Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oh, and while I'm here...

Everyone who read this post and thought that "lowest common (male) denominator" means "men are the lowest common denominator" needs to retake English next semester.

You fail reading comprehension.

Seriously, that's really fucking bad because I specifically added the "(male)" because presumably the lowest common female denominator would involve pushing a completely different set of stereotypes. (I don't know, bodice rippers or boy bands or whatever stupid insulting stereotype of fangirls you figure is the worst.)

To be honest, I made a mistake by not specifying "straight male" because a "lowest common (gay male) denominator" would be quite different as well. I apologize for that oversight.

But the prevalent idea came out of fucking nowhere.

I mean (and I know I'm repeating myself but dammit some people seem to need that), the very reason I added the (male) is because if I had put "lowest common denominator" in reference to a magazine that caters directly to men, that is calling men the lowest common denominator. By adding the (male) I was leaving room for an equal low involving an all-female audience or an audience of mixed gender. (Note to those seeking a lowest common mixed gender denominator: Explosions appeal to everyone.)

Still, some unbelievably idiotic readers read that and thought I meant the opposite.

Now, I admit, I've put out my poorly worded phrases and my mixed messages. There have been miscommunications that are entirely on my shoulders in the past.

This is all on the distant end, though. I don't know how anyone fucked up reading that one.


  1. I don't think it's really even a case of stupidity - more like disingenuous arguing.

    If you can read an insult into the point, then you don't have to actually discuss the point.


  2. Yeah, I think it was pretty much just a case of troll-guy-is-trolling-now.

  3. I actually can see how the misinterpretation could have happened, although I read the sentence as intended; it requires seeing the parentheses as a sort of "that is to say", or "e.g.". It's a stretch, but if you went into the column with a chip on your shoulder and a belief that you were reading the words of a man-hating sociopath, you'd probably assume the worst.

    (Which, of course, isn't to say you're a man-hating sociopath. You, like the rest of us, are a humanity-hating sociopath. :) )

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  5. Eh - that looked like someone looking to pick a fight. It was pretty obvious what you meant by it.

    Although I do notice a lot of trolls on feminist blogs do this sort of thing - someone will make a comment about a subset of men and they'll immediately start arguing as if the commenter was trashing "all men". It seems like a standard "change the topic to a strawman I can argue against" tactic, and a way to reinforce their ideas that all feminists are man-hating lesbians or something.

  6. Sometimes I can't figure out if I like this blog or not. You write insightful and interesting posts, but you also whine a hell of a lot. This post is a prime example. Instead of just a simple "That's not what I meant" you whine for several paragraphs and insult everyone who misunderstood you.

  7. you whine for several paragraphs

    One Anonymous' "whining" is another reader's "righteous indignation at being deliberately misrepresented with a twist of well-deserved contempt for the misrepresenters."

    In case that was too subtle for you, Anon, I'm basically saying you're a douche.

  8. I'll admit it threw me for about half a second, but then the reading comprehension part of my brain kicked in, followed by a big "Oh" in my head.

  9. Ragnell, like all girls, has a weakness for sweets and wants a man to protect her.

    Am I kidding? You decide.

  10. I wouldn't call it whining per se, but I can see where Anonymous is coming from somewhat.

  11. Not really. The people who misunderstood her really did so because they didn't read it properly, simple as that, so to suggest that they get some remedial help with their English comprehension isn't so much insulting them as it is pointing out an obvious fact. It was pretty funny, though, that the person who was being the most rational on the CSBG thread got called a troll for calling people sub-literate, when all they had done was to be, well, sub-literate.
    Loved the ones who insisted that all they'd been given were insults with no explanations and that they weren't misreading, but she had miswritten even after they had the sentences parsed out for them.