that it can be discussed.

    You see, benevolence isn’t just financial. I’ve worked for a ton of male bosses, and I’ve worked for a ton of female bosses.

    There are exceptions to what I’m about to say that go both ways, but by and large, as long as the work is done, the men tend to leave things alone. If you can figure out a better or faster way to do your job, and you take advantage of the time savings by taking longer breaks, then generally speaking, the male boss won’t say a word.

    In the same scenario, a female boss will demand even more work. It seems as though they take the incentive out of efficiency by making those who can do things faster and better, and making those people pay the price in the form of even higher expectations.

    In other words, female bosses seem to generally be “micro-managers.” Male bosses tend to be “delegaters.”

    There are definate drawbacks to both styles. The “delegaters” tend to have a much higher tolerance for inapprpriate behavior – the micromanagers seem to create more friction – in the form of uneccessarily high expectations – than is necessary.

    It’s too bad both men and women can’t incorporate the best of both genders’ traits, while getting rid of the worst behaviors of both genders’ traits – rather than trying to make the bad traits seem like they’re somehow good qualities for the sake of petty bickering – which both sides are equally prone to do.

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